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Old 12-02-2002, 10:32 AM
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Post Hammer and dolly

On my '49 Chevy truck I have dents and dings I need to bang out on the fenders. I bought a hammer and dolly fit from Harbor Freight, Now what?? Do I take the hammer and start banging the heck out of it? How do I use the hammer and dolly together to form the steel the way I want it?

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Old 12-03-2002, 07:49 AM
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Help me out HK! I bet you know the proper way to hammer out dents to were you just have to use a small amount of filler.

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Old 12-03-2002, 08:06 AM
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Maverick.
The dolly is used on the underside of the dent. You just hit the dent up. What you have to do is get the feeling of the hammer and dolly meeting. I learned how to do this years ago. It will sound like a drummer hitting the drum to a beat. The best thing is to use what they call a slapper with the dolly. It looks like a file bent in a S shape. When you use the 2 together the dent is Almost all taken out. Pratice and you will get it. Hope this helps ED
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Old 12-03-2002, 09:14 AM
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Thanks! So the dolly goes on the side were the dent sticks out?? Say the fender is dented in I place the dolly on the underside of the fender? That seems backwards to me. I have seen the slappers. I have one fender that has a long crease down the side. I have been putting the dolly on the indented part an trying to hammer the dent back into the dolly. Is this why I havent had much luck?

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Old 12-03-2002, 11:08 AM
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Maverick, the dolly is used as a back up tool for the hammering process. The dolly can be used to raise low areas or the hammer can be used to raise low areas or lower high spots. Once the metal is level or if any high areas remain the dolly can be placed on the back side of the panel then using the hammer lower the high areas.
The hammer and dolly process can be done 2 different ways.

Hammering-on-dolly, dolly beneath the area where the hammer is hitting the metal.

Hammering-off-dolly, dolly to the side of where the hammer is hitting the metal.
Be careful not to stretch the metal.

Always remember to keep checking the metal for straightness, rubbing the damaged area with you're hand flat across the panel. Also use a rag to between your hand and the metal so as not to cause rust from the moisture in you're skin.
Its all about practice, if possible use an old panel to practice on before you get started.
Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2002, 11:40 AM
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Thanks! I havent been messing with it much just need to keep working with it. Thanks for your help!

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Old 12-03-2002, 11:58 AM
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Maverick; I congratulate you on wanting to learn these skills yourself. You will always have dozens of people tell you that you can't do it yourself which is ridiculous. The people who know how to do it learned so why can't you. I recommend HIGHLY that you buy a couple of Ron Covell's how to tapes on metal finishing. He is a master and his tapes make it very understandable. I learned how to smooth, stretch and shrink metal from his tapes and I think I am adequately funcitional to handle most dents and dings. I too have the Harbor Freight set (for 15 years) plus a couple of other dollies I have picked up over the years and they work fine. You don't need a whole tool box of body tools to do a respectable job.

I had the same body work to do on my '53 Chevy pickup and the compound curves on those fenders is a great place to learn metal finishing techniques. Compound curves are MUCH easier to work on than flat panels.

In general, you use the hammer to gently pound down high spots. The dollie is held behind the pannel and can be used in several ways. First it can be used like a hammer to beat a dent out from the back side. Second if you hald the dollie on a low spot and pound on a high spot with the hammer (this is called 'off dollie' metal finishing - the hammer is hitting metal not directly in contact with the dollie), the two will eventually level out without stretching the metal. Third, the dollie can be held directly under the spot that you are hammering which will squeeze the metal between the two and stretch it out.

Th other basic function you need to use is shrinking metal that has been streached. The common dent in an old fender that has been beat out using a ball peen hammer is a good example of metal that has been stretched. To shrink it, you heat a quarter sized spot red hot with a torch, lay the torch down. the red spot will have swelled and risen quite a bit from the level when it was cold. Now take your body hammer and tap around and on the red spot 'til it is level again with the surrounding metal, then quench it with a wet rag. This will greatly shrink the metal. You will need to learn where to apply the heat to get the shrinkage you need but it is not hard to do. Once the basic panel is back to near the proper size, us the dollie and hammer to massage it to the proper contour.

Get Ron Covell's tapes and this will all make sense.

[ December 03, 2002: Message edited by: willys36@aol.com ]</p>
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Old 12-03-2002, 12:13 PM
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I appologize for the lack of responce. Been busy and only been able to pop on for a few minutes at a time. All these guys are correct and willy's gives great advice, get some of Covells videos, he also has a line of good tools, I have a set of his hammers I use for motocycle tanks specifically, but other things as well.

