Where do you get your body work tools/clamps?

Discussion in 'Garages, Workshops & Tools' started by 76_TypeLT, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. 76_TypeLT

    76_TypeLT Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    So I went to the local Harbor Freight (first time in their store) to get some cutting discs and I wasn't impressed with the body work tools they had (maybe this one store's selection blows). No auto body clamps at all to speak of. There is a Northern Tool on the way home so I stopped in there and they had a better selection, but still not what I had expected. Any online stores or brick & mortar stores you guys prefer besides these two for auto body tools?

    I am thinking ahead with regard to my floor pan replacement so I want to score some of the butt weld clamps ahead of time (among other things). Oh yeah, I will need to buy a welder too (and something to practice on). :D That's my brain for you, going a mile a minute thinking of all the crap I am going to need relatively soon. Would rather have the tools in my hands BEFORE I need than after, ya know?

    What should I expect to need for welding work like floor pans? Lots of butt weld clamps, grinding discs (have grinders already)...what else?
     
  2. JR454

    JR454 Veteran Member

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    Do you have a local Mac tools dealer.?? I know they are more expensive but the quality is great... Ive bought all my tools from my local mac guy and have no regrets doing so... Just my opinion..
     
  3. laninme

    laninme Member

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    Eastwood carries alot of restoration tools/supplies
     
  4. Air_Adam

    Air_Adam Veteran Member

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    Most decent sized cities have autobody supply places... thats where the good tools are.
     
  5. Kamikaze

    Kamikaze Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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  6. RD400HP

    RD400HP Veteran Member

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    I found all my body tools on Evil-bay, Mac & Martin And Snap on, best prices by a mile.Find some online stores to get a feel what the prices are, then find the cheapest price on Ebay or where ever you're looking

    Mark
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
  7. earlysecond

    earlysecond Veteran Member

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    I would not skimp on the welder

    Miller, Lincolon, Hobart. Often on sale at Lowes or HD you can score a decent deal. Buy the gas kit and a tank of gas up front and consider it part of the investment.

    Buttweld clamps are buttweld clamps. . .you can pay 4.99 at HF for 8 or you can pay 49.99 for 8 from eastwood. . .same clamps ask me how I know.

    Other bodywork tools that I have a problem paying triple price for. Stud puller, hammer and dolly set, porta power. Mine are all HF, abused and still in service. The slide hammer for the HF stud puller is sad and I have used mine enough in 4 years to partially break it. All of my air tools, including inexpensive primer guns are from HF. I have multiple sets and they work just fine. When they break I replace them or take them back. I built an inventory slowly and bought nothing that was not on sale. It can be a challenge to find any tool that is not made in China. If and when you do, make sure the tool is waranteed forever with easy replacement.

    I spend more money on abrasives and cutting discs typically I get Mirka. Latley I am totally unimpressed with the value priced 3m stuff.

    The disclaimer to all of this is that while I do a good bit of bodywork, I do not own a shop. I accept the fact that I bought inexpensive tools but if the choice is $9 for an extra die grider, which I use many times a week or having no die grinder, it is a no brainer. I have a needle scaler I got from HF for $50. An Ingersoll Rand needle scaler at my local supply house was $345 and was STILL chinese. . .again, no brainer.

    Sadly we live in a consumer driven, price based society. Demand for cheap items is high. The price difference between much of the stuff and really good stuff is often 3-400%

    I would try to soucre stuff on line. There are many decent sources. Sadly, I buy from a local jobber store at an account discount. . .but not too often.

    If you are going to start a shop, you may want professional grade, ussually often imported, tools. Otherwise you will be hard pressed to wear out the vast majority of stuff that is available at a decent value.

    MY opinion based on experience.

    Brent
     
  8. BusDriver

    BusDriver Veteran Member

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    Here's my 2c.

    Welder, go name brand. Lincoln, Miller, Hobart, ESAB, or don't bother. For bodywork get the gas setup right off the bat.

    Cheapest is Hobart, it just has less fancy features but is still a quality machine. Lincoln is next, and can be found on sale at Lowes/HD as stated above sometimes, then the Miller is the most feature packed. Don't get the tiny-arsed bottle. Go ahead and get the 80cf at least, so your not refilling all the time.

    Get a good air compressor, and plumb in some hard line and a good filter. Hard lines flow better and will go very far in getting water to condense and be filtered out. Plenty of topics that go into specifics.

    Air tools, these can be cheapies honestly, at least to start. Maybe later you want to upgrade, but you can get a whole array of tools and that's worth more than 1 or 2 good ones. Die grinder, angle die grinder, air drill, air body saw, sander, etc...

    If going cheap, perhaps even multiples of some things. I've though of getting a couple angle die grinders to mount the different size backing pads so I can change quickly.

    Good source of abrasives. Buy a good ammount or share an order with a friend to reduce shipping. A full resto will use a LOT of em, so a box of each thing you use is a good idea.
    http://www.lehighvalleyabrasives.com/servlet/StoreFront

    The clean-and-strip discs go through paint like BUTTAH, and the surface conditioning discs are good as well for smaller detailed cleaning and stripping. The roloc flap discs are good for weld finishing in tight spaces. Lots of nice things.
     
  9. Rick WI

    Rick WI Veteran Member

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    Auctions
     
  10. 76_TypeLT

    76_TypeLT Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Thanks for the replies, very helpful. I already have a compressor - it's not a large tank but it has a strong motor and enough CFM to get the job done. I kind of regret not just shelling out more and getting a beefier compressor but not much I can do now unless I want to sell my almost new compressor and get another one. I can always rent a larger compressor if I need to when the time comes to paint (if needed). It's more than sufficient for the air tools I am running now. Main air tool I don't have is a simple die grinder, which are cheap enough.

    I definitely won't skimp on the welder. This is a tool I expect to use down the road so I want something that will last. I am looking at either the Miller 140 or 211 - need to decide if the 211 is worth the extra $$$. I don't have a problem paying extra for a welder with more features that will make my life easier, esp with this project.

    Re: the butt weld clamps and vice grip clamps, I am not going to be restoring cars for a living (or even as a hobby until maybe later in my life when I have more space), so I can accept buying cheaper clamps and other body work tools. That is really where I don't want to overspend because there is no point in buying clamps from Eastwood that I can get for much cheaper elsewhere.

    Thanks again. Any specific online stores or merchant references would be greatly appreciated. There are so many out there that it helps to hear about merchants you guys have used and are happy with.
     

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