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Discussion Starter · #102 · (Edited)
Awesome pics pugsy. Those pics are great encouragement and motivation. That's what I'm striving for. I ordered a shrinking disc yesterday before I came in from the shop. I can't wait to get it and try it. I know DBM's opinion of the repair and assembly steps, does anyone else think I should be repairing the bumps now while the skin is off? Not looking to discredit you DBM, I'm just looking for more opinions. Like IDJ said, 3 different body men might give you 3 different opinions.

Happy Easter to everyone by the way!


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Rod...from a Chrysler?
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If you want a smooth, low bondo panel, fix it first and then assemble.

But, there's always a but, be prepared to spend a whack of time doing it.
This is where a hobbyist can spend the time compared to someone that needs to put dinner on the table making repairs.
 

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Another tool you will need is a slapper.
You can make one from a old piece of leaf spring. I ground a radius on mine so I don't have sharp corners to put dings into the panel.
Do NOT use a hammer.

You place your dolly with the crown up under a low spot giving an upward force. You "slap" around it and the low spot will come up. This is called off dolly work and it doesn't stretch, it just moves the metal around.
Keep moving the dolly all around the low spot as you do it or else only one place will move up. Practice, hit lightly a bit at a time.
 
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I prefer working the dents with the panel off. Often, my hand serves as the dolly on the very last bit of straightening. And I like being able to tap from both sides.

I have done a LOT of straightening in my life and satisfied the customer every time without ever requiring a shrinking disc. A shrinking tip on a stud gun has been a friend many times though. Ideally, off-dolly hammering can chase the dent away leaving only the stretch that is from the damage to deal with and creating no new.

Same with torch. Never needed it for sheetmetal. Changes the properties of the metal and makes it behave more like tin than steel afterward, if you ask me. The carefully placed weld has helped me save panels where others failed with a torch. I think it was a big mistake to put fire on your roof and should have quit while you were ahead when it looked "OK". Striving for perfection at entry level is apt to be more discouraging than productive in my opinion. Even the most demanding customers I have encountered (even while doing show cars most often) are not interested in buying perfect straightening, they would rather you just get it close enough that thick bondo is not needed.

I probably can also come up with before and after straightening pics for inspo but don't think they would reveal much about how to do it. Want some? Merry Easter and enjoy yourself if you work in the shop today.
 

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+1 on slapping spoons. I have light and heavy ones and reach for them very often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #107 · (Edited)
Pugsy, you specify hammering off dolly. Why is this important?

Also, why is the slapped method preferred in this case?

EDIT: I was typing a response and missed the updates that you guys had replied. IDJ, you may be right about the torch. However, I have indeed used it at this point. I may have made things harder for myself, but are things to an irreparable state yet in your opinion to the point of having to cut out and patch?


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Rod...from a Chrysler?
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Pugsy, you specify hammering off dolly. Why is this important?

Also, why is the slapped method preferred in this case?


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You need to think about metal shaping and what goes on.
Stretching metal is done by slapping the metal with the dolly directly below the slapper. It makes a nice ringing sound. The metal gets thinner and thus the piece gets bigger.

If you stretch metal in the middle of a panel, it ends up getting a bulge. This happens because there is more steel locked up in one spot and has to go either up or down. I believe you've already experienced this. I refer to them as pop bubbles as they "pop" in either direction. Like the bottom of an oil can. Oh, I see now, that's where they get "oil canning" from, DOH!

Most low spots are not these bubbles but just material in the wrong position. To move this material, we do not want to stretch it to make it bulge up. Sometimes we do after we've determined that all the material has been "moved" to the correct position and the final spot is still low from over shrinking.

I actually use the ringing sound of the slapper on the dolly mentioned above, with a real light blow to help me find if the dolly is in the correct place underneath the panel. This will let you know if you have the dolly in the correct spot. But do not whack it hard.
 

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Pugsy, you specify hammering off dolly. Why is this important?

Also, why is the slapped method preferred in this case?

EDIT: I was typing a response and missed the updates that you guys had replied. IDJ, you may be right about the torch. However, I have indeed used it at this point. I may have made things harder for myself, but are things to an irreparable state yet in your opinion to the point of having to cut out and patch?


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You're still OK after the torch. It's gonna make for some good learning.

As for hammering off dolly, that should be slapping off dolly. Do not use a hammer.
 

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Honestly Schroeder I would have to be there to assess the panel in person at this point. Like Pugsy said, you're probably OK but getting where you need to be from where you are is good learning. Just wishing it wasn't happening on this panel. The last pics you put up didn't help me see whats going on very well and I want to run my hand over it.

