When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

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Henry K. Lee
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When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:09 pm

This is a real dying art, craft, skill, just all the above and then some!

Metal embossing, has been around since any metal was formed from ore. Very few are doing it to any extent, just in the old countries like England and etc. To watch a person form from dead scratch an armor suit of mid-evil times is an unbelievable. But think in the era that their metal chemistry was not consistent so hard to soft was common. You know what the apprentice had to do, "Hey kid pound this metal", now days he would say back, "Go pound sand buddy". Past and present!

My tools are about 250 years old and still work like they were made yesterday. Had to drive from the south of England to Scotland to purchase in the 1980's. (Don't ask for pictures of the tools or the process as this is the master's of metal secrets) We are only to give to the apprentice or like mine, they are going back to Scotland to the Museum of Weapons at Edinburgh. They still have an operational course. The students must have 10 years prior experience in multiple disciplines to qualify. Quite the honor and they are PAID students. I was part of a group making the St. Georges Rose on a suit of armor. Absolutely Beautiful!

Enough said, After about 6 hours of layout and beating lightly, the primer and guide coat spray is applied to find minute defects. All must be right before attaching to the fuel tank. I do not make them perfect, and the other side has a slight difference. This shows it was made by hand and not machine.


IMG_1092.jpg

As I sand the primer (for contrast purposes), the high points will revel themselves so that is where I pick and file the imperfections out!

Enjoy Folks, This is Metal Forming 606.

All the Best,

Hank in Tin-A-See


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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Scott_Conger » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:31 pm

WOW
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by RustyFords » Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:53 pm

Making metal move around, stick to other metals, stretch, shrink, etc is a real talent.

My dad's best friend Leroy was an absolute master of this and could weld metal, then pound on it for a while and then challenge you to find the seam with your eyes closed. You couldn't.

I spent hours and hours around him and my dad as a kid. I watched him make, from sheet stock, a perfect front fender for a '40 Ford...just because they'd gotten expensive and he didn't want to buy one. Sadly, he's in a nursing home now with advanced dementia...so his talents are lost to the world even though he is technically not yet.
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:59 pm

Don your old family friend is a jewel and you must have been in awe to watch as I was. My obsession in the craft like Model T's just grew. As my hands and joints are paying the price I still love to cause sparks in younger minds in the hopes this will not die. The biggest problem is most people do not want learn to swim so to say before jumping into the pond. This craft has a series of steps first before you progress.

I am just trying to inspiring and build confidence in the process.

All the Best to You and Yours,

Hank

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Duey_C » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:13 pm

That's really neat Hank!
Since I lost my mind mind, I feel more liberated


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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Burger in Spokane » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:49 am

There must be an app for that. :roll:
More people are doing it today than ever before !

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by JP_noonan » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:18 am

So its a real dying art, yet you don't want to share it, because its dying? For gods sake man that's the stupidest argument I've ever heard. Trades are meant to be passed on, that's why we still have some of them. Keep with your notion that its somehow secret, and it will be secret forever.
Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by JWalters » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:37 am

JP_noonan wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:18 am
So its a real dying art, yet you don't want to share it, because its dying? For gods sake man that's the stupidest argument I've ever heard. Trades are meant to be passed on, that's why we still have some of them. Keep with your notion that its somehow secret, and it will be secret forever.
I agree, Doesn't make any sense.
Henry K. Lee wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:09 pm
This is a real dying art, craft, skill, just all the above and then some!
(Don't ask for pictures of the tools or the process as this is the master's of metal secrets)

All the Best,

Hank in Tin-A-See

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:11 am

You must have the prerequisites in metal forming in order to understand why. You can not just jump in or you will destroy the metal. This is steel, not a non ferrous
metal. The ladder of gained knowledge with reward stays within the craft.

All the Best,

Hank

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by JWalters » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:01 am

Henry K. Lee wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:11 am
You can not just jump in or you will destroy the metal. This is steel, not a non ferrous
metal.
So some metal gets destroyed that's called practice and is how most of us learn.

