Grapevine shop upcycles found materials into arty wares

Bike gear magnets are some of the gift items that Re-Geared staff create using recycled parts at the Grapevine shop. Photos courtesy of Re-Geared.

Nov. 17, 2014

When your passions become a viable profession, exhilarating things can happen. And so it goes for Rachel Spire of Re-Geared. She's combined her love of cycling and art with a commitment to reuse and recycle to form a business that's been riding high since she opened an ETSY shop in 2010. 

Right, Rachel Spire combines her love of bicycles, design and recycling in her business.

Spire grew up surrounded by art. Her mother was an artist and Spire learned to weld metal from her grandfather. As a college student, she began doing commissioned artwork; primarily paintings and murals. After school she continued to create murals and to design and build furniture, as she began work as a design director for a high-end furniture and architectural millwork shop. 

“My job consisted of designing and detailing furniture and interior architectural features,” said Spire. 

That experience influences the wood working techniques she employs in her pieces for the Re-Geared inventory, which she also sells directly through their website. 

As the name suggests, Re-Geared focuses on cycling, offering cards, candles and other home décor and accessories emblazoned with bikes and created of repurposed bicycle parts. An avid cyclist, Spire works with several Metroplex cycle shops, relieving them of castoffs from their repair work. Gears, bike wheels and rims and steel alloy chains in varying weights, all find their way into her industrial chic accessories, art and furniture. 

Colorado state flag made with bike chain. Below, bar table made with reclaimed materials.

Much of the wood she uses is also reclaimed. Shipping pallets and cuts from several local furniture makers are used to form the hand-crafted items that she and a small group of friends and fellow craftsmen create in the shop behind her house in Grapevine. 

“I bought the house for the woodshop and work space behind it,” joked Spire. 

One obvious sign of the company’s growth is the laser engraving machine holding a prominent place in one workroom. 

“Originally I used a woodburner to draw designs on our awards and other wood pieces,” Spires said. “It was very time consuming so the laser has been a huge help.” 

The idea to use reclaimed wood came when Spire noticed the amount of materials that were wasted during the furniture construction process. 

A barrel chair.

“I began to notice the old oak flooring and mahogany and walnut scraps from newly constructed cabinets. I just started to build from whatever I could find, and the more character it had, the better.” 

Knots and imperfections in the wood only add to the unique nature of the pieces. 

The woods she uses vary, depending on availability and the type of project. Spire especially likes mahogany.

“It’s one of my favorites. There are so many beautiful colors and the graining is very distinctive.” 

Mahogany wood has a straight grain through it and resists cracking and shattering better than many other hardwoods. The pieces at Re-Geared are not made entirely from reclaimed materials, but Spire and her team use as much of those types of resources as they can. 

Left, custom bicycle gear clocks.

The pieces range from a steel alloy key fob made of bike chain links priced at $7.99 to the custom designed and built tables and display cases that Re-Geared has created for local restaurants like Cane Rosso and LUCK. 

Spire is currently working with several craft beers companies, designing and making their beer taps and personalized coasters. Display cases for Grapevine Craft Beer sit on her porch awaiting finishing touches and delivery.

The company also offers picture frames with bike chain links ornamenting either side, perfect for preserving cycling memories. The frames were one of the first selections that Spire sold, and variations are still in inventory. There are also gifts for the holidays, beer coasters for craft beer enthusiasts and framed state flags made of painted coiled bike chains. 

With its focus on recycling materials, Re-Geared shows that what comes around truly goes around. Rachel and her company are practicing sustainability daily, and Re-Geared is definitely on a roll. 

For more about Re-Geared, visit the Etsy sitewebsite.


Stay up to date on everything green in North Texas, including the latest news and events! Sign up for the weekly Green Source DFW Newsletter! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.