Rod & Custom “Kustomizers” Employ the HF Cut-Off Tool

Cutting 2 inches from the door’s edge with the Central Pneumatic cutoff tool.

Ardent car customizers are extreme when it comes to modifying their rods– and there’s no custom work more complicated and drastic than sectioning.

In the November 2012 issue of Rod & Custom, the “kustomizers” at Star Kustom Shop go all-guns with sectioning a ’51 Chevy hardtop-turned-roadster.

“The owner of the car is after a section that doesn’t just downsize the car and keep factory proportions, Instead, he’s after something that will downplay the bulkiness of the body while accentuating other features. What we came up with is a section that will do just that.”

Without giving anything away, let me just say this baby took a LOT of amazing work– and one of the “stars” in the sectioning process was the Central Pneumatic 3″ High Speed Cut-Off Tool.

The little, mighty cut-off tool reaches a max speed of 18,000 RPM and, besides car bodies, can rip through heavy straps, exhaust systems and sheet metal. One customer told us:

“I bought this to remove rusted bolts on my boat trailer from launching in salt water. This thing is ARE YOU KIDDING PERFECT!! I had 6 bolts cut off in mins. I used 80 pounds of air, with a 20-gallon tank, and it worked perfect. VERY IMPRESSED!” (caps included)

Another added:

“I bought this a few years ago to work on getting an exhaust system apart. Like a hot knife through butter.”

Pick yourself up a copy of the November Rod & Custom and check out the article, entitled, “Weight Watchers.” It’s filled with great detail and multiple photos to follow the sectioning process. And while you’re at it, get your cutoff tool at Harbor Freight– at only $9.99 it’ll be one of the best investments in your garage!

That’s the Gift That Keeps on Giving the Whole Year, Clark

Once again, we see how Harbor Freight is a favorite toy store for tool heads.

Recently on The Garage Journal forum, a member wrote how his boss gave him a $200 Harbor Freight gift card for his birthday, and asked what he should get with it. The replies, of course, were all over the place: 44” rolling cabinet, swivel-head ratchet, composite ratchet, and other Pittsburgh PRO ratchets, 1” belt & 5″ disc combination sander, 2-ton engine hoist, 20-ton shop press, 4”x6” horizontal/vertical metal-cutting band saw, blast cabinet3/8″ Central Pneumatic Earthquake air ratchet, cutoff discs, grinding wheels, welding gloves, dead blow hammers, cable ties, sandpaper, rip and claw hammers, magnetic LED palm-sized light, shrink tubing

It reminded me of when my Aunt Anita sent me $5 and the guys were all telling me how to blow it (“Hot Wheels!” “GI Joe!” “Silly Putty!”).

The lucky birthday boy ended up getting the US General 700 Lbs. Capacity Five Drawer Tool Cart–which has a 4.5-star rating with 112 reviews and, by the way, costs exactly $199.99! Then he created a dead-serious custom welder cart with it (and did a damn fine job)!

How would you spend YOUR $200 Harbor Freight gift card?

 

Car Restoration Tools Every Garage Needs

It’s funny how, as you get older, you start doing all the cool stuff you wanted to do when you were a punk teenager. Back in the 70’s we were all car crazy, and many’s the time I envied the guys in the neighborhood who were out on their front lawns, working on their Dodge Challengers or GTO “Goats”—

—not just because they HAD them (which would have been enough), but because they could actually work on them. Somehow, they managed to have the tools and supplies it took to keep their wheels “cherry.” Nowadays, though, when you hear (and feel) a carb-powered 426 Hemi thundering down the road, it’s a geezer you’re more likely to see behind the wheel than a punk. And chances are that geezer is one of us.

Classic car restoration is more popular than ever, and with the help of online parts stores, chat forums and YouTube videos, guys who thought they’d never get to rebuild their favorite classic rides are now living in their garages (and on their lawns), doing just that.

