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Hot Rods Making Gaskets?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by HuskerNation, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. HuskerNation
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 194

    HuskerNation
    Member
    from Montana

    Does anyone make their own gaskets? Without an original gasket on hand how best can one determine type of gasket “material”, the “thickness” and the proper hole size one needs for the gasket?

    My last attemp at buying gaskets didn’t go very well, so I’d like to make a few gaskets myself instead. Ive already made all the gaskets needed for the valve covers on my 37 Hudson and it went well. Now I need a Water Jacket gasket with 18 bolt holes & this gets a bit more involved.

    Along these lines how does one pick the size of punch to use for the holes? If there is a 5/16” bolt going thru the gasket should the hole punch be 5/16” as well or something else in diameter? On water jacket which carries coolant to the engine block after cooled, I was thinking of using the Cork-Rubber matterial by Fel Pro in 1/16” thickness.




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  2. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 281

    KenC
    Member

    I've always use a tiny hammer on the gasket material placed directly over the part itself. Like a timing cover, fuel pump etc. Tap directly on the hole and it will imprint, if not cut completely through. When the first hole is done, put a bolt or punch in it to hold the alignment. Repeat with the second hole, as far from the first as possible. The just tap away 'til they're all done.

    this only works with thinner paper gaskets of course. With cork, you're on your own!
     
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  3. Truckdoctor Andy
    Joined: Jan 13, 2017
    Posts: 917

    Truckdoctor Andy
    Member

    My Dad and I make our own gaskets all the time. I even make some for weird shit at work. We use the same size punch for the bolts we are using, 5/16 bolts, 5/16 punch. I have been a truck mechanic for 25 years and we try to match the thickness of the gasket material to other like items that I have seen at work, ie, a stamped tin cover that has oil inside would get cork rubber material around 1/8” thick, like a pre made oil pan gasket. On your water jacket, I would use a Fel Pro product call Karopack, it’s a brown gasket paper, in different thicknesses. I would go with 1/16”.


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  4. F&J
    Joined: Apr 5, 2007
    Posts: 13,213

    F&J
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    The holes are normally just very slightly larger that bolt size....but do whatever works for you.

    another thing is that the jacket, if it is stamped sheetmetal, could have been overtightened too many times during 80 years, so 1/16" might be too thin, ( if you can't get the jacket to lay flat without a gasket, to see if you have gaps between the bolts. )

    also, some cars used very soft copper washers on those bolts.

    .
     
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  5. lake_harley
    Joined: Jun 4, 2017
    Posts: 696

    lake_harley
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    I do like KenC....tiny hammer, lots of patience. As far as material, more often than not it's a Cheerios box.

    Lynn
     
  6. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,417

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    McMaster-Carr has a wide variety of gasket materials and punches. You can also make gasket punches from tubing or pipe with a sharpened edge.
     
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  7. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,801

    Atwater Mike
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    My wife makes most gaskets for me, I still have a large collection of gasket paper I bought 30 years ago from MOTOR SUPPLY in Los Gatos, CA.
    I have a set of punches (like socket heads) that plug onto a handle that's 6" long, 7/8" diameter hex, with a round shaft sticking out on the 'socket end', a black 'O' ring to hold the punch sockets on.
    It sits in a cut out section of white cardboard (!) with no name...
    I think any tool truck vendor would have a similar set...
    Wife Joey used this for 1/4"-3/4" holes, any smaller get punched with her wheeled leather punch.
    She sometimes uses the old ball-pein hammer as mentioned above, and I bought her a set of Medical scalpel tools, with 4 different blade sets. (blades came in boxes of 100, surprisingly cheap: Amazon.com. Look up surgical knives...)
    Joey's gaskets look as nice as Fel-Pro. She just doesn't paint 'em blue.
     
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  8. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,409

    tubman
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    I make a lot of my own gaskets. After a while, you can pretty much determine what material and thickness you need. Sometimes using a small hammer to mark the bolt holes doesn't produce a nice clean cut. In cases like this, a set of hollow punches are invaluable. They're pretty cheap, so everyone should have a set. A funny thing; my first set was from Harbor Freight. After a few years, they got dull and didn't work as well. Since I really liked how the worked, I went out and replaced them with an expensive American made set.. They really disappointed me, and I am now back to using the Harbor Freight set, which can be easily sharpened on a bench grinder.
     
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  9. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,449

    BamaMav
    Member
    from Berry, AL

    I made some punches out of some old Chinese 1/4" deep well sockets. Put an edge on them with the grinder, they cut fine.

    What I do if I can is lay the part down on the gasket material and trace around it and in every hole I color them solid. Of course some thinks like carb upper bodies you can't do that until you cut out the center a little bit for any protrusions like the float hanger.
     
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  10. In the old days, telephone book covers were the correct material to use.
     
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  11. Binger
    Joined: Apr 28, 2008
    Posts: 1,607

    Binger
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from wyoming

    I have used many of the techniques listed above. The hollow punches are the best. A few years ago I was working on a motor cycle and I scanned the side covers and ran the thin gasket material through my printer. Then just cut them out. Only limitation is the size of your printer and scanner.