HK
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Old 12-03-2002, 12:23 PM
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Thanks guys I have seen those tapes and plan on getting one. Your right Willy if they can learn it why cant I! Hell my Motto is "I can do anything!" It tends to get me into trouble more then anything. LOL. Great advise! Thanks!
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Old 12-03-2002, 01:57 PM
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I was born in trouble!
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Old 12-05-2002, 03:24 PM
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Maverick... I am by far not a professional but I did take over 30 dents out of my car using a hammer dolly and for the last two I was at home away from my buddies tools I just used a screwdriver and a hammer (came out nice too) the biggest thing about working with metal is anything you do.. if you do it lightly it can be undone... start by tapping lightly and then progessivly get harder hitting the surface until it goes to the right shape (sometimes it needs a good wack but you don't know till you tap it)

Also dollies can be used in many many ways... such as having it behind the metal you are hitting as suggested... or using it on the low spot as you hit the high one... you can do other things with it too... if a body line is dented in and you can't pull it out (with fingers, claw end of carpenters hammer etc) you can use the dolly from the back side hammer it and use the /\ shape on the dolly to push your body line back out (us the dolly... what i would suggest is play around... preferrably on extra metal left over... bash stuff in and then push it out...
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Old 12-10-2002, 06:48 AM
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That's a rather complicated question and there's no really short answer. Suffice it to say, you just don't bang the hell out of it--it creates much more work in the long run. I agree with the assessment of small ding = a little bit of body filler. There is a great little instructional book (originally produced in the 50's)on bumping techniques that's being sold by Eastwood for something like $8 (sorry don't recall the exact title right now--and I'm at work so I can't check). It explains the mechanics of dent removal with a hammer and dolly very well. the one line summary is swing from the wrist, not the shoulder and do so very quickly. Practice on a junk fender first or the reslut could be Big Ding = much body filler.
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Old 12-10-2002, 09:03 AM
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Better go back to town and pick up a book on autobody repair before you cause more damage than you already have. Advise from a guy who's done this stuff for over 30 years
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Old 12-10-2002, 02:18 PM
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All good responses. Most dents have stretched the metal; therefore, you likely need to shrink it, and you want to do a fair bit of hammer off dolly work before you grab the torch. You generally want to pick a dolly that has a contour that roughly matches the shape the panel should have. It acts like an anvil to form the metal over. You can pound the dolly on the dent from the back side to hit push it back out. By tapping on the high spots with the hammer you can tap them down. So long as the "high spot" is not flattened, and in contact with the dolly and the hammer at the same time, you can be shrinking. Once the panel is closely matching your dolly shape, or if you hit a low spot, you may pinch the panel between the slightly convex head of the hammer and the dolly, this causes stretching which is what you generally want to avoid. This is partly why the flatter panels are so much harder to straighten than the complex curves of your fenders. The complex curves are also better at hiding minor imperfections, provided they are smoothed out. Some sources describe knocking out dents as reversing the way they were created, and is a good way to think about the task. The tip about working out the bodylines is very important, and I would start with that aim. With your truck fenders, not having much of a line, I would try get the wheel openings correct before working too hard on the dents. Failing to get the bodylines out magnifies the amount of metal that seemingly needs to be shrunk. Straightening the body links can get rid of a lot of that metal and give you a better idea of what really needs to be shrunk. Slappers are great tools to use instead of the hammer because they spread you blow over a larger area, and are less likely to hit a low spot and stretch the metal. They also decrease the power of your hit by spreading it out, so you hit alone doesn't stretch the metal (as pounding with a ball peen would stretch the metal without pinching anything). Another good tool for shrinking the metal and works great on convex curves like your fenders is the amazing shrinking disk sold by sunchaser tools <a href="http://www.sunchasertools.com/" target="_blank">http://www.sunchasertools.com/</a> It’s rather expensive if you are just doing a few dents, but it makes heating the high stretched spots easy, and you can then do hammer on dolly work forming the panel over your dolly with impunity, which is much easier than the hammer off dolly work. Using the shrinking disk, you basically pound the bodyline out, and work the dent up and out, then run the disc over the area like a flat board, which heats only the high areas, quench them, which shrinks the high spots. Then continue pounding up the low spots and repeat the use of the shrinking disk, and ultimately some sand paper on the body grinder. Using this method you can get many dents removed to the point no filler is needed. You can do a lot with the torch too, but I find this is easier to control and less likely to cause more work for yourself. It also makes working on the flatter panels much easier to get straight. Another good resource is <a href="http://www.metalshapers.org/" target="_blank">http://www.metalshapers.org/</a> in particular the autobody restoration group.
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Old 12-10-2002, 03:03 PM
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And last and least. It is better to tap it 50 times lightly than to hit it hard once.
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