Article By: Amelia Rose
Originally Published In The February 2020 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
It’s not every day that you get to talk to someone who works in casting and foundry work, but apparently, December is my lucky month because I had the fantastic pleasure of getting in touch with Dale Thompson, who has been in foundry work for almost his entire life! From a young age, Dale has found himself working with metal. His dad was a welder and watching him work was like seeing magic happen. He knew then that it was something he’d want to try later on in life. Watching his dad work is really the whole reason he turned to the world of custom fabrication in the first place. In high school, he was able to take classes in foundry that really helped to stoke the flames of his interest. He excelled at both the arts and welding while in school so it made sense that he would find a happy medium in foundry work.
Though having sold his various parts online for the past 10 years, his business Freedom Casting Co has only been in operation for a little over a year now. His main focus has been working on chopper parts, primarily point covers, though he dabbles in other projects on occasion. The possibilities of casting are really only limited by what you yourself can imagine. Once you have a basic understanding of foundry work, all you need is a vision and dedication to make it all come to life Being a child of the 70’s, Dale finds a lot of his inspiration from the art of that time but especially from the underground comic artists of the time like Irons, Spain, Wilson, and Crumb. He has vivid memories as a child of long choppers, custom vans, and seeing large groups of bikes riding down the freeway. Those memories, more than anything is what inspires his work today. Unfortunately, due to a severe injury ten years ago that has caused some health issues, riding is no longer something he is able to do, but creating art and pieces for them keeps his passion alive and kicking.
Another reason Dale has been going strong for this many years is the incredible amount of support he has received from people who appreciate and purchase his art. For someone to want one of his parts on their bike is one of the greatest compliments he can receive. Thompson feels that a custom bike is one of the truest forms of personal self-expression one could think of, especially in our industry. As an artisan, what sets him apart from the crowd is that each step of the process is something he does himself. The sculptures, patterning, casting, finishing, and even polishing are all done by his own hands, which is something that not every foundry worker can say! It can also be said that through Dale’s work, he has had some incredible opportunities to meet and make lifelong friends. From rock stars and famous bike builders to the home builders and garage junkies, each person he’s met has, in some way, shaped and molded his art and the awesome inspiration behind it.
As for his future, Dale just wants to keep making chopper parts and watch his style evolve and grow! He’s recently been working on some rad designs for air cleaner covers and will soon be starting some custom foot pegs as well. He is constantly looking forward to seeing what he can come up with next. Lastly, when I asked him if he had any advice to give to the younger craftsmen in our industry, all he had to say was, “Stay true to yourself. Don’t follow trends, be a trendsetter. Don’t get discouraged by your mistakes, learn from them, and keep going till you get it right!” If you want to check out more of Dale’s incredible work or even commission a piece for yourself, you can head to his website www. freedomcastingco.com or check out his Instagram @freedom_casting_ co.