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  12. flatheadgary
    Joined: Jul 17, 2007
    Posts: 676

    flatheadgary
    Member
    from boron,ca

    this may seem like a dumb question but what do you hammer the hollow punches on. steel or wood or some thing else?
     
  13. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,409

    tubman
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    I have a foot long piece of 2 X 6 regular old wood. I have to replace it after it gets used to much.
     
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  14. Boneyard51
    Joined: Dec 10, 2017
    Posts: 2,906

    Boneyard51
    Member

    I first glue the gasket to the part, with various adhesives. Then take the small hammer and tap out the gasket. Then add a thin coat of silicone sealer... wala.... perfect gasket and a no leak seal. Just the way I do it.


    Bones
     
  15. Kerrynzl
    Joined: Jun 20, 2010
    Posts: 2,284

    Kerrynzl
    Member

    Do it the easy way! [from a tube:D]

    Homemade Gaskets.jpg
     
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  16. I make gaskets as well and use empty shell casings to cut out the bolt holes. Different calibers for different sizes. They make nice free punches and I can usually pick up replacements from my friends who shoot at the range regularly.


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  17. Terrible80
    Joined: Oct 1, 2010
    Posts: 709

    Terrible80
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    Same as everyone said: I use cheap hole punches, they last a long time if you punch into the end grain of a pine block. I use manilla folder, shoebox cardboard. At work for packagi g they have some 24 x 24 chipboard sheets which work great. " Real " gasket material as needed.

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  18. Doc.
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 3,533

    Doc.
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    I make my own gaskets for lots of things. If the part is not too big, I like to put it on the copy machine and press copy. It makes a perfect full size template which I then transfer over to the gasket material. I also use different size hole punches to make perfect holes. Works great.
     
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  19. carbking
    Joined: Dec 20, 2008
    Posts: 2,559

    carbking
    Member

    The offshore punches work, for a while.

    An "arch-punch" set, if you punch LOTS of gaskets, as they are expensive. They are also available in sizes not available in the offshore stuff.

    A good ball-peen hammer if you use the "hammer method".

    Your wife's (or significant other's) fingernail scissors for cutting curves.

    The copy machine method mentioned by Doc in the post above. If you have a laser printer, and flatten the gasket sheets, you can print the form directly on the gasket, and then cut it out.

    Unless there is a reason for using thicker gaskets, the thinnest gasket will do the best job. Some jobs require a gasket that will "crush", requiring a thicker gasket or a different material.

    We use mostly Armstrong N-8090 gasket material (1/32, 1/16, 1/8). Totally impervious to gasoline, oil, deathanol, and many acids.

    Fiberboard makes a good base to use for cutting the gaskets. Common brand name Masonite.

    Jon.
     
  20. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 5,979

    blowby
    Member
    from Nicasio Ca

    I've gotten pretty good with the hollow punches but getting them lined up with the center mark of the hole can be tricky, especially on a small gasket with little margin. Any tricks?
     
  21. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,008

    bct
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  22. kbgreen
    Joined: Jan 12, 2014
    Posts: 330

    kbgreen
    Member

    My dad taught me to put a thin coat of oil on the part where the gasket is used, then press the oiled part onto the gasket material. From there it's a matter of cutting and punching. This works well for carburetors, but I trace larger parts like stamped steel valve covers and timing chain covers.
     
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  23. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,739

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    I was just gonna post the oil outline technique but you beat me too it. Learned that one from my Dad as well
     
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  24. woodiewagon46
    Joined: Mar 14, 2013
    Posts: 1,417

    woodiewagon46
    Member
    from New York

    Believe it or not I use a 1/4" sheet of lead as a backer when I punch out gasket holes. The punch can drive thru the gasket material and into the lead. It makes a clean cut every time and it's a lot easier on my punches.
     
  25. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 25,646

    Mr48chev
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    I've got a little ball peen hammer that I bought at a yard sale or estate sale that works perfect for the lay it on and tap it. I've had a small set of gasket punches for years that I bought off a tool peddler who came around to the shops I worked at but have a large set I picked up off Ebay in the other tool box.
    Just an old piece of 2x8 for the backer for the punch.
     
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  26. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,706

    pitman
    Member
    from Hampsha

    Often a thin steel (say valve) cover flange may need flattening, before reuse. On a steel surface, turn your SBC valve cover over, and tap the bolt holes flat w/the right dia. hammer.
     
  27. HuskerNation
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 194

    HuskerNation
    Member
    from Montana

    WOW, great information guys! I have a set of Lang Punches arriving today which will be put to work shortly thereafter.

    The use of a copier is brilliant & in definitely giving that a try this morning. While I’ve used the oil trick before & its worked great, I worried about using it with my steel water jacket application which has coolant flowing & potential for leaking. Is that a valid concern?



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  28. HuskerNation
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 194

    HuskerNation
    Member
    from Montana

    This is great![​IMG]


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  29. HuskerNation
    Joined: Dec 28, 2010
    Posts: 194

    HuskerNation
    Member
    from Montana

    Looks like 30.06 shells work quite well for 5/16” bolts!
    IMG_0038.JPG


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  30. I make my gaskets two ways. One is with the small, ball peen hammer and two is if I have the old gasket, I lay it down on the new material and give it a quick spray of black paint....instant pattern.
     
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