Foundations of Body Work

Here are a few big ideas for doing body work, in the context of the entire vehicle needing to be body worked. There’s an endless list of tips and ways to do things, like gaps, parting lines, straightening body lines, etc.   This will cover a couple key foundational things that are very important.

  • Don’t just jump to skimming the entire panel. Build up the lowest areas first, and then skim the whole panel. Use long pieces of aluminum (laying on the panel so it can flex) as a guide to show which areas are low.  
  • One section at a time. As with the truck in the picture below, you would focus on the bottom half of the door and fender below the body line, and once that’s complete, move on to the section above the body line. Don’t keep going back and forth, establish one section at a time. 
  • When re filling an area, only fill over 80 grit, nothing coarser.  This keeps pin holes down, and there is far less opportunities for sand scratches to show up later on. 
  • Every time you spread filler, the first pass should be squeezed in really good, this also keeps pin holes down. Make as many passes as possible with the spread to work out as much air as possible. 
  • Rough the filler in with 40 grit first while it is drying, and then finish your blocking with 80 grit.  Don’t finish the blocking with 40 grit, just get the general shape with 40. 
  • Care about your work. No matter what the job, take a tremendous amount of pride in your work, and always try to do as good as you possibly can. And always pay attention, never just go through the motions. 

This truck is being built by a very talented shop called Ron Sall’s Body Werx. They are located just outside of Holland, Michigan. They have a tremendous amount of talent, and very good people.  I had the great opportunity to work with them for a couple of days on this project.