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This article deals with the most basic dent repair and refinishing – no pulling or clamping – just basic sheet metal work and body filler. This is the most common work for both the professional as well as the do-it-yourselfer. Most all repairs will involve these basic steps:

1. Rough Out
2. Grind and Fill
3. Shape and Sand
4. Refinish

In this sample repair of a mini-truck right fender let’s go through the steps one by one.




1. Rough Out:
First step is to rough out the damage. Use a hammer and dolly to work out the dents. Grasp the dolly and reach behind the fender and strike light blows to work out the damage. Work from the outside of the dent gradually towards the center where the dent is the deepest. Don’t strike heavy blows in the center of the dent first because this can stretch the sheet metal. This will result in high spots when applying the filler and you wind up beating down the high spots when sanding the filler. Once the outer areas of the dents have been worked out a bit, then go for the insides.




2. Grind and Fill:
The next step is to grind away all the paint in and around the damaged area in order to apply body filler. Use a 5 in dia high speed sander with a 24 grit abrasive disc and backing pad. Notice the duct tape on the front edge of the right door. This is to protect the paint from secondary damage from the grinder or sander. Apply several layers of duct tape for adequate protection. (Also check out the Protect-A-Edge from GL Enterprises which does the same thing a little easier than duct tape.) When applying body filler spread it slightly beyond the original damaged area. This is for feather-edging. When sanding down the body filler you will feather-edge it into the bare metal so there will be a perfect transition between bare metal and the filled area.
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Tip:
After grinding and before applying the body filler, use a 6 In DAQ with 220 grit Stikit™ paper and feather-edge all the surrounding paint edges. This will make it easier to prep the panel for refinishing by avoiding accidentally gouging the body filler and spoiling any straightening work. Paint is generally harder and more dense than body filler and takes more sanding to feather-edge. By doing this step before applying the body filler, you will achieve a perfect transition between the painted and filled areas when you sand the body filler.[/img]
 
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Dent removal part 2

2. Grind and Fill: (Continued)
Mix the body filler thoroughly using a spreader and mixing board. Use enough hardener to achieve a ligh pinkish color. If you use too much hardener, the mix will “kick” too fast and you won’t have enough time to work it. Spread it in smooth, even strokes, shaping as you go.



3. Shape and Sand
After applying the body filler, let it set until it is the consistency of soft cheese. Do not wait until it is fully hardened! At this consistency it is easily shaped and sanded. Use a 10 in half round body file (cheese grater) and gradually shave the excess filler, shaping the panel as you go. Do not remove too much filler or else there won’t be enough for a level surface. You’re still going to be sanding with 40 grit and 80 grit paper which will remove even more filler. Getting this right takes a little practice.

All the shaping is done with the cheese grater. The sandpaper is mainly to smooth out the cheese grater marks.


correct


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Dent remval pt 3

Next, while the filler is still setting, obtain a sanding block and two different grits of sandpaper. Don’t buy garnet paper from a local hardware store. Garnet paper is for wood. Obtain the real thing from a professional refinish supply house. The type of sandpaper used in auto body repair is called “free cut” paper. Buy both 40 grit and 80 grit paper. Setup the sanding block by tearing a sheet of 40 grit sandpaper in half. Fold one of the half sheets in half once again and wrap this around the sanding block. Use the 40 grit on the soft body filler and gently smooth out the cheese grater marks. Don’t over sand because you will need to feather-edge the filler into the bare metal.





Tip:
This step can be done faster when the sanding block is used in combination with with an air file. There are two styles of air file pads available - one for PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) sandpaper and one for sandpaper with a plain back. Obtain the appropriate sandpaper for the pad you are using.



Tip:
Tip: You can extend the life of the sandpaper and remove clogs by taking an ordinary coat hanger and stretching it out. This makes a long, slender loop of coat hanger wire. You slap the sanding block with the coat hanger and this will unclog the paper.


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Final Sanding With 80 Grit Sandpaper

Now let the filler set until it is fully hardened. The panel should be straight and smooth. When the filler is fully hardened prepare the sanding block (or air file) with a sheet of 80 grit paper. Use this grit to smooth out all the remaining sandpaper marks from the 40 grit paper. At this point, all the marks left from the 80 grit paper can be filled with primer-surfacer.

If necessary, repeat these “Shape and Sand” steps and reapply more body filler to fill in low spots. Repeat as often as necessary to obtain a straight panel.
 

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i do alot of sanding before i primer it i tape it all and use the block but i go from 80 150 200, 3-400, 6, 8, 10, 1500, i spend most of the time sanding it by block or i go to highschool and use the power sander with round sand paper pads. but i never spray primer until it is smooth then after is when paint n clear, never had car smell funny though
 

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wow it is 5 years old, but the info is still good, i practice that method all that time and never fails
 
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