Lancaster has been the industry standard since 1939. In-the-shop or on-the-job, a Porto-metal Former, better known as a "Lancaster", makes the specialty angle you need - and it does it in minutes over the more time-consuming hand methods which result in a much lower cost per hour to you. A metal former can be used on the work bench or in a vise to make inside angles, outside angles, straight bends, even circles to a radius as small as 3 inches…use for regular production work or any job where forming metal angles is required. The bodies of these machines are made of cast iron and the jaws are made of hardened alloy steel. This combination, backed with over 70 years of tradition, makes the Lancaster a lifelong tool. Each unit weighs just over 12 lbs. and comes completely assembled. Often copied but never equaled, these Lancaster shrinker–stretchers are "Tough Enough for any shop….light enough to carry on-the-job."
Shrinks metal for inside angles
No strength loss
Stretches metal for outside angles.
Completely assembled – ready to use.
Works metal up to 2” in width.
45 to 1 leverage for powerful press.
Will work up to:
18-gauge soft steel
Special malleable iron body.
Please Note: There are a lot of copies of this machine on the market. Some of these imported machines use smaller diameter pins and lower grade steel. Up until last year, it was almost impossible to tell the difference without actually taking the machine apart and seeing if the dies on the inside were stamped “CB”, which stood for Charlie Brown Tool Company. (See the History tab above) This confusion allowed other retailers to market and sell these imported machines at a premium price to unsuspecting consumers. Although at first these imported machines preformed similarly to their high quality counterpart, it was only a matter of time before the slop of these low-quality assemblies become apparent. After several customers had complained, (some of whom even purchase original Lancaster parts trying to retro-fit their imported machine in a last ditch effort to save their investment) TM Technologies contacted Lancaster and asked them to start engraving their name on the side of the machine. The Lancaster Shrinker & Stretcher is one of the most iconic tools found in a sheet metal shop and it is a shame that these imported versions are being sold at the same and sometimes an even higher price, than the high quality originals. You will notice in the image above and on the image of the Lancaster Stretcher, found under the more photos tab, that these machines are now more easily identifiable with their name proudly engraved along the bottom. If the machine you are looking at does not have this engraving – buyer beware!
Installation and Operating Instructions
Secure the tool to work bench. Two holes are drilled and tapped into the body of the tool and accept two 3/8 – 16 bolts. It can also be mounted on a vise if portable on-the-job field use it desired. The more rigidly you secure it, the easier it is to use.
Try the tool using a sample piece of metal first to get the "feel" of it.
When forming any metal, work the leading edge first. This "breaks down" the maximum resistance and permits easy and accurate working thereafter.
Move the metal back and forth as you apply pressure to the handle until the desired radius is obtained. The control of these tools lies in the pressure exerted in the handle as the metal is moved back and forth between the jaws.
The jaws of both tools are “toothed” so as to exert a better grip on the metal. These teeth leave slight markings, depending on the hardness of the metal, which can be quickly removed with either abrasive cloth or wheel.
Notice when you receive your tool that an insert is between the teeth. NEVER press without separator between jaws. ALWAYS insert metal pieces or other material divider between jaws when not in use.
Take handle out of fulcrum slot when not in use to avoid accidental press.
Lancaster warrants Porto–Tools to be free from defects. Warranty obligation is limited to replacing, at the factory, any part that proves defective within 30 days after delivery to the original purchaser. Jaws are not warranted against damage because of closing jaws together (without material inserted) or working metal of greater size and hardness than recommended. Replacement or spare jaws are available.
Clean the jaws occasionally. Blowing them out with an air hose helps but it doesn’t do the job thoroughly. Vacuuming helps to get filings out. The best way to maintain the jaws is periodically disassemble them and clean as follows:
Remove Shrinker or Stretcher cartridge (Cover/jaw assembly) by loosening four socket head screws.
Take out upper jaws and V block (Shrinker) up upper jaws and pressure block (Stretcher) as a single Assembly. Be careful! DO NOT lose the spring between the jaws!
Remove Suspension wire.
Take notice as to how the Shrinker Jaws are inserted. A small jaw is opposite a larger Jaw, top to bottom.
Clean the two upper jaws with a non-hazardous metal cleaner and a file card (brush). DO NOT use a wire brush or a wire wheel.
Always brush in the direction of the Teeth (with the grooves).
Clean the V block (Shrinker) or pressure block (Stretcher).
Re-assemble the upper jaws and set aside.
After removing the two machine screws at the lower end of the cover, remove the bottom jaws by lifting and taking out as a single unit with the V block ( Shrinker) or pressure block (Stretcher). Clean all as described previously.
Replace jaws. Be careful to locate larger Shrinker jaw opposite small Shrinker jaw. When replacing the V blocks (Shrinker) or Pressure blocks (Stretcher), chamfered corners face front.
Oil jaws lightly when not in use for extended periods.
For best operating results, clean the jaws after every jobs.
Image to the left is of a Lancaster Stretcher. The Lancaster Shrinkers are always painted blue while the stretchers are always painted the lighter brown color shown. The imported versions have even gone as far as coping this color scheme so recently we contact Lancaster about engraving their name on the Shrinker – Stretchers to eliminate any confusion. If the machine you are looking at does not have this engraving – buyer beware!
Front View of Lancaster
Shrinker and Stretcher
Side View of Lancaster
Shrinker and Stretcher
Read Articles by The Tinman
, showing how to use these products. Also learn very practical techniques for welding, brazing, aluminum
repair, and much more.
Lancasters On Stand
Work Done with Lancaster
A HISTORY OF THE LANCASTER SHRINKER/STRETCHER
C-B Tool is located in the heartland of Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Along with the lush green rolling countryside and the Amish community, Lancaster has a prosperous variety of industrial concerns. One of these is C-B Tool Company.
C-B Tool began in 1939 as a jobbing machine shop and the manufacturer of a variety of automotive tools. It was started by an innovative and creative man by the name of Charlie Beard but after December 7th, 1941 the company focus changed. C-B Tool quickly became involved in the war effort. Production during the war years was 24 hours a day, 365 days a year making equipment for the ships of our Navy.
After World War II ended the company went back to its original mission of machine work and tool making. The company made all kinds of tools, including: metal shrinker and stretchers, rivet cutters, a tool designed to help position tongue and groove boards, hole punches, crimpers, cable splicing blocks, and more. All that remains today is the rivet cutters and the shrinker and stretcher tools.
One of the first tools manufactured by C-B Tool Co. turned out to be the best. It was the shrinker and stretcher metal forming tool. It was a difficult tool for Charlie to perfect, but the final 1939 version is virtually the same tool today. The tool shrinks and stretches metal for inside and outside turns. No more cutting and welding. You work the metal to the perfect angle. It is an easy to use quality built tool that continues to grow in popularity.
Charlie Beard is long gone, but his legacy of premium workmanship in his shrinker and stretcher remains intact with the third generation of family members. His metal forming tools are now sold worldwide. His invention has helped those in auto restoration, the aircraft industry, and automotive body shops for nearly 70 years. It’s a great tool that is literally ageless.
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