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Old 03-02-2010, 06:48 PM   #1
Deuce3wcpe
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Default PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

I posted this up on the HAMB last weekend and it was suggested that I run it here also. I was not familiar with this site, but it looks really interesting. Since these are my own musings, I will use this as my combination introduction/first post:

Many years ago I was handed down my grand pop’s collection of Popular Mechanics magazines. Among the mix was this Hot Rod Handbook of 1954. I remember when I got to this one page I just stopped and stared…”The Handy Hot Rod Workshop”. I scrutinized every detail; the neatly arranged benches, those old incandescent lights with porcelain shades hanging from the ceiling, the essential hand tools and machinery strategically placed , and best - one neat little hot rod to wrench on. It was beautiful in its simplicity. The stuff that dreams are made of. "Wow", I thought....If I could just have that, that's all I would really ever need.
Fast forward 30 years...along the way I got to build my dream shop, only it had to be three times the square footage with three times the equipment and over time, three times the cars. Oh yeah, and three times the headaches. It had to have a lift and heat and even a window a/c unit just in case I might start to sweat. Parts and pieces of future project cars that only exist in my mind are crammed under benches or hanging on the walls and boxes of stuff - I forget what's even in them - are stacked to the rafters in the upstairs loft.
Well, we're snowed in here. I’m stuck in the house and I'm bored, so today I started looking through my library of old books. I came across that 1954 Hot Rod Handbook and turned to the same page again. Just like I did thirty years ago I stopped and stared at it , scrutinizing every detail…..and just like thirty years ago I thought "Wow", if I could just have that, that's all I would really ever need.

[




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Old 03-02-2010, 07:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Yea I can relate to all that ! for sure..Be nice if we could make it that simple..Cool book and wecome..I came here first then end'ed up at the hamb ...LOL
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

awesome first post
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Funny how a home garage of the 50's would have a valve grinding machine. Why then not a brake lathe?

Anyway, priorities have changed.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

I have an old one, it's a future resto project.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:55 PM   #6
Jack Olsen
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

I love it. My layout is actually pretty close to that (although I'm not set up for the engine work):



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Old 03-02-2010, 11:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Cool
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Old 03-02-2010, 11:18 PM   #8
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

every shop had a small lathe back then, now most don't. I find it funny because around Christmas time I read a article about how every shop had a lathe and that is the one tool that has gone out of favor now. Back then they turned stuff, now lathe work is thought of by many people as a specialist job and don't do it, this article (great one by the way) has a lathe in the corner.

My lathe is behind my car but other than that I have about the same setup.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Yeah, I'm in the same boat.
Big shop, too cluttered to work in. I committed the Cardinal Sin: I started working on cars in there before I finished construction, so it's been un-usable for about 6 years.

I just cleaned out the 2-car on the house, and it's got a small compressor, a blast cabinet, a simple sheetmetal brake, my welder, and a HUGE lathe. It's also got my '73 Duster on a rotisserie, and for the first time since we were married 12 years ago, my wife is able to park her car in the garage. (It helps that it's a small '61 Corvair station wagon).

I just put a front floorpan in the Duster, and really enjoyed having a nice, neat, simple work shop. Cleaned up each nice before turning in. I'm building the Duster in the shop, partly out of necessity, and partly to show in the magazine articles I'm writing that it the average guy can do a frame-off in a 2-car garage.

-Brad
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:33 AM   #10
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

[QUOTE=Jack Olsen;802441]I love it. My layout is actually pretty close to that (although I'm not set up for the engine work):

That was the first thing I thought of! You are an old sole I guess ;-P BTW I like your German hot rod better!
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:39 AM   #11
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyr View Post
every shop had a small lathe back then, now most don't.
I'm going put one in the plan for my future shop. I'll have to take some classes to learn how to use it. Machine work is one part of my skill set that is lacking. Looking forward to learning something new.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

I am a firm believer that every shop should have a lathe, so much of what is part and parcel of a car or bike can made or repaired with a lathe.