If you’ve decided to restore a vehicle yourself, I salute you. Not only will you save thousands of dollars, you’ll be embarking on a long, challenging– even therapeutic– journey that will reap dividends for years to come. But before we start doing that victory lap to “We Are the Champions,” let me suggest some basic tools you’ll want right out of the gate to make the dream a reality (unless, of course, you like repeatedly going back & forth to the store when you’re in the middle of something):

The Must-Have Tool

The Air Compressor will quickly become your best friend over the course of your restoration. It’s the first thing you’ll need to get for your arsenal. Between the Die Grinder, Paint Sprayer and Impact Wrench, you’re going to get a lot of use out of it and, believe me, you’ll thank yourself every time you’ve got a big chore that you don’t have to do manually. It needs to have a decent enough CFM—at least 5-6 CFM per minute at 90 psi– so that the long bursts of sanding, buffing or cutting won’t wear too hard on the compressor. You could get the job done with a 29-Gallon Tank Unit, but if you can swing it, go for a 60-Gallon Compressor, with power to spare. By the way, the Die Grinder is great for polishing the inside of the head ports, cleaning up metal and using with a cut-off wheel to repair panels.

Engine Work

A Compression Tester will help diagnose vital motor issues, such as worn piston rings, burnt valves and bad head gaskets.  This is a great first tool to use when you get your new project car home. You can even take it with you to test a car before you buy it!

While it’s not vital for the project, you may want to consider picking up a “cherry-picker” Engine Hoist, especially if you’re planning to restore more than one vehicle. A good 2-Ton Shop Crane should be sufficient, and will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Most likely, you should have the cylinders re-bored. A cylinder bore gauge is needed to check for taper, out-of-round and oversize on the cylinders if you are rebuilding the motor yourself. Any critical wear on the cylinder can be reached with this gauge. An Engine Cylinder Hone will de-glaze the cylinder walls and give them a nice, smooth finish.

Next, you’ll want a valve spring compressor to remove the valves for a rebuild. Also a cheap valve lapping tool, with grinding compound, helps reseat the valves.

Piston Ring Pliers will help you remove and replace the rings on the pistons without breaking them. A Piston Ring Compressor is needed for the installation of the pistons. Also, a piston groove cleaner will remove the carbon crud from the piston grooves.

A Dial Indicator is used to measure run-out on things like the flywheel, and endplay on the crankshaft. While there are various types of mounts, including magnetic base and screw mounts, I recommend the clamping mount because it’s faster and easier to work with.

Next, a Stud Puller is a must for removing stripped, rusted and otherwise stubborn head studs, as well as exhaust & intake manifold studs.

Another tool you cannot live without is the Torque Wrench—two, actually. Get both a 1/2″ drive and 3/8″ drive for your tool cabinet. These are essential to torque all your bolts to factory specs.

Have a complete Tap and Die Set on hand, preferably with both SAE & metric. You’ll find this invaluable for cleaning up old bolts and restoring rusted holes.

A good Digital Micrometer is needed to precisely measure anything.

Body Work

MIG Welder. You won’t get through a restoration job without it. Why a MIG welder, as opposed to another type? Well, for starters, if you’re new to this kind of project, the MIG is the easiest to learn. Also, they work with the most common types of metals, overhead welding is easier, and the MIG welder works fast.

You’ll also want a Hammer & Dolly Set, otherwise known as a “Body & Fender Set.” These tools go a long way in repairing and straightening steel panels, and all-around custom fab work. This one, made by Pittsburgh, probably has the best price you’re going to find, and one look at the customer reviews should convince you there’s no need to keep looking.

A Step Drill is essential to make quick, clean work out of drilling large diameter holes for auto-body jobs such as installing chrome trim, and for firewall holes.

A Spot Weld Cutter works great in restoration projects and does just what its name implies. Also, a Plumber’s Torch is great for softening and shaping metal.

As you work on your project, you’ll find a Bench Grinder and Drill Press are extremely helpful in the auto restoration process.  Plus, a Wire Wheel on the grinder is a must and makes cleaning up parts quick and simple.

Additional Work

Make sure you include various Brake Tools, a Tubing Bender and brake flare tool.

Finally, get a Creeper, Paint Stripper, Transmission Jack, Dent Repair Kit, and a Comprehensive Mechanics Tool Kit, and you’ll be equipped to tackle most everything involved in your car restoration, as well as many other future projects. Of course, you’ll inevitably be needing cleaners, sealants, lubricants and the odd part along the way, but consider yourself the proud owner of an equipped auto restoration garage.

Now, get out there and make that Vega Funny Car a reality!

Save Time with this Pneumatic Scraper Kit

This heavy duty 6 piece pneumatic scraper kit includes everything you need to quickly and easily remove gaskets, paint, rust, glue and other materials without damaging metal surfaces. Complete with 5 scraping blades, the pneumatic scraper requires 4 CFM @ 90 PSI of compressed air and delivers up to 3500 blows per minute. This high quality scraper also includes a built-in regulator to adjust the force of impact. Learn how to safely and effectively use a pneumatic scraper with this instructional video. You can save yourself a ton of effort next time you have to scrape off gasket material from an engine or prep metal for paint with this air scraper tool.

