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Tools You Gotta Have in Your Rod Garage: Part 2

Tools You Gotta Have in Your Rod Garage: Part 2


Getting back to the “U-Gotta-Have-It” tool bin, here are some garage goodies you’ll want to add to the list of things you’ll need to get your car building projects done.

Spiffy Spinner

Eastwood’s ¾-HP 2-Speed Buff Motor puts can polish up all your hot rod parts. The 2-speed unit allows you to change buffing speeds without changing motors. The high-speed offers a choice of 1800- or 3600-rpm operating speeds. It has a sealed case design for maximum durability. The extended shaft design allows you to reach areas other buffers can’t get into. It operates on 110 VAC with a 6-ft. power cord. For info call (800) 343-9353 or visit


Chop, Cut, Build

If you’re building hot rods you need a cut-off wheel and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Campbell-Hausfeld sells one in Wal Mart so you know it can be returned if a problem occurs. Call (800) 543-6400 or visit


Press Fit

No rod building completely outfitted without a drill press. Trent Lewis of Midwest Metalworks uses a vintage Stanley drill press, but today Delta (, Craftsman ( and Jet Tools ( sell drill presses that work well in a hot rod garage.


Driver Education

EZ-Driver installs bearings, gears, sleeves, seals and hubs. With a suggested retail of $610, this tool system is not for every home builder, but you’ll learn it’s worth it if you do a lot of rod building. Arizona Transmission Machine, Inc. is the maker. Visit for more information.


Cool Hot Rod Engine Stands

Many engine stands wind becoming obstacles in your shop. Phoenix Machine LLC’s tubular engine stands take up very little floor space. Different models are available for popular small- and big-block engines, plus there’s a design made exclusively for the Ford flathead V-8. Contact: Phoenix Machine LLC. at (920) 841-0500 or send an email to [email protected]


The Hits Just Keep on Coming

Mittler Bros. planishing hammers can handle any hot rod metalworking. The 12- or 24-inch throat models come with nine radius dies to fit most applications. The rear adjuster on both sets the load force and allows for fast tooling die changes. Both feature tubular construction. The radius dies include: flat, ¾-, 1-1/2-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 6-, 8- and 12-in.. The hammers make 4,600 hits per minute @ 100psi. For info dial (800) 467-2464 or visit


Close that Hose

Snap-Ons’ 9-1/4-in. Swivel-Jaw Hose Clamp Pliers help you plan the design of a hot rod cooling system as you go along. Instead of constantly draining and refilling antifreeze, you simply clamp off the hoses. The pliers keep the coolant in the system without damaging hoses. They can be used to clamp off heater hoses up to 1-1/4-in. in diameter. The swivel-jaw design promotes parallel clamping action. For details contact:


Pressing Situations

A bottle-jack press from Harbor Freight can press bushings into leaf springs, straighten suspension parts and press out an oil pump shaft. To find a Harbor Freight store nearby call (800) 444-3353 or visit


Swivel Head Riveter

It’s hard to hang or attach sheet metal panels on rod without a good rivet gun. Stanley Tool Co.’s MR77C Swivel Head Riveter sets rivets at a right angle or straight on with a simple twist of the rivet head. Rugged die-cast construction gives it long life. Extra nose pieces and a wrench store in the handle of the tool. A long handle makes the riveter easy to squeeze. The MR77C uses 1/8-, 3/32-, 5/32- and 3/16-in. diameter steel or aluminum rivets. The swivel head allows it to set rivets in hard to get places. Info: (800) 262-2161 or


Hi-Fi Chassis

If you’re building a hot rod chassis, a Mittler Bros. tubing bender/tubing notcher comes in handy. You just clamp the tubing in a calibrated swivel vise that gives accurate and repeatable positioning at any angle. A compound feed table advances tubing into the milling cutter, producing a perfect fit every time. A chip tray contains the mess. For info call (800) 467-2464 or visit


English Wheel

The English wheel is a tool every fabricator wants. Many hot rodders make their own English wheels to save money. Whether you go that route or order a wheel from companies like Eastwood ( or Harbor Freight ( you’ll find it an invaluable metal-shaping tool. 


Speedy Spinners

They are extra-long for better leverage, but the best feature of Craftsman’s Elbow Ratcheting wrenches is a pivot joint that allows you to lock the fine-tooth ratcheting box end in any one of 13 different positions. You can also unlock the pivot joint to move the wrench like a piston and speed up tightening or loosening nuts and bolts. These wrenches come in 7-piece metric or SAE sets for under $100. Visit or just stop at your local Sears or K Mart.


A New Twist in Wrenches

Craftsman’s Cross-Force™ wrenches have a kind of twist in the handle that leaves the claw end vertical when the box end is horizontal. This improves torque loading, relieves stress on your hand, increases comfort and gives you a more secure grip. Ratcheting and static (non-ratcheting) sets are available. Visit online or your local Sears or K-Mart in person.