You can go either way Dewey. Some guys have no problem running the wheel back and forth all day, but don't have the forearm strength to beat the metal. In the end, they are fresher at the end of the shaping, using the wheel 100%.
If you want to cut your time by TONS, beat it with a wooden mallet first. (Or Poly) I use a basebat bat hammer (Search on Metalmeet), and have used the Eastwood Poly hammers. I even tried a Dagger all steel bossing mallet. The steel one worked the fastest, but took its toll on the old arms quicker too! You can MAKE a hammer from a garage sale baseball bat. Cut 12-14" off the fat end. Thats the mallet. Drill a hole in the side, and cut the handle to length, shape it, epoxy it into the hole, like you would with an axe. CHEAP!! Works great.
Use a leather purse, full of sand* as a beater bag, or buy a fancy bag.
* Be careful of the silicosis from sand. Use steel shot, walnut shells, lead shot (Lead warning), or any media to support the metal while you beat on it.
Its not THAT hazardous, if you are doing small projects, compared to walking on a beach on a windy day.
The stronger the frame, the easier it will be to roll out the walnuts. Same goes for the dies with the flats.
Wait till you hear about the flexible pattern!!!! It makes both sides of your hot rod MATCH !!! (I'm such a tease!)