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Who was your inspiration in metal shaping or welding?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BAILEIGH INC, Jun 4, 2009.

  1. Adriatic Machine
    Joined: Jan 26, 2008
    Posts: 199

    Adriatic Machine

    Fellow Hamb'er, Gary Terhaar. Look him up. We were union auto mechanics in a haunted hell hole built on an Indian burial ground. Yea the place had issues, so fitting that he was the last one standing after 20 years. I hadn't met him yet as he was recovering from a motorcycle wreck, but I heard the stories. By age 24, (1995) I realized I liked tinkering a whole lot more than fixing. One spring day ole' Gary asked me if I would "help" him do a tranny job at his house that night. Well I got there and yanked the tranny myself while Gary fiddled with his newly born again H/D loowrider. Did I say low? I plopped the torque converter on the driveway and showed him the missing teeth on the flywheel. I recommended a machine shop where they exclusively overhauled torque converters, only 20 minutes away. They would be closed in less than a half hour so I suggested we got going. Gary paid no mind. He slapped the converter on the bench, fired up the tungsten zapper and dabbed about a dozen blobs where teeth used to be. He spooled up the spark maker and shaped the blobs into teeth. Turned around and got lost in his two wheeler again. I mashed the car back together, he yanked the coil wire and cranked it a bunch of times. Consistent cranking was all I heard, no funny noises whatsoever. Four hours after arrival, I was driving home with a crisp hunj neatly folded in my pocket, nice coinage back in 1995. Right then and there I knew being an ordinary mechanic would not suffice. 14 years later we are the best of friends, I am the supervisor of an Air Force machining and welding shop and Gary? He builds hotrods fulltime, self employed with unlimited capabilities. I owe it all to the man with no equal, and that is Gary Terhaar.
    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,623

    Alliance Vendor


    Bad ass.....
  3. inliner54
    Joined: Feb 9, 2007
    Posts: 405


    russ meeks is the king in my opinon. old school all the way. he has been doing it for many years and is still the best.
  4. dirty petcock
    Joined: Oct 9, 2005
    Posts: 287

    dirty petcock

    Jesse James hammering into a sand bag on Motorcycle Mania 1 made me want to make stuff out of metal. Back then I was a pro snowboarder traveling around the world getting paid to film and do contests. When I got burnt out being on the road I thought I would try to start building cars. 10 years later I have a new career that I love. I went from working at a few high end hot rod shops around the country building some really cool stuff one of which was the Tucci Hot Rods built '35 3 window that was a great 8 car last year at Autorama. Now I'm the operations manager for an amazing company and I could not be more happy with a great job working for a great guy that's totally into Hot Rods. Thanks Jesse for doing what you do and giving me the oppertuinity to see something I probably would have never thought twice about trying.
  5. dirty petcock
    Joined: Oct 9, 2005
    Posts: 287

    dirty petcock

    here is the '35, it's not totally my thing but it's still something for me to be proud to have been a part of.

    Attached Files:

  6. dirty petcock
    Joined: Oct 9, 2005
    Posts: 287

    dirty petcock

    one more

    Attached Files:

    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,623

    Alliance Vendor

    you are lucky
  8. RichFox
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 10,020

    Member Emeritus

    When I was a younger man Kent Fuller had his shop in Belmont where I live and did a few jobs for me. He made it look so easy. He knows the cleanest fastest way to get from here to there and cuts by eye better than most measuring twice. But I never tried to be like him. I just tried to do what I do better.
  9. fordcragar
    Joined: Dec 28, 2005
    Posts: 3,179

    from Yakima WA.

    I was pretty lucky having grown up around the autobody trade, but like most of us we don’t always learn until we are out on our own. I had a chance to learn from some very good metalmen and was taught how to do a good job and make a living. The most inspiring to me was that this guy that I worked for after my parents died, in 1976; his name is Mike West. He took me to another step, by challenging me one day on a quarter panel that I straightened. I had always got my metal pretty close and used a minimal amount of plastic.

