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Old 04-28-2005, 06:46 AM
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What tool for applying filler skim coat?

What is the best way or best tool for applying the final skim coat of filler? I'm using Evercoat Glaze and have tried both a steel blade and and softer plastic blade (typical bondo type applicator) to get a nice uniform and smooth surface. But I fail miserably. I have read MartinSr's sticky on filler technique but he does not mention how to actually do the application. Even when I do cover the panels end to end (as Martin suggests), I end up with tons of "edges" or "ridges" where the fill comes off the ends of the applicator. With each pass, I simply create another two edges. Also, any slight debris or imperfection in the blade leaves a channel in the fill. And these ridges and channels are the boogers that are really hard to sand out (the equivalent to a run in your paint).

Anyhow, looking for any tips (pics would help) of how to get a nice smooth surface and a uniform thickness to the glaze.

Dewey
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Old 04-28-2005, 07:20 AM
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Perhaphs the pro's of the board have some neat tricks,I will tell you that mostly spreading putty, filler etc is more of an experience thing. The more you spread the better you will get. Here is a pic of a rear quarter i was working on a couple days ago. It will have some minor ridges in it but they will sand out first thing.

Also have you tried using any honey ( thinner for bodyfiller) in your product or 1 cap of acetone to thin it out and make it lay down smoother? That makes a difference as well I am told. I have never used either one, but have read good things about the use of both.

I think a small plastic spreader is best, as you pull up/down the panel tilt the spreader more up and pull harder against the panel, this aids in laying smoother, thinner passes of filler. I will get a pic today while in the garage if someone does not beat me to it to try and help you.

BK
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Old 04-28-2005, 08:34 AM
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Try holding your spreader at a 45 degree angle and try to only pull the filler/glaze coat in one direction. The amount of pressure you apply will determine how thick the filler is laying on. I use a spead on scrape off spread on technique for all of my filler applications. I make a swipe then scrape if off on the next stroke then reapply. This eliminates any trapped air between the filler and the substrate and also reduces pinholes.
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Old 04-28-2005, 08:43 AM
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Dewey, I am going to have to write a "Basics" on this subject. I do have to say, I am a "Mentor" at work and teach this stuff all the time hands on. It is really an must do to catch on sort of thing. Some guys take a lot longer than others.

Basically it is all in the pressure applied, the direction of spread and the hand grip on the spreader. I use a plastic spreader, I want the flex.

If you lay the spreader across your fingers with your thumb on the other side in the middle you can simply press down with your thumb and the spreader will curve. This is THE trick as far as I am concerned. As you go over the panel you press and release pressure to match the contour of the panel.

Pressure, this is critical. You want more pressure on the ends (or at least NOT less) at first to get the hang of it. This will reduce the ridges. Start with a lot of pressure so there isn't a build up at the start of the application. Then end the pass with a lot of pressure for the same reason.

Play with these thoughts and see how it goes.

Brian
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:35 AM
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When I have a big area to cover like you do I cut a 2" wide by however long piece of 1/8" baltic birch plywood and sand the edge smooth. This is flexible enough to conform to compound curved surfaces but stiff enough to level the surface. Drag it north to south, then east to west and you have a very good surface. A quick pass w/ the in-line sander or D/A and 120 grit and I am off and running!
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:48 AM
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BondoKing - Is that your "filler" coat or is that your "glaze". From the pic it looks pretty thick for glaze - but then maybe that's my problem, not having enough thickness to the glaze coat. Like you say, it probably comes with practice...it just takes some of us a LOT longer to get the hang of it. Especially when we might be working with some bad technique right from the get-go.

Martinsr - I think a sticky or knowledge base article on this would be a great idea. I know I've had trouble with this for years. I have basically tried to adapt "drywall" techniques to body filler - without great results. You have a lot of your pointers here I will definitely use on my next project. On my current project I have muddled my way past the glaze coat and am now trying to fight the flat spots, nicks, and pinholes with successive coats of primer and a little dab of glaze here and there. I know (after reading your sticky) that this is not the way to do it - but at this point I nearly have it so I am not going to go back to the full glaze stage and start over. Next time I'll do it right from the very start - hopefully with a lot less frustration.