Henry K. Lee wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:11 am
This is a real dying art, craft, skill, just all the above and then some!
The ladder of gained knowledge with reward stays within the craft.
That's just silly. Then its not a dying art its a killed art! :lol:

When you first started posting on metal forming I was under the impression you were going to share your knowledge with us. :?

I guess these are just a look at what I can do postings. :shock:


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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Les Schubert » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:10 am

An approach that I have used to obtain “logoing”
To sheet metal is as follows;
I use as much 21st century technology as I can
1. Make a paper drawing and then a digital drawing of the script.
2. Go to my local laser/water jet cutting shop and get the logo cut out in a suitable thickness of steel or perhaps brass
3. Take the cut out and place it on the piece I want to embose. Below put a stiff piece of rubber, perhaps 1/2” thick. Above a thick piece of flat steel and put it all in a suitable hydraulic press, and squeeze.
4. If I’m working on a radiator front or similar then I have just soldered the brass cut out on.
Obviously there are other ways to accomplish this

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:23 am

Well since others think I am bragging, I am showing possibilities of the full advancement of the craft. I mentioned this in the beginning.

You wouldn’t have to worry, I will not show anymore as some are turning this in to something else!

Goodbye,

Hank


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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:35 am

When I was in High School, we were on double sessions, so I went from 6 AM to Noon. That left a lot of time on my hands. On Wednesday afternoons, I visited a man who was a watchmaker, and did all his clock repair in his garage on Wednesdays, while his partner kept the shop open. On Mondays and Fridays in the afternoon, I visited an elderly Sweedish man who was a retired tool/die maker, and could fabricate ANYTHING. From Age 16 to 18 I sat, watched, questioned, participated, and learned the craft from both gentlemen. When I graduated high school, the watchmaker, who still had his shop, offered me an opportunity to rent space in his shop and continue to learn the craft. On my first day, he handed me a Lady Hamilton 911. His words were: "it only needs a cleaning...don't screw it up." That was the first watch I ever worked on in my life. And I didn't screw it up. I never got a pro-active comment from him again...only help out of the occasional bind.

I didn't correspond with anyone. I didn't admire pictures. I spent 2 years of part time work, for free, and learned metal fabrication, machine shop practices, gear cutting, clock and watch repair. During the years beyond High School, I repaired watches, rented my space from the watchmaker, AND only got 60% of the repair total $$ as it was "trade work". My first two years of work netted me around $6,000 per year. The subsequent years were marginally better. I had the bad fortune of starting my watchmaking career the year Pulsar came out with the first digital watch. When the watchmaker and his partner got a deal on group insurance, I was left out, as "you are not a partner, you only rent space". That was one of the last lessons he ever gave me.

College and Engineering followed for many years after that.

I can't speak for Hank, but I'll bet if you go ahead and volunteer 2 years of unpaid work, and then a few more years at 1/2 US poverty level income, I'll bet you can find someone like Hank (maybe Hank!), who will teach you the craft. Or, pick up a hammer, start a project, and ask Hank or someone for help. I'll bet once you show initiative, you'll get it. On the other hand, if you think you can't do the work on your own, but will be able to after a written tutorial and a few pictures, then I'm impressed by such hubris.

What gall to give a guy grief, after sharing pictures of layouts and results for you to enjoy.

I went to an art museum as a kid and looked at a bunch of pictures, and thought I'd be an artist. Turns out there was more to it than looking at pictures. I was a terrible artist, and looking at more pictues didn't help any. It turns out I was pretty much a natural mechanic. At least the art museum helped teach me that.
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by spadpilot » Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:55 am

Scott......thank you for providing such a thoughtful reply. I, for one, appreciated your words.....and perhaps I have learned from them.
...some people are like Slinkies....they're generally useless but fun to watch when you push them down the stairs.


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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Scott_Conger » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:11 pm

David

thank you. I think we all learn something from others, if we put our mind to it. However, sometimes what we learn is not pleasant. As it turns out, while I was typing my long post, Hank responded as I probably would have.

