Crackers Dork
4/28/19 9:20 p.m.

Trying to make a plan for some mock up "struts" that I can use to set ride height and Mark my final cut lines for the wheel arches. I'll probably just end up using some inch box and a few pieces of angle with holes drilled in everything so I can pin it at different heights. Was thinking of some all thread and adjustable blah blah blah, when I realized that it's a temporary measure and the car will go right back up. 

I'll probably still end up overcomplicating it. 

Anyway, speaking of overcomplicating things... I changed my mind about the brace between the body and rear strut towers. That massive plate is just overkill, and most of the bulk isn't even really useful. 

Current plan is to cut some plates and just make a box section that matches the wheel well profile. But first, I still have to box off those inner support panels so the they can actually support the weight without collapsing. 

The top edge doesn't quite sit flat to the body on it's own, but everything sits flush with only a couple pounds of pressure, so it should be fine for where it's located. Typically when doing sheet metal work you want the parts to sit perfectly without clamps like the closing panel I made for the front bulkhead. This can sometimes make all the difference in how parts will distort when they're welded. 

I'd love to have one of those deep throated shrinker/stretchers, but I don't so I had to shrink/stretch this by hand, with a simple cast of tools. 

I used the wood block as an anvil for about 80% of the hammering. (Actually a different one, this is the one I was sitting on.) Hammering directly over the holes where I counter sunk lag bolts (this is actually 2 6X6's bolted together.) with the round side of the little body hammer stretches pretty quick. 

Setting the panel over the red dolly while laying on it's side and striking with the cross pien into low spot between the faces makes a "tuck" that you can then shrink down with some careful hammering. 

Oh, and apparently I remade that closing panel on the front bulkhead at some point, but don't remember doing it. LOL

I'm hoping to get a bunch of time in on it tomorrow. 

Crackers Dork
4/30/19 8:34 p.m.

I don't want to taco bout how many hours I have in this since my last post. Let's just say I'm glad it's coming out as well as it is....

I got a little ahead of myself and forgot to redrill a couple of the rosette holes before I let the pixies loose. There's also a couple rosettes I flat didn't weld because "oh well I can just get those when I come back and to redrill those other holes anyways"

It started raining  so I wasn't able to come back through here with the wire wheel to knock off all the flux.

The observant among you will notice that there's a panel welded in filling the front half of the wheel well. 

I decided that it would be better to have the well mostly finished before I added the brace, as it will be easier to fit the brace to the well than vice versa. 

As far as the wheel well itself. That boxy "drag racer" tubbed look just isn't going to fly on anything of mine...

I still have an assload of planishing to do to get it looking good, but I like how the body line is coming out. 

Not bad for a guy using nothing but an anvil and various hammers/dollies. On 16ga steel no less! 

Hopefully I don't get rained out all week so I can make use of some time off. (but I'm probably getting rained out all week.) 


Schizamm New Reader
5/5/19 4:38 a.m.

Chiming in to let you know people are reading! Keep up the awesome fab work, excited to see this get finished!

NOHOME UltimaDork
5/5/19 4:59 a.m.

Working on the "scar" that joins the two vehicles , and making it look like it came that way  is fun. Love the progress.



Crackers Dork
5/5/19 1:26 p.m.

Thanks guys!

Between work, weather, and women, it looks like my only free time for the next couple weeks was squandered playing with my new bead roller. 

Definitely needs to be attacked with a welder to do the larger beads, but will form the small bead and some nice steps out of the box. 

There's just a little deflection with the large beading dies...

(And that's not even as bad as it gets.)

That could be remediated somewhat by doing smaller passes, but multiple passes with a beading die is really hard to do without screwing up, and the deflection in the frame makes the tool path unpredictable. 

On the plus side, it looks like I can just use the little hub I bought as a flat die to do all the tipping for my eventual dash build. So I got that going for me. 

Crackers Dork
5/13/19 7:52 p.m.

Really starting to question my life choices...

The rest of this side is definitely getting finished in 18 ga after this piece is in. I'm so done hammering out 16ga panels. 

More later. For now I'm going to try to find someone to make me a margarita.

759NRNG SuperDork
5/13/19 8:56 p.m.

POOF!!!'re a Margarita (I know smart a$$ got to your room).....

Hey, on a related subject due to the thread, what is the latest with 'titling' Unca Ben????

