People Who Have Made A Difference:
Ron's workshops and sheetmetal tech articles—including the Professor Hammer column that has been running in SR since 1995—have made metalshapers out of thousands of readers.
Around 1985, after being a faithful reader and subscriber of STREET RODDER magazine for years (and seeing some of my work featured in its pages) I wondered if I might be able to write an article about metalworking. I ran this idea by Tom Vogele, (former editor of SR) and he strongly encouraged me to submit something!
While I knew metalworking quite well, writing was a skill I hadn't mastered yet. Fortunately, I had a good friend at the time who was a master technical writer, and she strongly encouraged me to write an article, with the promise that she would give me any help I needed.
I was building a set of gas tanks for a '32 Ford roadster at the time, and I thought perhaps that would make an interesting article. I have a vivid memory of sitting at my desk with a pile of photos spread out in front of me, with a pen and yellow legal pad in my hands, wondering how and where to start describing the intricate process. It was a full hour until I scrawled my first words onto the page, and after re-reading my first few sentences, I tore off the page, balled it up, and tossed it into the corner. After another hour, a few more sentences, and a growing pile of balled-up paper, I called my friend Trish over, and she read through my first scribbles. She offered a few pointers on organizing my thoughts and on finding my own style, and I was ready to try again.
I think I went through a couple of legal pads before the article started working for me, but I could see how a little change here and there could really make a difference, and I quickly picked up a sense of how the proper selection of words could create a clear picture in the reader's head.
When Brian Brennan came onboard as editor, he started bringing me some additional topics for technical articles, which I've loved, and I took particular delight in doing the series on Hollywood Hot Rods' recent build of the Road Tour '40. It's been a joy to be involved with this group of always-creative builders for years, and to see the new trends develop over time. I look forward to many more years of working with SR!