Steve


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Old 03-03-2010, 05:30 AM   #13
Deuce3wcpe
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Olsen View Post
I love it. My layout is actually pretty close to that (although I'm not set up for the engine work):
..hey that shop IS pretty damn close to the sketch...looks great.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in SoCal View Post
I am a firm believer that every shop should have a lathe, so much of what is part and parcel of a car or bike can made of repaired with a lathe.
[/QUOTE]



...a Monarch?!!..man that's the Rolls Royce of engine lathes. I was a machinist for EXXON research and had the pleasure of operating one of those...had to wait for all the old Germans to retire before I could "call dibs" on one.......
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Old 03-03-2010, 06:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

What the tool box is smaller than the parts washer?
Where's the welding stuff?
Seriously though, back in the day before internet parts houses, I can see the value of a lathe. What's kind of sad is the loss of the fabrication skills a lathe meant. Thanks for sharing
I remember as a kid in the 60s and 70s that Hot Rod magazine's May or June issue would feature tool articles and garage layout articles similiar to the one from PM.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:31 AM   #15
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Magazine articles such as this are what dreams are fashioned after. In the 50's most car hobbyists could only daydream of such a garage. Some things never change. But I'd imagine that today a car lift would be the norm.

From my experience owning a small lathe is the handiest machine to own after a small drill press. Keeping things in perspective,, a valve grinder is not so unrealistic then. Before the advent of unleaded gasoline and better alloy steel. An engine would need a valve job before 40,000 miles...

Here's my Sioux valve grinder and seat grinder.. .



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Old 03-03-2010, 09:45 AM   #16
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

I really like this layout. I'm mentally rearranging some of the stuff crammed into my two car shop...maybe, just maybe this could work.

I definitely agree a small lathe is a must have item for building cars. Of course it's a slippery slope...you start with a drill press, then get a lathe, then a mill...and pretty soon you have a whole shop full of iron...and no room to work on the car.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:31 AM   #17
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

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I really like this layout. I'm mentally rearranging some of the stuff crammed into my two car shop...maybe, just maybe this could work.

I definitely agree a small lathe is a must have item for building cars. Of course it's a slippery slope...you start with a drill press, then get a lathe, then a mill...and pretty soon you have a whole shop full of iron...and no room to work on the car.
My garage is close to the size in the mag 20X25, being a foot narrower and 5 feet deeper. I have a washer/dryer and HVAC in the garage that eats up 50 square feet. In the garage I have a lathe, mill, vertical band saw, drill press, arbor press, belt sander, tig welder, torches, 80 gallon vertical air compressor and, 45X24" tool chest. I also have two 30X60 work benches, a 6 foot wide shelf unit and a couple other small rolling carts. With all that in the garage; I can comfortably work on one car apart or park two cars when no work is in progress.

Having limited space forces you to be creative ask Jack O about that; would I like more room sure but, don't let the size of your garage limit your imagination. I was playing with the idea of adding another mill, my machine has no quill. I don't have much space left but, I do have a few feet between my water heater, tool chest and band saw!!

Steve
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:39 AM   #18
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

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Originally Posted by Fedwrench View Post
Seriously though, back in the day before internet parts houses, I can see the value of a lathe. What's kind of sad is the loss of the fabrication skills a lathe meant.
Some of us can't get parts from the parts house, we deal with cars that no one else has heard of or rare cars that only a few of were built so that lathe is still needed. And I agree that it is sad that the skills are going away, too many skills are going away from the average person.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:57 AM   #19
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Lathes are just like a boat, better than owning one is having a friend own it.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: PM's Handy Hot Rod Workshop of 1954

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in SoCal View Post
My garage is close to the size in the mag 20X25, being a foot narrower and 5 feet deeper. I have a washer/dryer and HVAC in the garage that eats up 50 square feet. In the garage I have a lathe, mill, vertical band saw, drill press, arbor press, belt sander, tig welder, torches, 80 gallon vertical air compressor and, 45X24" tool chest. I also have two 30X60 work benches, a 6 foot wide shelf unit and a couple other small rolling carts. With all that in the garage; I can comfortably work on one car apart or park two cars when no work is in progress.

Having limited space forces you to be creative ask Jack O about that; would I like more room sure but, don't let the size of your garage limit your imagination. I was playing with the idea of adding another mill, my machine has no quill. I don't have much space left but, I do have a few feet between my water heater, tool chest and band saw!!

Steve
Steve,

I would be really interested in seeing some pictures of your layout...I am constantly struggling with how to fit stuff in my 22' x 22' two car. I have to suck it up for about another year until we break ground on a detached shop...

I have a lathe, mill, drill press, TIG, tube bender, bead roller, large sheet metal punch, 36" x 96" bench, vertical band saw, tool chests etc. and barely have room for the project car I'm working on. It was a major undertaking to make enough space to get an engine stand in place so I can set up a dummy block to build an oil pan.

Thanks.

Graham
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