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A Tour of my Metalworking Studio, Part 3



First up is Kevin's 125-pound anvil. It's great for those minute adjustments - along with a 5-pound hammer and lots of arm strength! It's great for shaping, detail work and straightening out metal - not only putting a bend in, but taking a bend out. It's a very handy tool, one he uses a lot.

Kevin then shows his air-powered shaper, also called an air hammer. It has an air chamber and a head that rattles up and down. You can get medieval on metal with this tool!

Next to the air shaper is a machine that uses really old technology: an English wheel, or wheel. The metal goes between its metal wheel and its anvil, pinching it. You hold onto the piece of metal you are working and slide it back and forth between the wheel and anvil. Your piece of metal will take on the radius of whatever wheels you are using. There are different styles, dimensions and radii of wheels.

Kevin also has a hand brake, which some people call a finger brake. It's for making sharp bends. You slide your metal through the machine, secure it, then flip the handle, which bends the metal to whatever angle you have it set at. This finger brake can bend up to 110 degrees. You can set the amount of travel so you can get repeatable bends. Kevin shows the fingers and the Allen bolt holes you can remove to bend more intricate shapes.

Next he shows his Dayton 52" slip roll. It's hand-cranked and rated to 16 gauge, but in special situations, Kevin has rolled 1/4" steel with it. This slip roll even comes with a built-in ring roller.

Kevin then shows a stock bender he uses the heck out of. It's so strong he's bent railroad spikes with it! The bender has different sized rollers for different diameter bends, and you can also adjust the roller in the handle. That lets you use wider stock, and it also affects the radius of the bend you are making.

Last, Kevin shows a tubing roller. It has a set of square dies in it right now, but there are also pipe dies for bending pipe, and flat diesfor bending flat stock metal. The tubing roller is for making large, heavy metal rings or circles.

That's a quick look at the bending and shaping tools Kevin uses every day. There are quite a few of them - "I need all the help I can get!" he says.

Kevin is ready to go back to work, but you can stick around for another moment and enjoy Steamboat Kevin at the helm ....


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