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Old 04-15-2010, 01:53 PM
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Lead fill & effect on paint job

I found a link off this site to a "how to" on filling in holes with lead:

http://www.carcraft.com/howto/3065/index.html

Was thinking of doing this to fill some holes for trim strips that I don't want to put back on the car when I'm done.

Mentioned this to a friend the other day, and he said that he'd heard that over time, the spots that I use lead on may cause discoloration effects on the paint in those areas. Looking for anyone here that might have experience with this & might confirm or deny this thought.

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Old 04-15-2010, 02:14 PM
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My son and I used some lead in a few places on my 39, I wont use it again. Too much of a PITA, not worth the trouble in my opinion.

Weld the holes up and work the metal enough to keep the plastic filler thin and I think you will be better off.

My son recently welded up about 80 holes on his 64 Falcon that he removed the side trim from, it took him less than 2 partial days to weld it up, and these were pretty big holes.

A person just has to stay with the program and even a lot of holes can go pretty quick.
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Old 04-15-2010, 05:17 PM
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I used to have a guy working for me that could do leadwork. I had a couple customers want it done, until I told them to double the cost....and then told them I would guarantee the bodyfiller for as long as they own the car. Suddenly they didn't want lead any more.

Just remember that bodyshops stopped using lead about 50 years ago. Plastic filler must have clear advantages, or that would not have happened.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TucsonJay

Just remember that bodyshops stopped using lead about 50 years ago. Plastic filler must have clear advantages, or that would not have happened.

I want to think lead technology hasn't improved much in the last 50 years...
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:09 PM
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Except when it comes out of a gun barrel! :-)~
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Old 04-15-2010, 07:31 PM
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i've melted a bunch of lead in my day. it can be rewarding and to tell the truth it is better than polyester. once it cools it's done.
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Old 04-15-2010, 09:26 PM
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I have never seen lead work cause paint staining, ever, but I have seen too many times when bad clean-up and prep work caused paint failures.

For filling molding hole it really is faster just to weld them. Brazing used to be old school BUT that takes more time and has all the clean-up problems of lead

"I used to have a guy working for me that could do leadwork. ...
Just remember that bodyshops stopped using lead about 50 years ago. Plastic filler must have clear advantages, or that would not have happened."

lead work requires training and talent, ANY high-school kid can smear bondo and sand it down. Purely a dollars & cents business decision for the shops.

Now it's just plain faster and much more profitable to change out the parts.
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Old 04-16-2010, 06:26 AM
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Learning to do lead work is one of the best things I've ever done.
But you really need someone to show you.
Its much better than filler and It''ll never crack or fly off in an accident.The only reasons for it not being done anymore are bondo is cheaper, faster and easier to use.
Lead has always been better even "too good".
.But ...bondo is good enough (I haven't melted a stick in well over ten years) and any knuckle head can mix up some bondo and slap it on a car.......Well......I take that back....the first time I used bondo I didn't use hardener and it took a week to figure out I had a problem...Hey ,I was 13 yr old and wrecked my dads snowmobile thought I would fix it right up and he'd never find out...Looking back, I wasn't very bright.
You can buy a lead starter kit at Eastwood but it'll cost over a hundred just to learn the basics.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:18 AM
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When I restored my 69 Camaro I found lead at the joint between the quarter panels and the top covered with body filler. I experimented with filling the area with additional lead without using filler in those area's. I read all I could about the process and bought the right stuff. It is a learned skill that will produce exceptional results if done properly. I achieved very good results, but IMHO body filler is much easier and if it done correctly is just as permanent.

Vince
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:44 AM
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I suppose there is some danger involved working with lead. That's been in the back of my mind too. But I don't suppose there's anyone with lead poisoning going to post about that.

I think the replies so far are enough to convince me to just go conventional - weld/bondo. Thanks again, folks. I don't post much, but I lurk often, and hold this forum in high regard.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:17 AM
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I took Gene Winfields metal class a couple of times. Watching an old master like him is magical, he built a fender patch for an old Jaguar, when the job was done the fender looked brand new, no signs of bodywork without knowing where to look. Lead and hammer welding. But in my hands it was a very frustrating job, I managed to patch one fender (1 hole) that way, it took me many many hours. I guess what I am saying is different jobs require different techniques. The kids daily driver gets the bondo, the old classic gets the pro job, done by a pro.
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Old 04-16-2010, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Chevelle
I suppose there is some danger involved working with lead. That's been in the back of my mind too. But I don't suppose there's anyone with lead poisoning going to post about that.

I think the replies so far are enough to convince me to just go conventional - weld/bondo. Thanks again, folks. I don't post much, but I lurk often, and hold this forum in high regard.
You must use the right PPE (personal protective equipment) A vapor respirator to take care of the lead fumes, chemical gloves to prevent absorption into the skin, and full body clothing.

Vince
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:23 PM
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I think there are applications where lead can work better and areas where filler is more appropriate. Your not going to use lead to level out a long flat surface but lead will be more appropriate in areas of bends and channels (in general).

Some older cars have areas which require lead as these areas flex. I have had people tell me modern fillers are far better then lead. Since the application is not completely apples to oranges that's not a fair statement. It typically boils down to some one not willing to use or learn to use lead so they put it off as old technology.

I have been doing a bare metal restoration on a Pantera. The car came with a $&(T load of lead from the factory around pillars and such. Many say all the lead has to come off. I saw nothing wrong with the lead that was there. No pitting, no rusting, no cracks, it is flawless as it was in 1971. I would challenge filler to hold up anywhere as well as this has. Often you can't even tell an area was leaded until you start grinding or welding.

Problem is people compare lead or filler and discuss cracking when the problem is poor construction. Both door jambs were practically built from lead. You would never know it till you got in as deep as I did. The problem is not the lead but the crappy construction requiring lead. I spent a week on each door jamb removing lead, cutting door jambs and rewedding them to fit the doors.

Even the Jaguar which flexes is frankly a design flaw in the car.

Either way, I have seen lead in the restoration of a couple cars and the problem areas were ALWAYS areas that used filler and never the leaded areas. Often not even discovering the leaded areas or the damage under them until really getting into the body work.

In the end, I think filler is appropriate for many things as is lead. Filler is definitely the easy out.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:30 PM
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I have done it on both doors and the cowl of my car.

I think my son and I did a good job for our first attempt.

You can see the lead around the bottom hinge and just below the beltline.

I can't say it was hard, but I can say that I think it is not worth the trouble.

My 39 had some lead bodywork done on it a long time back. There was extensive repair on the passenger quarter and lesser amounts done elsewhere, like the trunk handle was removed and filled with lead.

I want to imagine that this work was done back in the 50s and it got a fresh coat of blue lacquer at the same time.

The lead work was visible as an area of greater checking especially on the lead that was exposed to the direct rays of the sun.

I have no doubt that the lead was flat and very well done, but IMO it is not anymore of a "forever" product than todays high quality filler.

Just sayin....
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:54 PM
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I also saw it done on another 69 Camaro that had two rear quarters put on it. They were cut off at the top trim line like always and after welding them on any imperfections were filled with lead. After rough sanding with a DA you could not tell the quarters had been replaced.

Vince
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