In reading the craftsmanship essay that Hans pointed out, I looked
at the rest of the TinManTech site.
The guy does autobody work. (and well too…) This reminded me of a
question I’ve had for the past few months… That world uses a "C"
frame roller widget called an English Wheel to do a lot of their
shaping. Or at least that’s what they think they’re doing.
I started out as a silversmith, and learned to move forms with a
hammer, even big ones. (I did a lot of reenactor armour for a
while.) I never had access to an English wheel, so I never really
learned how (or why) to use one. I had a theory of what I thought
they were doing, based on what they claimed to be able to accomplish
with these things. (Namely: to be able to “roll” a synclastic curve
into a piece of sheet metal.)
Now I do have access to one, and I’ve played with it a bit. I can’t
figure out why you’d use it. Near as I can tell, it’s a glorified
ironing board. All I’ve ever seen anybody do (in front of me) is use
it to “iron out” wrinkles. Imagine planishing with rollers. They bash
the basic curve in with a mallet & sandbag (having never heard of a
dishing stump) and then use the English wheel to iron out the
wrinkles that are the natural consequence of poor dishing technique.
Radically reducing the radii of the curve in the process. Yet,
somehow, to at least the autobody guys I’m coming to know, this
qualifies as a “good” thing, and they congratulate themselves on how
much of a curve they’ve “rolled” into the metal. Yet, what they
really did was iron out at least half of the bend they put into it
to start with, but had to roller-planish because of all the wrinkles.
(that were caused by poor hammer technique.)
Anybody every played with one of these things seriously? Am I missing
something? What’re they supposed to be able to do?