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Old 01-10-2008, 09:10 AM
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Should I buy an English Wheel and a Planishing Hammer?

I am thinking about buying an English Wheel and a Planishing Hammer from Harbor Freight. My wife told me to go ahead and buy them if I am going to use them and they don't just sit around unused. I have been wanting more metal working tools for quite a while.

What would you do?

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Old 01-10-2008, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrashFarmer2
I am thinking about buying an English Wheel and a Planishing Hammer from Harbor Freight. My wife told me to go ahead and buy them if I am going to use them and they don't just sit around unused. I have been wanting more metal working tools for quite a while.

What would you do?

Try a bigger hammer!

Or, just wait a while until cboy can fill you in on his thoughts about them. He's got the same ones you are asking about, so he'll have a better feel for a correct answer. However, my thought is, any new tool is a welcomed and needed new tool. Except the HF 13 pc. $5.99 screwdriver set...



In a while, Chet.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:25 AM
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Should I buy an English Wheel and a Planishing

good planning , wife inputs keep you from hide-ing the bank receipts.
i just got the english wheel rollers from there and made my own frame .
i put a foot wheel adjuster to turn it tighter by foot,or to back the pressure off.
this keeps your hands on the metal .
thought about jack .but you have to let it down with bleed off screw,
and jack it with your knee or foot.

keep your fingers out of it ,so you can rub your wifes neck .
got to keep them happy you know .
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Old 01-10-2008, 10:53 AM
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I have not used the wheel but on metalmeet there a many threads about it and the modifications you can make to make it a better more usable tool. The planishing hammer I do have and I like it. I haven't done much with it but it works well on .063 aluminum. I would give the dies a good polishing.

Kris,
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Old 01-10-2008, 04:00 PM
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I think only Crash can answer the REAL question...what kind of fabricating do you have in mind and how much of it do you intend to do?

I fabricated these curves on the the roadster body without a wheel or planishing hammer. So a lot can be done without expensive tools.



More recently I fabricated these curves on the sedan delivery with the help of a wheel and planishing hammer.



But I have to say quite honestly, I probably could have done the sedan delivery without either tool. They just made the job easier and faster...but at a cost of about $500.

Let me also add two other tools which I think are even MORE useful than the wheel or the hammer...and they are free, or close to it. The first is the good old fashioned stump. Go here and here for more info on how I made my stumps and how I use them. This is how many of the early sports car bodies were made, by beating the shapes out on stumps. Here the basic bread and butter stump that I use all the time now.




The second tool is the beater bag. Here's mine. It was sewn up by Dan TwoLakes using some scrap leather he had around his shop and then filled with sand. Cheap and easy.



Rather than giving you, or other rodders thinking about metal forming, "yes or no" advice, I think it makes more sense to provide a "sequence" in which these tools would be obtained. Then, as you add and use each new tool you will see if your interest in metal forming is growing or declining. If your interest is heightened with each new tool and you enjoy the work...then move on to the next, more expensive, tool.

From my limited experience I would begin by doing a LOT of metal shaping first with just hammers, anvils, and various shaping forms you already have around the shop - things like like steel pipe, PVC tubing, trailer hitch balls...anything you can bend or hammer metal around will work. Those are the kinds of things I used to build the roadster body. So you can do a lot...with a very little.

Next I would make or buy a beater bag. Even buying one on the web will only set you back $20 or so.

At the next level I would make yourself a couple stumps and buy yourself a couple nice teardrop shaped metal forming hammers to do some beating on the stump. I got mine from Eastwood but they are available lots of places. I think mine was around $40.

Then, if you are still enjoying the metal work and hankering for an even better outcome, I'd first buy the HF planishing hammer and then the English wheel.

And if your interest continues to grow and you want better and faster production, then move up to the more professional levels of English wheels, helve hammers, planishing hammers and the like.

Hope that helps a little. Other metal shapers with a lot more experience than me might have better or more enlightened opinions but I really believe that the wheel and planishing hammer are not the panacea some might believe. They aren't going to make you love metal shaping or provide a perfect outcome on your first try. They are tools...just like your welder, chop saw, grinding wheel etc. etc. And you can do a ton of perfectly respectable metal shaping without them.

On the other hand, if money is no object, then by all means jump in with both feet...and I believe, with the proper modifications, the HF wheel and hammer are money well spent.
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Old 01-19-2008, 07:52 PM
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As was said, it would depend on what you plan on doing with them. There are professional metalshapers out there that don't even own a plannishing hammer. They are handy for some shapes, but not necessary for most. The english wheel is fair for light work, but the frame is too light for heavy work, or high pressures. The wheels are true radius type, which will give you more lines in your work than the type with flats machined on them.

Either tool without the practice and knowledge, will be useless on their own. Best to check on Metalmeet.com for a good bit of information from some very knowledgeable people on metalworking.

Aaron
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Old 01-22-2008, 05:06 PM
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Crash- I have an English Wheel bought through Eastwood (works GREAT but was pricey..) can't vouch for the quality on the HF one as I haven't seen one...and planishing hammer from HF (that works very well after a few modifications) I'd say go for it if the wife says okay- I don't use them every day, but when that hard to make part is needed by me or a friend they come in VERY handy (and make a few bucks too!) The learning curve was reasonable but I won't be making any Willys fenders just yet!! If you're ever in Adair I'd let you have a look at them if you want.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:12 PM
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Dragon, where have you been hiding, it's good to see you around again. or more, or something like that. What's new in your world?
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Old 01-28-2008, 11:11 AM
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You will do more with the plannishing hammer than the H-F English Wheel would ever think of. The E-Wheel is junk. The plannishing hammr is marginal. (I have the latter).

