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The woes of finding sheet metal...

1877 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  46_stvblt
I am new to the group, but wanted to throw a question at you metal men out there.

I am looking for sheets of @ 18 guage mild steel sheet metal to repair some parts on my 57 Chevy.

I live in the SW Chicago, Illinois area and would like a local distributor. However I am at wits end. If anyone knows anyplace where I can order or purchase sheets of sheet metal, please let me know.

Most shops around here wont touch you unless you are a business, or unless you are ordering tons of the stuff. I am in shock how difficult this elusive item is to find.

Any Clues?
Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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I bought some at home depot. Small sheets but good enough for patch work.
Just don't get any treated metal for your weld-in patches. Treated metal (galvanized, etc.) can give off toxic fumes when welded or put to the torch.
Zinc (galvanize) gives off welding fumes that are not toxic(no health damage) but will make you feel like you have the flu for a few hours. Cadmium plating is bad and welding fumes should be avoided at all cost. Best approach is to avoid breathing all welding fumes.
I know how you feel sanspants- I live in a small town and getting good products can be a hassle. I can get my sheet at my local welding shop. Can you look up Welders or Machine Shops in your area to see if they'll stock you?? Or try a building supply- I used to get metal at Orscheln's, which has building and tractor supplies. As stated- shy away from any treated stuff- rodding is fun but health is more important (just about the only thing more important...!)
Some roofing companies that do metal fabriacting will sell you 18 ga. stock.
Great suggestions!

The home depots around here only sell 24 gauge and a 12" x 6" piece of 16 gauge -which wont really cut it.

I will start at welding stores and maybe even autopaint stores to see what they have.

Im itching to start welding soon, I finally stepped up to the bar and bought a Lincoln TIG squarewave 175... Im pumped!

thanks again, ill let you all know how the searching turns out.
Well I guess i'm lucky, I buy three sheets at a time 4ft/10ft from local metal yard for $32 a sheet + tax. By the way I would never use that much so I split it with friends. Look in phone book for local metal yards.
and good luck with the tig if you havent used one, practice and practice.
Another thing you could try is find a light fabricating shop in your area and go talk to the owner and ask him if you can search thru his cutoffs and throwaways. I did that here in vegas and the guy told me to take what ever I wanted. Said it was just going to the junk man anyway. What part of Chicago are you from? I spent almost all my life on the South side.....GlennK :D
FYI: Thanks for all the suggestions. I found a place in a local town, Aurora who sells 4 x 10 sheets 18 gauge. non galv. for $42.24 plus tax... Not the same prices as BLOWN 1100 is getting in TX, but beggers cant be choosers!

Anyway thanks again!

46_stvblt... I'm actually SW of Chicago in Lockport area.

Its amazing, Sometimes I wish I live in a much more rural (read -"traditional") area of the country, where you can actually find sheet metal and people dont give you dirty looks when you are welding in your garage in the middle of a subdivision...

Take care, I'll update you on the progress...
Glad to hear you found some sanspants, that's about the same price I pay here in Iowa. I know what you mean about the 'looks'- but even in a small town they line up in the street or alley just watching me weld or sand.... or hammer!!! The little neighbour lady, however thinks it is great!! and compares me to the Wright Brothers....!! Keep on roddin'! :)
Sanspants: We lived in New Lenox for 20 yrs. Worked in the refineries in Lockport. Pipe Fitter for 31 yrs. Out of the Chicago Local.... Glad you found a supplyer, There was a tubing supplyer in Chicago that I used to get all my Tubing from on 115th and Vincennes....Take care and good luck.... GlennK :D
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