Super Duty Air Hammer with Chisels

This super duty air hammer and chisel kit will help you get the job done quickly whether you’re removing a tile floor or splitting welds or rivets. This professional quality pneumatic air hammer is 6-7/8″ long, for more power and easy grip. It comes with nine high carbon steel chisels that can deliver up to 3,000 blows per minute. Learn how to properly operate an air hammer in this great how to video.

3 Inch Variable Speed Air Cutter Basics

Central Pnuematics 3″ die grinder/air cutter (#47077) tool is a fantastic addition to any toolbox. With variable speed control, rear exhaust and speeds up to 18,000 RPM, this air cutter tool helps cut through metal quickly and safely. The Harbor Freight die grinder tool requires 90 PSI, and at least 5.5 CFM.  Don’t forget to order your selection of metal cutting wheels.  You should also check out our great selection of air compressors as well.

Save 35% on this Deluxe Airbrush Kit

deluxe airbrush kitThis week we’re highlighting this Deluxe Airbrush Kit from Central Pneumatic (SKU 95810), which is now only $12.99 until October 31 when you use the coupon code below.

This professional quality chrome-plated brass airbrush with anodized aluminum needle cover has the following features:

  • Airbrush, jar, metal cup and case
  • Designed for general purpose use
  • Slim, comfortable grip
  • Easy-to-clean anodized aluminum housing
  • 30 PSI continuous working pressure
  • Adjustable air flow control
  • Comes with 22 cc glass jar, 5 cc metal cup, storage case, metal hanger

So use code 91325269 when you check out with this deluxe airbrush kit in your online cart or just click on the coupon below in order to get 35% off this item from the Harbor Freight website! This offer lasts through October 31, 2011.*

*Online quantity limit: 1. For other limitations, please see coupon below.

deluxe airbrush kit coupon

Save 37% on this Air Punch Flange Tool

air punch flange toolThis week we’re highlighting the Air Punch Flange Tool from Central Pneumatic (SKU 1110), which is now only $24.99 until October 24.

This useful flange tool can cut fabrication time in half. It also has:

  • a heavy duty head that rotates 360° to easily crimp flanges or lap joint sheets and pipes
  • the ability to punch accurate 3/16″ holes for fasteners or welding
  • 16 gauge steel capacity

So use code 22979524 when you check out with the air punch flange tool in your online cart or just click on the coupon below. You will get 37% off this item* from the Harbor Freight website! This offer lasts through October 24, 2011.

*Online quantity limit: 1. For other limitations, please see coupon below.

air punch flange tool coupon

Save 40% on this 3/8″ Impact Wrench

impact wrenchThis week we’re highlighting the 3/8″ Impact Wrench from Central Pneumatic (SKU 93296), which is now only$17.99 until October 10.

Get 60 ft. lbs. of driving force in a wrench that weighs less than 3 lbs! The impact wrench’s compact size gets right into engines. Here are some other key features:

  • One-hand reversible action
  • Positive action trigger
  • Built-in power regulator
  • Lightweight cast aluminum housing

So use code 98705731 when you check out with the 3/8 inch impact wrench in your online cart or just click on the coupon below. You will get 40% off this item* from the Harbor Freight website! This offer lasts through October 10, 2011.

*Online quantity limit: 1. For other limitations, please see coupon below.

impact wrench coupon

Save 28% on this 3 Gallon, 100 psi Oilless Air Compressor!

This week, we’re highlighting the 1/3 HP, 3 Gallon, 100 PSI Oilless Air Compressor (SKU 97080) from Central Pneumatic.

oilless air compressorThis air compressor is great for brad nailing, stapling, inflating, or air brushing. Here are some key features:

  • Low maintenance oilless design
  • Air delivery: 0.6 SCFM at 90 PSI, 1 SCFM at 40 PSI
  • Cut-in pressure: 85 PSI, Cut-out pressure: 100 PSI
  • Easy-to-read gauges
  • Thermal overload protection
  • Includes quick connect coupler

So use code 42329329 when you check out with the oilless air compressor in your online cart or just click on the coupon below. You will get 28% off this item* from the Harbor Freight website! This offer lasts through September 5, 2011.

*Online quantity limit: 1. For other limitations, please see coupon below.

oilless air compressor coupon