Professor Hammer’s Metalworking Tips

Q. I have a 1958 Ford F-100 truck—perhaps not one of the most beautiful designs ever made, but I want to make some modifications to personalize it. I wonder if you have some thoughts about what changes might give me the best “bang for the buck,” without completely remaking body panels from scratch. I’m just getting started with metalworking, but I have had some success cutting and welding sheetmetal. I want to challenge myself a bit and see if I can elevate my skill level with this project.
Paul Anderson
Via the Internet

A. There are LOTS of ways to make your truck unique. One of the simplest modifications that will make a noticeable change is “shaving” (removing) some of the emblems on the truck. The hood emblem on a 1958 Ford F-100 is about the size of my palm, and simply removing it (and filling the mounting holes) will clean up that part of the truck quite a bit.

I happened to see a stunning 1958 Ford F-100 in the Builders’ Showcase at the NSRA Nationals last year that had some great ideas; it was built by Korek Designs. The most striking change was building a pair of low-profile scoops under the central “plateau” area of the hood. The stock hood is quite massive looking, and the relatively simple modification of “hollowing out” that area reduces the visual bulk a great deal. I thought it was particularly clever to add a “bullet” shape in the center of the opening. It mimicked the shapes at the outer edges of the opening, while creating two smaller air intakes rather than one large one.

The more I looked at the truck, the more details I discovered. The surround for the stock grille has been retained, but is now painted body color, and the rectangular holes have been removed of the center of the grille and replaced with mesh—highlighted with a bright metal horizontal bar. Again, these modifications are within the capabilities of a builder with modest metalworking skills, but they really change the look of the truck.

The bright metal headlight bezels have been retained, and they offer a nice contrast to the rest of the front end, which is primarily all one color. There were special scoops and trim added to the sides of the hood, and there were some openings cut into the front bumper to repeat the theme of the twin air intakes in the hood (which my photo does not show) but I think you are probably getting the idea that the sky is the limit when it comes to changing the look of your truck, and I hope you will use some of these great ideas as a springboard to create your own unique designs.

Keep me “in the loop” as you move forward—I’m eager to see what ideas YOU come up with!

You can email your questions to Professor Hammer at [email protected] or mail a letter to Covell Creative Metalworking, 106 Airport Blvd., Suite 105, Freedom CA 95019. You will receive a personal reply. Ron Covell has made many videos on metalworking, and they can now be STREAMED or DOWNLOADED from his website! Check these out at covell.biz, along with his ongoing series of workshops held across the nation, or call for a current schedule of workshops and a free catalog of DVDs. Phone (831) 768-0705. Also, check out Ron’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/covellron.

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