Baddbob - I'm a little surprised to hear about your spread on scrape off technique. I find that the more I try to work an area of glaze (or any filler for that matter) the more I seem to muck it up. This is particularly true if a couple minutes have gone by since the mix and the stuff is starting to set up at all. Do you do the entire technique while everything is still "fluid"?

Willys - The plywood spreader tool sounds very intriguing. I've tried using my long (like 24") steel drywall spreader with some success - but only on very flat areas. Never could fine a "steel" that would bend around the corners very well. So I'll be trying this one out for sure on my next attempt.

This has been very enlightening already...in just the hour or two since I posted the question. It's sort of like welding. If you start out with bad technique, all the practice in the world isn't going to help that much. So this is a real leg up to be able to at least start with the correct techniques and know that the practice is going to lead to some much better filler results.
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Old 04-28-2005, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BondoKing
Also have you tried using any honey ( thinner for bodyfiller) in your product or 1 cap of acetone to thin it out and make it lay down smoother? That makes a difference as well I am told. I have never used either one, but have read good things about the use of both.
I know about the hunny, but will a bit of acetone really do the same without any negetive side effects?
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Old 04-28-2005, 02:32 PM
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The 12 steps...and 3 secreats... http://www.a2zautoforums.com/showthread.php?t=936
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Old 04-28-2005, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myfamiliacc
I know about the hunny, but will a bit of acetone really do the same without any negetive side effects?
I would stay away from acetone!
The cheap spreaders are a joke, 3M has some nice yellow ones that bend and flow really nice.
After you have spread the filler around to where you want you can go back over it very very lightly almost floating over it and smooth out any ridges. Make sure you remove any excess filler from the spreader first.

If you have both a regular filler like evercoat's rage or rage gold and a poly glaze like metal glaze you can combine the two products together. Thus saving you from buying a "honey" type product as it does the same thing.
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Old 04-28-2005, 08:32 PM
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The spreaders come in different "hardness" as well.
I use a fairly stiff one for filler (Rage,ect.)and a "medium" for the initial spot (Metal Glaze,Easy sand,ect. The idea with the spot is to get all the pinholes/defects filled first with another layer right after on top to fill/smooth/level/block.Bob's spread/scrape/spread.
Then. a light smooth coat covering the whole area which I use a "soft"/flexible spreader and just enough pressure to lay it out nice.
Gooping too much on the spreader will cause it to run out the sides which I believe is your problem? It just takes practice to know about how much to swipe when getting ready to apply and a light touch when flattening out the "lines".
I use a little less hardener which gives you a little longer working time as the actual amount is designed for production work and the "Git 'er Done" ideal.
By using less it will take longer to harden but fortunately,I'm in no hurry anyway.
Most say to run a bead across the entire diameter of your "circle".
I use about 1/2 that generally. Unless you have a 5" puddle,Then you better be ready to rock & roll.
As for the "lines" caused by debris(which you can't help sometimes) OR
When cleaning,especally if your using a putty knife to scrape it off causes gouges in the edge and unless you want to get a new spreader,a light run across some fine sand paper will smooth it out again.
If you just leave the major build up on the plastic one's,after it dries some,just bend the spreader and it will pop loose. If any residue remains,just clean it off with lacquer thinner on a rag.

Last edited by Bee4Me; 04-28-2005 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cboy
What is the best way or best tool for applying the final skim coat of filler? I'm using Evercoat Glaze and have tried both a steel blade and and softer plastic blade (typical bondo type applicator) to get a nice uniform and smooth surface. But I fail miserably. I have read MartinSr's sticky on filler technique but he does not mention how to actually do the application. Even when I do cover the panels end to end (as Martin suggests), I end up with tons of "edges" or "ridges" where the fill comes off the ends of the applicator. With each pass, I simply create another two edges. Also, any slight debris or imperfection in the blade leaves a channel in the fill. And these ridges and channels are the boogers that are really hard to sand out (the equivalent to a run in your paint).

