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Technical Tips on pounding out a dent

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by spillaneswillys, Jul 10, 2021.

  1. I am really good with a hammer but as an experienced carpenter. I have these 40 Dodge fenders with a few dents in and they are some strong metal. Just looking for some tips as a novice on what steps to take. Thanks Joe

    Attached Files:

    loudbang likes this.
  2. oldiron 440
    Joined: Dec 12, 2018
    Posts: 3,427

    oldiron 440

    The first thing to do is not use your wood hammer on sheet metal!
    Go buy yourself a set of body hammers...and a dolly or two.
  3. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 20,857


    Make the dent go in reverse. Push it out at the point of impact (you can see the scrapes on the outside), then after the major damage is out you can fine tune the remainder. Flip the fender so the dent is touching the soft ground, and use a short 2x4 and tap it out from above. This should remove 80% of the dent, then you are just using a body hammer and dolly to remove the small crinkles and stretches around what used to be the outside edge of the dent.
  4. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 17,613

    from KCMO

    Yup just like popping Tupperware. If I had one like that I’d try it with the palm of my hand, and then I’d grab my favorite plastic orange dead blow hammer and give it a good pop or two. Bet you could get 90% of it out in three swings.

    metal has a memory once you hit it just right it won’t even sound the same it’ll just pop back

    go to harbor freight and buy the hammer and dolly set and your on your way
  5. I have a hammer and dolly set. I will try to pop it out by hand and palm first. I work wood so I do have a feel for things I thank you all for the tips and look forward to learning more.
    alanp561 and Tim like this.
  6. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 17,613

    from KCMO

    Just take your time and be as hands on as possible. Pay attention. I find it extremely rewarding when you get it, I’m sure it’ll
    Come to you easy enough
  7. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,749


    As strange as this may sound, put a dolly on the back side of the dent. Put pressure on it and begin to tap around the edges of the dent on the topside with your hammer. Keep doing this. Eventually the low spot(the dent) will come up closer and closer. Then you can switch to a different dolly if needed and finish working it. I went to a Ron Covell workshop and had to relearn everything I'd learned at an auto body class in college. Ron Covell is a metal master.
  8. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 34,356


    How ever you do it you want to work the dent from the edges in and not from the center out. Give a dent a big wack in the middle and you have two dents to work on, the first one and the one you just made in the middle of it going the other way.
    Chavezk21, clem, ClarkH and 2 others like this.
  9. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 4,991

    Rand Man

    Tell us more Scott! I always wanted to take one of his classes.
    catdad49, loudbang and arkiehotrods like this.
  10. KenC
    Joined: Sep 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,060


    Great advice! remove in the reverse order from the original hit. Almost always that means the shallow part comes out first. Lots of little hits, not a few big ones. Of course you have to temper that by remembering how thick that old metal is, a little hit to it is a big hit to a later model fender.
    I'm working on some 56 Dodge PU fenders and had to relearn how tough that stuff is.
    loudbang and stillrunners like this.
  11. jerry rigged
    Joined: Apr 18, 2019
    Posts: 190

    jerry rigged

    A great little book is "The Key to Metal Bumping" by ... ah shit, I don't remember who wrote it, but it's out there somewhere.
  12. Dave Mc
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 2,708

    Dave Mc

    When I owned and operated my Body Shop , I had a sign , = Labor Rate $60 per hour, if you watch $70 per hour , if you ask questions $80 per hour , if you help $100 per hour .
    Seems like everyone who brought me a repair job, always tried to fix it , before asking me to fix it.
    usually so much easier and cheaper when I got to be the first to work on things. JMO. ... D Mc
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
  13. I'm no expert - but if you have access to a body shops discards - you could try on something they tossed out. It would be thinner but you could become an expert pretty quick. Or you might have something around you can test your skills on. Good luck !
    quick85 and loudbang like this.
  14. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 2,749


    It was many years ago but I watched him put a huge dent into a fender. Then he proceeded to put the dolly under the dent and using the hammer, he tapped around the edges, releasing the tension in the metal and bringing the dent up. Once the dent was effectively removed, he carefully finished it with lighter taps and finally a bullseye pick.
  15. loudbang
    Joined: Jul 23, 2013
    Posts: 40,323


    Listen to this man ^^^^^^^^ :rolleyes: That is the way to do it.
    Chavezk21, ClarkH, alanp561 and 2 others like this.
  16. G-son
    Joined: Dec 19, 2012
    Posts: 1,365

    from Sweden

    stillrunners, catdad49 and alanp561 like this.
  17. chevyfordman
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 1,388


    I found out also that if you put the dolly on the center of a big dent, the metal gets all beat up on the rim of the crater. So on big dents, the dolly has to be closer to the edge of the crater and work your way around, this has been my experience.
    stillrunners and G-son like this.
  18. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,241