Now we are all the poorer for it

I'll add this...the forum has lost a lot of talented contributors over the past few years, while gaining others. The reality is, though, that the net number of talented individuals willing to share their work and knowledge is steadily dwindling. If we work hard enough at it, those folks may make the same exodus. This is not good for the hobby and you can see it by the dearth of photos or descriptions of restorations being undertaken of late. Similarly, a massive consolidation of suppliers is occuring right now, with few qualified purchasers showing up. None of these signs is good. I would hope that what remains of the hobby in the future is a membership willing to exhibit appreciation and good will toward each other and particularly to those capable and willing to teach, but I will not bet my life on it.

Hank

Thank you for sharing your work. I will miss seeing it, but do not blame you.
Scott Conger

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by JWalters » Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:39 pm

I enjoy seeing Hanks work also. It just doesn't make sense to talk about a dying art yet refuse to share "trade secrets".
Scott_conger wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:11 pm
The net number of talented individuals willing to share their work and knowledge is steadily dwindling. I would hope that what remains of the hobby in the future is a membership willing to exhibit appreciation and good will toward each other and particularly to those capable and willing to teach.
I agree.

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by ewdysar » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:22 pm

Hi Les,

I’ve done the same as you decribe. However, I have found that plexiglass can be used for the ‘stencil’ in step 2, which means that I can do the cutout and cleanup with simple woodworking tools. And where you mentioned hard rubber, I use urethane, available in various hardnesses for different effects. e.g. softer urethane produces more rounded figures in the sheet material. The plexi patterns do wear out more quickly than metal patterns, they are usually good enough for few finished products, but not hundreds. Annealing your sheet material before pressing or chasing your design into it helps alot, including ferrous and non-ferrous projects.

Keep crankin’
Eric


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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Les Schubert » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:40 pm

Eric
Good ideas. Thank you
Les

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Bob McDaniel » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:46 pm

I have done auto body repair in one form or another for over 40 years starting in the garage with my Dad and later took classes for 2 years to learn how to do it right. I learned a lot of basic info from school but found out you need to have the feel for the work. I can make almost anything look better than new with the help of bondo and a hammer but only know very little of the type of work we are seeing here. I would work for free if someone like Hank would let me into his shop but I would slow up the work. I learn by watching those that know how and ask questions. It would take Hank or anyone else YEARS to show us just the basics here and then very few would understand without hands on time with the master. I used everything I learned over a lifetime to restore all of the sheet metal on my 1925 Indiana Truck with just hammer and dolly work and a little heat when needed to help shrink some streached metal and a file. What I see in this post is some things that I do understand how to do but have learned a little and have a lot more to learn. To say this is a dying art is an understatement. Even the mud slinging body men are vanishing because it is cheaper to just bolt on new parts or now they glue them on. I could show a lot of "trade secrets" here of how to paint your car to make it look like a show car but someone would cut it down and say I did it wrong. Maybe they know a better way or maybe not. When someone with a skill like this is willing to show you what he can do we should all watch and learn. If he wanted to show off and say look at me he would have picked something flashy and not a simple gas tank that anyone with his talent can build in his sleep. Ever see someone make a fender for a 32 Ford from flat sheet metal? How about the whole body?


Hank was not showing off but should be proud of what he is doing. I know I would be!
Last edited by Bob McDaniel on Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Robert Lawson » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:55 pm

I’m amazed how people can bash others here on this forum. I love seeing how talented people are and enjoyed all the pictures that Hank has posted. Myself and 2 of my sons met Hank a few months ago buying parts from him at his place. Great guy and was eager to show us what he had made and wanted us to come back to teach us on metal working. Again great guy and he doesn’t deserve the negative feedback.

