Metal Shaping Tools: How to make a Slapper (Part 1)

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Hi, I’m Wray Schelin from Pro Shaper in Charlton Massachusetts and this is one of my favorite tools, this is a slapper and made as years ago and My grandfather’s restoration shop specializes in J Duesenberg’s, and I just grabbed a piece of spring somewhere along the line They had it and it was absolutely the perfect thickness for making a really nice balance slapper so I made this a long time ago and it’s one of my prized possessions and You can use more than one type too.


You can have one with more curve in it narrower, but this one is

almost like a universal one so a lot of people who want to get a nice slapper

like that and this is typically Slap of material there. He is. Use leaf Springs

just like that This is a little thicker. This one’s a little thinner This

spring happened just to be about 3/16 thick which is ideal and it had a little

bit of curve to it so I’m going to show the process of how to make that slapper

So I’ve done a bunch of them out of this stuff this for the raw spring material

and oftentimes It’s really pitted and rusted and you got to grind like crazy to

get all that rust out.


I Got a nice piece of walnut here that I’ll split in half and

that’ll become the really nice fancy handle so I’m a collector of just about a

lot of things and one of them is These chairs I’ve got bad back and all that So

I’d like to sit in a chair when I work So I picked these chairs up on the side

of the road for free or at a flea market for really small dollars and I got

probably 20 of them in the shop and This one here Was had a broken wheel on I

had extra wheels, but because I have so many Chairs, this is well.


I’m gonna throw it out so it was in the process of throwing it

out and I took the There’s a steel piece that holds the back in on all these

chairs They’re all a little bit different, but they’re all a little bit the

same too So I took the steel piece out and I think I noticed this once before

dismantling one of these chairs It’s a pretty good piece of steel. It’s a piece

of spring steel So these chairs are readily available and I look at that piece

of spring steel and I said boy That’s a perfect slap. I just waiting to happen

so That’s what we’re going to do We’re going to take this slapper or this piece

of spring steel from a free chair or very inexpensive use chair It’s a little

bit thicker than my Duesenberg splat slapper but we’re gonna be grinding it

down a little bit and it’ll thin out a little bit.


So the width is nearly identical So it should turn out to be a

really nice little product at the end and I was about to throw the chair out

the remnant of the chair and then I said, wow, look at that.

It’s good. It’s got these handles on it. I have weak knees My

knees are a little worn out. So this is a nice push off to get out of the chair

So another benefit we had made these a couple years ago. These are really low

Yeah This sometimes hard for me to get out of so this has now become my

favorite roll around chair what I’m working on One of the cars in the shop here

so the next step is we’re going to take this with a settling cutting torch and

we’re going to heat it up and we’ll bend it and then we’ll cut it cut it away

to put The handle we have to cut a Tang on it We’ll bend it into shape and then

we’ll do all the processes of grinding and everything and we’ll end up with a

really nice finished slapper so here’s our piece of steel from that chair and

Here’s my longtime slapper and if I put these side to side You can see this

Bend in here, which is already in in the piece of Steel is ideal.



So to make it almost identical to the slapper utilize that Bend

it’s a much stronger radius than this but that doesn’t make any difference and

I’ve got plenty of material here. So I’m going to this can be marked and cut

off here with the torch but first I want to do that bend down. So I’ll use this

as a guide and I’m going to heat this up Right Here Put that side-by-side and

there is my spot right here. I’m going to heat up I’m gonna bend that down I’ll

be able to put this in the vise Down here somewhere I Got some masking tape on

this vise looks like it’s gonna burn off and I’ll heat that up and then That

will have to be Come too straight like that. So this will come right up like



I got good leverage right here, so Right like that and that’s

where it’s going to be cut off eventually here but right now I can utilize that

leverage so let’s heat it up and we’ll bend it Let the torch set up That looks

about right What you don’t want to do is cool this off, it’ll Super-hot in it

and it’ll crack on you.


So We’ll just let that air cool See if the Geometry is right

here Give it a little twist that Looks better Now next what we’re going to do

is Cut this excess off so this is Going to be our handle and we might need to

be able to utilize that hole that’s there and this is our working end here so

we’ve got that nice offset that protects your knuckles when you working with it

and It’s looking pretty good so we’re going to utilize this and the still will

mock this off and Then create the tang here and it just so happens that that

square hole is right there, which we can incorporate into it I’m gonna get a

little bit longer So it is a handle And this is our cutoff point here it’ll

take that here It’s cooled off pretty good now and we have some draw see it we

can chip off We can grind it off but most of it come off with a chisel Get over

this way That’s good enough That’s some nice steel and tell by grind it Right

there we have the slapper all roughed out That was with a 24 grid on a 5 inch

grinder and we got the general shape in here But it’s going to take quite a bit

of refinement to Get that.


I think I’m going to leave this one flat. I like that. I’ll

grind a little Curve in it both ways here.

So have a little Convex face to it I’ll kill all these edges

except for here. I want these edges to be nice and square and I’ll have a nice

walnut handle. I got to drill one more hole here and we’ll put some screws in

through here And that’ll hold the hand along What we’ll do is we’ll put the

walnut handle much larger and then we’ll grind it all into a nice ergonomic

Friendly to the hand essentially and that’s got a nice width to it now, so I

just got to get The thickness of that handle to be just right and that’ll be a

real comfortable slap or with plenty of room for you For your hands, but that

was a humble chair in its first life Of course is probably melted many times.


So who knows what this piece of steel is done in its lifetime

but right now it’s going to be a slapper and will probably remain that for

Maybe 25 or 50 years or something. Maybe somebody’ll end up with this as an

heirloom We’ll clean this all up.

It’ll look like jewelry when it’s all done. So that’s the end of

part 1 next week mark, and I will film part two with all the detail work

showing you how to polish this all up and shape that working face nice and

Putting that walnut handle we can put a Checkered pattern on it so you can

really grab good So until next week Wray Schelin, thank you.

Read More: How to make a slapper (Part 2)

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