Metal spinning artisan helps tractor restorers solve parts puzzle
Jack Hodgin’s roller making contact with a nearly completed piece, crafting the final lip. The rings in this piece are characteristic of metal spinning.
Above: Jack Hodgin’s metal lathe, with a trio of rollers resting against the tailstock. A disk of metal (Jack typically works with aluminum, copper, brass and steel) is placed against the pattern, secured and then spun. Rollers are used to create lips and beads. Using pegs inserted into holes in the handles and then into a bar in front of the lathe, the roller handles are braced to generate maximum leverage. The spinning action of the roller against metal eliminates friction that might otherwise result during that process.
Part of the completed inventory for an order of 150 pieces. The piece, a shade used in a vintage street lamp, was Jack’s most challenging project to date.
Below: A brake drum cover for an F-12 or F-20 tractor; note the lathe in background.
Right: Jack Hodgin forming a piece on a metal lathe, using a roller in one hand and a handle in the other. He uses the tools to press a sheet of metal against a wood pattern (or form) that he earlier handcrafted on a wood lathe.
Left: This ancient 18-station Rotex punch was hauled out of retirement for Jack’s purposes. He completed an extensive restoration of the decades-old machine, and uses it to punch holes, achieving a cleaner cut than is possible using a drill.
Below: A 1906 Fisher chain vise. Originally used in a foundry or other metalworking application, this vise features a chain-and-gear function to turn the vise jaws in and out.
Above: A completed street lamp part, complete with a tiny and precise hole created by Jack’s Rotex punch.
Above: This 1912 Lennox throatless shear is used to cut any shape from metal.
Above: Jack with a pattern and the finished piece, which is part of a street light.
Above: This Pexto circle cutter is one of two such machines in Jack’s shop. A suction cup-like device anchors the metal at the center, as waste metal falls away.