Straightening metal is a pretty simple process when you break it down. You hit on the metal to move it around how you want. So you just need any hammer and dolly to start pounding on your project right? Wrong. Once you get past wrecking metal and just smashing on it with a hammer to “get it close” you’ll find that those hammers and dollies that came in your basic auto body kit don’t work in every situation.
Back when cars were made of heavy metal and had lots of beautiful curves guys took the time to repair a fender rather than just replace it. Any good metal worker will tell you that you need to match the hammer and dolly as close as possible with the shape of your panel you’re working on. When you’re working on a curvy car like something from the late 1930’s through the 1950’s you will be hard pressed to find a flat panel on the vehicle. This means that you will need to use tools to match. Back in those days the selection of specialty hammers were vast, some being specifically used for one type of car or type of repair!
As the years went by the demand for these types of specialty hammers and dollies has slowly dwindled until 99% of the auto body tool companies (including Eastwood) discontinued these hammers and dollies. These days most of the body hammers available are the same 4-5 styles with the only difference being the quality of the hammer face and the balance of the hammer. Almost a year ago we started talking with some professional metal shapers and coach builders and the topic of how expensive vintage specialty body hammers have become. Some of these guys and gals were paying over $100 for a heavily worn hammer! As we do with a lot of products, we saw a need and a problem we could solve. This is how our newest addition of what I like to call “Intermediate” Hammers and Dollies came to the Fairmount tool line. We felt these met closely with some of the vintage and custom hammers that we saw guys Professional using in their shops. I decided to introduce these and explain where and why you could use these on your next project.
Let’s be honest, some designs are so perfect why mess with perfection? This hammer is a replica of a vintage discontinued Snap-on/Blue Point BF 615 hammer that is very collectible. The used, vintage versions regularly sell for $100+ on eBay! Aside from being a bargain, these hammers have some great, useful features. This hammer has two different heads with a high crown in different shapes. This allows you to get into the edge of doors, fenders, roofs, etc to work an area smooth where a round, low crown hammer would hit on the edges of the hammer. These hammers also can move/stretch metal more quickly than a low crown hammer because they have a smaller, more focused impact area that moves metal quicker than with a low crown hammer. This is because when you use a low crown hammer the force of impact is distributed across 2-3 times the area than with a high crown, thus reducing how much the metal is stretched or moved. I like to use these high crown hammers to work on a very small high spot I need to work out that a low or medium crown hammer would potentially hit the entire area of the face of the hammer instead of right on the high spot. This hammer is probably one of the best additions to round out your hammer and dolly arsenal, and for $20 a lot cheaper than a nearly worn-out vintage hammer!
Going the other direction this hammer has a completely flat square face with sharp corners. Use this hammer to “fine tune” a panel with only minimal inconsistencies or to hammer a weld flat when “hammer welding”. The square head with sharp corners allows you to hammer and work the corner of a panel that round hammer couldn’t get into. As an additional feature the back side of the hammer flat to allow extra room for swinging in confined areas. This hammer would be a great go-to hammer if you’re trying to hammer weld a seam flat.
This hammer has the same square head and blunt backside as the flat dressing hammer so it can get into tight areas or sharp corners. The difference is that the face of the hammer has a long sweeping “medium” crown to it that allows for fitting in tight areas with a curve. It also allows for accuracy pinpointing your hits on a small area. This medium sweeping radius is similar to what you will see on many spots on front fenders, door skins, etc. on older cars.
This hammer has a tall rectangular head with sharp corners and a blunt backside that allows you to get into tight corners or in vertical areas that need to be raised. This has a fairly high crown much like the one face of the 15724 but with a larger head with sharp corners. This hammer would be great for working a panel like a fender or rear quarter that has a lot of shape to it where a round hammer would hit on the edges. I also like to use this hammer in the character lines of door jams and door edges, it is a more gentle solution to the pick or chisel end of a body hammer.
This dolly has an ergonomic shape that makes it easy to hold in confined spaces. It is small in shape so it’s easy to maneuver in tight spaces like behind quarter panels or up inside of a door. This is one of the best “all purpose” dollies as it has 4 potential striking surfaces. It features a medium-high crown striking surface on one side and a completely flat surface for flattening high spots and hammering a weld seam on the other. The edges of each side of the dolly can be used for a striking surface when you need to work a tight area or to get up into a character line or peak in a body panel. This is probably my favorite dolly and paired with a kidney or loaf shaped dolly you can back up 90% of the panels you work.
If you really want to round out your auto body tools picking up this new selection of hammers and dolly will make your life a lot easier when working on all of the different shapes you’ll encounter on your next project. If you have an old discontinued tool or specialized item that’s been very hard to find or overly expensive, let us know we’re always looking for new ideas!