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Best Hammer/ Dolly Set advice from a Pro Panel Beater

PROSTOCKTOM

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Looking for advice on a quality Hammer/ Dolly set from our pro panel beaters on the forum.

Not looking for a low quality, Amazon, or Chinese made set. Looked at the Covel set, but figure I am paying at least $100 more for Ron's name on them.

Thanks in advance for those that post a reply.

Tom
 
Speaking as an Electrician....you need to weigh up the amount of use the tools will get, versus the amount of money you have to spend.

As any professional tradesman will tell you here (I assume) is that the junk tools end up costing more than they're worth in the end. Buy quality tools that last the distance. Well-known Name brands are usually a sign of quality. Sadly the name-brands have been watered down by the likes of Stanley selling out years ago.

You will also hear from some that the tools are only part of the equation - it's the guy using them that makes the job. I was told that when buying a cheaper set of golf clubs many years ago. I couldn't get them working....but my coach/Pro hit sweet shots every time with the same clubs.
 
Eastwood has hammer and dolly sets that won’t break the bank…

 
I bought the Eastwood set a number of years ago. Its served my purposes. But it all boils down to how much sheet metal work you plan to do, that will ultimately determine what you need. One thing I did buy that doesn't get much use but has been well worth the investment is a pair of shrink disks. I no longer have tourches to do any metal shrinking and the shrink disks worked like a charm the couple times I used them. You can only do so much with hammers and dollys. I also made my own slapper bar as well as a few other odds and ends to shape flanges. etc.. If you're filling any holes with a mig then you definately want some copper backing plates of different sizes.
 
I've had a set of Craftsman body tools from probably 50 years ago and imo, they are pretty decent (hammers and dollies). The hammers all have fiberglass handles with rubbers grips. The grips are not overly soft and are not overly too hard either. I have a Craftsman framing hammer from the late 60's that's built the same and used that thing a LOT as I was in the new home construction business starting with my dad when I was 14. The last large construction project I used it on was when I built my shop in 84 and have used it for many other projects over the last many years. Any time I see something from back then at an estate sale or a garbage sale that I don't have I'll snag it....but don't do much body work anymore.
 
I picked up used Plomb and Snap-on body hammers on fleabay. I’ve been working on the premise that good used American is way better than new Chinese for most of my tools. I avoid hammers with ‘reground’ faces and ‘new’ handles. Not the cheapest route, but pretty cost effective. I also picked up a set of new Fairmount dollies. Used proto hammers an option too.
 
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One tool you can use that you probably don't need to buy is a short leaf spring - thet can be used as levers and slapper bars in tight spaces.

I actually found one wedged inside the passenger side front fender of my Charger not long after I bought it. Jammed in so hard I think the previous owner forgot it was there. Explains a lot of the damage when I got the car.

My Charger 2.jpg
 
Bought my Snap On 7 piece body kit 32 years ago. These things will out live me.

IMG_3638.JPG
 
I bought Martin hammers...top quality not too pricey.

I also have several used ones I bought for pennies on eBay, Marketplace and Craig's list. Can't beat the price or quality of good, used US hammers.
 
Gearwrench has or used to have a nice set too
 
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