You may not realize it, but many of our Eastwood tools are dreamt up and prototyped the same way you build things at home. We have a problem or see a need for a tool to help do a job right and we build something ourselves. I recently needed to shrink the edge of a panel that was on a vehicle and I couldn’t get a shrinker stretcher on it to shrink. An alternative method is to “Tuck-Shrink” the area and use a hammer and dolly to shrink the metal into itself. I decided to make my own homemade tuck shrink tool from some old tools for free I had laying around and show you the process.
I started by gathering two similar sized unloved punches and a longer chisel from the bottom of a drawer in the toolbox. I then used a sander and rounded all of the edges smoothed everything out, leaving the gradual taper in the punches.
Next I clamped the two punches together and ran a weld puddle with the TIG 200 in the valley between the two punches on both sides leaving the tapered area open. There should still be a slight valley in that seam after welding the punches together and a small gap between the tapered portions of the punches.
Then I laid the round end of the old chisel across the center weld overlapping about 3/4 of the punches. I welded on either side of the punch securing it to the chisels. You will a bunch of extra length on the chisel/bar you use, but leave it there until the next step.
Once everything had cooled I clamped the part in the vice with the extra length of the chisel sticking out. I wanted to make a handle that would allow you to use the tool like a ratchet or or breaker bar. I accomplished this by firing up the Oxy-Acetylene torch and heating the long chisel portion just past where it laps over the punches. Once I had a 2″ section red hot I lightly pulled on the end of the metal and bent a 90 into the chisel.
This left me with a super long handle that was overkill so I cut the handle off at about the width of my hand. This way you can have a good grip on the handle. I finished off the handle by rounding the bottom edge so it didn’t cut my palms during use.
Even though it may be overkill, I then laid a top weave pass with the TIG 200 over the sides of the handle to finish everything off.
The result is a nice handheld tool that puts tuck-shrinks in metal and didn’t break the bank to buy or make. It could be used as-is, but I threw it in the blast cabinet to give it a nice even finish. A coat of textured black powder coat over the blasted finish could almost pass as a forged or cast part (minus the obvious welds). Powder coating will also keep it from rusting when not in use. Hopefully this little project gives you some ideas for making your own tuck shrinking tool.