Sheetmetal fabrication sometimes seems like magic. Watching a talented tinworker turn a sheet of steel into something like a cool firewall is like watching a magician turn a handkerchief into a dove. It's not really magic-it's a combination of manual skill and mental problem solving.

Hot Rods & Hobbies in Signal Hill, California, is one of the best shops around when it comes to sheetmetal fabrication. We were there to watch Brian Stone build a custom firewall for a '37 Ford Fordor sedan. The stock firewall was still in the car, but a Ford crate engine and 4R70W transmission were ready to be dropped into place and would not fit with the factory firewall (and a new radiator and fan had to fit up front). The new firewall would need to be recessed several inches-and a whole combo of compound curves would present a few more challenges. In addition to fitting right, the new firewall had to look right too.

The buildup was a series of slow steps-measuring, fabricating, remeasuring, fitting, and refitting. The procedures Stone went through were specific to this project, and the level of skill needed to get it done is probably a bit beyond the typical hobbyist, so instead of tracing every step of the build (we'd need a book for that) we're fast forwarding through the job to show you some of the tricks Stone used and some of the tools he fabricated to turn some rectangular pieces of sheetmetal into a work of art. Maybe there are a few tricks you can pick up to improve your own metalwork skills.

SOURCE
Hot Rods & Hobbies
Long Beach
CA
562-424-9425
http://www.hotrodsandhobbies.net