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  1. #1

    Default Old school "by hand" methods

    What are some old school methods of fabricating things that I can practice? I want to give hammer forming sheet metals a try, but wanted to see if you folks could fill my brain with new(to me) techniques of doing things. My goal is to be able to do things without expensive machinery. What ya got for me?
    Last edited by VApatriot; 05-19-2020 at 5:39 AM.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2018


    What I know, and good to keep in the back of your mind is to have something on the opposite side of where you are hammering. Whether it's an anvil of sorts, or even another hammer head so you are squishing the metal between them and not just denting it up.
    This thins the metal and makes it grow as you work it. On the contrary, to shorten the metal stretch, you ping small dents into it, then work the dents out.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2017


    lots of info out example:

    Metal Shaping Hammers
    Hammer Time!

    "I originally intended for this story to be titled “Hammers and Dollies,” but while preparing this installment I decided that both topics required their own articles. Later, I’ll delve into how you can combine different “hammers” and “anvils” to achieve different desired results....
    If you have any questions or suggestions for the column you can reach me at

    Check out more of Big Joe's series on metalworking here."

    Sheet Metal 101 | Anvils
    Big Joe's intro to anvils

    "When metal shaping and choosing a hammer for a desired effect there are a great many hammer options. When you’re choosing an anvil there are many options available as well. Obviously that includes lots of different sizes and shapes of anvils. That also includes anvils that can be harder or softer than the hammer that will be striking them. Let me make something clear, I consider any surface that receives or absorbs a hammer blow when used in metal shaping an anvil. When talking about metal shaping don’t just think of a horned blacksmith’s anvil when using the term..."

    Shrinking Metal with Hammer & Stump

    "In this previous installment, all y’all learned the quick and easy way to make a shrinking stump. This go-around we’ll put it to use showing you the very basics of how to effectively shrink material with only a single wooden mallet and wooden stump. Check it out!"

    not by hand, but...

    How to Use a Planishing Hammer
    Planishing Act

    "Take a look at some finished metalwork in these cool choppers."

    Find more of Big Joe's Street Chopper TECH here:
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 05-05-2020 at 7:02 AM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Sep 2012


    Something like this??????
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails DG Fender Detail.jpg   DG Tank Dish.jpg  

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2012


    A garage sale leather purse makes a pretty gooder most durable sandbag for metal forming. Hammer forming will get you by , but is berry labor intensive. I owned one of the very first Moto Guzzi 1973 V7 Sports that had a tank hand beaten in a wood buck because of some Italian labor dispute or the other. When I sanded it down to repaint it had 18 coats of alternating grey and black primer.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2013


    I deleted a somewhat rambling post but I'm currently deep into backyard casting--definitely a lost art and seeing a resurgence. Look up LUCKYGEN1001 on youtube. Also gas: welding/soldiering (brazing/silver soldiering). Best applications are for SS, exhaust, sheet metal. Most 'old school' shops worth a shit still use that method.

    Casting is crazy hard and extremely dangerous. I'm setting up an electric furnace and don't want the burns....this is NOT the time to pay a visit to the ER--I have been burned before and came out unscathed--wear your safety gear.
    A good way to start? Check a book out of the library and make your own pattern, have it cast at a local foundry. You have to incorporate "draft", slope so that you can pull the form or "pattern." You also have to beef up areas that will be machined. Shrinkage is also a factor--you see that with thin knucklehead castings on here that were copied from an original part. Expect anywhere from 1, 2% I've even seen 5% across some areas with my current project.
    There are also two ways to cast a part--lost wax, typically used in bronze/cast iron. Lost wax also allows you to laser scan and 3d print the part in wax, entire part to be cast as one unit, and allows the unit to be cast on a "tree" or in multiple units on each casting run.
    The other method is sand casting, where you make a wood copy and cast in a sand formed box. The metal then fills the void left by the wood "copy." Useful in prototype development. Anyone here know on hipstergram about the vard mfg./vardhalla "copycat" issue that's a great illustration of the advantages of each method. Just a warning on that rabbit hole of a hobby though: it takes years to put a backyard setup or even one pattern together, which since it's a harley part will likely be ripped off as well. That's just the nature of the beast.

    My best shop tip: measure ANY work to the 16th--whether it's tile/drywall/carpentry/metalworking--casting I try to keep it to the 32nd.

    Write your fractions with a DASH eg: 1-1/16th. Otherwise 1 1/16 could be misinterpreted as 11/16th.
    Last edited by seaking; 05-05-2020 at 12:44 PM.

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