By Jaimie M. Engle 

Local musician Jay DiBella has taken his love for carpentry and refurbishing and started creating unique repurposed products. His passion to “fix up rather than throw out” has brought about repurposed speakers, PA systems, patio furniture and instruments.

As a starving artist, Jay couldn’t always afford the instruments he wanted. He saw what others were doing on Pinterest and thought he could do it better. His first project became “the drum box.” A mic placed inside a multi-width plywood box caught different tones depending on which side Jay struck. During acoustic duets, he sat on his drum box and played along and his “cajon’s” became a huge hit. His next project, the “cocktail kit,” began when Jay purchased old drums on Craigslist to strip, sand, stain and rebuild into compact, portable drum kits. Both products are available exclusively at Florida Discount Music in Melbourne.

Jay DiBella

Jay DiBella

Jay recently joined the maintenance department of Eastern Florida State College. He discovered a vast stockpile of pallets and again, searched Pinterest for ideas. “I wanted to be more creative in my craft as a carpenter,” Jay said. “So I made a pallet patio set, posted it on Facebook and was commissioned to duplicate the set by a client.” With the flexibility of his new job, Jay is able to tap into his creative side to reuse, recycle, and repurpose items that would otherwise be thrown away as junk.

The patio sets start as basic pallets that Jay sands to remove splinters, using the original nails when rebuilding. Each table includes a removable centerpiece, angled slightly, to act as a cooler by holding ice and drinks. Before completion, each piece is stained or painted, depending on the client’s preference, and the final furniture is coated with spareurethane.

Recently, Jay was contacted by a Satellite High School band parent about the school’s 30 year collection of unusable instruments. In conjunction with SHS Band Director Patrick Phillips, Jay is refurbishing what can be salvaged for the instruments’ original use or disassembling and recreating instruments with a totally different purpose. The rest will be repurposed with 25 percent of the proceeds funneling back to the SHS music department.

“As an alumni of Satellite’s marching band, it was cool to go through the instruments and find the bass drum I used as a sophomore and the snare drum I used my senior year, both engraved with my initials,” said Jay. “It really took me back.”

This singer/songwriter is busy most nights playing his acoustic set at local restaurants and bars. At a charity fundraiser for Candlelighters of Brevard, a nonprofit group dedicated to children with cancer and their families, Jay damaged his PA. Knowing he had a gig a few nights later, he disassembled it, removed the working parts, and converted a vintage suitcase into a makeshift PA. 

Jay enjoys taking broken guitars that are no longer playable and putting home audio speakers inside. “Just because it can’t play music on its own doesn’t mean the guitar can’t still be musical,” said Jay. “The natural acoustics lend to an awesome home audio experience.” 

For more information or to order any repurposed product, visit Jay DiBella online at


This article appears in the March 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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