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Technical Body man starter kit

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by old round fart, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. old round fart
    Joined: Jun 9, 2008
    Posts: 134

    old round fart
    from Norman Ok.

    How much should I expect to pay for a starter set of hammers and dollies? I want something between HF and Snap-on. Where should I look? Thanks. John
  2. Bart78
    Joined: May 11, 2011
    Posts: 717


    Check out eastwood.

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  3. 55Brodie
    Joined: Dec 15, 2008
    Posts: 746


    Martin Tool, div. Martin Sprocket & Gear has what you need.
  4. old round fart
    Joined: Jun 9, 2008
    Posts: 134

    old round fart
    from Norman Ok.

    WOW! Quick reply's! Thanks guys.

  5. If I may tag along on this one: I looked at the Eastwood website offerings... wood handled or fiberglass handled? Pros? Cons?
  6. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,312


    there are a few older threads on body tools, search and see if you can find them. Seems that quite a few guys (myself included) use only one or two hammers, and a few dollies, for you probably don't need a whole set. There are pics of guys' favorites, I'd see about getting some like that. and old used body tools from ebay or pawn shops work pretty well.
  7. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,623


    I've picked up three nice vintage forged body hammers over the last year at antique shops, paid between $3 & $12 each.They usually have no idea what their for.
  8. Martin and garage sales .
  9. oldolds
    Joined: Oct 18, 2010
    Posts: 3,139


    Old farm and garage auctions are a place to look. Hammers are sold by the handful. Often the dollies are in the scrap pile, then you can usually buy them from the scrap man. He gets about $.10/lb when he takes them to the scrap yard. Most know there is value in the scrap besides junk price, so sometimes a trade deal works best. Give him the scrap out of your pile to break the ice. I have never bought a new hammer or dollie.
  10. chopolds
    Joined: Oct 22, 2001
    Posts: 5,917

    from howell, nj
    1. Kustom Painters

    You can buy great old US made stuff on Ebay, as well.
  11. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,036

    from California

    you can't go wrong with Martin hammers and dollies. if you are even remotely thinking about Harbor Freight, just go out to the yard and get some rocks and a pointy stick. your results will be about the same.
    Slopok and Markmonty like this.
  12. old round fart
    Joined: Jun 9, 2008
    Posts: 134

    old round fart
    from Norman Ok.

    Great ideas guys. Thanks
  13. Buy good stuff, as you'll only spend your money once. I have my dad's set that has to go back to 1947 or so, 4-5 basic dollies and 1 hammer.
  14. Except that rocks and sticks last longer.
    I've still got mine (all USA made) from back in the 70s. Still just as good as they were back then. All the hammers have wooden handles. I don't think they made fiberglass ones then. Only problem is with my longboard, getting harder and harder to find sandpaper strips for it. Everything now is that adhesive backed shit.
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2014
  15. 10-4 on the rocks & sticks being better than HF set.....I buy all the old ones I find at swap meets, but you just don't see many old ones for sale. Most guys keep them forever it seems.
  16. jreeder41
    Joined: Jul 23, 2009
    Posts: 477


    I have an ancient craftsman set that has four hammers and a dolly. A large round and square hammer, a smaller version, round with a flat pick and round with with a pointed pick. Can't say I've ever come across anything I couldnt fix with them. I prefer wood handles, but thats just because I think they look better lol
  17. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,027


    Martin. Martin hammers STILL have the same part numbers, and are STILL made in the USA. I just picked up a few more, and they are of the exact quality as the ones I already have, which are older than me.
  18. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 18,027


  19. I have a set from Mac tools that have lasted 20 years. I'm not a body man but pretend I'm one at home. Also have made a few and I think there are some tech treads on them on here, I think.
  20. drtybiker
    Joined: Mar 11, 2014
    Posts: 303

    from florida

    I looked at some of the martin hammers and dollies boy was I shocked at the price the get for a heel dolly never mind the dolly on a stick the value of my body tools has more then quadrupled over the span of my bodyshop career that started in 1979 wow am I shocked I remember my fist snap on set 2 hammers 2 dollies and a body spoon for like 40 bucks today 200 for avg non snap on wow I feel sorry for the new guys , do yourself a favor and search out craigslist pawn shops flea markets todays pricing is way overboard

