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Ten Minutes With: A Metalworker

Cliff Startup shares how to succeed in this competitive field…and still have a smile



Photo by Sally Semonite Green

Cliff Startup calls himself a “metalworker,” but he is really a creative artist, at heart. Residing in Pound Ridge for 20 years or so, he is sought after for his expertise in metalworking. His talents include crafting unique structures and designs, not only of iron and steel, but also with almost any other metal you can think of. If you can envision it, Startup can likely produce it, although he may change the design a little to really make it work.

When did you start learning the business?
Around 1973. I quit the University of Maryland after about a year and a half; academia, to me, was just unreal. I had worked on cars as a kid, so I just started doing that for money. Over time, I found my way to beginning my childhood dream of welding stuff. I started working for this guy who gave me a truck and a torch and sent me on jobs I couldn’t really do, and I just had to learn. It was a little nerve-wracking, but he was a cool guy who had a lot of confidence in me.

What is your typical workday like?
Pretty much scrambling. In order to make it in this business, you have to be competitive, and you need to be on the cutting edge. And to cut you need to be sharp. I always try to take the tough jobs that others may not want to do or take on. I find I like it being busy; I don’t know what the hell else I’d do if I weren’t.

Who are your clients, and how do they find you?
Everything is from word of mouth. It’s important to win over the customer by doing a good job, the best you can. Most of my clients are 50-50 between architects and designers. They come to me with the design, but it can’t always be built as they see. That’s where I may tweak something when necessary.

What have been some of your favorite jobs so far?
Well, we did the New Rochelle High School spire; that was pretty cool. We also did a helical stairway, actually a few, but there’s also a number of cool stuff on my website, startupsteel.com.

Have you taken any breaks from metal working since you started?
I did leave to join a monastery for a while, around 1975. I was in it for a few years. It’s hell, but it was a good thing. I learned that 90 percent of your life you live unaware, you do things automatically, so you have to train good habits. If you don’t have the habit of awareness, that’s just the worst.

In addition to speaking three languages, practicing martial arts, and spending some time in a monastery, any other interesting things about you?
Well, there’s nothing really that interesting about me. The only thing that occurs to me is this thing I saw where somebody asked these foreign people what their art was. They responded, “We don’t have art. We just do everything the best we can.”

It seems to me you are not only a great metal worker, but at heart, a teacher.
Jack, all life seeks to improve. Something inside you drives you to do, and if that isn’t there, well, you’re in trouble. At this point, it’s just nice to watch people come here and grow. It’s not always so much about making money. I run this place kinda like a school. People have to keep evolving.

                                            

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July 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Games, Crafts, Live Music, Watermelon and fun for the entire family on the library lawn. Sunday, July 22nd from 2:00-4:00 PM No registration, just show up. Sponsored by the Friends of the...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Little Radical Theatrics Inc (Fatima Viegas, Executive Producer) is thrilled to be presenting its Summer 2018  Production of "Ragtime".  In an effort to truly live up to...

Cost: $10-$25

Where:
Grinton Will Library
1500 Central Park Ave
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: Little Radical Theatrics
Telephone: 914-589-1669
Contact Name: Fatima Viegas
Website »

More information

 Little Radical Theatrics Inc (Fatima Viegas, Executive Producer) is thrilled to be presenting its Summer 2018  Production of "Ragtime".  In an effort to truly live...

Cost: $10-$25

Where:
Grinton Will Library
1500 Central Park Ave
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: Little Radical Theatrics
Telephone: 914-589-1669
Contact Name: Fatima Viegas
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Westchester Community is in need of more than 40 foster homes to provide the county’s most vulnerable children with housing in a safe and stable environment. For more information and to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Department of Social Services
112 E Post Road
White Plains, NY  10601
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914-997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Throw paint balloons (washable, of course) at a canvas to create an awesome piece of abstract art, and more importantly have a bunch of fun doing it! Thursday, July 26th at 4:00 PM Grades 6-8...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

On Thursday, July 26 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich will host “The Language of Flavor in Honey: A Guided Sensory Honey Tasting Event.” Italian-trained honey expert...

Cost: $50 for Bruce Museum members, $65 non-members

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Contact Name: Cynthia Ehlinger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

See and Touch exotic animals up close. Plus, learn about endangered species and conservation hands-on! The Nature of Things is an environmental outreach program that presents quality live animal...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Returning after his Caramoor debut at the 2015 Jazz Festival, Joey Alexander brings an original swing and improvisational style that is unmatched at his age, along with an artistic maturity well...

Cost: $40-$75

Where:
Caramoor
149 Girdle Ridge Road
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Telephone: 914.232.1252
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

All ages. In a partnership between Lewisboro Library and the Westchester Land Trust, we’ll be hiking the Pine Croft Meadow Preserve, while discovering a great book whose pages are...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lewisboro Library
15 Main Street
PO Box 477
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Telephone: 914.875.9004
Website »

More information

Looking for some family-friendly activities this summer? Visiting museums is educational and engaging for even young children, but tickets can often be expensive. Luckily, The Friends of Keeler...

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 titicus road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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