The Fine Art of Metal Shaping Part 2

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See TM Forming Mallets

Serious sheet-metal forming work requires use of an assortment of special tools. Top left- Hickory mallet has flat and domed ends. One at center has one end formed to wedge shape and is used in the ``shrinking" operation. One at lower left has a plastic head also useful for shrinking.

Bottom left- Striking faces of these metal hammer heads have smooth surfaces which allow thin aluminum to remain smooth, with no ``grinding."
Bottom center- Big 12-inch square sand bag provides a formable, yieldable base for heavy mallet work.
Bottom right: Smaller ones can be held in a hand for some smoothing work. A set of these bags has various uses; inn addition to use in hammer work, they can help to absorb noise, can be stacked to hold work in a certain position, and so on.
See TM Forming Bags


At their establishment, Kent does assorted things. He has written and published numerous articles and booklets and has produced several instructional videos on sheet metal forming. We were fortunate to be able to view one of them, "An American's View of the English Wheel." It runs two hours and gives a very good grasp of what metal shaping is all about. At Nevada City, he offers intensive one-day metal forming courses for groups of not more than ten persons at a time.

White has also developed and sells a range of sheet metal hand tools and shop machines . Some of them are special purpose items not sold in hardware and tool stores, and thus are unknown to most mechanics. He has trained Delta Air Lines mechanics in special aspects of sheet aluminum work. He is a consultant to various parties in sheet metal forming. He gives demonstrations and lectures at such aviation conventions as FAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, the Sun a Fun FAA fly-in at Lakeland, Florida, the Northwest FAA Fly-In at Arlington, Washington and the Golden West FAA Fly-In at Atwater, California.

Kent White has an effective way of talking to onlookers in the course of his demonstrations. Anyone wanting to learn more about the practical aspects of sheet metal forming would do well to check with TM Technologies about his schedule for the year and plan to spend some hours watching and listening to him.

Experts at forming sheet metal use tools that are unfamiliar to most aviation people, including experienced A&P mechanics. In foreground of photo at left are six ``slappers" . Made of steel, they are carefully shaped to have good balance and fit the hand well. Their striking faces are polished smooth so as not to mar sheet aluminum. Their strikes bridge high and low spots on the work so as to coax the metal into smoothness.

Beyond the slappers are four ``whappers" made of oak and having leather-faced working surfaces that prevent marring. Their weight enables one to give the metal solid thumps spread over a generous area. In background are assorted files made for dressing aluminum and some metal hammers having specially roughened faces that are useful when shrinking metal.

Below- Another view of these files and hammers . The long, shiny round bar is a cylindrical ``stake" twelve inches long, useful as an anvil over which to make bends of small radius.