    TagMan and bill gruendeman like this.
  19. AngleDrive
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,157

    from Florida

    Yes, that is it. One thing to remember is think of reversing what happened and repair the last thing first. That is the first thing that happened is something hit the metal and started to bend it in, the last thing that happened was the metal bent around the edges. That is why Rand Man said to start there. I have taken Rons' classes and have that book. Also if you have a torch learn how to shrink metal. Practice on junk stuff and you will get the hang of it. I can usually get my panels down to just applying primer to finish.
    clem and stillrunners like this.
  20. oldsman41
    Joined: Jun 25, 2010
    Posts: 1,556


    On that old metal heat goes a long way, be very careful with the heat or practice on something you don’t care about destroying.
  21. Sporty45 likes this.
  22. Sporty45
    Joined: Jun 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,241


    Just ordered it. :cool:
  23. 1946caddy
    Joined: Dec 18, 2013
    Posts: 2,111

    from washington

  24. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,007


    I've been checking this guy's channel out lately... Seriously talented!
    There's a couple more vids on the process of the dent removal..
    -Brent-, Gasser 57, reagen and 2 others like this.
  25. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 9,678



    When we lived in our 2nd Westside of Long Beach home, our friends would come over to visit on a weekly basis. The big draw was our mom’s great cooking and gobs of different foods for hungry teenagers. But, it was also the camaraderie of the teenage hot rods and cruising sedans that were hot topics on a daily/weekly basis.

    On several of these teenager infused Saturdays, there were two groups of people coming by with an old Chevy sedan and a Ford truck. The guys would get out and come over to the gathering of teens and ask if anyone needed body work done on their cars. There were plenty parked in the driveway and the street in front of our house.
    upload_2021-7-15_4-7-25.png 1956
    If anything, they were persistent. Somehow they knew that every Saturday or during the summer days, someone had a teenage hot rod parked in the driveway. So, they continued to ask. One time, a friend had just gotten a slight dent in a passenger door.

    So, for a fee, low cost at that, the guys got to work doing their thing. Once everything was removed and ready for some action, the tools came out. We had seen our local body repair guy do his thing on dents and body panels with his tools, so we were familiar with the general procedure.
    My brother's 1951 Oldsmobile Sedan was in pretty good condition. But, there were other friends that came over to our house for the teenage gatherings, their cars had a few bruises and dents. As we watched, the guys were very efficient and were aware that if the job was well done, then there would be more for the future. They started with the smallest curves and popped them out. They used their small spoon like tool to smooth out the dents of the cars.

    We would see their old Chevy sedan or the other guy’s old Ford truck almost weekly. The truck and the Chevy Sedan were loaded, as if they could do a full dent pulling and using a full body kit repair, with Bondo or similar body repair compounds.

    There were several weekly commercial trucks and panel delivery trucks that came by every week to sell their wares, including the Helms Bakery Guy. The fresh fish guy, the junk pick-up guy and the body/dent repair guy(s) were all a part of the weekly entourage scouring the neighborhood. Back in those times, the clientele was built in and the service was pretty good.


    The work on the original dent was done quickly and quite well. No touch up painting was necessary after the work was done. The dent(s) were neatly popped out and smoothed out with a variety of odd looking tools and what looked like several smooth rocks. We made new friends and those nice traveling body repair guys made a nice salary doing fast, efficient, paintless repairs in a good amount of time.

    As long as there were no sharp creases, the guys could smooth out small or large dents. They did offer to fix the ones that had sharp creases, but that would take regular bodywork, which they could do right on the drive way, but we opted for the dent removal services mostly.

    Did the guy have more customers from our teenage groups? The word spread and neighborhood drive-by body repair guy now had a steady clientele. Plus, now my teenage friends also loved my mom’s giant spread of delicious sandwiches and custom foods she prepared for the hungry, hungry teens… (We could have been that board game, Hungry, Hungry Hippos, but we teens metabolized food as fast as our cars were at the drags and the street.)

    During the current pandemic, this service would have been called "curbside pickup... or repair." YRMV...
    Irish Mike likes this.
  26. Thanks for all of the tips and videos. I am going to get started over the weekend. I really believe I can do it!
    Tim likes this.
  27. I straighten a lot with a small ball peen.
    Push out what I can, then start working the lows with the round end of a small ball peen hammer
    Then finish out with a shrink disc
    I like to use sand paper on a paint stick rather than a file to locate the lows. Doesn’t remove metal.
    alanp561 and X-cpe like this.
  28. I only have a little experience but for the few attempts I did tackle with unmounted metal like those fenders, I used a sandbag to set them on. Maybe it was psychological but that seemed to give me the confidence to use the hammer. I started by tapping around the edge too lightly and worked my way up to "just rightly". I had to use about a tablespoon of body filler when I was done with the hammer. A lot of that got sanded off but I figured that was good enough for 'Government Work'.

  29. GuyW
    Joined: Feb 23, 2007
    Posts: 650


    -Brent- and G-son like this.
  30. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 2,007


    A quick an Easy way to make a sand bag...
    Cut a pant leg, stitch an end, Fill with sand, Stitch.... $

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