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@edsnova I am continually amazed at your resourcefulness and persistence.  And I, too, think that your skills would be in high demand as a teacher to others wanting to get into fabricating work.

@Stan Galat you'd be lucky just to find the lumber!  

Back in May or June I wanted to build a new outside storage rack for 2 kayaks and a canoe.  NOBODY had any PT lumber when I called, but then I visited my local hardware/lumber store and told the store manager (I've known him for 30 years) about my plight and he asked, "What and how much are you looking for?"  

Really......   Just how much lumber can a kayak rack take, anyway?  Put everything I needed in the back of a pickup and it would almost disappear.  So he cut me a favor and told me to show up the next morning at their distribution center and it would be ready for pickup, just wear a mask.

It seems that they had hundreds of PT boards in all sorts of sizes but were only doling them out to a few contractors who were working on "essential" stuff - like me!



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Last edited by Gordon Nichols
@Stan Galat posted:

Given the price of COVID lumber, I'm not sure I could afford the buck.

Again, I had the lumber on hand because I never throw anything away. The 2x4s were (I think) part of a big work table the PO left in the garage, which I cut up and remade into a garden cart and a bar top about six years ago. Not sure of the 2x3's provenance, but I've had those four-foot bits of 2x6 since at least 2008, and I moved them to this house when my wife and I bought it.

Not saying my way of living makes any sense whatsoever. But not going to any store or buying any material or tools (so far) probably made the difference between trying this project and not bothering. I just think it's cool to be able to say I've got zero cash sunk in a particular handmade item.

It never lasts though.

Going to probably invest in a shrinking disc now and maybe buy (or make) a set of shearing dies and a tipping die.

The first time I saw a shrinking disk in action I could only think, "THAT'll never work!"

And then it miraculously did it's thing, much to my amazement, and the metal shrunk.  

There are a lot of metal working tools and techniques that I am totally unaware of, so I just plod along doing the best I can with what I have.  I do have a 150# antique blacksmith's anvil, though....  One of a few things I inherited from my Dad's shop and it comes in very handy now and then.  It's just a total bear to move around in the shop and it takes three strong people to get it up on top of a stand so most of the time it just sits in one spot.


I took my Beck 550 out for a drive today and got some pic's for you of my Fibersteel alloy tonneau. It has about a 3/4" lip on each side and at the rear. The front is flat. I had to drill and add the two Tenax buttons at the front, drill and rivet then bend two hard but flexible plastic tabs to the right side of the tonneau so it can attach to the side curtain studs. I cut a 2" long x 1" wide x 1/8" thick piece of steel, drilled a hole in it and tapped it. I mounted that behind the firewall with two rivets and drilled one hole in the back of the tonneau to mount the it to the rear where you see the SS screw. It takes about 5 minutes or less to install or remove it. Hope this helps you a little in you fab up.

BTW, I think you know I have the same Raby built series engine with DTM fan housing. I believe our engines may have been built at the same time. My ally seats were hand made by Chris Runge. I have great pads for them but they are supper comfortable with out any padding. "I don't have to show you no stinking padding!"

PeteMy Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [1)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [2)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [3)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [4)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [5)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [6)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [7)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [8)My Beck 550's Fibersteel Alloy Tonneau [9)


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Right you are, Bruce. Could've swore I had one but nowhere to be found. Anyway I got the buck pretty close to right with the routers, dado and the belt sander.

And with a little MAP heating and watery sponge cooling this evening the metal laid right down on it.IMG_6810


I think my next step is to set up and practice with the bead roller until I can stay on a line, and then buy or make a tipping die to help with that long outside fold. I could do it with the seamer but rolling would probably be much neater.


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You are very brave Ed !  I've never done any metal shaping except for spinning copper over a  wooden core (buck?) on a lathe and then finish it with a hammer.  It would be scary to do a hunk of sheet metal as big as you're doing !

Heres a pic of the copper cover I made to fit over the ships compass on my binnacle that came off a Japanese cargo ship sunk over in Kwajalan  Island in 1944......Bruce


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I looked at a lot of metal spinning u-tubes first. The very first time I ever saw metal spinning done was at the Wallace Silverware Factory in New Haven (Think). The guy was spinning solid silver creme pitchers. I was fascinated by how simple he did it and never forgot it.

I did some smaller practice runs first to get the hang of it on my lathe. The hardest part was clamping the stock tight enough so it wouldn't spin loose from the grip of the lathe centers/drive. I finally gave up and soldered a flange on that would keep it from spinning loose. The most difficult part was forming the edge flange which I ended up doing with a hammer over a wood form.

I think I had more control doing this smaller project Ed.  Yours is massive ! How do you control warp ?  I have tried a few times to form aluminum with dismal results. Plus my total lack of ability to weld aluminum with  acceptable results. This limited my ability to correct or repair my mistakes on my own.  At least with copper I can solder with good success.  I really appreciate your work and effort on making this cover and watch very closely what your doing. I'm sitting in the front row of your readers here and paying attention. More photos and detail are especially valuable to me as the craft nut I am.

Keep up the good work Ed !.......................Bruce

P.S.  Drilling Holes....Seems simple enough huh ?  I'm laughing with you guys !  How many of us have had disasters just drilling one ? How bout Ed's stainless fuel tank when he had hard spots in the metal ? Or hole saw disasters ? Or drifting off center ? Or the wrong size hole for the tap you want to use ? Or drilled in the wrong place ? I swear, drilling holes seems simple but when I really think about it, it's probably one of the most demanding things there is to get right. Lane, Bob, Gordon,  thank you for the good laugh today !