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Marv K » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:39 pm

"A paint brush in hand doesn't make one an artist!" Hank IS BOTH a talented artist and craftsman! Hopefully, some will learn from his willingness to illustrate and the sharing he has presented. He does some amazing work, and also hoping he comes back to share more of it!!!
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by JWalters » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:18 pm

Henry K. Lee wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:23 am
Well since others think I am bragging, I am showing possibilities of the full advancement of the craft. I mentioned this in the beginning.
You wouldn’t have to worry, I will not show anymore as some are turning this in to something else!
Goodbye,
Hank

Hank,
I apologize if it sounded like I was accusing you of bragging. That's not how I meant it.
I always enjoy seeing your work and hope you continue to share with us.

Henry K. Lee wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:09 pm
(Don't ask for pictures of the tools or the process as this is the master's of metal secrets)

I don't understand why pictures of your tools and your process is forbidden knowledge but that's your choice.

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by havnfun » Sat Mar 16, 2019 1:06 am

Hank,
Your craftsmanship is outstanding, showing and explaining the process through pictures and words is truly an art in itself. Having done Auto Body repair and painting since the 60's along with teaching others over the years. I truly enjoy following your projects, Let me say, a true craftsman makes his task look rather easy to the onlookers, trying to teach using only pictures and words on how to do something, is the most difficult for sure. As for keeping things secret, I can relate with that comment, I used to tell my students, it's a trade secret, then I would say, once you learn A, I will teach you B, then so on and so forth. I really believe from following your post, your truly a very talented craftsman that is trying to show and pass on the secrets to help others, some folks do not understand the teacher and/or teaching methods used.

I would hope you continue to show and tell with your pictures and text, there are folks here eager to learn, some, like me, just want to follow along and enjoy the post. For the ones that always challenge the teacher/process, should from my perspective, take those comments and put them in a private message, never challenge the teacher in a public format, you will flunk! '


Maybe send Hank a private message, explain yourself, Thank him for his support, knowledge transfer and hopefully Hank will continue trying to share his knowledge aka trade secrets with this forum...


All the best,

Joe
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by 46woodduck » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:14 am

Worked the first 25 years of my life in machine shops, started at the bottom and ended up in experimental shop and aircraft tool and die work. Loved the work and learned most of my skills on the job. Then everything started going CNC and we were told to just load the programs from engineering and run them. Had several weeks of work into a large panel blanking die job when in the final stages a screw up in the program destroyed the die and caused severe damage to the large CNC milling machine I was working on. I managed to trip on my own time and shattered my elbow right after that incident and had six months recovering from the fall. During that time I decided that the work was no longer fun and when I returned to work I quit.

Had a friend who was into antique aircraft and had one of our own and worked with him for a few years before I had enough work time that I could get signed off to take the tests and get my A&P license and went into the restoration and maintenance of old aircraft and had 20 more years of fun before I retired. Did a lot of panel beating, mostly aluminum, although some steel and learned on my own how to make parts by hand that looked like they were made by machines. If you aren't afraid of filling a barrel with pieces of scrap metal it's easy to learn. Remember, nobody was born knowing how to do it and if you collect some assorted bits of metal, old body metal, fenders etc. and have patience and some reasonable mechanical skills you can figure out the process. If you can find someone to offer guidance it makes the process easier, but you can teach yourself. There are videos on you-tube that show the processes.

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Mindless Automaton » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:50 am

JP_noonan wrote:
Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:18 am
So its a real dying art, yet you don't want to share it, because its dying?
Even the tools are subject to blackout. Ancient knowledge has been lost that way many times over. Go figure.

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:35 pm

OK, First I am HUMBLED beyond words by all the private emails! WOW!

Second, If I came across as arrogant, me bad! I missed communicated the point.

Third, Jason, I apologize to you for taking offense. Apology accepted of course.

Let bygones by bygones!

