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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone here tackle dents in sheet metal parts with body hammers and dollies?
 

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The last metal that I had to straighten out were badly smashed up airplane wing ribs. They were aluminum and work hardened pretty quick. So I only had one shot to get them right.

I had the aid of my uncle who was an auto body man and it was great. He said to sit down and study the bent up metal and try to figure out how it got that way. Then straighten out the metal in the reverse order that it happened.

Point being I did not start in the immediate area of where the dent or prominent crease was. Generally I started from the surrounding area and worked my way to the dent or crease. To my amazement the ribs straightened up rather nicely.

I'm no pro so take it for what it is worth, but id did find my uncle's approach to work fairly well. Then again I had the added luxury of covering up the metal with fabric. I have some dents that I will eventually have to address on my 1954 Case VAC-14 hood.

It makes me a little nervous to think about getting the hammers and dollies out again. As with most things the sitting and thinking is usually seems worse than actually getting out and getting my hands dirty.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've not had any luck finding a good sheet metal man around here, a lost art I suppose. I'm thing of getting the tools and diving in.
 

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goat4hooves said:
The last metal that I had to straighten out were badly smashed up airplane wing ribs. They were aluminum and work hardened pretty quick. So I only had one shot to get them right.

I had the aid of my uncle who was an auto body man and it was great. He said to sit down and study the bent up metal and try to figure out how it got that way. Then straighten out the metal in the reverse order that it happened.

Point being I did not start in the immediate area of where the dent or prominent crease was. Generally I started from the surrounding area and worked my way to the dent or crease. To my amazement the ribs straightened up rather nicely.

I'm no pro so take it for what it is worth, but id did find my uncle's approach to work fairly well. Then again I had the added luxury of covering up the metal with fabric. I have some dents that I will eventually have to address on my 1954 Case VAC-14 hood.

It makes me a little nervous to think about getting the hammers and dollies out again. As with most things the sitting and thinking is usually seems worse than actually getting out and getting my hands dirty.
Your uncle was a smart man. Back when I used to do bodywork that's how we did it....from small dents to hard hits! (that's when we used to fix them ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think I need to have you come out and give me a lesson. :D
 

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CTPhil said:
I think I need to have you come out and give me a lesson. :D
I need a whole lot of practicle :arrow: showing how to :roll: on working sheet metal :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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I have found that for myself being patient and not overworking the metal is most important
My dad had passed along the basics, as has been said here - work methodically, with tinwork, finesse is usually better than brute strength
I never did aquire the touch from dad on how to shrink the stretched metal, but am still just puttering away trying
like getting to Carnegie hall - practice, practice, practice
 

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hammerdownharvesters said:
I have found that for myself being patient and not overworking the metal is most important
My dad had passed along the basics, as has been said here - work methodically, with tinwork, finesse is usually better than brute strength
I never did aquire the touch from dad on how to shrink the stretched metal, but am still just puttering away trying
like getting to Carnegie hall - practice, practice, practice
I was taught that you treat the metal like a lady. ( :shock: :roll: ;) ) (sorry girls)
It took awhile to learn that. "(probably on both ;) )
 

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prwttsh said:
hammerdownharvesters said:
I have found that for myself being patient and not overworking the metal is most important
My dad had passed along the basics, as has been said here - work methodically, with tinwork, finesse is usually better than brute strength
I never did aquire the touch from dad on how to shrink the stretched metal, but am still just puttering away trying
like getting to Carnegie hall - practice, practice, practice
I was taught that you treat the metal like a lady. ( :shock: :roll: ;) ) (sorry girls)
It took awhile to learn that. "(probably on both ;) )
I still got alot to learn - on both :? :?
 

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Now if you "really" want to go the whole lenght, instead of using bondo , use lead filler on the spots you can't get out. (don't ask me how, I ain't THAT old ;) )
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I went to Harbor Freight last night to get their $30 hammer and dolly set, but they didn't have the brand that got good reviews, so I didn't buy the unknown one they had. I guess I'll spend $60 and get this somewhat better set online.
 

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Phil, it ain't the hammers and dollies. It's the mechanic on the stupid end that makes the difference.
Seriously, better tools are worth the price.
 

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Phil I aint no body man by a long shot but I always had better luck on a lot of parts resting it on a block of wood and using a block of wood and a hammer on the other side.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ha ha, well I've got the dollies now so I'll try them first. I've got a couple of round bales sitting together in the driveway, I think I'm going to try that as a work surface. I guess I'll just learn as I go, thanks everyone for the advice and encouragement!
 
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