In repairing dents, the metal needs to be as straight as possible before you use any fillers. When something makes a dent it also stretches the metal. If you tap out a dent it will most likely be out as much as it was in. Plastic fillers were made only to finish your repair, not to cover it up. If you can get behind the dent, you can tap it out with a body hammer as much as possible. If you can't get to the entire dent, you will need to use a stud gun to weld a stud in the lowest part of the dent so you can pull it out as much as possible. In the early days, bodymen would drill holes in the dent so they could pull it out. If you strip the body panel and it has holes in it you will need to weld them up with a MIG welder. If the holes are small you can weld a stud in the center of the hole with a stud gun. In doing this you can use the stud to pull the dent out further.
Metal work takes a lot of patience when done correctly-you can't cut corners in this repair. Sometimes you tap out a dent and it pops out too much and when you put pressure on it, it will pop back in. This is called an oil canning effect; you can't just fill the dent up, you will need to shrink the metal with a torch. If you look inside the body panel and it has holes and burn spots about the size of a quarter you will know it has been pulled out and shrunk.
In choosing products like plastic fillers and primers you need a product that has a good track record. You want this repair to last many years. I use 3M products because of their durability and Evercoat is making some good plastic fillers. Also, something new is 3M sprayable filler for finish blocking.
Metal work is hard to explain in writing, it takes experience to know how the metal should be repaired. These tips may only be helpful in knowing what you are looking at and/or how your bodyman is doing your repairs. If I can help in any way I am just a phone call away or if there is any other areas that I can help just e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Next month we will be looking in the areas of primers and the proper way of blocking for paint. You see, a Gold Class paint job is in the preparation. You will love it when your plan comes together. -Ron
To contact the author of the Resto Tip of the Month,please call or write him at Ron's Restorations PO Box 66 Siloam Springs, AR 72761 (479) 524-2767
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