Last year I tried out some new building techniques on a 1957 Ford Gasser and I found that I really enjoyed them. I built a front axle, leaf springs and steering linkage out of aluminum, stainless tubing and flat stock. I had a good time doing it so I built some headers out of copper wire and did some soldering, something I have limited skill with. Like most things soldering takes practice so I'm confident that I will improve. On my latest build I'm going to use brass for several suspension parts so soldering has become more important. It also amazes me how much I like making parts and creating assemblies from scratch. It's also pretty cool how real they look, much better than kit parts. To me that has become the fun, seeing how I can "improve" a kit with scratchbuilt parts.
One of the first things I figured out was that I needed tools to work with other materials. I've noticed how model car guys will spend $100 to buy a bunch of kits and cheap out when it comes to tools. We all have 100+ kits in the stash that we have thousands of dollars invested in, but heaven forbid we skip a few purchases and buy some quality tools. I've been guilty of it and I recently decided to spend some cash on tools so I bought a lathe and then a jeweler's mini drill press. The lathe is kind of a luxury item for now until I really develop my building skills, but the drill press became a necessity after spending several hour drilling holes in brass by hand and then working the cramp out of my hand. Pin vices are not designed to be used for long periods of time. I'm also thinking a need a better way to cut brass and aluminum other than a miter box and hand saw. Also on the wish list is a mill, but I'll have to wait at least a year to save up the money.
So my goal is to have a miniature machine shop in my basement and to build some pretty cool stuff. I'm as concerned about winning contests as I am about really having fun building. The scratchbuilding bug has bit me and I like where I'm headed with it. The photos are of my latest project, a 1962 T-Bird AWB Gasser that I'm building a straight axle front suspension and leaf springs. After looking at how cool it looks I guess I'm going to do the rear suspension too. Until next time.
"Rat Fink" Ron