I am going to share some simple tools and process with you all. Look carefully at the photo's. You need a harden ball set (Harbor Freight Tools), an old short railroad spike, old bar stock of various sizes, a good mid size ball pen hammer, 12" X 12" X 1/2" multi layer plywood, some (preferred cloth backed) linoleum, three strong c-clamps, and hopefully you have a steel plate table.
IMG_1145.jpg
IMG_1146.jpg
IMG_1150.jpg
IMG_1148.jpg
IMG_1149.jpg
Now after the outline has been established, I like to take a scribe as well to outline better. Taking the railroad spike to a sander rounding the edges since we want to stretch not cut. Lightly strike the outline dead straight on. Note: See how the steel is only being retained on three edges. That's for letting it expand to that open edge only. Now select a round ball punch slightly smaller than the area to be embossed and strike in a slight traveling motion. Keep the angle of strike towards the outside. But starting your work from the inside towards the outside. Keep repeating the process equally as you are massaging the metal. Steel is a different duck as it's shrinking properties are less than other metals. Use the ball punches sparingly as they move metal quickly. Using the old bar stock, rotating the ends back and forth, makes for a long lasting tool. Remember to keep the punches rounded at all times, tearing occurs quick. When you get to your depth required or close to, remove the wood and clamps and very lightly pen with a jewelers hammer. When it looks about right, remove the linoleum a beat straight on the steel plate. Then reverse to do light finish work.

Please note too that legally you can not charge anyone to emboss a logo with trademarks. Ford and others want Big Bucks for some license agreements.

Now don't spend your children inheritance on scrape metal! Make sure if you can, your work area at a waist high zone. This keeps your joints from being trashed.

All the Best to All,

Hank in Tin-A-See

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:36 pm

IMG_1153.jpg
IMG_1152.jpg

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Walter Higgins » Sat Mar 16, 2019 3:47 pm

When in doubt there is always YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EV02Icd3Ro

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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by John Warren » Sat Mar 16, 2019 5:12 pm

Hi Hank. I enjoy your posts emencely. I am glad that you realized how much you mean to many of us. You are a true artist in many ways. Like many have said about learning, time has to be spent . If you are lucky, you get paid to help a journeyman that is willing to teach you. One of my best teachers, pretty much, wouldn’t answer any of my questions, but he always let me watch. I think this topic is wonderful and I truly want to thank you for sharing. I have done a little metal embossing in school in the 5th grade. Our teacher was able to a quire some printing plates (aluminum) from the local news paper. He annealed them in an oven. We drew a photo of what we wanted to emboss. As I remember, we transferred it to the metal by just tracing our pictures with a ball pen kinda like a carbon copy except it would dent the metal plate. Then we would start working it with an eraser on a pencil or a rounded dowel . It was a great experience. Thanks again
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Doug Keppler » Sat Mar 16, 2019 11:22 pm

John you speak for many of us! Thank you Hank
1924 Touring car
There's No Substitute for Proper Lubrication

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JWalters
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by JWalters » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:35 am

Hank,
Thank you for explaining and showing us how you do your embossing. Great pics and explanation of the process.


Tiger Tim
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Tiger Tim » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:55 am

Thanks for the quick description Hank, it looks like a real art form. For someone who just wants to start playing around with a technique like that, would any old sheet steel scrap do the trick? Does it need to be heat treated in any way first to make it more workable?

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Henry K. Lee
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Henry K. Lee » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:30 am

Stay with clean new steel to start, I recommend 22 gauge in the beginning of mild steel. Take breaks and rest your arms and hands.

Hank

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John Warren
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by John Warren » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:17 am

Tools of the trade.This is where the MAGIC is! Hank, we can see that you use your hands. Just be careful with them so we can continue to see the MAGIC. Thanks
Hank's Hands.JPG
Hanks Hands 2.JPG
Hanks Hands 2.JPG (47.59 KiB) Viewed 3724 times
24-28 TA race car, 26 Canadian touring, 25 Roadster pickup, 14 Roadster, and 11AB Maxwell runabout
Keep it simple and keep a good junk pile if you want to invent something :P


Mindless Automaton
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Re: When The Tin Man Looses his Mind!!

Post by Mindless Automaton » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:39 am

Those few photos look similar to how I do things like that. I didn't know i was even close to how other people would do it.

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