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Workshop Course Descriptions


Workshop participants in the 4-day Metalworking
Intensive refine their skills on the English Wheel.

All of our Metalworking Intensives cover a different fundamental training topic each day, and each day is a stand-alone intensive study and practice on that technique. You may attend all four days, or any combination of days that are areas you wish to study. However, priority is given to participants who plan to attend all four days.

Common topics — such as planishing, metal finishing, annealing, work-hardening, heat-treating, patterns, and layout — will be covered in context on each of the four days.

A packet of special workshop preparation materials is sent to you three weeks prior to the workshop. It contains three videos, and many pages of printed material for your study prior to workshop attendance. This packet is available only to those who sign up for all four days of the workshop (and if available separately would be worth $200). If you are attending only part of a workshop, please contact us regarding what advance-study materials you will need.

Please note: Kent's tricky techniques for teaching include conundrums, brick-walls, and brain twisters. You will learn to solve problems and to think like a real metal-man — by overcoming obstacles, and by using your bucket of grey cells. Gold star, anyone? It goes on your permanent record, you know.

Have you already been to The Fundamentals of Metalworking? Want some more challenge, inspiration, and intimidation? Read On...

The Original 4-Day Metalworking Intensive

Whether you’ve done metalworking for a short time or for decades, this workshop will hone your skills! You’ll have a unique opportunity to learn and practice in a production metalworking environment, while meeting other metal enthusiasts and taking your skills to the next level. Your instructor, Kent White, tailors the workshop to the unique needs of each group of participants, based on their background, experience, and interests. For this reason, the pace of this class and the content of the information presented can vary depending upon the specific interests of the attendees.

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Oxy-Acetylene Torch Welding Weekend
3-days Nevada City, CA (TM Shop)

Here’s an opportunity to brush up your gas-welding skills and have lots of of hands-on practice! Each day focuses on O/A welding techniques for a specific metal (or metals).

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Rapid Metal Shaping with Pneumatics
3-days Nevada City, CA (TM Shop)

Pneumatic tools can be faster and more effective than hand tools for metal shaping, because they hit more consistently – and consistently for much longer – than the human arm can. They simply do not get tired and erratic at the end of the day. We’ll introduce students to the three main pneumatic striking tools: the rivet gun, the hand-held autobody air hammer, and the bench-top air power hammer. There are many “air hammers” on the market, including sand rammers, chipping hammers, air chisels, plating rack scalers, destruction guns, needle scalers, stone carvers, and rivet guns. Choosing the most effective tool can involve considerable time and expense; this workshop will help you avoid unnecessary trial and error.

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Summer Workshop 1: Fundamentals of Metalworking
5-days Nevada City, CA (TM Shop)

This course is designed specifically for those with limited experience working sheet metal (shaping, repair, fab), and for those who want to learn more about metalworking tools in the shop environment. We will cover layout basics; cutting metal with snips, shears, and machines; and files, filing, and metal sanding. You’ll learn hand skills for stretching (to make hollows and curves) and shrinking (to take down bumps and make shapes). We also cover annealing and joining in detail. Finally, you’ll learn the basics of using the seven main machines for working sheet metal: shears, brakes, English wheels, air power hammers, Pullmax, shrinker/stretchers, and the bead roller.

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Summer Workshop 2:
From Idea to Pattern to 3-D Metal Shape

This 4-day class is geared for serious students, metalworking instructors, and metal shaping professionals. Students will make patterns from 3D shapes, to analyze size and where the shape goes. Then comes transferring the information to metal blanks, and cutting the blanks out accurately. Students will then manipulate the surface area by stretching and shrinking methods, using hand techniques and forming machines, including the Wheel, Pullmax, Air Power Hammer, and Flow-Forming tools. Of course, we’ll also cover working the shapes accurately and efficiently using various corrective methods. Welding and brazing, along with annealing, planishing, and metal finishing round out the hot-working and finishing sections of the class experience.

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Using Air Power Hammers
San Antonio, Texas (George Schroeder Studios)

Most metal workers are familiar with the two common types of mechanical hammers – the power hammer and the planishing hammer. Historically, power hammers have been used for shaping metal, but they are bulky, heavy, industrial machines that require large shop spaces and equally large budgets. At the other end of the spectrum are planishing hammers, which are typically low-cost pneumatic machines that can smooth metal by light hitting, but are not effective or efficient for true metal shaping. This leaves most metal workers doing metal shaping by hand with hammers and mallets, which can be slow, labor-intensive, and hard on arms, shoulders, wrists, and backs.