Also like Pugsy said, you have to think about what happens when you smack stuff... Mainly how the metal thickness has been or will be affected. I can see how spoons are best for off dolly work but you need the right weight of spoon for the job. I have zero book learning on metal shaping, just taught myself to fix dents so I'm not gonna have a clue about terminology or proper procedures so be aware of that. I probably would have pushed hard for a new roof if your car was in my stall and you wanted al the rust under it gone. Thats another thing to bear in mind... this has never been a hobby for me. Always bread and butter.
 

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I rounded up a picture story about the anatomy of a dent for you that will hopefully prove to be relevant and help you decide what is acceptable. Probably gonna eat up a page of your Pontiac thread :pain: but it is cradle-to-grave and if I just linked the folder there would be no explanations. It is much more my style to flood you with examples than rules and I am confident that I can produce more examples if they will help you.

To put this in proper context, this guy bought the nicest car he could find, then paid double that inflated purchase price to have the bodywork done nicely. Not perfect, just beautiful. No excuses needed no matter how fancy the car show is kinda bodywork. Had I tried to make the metal perfect, the job might have been taken away because it cost too much. I did this after ten years of collision repair and two years of classic / custom jobs, and have five years experience at the latter on top of that. Never made a thread anywhere about this car (saved it for a rainy day and its raining now) but I did almost everything but paint on it. OK here goes-

Nice Mach1 but she was hiding many sins-



This quarter looks OK from here-



A guy knocked off the paint and filler and the truth began to surface-



I got it ready for epoxy-



You can see some nasty stretch happening there, and a load of pick hammer tracks-



Skip way ahead, to my stall, after a boatload of other repairs-



The replacement quarter's contours were quite poor at the rear edge. The scribed line in the pic below was my initial thought as to where to section it bearing that in mind. But if I could go below that dent, sectioning would get a lot easier. Hammer, spoon, and dolly work along with shrinking with a stud gun type tool got me here-





See all these divots? Ouch. Some of them (with mud inside em) are old pick hammer marks. The others are either pull stud marks or my own pick hammer "shrinking" attempts.



The metal was overworked previously in the whole area, and it was thin enough that the pull stud would almost burn through, even though we have this fancy adjustable to the moon machine. Does what a stud gun does but is much handier.



This is the business end in use on another job. See the electrode on top? Thats for shrinking.



So back to this pic. All the little dots below the crease are shink zaps with the tool. The heat is very controllable this way and I had still never heard of a shrinking disc. Might have been a good place for it if I was going for metal shaping hobbyist level perfection though-



I didn't mind putting that pic here twice because its the one that shows just how far out the stretching can go, away from the dent. Study hard.

Here, I'll slap some grey on it for a better look-







Lets MIG up those divots, grind them flush on both sides and do a little more tapping around since its "pop-bubble" free now and the steel is more relaxed and at home.





For an even more revealing look, I stepped to 180 and went a little further with the straightening-







I'll break here for a second post to finish the story, but at this point I was satisfied with this area. :) Bear with me, I'll be right back. Sure hope this is helpful because I'd feel like a goof for whoring your thread otherwise.:embarrass
 

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Here it is in epoxy. You can see some other dents that were hardly touched. I am fine with those-



And yes I rely on filler. If I just sat there and fussed over metal any longer, the boss would go into orbit. This car isn't one of them but even the 100-200K builds get a filler bath, in reality. Thick stuff don't fly though, not for me if I can help it. I like to limit myself to 3/16" depth maximum in a small area. When the metal work budget allows. By some HRF-ers' standards, this is probably pig slop. My duty is to make these messes usable while keeping the bill sane.









The rest of the story...











 

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Nice IDJ. :thumbup:

A skim of filler is perfect in my books. I'm aiming for 1/8" max on my rod.


That's a nice outfit for shrinking. I wouldn't own a shrinking disc if I had one of those either. They both do the same thing by zapping heat into a small zone and then cause it to shrink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #114 · (Edited)
Wow. I can't thank you guys enough. That had to take you an hour to write up! Awesome stuff fellas. IDJ, do you happen to remember how many hours you have in that repair you've outlined so well for me? That is a bit of encouragement as I sure don't think my panel is THAT effed up yet.