    Anyway I just finished straightening this quarter on this station wagon and he walked by and asked me what I was going to do to it next; my answer was to grind the paint and put a light coat of plastic on it. He response was, why don’t we metal finish it, we could have it ready for paint in a half hour; and I thought, okay, sounds interesting. I watched him pick and file, then there was this little spot that we couldn’t get to; which got a finger nail sized spot of lead and it was done. So after that, almost everything that I did, was approached as if it were going to be metal finished.

    I found it interesting how others viewed some of the panels that I finished with no plastic. I had started at a new place of employment and was given a job to straighten a hood on a Volvo, it had 4 hours worth of estimated damage; the car was bumped in the front and it buckled the hood. I spent about 45 minutes straightening the hood and was told that the customer didn’t pay for that nice of job; I just didn’t get it, I saved over 3 hours labor and the customer didn’t pay enough. I didn't work in that shop very long.

    After I left the autobody world, I got more into metalshaping. I've had a chance to learn from some really good metalshapers in the last 20 years; Ron Covell, Clay Cook, Wray Schelin, Fay Butler, Lazze, Craig Naff and many friends that I've had an opportunity to share tips with.
  10. TV
    Joined: Aug 28, 2002
    Posts: 1,451


    I would have to say Rod sexton, if you ever saw his SS headers you would crap your pants. People like that blow me away.--TV
  11. 26 roadster
    Joined: Apr 21, 2008
    Posts: 2,017

    26 roadster

    With out a doubt, Ron Batson, Santee, CA, one of the greats in my book and a true friend.
  12. monkey19
    Joined: Nov 18, 2009
    Posts: 44


    Mike Hagamen..... he is a Jedi welder who I worked with at a Midas a long time ago. He retired from a Ford plant I believe prior to working as a mechanic at Midas. I was (still am) real week at welding. One day he just said “you are going to learn how to weld today” and gave me an 8 hour intensive. I still use all of the tips and techniques he taught me that day.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
  13. I have been inspired to do Aluminum work by "Boogie" Charles Scott from Covington ,Louisiana.In his seventies now he still does the some of the nicest work you will find, Boogie is in the NHRA hall of fame as a car builder.I appreciate that we are friends. Gary
  14. Deuce Daddy Don
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 5,260

    Deuce Daddy Don

    The USN & Korean war in 1951 inspired me to learn a trade for future use!!!---It worked!!!!!!!!------Don
  15. dutched32
    Joined: Feb 12, 2007
    Posts: 310


    I had a great oppertunity to sit and spend a day with Boogie watching old 8mm film from the mid 50's to the early 60's of races he paticipated in .The man is amazing,he spoke of every race on the screen as if it happened 10 minutes ago,including every drivers name,what motor each car was running,and in many of the cars what he contributed to each car fabrication wise. He has had the film transfered to dvd and made a copy for me,I hope to post some of it on here.
  16. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    Smithing/welding, Burl Young, Tucson Az. Body/Fender, my brother Bud(RIP).
    Both could compete with any of the best, famous or not.
    Joined: Aug 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,623

    Alliance Vendor

  18. stockcar33
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 125

    from so-cal

    My inspiration is Ian Roussel the best welder and fabricator i have met.

    proverbs 3 4-5
  19. 6berry
    Joined: Apr 12, 2009
    Posts: 352


    Jesse james was my inspiration for sure. back in the day i used to waatch monster garage all the time. it really got me into cars and bikes then i wanted to start shaping metal.
  20. gonejunking
    Joined: Sep 15, 2008
    Posts: 50

    from NW USA

    When I was a teenager, I heard about this great uncle of mine that restored old cars some where down in the bay area of California. The summer that I turned 15, an other uncle took me over to meet him. We drove up to the shop, it was 08:00, my uncle said that he would be back to rescue me at 17:00, I got out of the car, and he drove away laughing.

    I then realized that I had been set up:eek:. I turned around to find my great uncle standing there with a pair of coveralls in his hand. Put these on, shut up, and lets get to work.......As I followed him to the back building, I was thinking that we would be working on some old Chevy's and Fords, like the cars back home. Mistake #1. "We don't work on that crap", as I asked my great uncle about whats in the shop.

