The next in our Faces of AMT series, we speak to George from I Cleenz Macheenz, one of the shot blasters responsible for the precise, textured finishes of our copper pots for Anglo American and our upcoming Coastlines collections of cufflinks and cuff bracelets for men, as well as our upcoming rings and tie bars. Based in South East London, I Cleenz Macheenz focus on the degreasing, decorrosion, decarbonising, cleaning and burnishing of most metals and specialist car and motor cycle parts. In our case, they work with our bespoke projects and solid silver, men’s accessories to give them a raw, blasted and engineered finish. Today we hear from George about his role, the business and the industry.
“I own the business and I manage the workshop,” George tells me, “as well as doing a lot of the hands on cleaning, refinishing and restoring of various parts that people bring us. Day to day, typically I would manage the work load for the two guys, young Chris and Kayne, and then I get on and do the hardest, the worst and the sweatiest of jobs. I price the jobs for the guys to get on with.”
“This has been my one and only employment really. I used to work for John, who ran the company while I was at college studying for my A-levels, and then he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and I bought the business. We’ve grown 400% since then. This is really my only experience of working - working for John and then working for myself.”
“I went to a technology school in New Cross and they put a lot of importance on design and technology and encouraged us in that area. When I started working two afternoons a week they encouraged that.”
“At the time, John saw a gap in the market for shot blasting. This stuff doesn’t generally exist inside the M25 - refinishing work, chemicals processes and blasting processes. There’s a niche for people who genuinely pay attention to what they’re doing. If you’re giving us expensive Rolls Royce engines to work on then you want to be made a fuss over and have everything that needs to be done written down properly. You don’t want someone just to say ‘leave it in the corner for us mate and we’ll get round to it!’”
“We work with artists, sculptors and other refinishers who can’t get our results. Our business was set up for automotive and I’ve pushed it in the direction of production and artists. Bikes and cars will always be part of our business, but the more projects we can attract the stronger we’ll be.”
“I think it’s amazing to start with something dirty - a rough, machined and raw part. Starting with a raw piece on Monday and then having it wrapped-up, boxed and ready to go on Friday is very satisfying. A bit overwhelming sometimes, but it’s always a good time.”
“In finishing and blasting you can set up a 3D access machine to blast components at a rate that I could never achieve - but for one offs or small batch work or delicate or rare or precise items, nothing is going to beat someone standing there and paying attention to what they’re doing and holding it and manipulating it and looking at when enough is enough and stopping at that point.”
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Photography by JKF Man.