Whether you are an experienced mechanic, a metal sculptor or a novice craftsman, a panel beater sandbag can be a helpful tool for a variety of metal craft projects. The bulk of the sandbag lends support to the sheet metal but is soft and pliable enough to allow the metal to stretch and take shape under the blows of a mallet. Panel beater sandbags are available through many commercial retailers, but they are also quite simple to make.
Measure and cut your leather into two pieces of the desired size--suggested sizes are 12 to 18 inches square. Cowhide and other leathers are the materials of choice, but other soft fabrics will also work. It is important that the material be strong enough to withstand repeated blows from a mallet.
Place the first piece of leather on the table in front of you. Place epoxy sealant along the edges of the surface of the leather. Make sure there is no gap anywhere along the edges, but be careful to leave a one-inch strip adhesive free--this is where the sand will be piped in later on. Place the second piece of cowhide on top of the first. Press down along the edges to seal the two together. Follow the instructions on the adhesive package and wait, possibly overnight, until the sealant dries before taking the next steps.
Use a sewing machine to double-stitch additional seams along the outside of the sandbag, when the sealant is dry.
Slowly pipe dry sand into the sandbag, using a funnel and making sure there is enough sand to evenly distribute throughout the sandbag. The amount of sand used is to the user's discretion. The sand must provide support to sheet metal placed on top of it yet also give way and allow the metal to stretch when the metal is struck by the mallet.
Glue and stitch up the one-inch portal.
Exercise caution when working with industrial-grade adhesives.