Daily Archives: January 28, 2012

Filler up

After sitting idle for almost two weeks, I have finally caught up enough around the shop to put in a couple of hours on the Chevelle.

The plan for today … filling and smoothing. Body filler has received an unfair and unjust reputation, mostly because of shoddy workmanship or improper use. Body filler is a miracle product compared to the old days when minor dent repair and filling was done with lead. Body filler is quicker, easier and all around better than lead in every practical way. But it must be used properly. It’s not the product that’s the problem, it the people using it.

The first picture shows the left side seam, where the rear quarter panel is joined to the roof panel, covered in a layer of body filler. This how the body filler looks before it is sanded down smooth and blended into the the body. The second photo shows the right side seam after the body filler has dried, hardened and been blocked smooth.

Filler is applied across a broad area in layers until it is higher than the surrounding metal. After it dries, it is then sanded away using a block until the filler is blended smoothly into the lines of the car. After prime and paint, the repair is indistinguishable from the rest of the car.

Body filler is not only for filling dents and seams however. This car has been coated with a thick layer of Slick Sand high solids primer. The Slick Sand is like a spray on body filler, used to fill and smooth the metal of a car. Like body filler, after the Slick Sand dries it is blocked away leaving the body perfectly smooth. Or, as in the case of this Chevelle, it reveals areas where the waves and ripples are too great to be removed with the Slick Sand primer. Once again, body filler is the tool of choice to remove these imperfections.

Pictures 3 through 7 show body filler being used to smooth the dash. The dash of this Chevelle has been modified by Murphy Rod & Custom, removing the glove box and filling the holes where the various controls once went. As good as Kelly and Josh are, and they are very good indeed, you can’t weld up something like this and leave a perfectly smooth finish. It simply can’t be done. So body filler takes care of the final smoothing, making the dash as smooth and beautiful as the rest of the car.

Pictures 3, 4 and 5, show the body filler covering places revealed by the Slick Sand that need additional smoothing. The body filler is applied over the problem areas and allowed to dry and harden. After the filler hardens, it is blocked smooth. You can see me blocking the bottom section of the dash in the last two photographs, pictures 6 and 7.

Blocking is nothing more than sanding with a block, a device to hold the sandpaper tight and straight, so it really digs in and scours away the high spots, while lightly skimming over the low spots. The block allows me to sand an area dead straight and true, hiding the imperfections below tiny fractions of an inch thick layer of body filler.

An area is blocked until the underlying metal just begins to peek through the filler. When that begins to happen you know you have remove the maximum amount of filler, leaving only that which is required to produce the dead even, perfectly straight bodywork a high-end paint finish requires.

Body filler is kind of like Brylcreem … a little dab will do ya.

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