    AS I entered the shop, my first thought was Holy Sh--, THIS IS A CAR?!!
    We are going to start by pulling the head, grinding the valves, then we will go over to the tin shop and help fix the grill, then you will help me change tires on a Fiat. That will be all for today! We put moving blankets over the fenders and started to take off the head. "Do you know what kind of car this is"? No... But it's damn big. "This car used to belong to Betty Grabial, you know who she is, don't you"? No.... As his eyes rolled to the back of his head, I knew I was in for it...."This is a 1936 Duessy Dual cowl Phaeton, it's worth around $200 grand". I was stunned, I had never heard of a car worth more then 10k, let alone 200K. After we got the head off and onto the bench, it was lunch time. I asked where the local Herfy's was, so I could get a burger. Mistake # 2. When you work with a bunch of old German craftsmen, you eat with them, and eat what they eat. So instead of a Herfy burger, I got saurcraut, spare ribs and dumplings.
    After lunch I went to the tin shop. We were to repair the Duessy grill.
    I was given 1 vertical slat to take 3 little dings out of, while ADOLF fixed the rest of the grill. To say the least, he finished before I did, then he showed me how to fix the SS trim that I had damn near destroyed!

    At 17:00 my uncle showed up to rescue me. I feel asleep on the ride home. The next morning I was back at the shop at 08:00.
    The same every day. In the morning I helped in the mechanical shop, after lunch I worked in the tin shop. I spent the whole summer there.

    Every other week, we would take a day and drive over to Bill Harrah's restoration shop's in Reno. The guys from the shop were go buddy's with Bill's crew, so it was a fun day roaming thru the shops and the library.

    I spent 3 summers at my great Uncles shop. Rolls, Duessy's, Ferraris, Astons, Pierce Arrow, Auburns, and that damn Fiat... The first day at the shop, I was told to help my great uncle change tires on the Fiat. Like the smart ass kid that I was, I said I could do it myself, without his help!
    They told me where the Fiat was, then walked away laughing........
    I opened the door to the shop that the Fiat was in, expecting to find a small Fiat 124. What I found was, I had opened my big mouth and now both feet were stuck in it. This was not a small Fiat 124, but a 1909 Fiat town car that had 40 INCH tires on it!!! I could not even touch the roof of this car. It was 9 feet tall! I looked around, but could not even find a jack that was tall enough to reach the axle, let alone pick up the car. After about a half hour, the guys came back in, and showed me how they changed the tires. This was the standing joke/test for newbies. Go change the Fiats tires...!

    I sure miss those guys and that shop, and the road trips up to see Bill Harrah and his shop's.
    Joined: Feb 8, 2009
    Posts: 73


    I was a run of the mill gear head in high school. I could turn wrenches but didn't have an ounce of "fabrication" ability in me. I was born into a medical profession family. My dad is a chief of pharmacy for the local VA, my mom was a nurse, 2 sisters are now pharmacists and one is a nurse practitioner. Cousins, aunts, uncles, and even my bro in law are all in the MD field....but I was the apple the rolled away from the tree. All I wanted to do was build cars. So I skipped college when I graduated high school in 2000 since I had no clue what I really wanted to do. I got a job for a lawn care company and in my free time kept turning wrenches on my car and making a few bucks working on other peoples junk.

    Then in 2001 I was watching Discovery and saw Motorcycle Mania with JJ. That was the first time I had really been exposed to actual metal working / fabrication work and I was hooked! Literally a month later I signed up for a welding course night class at a local high school. That's where I learned to gas weld, then stick, then MIG. My teacher was so stoked that he had people in the night class that REALLY wanted to be there (as opposed to his regualr calss room of 16 year olds waiting to go home) that he would let us stay late and bring in our own projects from home. He even gave me a crash course in TIG welding. After the class I went out and bought a little Lincioln 3200 HD Mig welder and Victor gas welding setup and with that combo I was able to do A LOT. From there I started teaching myself metal working through books/ vids/ etc. I have a long ways to go but I love the craft so much that learning is half the fun.

