In addition to the larger tools shown on these pages we also have a variety
of hand-tools including lots of hammers! We use a combination of electric and
compressed air power tools. We also have MIG and TIG welders for joining metal
Our beautiful circa 1920’s English Wheel – the cornerstone of any panel shop! This piece of equipment originates from Birmingham, England and may possibly have found its way into one of the car producers/coach builders during the heydays for the 1920s/30s.
The ‘Wheel’ is used for forming sheet metal in four different directions – known as a ‘Crown’. This technique can be used when forming roof, bonnet or wing sections. For larger panels it sometimes takes two people to use the wheel, each person faces the other whilst ‘rocking’ the panel backwards and forwards… Easy when you know how!!
Sheet metal folder
Another great looking piece of equipment! This piece of historic ‘kit’ is what we use for folding sheet metal (aluminum, steel or even sheets of brass and copper) at an angle. The heavy weights at either end of the arms help to counter balance during folding. These weights are very heavy and are painted red for practical reasons (you’d know about it if one of these struck you on the head during operation!)
To fold a piece of sheet metal you simply place the item in the jaws and clamp into position by turning the wheel on the right hand side. Once locked in you then tilt the entire upper portion of the folder to the desired angle by lifting the big red handle at the bottom.
No, not a Nuevo Riche name for a Rolls-Royce, (a ‘Royce if you must abbreviate!) but a piece of equipment used for curving sheet metal in a single direction. The amount of curvature is regulated by adjusting the pressure/tension on the rollers them selves. Then it’s just (!) a case of turning the handle until the shape is where you want it…
Or “Le Guillotine’ as it may have been called many years ago! Don’t loose your head, we use this ‘old girl’ for cutting sheets of metal into size. It is four foot wide (we have a bigger one coming soon as well) and cuts what ever you put between the jaws (protected by a red painted guard) and stamping (or standing sometimes) on the red horizontal bar.
An colleague of ours once nearly cut off more than he bargained for when positioning a small strip of steel between the jaws – FINGERS! Luckily no harm done… (“no Panel Beaters were harmed during the making of this website!”)
New Age English Wheel (fitted with electric Swager)
Although not as pretty as our older Wheel this recently built Wheel does the same job and has incredibly smooth bearings fitted. If you ‘spin the wheel’ for a few seconds it will continue to silently carry-on rolling for several minutes after…
Fitted to the right-hand side of the Wheel is an electric ‘Swager’ which is used for effortlessly apply swage indentations into metal. Operated by a foot pedal the operator is then able to guide the metal thru the small wheels that make the impression. The wheels can be changed to make different shapes and again the pressur can altered to govern the depth of the shapes.
Yes, it is the lower half of an old Ash tree – every traditional English panel shop should have one of these! The top half of the stump has been gently dished and smoothed out to form a good solid surface to beat metal against when forming curved shapes. A leather Sand Bag is another effective tool for this method, although the bag tends to absorb too much of the energy from the hammer blows – being more solid more of the energy can be directed at the metal itself. You can’t beat (pardon the pun) a good old bit of tree!