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How to Shape Metal Easily and Cheaply

As this how-to video begins, Kevin is pounding a piece of aluminum that he'd run through the slip roll to put a curve in it. He'd also put a dent in it so he can show a cheap, easy way to get out wrinkles and other imprerfections when working with metal.

Kevin is using an auto body repair kit, commonly known as body dollies. The dollies have different curves, or radii, and different heights for reaching into tight places. What is really helpful is the dollies' weight.

You can reach behind or inside the piece of metal with the dolly like you would on the body of a car - that's what the dollies are intended for, but Kevin finds them really helpful with some of his bigger sculptures.

Then you grab one of the hammers. One has a rounded head so you don't leave hammer marks. It has a point on the other end for working down in a hole.

With the rounded hammer head, you can also have the dolly on the outside and reach in with the hammer to knock a section back out.

Kevin then goes at it, pounding out the divot he put into the metal. Once your wrinkle or dent is pounded out, you can just touch it with the grinder. If needed, you can use a little spot putty to get it perfectly smooth.

How do you know when you're done? When you run your hand over the spot, you can feel how smooth it is, but you also can listen to the sound of the hammer. When it goes from sounding hollow to sounding as if you're striking something, and when your hand begins to move when you hammer, you know the hammer is getting contact with the dolly through the metal.

Where do you find dollies? On Amazon, search for "body dollies" and a long list of options will pop up. This set cost about $40.

Kevin is ready to go back to work, but you might want to stick around for another moment to see how lightly he holds that hammer ....

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