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Old 09-30-2015, 09:17 PM
Kerry Pinkerton's Avatar
Kerry Pinkerton Kerry Pinkerton is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Near Huntsville, Alabama. Just south of the Tennessee line off I65
Posts: 7,960

Just to add some fat to the fire, you can also shape via pumping with contact flats.

My opinion is that it is just what you get used to. Either approach will produce the desired results in the hands of a competent shaper. Dan Pate has trouble with contact flat anvils when he is at my shop. I have trouble with true radius anvils.

I admire people who can switch back and forth. I can't easily do that. I can do it but I have to THINK and pay a lot more attention to my tracking pattern.
Kerry Pinkerton
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Old 10-01-2015, 05:51 AM
Oldnek Oldnek is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Ulladulla, Australia
Posts: 1,346

Not being a pro, but a accomplished amateur of the E Wheel.
This is not the correct answer, but!
I have found that the flat anvils are ideally suited for the beginner or amateur that hasn't had much experience with the wheel to start off with,
they are a bit more forgiving if your lazy and not consistent with your tracking and pressures.
With full radius anvils your tracking has to pretty tight with the correct pressure, A beginner would find it difficult to get his/her grip on, by trying not to leave marks all over the panel.
EK Holden V8
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Old 10-01-2015, 12:18 PM
weldtoride weldtoride is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Northern Illinois
Posts: 875

John, I agree. I'm not lazy but I sure am not consistent yet. That said, I haven't used full radius anvils, but here's my thought process: As I was planning my own wheel build a few years back, I researched the flatted vs full radius anvil thing a lot. I could only afford one set of anvils, and wanted them to be right for me. This old post from Wray helped me decide on flatted anvils, as most of my anticipated work would be lower crowns:

Reading the above between the lines also led me to conclude that true radius anvils would be harder for a beginner to master. In retrospect, I am glad I choose flatted anvils as I ended up building a very stiff frame and if I am not careful, I can still get ridges with my flatted anvils if I crank down too hard. I am far from mastering this thing, but am glad for the, as I see it, "forgiveness" of the flatted anvils.

Pre-build, I also consulted John Glover's book and plans, which detail flatted anvils.

As far as when it started, I just checked my Glover copy, it's copyrighted 2001, pre-dating Wray's post above, so the concept of intentional flats dates back to before that at least. Later if I have time, I will go through the book more closely to see if he discusses the flats.

I was helping my nephew with some bicycle fenders and wished I had some smaller, full-radiused anvils, so I for one, am not stuck in one camp over the other.
Mark from Illinois

Last edited by weldtoride; 10-01-2015 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 10-01-2015, 05:04 PM
Ken Hosford Ken Hosford is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: South East Michigan
Posts: 407

My thoughts are I believe it is very possible that many a wheel with flats started life as a true radius anvil . I know I have some . I have Manual not cnc lathe and a radius cutting attachment which cuts up to 4 inch radius . I had friend cnc my larger radius dies . I like full radius dies because in making Motorcycle fenders the radius across is often ~3" and when it is that tight why guess on affect of flats they are not needed . to me all frames flex. stiffer less weaker more , Flex the frame and that flat acts different . i have 40" radius die i use as a flat . I have a sever case of toolitis , and think I should have 1-6" in 1/2 increments and 6-12 in 1" increments 12- 24 in 2" increments 24 - 48 in 4" increments. whoops wake up .
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Old 10-01-2015, 09:42 PM
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MP&C MP&C is offline
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These were wheeled in class today, any less pressure and the shape refused to pump up. A slight bit more pressure and now we had noticeable parallel track marks that were easily felt by hand.


Instagram @ mccartney_paint_and_custom

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Old 10-01-2015, 11:55 PM
crystallographic crystallographic is offline
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Location: Western Sierra Nevadas, Badger Hill, CA
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Default Flats vs none

I'm no expert on this stuff, but I will add some of my observations.

Harry Morrow came to work at HAC in 1957-58. With him he brought a set of rolls. He worked for Rolls and built RAF skins in WW2, so he had skills on the "Wheel" as he called it. His rolls all had flats. I learned some on that machine, with him guiding me.

Later, I worked on a Wheel that was purchased from the Frank Kurtis remnants, vintage pre-1952 or so. Had a sprocket on the upper so it could be driven for making long skinny sections. I used that Wheel a lot for a while. The rolls all had flats. And the upper was tapered off from the center flat, so that the widest flat on a lower would match the flat on the upper. The Wheel was a dream to use. The taper was .080" or so, by straightedge. I've only seen a few uppers like that, over the years.

Then I used one in PA that had babbitt bearings on the upper shaft. Never saw a maker name on it, but it must have been a preWW1 model. Plane bearings take more force to move under load than do Timkens. It had flats on the rolls and they were as old as the machine.

I used to think the flats came from wear. I don't think that way any more.

"All it takes is a little practical experience to blow the he!! out of a perfectly good theory." --- Lloyd Rosenquist, charter member AWS, 1919.
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Old 10-02-2015, 01:24 PM
metalman sweden metalman sweden is offline
MetalShaper of the Month May 2012, Jan 2013, Oct 2013
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I more or less just have experience from full radius anvils and can just put in my thoughts from there.

The fullradius anvils not call for a stiff frame at all as long as the upper and lower stay lined up center to center.
The pressure I use is very low and basicly I just set it in the morning and not change it at all during the wheeling.

I have found it much more easy to teach people with fullradius becouse it is easy to transfer the " hammer action idea " to the wheeling, most hammers have a true radius and the action is in the teory the same.

The only backside I have seen with flats is not the flats it is poor frames who make it almost impossible to whheling without very sharp lines from the transit between flat and radius when the frame opens up under pressure.
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:38 PM
flakey flakey is offline
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Hampshire UK
Posts: 139

I read quite a few posts on these forums that I don't agree with, and I generally don't worry about it, however I feel I should contribute this time. I have a few cast wheels and they all have flats and have always had flats, they are not due to continual use and polishing, they have been there from day one. I'm not suggesting that everyone should have anvils with flats/ blows on them, at the end of the day it's whatever you are happiest using.
Fintan Ellis
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:12 PM
joemato joemato is offline
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Redding, CT
Posts: 61
Default Pumping the e wheel

If I'm not mistaken you push down as the piece goes to the wheel and set up the next track as it comes back..
joe mato
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Old 10-03-2015, 07:02 AM
KAD KAD is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 202

Just to add a bit into the fracas....

The transition areas on the anvils with flats make a huge difference in how they wheel.

Just my opinion but I feel that there is an "In between" design that will have most of the benefits of the individual designs and minimize most of the down sides.
It took me awhile to make the transitions better on my flat's but basically it's trial and error between wheeling and sanding under different pressure till the dreaded lines fade away.

Likely why this subject can never be "concluded" as the frame design, operator and training are all unknowns and will effect the outcome and opinions forever.
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