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The Art of Sheet Metal Shaping - From Concept to Form
San Antonio, Texas (George Schroeder Studios)

In this 3-day program you will learn how to take your metal shaping ideas and turn them into finished shapes. This course focuses on making compound and organic shapes, including bowls, reverses, ducktails, saddles, and hollows, that are commonly used in automotive, aircraft, motorcycles, sculpture and metal art (fountains, gates, and furniture). Students will use simple hand tools, flow-forming, and power equipment to learn the steps needed to take a project from concept to final form.

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Torch Welding, Brazing & Soldering: 14 Different Methods for Joining 9 Different Metals

Here is your opportunity to learn to join 9 different common metals 14 different ways, and how to apply these methods to fabrication and repairs. If you’ve been wanting to learn the advantages of torch welding (versatility, cost, efficiency, control), or if you’re just wanting to improve your welding, brazing, and soldering skills, this course is ideal for you.

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We Also Offer

We also offer the following programs and workshops that might not be on our current schedule. Please contact us if you’d be interested in attending one of these sessions. If enough people show interest, we can sometimes add it to the schedule. If your small group is interested in a particular topic listed here, or if you’d like to host a workshop or program at your shop, please give us a call at 530-292-3506.

Hands-on Workshops or Training Programs at Your Location

Do you have a crew that needs to improve their efficiency or their metal working, welding, or forming machine skills? Are you part of a group of metal shapers that would like to host a workshop? Kent can design a specific teaching program to suit your needs, using your equipment, at your site based on your specific needs or area of interest. You only need to list what tools and equipment you have and what your group wants to accomplish.

Past programs have included instruction on the English wheel, Air Power Hammer, power shrinker, and aluminum gas welding. Other courses have covered aircraft sheet metal fabrication and repairs; fuel tank construction and repair; auto body fabrication, repair, and restoration; and general metal behavior for parts fabrication. Kent has also given small group and private instruction for automotive, aircraft, motorcycle, and art metal groups, and academic programs. He has done corporate consultations for BFGoodrich Aerospace, Delta Airlines, UPS (Shannon, Ireland), FedEx, Precor, EAA, and others. Students of his Aero Metal Workshops receive FAA IA Course Credit for Refresher Training Courses. These off-site workshops range from 2-5 days, with the cost based on number of days, travel and expenses, costs of shipping equipment or tools if needed, and number of participants. Most off-site courses are hands-on (assuming a shop is available), although Kent does present lecture-only programs for trade shows. For more information, please call 530-292-3506 or email us at

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Gas Welding Aluminum & Steel

In many cases, welding thin sheet metal is more appropriately done with the oxy-acetylene torch. It’s cheaper and faster, and often has less distortion. This hands-on course begins with learning to safely set up bottles, regulators, and torch, with leak testing. The first day introduces welding mild steel sheet in 18-gauge and 20-gauge thicknesses. For advanced students, tube joints will be available, along with some 4130 chromoly alloy. We also cover filler metals, joint designs, tip selection, and torch options.

The second day covers welding 3003 aluminum alloy with flange welds in .050” thickness, with butt joints available later for the more advanced welders. We’ll also discuss 5052 and 6061 and demonstrate aluminum brazing and soldering, along with their proper applications. We cover cleanliness, regulator pressure settings, tip choices, flux choices, and proper flux mixing, along with clean-up for primer and paint coats. Also included are distortion remedies and planishing to a polished finish.

Kent White, your instructor, will guide your hands and minds to help you get a feel for welding with the humble torch. Some interesting demos may be incorporated, including welding with the cutting torch, and writing your name in the air.

Pre-req: Sincere interest in metalworking / torch welding.

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Working with Forming Machines: The English Wheel, Air Power Hammer, Pullmax, & More

This workshop focuses on the broad range of metal shaping machines and their proper uses. Although each day focuses on working with specific machines, we’ll discuss and compare a variety of machines each day.

Day 1 – The Air Power Hammer
Many people habitually refer to all “air hammers” as “planishing hammers,” but this ignores the forming operations that precede planishing. You’ll learn how an Air Power Hammer can help you quickly and accurately rough-in shapes, shrink, stretch, and perform other forming operations (like straightening out crumpled nose bowls), all in addition to planishing. We’ll explore how to make reverses, fairings, and saddle shapes, how to flange and curve edges, and how to get the most out of this machine.