    As of January of this year I opened my own shop doing custom fab work for everything from 8 second drag cars, to 1,000 hp street cars, to cool old iron. I built my first "high profile" car in my moms garage that started gaining a lot of steam across the internet and you should start seeing pop up in some mags later this year....I got bombarded with people wanting me to do work for them and that was the birth of my business. I'm starting at a very grass roots level in a small shop, but I'm making money doing what I love! So for me I would have to say 100% my inspiration would have been Jesse James. Had I never seen that show I would most likely still be working a 9-5 for somebody else. I now have my own shop and while making money is always important....for me it's also about doing something I truly feel I was meant to do for a living.
  22. Growing up, I had NO live inspiration - my dad had (and still has) no interest in most things mechanical and to this day can't understand why I do. He constantly discouraged me from pursuing a "trade" and would not allow me to buy or work on any old cars. I tried to anyhow and managed to glean what I could from the pros in the magazines of the day. I was highly inspired by Jim Jacobs, Fat Jack, Boyd's assemblage of amazing craftsmen (Steve Davis, Tin Jim et al), Larry Braga (both for his eye and his metal skills - his dunked A roadsters are still killer in my eyes), Greg Fleury, Dan Webb, Craig Naff and of course, Buttera. Lil' John I think was the single biggest influence for me - reading his fab articles in Hot Rod in the early to mid 80's was why i went and bought my first shop tools - a bandsaw, drill press and disc/belt sander (I still have the sander and use it on virtually every project). When the pocket MIGs came out I picked up a cheap 110v Clarke to learn with and still use is as well. When I learned of new (to me) fabricators (like Ron Covell) I would read all I could about them and continued buying fab tools as I could afford them (Low Buck bead roller & tube notcher, manual tube bender). I've now got a fairly complete set of equipment (most is not good brand name stuff but for a hobbyist it does a great job) and a decent handle on how to use most basic forming tools. Bought an english wheel and want to get using it as well. I just bought a new MIG with spool gun to do some aluminum work and am anxious to learn that as well. Next will be getting into some machining. I want to try to set up a cheap CNC router with a spindle capable of light metal machining.

    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  23. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,588


    I learned to stick weld in High School from a guy named Bill Whitfield but we didn't do anything really creative. We just welded pieces of metal together and ran beads.

    I'd have to say that two people really impressed me and made me want to learn to weld better. In college, I had a shop course and a PHD, Dr. Jim Daniels, taught me how to oxyacetlyene weld, which I thought was really cool.

    Later in life, I met Buster Henderson, aka 3 Deuces. A friend took me by Buster's Frames one day to get him to weld a battery box into a Porsche 914 that I was restoring. Buster didn't care that it wasn't a hot rod, he was always helpful. I was not only impressed with the way he repaired my car, I was wowed by the cars he was building in his shop and the quality of his work.

    Over the years, I made it a point to drop by and just get a peek at whatever he was working on and I told myself, "one day, I'm going to build a custom or a hot rod like that." That day hasn't come yet but I keep striving for it.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Buster!
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2010
  24. I'm lucky as hell, my pops was the auto shop the machine shop teacher at Napa High here in Napa Ca and bestowed an amazing amount of knowledge on me. He will always be my hero.
  25. jhnarial
    Joined: Mar 18, 2007
    Posts: 410

    from MISSOURI

    The whole Metal Shaping on-line community.
  26. 36 Airstream
    Joined: Apr 19, 2010
    Posts: 34

    36 Airstream

  27. CraigKrage
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 421

    from central IL

  28. DAVEG2
    Joined: Feb 27, 2010
    Posts: 332


    Taught my self to stick weld in high school.We had to pick a project so I built a car trailer to haul my race car. It towed real well, but I was a little worred at first.
  29. falconsprint63
    Joined: May 17, 2007
    Posts: 2,359

    from Mayberry

    this is going to sound bad, but Barris--until I met him. Asked some how-to advise and was floored by the response.

    practially, I'm self taught thanks to the little red book and lots of practice. maybe some day I'll be able to go to some of the workshops, until then I'll refine by trial and error.
  30. carcrazyjohn
    Joined: Apr 16, 2008
    Posts: 4,844

    from trevose pa

    I personally learned metal shaping from a good friend of mine his name is ed ,He also taught me bodywork ,For welding I bought a welder and did other peoples cars ,For practice ,Sheetmetal only ......Everything else I picked up as I went along .My dad is into cars but we had a falling out ,For many years and now things are patched up and life is good for us both ,We hang out and belong to the same club ..And he spoils his grandkids .....My kids....

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