Tech-Session: Metal Wroking at
"I love it when a plan comes together!" Our first tech session of 2017 came together nicely as John Tokar and his staff welcomed us to Vintage Restorations in Union Bridge, MD for some great insight into metal working and fabrication. The plan that came together included a beautiful day, a good group of enthusiasts who came with questions and interest, John and his staff who provided a great primer in metal work and fabrication, the Buttersburg Inn which provided a wonderful lunch, and yes, to top it all off, John's scale steam locomotive. Yep! The plan came together.
In all, five little British cars took advantage of the nice weather for a drive. Steve Boyce led these and a couple of modern vehicles on a drive from Carderock Park on some beautiful country roads (and a stretch of I-270) up to Union Bridge, Maryland arriving exactly on time for our session to begin at 10 a.m. Another nine folk joined us at Vintage Restorations making a total of 18 of our members on hand.
We began with a tour of the shop and some discussion of some of the cars on which Vintage is currently working. Included were Mike Eaton's 1948 supercharged TC and Steve Boyce's Triumph GT6. At the conclusion of the session, Mike loaded the TC onto a trailer for the trip home. Steve's GT6 is nearly complete after a full restoration. We saw several T series cars in various phases of restoration which provided an excellent opportunity to understand the construction of the early cars and how wood and metal are used together in the cars. Mr. Tokar pointed out that these early cars are not high production cars and each one was really hand-made and consequently the restoration is much more than simply bolting or welding on available parts. The parts must be carefully fit to the particular car and so the skills of fabrication are especially crucial to the restoration of these earlier cars. I believe we were all impressed with the high quality work reflected in the cars which surrounded us in the shop. All during this tour, there were questions being fielded on a variety of topics related to our cars.
From a tour of the cars, we moved to some demonstrations of the fabrication work itself. Dan Wolf, who is doing a lot of the fabrication work, joined John in explaining how metal is shaped and welded and some of the tools, techniques and products used in restoration work. One clear lesson was that the ability to bend and shape metal requires tools and skill. John emphasized that with the skills and tools available at Vintage Restorations, almost anything can be fixed. The question, of course, comes down to time and money.
For lunch a good number of us made the 1/4 mile walk to The Buttersburg Inn where Mr. Tokar had made arrangements for lunch. We enjoyed great food and service, along with the opportunity to continue discussion and ask questions as John joined us for lunch. Several remained into the afternoon asking questions and learning about MGs and restoration.
Our heartfelt thanks go to John Tokar for the welcome he extended to us and for the opportunity to get a special "peak under the hood" of what goes on in good body restoration. John was joined by staff members Dan Wolf, Jim Booth, Lin Snider and daughter, Laurel Tokar who assisted in the presentations and interacted with us explaining the operations and answering questions. Great job, all.