There’s a maddening thing about tools: the more you have, the more you want. Whether you are a newbie just beginning to outfit your shop with the essentials or an established fab shop with all the latest and greatest the tooling world has to offer, it seems as though no matter what you have, there is always that need for more. And as you learn, you begin to discover what you didn’t even know you needed to begin with. Take our sheetmetal fabrication journey, for instance. Two years ago, I had never bent up a single piece of tin. I started simple, snapping up a cheap little 36-inch brake from the local import tool store for around $150. It didn’t take me long to realize that a straight sheetmetal brake isn’t particularly useful for the type of work I had hoped to do, especially at just 36 inches in width. I learned that instead of a standard brake, I needed a box and pan brake, where individual teeth could be removed to allow you to bend in more than one plane.
After searching for the best 48-inch entry-level box and pan brake we could find, we discovered Northern Tool + Equipment’s Klutch #49676 48- inch brake, which we reviewed in our August 2016 issue. The new-found versatility was awesome and we put it through its paces bending up the tinwork for Project aPocalypSe Horse last winter. It remains a staple in our sheetmetal fab lab and is used darn near every day we are in the shop. However, as learning often does, we soon discovered that for some jobs, a brake isn’t the best tool for the … Read more of this article. Just click on the digital feature below this introduction.
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