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Author: Subject: Reliant Kitten Project
John Bonnett

posted on 13/1/21 at 09:51 PM Reply With Quote
Originally posted by ettore bugatti
I like the concept/idea of just using hammers to form a body.
Apparently, the Italians only used hammers for their coachwork in the fifties/sixties.

Oh, and the Japanese

Quite extraordinary, thank you for sharing the video. Extraordinary because there is no mechanisation used in the panel forming and also because it is one man and a hammer against some very thick aluminium. It is almost like a step back in time where one man with a horse drawn single furrow plough take on a hundred acre field.

You are quite right about the Italians only using hammers for panel making. Trev can confirm this on the numerous Ferraris and Alfas that he works on where evidence of the hammers marks are still there to be seen once the paint is stripped off. Over here hammers have been frowned upon because of the marks they leave and I think I'm right in saying that Aston Martin panels were only ever wheeled, definitely no place for hammers there.

What I can say from my very limited experience is that I have found that hammers are good for blocking and quickly putting in shape just where it is needed and smoothing can then be done on the English wheel. I learnt a lot from Ron Fournier who always made his panels in this way, annealing the aluminium first to make it easy to work, roughing out the shape and planishing using the wheel. Stretching is normally fairly easy but there is the danger that where a lot of shape is needed that the metal will become extremely thin. This is where shrinking comes in but far more difficult to achieve than stretching. I do have a shrinker but it cannot cope with heavy shrinking in the middle of a panel so it can mean making the panel in more than one section to allow shrinking and stretching.

The attached are screen shots from one of Wray Shelin's videos. The first is the aptly named "Shrink Facilitator" which puts tucks in which can then be hammered back into themselves and this allows some serious shrinking. The other picture is of a panel from a Porsche 550 which shows a lot of bunched up metal that needs to be "Lost" or shrunk. This is an example of what can, with the necessary expertise, be made in one panel. More than one person commented that if he had been making that and it looked like that, he would have consigned it to the bin!

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