Crackers Dork
5/13/19 10:29 p.m.

In reply to 759NRNG :

Margarita didn't happen, but I have some tequila. Comme si comme sa. 

I'm not going to worry about the title. Pretty sure I can get it bonded if nothing else. 

NOHOME UltimaDork
5/13/19 11:03 p.m.

In reply to Crackers :

I kind of raised an eyebrow when I read 16 awg steel. That sheet getting close to plate.



Crackers Dork
5/13/19 11:07 p.m.

So making these things by hand is a bitch. Compounded by the fact I don't own an English wheel. 

So this ugly thing...

Gets bent into this less ugly (but still ugly) thing...

Mark out where it needs to be relieved for the strut mount and bend it around a toe dolly in the vise. 

Then another test fit.

Was at this point I couldn't find my scribe and forgot to take anymore pictures until I was practically done.

I regret going over this with a sanding disc.  Most of those low spots are shallow enough to block out with just high build primer, but it looks like E36 M3 with all those wrinkles showing like they are. (Result of hand shrinking and not using an English wheel or pneumatic planishing hammer.)

Still needs some hammer dolly work, but it's close enough for me to make the brace that started all this.

Then I get to do it all again on the other side, yay!

Crackers Dork
5/13/19 11:23 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

Yeah, it's probably overkill, but the wheel wells were structural parts for both the original cars, and I'm not against adding some material in the front half just in case a tire blows at speed. Especially considering a rear passenger would essentially be sitting right against them. 

Edit: Also, I had the 16ga in the scrap pile. 

NOHOME UltimaDork
5/14/19 5:38 a.m.

That came out really good.  You seem to have the gist of how to make metal move the way you want it too.

I think that a shrinker stretcher combo would do 90% of what you would ever want to do on the e-wheel.  I use the e-wheel mostly to tip corners and make non compound curves using s soft upper wheel. The shrinker stretches and a hammer or two get used a lot to make small patches.

Not sure it the HF shrinker stretcher would be happy with 16 awg.



Crackers Dork
5/14/19 9:04 a.m.

What I really need an e-wheel for is smoothing out my hammer marks and fine ripples. I don't have the kind of patience for raising panels on an e-wheel. 

I would love a shrinker/stretcher set, but the throat depth on anything in my price range would be useful for only about half of what I'd use one for. Plus, you're right about them being too anemic for 16 ga. (I knew full well this was going to be a bitch in 16 ga.)

Crackers Dork
5/14/19 9:14 a.m.

Realistically though, I only had like 90 minutes tops in that top panel before I trimmed it and started welding. So while it would save my elbow, I don't know how much of a time saver it would be. 

NOHOME UltimaDork
5/14/19 9:50 a.m.

In reply to Crackers :

I did not feel a thing. So please do carry on.cheeky



Crackers Dork
5/15/19 12:20 p.m.

Brief tangent...

What kind of lazy shiny happy person brazes a joint like this? 

(*Pun not intended)

I'm afraid to look under that piece of trim after noticing that hole. Fortunately I have no idea how that trim piece attaches so I'm not going to find out today.

Crackers Dork
5/15/19 11:05 p.m.

Got the first leg of the body/tower brace in and welded. Still have the second one to cut and weld in but I ran out of patience for welding and grinding directly over my head while sitting on the ground with my legs crossed. (Basically the only way I could reach and see what I was doing at the same time.)

Anyway, it's rigid enough now to work on the rotten corners. 

So we're looking at one of the mounting flanges for the tailgate, and the panel it's attached to has rusted out where it attaches to whats left of the floor.

There's another panel behind that that forms a box section with the one the tailgate mounts to. Both are rotten, as well as the patch of floor. 

There's a small reinforcement plate behind the tailgate mounts and it looks like I lucked out and they are not effected. This means I can trim around the reinforcement plates and weld in new metal. 

All that rot needs to come out, and this is a perfect job for my favorite tool. The 90° die grinder! (I actually have 2. I freaking love these things.)

For some reason I can cut apart two cars until the remaining bits will overlap with each other and not bat an eye. Cutting the corner apart like this makes me nervous. 

I know it will go back together fine but it still makes me nervous.  Above, you can also see a new sheet tacked in that makes up the top of the wheel well and the last of the 16ga work on this side. (The outer half and the back will be 18 ga.) The other side should hopefully go faster now that I have a better idea of how to move the metal around. 