In all honesty, you can accomplish the same thing with a mallet, as what the E- Wheel or plannishing hammer will do. Just works alot slower.

I agree with Dewey. STUMP and BEATER BAG will be your best investments.

My ONLY suggestion to Dewey, is to wrap a piece of 1" band iron around the top to control the log when it shrinks more. Helps keep it from checking.

And once you make a Stump, you will find that a flat edge, and radiused edges become really usefull when tipping a flange 90 degrees.






Yo DANNO!! How ya been fella? Tore the 8.99 @153 mph Monte apart in November. Building an SFI 25.4 Tube Chassis for it. On motor, should run 8.50's and spray SHOULD be 7.90's @ 165. Out of a full bodied Monte Carlo!! LOL
Ended up getting "Best Engineered" at the track this year. ALso ended up 21st in points. I didnt go the last 2 weeks-missed total of 5 weeks). Qualified for the bracket finals in 15th position, after missing 3 weeks early in the year. 50+guys in the class. Overall, really happy with the car, but I cut it up anyways to do the tube chassis.
Havent TOUCHED the 39', the Chevelle or the Nova since March of 06.

And I have to say, that banner about scammers at the top is still REALLY annoying. BFD.... One of the reasons I have been staying away.
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Old 01-28-2008, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beenaway2long
The E-Wheel is junk....My ONLY suggestion to Dewey, is to wrap a piece of 1" band iron around the top to control the log when it shrinks more. Helps keep it from checking....And once you make a Stump, you will find that a flat edge, and radiused edges become really usefull when tipping a flange 90 degrees.
Banding the stump is a GREAT idea Beenaway...although I'll have to figure out how to do it and get the band really tight. Also the radiused edges would be easy to do and a definite improvement.

I will, however, quibble with your review of the E-wheel as "junk". The thing sure helped me...probably cut my fabrication time in half. Granted, it does have it's problems out out of the box so you DO have to make a number of alterations to make it work decently. But these alterations are well documented in places like Metalsmeet (and even here on HR.Com) so there is no mystery as to what needs to be done to get this machine operating. I guess I would put a lot more credence in your review is you had used the machine and used it with the required modifications.

I'm still of the opinion that for the money, the HF unit is a reasonably good value. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
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Old 01-28-2008, 08:08 PM
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One advantage the plannishing hammer has is that the frame does not have to be that strong. The pressure on the frame is not that much, and not constant as with an E-wheel. I have the set of lower wheels from HF. The normal axles for the lowers is usually 1/2" or 3/4". Theirs is something like .850", making them different for other wheel cradles. The wheels are also rough machined, and take some time to get polished to an acceptable level for use to avoid marking the panel being worked.

Aaron
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Old 01-29-2008, 08:00 AM
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I have an E-Wheel and used it in building my Car-could I have done it without it? Yes. But if I really wanted one and I did it all over again I would build my own and get the Wheels from Hoosier Pattern-Joe makes absolutely beautiful stuff, and the Wheels would be true and last forever. I have personally gotten more out of my Shrinker/Stretcher, Bead Roller, Shrinking Disc, Bag and Hammers however.

If you go with the Planishing Hammer I hope you live a good ways from your neighbors-they are very loud. If you want to move Metal why not consider a shop-built Helve Hammer? (again, considering your distance from neighbors)-They are relatively cheap to build, and with different Tooling you can shape AND Planish-

I have suffered from "toolitis" for a long time, and I am afraid there is no cure. There are some very usable Tools from HF, but if you are determined to buy these Tools why not buy (and/or build) some of very good quality?
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Old 01-29-2008, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
Banding the stump is a GREAT idea Beenaway...although I'll have to figure out how to do it and get the band really tight. Also the radiused edges would be easy to do and a definite improvement.

I will, however, quibble with your review of the E-wheel as "junk". The thing sure helped me...probably cut my fabrication time in half. Granted, it does have it's problems out out of the box so you DO have to make a number of alterations to make it work decently. But these alterations are well documented in places like Metalsmeet (and even here on HR.Com) so there is no mystery as to what needs to be done to get this machine operating. I guess I would put a lot more credence in your review is you had used the machine and used it with the required modifications.

I'm still of the opinion that for the money, the HF unit is a reasonably good value. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
There is a couple way's you can band that log, Here is one way. Are you can make it one piece with two bolts on one side.you can also lag bolt it to the log.But make sure you pre drill the holes into the log.Hope this helps you out.
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Old 01-29-2008, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NEW INTERIORS
There is a couple way's you can band that log, Here is one way.
Simple and straightforward. Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-04-2008, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
I guess I would put a lot more credence in your review is you had used the machine and used it with the required modifications.

I'm still of the opinion that for the money, the HF unit is a reasonably good value. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.
I define JUNK as something that needs fixing before you even use it. Show me how much work it can do without reinforcing it. Next time you are by Syracuse NY, let me know. I will let you try a GOOD e-wheel like an Imperial (100% US made!)
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