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Old 02-03-2013, 10:15 PM   #24
killfile OP
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Joined: May 2010
Location: SF, CA
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Originally Posted by dpforth View Post
Author Timothy Remus has several that are pretty good. This is the advanced one

There's also a more basic one as well as Ultimate Sheet Metal Fabrication.

I'm just getting started down this path. I don't think any book is as good as shop time beating metal. The seminars by the Gods like Evan Wilcox or Ron Covell are supposed to really worth the time and money. Maybe someday...
I'll have to look that book over, thanks for the link.

I took Wilcox's class and he mentioned numerous times that he simply started doing it when he himself started. He didn't take a class, he just tried and tried and practiced and practiced. He then started looking, quite carefully, at all the tanks he could get his hands on. He likens this experience to the same way that classical painters learned their craft. I'll say that his class was fantastic, for a variety of reasons, but the practice and experience are far more important. I would take his class again, if given an opportunity.

Nemo, who's skills far far far outweigh mine in this respect, has taken no classes. He's simply perused the videos on Youtube and tried a lot of the techniques he has seen others use. Over the course of building the bike, and building many of the components multiple times, he was able to get a much better sense for the techniques that work well for him, which are a range of techniques from the videos he has watched. Many of them (mostly the stretcher and shrinker) are not methods I believe he'll use in the future.

I think the biggest things to consider are:
a) this is really time consuming
b) you can almost always rework the metal more.

Knowing this, you might spend a few whole days making something, but you'll be getting better from the experience and you can probably make the next one 2x or 3x faster. Smoothing out the metal with the english wheel and getting a super smooth surface really seams to be quite time consuming, and is usually the second to last phase.

If you're thinking about trying it, I suggest starting with a simple front fender. Take a long rectangle and round the two ends into a half circle each. Pound down the center with a mallet on a sand bag, and you're off to making your first piece. That's the way that both Nemo and I started doing this. You're arm will get sore, but you'll find a smile on your face as you're shaping the metal.
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