The third season of Rust Valley Restorers features yet another connection to the South Okanagan, as an Oliver born-and-raised fabricator is hitting TV screens for the first time.
Rachel Bohnet runs her home-based business Country Custom Fabricating out of Kamloops making custom fabrication out of any metal she can get her hands on.
Bohnet received a request for some assistance from a college friend who worked on Rust Valley Restorers, a History series following Mike Hall as he searches B.C.’s Interior to find rust buckets and restore them into sweet rides.
Bohnet’s friend reached out seeking a fabricator to assist him with some car builds on the show and Bohnet was on her way to her TV debut.
“I checked it out as soon as he messaged me. Car building wasn’t something that was my main focus in my line of the trade,” Bohnet said.
“I do a lot of custom work, but it wasn’t really car building.”
Car building was a learning experience for Bohnet, as was being on TV. She usually works on custom hand railings, racks, boats and any form of custom fabrication possible.
“Car building was a new place for me, but I was super pumped to learn something new and take a little jump forward in what it is that I do,” Bohnet said.
She appears in about six episodes this season, her first time in front of the camera.
“I’ve never been on a TV show, or even on TV, and being on camera was super-duper awkward. It probably took the camera guys a little while to get used to me getting used to them,” she said with a laugh.
Bohnet can be seen in the series working on revamping old hot rods into custom-style cars, helping with welding and fabrication work.
“We had a couple fun builds that we did that was more in my element. A lot of welding, a lot of fabricating. There were a lot of new tools involved,” said Bohnet.
“It’s so crazy to think I’m doing anything that will be on TV. I was so out of my element. I run my business at home, by myself, not around a lot of people.
“Now jumping into something like this, especially doing it through COVID and having to make sure all those precautions are in place.”
However nervous she was, the cast and crew made the experience an easygoing one.
“It was a lot to handle in the beginning of it,” Bohnet said with a laugh.
“The guys were so easy to work with and everybody was so helpful, making me feel comfortable and telling me what I needed to do in order to not look so awkward.”
She grew up in Oliver and started taking shop classes in high school, crediting teacher Harold Lang with helping her on the path towards her career in fabrication.
“He was just something else in my life and he really pushed me to think outside the box and that I had something within that field, so he’s the reason that I really jumped into doing my trade,” Bohnet said.
After becoming a mom, she wanted to run her own business, and initially starting working on smaller projects.
“I started my business really slowly by making art out of horseshoes and then dipped into piles of scrapped steel that I would recreate into something cool,” Bohnet said.
“I just realized how much I love envisioning that a pile of junk to someone could become something beautiful or useful.”