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Old 04-14-2005, 08:16 AM
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Metal Working Question

I was working on the valve covers from my Desoto Fire Dome and had a question. One of the corners had a pretty sever dent in it, I managed to work it out using a pointed body hammer. However now it had a bunch of little outward pointing dimples. There not extremely noticeable but if you were to take a good look they would stand right out. My question is how to I go about smoothing these out? They are right at the point of the corner and impossible to get at with an English wheel (if I had one). Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 04-14-2005, 10:45 AM
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Barz51,

Without seeing a picture of this, I am "assuming" a few things, but if all of the surrounding metal is now raised back to it's original position with the samll "pings' being the high spots, it sounds like you have "stretched" the Metal. You would have to shrink it, and there are a few ways of dong this. One is old school, you apply heat from an Ox/Ac torch, get the metal to almost "red" hot, and allow it to cool. Some folks claim that you need to use air or a water "quench" to make the metal shrink, but you do not need to. My favorite method is to use a "shrinking" Disc availble from John Kelley at www.ghiaspecialties.com . It will shrink the metal very controllably, with maybe a little more planishing, you should be able to get it looking great!

Craig
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Old 04-14-2005, 12:32 PM
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Yup Indeed

Using a shrinking disk and some small amount of dolly work you should be able to get it probably better than new..pay attention to the trick of using a file and magic marker to find the spots that need work...
Look here for tips on metal work Ther ya go..

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Old 04-14-2005, 11:45 PM
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Pick hammers will always cause this.
You're best approach at this point is to make a tool to get up into the spot you're working on and use it to back up the blows from a slapper, which you will use on the face side of the valve covers. A piece of 3/4" rod should work. Just grind it to match the shape of the area you're working. The slapper can be made from an old car leaf spring. Lightly tapping the face side of the valve cover will bring it right into shape. Trying to shrink those tiny 'pimples' with a shrinking disc will only grind them away, leaving the metal very thin, or possibly leaving you will holes to deal with.

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Old 04-15-2005, 06:22 AM
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You might want to attack a piece of scrap metal with the same hammer and then see what it takes to planish out the little bumps before doing the repair. Don't be afraid to hammer on the metal until it is smooth. You could do a bondo mold of a similar corner and use it as a dolly...or as Randy suggested, make a dolly, and don't use a shrinking disc until you have the metal pretty smooth. A ballpeen hammer might work for a dolly. On a small area like a corner it does not take a lot of heat to shrink...you could use a worn out sanding disc as a shrinking disc...or use it backwards on the back up pad so you are creating friction...just enough so it steams when quenched...repeat as necessary.

John www.ghiaspecialties.com
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Old 04-15-2005, 02:16 PM
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I know I've seen a slapper but I'm not sure how I would go about making one. Also these are aluminum valve covers, will the head discolor them? I'll try and get some pics up tomorrow. Thanks guys..
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Old 04-15-2005, 04:14 PM
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does bondo hold up to heat ??
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