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Old 02-24-2013, 11:41 PM
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Eastwood Shrinker and Strecher opinions wanted

I have been wanting to buy a shrinker and stretcher tool for almost a year now. I really donít need one that bad, but it would have helped make some things easier. I enjoy sheet metal work so much that I think I will always be playing with something, even if I get out of cars so this tool would be a decent investment.

I dont want to spend the money for a heavy duty one so if the entry level isnt good I wont purchase.

My concerns about the entry level shrinker and stretcher tools are:
Are these good quality tools or are they cheap and do not work well?
Has the throat depth ever been too short for you?
Has the strength of the tool been too weak to work on the thickness of metal you work on?
Did you spend the extra money to get the foot operated add on? Or are you using the hand lever?

Here is the model I am referring to.
Shrinker/Stretcher Combo Set-Two BodiesTwo Jaws


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Bigman

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Old 02-24-2013, 11:48 PM
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I have one and though I have never used some super high end one, these work like a charm for everything I have asked it to do.

Brian
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:02 AM
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I actually used one for the first time in November last year...one of my customers bought one.

Are they good quality? Well as in most everything in life you generally get what you pay for. Now that being said, on 24 gauge steel it did a decent job...again, you get what you pay for but for the price it did a decent job...I found it to be quite a bit more time consuming but, if your not using it every day or trying to make a living with it...it will work.

I haven't used it enough to comment to much on depth but can see that being a problem depending on what your doing.

I also used it on 18 gauge...I'm fairly sure it was 18 gauge, 1930 Model A and it did work, it was a bit labor intensive, I could see the foot lever come in handy here, I only used the hand operated one. I just checked...it was 18 gauge.

I didn't spend a bunch of time with it, I tried it out on a scrap of 24 gauge I had laying around and then went to 18 gauge and it did work with making a piece for the Model A....If this is hobby only it's not bad...I wouldn't want to get to aggressive with it though...it is entry level.

Ray
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:26 AM
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If you have to shrink more than what that tool will do you will need to learn how to use a tucking fork and hammer shrink an item..

Sam
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:25 AM
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I have a Woodward Fab unit. Bought many years ago, gets used often and is very handy for making patch panels.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBCRMAN@aol.com View Post
I have a Woodward Fab unit. Bought many years ago, gets used often and is very handy for making patch panels.
You asked about the throat depth for the shrinking jaws. That is the challenge with all inexpensive sheetmetal forming tools. An English Wheel, Planishing hammer, and all stretcher jaws will stretch the metal but is is always difficult to shrink an area if you over stretch it. The shallow jaws of all the inexpensive units limit the ability to shrink anything but the edges.

I have a set of ss jaws I paid 179 dollars for years ago and have used the fire out of them. They have paid for them selves many times.

John L
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:29 AM
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Heres the deal.Spending hundreds of dollars on a tool is tough and you dont want to waste money on some crap that dont work well or last long so I had tough time deciding on woodwards combo set or the HF set up
.Before I bought mine I had the opertunity to borrow and use the HF for a few months, it worked great but I got one heck of a blister on my hand from that handle...so when it came time to buy a strecher shrinker I also got the foot operated stand and not only did it give my the ability to use both hands I was able to increase the force on the thicker steel...I have the handles and use them for more precise work but I have to say that HF unit is working like a champ ...I got it on sale and paid less than 300.00....strecher/shrinker W stand....
get the foot operated stand its well worth the extra money and makes the unit much more versital.
This unit will get your foot in the door of metalshaping its a great tool at an affordable price...Later on if you ever wear it out, get a better one but chances are you'll never wear it out... BTW I think the better quality jaws will fit right in the HF head...I love mine and use the living crap out of it...never regreted buying it for a second.

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Old 03-10-2013, 09:43 AM
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I bought mine back 20 years ago when the whole metal shaping stuff was just gaining it's resurgence (a few years before it was thought to be GONE forever) and there wasn't a whole lot available, I don't think that foot operated one was. All I know is I really cheaped out and bought the shrinker/stretcher with only one body so I have to change the jaws if I want to go back and forth from shrink to stretch! Man was that dumb, but it was a lot cheaper and I didn't understand how often you would go back and forth.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:04 AM
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Glad you brought that up brian ,the woodwards only comes with one body and I was really going to go with that one being its better quality but after using the HF one I borrowed I realized you need a dedicated body for each set...
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:32 AM
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Woodwards? Maybe that is what I have, I said I got it from Eastwood but now I am not so sure. I bought a bunch of stuff around that time I know my "Dollar stretcher tools" english wheel was junk, I changed the anvil wheel with one I got off an old tool at a swap meet and put bearings in it, it is a lot better but still not very good.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:39 AM
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to my understanding, the ones with no deep throat will only do edges but there's a lot you can do with them in any case. With the deep throat one you can make chopper fenders and gas tanks w/ an e wheel and deep throat shrinker. To give you an idea...with a deep throat one you can make a perfect bowl in minutes without hammers. Try that with a hammer and it takes forever and make not be perfect. I've never done it but I've seen exactly how it's done and it appears really simple...Shrink more at the edges and lighter as you go in, blah blah blah. I wouldn't usually comment on something I haven't done but it looks really easy. I can tell any shrinker n stretcher is handy and there's so many times I could have used one but will wait to get a deep throat one with more options.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadbodyman View Post
Glad you brought that up brian ,the woodwards only comes with one body and I was really going to go with that one being its better quality but after using the HF one I borrowed I realized you need a dedicated body for each set...


Woodward does offer a double body set, like mine. From what I've seen the bodies are all the same. from the cheapies to the more expensive and most of the internals interchange.

Probably like a lot of other items. One manufacturer actually does the parts and various retailers sell them as theirs.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOBCRMAN@aol.com View Post
Woodward does offer a double body set, like mine. From what I've seen the bodies are all the same. from the cheapies to the more expensive and most of the internals interchange.

Probably like a lot of other items. One manufacturer actually does the parts and various retailers sell them as theirs.
When we are talking about harbor freight there is no way they are buying anything, they are making it all and simply copying the original with the original company not getting a dime from them.

These are pretty standardized components I am thinking and like making a drill bit, it fits millions of drills.

Brian
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:25 AM
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from what I gather, the HF jaws wear out fast, Eastwood a little longer, and then there's another brand that's really good that can be used as replacement jaws but I can't think of the darn name of them at the moment.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MARTINSR View Post
When we are talking about harbor freight there is no way they are buying anything, they are making it all and simply copying the original with the original company not getting a dime from them.

These are pretty standardized components I am thinking and like making a drill bit, it fits millions of drills.

Brian
Harbor Freight makes nothing. They are a retailer and buy their stuff just like all retailers.
Where its made is of secondary importance. Just like many other retailers. Just look at other brands. Eastwoods stuff is import also. Made for/sold by/packaged for, all catch words for imported.
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