My Hydraulic Workbench I can park a truck on...

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Project by Quixote posted 12-14-2009 05:14 AM 4699 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hydraulic workbench.

50 tons of holding and pulling force, 188 2”x4” tie downs.

While this isn’t exactly woodworking but I use wood blocking to change my leverage points and to provide backing or impact points while straightening sheet metal. I have dozens of oak planks that have been shaped with a grinder to push out dents and creases in hard to reach areas. in the fourth picture, you can see the 1/2” steel and 3/4” oak wedges on the other side of the bench I used to brace the interior structure while pulling and reshaping. I occasionally let the smoke out of the wedges and have to replace them, but pallets are plentiful as donors.

I have the folks here at Lumberjock’s, the people who have posted their projects and contributed to many discussions for helping me think outside of the iron box… and add self designed wood tools to help make me a better technician straightening sheet metal with less damage to the cars.

Gary’s post about a cluttered work bench reminded me of mine, start to finish is about how long it took to drink that cup of coffee. I have a tool cart that I simply clear everything off of the bench and wheel the tools back to the tool box. Some of my wood tools don’t make it back to the stack, but that’s ok, it gives me an excuse to carve out new ones.

This is a GMC Suburban that hit a concrete light post in a parking lot and collapsed the right frame rail back nearly 12 inches. It didn’t deploy the airbags, the damage was isolated to this frame rail. A careful combination of heat, leverage, hydraulic pressure to pull the chains and clamps and patient persuasion with a hammer saved this frame rail and the customer a few thousand dollars compared to a replacement. I was able to expand the crushed area by driving oak wedges between a couple of sheets of steel into the front area for the steering box and right bumper mounts that were the difference in saving this vehicle from the salvage yard.


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

6 comments so far

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4682 days

#1 posted 12-14-2009 05:17 PM

Never underestimate the strength of wood!!! Very cool shop,

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 5342 days

#2 posted 12-18-2009 01:31 AM

I’ll have one.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 4919 days

#3 posted 12-20-2009 07:02 PM

I have 4 kids. The youngest is 19. Over the years I have had dealings (unfortunately) with several body shops in my area and all of them replace parts and paint. I didn’t know anyone still straighten metal.

You must be a true craftsman. I wish you were in my area. Although, I hope I never need any of you guys again.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View Tim Pursell's profile

Tim Pursell

501 posts in 5274 days

#4 posted 12-21-2009 02:21 AM

Having your own frame rack could sure be handy with 2 teenage drivers in the house. LOL


View kansas's profile


165 posts in 5193 days

#5 posted 04-25-2010 02:24 PM

Great ingenuity! For those who may think of straightening frames—be aware that today’s vehicles often have “crush zones” engineered into the frame to absorb energy. Depending on design those areas of the frame may not be designed to be repaired. Attempting to repair such things would change how the vehicle reacts in the next collision and could reduce the safety of the vehicle.

View olddutchman's profile


187 posts in 5427 days

#6 posted 06-08-2010 11:37 PM

Thats the thing that I did My whole life! I started in `1964 working at an Olds, Cad dealership. Lead was the filler of the day. I hated black magic, which was the filler. It would stay tacky, and break out. Now am disabled. So be careful how much You ask of Your body! Looks like a Chief. They are one of the best.

-- Saved, and so grateful, consider who Created it ALL!!!

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