End of the Line

All things, both good and bad, come to an end. I think MSA has been one of the good ones.

It all started as something floating around in Terry Cowan’s brain


In April of 2000 Terry Cowan’s vision took form as a place or rather places where people interested in various forms of metal working could gather to talk.  Car restorers and racers, blacksmiths, artists all had email lists to go to that were sponsored by MSA.

Eventually moderators surfaced for each list. We then met online to discuss various management issues, everything from personality conflicts on line, to trolls, to just how much the lists could be used as a market place.

There were a few attempts made at group purchases. These had limited success.

Eventually as the internet matured we moved on to a website, and later changed the type of format the website took to make it more interactive.

Sites also sprang up sponsored by others. Some of them were very good others not so much, but all were welcome. Many of you belonged to more than one list or group.

Hammer-ins, and work fests of many types abounded. It was a Golden age, hopefully the first of many. We met, talked, argued, improvised, exchanged knowledge and, of course, consumed a beer or two.

Things have moved on again. The interest in groups of all kinds has been waning in favor of the excitement of things of a more instant nature, like Facebook, and instant messaging.

Personally, I think it also has something to do with the lengthening of our lives.

Long story short there have been fewer posts, there has also been a decrease in the funds that came in from supporters and advertisers. Very shortly MSA will run out of cash to support the website, and the site will shut down. The last day the site will be available is August 15, 2016.

The current information has been copied to media, perhaps someday it will resurface.

The Yahoo lists will remain on line if anyone has interest. The moderators will continue to service them.






–The Metalshapers Moderators

Carroseries – Bertone

This week we’ll look at one of the best known auto design houses, Bertone. Bertone was established in 1912 by Giovanni Bertone in Turin, Italy as a carriage manufacturing business  but began focusing on automobiles after World War I. By the 1920’s Bertone was designing for Fiat, among others. Some of the company’s most iconic designs were the BAT 5, 7 and 9 cars of the 1950’s.

However, their best known work may have been the 1972 – 1987 X1/9.

The car was sold in the U.S. by Fiat until 1982 when Fiat left the U.S. market, and handed over manufacturing and sales to Bertone who continued to sell the car through 1987 as the Bertone X1/9.

New Shop Tips

We received some good news this week: Dick Raczuk is busy (as always) videotaping shop tips and he has given us the green light to link to them here. If you haven’t had a chance to read through them all yet, go to the Shop Tips page for the full list. The latest video shop tips are at the bottom. Enjoy!

Metalshapers Association Begins Again

Greetings all, I was just thinking the other day about how closely tied together this craft of metalshaping and all things automotive seems to be. I know there are some in our community that turn their skills toward creating sculpture and ornamental metal work, and then there are the bladesmiths and armourers, and of course there’s the aircraft contingent, but for most us the draw to work with sheet metal came from our love of cars and trucks.

I mean, really? Who can look at a ’57 Chevy or a Jaguar E-Type, or a Auburn, or Duesenburg, or any one of a thousand other beautiful cars and not be inspired by their shape? We love the fact that they can carry us almost anywhere we want to go, at adrenaline-inducing speeds, and look like rolling artwork at the same time. For me, the car that was the original inspiration was my first car, a 1966 Ford Thunderbird. Looking back makes me wonder what I was thinking. I must have been the biggest, starry-eyed dreamer out there, imagining that somehow I could return that victim of the salty Minnesota tundra into a shining example of the marque. Sadly, by the time I picked it up for the princely sum of $100, the tinworm had eaten through its floors and quarter panels and the lower regions of both doors to the point where “flow-through ventilation” was no longer a catchy sales feature, but an unpleasant condition to endure during subzero weather.

Read the rest here »