Anyhow, looking for any tips (pics would help) of how to get a nice smooth surface and a uniform thickness to the glaze.

Dewey

You can tune up the edge of your plastic spreader very quickly with a piece of cardboard. Take the plastic spreader and rub the edge briskly over the cardboard holding it perpendicular to the cardboard (as though you are trying to cut with the spreader) The friction and abrasiveness of the cardboard will remove a slight amount of plastic from the edge of the spreader very quickly, you can round the corners slightly with the same technique, just watch there isn't any strings of plastic hanging off the edge of the spreader when you're done. This will remove the grooves in your spreader edge.

I like Evercoat's spreaders- they have a nice taper to them and are made of a stiffer plastic than the noname versions. I haven't tried the 3M versions Sevt mentioned but I bet they are good if he's suggesting them. The metal spreaders work fine for flat panels but anything with some contour will need a plastic spreader.

If the filler is hardening before you get it on the panel then you either need to reduce the size of the area and filler and or reduce the amount of hardener in your mix like bee4mee suggests. Try to get the material on the panel as close as possible to the thickness you need as fast as you can, then while it is still workable fine tune it with some light strokes like Sevt and bee4mee suggested. If your glaze is running then it may be too thin for what you're trying to do. I've been using Evercoat's Easy Sand lately and like it, doesn't run like the metal glaze. All of Evercoat's Metalworks fillers and glazes are intermixable- you can mix products to get the consistancy you need.


The spread and scrape and spread technique was taught to me by an old timer years ago, it just becomes natural after you do it awhile. While most people don't seem to be having failures with filler I have seen problems where rust has formed under the filler because air was trapped. This can cause an unexplained bubble to form down the road. If you use epoxy primer before the filler the potential corrosion problem is eliminated. The apply scape and apply technique also eliminates any trapped air between the filler and substrate. Most will argue that this amount of attention is ridiculous, Oh well, do it the way you want I say. It sounds like most people here are on the same page- Bondo Conisuors?
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:43 PM
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I am no body man by any means so I usually don't post here but I do use the plastic spreader like martinsr. I also found if you can't get even coverage on the first pass your better off to sand down and try again than spread again
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Old 04-28-2005, 09:46 PM
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Bob, have you tried Upol's dolphin glaze? I find it to be better then the metal glaze cause it doesnt run, also seems to level out better. I also like how it comes in that oversized toothpaste tube, allows you to remove every last drop.
But am also curoius about the easy sand. Pretty much like metal glaze minus the running?...Eric
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Old 04-28-2005, 10:01 PM
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Hello Eric, yeah I have used the Dolphin glaze and do like it but I think the Easy Sand spreads the same but sands just a tad bit better. They are very close to the same though- I'd have to do a side by side comparison to actually qualify one as being better than the other. I agree the packaging of the Dophin glaze is way better, the Evercoat is hard to empty to the last drop unless you disect the tube
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Old 04-29-2005, 08:29 AM
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Cboy that is Rage Gold body filler you see in those two pics.

Milo posted a link that I think covers putty's, body fillers etc.. in great detail. If you follow that protocol I think you will not have any problems... really.

Remember everyone does it somewhat different. Some guys will add a little filler here and there as they work out a panel and then do one final "skim coat", others will cover the entire area every time until they have worked out all the low and high spots ( this is how I do it... learned from Milo's thread ). then do their "skim coat". You will find that both will have success and tell you other is maybe wrong or unnecessary. Some here use wood to spread filler, others use hard plastic, some softer plastic, some name brand , some not... see what I am saying?

I think you have allot of great replies, try out what seems right to you and work it out to perfection. YOU CAN DO IT!!! Don't get discouraged, they make more filler and sandpaper both, so just have fun and experiment until you find what works for you bro. Best of luck to you man

BK
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