Tag Archives: english wheel

  • Pollock Auto Restoration- Vintage Automotive History in our backyard

    Some of the best craftsmanship often times comes from the shops and builders that aren't bragging at every cruise-in, swap meet, car show, and local bar. They are too busy cranking out quality pieces of automotive art and let their work speak for itself. This is exactly the way things seem at Pollock Auto Restoration, they are situated in an old part of town in Pottstown, PA (just miles from Eastwood headquarters) in a building that could easily be missed if you were just passing by. There aren't signs miles away, rows of cars out on the street, or any other things you see at other shops that attract customers. The cliental and cars that come into Pollock Auto are there because they know the shop reputation and its long history of building and restoring extremely rare and unique vehicles.

    The business and the building itself have a long history in the antique and classic car world and although the exterior hasn't changed much over the years, the inside of the building has. This location was originally a coal yard until the early 1900's. The building was constructed in the early 1920's as a silk mill until Levitz Furniture took over. Mr. Bill Pollock took over the second level of the building in the early 1950's and it became the home for his "showcase" of rare cars, a museum of sorts. Mr. Pollock had a ramp and industrial winch system built into the building (you can see it in the picture above) that allowed him to pull his cars to the second floor and easily rearrange cars in the building. To this day they still use the original winch and ramp system he had built!

    Ralph DeStefano started working for the Showcase in 1981 and Mr. DeStefano began operating "Pollock Auto Restoration" in 1995. Ralph and crew were master metal workers and quickly the business gained a reputation for their high quality of work. Fast forward about 13 years and the shop was taken over by Michel Engard who has been running his other shop "Ragtops & Roadsters" successfully since 1990. Michel and crew have managed to keep a lot of the vintage tools that came with the building and you can still almost imagine how things looked inside many years ago. The shop is extremely clean, every corner you turn and door you open, you'll see another line of extremely rare cars waiting their turn.

    We were lucky enough to get to learn about how they functioned smoothly in such a huge space. We even got to see some of their vintage, industrial-sized metal working tools in action like the PullMax and English Wheel. Amongst these tools we spotted an old Eastwood Shrinker Stretcher that they use regularly to this day! They also were happy to show off some of the retired tools that were left behind in the building. Sadly the bits from the foundry the previous owner built have since been donated to surrounding auto museums, but it was still neat to see some of the one-off antiquated tools around the building.

    We were delighted to get a tour around the shop and see how they truly were a "one-stop" restoration business. Nothing needed to be shipped off to other shops, they could do it all from mechanical to body/paint and even interior. Each department had a seasoned expert in that field that focused on that part of the build. This approach really lets everyone perfect their part of the process on each car and make sure it leaves as good or better than it would have from new! Check out the picture gallery below for a virtual tour of the facility and make sure you visit their site and like them on Facebook!

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  • Eastwood Visits Chrisman Auto Rod Specialties Get Together

    Anyone that is in the "know" about automotive racing history will be familiar with the name Art Chrisman. He was of the first to do a lot of things in racing history including being one the five charter members of the 200 MPH Club at Bonneville, the first drag racer to hit both 140 MPH AND 180MPH, and the first winner at the Bakersfield U.S. Fuel & Gas Championships. After making racing history, Art and his son Mike formed Chrisman Auto Rod Specialties (C.A.R.S). There you can find some of the best engines and cars in the Hot Rod and Racing world being built right here in his shop.

    We were lucky enough to be invited to the weekly impromptu get together at Art's shop in early March this year. Art was gracious enough to show us around and let us drool over all of their handiwork. One signature theme you will notice with engines coming out of Art's shop is "smooth". Everything, including trans cases, engine blocks, and everything seems to get smoothed and then painted. Not only do these engines make some serious power, they look great doing it!

    The amount of cool old industrial sized tools around the shop was staggering. From giant Bridgeport mills to bead rollers, ERCO shrinker and stretcher, and english wheels that would make any of our DIY home shops setups look like fisher price play sets! Art and crew are in the business of making seriously fast cars and the shop was filled to the brim with tools that could make an ordinary sheet of metal into just about anything, or an ordinary classic into a bonified Hot Rodding legend.

    We are thankful to have the chance to meet Art and wander around his shop. Make sure you check out the rest of the photos we snapped along the way below.

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  • Eastwood Metal Working Tip- Forming Metal with Items You Have Around the House

    Metal working is definitely an art that takes a lot of practice to master. In the grand scheme of things I am definitely wet behind the ears when it comes to metal working. It seems each time I tackle a new project, I learn a little more. A common misconception when someone thinks about metal working is that you need a huge shop full of industrial sized machines to successfully shape and form metal. It's easy to see why people come to this conclusion; watch just about any Hot Rod, Chopper, or custom car TV show, and you see them using all of these giant industrial sized machines that cost a fortune. Those tools are great,and amazing to use if you have access to them. But you can build a lot in a home shop with an arsenal of a few essential tools. Some of these you can even make yourself!

    Bending radiuses in metal is one of the more difficult tasks you may come across when honing your metal working skills. This is something that was often a mystery to me, and a task I thought required an english wheel. Once I started doing some poking around on a few popular metal working forums, I noticed that many of the seasoned veterans were using homemade tools to form curves and even recreate original embossed shapes in panels. They are using everything from logs and tree trunks to metal pipes and pieces of scrap metal to build some pretty beautiful things.

    This got me thinking, with a few simple Eastwood tools, and a couple of items you could find laying around your home, you could really build some neat stuff! I decided to show how we recreated the curve in the driver's door of Project Pile House using a stainless pipe, a vice, and a couple of our Metal Forming Mallets.

    The picture below shows the condition of the door when we started. Not only was it rotted out, it also had a bad dent repair done many years ago. Because of this we decided to replace the door skin just above the damage.

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    Once we cut off the outer door skin I took the picture below to show the slight radius the panel had to it originally. This is what we wanted to recreate.

    After putting a flange on the new door skin, we cut a slit in the top of the flange to allow us to form the radius in the panel we need to recreate. We grabbed a piece of stainless pipe we had that is about 3", and clamped it in the vice. We then took out our Metal Forming Mallet Set and began slowly beating the edge of the panel over the pipe to get a radius started.

    After some hammering and test fitting, we finally got the radius very close. We then used the backing strips in our Panel Install Kit to to get the new skin attached.

    Once that piece was tack welded into place, we test fit and continue welding like we've already shown you in previous tech entries (you're on the home stretch!).

    Once you get over the idea that you always need to use special tools to form metal, you will find yourself looking at things differently when working in the garage. I know I've got the word out to some neighbors about getting one of those big old stumps they have laying around. I plan on making it into a metal working "station"! Give us a shout if you have a cool idea for a metal working tool, we'd love to hear your ideas!

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