8/8/2005: Metalwork 4..

So I’m working on the patch panel for the area I cut out of the right side of the car in the last entry. That’s actually going quite well. I’d say that I’ve got the patch looking almost as good as the piece of metal I cut out. Um. Hm. Well, there’s a little more work to go ;-)

The patch was shaped by using a plastic teardrop bossing mallet and a beater bag to stretch the metal in the right areas (obviously there’s only a little stretch/curvature on the right, but a bunch in the flared section on the left. Then I used a chisel-ish post dolly to fine tune the crease line, and a pair of pliers wrapped in duct tape to tip the edge over where it goes into the wheel opening. This was then tucked a bit (using a tucking fork) and flattened.

I’ll describe this process in more detail when I do the next patch. I was still figuring it all out myself, so I didn’t take pictures or anything.

Anyway, there’s still a lot more work to go there to get it perfect, so I decided to do something else instead for a while.

I moved back to working on the left tail light area. This is an area I’ve been working on (on and off) for months. I finally have gotten it about as good as I think I will be able to. After I got the outside surface pretty smooth, I tweaked the light housing mounting surface quite a bit to get it reasonably flat. I think I’m pretty happy with it now, but I’ll probably tweak it a little more after the center rear panel has been fixed.


OK, well, the difference is impossible to see in these pictures.. trust me though, there should be very little filler this time around.

I’m using the same metalfinishing techniques here as usual. I use a sharpie and a piece of 220 grit sandpaper on a flat board to highlight the low spots, and then use a slapper and dolly to work them up. Then the shrinking disc is used to tighten out anything I overstretch in the process. Much of the art of this is just selecting the right dolly to match the surface you’re working and figuring out how hard to hit it to move the metal without stretching it too much.

I made a lot of mistakes here, but the nice thing about these techniques is that pretty much any mistake can be undone. With enough time and good access to the back of a panel, it can be perfect again no matter what you do to it :)

The next area I tackled was the on the right lower corner of the back of the car, where the bumper attaches. When this car was hit originally and the back of it was damaged, the bumper was pushed in somewhat, and it twisted this mounting point, which made a nice dent.

There was a reinforcing plate behind the panel which I had to remove first before I could straighten the panel. It’s held on with 4 spot welds, which I drilled out.

I didn’t take a “before” photo of this area, but here’s how it looks after being roughed into shape. I basically just pushed out the dent by smacking it from behind with a dolly. Now I have to fine tune it and planish out all the little dents that will remain.