My aim once I have left is for you will have the skills and knowledge to attempt almost any shape once you have honed your skills.

The set up for Mike's course. As you can see, you don't need an enormous workshop.

Many thanks to my friend Mitch for the use of his garage.


Course prices.

 2 or 3 day courses at £250 per day including materials

There may be some fuel costs depending on where you are located

 1 day courses may be available if you are relatively close to me.

Second English wheel available if you would like a friend to join you on your course. Email for price and details.

John Ricketts

Tel: +44 07789 340292


(aluminium bonnet scoop)


Having seen the excellent English Wheel produced by Justin Baker at the 2015 LAA Rally I was intrigued to learn more about the skills needed to work sheet metal into complex shapes to make various fairings on my aeroplane build.

Last week I completed a one day training course with John Ricketts of Quiet Bear Metal Shaping ( Not only did John bring along an English Wheel, but also within his van he had two shrinker/ stretcher machines, much bigger than any I had seen previously, and an electrically driven Jenny Roller. It was a full day course with John turning up at my house around 8:30 and working through to 17:30 with only a short break for lunch. John is very hands on and got me wheeling sheet steel whilst he set up the other machines. I learnt a tremendous amount during the day, and John was very willing to offer constructive advice on how to correct my (many) errors. It was an excellent course and I cannot recommend John enough.
Kind regards


(Posted on The Light Aircraft Association forum 07.01.2016 )

With 100% hands on classes, you will be shaping metal within around 30 minutes of my arrival.  Here is how your course will progress.


All I need from yourselves is a minimum of a single car garage/workshop, electricity supply and parking.

(motorcycle tank half in steel)

Hands on training for Richard Grace "Spitfire Pilot" probably the coolest job in the world !

A true privilege for me to be teaching amongst these fantastic planes. A few weeks later, Richard sent me a couple of photos of his training paying off.

(see below)

The beauty of my courses are that absolutely no prior experience is necessary!

Your hands on training will show you how to form beautiful flowing curves and complicated looking beads plus flanging from a flat sheet.

Coolest place to teach ever.


This is one of those arts people think would take forever to learn, but in a few days you will be surprised what you can achieve and create.

(33 Ford A panel in steel)

All equipment and supplies are provided by myself

Once all machinery is set up we can get started with the basics.

Throughout this first stage we will learn about each machine and what it can do before moving onto basic shaping.

Mike Jones came over from Australia for a two day course to further his Harvard plane project back home.

Hi John

Thanks to your training here is a couple of pics of our Spitfire engine cowling I was able to fix on the wheel after it had a landing gear collapse the other day, it took me 12 minutes!!!

Thanks for your training!

Having just invested in an English wheel as an addition to the workshop - we booked
in John for a two day on-site bespoke training course. This, pound for pound,
was a fantastic value course and came as a refreshing breath of fresh air .
Johns experience, patience and affability meant that after two days, with the creation
of a number of fabrications - a solid foundation had been laid in the capabilities of the
English wheel. The quality of this bespoke course was a reflection on John's
professionalism - fully prepared with a van full of kit, flexible and knowledgeable.
Thoroughly recommend this course to anyone - a far cry from the dry, non-descript
courses run by profit driven organizations

Steve Rowarth
Fine Art Metalwork/Ceramic Technician
Fine Art
King Edward VII Building
Newcastle University
Newcastle upon Tyne


Developed during the hayday of English coachbuilding, we will be using a cast iron English wheel built by Justin Baker


For forming beads, edging, flanging even artwork. There are countless shapes that can be made from flat metal.


Used in conjunction with both of the above machines, to create shapes carefully and evenly with an amazing level of control.

With all three combined, there is virtually no shape that cannot be formed.

(motorcycle fender in steel)

Hi John,

Hope you had a good journey home and I'd just like to say that I enjoyed the Metal shaping course really a lot.

It just went so fast. I'm really inspired.  I had a quick look at you tube and it all makes sense now.

Thank you for your patience, you're a born teacher, you've got a lovely manner and kindness about your goodself sir. I'm sure you will get very busy as the word spreads.

I'll be in touch.

Mike Davis