Tag Archives: shrinker

  • We have a Brake Pedal and The Firewall Becomes Three Dimensional

    In the last update I was working on cutting out metal to make the firewall and mocking up my new brake pedal setup from Speedway. Since then I've been pretty busy making something from nothing. I had to initially tackle how I was going to mount the brake booster and pedal assembly under the cab. The first problem was that where the pedal bracket needed to live the S10 chassis started to pinch in and put the pedal on a weird angle. This kit was made for an earlier frame that's mostly straight/flat and like anything with a custom build, I had to get creative.

    I first used some jack stands to hold the brake assembly in place and eyeball up the position it needed to be in. I then traced out the area that the mounting pad for the pedal bracket needed to sit. I decided I could make a "cheese wedge" shaped mounting box that I could sink into the frame rail so that the pedal bracket would sit straight and everything would jive. I used 1/4" plate and copied the mounting holes to the base plate and welded the mounting bolts to the plate since they'd be hidden once the box was built. I used our Small Magnetic Welding Jig Set to square up the pieces and welded them together with the TIG200 DC Welder. The result was a strong mounting box I could sink into the frame and mount to the pedal box. I made my cuts in the chassis and mounted the box into the frame. Once I was sure it was square, I tack welded it into place with the MIG175 Welder.

    Now that I had the shiny Right Stuff Brake Parts mounted in place I dropped the air suspension and checked my clearance when aired out. The booster sits a couple inches below the chassis, but even when the body is sitting on the ground the booster has 4 inches or more of clearance. I'd probably rip the front end off before the brake parts were touched. That would be a BAD section of road even here on the east coast!

    My celebration of having a brake setup was cut short when I slide the Speedway brake pedal on and found that the brake pedal landed where my throttle pedal should be. I like to heel-toe my brake and throttle when driving.. but this was unacceptable! I decided to cut apart the brake pedal arm, shorten it, brace it and move the pedal over a few inches so that it sat where a brake pedal should. I also had to "clock" the mounting tab for the linkage under the pedal so that the pedal sits up high enough that it won't contact the chassis when I am pushing the pedal. I again used 1/4" steel plate and the TIG200 DC to box and brace the pedal to handle the force of pressing the brake pedal. Don't mind the rough floor in the photos, we just welded that in temporarily to keep the cab from flopping around while we worked on the roof chop and the firewall.

    With the brake parts mounted in place I could finally turn my attention back to the firewall and engine/transmission tunnel. I started by making the back side of the firewall setback. I used one of our Adjustable Profile Gauges to transfer the radius of the top of the TCI Auto Transmission to the panel. After tracing out my pattern I cut the rough shape out of 16 gauge steel with our Electric Metal Shears. Now the electric shears work really great for cutting laser straight lines and gentle curves, but when you need to make a tighter radius cut those shears are out of their element. I decided to mount up one of our Throatless Shears to make the cuts I needed. The nice thing about the "throatless" shear is that you can go as slow or fast as you want so that you can make some really clean, accurate cuts. I cut out the top curves to match the top panel I made on the english wheel, then cut the transmission tunnel radius and I had my second panel of the firewall made.

    Now with the back panel of the firewall channel made, I decided that I wanted to ditch the panel I made on the english wheel and form the panel out of one piece. I decided to use 18 gauge steel and form the piece using our Shrinker Stretcher Kit to make the panel match the radius of the main portion of the firewall we had made already. I cut a piece of 18 gauge a little longer than I needed and broke a 1/2" bend on each side of the panel. These edges will allow me to work them with the stretcher to get the radius I need on the panel. This panel was a little more difficult to make as I had to evenly stretch each side little by little as I went to get the shape the same on the entire panel. I actually went a little far when initially stretching the shape I needed and I had to work backwards with the shrinker in a few spots to get the panel back into shape to match the panel. That's the nice thing with metal is that you can always undo what you've done if you stretched or bent the metal a little too much. Once I got the shape close, I used the hammer and dolly to match the rolled edge we made earlier match with this new panel. Then I used Cleco Clamps to hold the pieces together.

    Now that I have the pieces in place I can start to see everything taking shape. I need to tackle making the wheel tubs for the front wheels and the transmission tunnel next. I'm hoping I'll be able to start melting all of this metal together with an Eastwood Welder shortly! Thanks for watching!

    -Matt/EW

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  • Hollywood Hot Rods- How To Chop a Mercury with help from Eastwood

    Chopping a Mercury with help from Eastwood
    By Jim Aust/Hollywood Hot Rods

    Every since the first sleek new 1949 Mercury hit the street crafty restylers have lusted after examples with the roof a bit lower than the factory offerings. Sam Barris was among the first to chop his own personal Mercury, and the process would be repeated thousands of times over the next seven decades. Just as the title “custom” means, personally designed customs each have a unique style and equally unique method of creation.

    The guys at Hollywood Hot Rods have built a series of much loved custom vehicles so it’s only natural that they would have chopped a few Mercury’s along the way. Refining the process to a science, Hollywood Hot Rods get the job done lowering a lid on a Mercury (or any vehicle) with the help of various tools from The Eastwood Company. For this demonstration an Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to a few of the vital steps in the process completed. Follow along as Hollywood Hot Rods shows how they lowered a roof on this 1951 Mercury.

    Chopping the top on a Mercury is so popular at Hollywood Hot Rods that they have to wait in line for their turn under the knife.

    The easy part is removing the top, the tough part is putting it back on correctly.

    After lowering the roof the desired amount, the corners of the windows now require reworking to close up the gaps created in the process.

    This view shows the great deal of work that will be necessary to reshape the rear corners of the quarter windows.

    The first step is to trim out the rear corners so that new corners can be fitted in place.

