Daily Archives: August 10, 2012

Bondo queen

The owner of the El Camino stopped by the shop today and after looking over the car asked, “So … this is what they mean by a Bondo queen?” I thought that was a little harsh because while the car does have it’s share of body filler, most of it is not very thick. And to be honest, there are very few cars of this vintage that don’t some amount of body filler if they are presentable.

The first picture is of me doing the laying on of hands. I am feeling for dents and imperfections that are too minor for the eye to see. Just because you can’t see the dents now doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see the dent when the paint goes on. Believe me, you would be able to see the dent after the car is painted.

The second photo shows me applying yet another layer of body filler to the top of the car, filling and smoothing low spots. But the roof isn’t the only place that needs … help.

The third photo shows the filler on the roof and sail panel, while the fourth and fifth photos show the body filler smoothing the welds from rust repairs on the right quarter panel. The two colors of filler, white and yellow, are simply because I ran out of filler and purchased a another gallon. Same stuff, just a different color because it is by a different manufacturer.

Body filler has gotten a bad reputation over the years from improper use. The owners satirical comment of Bondo queen is a perfect example. The thing is, body filler is a near miracle product when used properly. Body filler is designed to smooth and fill shallow dents. That’s it. It is not meant to rebuild destroyed areas or fill rust holes, and when used for those types repairs it really isn’t the products fault that it fails. When used properly, as we are using it here, the repair will last the life of the car and it is a whole lot cheaper than trying to pounds the dents out with a hammer and dolly or fill the dents with body solder.

The sixth photos shows me blocking the body filler smooth. Blocking is just sanding, but using a semi-rigid plastic block, which you can see in my right hand, to remove material from the high areas while skimming over the low areas. Blocking, done properly, will leave the surface dead smooth … smooth enough to allow our High Performance Finish to look its best.

Remember when I said that body filler was a near miracle product? As good as body filler is, it can’t fix every problem and sometimes you have to resort to the time honored tradition of beating the snot out of it with a hammer. You can see me pounding down a high place in picture seven. After I literally beat a small dent into the sheet metal, I will come back and fill the dent with more body filler so it can be sanded perfectly smooth.

Hand blocking a car is, in my opinion, the only way to get the sheet metal perfectly smooth and straight. But I’m not above using power tools to get an area close to straight before finishing the task by hand. Picture eight has me using an air file, an air powered block sander if you will. It isn’t a very precise tool, but it is a quick and easy way to get an area mostly straight and smooth before resorting to hand finishing to tweak it in.

The last two pictures are of the right side after the car has been blocked to near perfection. There are still a few very small places that I think we can make a bit better, but for all practical purposes, this side is done. It looks like a lot of body filler … ok, it is a lot of body filler … but most of it is very thin and is applied over areas where Murphy Rod & Custom did some major rust repair.

So a Bondo queen? I think not, and just wait until the paint goes on. Then it will be a queen alright … a beauty queen.

Monday Monday

Today the part we were waiting on arrived so we were able to pop the bumper on the car and get it cleaned up. You can tell by the first picture that though we didn’t blend the paint on this car to save the owner some money, the paint match is actually pretty good. Thank you PPG!

The owner is out of town this weekend so we are storing the car until Monday. Nevertheless, it was really, really nice to be able to close the shop doors today with only two cars in the shop.

And one of them is ready to be picked up Monday.

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