Sponsored By:
The Eastwood Company
(800) 345-1178

Metalwork is as challenging an effort as any of us can attempt on our hot rod. Generally speaking, it is difficult, as it requires experience, which requires loads of practice. Additionally, should you screw up, the unscrewing can be both daunting and expensive. By making sure one has the right tools is always a good way to go about learning.

One of the more popular metalworking tools is a shear. There’s the Beverly shear, which is ideal for cutting along a straight line or curving line (no tight radius). Its limitation surfaces most notable by the size of panel that you can hold with one hand while operating the shear handle by pulling with the other. For cutting along long-straight stretches of sheetmetal there’s nothing like a stomp shear. But what about all of those smaller jobs, which there are numerous on a hot rod project?

Eastwood Electric Shears (PN 13475)

We had an opportunity to watch an Eastwood Electric Shear (there’s also an Eastwood air shear) in action at our northern offices located in the potato fields of Rigby, Idaho, at Radford Auto Body owned and run by fellow rodder and Bonneville racer, Colin Radford. (Meals are also served by Sue Radford, making this the high point of any of our Idaho-based projects.)

The Eastwood electric shear ($59.99) is easy to use and will handle metal thickness from about 14- to 20-gauge (higher the number the thinner the metal). When using the shear on 18- and 20-gauge it should be like cutting through butter. When cutting 14- and 16-gauge you may find yourself being more careful about how tight of a radius you try and cut and also may find using a few drops of machine oil every so often will allow the blade’s help to prevent the blades from “biting” the metal; makes cutting much easier and cleaner.

The Eastwood shear jaws that will cut on straight or waving lines with little or no problem and for more complex cutting situations the jaws also rotate 360 degrees. This electric shear has a 120V variable speed motor capable of rpm adjustment from 0- to 2,500-rpm speed. The blade removes a 3/16-inch width of metal (no metal deformity); make sure you cut on the “right” side of the metal you are trimming.

Should you find yourself going through a set of blades, and you will, there is a replacement blade kit (PN 13474) that contains three pieces; two side plates and a center blade. The blades can be changed in a matter of minutes as two Allen bolts hold them in place.

This is one of those tools that once you have you will find yourself using a great deal more than first anticipated. It’s a toolbox must for any build project.

Eastwood Tech Tip:

If you’re using a jack and/or jackstands on asphalt, put the jack or jackstands on a plywood base to keep the jack or ’stands from sinking in the asphalt and leaving marks.

Blair Rotabroach Cutter Kit (PN 11099)

It’s gonna be a long time before any of us takes on any project where a hole of varying size isn’t needed. There are many reasons why a hole is needed in your hot rod project so you had best learn how to do it and have the right tools.

We happen to be in the tech center when we were watching with great amusement as Rod & Custom Tech Editor Kev Elliott was readying his car for Bonneville. It was the usual thrash and of course the rest of us watched with great interest but little help. (Magazine guys are so helpful to one another!) He was working on the hood and needed to drill some holes to attach the capture wire for the Dzus fasteners he was installing. This was also made a bit more difficult as at one end he was drilling into the cowl section and wanted to make sure he didn’t drill “too far” through and damage electrics and other under cowl components already mounted. The other end of the hood was going to attach to the grille shell and he “really” didn’t want to drill too far and end up with an “extra” hole in the radiator. In a perfect world you would want to place the object to be drilled in a drill press and proceed to drill precise holes. What to do?

Blair Tool Company makes just the right tool; actually they make a number of these handy cutting tools. We opted for the Rotabroach Master Kit ($310; there are small kits that range well below $100) that will cut 16 holes from 1/4 to 3/4 inch. The kits are all designed to provide you with the right sizes of hole cutters that are needed to accomplish specific tasks. Arbors fit 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch handheld drills and use either spring-loaded pilots or skip-proof pilots, which eliminate predrilling operations. We found they also work well in your drill press.

The Rotabroach annular tool is designed to cut a clean, burr-free, round hole unlike a twist drill that leaves a ragged edge around the new hole. Because they’re hollow, they cut around the edge of the hole, so less work is required and no deforming of material or jagged edges occur. Multiple cutting teeth are precision ground instead of stamped like hole saws, which gives long tool life.

Rotabroach Cutters are for precision hole making in sheetmetal, frame materials, and plate stock up to 1/2-inch thick in all sorts of metal material, such as mild steel, stainless, or aluminum. They are a patented tooth geometry, which prevents chip clogging when cutting steel, sheetmetal, or plastics.

Once again, the right tool for the job does make the process so much easier with the end results always a plus.

Blair Equipment Company
P.O. Box 2005
MI  48501
Eastwood Company
263 Shoemaker Road
PA  19464