    To fill the corners small strips of sheet metal are cut and folded 90-degees in a sheet metal brake.

    Next up the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher is used to shrink one edge of the custom new pieces to replicate the look of the factory corners in the newly required radiuses.

    The newly fabricated pieces are carefully fit into in the trimmed out window corners.

    The new window corners are tacked in place and checked again for proper placement before final welding is completed.

    Once the final welding is finished the corners are shaped with a die grinder equipped with a barrel drum sanding head.

    On this particular chop the decision was made to round-off the upper rear door corners rather than retain the square factory style corners.

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    Rather than cut the original door corners into multiple pieces, Hollywood Hot Rods prefers to create new sweeping corner from fresh sheet metal.

    Repeating the earlier process, new inner door corners are made with the Eastwood Shrinker/Stretcher. Once the new door corners are in place they are welded and smoothed the same way as the window corners.

    Just a few steps transformed this Mercury from a stocker to show stopper! Hit the Hollywood Hot Rods Website to see more of their work, enlist their services, or buy some sweet HHR gear!

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  • Custom Body and Interior Modifications- '51 Ford Shoebox Street Rodder Road Tour Car Project

    The crew at Honest Charley garage have been kicking butt on the body of this once-rotted 51 Ford Shoebox Ford. After replacing the rotted lower quarters, they moved on to making some subtle modifications to smooth out the body of the Ford while they have it in bare metal. Below Richard from Honest Charley shows you how they butt welded, lapped, and plug welded some of the patch panels on the car and a neat way they're reusing the OE Ford taillight while smoothing the rear quarters.

    After shaving and smoothing the exterior of the car, the crew moved to the interior to address the issues that stemmed from channeling the body over the chassis to give it the sleek, low ride height they desired. The first issue is that they needed to make a new package tray that didn't interfere with the four-link suspension, and looked original. After rolling some beads and fitting the piece in they have a strong, OEM-looking package tray that both looks good and is functional as well.

    With the floor pans and package tray in place, the team moved back and began working on the trunk. When channeling the Ford they ran into typical problems, and the rusty trunk floor had to be removed to raise it up to clear parts of the chassis. They made new patch panels and deleted the spare tire recess so that Jerry Dixey could cram all of his stuff in the car while he's driving it around the country. After rolling beads in the metal to stiffen the new trunk floor they welded they floor back in and they now have a factory looking trunk floor that doesn't hit the chassis.

    Stay tuned for future updates, we can hardly keep with how fast these guys work! More body mods and a roof chop are to come!

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  • Street Rodder Radio and Eastwood Announce 2013 Road Tour Car Build

    For the past two years we've been sponsoring the Street Rodder Road Tour and our Eastwood Summer Classic has been the kickoff event for the eastern leg of the tour. Recently we just inked the deal to once again become the official tools sponsor of the 2013 Street Road Tour build. This year the guys at Honesty Charley's Garage will be building the 2013 road tour car. The base car this year is a 1951 Ford that's in less than ideal shape.

    While at the 2012 SEMA show Brian Brennan of Street Rodder Magazine and Street Rodder Radio interviewed myself about last year's road tour car and we covered what's going into the 2013 car. We've already sent a large care package down south to Honesty Charley's Garage for the 51 Ford, and I'm sure more will be on its way soon. They'll be fabricating patch panels and performing some custom metal work on the car with our Pro Hammer and Dolly Kit, Economy Bead Roller, Versa Bend Metal Brake, Panel Beater Sandbag, and Plastic Metal Forming Mallets, and much more.

    Even though we're "officially" the tools sponsor of this car, the team asked our help in the fight against rust. Since they need to treat and seal many rusty areas on the car, they asked us to send them some of our innovative paints and chemicals. We were happy to oblige. They'll be sealing up and protecting hidden and boxed areas of the '51 Ford with our Internal Frame Coating, and treating just about the entire car and chassis with our famous line of Rust Encapsulator. You can be sure that the car will be free of ANY rust or corrosion; these guys mean business!

    Once the crew gets a little further along on the build they'll need to reassemble the car and turn it back into a roadworthy vehicle. For those mechanical projects they'll be using the full line of Eastwood Hand Tools. They'll be some of the first professionals to get their hands on our new ratchets, sockets, screwdrivers, ratcheting wrenches, aviation metal snips, and anything else a serious "wrencher" needs in their toolbox!

    Check out the full interview at SEMA at the link below. Some of the great personalities in the classic car and hot rod community today stopped by to visit Brian Brennan including Troy Ladd from Hollywood Hot Rods, Corky Coker of Coker Tires, and Brian Downard of Lokar Performance, so it's definitely worth the listen!

    http://www.streetrodderweb.com/radio/

    Watch this space as the build really is just getting started for the 2013 Road Tour Car. We'll be sure to give you some insider information on this years car as things progress!

    -Matt/EW

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  • Street Rodder Road Tour 2012 Car in Paint

    It seems like just yesterday we were visiting with the lads at Hollywood Hot Rods and the Street Rodder Road Tour 1940 Ford Project. We recently got some updates from Troy and the crew at Street Rodder Magazine and wanted to keep Eastwood fans up to speed.

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    With some help from Eastwood metal working tools the crew at Hollywood Hot Rods finished the chop on the 40 Ford. They recently sent it off to have a fresh coat of paint sprayed onto the car. Below is a spy picture of the tub still in the booth! It should be on its way back to Hollywood Hot Rods shortly for them to work some more of their magic and get the car roadworthy. Stay tuned for more updates along the way and be sure to come see the car in person at the 2012 Eastwood Summer Classic. This year you can be one of the first to see it in person as we kickoff the East Coast Street Rodder Road Tour!

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