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Frenching Shoebox headlight.
From an Rod & Custom Magazine article.
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Leading Some Headlights - Leading The Way
Frenching Headlights The Traditional Way
By Kev Elliott
When it comes to traditional custom techniques, the use of lead is right there at the forefront. Way before plastic body fillers were available, lead was the medium of choice, used by the OEM factories to smooth seamed joints, and copied-and taken several steps further-by the pioneers of the kustom movement. Pioneers like Sam and George at Barris Kustom, Bill Hines, and their contemporaries.
But leading is becoming a lost art, despite the resurgence in popularity of all things kustom. Not in Brad Masterson's world though. At just 29 years old, he's fortunate enough to have worked for both Barris and Hines-in fact he still does work for the latter-and all the kustoms that roll out of his own "after school" shop are traditionally styled and created. Sure, plastic filler has its place, but the majority of the work is handled the traditional way-with a torch and lead paddles.
The process isn't as hard as you'd imagine either, though it obviously takes a lot of practice, but then show us something worthwhile that doesn't! Check out the steps involved as we followed Brad through frenching and leading the headlights on a shoebox Ford. The good old days are happening right now.
Exposure to lead presents a minimal hazard, but it should be respected nevertheless. It can affect the blood, kidneys, nervous, and reproductive systems, so handling it, melting it, and filing it should be tackled with care. Lead can enter the body through inhalation or ingestion, so take care to wash your hands after handling it, and take precautions, preferably using respiratory equipment, so as not to breathe the fumes while melting lead.
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