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  21. SinisterSleds
    Joined: May 6, 2012
    Posts: 15

    from MA

    I have accumulated a few hammers and dollies over the years. More recently. For what its worth

    You can have hammers:

    You can have pics and slappers:
    You can have dollies

    All of it worthless with out knowledge:

    This is one of the best sources of info out there.

    To the direct question.

    I like the Martin line for general use. They have been around for years and there are many places that they can be found. These are the same as MAC and Cornwell etc. You can find them new and used on ebay for reasonable $. I prefer wood handles. Unless you are abusing them they should not brake and new handles can be found at any good hardware stores. I have been replacing my handles with some 7$ faceted hammer handles (like snap on).

    You will probably want a cross chisel. Then I would buy a general purpose and heel dolly. I would also find a big file (14") and make a slapper and grind the face. As you get better with the slapper grind the face more and you will get a smoother and smoother finish as you learn. The light serrations allow you to see where you are hitting when learning.

    A lot can be accomplished with a few tools and a good mindset as Peter shows in this video:
    loudbang and patmanta like this.
  22. DC43
    Joined: Sep 20, 2014
    Posts: 17


    I have a varied assortment of hammers and dollies that I have picked up over the years, including some that were handmade by my Grandfather (He worked for Union Pacific Railroad, and one of his first jobs was ornamental sheet metal in the club and dining cars) As stated before, you cannot go wrong with anything Martin makes.
    One thing I have done is to wrap the wooden handles, just below the head, with 3M self-vulcanizing electrical tape (the stretchy/ rubbery stuff) then covering that with cloth "friction" tape. That will keep you from "hacking" the handle when hammering around certain areas, where there is a possibility that you could run into an edge. My Grandfather did something similar, and all 6 hammers I got from Him still have the original handles, almost 100 years on......... (I am 51 years old, my Dad is 73, and Grandpa was using these tools before my Dad was born!)
    Also, as stated before, just buy the good stuff once, and stay away from anything from the "Truckload Tool Sales" or Harbor Freight. Those will be made in China, will be cast, and NOT properly forged, and will just generally suck.
    The book "Key to Metal Bumping" is ABSOLUTELY relevant, and STILL superior all these years later, and will serve you well, as a guide to all of the basic (and more advanced) skills you will need. Pick up a junkyard fender or two, and practice, practice, practice.................
    You will be glad you did, when you start to work on an 80 year old part, that is made of "unobtanium"........................
    Good luck in your quest!
  23. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,685

    from Woburn, MA

    For a starter set, it depends what you mean by starter set. You mean one of two things.

    A. A basic set of tools that you want to try out and see if you like metalshaping and want to continue.


    B. A basic set of metalshaping tools to start the foundation of your tool kit which you will build on as you advance in the craft.

    If A is the case, then I'd say any kit will do. The HF kit will give you enough to play with, cheap. But I'd advise you get your hands on at least one quality, wood-handled hammer. This way you'll have something to compare to without getting too deep in.

    If B is the case, spend some money. You don't NEED to have ALL THE DOLLIES and ALL THE HAMMERS. Really, to get started, you can get by with a couple of each and add new ones as you discover a need for them.

    In either case, wood vs. fiberglass is really a matter of personal preference. The feedback through the hammer is better with wood, but fiberglass hammers are lower maintenance. Try both, see what you like.

    The thing that took me the most searching was actually a good source for #7 steel shot to fill my shot-bag. That I can give you, I used I also have a Multi-Hammer, which I like because it gives me a bunch of different heads that attach/detach so I can use them as anvils also.

    But get the little red book first.

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