Day 2 – English Wheel
We’ll begin with a short history, then get right into the set-up and geometry of this machine. The Wheel is deceptively simple. To the casual observer it appears that you are just rolling a piece of metal back and forth– how hard could it be? But using this machine correctly and efficiently requires lots of little tricks that add up to big rewards. You’ll learn when you should use the wheel, when to choose another tool, how to make passes correctly, how to get the shape you’re looking for, how to make those welds disappear, and how to get a beautiful mirror finish.

Day 3 – Shrinking Machines, Pullmax, and Flow-Forming
For decades, the sheet metal industry has employed a number of machines that you’ll find incredibly useful, including various shrinker-stretchers, brakes, and electric reciprocating (Pullmax) machines. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each machine, and strategies for getting the most out of them, including basic maintenance, as well as techniques for shrinking, stretching, edge turning, flanging, beading; and simple ways to create louvers and make reverses. Ever tried Flow-Forming? It’s an extremely fast, inexpensive method to speed up specific types of tedious shaping jobs that are normally done by hand.

Day 4 – Putting It All together
Day four is your opportunity to test the skills you’ve learned, using the tools and forming machines from the first three days of class. Bring a part you’d like to work on, or bring an idea of something you’d like to try making. This will also be your opportunity to work with Kent one-on-one with any machines you’re having difficulty with, and to share your ideas with others for solving fabrication challenges.

Pre-req: An understanding of the shop environment, hand tools, and basic processes of measuring, marking, and cutting sheet metal. (Metalworking Fundamentals is NOT a pre-requisite for this class.)

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Aluminum Fabrication & Repair – Plus Gas Welding, Brazing, & Soldering Aluminum

Have you wanted to work with aluminum but were daunted by making the jump from steel or other metals? Have you attempted to learn to gas weld aluminum but found it too frustrating or challenging? Aluminum isn’t nearly as difficult to master as you might think (or have been told). But you do need to know certain tips and techniques. This 4-day class is designed to give you complete knowledge of the basics of working aluminum sheet for automotive, aircraft, motorcycle, or sculpture.

Aluminum comes in a variety of alloys and is widely used in various thicknesses and harnesses. This workshop covers several techniques for cutting aluminum sheet, as well as hand- and machine-forming four popular alloys: 1100, 3003, 5052, and 6061. We cover hot-working methods, including annealing, shrinking, welding, brazing, and soldering. Along with these basics, the students will learn metal shaping, planishing, and metal finishing.

You’ll learn to make paper patterns and transfer them to a 3D form, buck, or mockup, then break down the large shape to smaller, workable shapes. You’ll then learn to make those shapes in metal using a variety of hand tools and machines. After roughing in the shape by stretching and shrinking, you’ll carefully define the fit of the part by smoothing, then do some even more refined work. Finally, by planishing and making little adjustments to the shape, the part will fit. Once the parts all fit, the students will trim and tack-weld them, and finally join them into a good shape that is filed and sanded. Making hems and wired edges rounds out your day, giving you a complete experience of all the steps, from first idea to physical component.

If you are currently working on an aluminum project you are having difficulty with, you are welcome to bring it with you.

Pre-req: Sincere interest in metalworking. Some knowledge of basic shop tools helps (although we’ve had students who’ve never used tools). This workshop is for all skill levels.

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Aero Metal: Fab, Welding, and Repair

The three primary aviation metals are aluminum, 4130 chromemoly, and stainless. This class focuses mostly on aluminum, from low-strength alloys 1100 and 3003, to medium-strength 5052 and 6061, and high-strength 2024. Students will learn the differences between these alloys, their tempers from soft to hard, and the various thicknesses.

Over the four days, class projects will include making lightening holes for ribs and fuel tanks, making louvers, and working flat sheet into shapes such as wing root fairings, wheel pants, and wing tips. Students will have many hours to learn riveting, welding, brazing, and soldering. Some damaged parts will also be on hand for practice in making repairs, enabling students to learn and practice hand skills such as annealing, shrinking, planishing, and metal finishing.

You’ll also have practice time using metal shaping machinery such as the English wheel, the air power hammer, the bead roller, pedal shear, leaf brake, and the flow-forming system.

