You can email your questions to Professor Hammer at firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Professor Hammer, c/o CLASSIC TRUCKS Magazine, 1733 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, CA 92606. You’ll receive a personal reply! We’ll print your name and city unless you request otherwise. Ron Covell has made many DVDs on metalworking processes, and he offers an ongoing series of workshops across the nation covering all aspects of metalworking. Check them out online at www.covell.biz, or call for a current schedule of workshops and their free catalog of DVDs. Phone 800-747-4631, or 831-768-0705. You can send a request by mail to: Covell Creative Metalworking, 106 Airport Blvd. #105, Freedom, CA 95019.
I have a couple of your videos, including the “Hammerforming Techniques” DVD that you did with Ron Fournier. You mention using a router to form the radius on a hammerform. That makes sense for wooden hammerforms, but some hammerforms are made from aluminum and steel. Can you also use a router to radius these materials, and if so are special router bits required?
Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience with those of us learning these skills.
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Any of the better-quality carbide tipped router bits will do a good job cutting wood products or aluminum. With aluminum, keep the cuts light, and use a cutting fluid such as kerosene on both the cutter and the work.
Steel is completely different, and with a handheld power tool such as a die grinder it can be cut with carbide burrs or rotary files, ground with stones, or sanded with abrasives. Of course you can use files on steel too, but NEVER try cutting steel with a router, even with a carbide router bit!
On this steel hammer form, the corners are being dialed-in by using a die grinder with a c
First off just let me say you have the best magazine on the market, I can’t wait to get my each new issue! I have a 1960 Dodge Sweptline truck that I found sitting in a pasture. I had never seen a truck like this before and just had to have it! I asked the guy how much he would sell it for, and he said “Please take it off my land!” It had been sitting there since 1975, and had four flats (imagine that). Well, after breaking all the lugs nuts and replacing the tires with a used set that held air, we had it on the trailer.
I want to chop the top on my truck. I’ve never done anything like this, but I do have a good buddy who can weld with his eyes closed and both hands tied behind his back! My question is about the glass. How do I get the glass 3 inches shorter to fit the chopped roof? I think DOT regulations say the windshield has to be glass. Is this right, or can I use Lexan?
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Sounds like quite a find—that’s a rare truck! The door glass is easy; it’s laminated safety glass. Depending on how you chop the top, the door glass may not need any cutting at all. If it does need to be cut, any good auto glass shop can handle it.
The windshield is also laminated safety glass, but because it is curved, it is MUCH more difficult to cut. When curved laminated safety glass is made, stresses are put into the glass, and sometimes when a windshield is cut the internal stresses cause the glass to crack. Check with your local glass shops—perhaps someone near you has some experience cutting curved glass. They probably can’t guarantee success on the first try, but they should be honest with you about what their chances of success will be, based on their past experience.
The rear glass is not laminated; it’s tempered, and tempered glass cannot be cut! Since the back glass is not as tall as the side windows, you might consider chopping the top just enough so the bottom edge of the back glass is at the same level as the side glass. I’d estimate this would be about a 2-inch chop on your truck. If you want to go more than that, you have a few more options. You can “wedge” chop the top, so the rear is cut 2 inches, and the front is cut more. You could also allow the bottom edge of the rear glass to simply be lower than the side glass. This is an unusual look, but it might work for you. Another solution is to fill the entire rear window area with sheetmetal, and fit in a smaller window that is completely flat, rather than the “wraparound” rear window your truck currently has.
While regulations call for safety glass for windshields and side glass, I don’t think the same regulations apply to the rear window (check with your state DMV to be sure), and if permitted, you could conceivably make the rear window from plastic. You should be forewarned, since making a curved plastic window is a fairly involved process—a form needs to be made that the plastic can be draped over, after the plastic has been heated in a large oven.
I do have a good video on chopping and sectioning a pickup truck on my website. It doesn’t cover the glass cutting, but it does cover the metalworking portion quite well. The title is “Chopping and Sectioning.” Write again if you have further questions, and we’re delighted you like the magazine! CT