You guys are losing my on the epoxy jobs you do before the metal work is complete. Do you do it because it really shows the dents well? Seems like a waste to put the stuff down, beat it all up, sand it, grind it, weld, etc. when you say "spoon" it are you referring the the slap and hammer off dolly methods, or is "spooning" yet another body technique I need to familiarize myself with and something other than what we do in bed with our wives? lol Jeesh! I AM getting too close to this car hahah.

I saw a couple YouTube vids where the teachers noted that their slappers had teeth on them. It sounds like shrinking hammers have this feature too. Is it key that whatever I cobble together for my stapler have these? Pugsy, you said you use an old leaf spring, so I'm guessing u don't need little teeth on whatever I use, but I want to clarify. Right now I was thinking of just using a 12" long piece of angle iron or old steel and grinding the business end so it isn't sharp anywhere.

Also, just to clarify; you keep pointing me to my MIG welder as a helpful tool for this bit of work. Is the MIG the DIY version of the fancy tool you have shown here in your pics? Second, I do have a Miller synchrowave 200 TIG welder. I know TIG welds are softer and sometimes its welds are more desirable than MIG. Is that something I should utilize here instead of the MIG?

SOOOO much to learn. I know you can go to technical schools and week long work shops for this stuff, but why don't colleges have 4 year technical degrees in this stuff rather than worthless crap like art history?


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Wow. I can't thank you guys enough. That had to take you an hour to write up! Awesome stuff fellas. IDJ, do you happen to remember how many hours you have in that repair you've outlined so well for me?

You guys are losing my on the epoxy jobs you do before the metal work is complete................No............ Do you do it because it really shows the dents well? ................No.........Seems like a waste to put the stuff down, beat it all up, sand it, grind it, weld, etc...no waste. Spray before filler, but after metal working.............. when you say "spoon" it are you referring the the slap...yes.... and hammer...no hammer.... off dolly methods,......yes, same as slapping...... or is "spooning" yet another body technique I need to familiarize myself with and something other than what we do in bed with our wives? ..........yech!!!!..................I just ate breakfast....maybe you have a wife you like.........lol Jeesh! I AM getting too close to this car hahah.

SOOOO much to learn. I know you can go to technical schools and week long work shops for this stuff, but why don't colleges have 4 year technical degrees in this stuff rather than worthless crap like art history?


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See above in bold.

You can join Metalmeet.com or Allmetalshaping.com and guys are holding virtually free meets all over America. I've been to a few.
I host one in Toronto every spring called the Hogtown Meet.
 

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Nice IDJ. :thumbup:

A skim of filler is perfect in my books. I'm aiming for 1/8" max on my rod.


That's a nice outfit for shrinking. I wouldn't own a shrinking disc if I had one of those either. They both do the same thing by zapping heat into a small zone and then cause it to shrink.
1/8" or less is the target, yessir and thank you. I did my GP in 2000 and wasn't too comfortable with welding yet so it has some bad thick stuff. Hail twice has knocked some of it loose :pain: but no big chunks have fallen off yet.

The Maxi is almost like a videogame cheat. Lucky CL find at half the price of new. The shrink feature is honestly best just for zapping down inadvertent outies from the pull stud. I have had one at my disposal for most of the last dozen years or so, at two shops. Its my bestest friend when theres no backside access.

Have you ever tried a shrinking tip in a plain stud gun, Pugsy?
You might like that, its doing basically the same thing but without that knob.

The last example was a lot of joke for a little punch line :D so here is a bonus recent stretchy hood dent that also somewhat shows the "last in, first out" process. I began at the front. Dots with light centers are pulls, and the dark ones are shrinks. Lots of slapping happened after the pulling phase. Mapping the entire dent area at the beginning is key, and the first shot shows where I did that with a block on epoxy just like Schroeder did with the white spray paint.







 

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Discussion Starter · #117 ·
Great stuff. Thanks. And just to make sure I'm getting this all right, if I have a outward bulge I need to weld at the highest point on the BACK side, right? I'm running this through my head trying to picture how the metal will shrink and I'm not sure I'm imagining it correctly or if it even matters. I hope I get a couple hrs in the shop today to cut a 20ga test panel out and try some of this great, great stuff you guys have given me. It's exciting.

I thought I scraped these out, but I guess not! I found em in the junk pile yet. Is this my new slapper?


Can you guys address whether the TIG would be better for this job or not (again maybe something I just have to test and try) and if the slapper NEEDS little teeth on it or not?


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Wow. I can't thank you guys enough. That had to take you an hour to write up! Awesome stuff fellas. IDJ, do you happen to remember how many hours you have in that repair you've outlined so well for me? That is a bit of encouragement as I sure don't think my panel is THAT effed up yet.

