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How to Remove Dents

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These dent removal techniques will work on any steel body and if you need supplies for the job, from consumable products to major equipment.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 1 1. Here are three typical types of dents on a 1936 Ford Truck Cab. We will use the top three methods to repair each one.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 2 2. Tools of the trade include hammers, dollies, Slap files, angle grinder and metal file.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 3 3. We will start with the deepest dent. In general any dent that is more than 1/8th of an inch deep should be worked out to around 80 percent using a hammer with the correct face and a matched dolly.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 4 4. This particular hammer has a slight crown or dome which keeps it from making contact on the outside edge, producing a smooth finish. And the dolly has the same slight crown.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 5 5. A spiral is the key. More often then not a dent is not perfectly round but we will use this for demonstration purposes. You start on the outside and work the dolly and hammer in a circular motion until you meet in the center. This gathers up the metal bit by bit.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 6 6. A left handed person would hold the hammer in his left hand and the dolly in his right. Notice how the dolly is held so the center makes most of the contact. If you do not have the vehicle apart you cannot gain access to the back side. This is important, but at the end of this article we will show you another technique that will allow you to remove smaller dents without having any rear access.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 7 7. Get comfortable so you can get a nice swing and make even contact with the panel. How you hold the dolly is important. Just 1/8th to 1/4th of an inch inside the dent away from where the hammer strikes on the outside of the dent is best. This will allow easy dent removal with out having to strike the panel so hard.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 8 8. You remove 80 percent or with the hammer and dolly and then use a slap file to remove the rest.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 9 9. Here is a dent that is less than 1/8th of an inch deep so we will use a slap file and dolly, but no hammer, to remove it.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 10 10. This dolly is smaller then what we previously used, it has an hour glass configuration which allows you to hold it with your fingers and get closer to the panel. We will remove this entire dent using this technique.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 11 11. A close up shows the serrated teeth of a slap file. This method of dent repair actually is reverse of the hammer and dolly method.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 12 12. You use the same spiral method, working from the outside in towards the center.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 13 13. The dolly is placed on the back side and with just about two pounds of force. You place it on the outer edge of the dent and you slap it with the file directly over the dolly. In other words, they should meet. The teeth on the file allows the metal being pushed from the dolly to work itself in to the teeth allowing the dent to come back to the surface.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 14 14. Here is the backside of the fender. Notice that the dolly is only held lightly against the metal and the file is "slapped", not hammered against the metal.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 15 15. The third method of dent removal is the pin weld. We use this method primarily for shallow dents, 1/8 inch or less, when we do not have access to the back of the panel for the dolly.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 16 16. The pins come in different sizes 7/64, 1/8 etc.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 17 17. Most pin spotters are set to weld the pin to the metal with out burning. We place it in the designated center of the dent and pull the trigger.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 18 18. As seen it is welded on and ready for a pull.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 19 19. We now use the "Ding Near Perfect" tool to pull out the dent. It is similar to a rivet gun with a circular basket on the end.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 20 20. As seen it pulls the dent right out!
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 21 21. Now we grind the pin weld off and run a metal file over it until it is smooth.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 22 22. This metal file has 8 teeth per inch, it works well and cuts metal nicely.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 23 23. The proper technique is to slide the file in an x pattern across the panel so it shaves a thin layer off the top. This shows the highs and lows and gives you a gauge to where you are with the straitening process. If you need to slap some more now is the time.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 24 24. Nest we use a 17 inch block with 80 grit paper to give it a final check. We know we are done when we see total contact on the panel.
How to remove dents from your antique, vintage, old, used or classic car or truck - step 25 25. The finished product! A few coats of high build primer, finish sanding, and you are ready to paint.

Jeff Lilly Restorations
11125 F.M.1560 N
San Antonio, Texas
210-695-5151 - www.jefflilly.com