In this month’s Tour My Toolkit, I want to introduce you to Bruno, my plasma cutter. Bruno’s been with me for a few seasons now. I had another plasma cutter for years, but it was a total piece of shit. This one’s the best I’ve ever used, and I’ve been able to sample quite a few from working in different shops over the years.
Bruno’s a Hypertherm, I found him online. The site’s got a lot of different options I wasn’t seeing in my mechanic’s catalogs, and the Hypertherms were the only ones recommended everywhere I looked. I’ve never been one to buy something without trying it out, but it seems like every tool store around New York only carries crappy Chinese cutters. Those things did me well enough for years but the more custom work and high-end restorations I’ve done the more I needed something a bit more reliable and easy to work with.Here’s the site btw, if anyone’s interested http://plasmacutters.reviews/.
The main thing that’s so great about Bruno is the size. He’s so damn small, which makes it really quick to go back and forth between the shop and the scrapyard on my own. I end up working late a lot of days after my help has gone home, so I have to be able to get around myself. There’s something about being able to work with such a small tool that’s kind of amazing. If you read these posts, you know how much I like little powerhouses. Must be all those miniature peas I ate as a kid.
One thing I’ve learned after years in the business is that size ain’t everything when it comes to power tools. I’d always rather have a smaller tool I can use accurately than a big thing that makes a mess. This puppy is infinitely more accurate than the boxy crapolas I was using for years. I still grind most of my edges, but to be honest it’s kind of unnecessary on most of the cuts these days.
Bruno’s a scrappy little bastard, and he’s made my work so much easier in the shop and out in the scrapyard. The power to size ratio is great.
I’ve used him to do nearly all the sheet work on body restoration projects since 2015. I also end up using him for the salvage part on most of my sculpture work and interior pieces for contracts. Anything that doesn’t need a ground finish looks pretty near perfect with a careful cut from Bruno.
Anyway, if you have an auto shop, I imagine you already have a plasma cutter or two. But I can’t tell you how happy I am with this one, so if you’re gonna upgrade anytime soon, check out Hypertherm. They’re made in the USA and as far as I can tell, perfect. Always good to support American businesses, and I literally haven’t had a complaint as long as I’ve owned this thing. Anyone who does high-end work owes to to themselves and their clients to work with a tool like this. The point is, don’t just buy the first plasma cutter you see. You have to make sure what you buy belongs to the list of top plasma cutters.
Anybody have any requests for the next Tour My Toolkit? I know I had a few requests for metalworking gear, but this should finish off that after we covered the welder and grinder before. Let me know, or I can always give these posts a rest until I get a cool new toy.
Well, turns out I’m not the only one who’s obsessed with tinkering projects out of scrap metal. I just read an article about Bob Dylan, he’s making sculptures now out of just about anything. The man has a huge workshop, and you would, if you had that kind of money.
He uses just about everything, from wheels to spoons to tools and farm equipment, sawing it all up with a plasma cutter and then welding and grinding it into huge pieces. I mean some of them literally take up the whole workshop, and then he has to use winches to stand the things up!
Apparently, he’s been showing off pieces in London at a huge exhibition and they might be shown in NYC next year, which would definitely be on my list of things to check out. Most of them are massive gates or flat panels, which is sort of the opposite of what most sculpture artists do. It’s pretty sweet to be able to go through the gates, no? Looks like some sort of fantasy flick or something.
Personally, I think it’s always cool when musicians get into more physical art. John Mellencamp turns out to be an awesome painter by the way, and Bobby D paints as well.
You should check this out, it’s a big gate he made for Bill Clinton’s house:
I obviously don’t have the money or the space to keep a whole warehouse of scrap, but oh if I did… Maybe it would be me at the Nobel prize next year.
Hey peeps, here’s a TV review post, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. Not gonna lie, I’ve been pretty AWOL on watching TV since last season of Game of Thrones ended. I’ve had a lot of projects, and it seems like there’s not much good stuff out there. Still planning to check out Westworld, though, since I’ve heard so many good things.
The best show I’ve seen this year, and now my all time favorite is the Grand Tour. It’s basically a rehash of Top Gear which everybody knows was my old favorite show. Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond fucking around and having a crazy time in fast cars and all around the world.
Top Gear ended about two years ago or so, which is when Clarkson punched a producer because they didn’t get steak or something (I’ve heard like three versions of what actually happened). The BBC fired him and then Hammond and May quit so they could all keep working together, and it makes sense, because they’re basically the funniest three people on the planet when they’re together.
The Grand Tour is paid for by Amazon, apparently for even more money than Top Gear got, and holy shit… you can really tell. It’s like every time they said “oh, wouldn’t it be cool if we could do X” on Top Gear but now they’re actually doing all those things. It’s a lot more of the adventure segments they had on the christmas specials from Top Gear, which is definitely better than all the reviews, which kind of got old after a while.
I’m about halfway through the season, and it’s just great. I think it’s so much fun. Totally a dudes’ show, and they don’t seem to care at all about changing things up at all. Why change a good thing, I guess. I don’t mind. It’s any car guy’s wet dream and I think anyone else would like it just because of the three of them being funny. It’s not like you have to have any special knowledge or anything.
Anyway, check it out. So far, they’ve built cars out of bone and bricks, blown up things with tanks, and killed off a celebrity every week (not really, it’s a segment, but it’s a good twist on interviews, right?). If you haven’t watched Top Gear, don’t worry, but half the fun is still knowing how close they’re trying to get to the line where they get sued. They basically have the same show, but bigger and better. Can’t ask for better than that.