First, I need to make up the patch panels. The main piece I'm worried about is the one the tailgate attaches to. This has a flange on the bottom that is spot welded to the lower valance with the "trunk" floor sandwiched in the middle. The bottom of the quarter panel then is spot welded to a flange on the floor panel that sticks out past the spot welded flange.

Yes, a flange on a flange so you can flange while you flange. Plus it makes lots of places for dirt and moisture to accumulate. 

I recently switched to a metric combination square I got off eBay because fractions are hard... This turned out perfect, as the bend allowance on my brake for 18ga is exactly 2mm. This is soooo much easier to math, and less decimal places than measuring this stuff in freedom units. 

All that means, for the first time ever, I managed to make multiple bends and have my part come out dead-bang-on! 

Look at it!

The large face towards the camera is where the tailgate mount sits, then there's the return on the left that the weatherstripping mounts to, and the bend on the right makes the outer(?) side on the box section that supports the roof. 

It's extra tall as there's some rot on the back/outer side that needs to be trimmed out this should be *just* enough to cover that. I didn't take into account that the box section is on an angle, and my "extra" length I cut just barely made up for the difference. 

There's also a flange on the outer (right) side that gets spot welded to the floor. I think I'm going to mock up the patch, a new small floor section and the lower valance, clamp it together and pull all 3 pieces out and weld them "on the bench" then install it as an assembly and weld it up. 

Overall a good day and finishing with nailing that patch panel was a real bonus! 

759NRNG UltraDork
11/11/19 8:40 p.m.

Crackers you effen rock brah.....this is still one of my fave MASHUPS.....and yes I know it's freeking cold out (11/11/19) and doing hoofs is the money maker ,but is there a little crumb you could toss(progress)???

5/4/20 9:50 p.m.

Just saying....


What up?



Crackers Dork
5/4/20 10:29 p.m.

A lot actually. I have a milestone coming up with the wagon that I'm trying to reach before my next update. But before you get too excited, 100% of it has been done over the last two weeks. 

I've actually been busy building myself a small shed/micro blacksmith shop. Not enough to park a car in, but enough I can have *all* of my metal working tools actually set up which saves me so much time now that everything doesn't have to be packed/unpacked every time. (Which means I can make use of 1-2 hour time slots.) I also built a bunch of stake tools for sheet metal work etc. Still haven't modified my bead roller (although I have been using it.) and only just ordered the tipping dies a few days ago. 

Picture of the smithy from a couple weeks ago...

I made virtually everything in that picture. Most of it in the last year. That little workbench/welding table to the left of the hammer rack was the final thing I needed to finish to make it a fully functional shop. Now that the shop is mostly finished I can finally wrap my head around finishing some other projects, including the wagon. 

I also just bought a new TIG welder which has opened up a lot of potential and is really giving me bad ideas. 

I'm hoping to have reached the aforementioned milestone by this weekend. 

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/5/20 5:48 a.m.

In reply to Crackers :

I was seriously just thinking about your project, this is awesome news!

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
5/5/20 6:03 a.m.

I'm glad you came back.  You're a wonderful addition to this place. 

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) UltraDork
5/5/20 7:11 a.m.

That is a nice looking smithy. Are you forging the parts you're putting in the Rambler? 

Forged parts for the Rambler aspect, Tig welded for the Lexus. Sounds perfect to me.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/5/20 7:44 a.m.

In reply to Crackers :


Crackers Dork
5/5/20 8:45 a.m.

Thanks guys! Doing the passenger side wheel arch really highlighted how handicapped I was trying to work with such a minimal set-up. With a lot of resourcefulness, trading, and sweat equity, I only spent about $600 to build a 12x12 shed and equip it as shown. Most of the tools I made from collected scrap and leftovers from previous jobs. I even made the blower/fan for the coal forge with scrap and the hand crank system from old bicycle parts. 

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) :

Strictly speaking, coach building and repair are smithing. Any time you're stretching or shrinking you're forging. It's funny because I basically view panel fabrication as modern armor making. LOL

Will I be doing any of it hot? Not likely, or at least not very much. Mostly just hot shrinking etc, as needed.

If any of you are interested in following my blacksmithing shenanigans, you can follow me on my FB page @strangeblacksmith. I have an insta as well with the same name, but haven't started using it yet. 

In the meantime, I should be getting ready for work.

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