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Technical "Must have" metal shaping hand tools

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Butch Clay, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. Beau
    Joined: Jul 2, 2009
    Posts: 1,883


    Ear plugs. Polished metal hammers and dollies. A roll of butcher paper. A roll of heavier paper. Packing tape with the string it. Scribe. Plastic hammers. Left and right snips. Sign up at and learn. There are lots of events and people that are willing to learn, and the the talent on that site is amazing.

    From what I hear, Mr. Winfield considers buckets of filler metal shaping.
  2. daddylama
    Joined: Feb 20, 2002
    Posts: 930


    these dudes knock it out of the park with some seriously minimal hand tools... chisels, hammer and an old log.



    i followed some of the work they were doing re-creating body panels, too... pretty amazing.
    The37Kid likes this.
  3. Butch Clay
    Joined: Sep 27, 2011
    Posts: 221

    Butch Clay

    Wow, this has turned out to be an awesome thread! Thanks guys.

    The bowling ball seems like a good idea. I have 2 pieces of RR track I bought at a tractor show 20 years ago.

    Any thoughts on those wood slappers? For some reason they don't seem as popular as the metal ones, or at least they don't appear to be. Do any of you use those?
  4. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,943


    I got a nice assortment of hammers dolls and a stud gun at an auction. Since my shop borders the railroad in a small town I have a pile of assorted railroad iron, ground down some spikes into different shaped radius and flat heads, they come in handy to set a bead.
  5. I don't use wood slappers but from what i have heard i think they are good for doing aluminum work. The face of the slapper usually gets covered with leather to help not mar the aluminum. But pieces of wood can be very handy for creating hammer forms and arranging the metal into its intended shape. So i always have a selection of scrap pieces on hand.

    Also for a good steel slapper you can use a piece of an old leaf spring. A buddy of mine has a bunch of home made "leaf spring slappers" and they work so much better than my store bought piece.

  6. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 17,686


    Absolutely, amd take both days!

    Repeat as necessary.
    Hitchhiker likes this.
  7. Imperial Kustom
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 269

    Imperial Kustom

    I know that this thread is old, but for anybody still reading, yes, as it has been said, shaping becomes a sickness. An addiction. I got into it by way of auto body work and decided I liked it. As for tools, a lot can be done with a round mallet or blocking hammer, stump, body hammers and dollies. I started with a stump, HF E-wheel, mallets made from a bowling pin and gas cylinder cap, and basic body hammers and dollies about 6 years ago. I now have more metalshaping tools than I thought I would ever have and by many professional standards I don't have much. I went from that first plywood stump, the two mallets and HF E-wheel to multiple spot welders, gas welders, mig welders, a tig welder, 3 bead rollers, pipe anvil, 10 ton punch, hand punches, Pexto 52" hydraulic shear, 36" manual shear, 36" slip roll (need bigger), 6' Chicago box/pan brake, 3' box/pan press brake, hand shrinker and stretcher, foot shrinker and stretcher, another, bigger E-wheel, lathe, 2 planishing hammers, Mubea hand shear, Beverly hand shear, more snips than you can shake a stick at, a ton of hammers and dollies and still adding, smooth slappers, file slappers, another stump or two, Pullmax P-21SL, and a Mittler power hammer, just to name some of the crap that this road has led me to acquire. I also quit doing paint and body and switched the focus of my shop completely to metal shaping and metal finishing after 20 years of doing body and paint on classics, rods and customs. So, yeah, it can consume you.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2019
    slack, 29EHV8 and The37Kid like this.
  8. studebakerjoe
    Joined: Jul 7, 2015
    Posts: 712


    Imperial, but it's the good kind of addiction
  9. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 585


    Great thread. I to hope to get into metal shaping as well. Watching flat sheet turn into amazing shapes is majical to me.
  10. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,012

    from Atl Ga

    Hammers, hammers and more hammers.
    I started collecting Snap-on hammers off Ebay several years ago.
    For the faces, find a high-crown, a square, a round low crown, and there's one that has half-rounds going left-right on one end, and fore/aft on the other end. Think "Hammering an inside radius" like a fan shroud opening or fender lip.
    For the pic ends, you'll want one with a short, blunt point, one long point, a wide blunt point, and a wide sharp point.
    I made a narrow and wide slap hammer out of an old leaf spring and scrap tubing for the handle (with a rubber bicycle hand grip).
    Large leather sand bag.

    Dollies in every shape and variety you can find.
    And I took a couple old cub scout Pinewood Derby car blocks, and rounded the ends--curved corners, flat face or lightly domed face. I use them on the metal, with the hammer on the other end and drive it into the metal. (Somewhat like Corking tools).

    Finally, adjustable wrenches--open them up to grab the sheet metal's edge, and use them to bend a flange. Works AWESOME taking small bites around a radius.

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