Students will be asked to respect the shop environment and equipment, as this special teaching venue is also a production aircraft shop, with tools that are in very good condition.

Some shop skills will be necessary, such as laying out parts on sheet stock, organizing a small job, reading a tape measure, and working to some degree of accuracy. Some stainless and 4130 forming and repair instruction will also be included.

Pre-requisite: Basic understanding and preferably some experience with shrinking, stretching, forming, and shaping. Recommended: Metalworking Fundamentals or equivalent experience (or 4-Day Intensive, or Aluminum Intensive).

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Fabricating Parts with Metal Shaping Machines

Do you want to make a part for your car, boat, airplane, motorcycle, or sculpture project? Do you want to learn how to lay it out and how to approach constructing it? This course gives you the opportunity to learn fabrication skills at the same time you learn or refine your machine skills.

Days 1 & 2 focus on the Pullmax and English Wheel and their role in shaping parts. Two Pullmax machines will be set up for shearing, nibbling, and shrinking, as well as bead and joggle forming. The English Wheel is a deceptively simple stretching machine that can be a help or a hindrance, depending on how you use it. We’ll begin with proper setup and adjustment, and making correct passes and tracking patterns. Then we’ll focus on getting the shapes you are looking for, plus tips for making parts that truly fit.

On days 3 & 4, students will learn to quickly and accurately shape complex parts using the Air Power Hammer (instead of doing a ton of arm work). We’ll stretch, shrink, contour, and planish, as well as make complex parts such as hollows, reverses, and compound shapes on this rapid-shaping machine.

If you want to take the class, but have no particular project at the moment, Kent will bring along some bucks that you can choose from. (A 250 Testa Rossa hood blister or head rest fairing, or a wheel fairing for a GeeBee or Cessna 172. Or maybe making body parts for a mini 427 Cobra body.) This class is designed for your success in fabricating parts using the most popular machines available today. Join in and have some great fun!

Pre-req: Highly recommended are: Metalworking Fundamentals, or The 4-day Metalworking Intensive, or equivalent experience. If you are unsure if your skill level matches the course, please contact us and we'll be happy to assist you.

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Autobody: Rust Repair & Patch Panels

Rusted steel body panels can be a restorer or customizer’s nightmare – but simply grinding the paint off and filling the holes with Brillo pads and Bondo aren’t the best methods for making repairs! Kent has spent years doing rust repairs on many high-end cars, as well as many plain-old street cars. This class will cover several methods for making sound, durable repairs on those rusted-out areas. Be prepared to get filthy dirty.

First we’ll review cutting out the rusted areas, which will involve several distinct methods – you’ll find the best solution for your own situation. (Did you know that a simple welding torch can cut steel very well?) Being able to “see” how far the rust has spread is very important, and you’ll learn a simple method for doing this effectively.

The next step is making the repair panels. It’s surprising how organized this can be. Paper and cardboard patterns are very helpful for starting the process, and a few hand tools can take us a long way toward making simple panels. You’ll learn these techniques, and how to join your panels by brazing, soldering, and welding. We’ll also introduce adhesives that can be very beneficial for these repairs.

Third, you’ll learn the chemistry behind rust removal and prevention. We’ll discuss coatings, primers, and top coats that can go a long way toward preventing rust from returning. Kent has never had a car returned to his shop for additional rust repairs, and his work has entailed replacing complete floors, quarter panels, hoods, roofs, and doors.

Workshop location: Our host for this workshop is Grace Body Shop, one of San Francisco’s premier shops for restoration, specialty, custom, collision, and detailing. Grace specializes in Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Maserati, Lamborghini, hotrods, antique equipment (including fire engines), and unique architectural projects.

Pre-requisite: Open to all skill levels. Recommended are a fundamental understanding of metalworking basics, and general knowledge of the metal shop environment (common hand tools, measuring, marking and cutting metal, etc.).

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Steelworking Intensive – Plus Gas Welding, Brazing & Soldering Steel

Those of you who are into automotive restoration as a profession or hobby will be right at home in this workshop. Last year, a customer brought the front fender of his 1958 DeSoto which was damaged around the front headlight brawl when a patch was wrongly welded-in. The students helped while Kent showed them how to replace the entire front section and fit the patch to the headlights, using nothing more than a few hand tools and a torch. After a few hours the seamless patch was finished! Car, motorcycle, airplane, or boat – bring that difficult part and let Kent show you how to get started!

