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autobody tools

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by special53, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Whenever I see a hammer or dolly at a swap meet, flea market, or garage sale, I snag it up, even if I have the same one. Some quick work with a grinder to reshape things, and voila! New tool! I must have about 40 hammers and 25 dollies and spoons by now!
  2. duste01
    Joined: Nov 5, 2006
    Posts: 1,213


    is this a re-run?
  3. Here's one. Many moons ago i bought some cheap chinese forging hammers. Saved alot of money. Low a behold one day while hammering, wham a chunk of hammer shot into my other hand between two fingers. Little bit of blood. lots of cursing.
    Now the math. cheap hammers were 30.00 for the set. German tool steel hammers were 230.00. fine. 3 days of no work at 25.00 per hour.

    so i only lost 400.00 buying the cheap ones.

    learned my lesson well.

    by the way. i going to forge some tool steel body hammers, any interest?
  4. John_Kelly
    Joined: Feb 19, 2003
    Posts: 535


    I'm all in favor of making stuff work instead of buying the most expensive tool out there, but good hammers and dollies, and a good quality english wheel are where I depart from being cheap. If you are teaching yourself as you go (usually the case) you will never know why you are getting crap results using cheap tools that look like real tools, but do not function like a high quality tool at all.

    Planishing requires many hammer blows to smooth the metal. A hammer with a wide, smooth, low crown face backed up by a dolly with the right contours can be used without fear. If you have a well balanced hammer, and hold it loosely, you can sometimes use it like a drum stick where it hits several times for each swing.

    A cheap flat hammer with a small face will mark up the metal, and not give you the control over the surface that you have with a better hammer.

    Even some of the expensive hammer sets are not shaped right. I bartered for a snap on set that is of a very good quality, and it still needed a lot of re-shaping on a few hammer heads just to be useful for planishing. The surfaces were too flat from the factory. The dollies were perfect.

    Once you have some experience, you can use a carpenter's hammer, a piece of bent flat bar and a 2"X4" and get good results. I wish I would have had a good hammer and few good dollies when I started out. It would have been so much easier to teach myself metal finishing.

  5. troylee
    Joined: Jul 10, 2007
    Posts: 685


    I am using Snap-On hammers and dollys and Dagger shapping hammers and bag.
  6. Dzus
    Joined: Apr 3, 2006
    Posts: 321


    One thing I would advise anybody getting into bodywork in a serious way is to keep your eyes open for used picks, and buy every one you run across. I started out working for an old guy that did bodywork since WWII and had a fold out wall cabinet that had 4 cabinets worth of picks. You would never believe how valuable a pick is until you need one to get into *that* spot. I learned tons from that guy......
  7. Algon
    Joined: Mar 12, 2007
    Posts: 1,216


    For new stuff try Martin Tool they are carried by Summit Racing and T-P Tools which have a swapmeet trailer at most of our Ohio shows.

    They make the tool sets for Mac and Matco...which is also nearly identical to the current Snap-on line other than the textured grip of the handle. These are often half the price of a tool truck unit for the exact same quality. For example your average single hammer from Mac-Matco is around $40 off the truck while a Martin Tool hammer can be as cheap as $12 depending on where you get it.

    Just for the record the HF hammers are heavy out of balanced crap but they are forged steel. Many similar sets like those made by Astro are not... I wouldn't use them so much as actual body hammers but for a general purpose beater a small hammer with the extra weight can be useful. Many guys toss them when they move up to a real set but I often grind them in to other miscellious shaping tools or as a tight space dolly. Junk yes but they can be useful.
  8. Da Tinman
    Joined: Dec 29, 2005
    Posts: 4,226

    Da Tinman



    yeah shitty tools means shitty work... Gimmie a break.
  9. Streetwerkz
    Joined: Oct 1, 2008
    Posts: 718


    Snap-on bit pricey, but have used them well and good for years.
    may try Dagger tools
  10. DirtyWoody28
    Joined: Feb 26, 2008
    Posts: 595


    a bad mechanic/fabricator blames his tools.

    I buy vintage hammers from flea markets, there is a "tool guy" at my local flea market that is really knowledgable and reasonable on his prices. You can make a lot of your body equipment too. There is a metalworking thread on here that has a lot of good info.
  11. davis574ord
    Joined: May 21, 2009
    Posts: 785


    u get what u pay for i found alot of my hammers and dollies at yard sales and estate sales dont wast money on that harbor fteight shit!
  12. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,099

    from California

    "a bad mechanic/fabricator blames his tools."

    so why would you quote me and say this? I said "if you plan on doing shitty work buy shitty tools." ... I didn't say "if you do shitty work blame your shitty tools"

  13. DeucePhaeton
    Joined: Sep 10, 2003
    Posts: 1,001


  14. HighSpeed LowDrag
    Joined: Mar 2, 2005
    Posts: 968

    HighSpeed LowDrag
    from Houston

    I don't think that he quoted you.

    I've seen the "a bad mechanic/fabricator blames his tools." saying for years.

    I do believe that good tools will advance the learning curve much faster than bargin priced tools.
  15. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,594

    from Garner, NC

    yes he did, in his reply he quote '49, bad form really....
  16. snap on, old martin, proto, mac.......but used from the swapmeet. you have to use them for a framing hammer to really destroy them. big 3 will have them.
  17. DirtyWoody28
    Joined: Feb 26, 2008
    Posts: 595


    I wasn't saying your a bad fabricator/mechanic I was just telling him that you can buy cheaper tools and make due with what you got, but don't blame the tools if you can't accomplish what your trying to achieve. That quote was probably a little misleading. I apologize if I offended you.

  18. Mt take on what most guys are saying is it will be a WHOLE LOT easier to learn metal work with good tools than with shitty ones. Yes once you know what you are doing you can adjust your technique to take into account short coming of cheap tools but when you are just learning it compounds the learning curve because you are learning new technique and trying to compensate for inferior tools.

    The idea is if you buy one good hammer and one good dolly to start to learn with your will probably have not much more money invested than a cheap kit but you will be farther ahead in your ease of learning.

    You could probably learn to ride a bike with an out of round wheel but it would be a bunch easier if it was round even if someone with years experience riding can make it look easy.
  19. special53
    Joined: Apr 28, 2009
    Posts: 14

    from dallas tx

    thanks for the info. I agree, "quality tools" equals "quality work". Trying to tool up!
  20. PhoenixFear
    Joined: Dec 6, 2009
    Posts: 154


    I'll have to look into this as well, I'd like to get some old Martins if I could. I should have looked at the Big 3 Meet last weekend but was focusing on other things. What do you guys think would be a good complete set for a starter? As in, what would be the first types of hammers and dollies you would get to start out with? Thanks.
  21. vendettaautofab
    Joined: Jan 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,602

    Member Emeritus

    I like old used hammers and such, have a little soul... swap meet finds. But, with that said, I have a set of Dagger Tools body hammers and dolly set, nice stuff at a good price.

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