You guys are losing my on the epoxy jobs you do before the metal work is complete. Do you do it because it really shows the dents well? Seems like a waste to put the stuff down, beat it all up, sand it, grind it, weld, etc. when you say "spoon" it are you referring the the slap and hammer off dolly methods, or is "spooning" yet another body technique I need to familiarize myself with and something other than what we do in bed with our wives? lol Jeesh! I AM getting too close to this car hahah.

I saw a couple YouTube vids where the teachers noted that their slappers had teeth on them. It sounds like shrinking hammers have this feature too. Is it key that whatever I cobble together for my stapler have these? Pugsy, you said you use an old leaf spring, so I'm guessing u don't need little teeth on whatever I use, but I want to clarify. Right now I was thinking of just using a 12" long piece of angle iron or old steel and grinding the business end so it isn't sharp anywhere.

Also, just to clarify; you keep pointing me to my MIG welder as a helpful tool for this bit of work. Is the MIG the DIY version of the fancy tool you have shown here in your pics? Second, I do have a Miller synchrowave 200 TIG welder. I know TIG welds are softer and sometimes its welds are more desirable than MIG. Is that something I should utilize here instead of the MIG?

SOOOO much to learn. I know you can go to technical schools and week long work shops for this stuff, but why don't colleges have 4 year technical degrees in this stuff rather than worthless crap like art history?


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A crash course of some sort might do you good. Like Pugsy said, there are resources of every kind. Personally, I bought some body tools at a truckload sale, asked for a small toolbox for Christmas, and just walked in calling myself a bodyman one day after painting for a couple years. Fixed whatever has been thrown at me since the turn of the century. So experience has been my only teacher but as you can see, its also a valid way to study. It would almost be worth it for you to pick up a rusty Firebird and do a cheap quick fix to learn from on it then sell it... before tackling your dream car straight outta the gate. Alas, time is the burn. Theres never enough.

It would be tough for me to say at this point exactly, but oh I probably spent a day and a half just fussing over that quarter dent. I savored the hood dent for an entire morning and caught a big enjoy off it.

About terminology... if I say spoon or spooning I'm talking about the tool as a noun or its use, as a verb. As a romantic position... yea I remember spooning, and the giggly girl who first told me what we were doing on the couch watching TV.:)

Can't speak on TIG, I have only made one TIG weld in my life. But as a heat source, hmm. Well I dunno. I'm more of a grinder than a welder. My take on it is that it can be done with less heat and mess, but what I've seen firsthand on steel does not appear to me to have much advantage for bodywork. It could totally be what you do your car with though, I don't know.

Now fyi when I say bodywork, I normally bundle metal and filler both into that one word.

You spoke of art school... I went to the Art Institute and studied ad design in the mid 80s. And now you know why I am willing to post picture stories :D Its my hobby.
 

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Great stuff. Thanks. And just to make sure I'm getting this all right, if I have a outward bulge I need to weld at the highest point on the BACK side, right? I'm running this through my head trying to picture how the metal will shrink and I'm not sure I'm imagining it correctly or if it even matters. I hope I get a couple hrs in the shop today to cut a 20ga test panel out and try some of this great, great stuff you guys have given me. It's exciting.

I thought I scraped these out, but I guess not! I found em in the junk pile yet. Is this my new slapper?


Can you guys address whether the TIG would be better for this job or not (again maybe something I just have to test and try) and if the slapper NEEDS little teeth on it or not?


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Weld on back side. Usually! If it backfires, cool and try the other way. I think of it this way: Each side of the metal is a seperate layer, bonded to the other. Apply heat to one layer and that side gets bigger so it has to curl because the other side is cooler and smaller. Cooling the area is something I try to avoid but it can amplify the effect.

Flush the whole meat tenderizing hammer shrinking theory. I think we all agree you don't want that much metal damage. See the nasty looking scrapes on my hood dent? Tried the "shrinking" hammer from HF there, in glancing blows. Was able to tug on the metal a little with it but yeah... naw just put that grooves thing out of your mind, IMO.

Others would have better input on making a light slapper, I bought mine. A heavy slapping spoon, as I call it, is visible in the pic where I'm using the puller.
 

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Missed a Q. We hit those car bodies with epoxy just as soon as humanly possible after stripping. Being a busy shop, we shuffle / juggle projects occasionally and the safest bet for rust avoidance is to have primer on them always, re-applying in spots after metal work is done. Just keeps them safe to handle and avoids extra sanding for us.
 
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