Day 1 – Methods for Repairs for Rust and Crash Damage
We begin this 4-day event with a look at making rapid tooling for repair panel fabrication, plus repairing damaged panels. Kent's years of steel body restoration with some of the masters of rollover repairs will bring lots of light to this topic. Add annealing and hardening, and you know the day will be packed.

Day 2 - Stretching, Shrinking, and Planishing
There are some rapid ways to shrink steel panels right on the car, bike, or hay baler; so let's get with the program and move some metal. The same goes for stretching to flare fenders. And then smoothing…why not pick up a Fender Planishing machine and let the machine do it…right on the car? Ever heard of or seen The Amazing Shrink Disc? Or the whirling whanging rubagizmo? Kent can show you how the Texas Dustbowl Depression-era metalmen lifted out hail dents without a sound.

Day 3 - Gas Welding, Brazing and Soldering
What really works, and what’s just a time-waster? Why braze? How can solder save time? Is gas welding faster than TIG? Is the MIG welder really a manure spreader? We take a close look at what’s appropriate for the task. Chrome? No sweat. Kent has made a bunch of steel stuff for chrome-plate and has done serious repairs for chrome. How do you prep? Kent worked with a plating shop for years…prepping for Pebble Beach. Want to win? Kent did, and he can show you some mighty effective methods.

Day 4 - Oil Cans
Need I say more? Kent recalls, “I once spent THREE MONTHS on a fancy five-piece brass-trimmed Pierce Arrow hood that had gone saddle-back after a load of snow fell on it. Then some character sandblasted it! I sure learned a lot about shrinking…and oil cans.” What are oil cans (oilcanes?)? How do they form? You’ll be surprised to learn the truth – and how easy it can be to send one packing. By day’s end, you’ll be able to make ‘em and erase ‘em. And if you’re a real pro and get through Kent’s obstacle course…we can do a class on louvers.

Pre-req: Sincere interest and basic metalworking skills. (“The Original” 4-Day Intensive is NOT a pre-requisite for this class.)

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Working with Soft Metals (Aluminum & Copper)
Techniques for Fabrication, Repair, Gas Welding, Brazing, & Soldering

Have you wanted to work with aluminum or copper, but were daunted by the jump from steel? Have you attempted to learn to gas weld soft metals but found it too frustrating or challenging? Working with the soft metals isn’t nearly as difficult to master as you might think (or have been told) – but you need to know certain tips and techniques. This 4-day class will give you complete knowledge of the basics of working soft sheet for automotive, aircraft, motorcycle, sculpture, and art metal.

This workshop covers several techniques for cutting sheet, as well as hand- and machine-forming. We cover hot-working methods, including annealing, shrinking, welding, brazing, and soldering. Along with these basics, students will learn metal shaping, tips and tricks for shrinking and stretching, plus planishing and metal finishing.

Students will learn to make paper patterns and transfer them to a 3D form, buck, or mockup, then break down the larger shape into smaller, more workable shapes. You’ll then learn to make those shapes in metal using a variety of hand tools and machines. After roughing in the shape by stretching and shrinking, you’ll carefully define the fit of the part by smoothing plus some even more refined work. Finally, by planishing and making little adjustments in the shape, you’ll learn to make the part fit. Once this is accomplished, you’ll trim and tack weld, finally joining the parts into a good shape that is filed and sanded.

You’ll round out your experience by making hems and wired edges, giving you a complete course in all of the steps, from first idea to final physical component.

If you’re currently working on a project you’re having difficulty with, you are welcome to bring it to work on during the class, or to get advice and help on how to proceed with your project.

Pre-req: Sincere interest in metalworking. Some knowledge of basic shop tools is helpful (although we’ve had students who’ve never used tools). This workshop is for all skill levels.

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TIG Welding Aluminum, Stainless, & Titanium

Please call or email us ( for more information on this specific course.

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Workshops at other Locations

From time to time, Kent offers workshops at locations besides those mentioned in this schedule. Topics may include specially requested subjects, plus metal shaping, fabrication and repair, or gas welding. To be notified of workshops at the following locations, give us a call at 530-292-3506 or email

Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai

San Antonio

West Coast
South San Francisco


Ruti, Switzerland

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