I've had this bead roller for three years and I think I've rolled about four beads in it. It works, but it's what you get for $150 or whatever: an entry level thing. Cruising around YouTube over the past few weeks I've learned a bit about what these machines are capable of doing when in capable hands. Aside from Schelin and some others I've come across this guy—Jere Kirkpatrick. Apparently his claim to fame is having worked with Shelby on the first batch of Cobras.

He's not the only one who shows how to mod a cheap Harbor Freight or Woodward Fab bead roller into a pro machine, but he seems to be the most thoughtful.

So with Jere as a guide I (of course) rifled through my scrap metal pile and started in to fortifying my little bead roller.

Here's a three-foot piece of 3/8 x 2 mild steel bar. I cut it in half...


Then notched them near the ends to allow me to make the 45-degree bends:


Laid out:


I traced them...


Ground away the powder coat or whatever.IMG_6831

While I was at it I slotted the top shaft hole to give adjustability thereIMG_6829

Tomorrow I'll fire up ol' sparky and see about burning some wire. IMG_6827

One of the things I found that I think might end up being better than Jere's system is a power winch I took off a boat trailer I bought over a decade ago. I swear I've tried to give it away at least twice. Now I think it'll be perfect for motorizing this shop accoutrement: It's got loads of torque and a hella reduction gearbox built in. All I need is a 12 a/c to 12 DC inverter and a foot pedal controller, plus a way to attach it where the crank handle is now. But that's for later.

In between taking apart the bead roller to mod it, and working on a jewelry box I'm making for my wife for our 10th wedding anniversary, I took the seamers and a hammer to the actual Spyder part and started rolling down that inside edge.


In thinking very slowly about how to make this I decided that the inside edge has to be first, in order to tuck the tail in behind the rear flange.


The bottom of that skirt will be rolled up and under later. This little exercise took me about 15 minutes and, even using crude tools, it looks pretty clean.


—which gives me the idea that maybe I don't need to make a tipping die to do the other bends; maybe I should try my luck with the seamer, flanger and hammers, particularly since I'm going to have to fix the wrinkles with the dolly and hammer anyway.

But I'm in no hurry.


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Spent some more time tuning up the bead roller today. Tapped three sets of quarter/20 holes to copy Kirkpatrick's "spreader."

IMG_6835IMG_6836Also tapped the upper bearing carrier and a spot next to the depth adjuster and installed a spring so the dies will unload whenever that screw is backed out.


This isn't as trick as Kirkpatrick's "quick release" system but it should be much better than the nothing I started with.

I tested the welder at 120 and 105 with some thick metal I had in the bucket. V'd out the inside corners of my stiffening bars and let them have it.


After that it was a matter of



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Ed, I did something similar about 10 years ago.  I picked up a used HF bead roller off craigslist for $40, and used mostly material on hand to make it into something usable. The only other part I bought was the large pulley I found on eBay.  If you don't power it, I suggest using a wheel on the end, as it gives way more control than the crank.

Instead of a spring to retract the upper roller, I made a captured bolt.  When I crank the tension down, the roller goes down, when I release the tension, the roller goes up. I also added Zero fittings to keep the shafts greased.

Were you as surprised as I was how much deflection a piece of 3/8" steel plate had?After the bracing with the tube. there is no more deflection.IMG_1120IMG_1122


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Half inch, on mine... Yeah, Rick. I was amazed that it moved. I like your captured bolt idea but I think the spring is easier. Also, the Woodward machine I have had grease zerks as delivered, a nice touch.

I finished the spreader/depth guide and made the T handle for the depth bolt yesterday and now we're on to the motorization project. I started a thread in the Technical General section to glean advice on that.



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@LI-Rick I'll hammer and dolly the corner a little more, to bring it out a quarter inch at the apex and smooth the folds, then run the edge through the bead roller and/or use a shrinking disc. They'll go away.

As it turned out I missed my mark at the front of the piece, mistakenly thinking I had a little wiggle room up there. So I had to remove the fold and then fold it over again about a quarter inch inside. I cut the buck down just a skosh to avoid that mistake on the next one.

Test fitting again...


Basically we're there. I still have to turn that inside edge under; I made a little guide out of aluminum tube to aid in that endeavor. Then just smooth out the wrinkles on that corner and a tap out couple little dings on the leading edge.

I got some galvanized steel stock to make the pin holders with. The sockets will be the same things the Speedsters use to plug in the side curtains. I need to source a couple more German Tenax buttons and drill with precision to locate them on the front of the piece.

I think this is going to work.


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Last edited by edsnova

Spent another couple hours hammering and test fitting today. I turned the inside edge around a piece of tubing I curved in a vice.



I pushed out the rear outside corner a little and smacked a high spot along the back edge.


The fit is now just about right.


I need to wait until my shrinking disc gets here to knock down the little dings along the front edge of the piece. I may also have to put a little work into the field area in front of the rear outside corner to make the transition curve regular and smooth.

Ordered three new German Tenax lift buttons and started making my rear pin carriers. The pins are just cut bolts and the carriers are galvanized stock. They'll each get four rivets as original.

Honestly I'm thinking of making a batch of these if there's interest.


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