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When is enough enough?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Chaz, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. After decades, I've finally gotten my bodywork skills to what I consider an acceptable level.
    The question is when do you stop? We've all seen the beautiful metal finish skills of some here on the hamb, but at what point have you work-hardened the steel or ground it SO thin trying to get it just perfect. In cases like this wouldn't a thin layer of bondo be preferable to overworking the metal?
    I'm sure even these metalfinished cars see the bondo spatula before they go to paint.
    Should you just keep working the metal or is it preferable to go with an eighth inch of plastic?
  2. if it wasn't for Duraglas i wouldn't have a `28 Tudor or the car in my avatar
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,315


    Everyone has their own comfort level. I try for less than 1/16, but will go 1/8 in a few spots. And it still takes me years to get around to finishing some of them.
  4. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,729

    from Calgary

    I've pondered this many times myself. I am NO metal master, good yes, but no metal finishing for me (not yet anyway) so I buy shares in Evercoat, one gallon pail at a time:D.
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  5. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,059

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    I would say 1/8" would be the maximum as mentioned above.

    And yes you can be assured that even the finest metal finishing gets a skin coat before paint.
  6. larry k
    Joined: Feb 23, 2009
    Posts: 297

    larry k

    it will cost x number of $dollars$ to get a hand made metal part 80% of perfect ! and twice that amount to get it perfect ! so, you will use plastic ! and try to keep it no thicker than the metal its self !
  7. At some point I don't want to grind thin or fatigue the metal anymore. Its been beat on, heated, shrunk, stretched, ground, blued, and dampened. It seems that a thin coat of bondo is preferable to all that overworking. But at what point?
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 44,315


    At the point you get tired of working on it?
  9. Larry W
    Joined: Oct 12, 2009
    Posts: 723

    Larry W
    from kansas

    Only you can be the judge of that.
  10. 50dodge4x4
    Joined: Aug 7, 2004
    Posts: 3,536


    The point you stop metal working is the point where you think you need to stop. That is a different point for each person. What others can or can not do has little effect on what you can or can not do. You do the best you can, and move forward.

    I have great respect for the guys that can metal finish to the highest degree, but I know that is not me. I don't have the patience. If you need someone to compare to to make you feel better, I'm usually happy to get to the point of having a layer of filler 1/4" thick or less. In my league, you put on the filler, sand it off, add some more on the low spots and repeat until its smooth. I have to wonder how a guy determines exactly how thick the filler is.

    Keep things in perspective, my son tells me his hood and dash have to be nice, because that's all he can see as he is driving down the road. If it was too nice he would be afraid to drive it, and after all, it is till a car, designed and meant to be driven.

    Put down the metal working tools, get it painted, and drive it. Enough is enough. Gene
  11. MAD 034
    Joined: Aug 30, 2011
    Posts: 772

    MAD 034
    from Washington

    Nothing wrong with a skim coat of plastic over a solid, clean metal base. The high solids primer/filler we use today is basically spray bondo anyway.
  12. toddwith2ds
    Joined: Jul 5, 2010
    Posts: 87

    from AZ

    I am no expert at metal finishing, but I faind myself working metal unitl I tell myself," Bondo can fix that.", and move on.
  13. luke13
    Joined: Oct 25, 2013
    Posts: 381


    nothin worse than thinking you can and then endin up with tin foil.
  14. Bugguts
    Joined: Aug 13, 2011
    Posts: 616


    I've been doing body work for 30 years now. I am not a "master" metal man, but can hold my own. That being said, you have to do what's practical. Like others said, some can work magic. If that's not you, than there is nothing wrong with filler. I've seen it way thicker than 1/2 inch and it was holding up just fine. A skim coat 1/8 inch over a complete 50 plus year old car that was pulled from a ravine...Good luck. I want the best like everyone, but if I waited till I was the best, I would never finish anything! Do your best and let filler do the rest.... and enjoy it. It's only a car, sometimes I forget that.
  15. arnolddyer
    Joined: Oct 3, 2009
    Posts: 64


    All the shows on the tube show them skimming the entire vehicle. Heck, they can even restore a complete job in a few days!!! Ha-ha!!!
  16. Like my old boss at the bodyshop used to say, "We've been to space... The filler better damn well hold up!"

    Anything will hold these days if the surface is prepped right. give the fiberglass/Bondi something to bite into and you're good to go.

    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  17. 61 chevy
    Joined: Apr 11, 2007
    Posts: 891

    61 chevy

    without bondo, there would be no custom cars
  18. porknbeaner
    Joined: Sep 12, 2003
    Posts: 41,384


    my .02 so take it with a grain of salt. the Old Masters, used lead and then mud after that. metal finishing is a 21st century concept.
  19. The metal finish ????
    Is that a god given talent or does it involve the selling of your soul.

    Grind and file all the high spots till they are holes and fill them ?
    It's the high spots that ruin everything.
  20. rustyironman
    Joined: Mar 26, 2011
    Posts: 464


    Sometimes when saving a really rough car it boils down to:

    A) repair panels and use a skim coat of filler - good stuff like Evercoat rage gold

    B) Try to find 70 year old panels better then yours

    C) car just doesn't get fixed.

    Usually option A is the most practical. However, many, many, many people abuse filler. It is not made to fix rot holes, create panels, or use two inches thick.

    Also many people make the mistake of using the cheapest-ass shit filler for $20/gal (ie real trade name 'Bondo'), thinking Bondo is Bondo and why pay $60/gal for Rage Gold. Trust me you get what you pay for in this case.
  21. afaulk
    Joined: Jul 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,189


    When you stop to consider that a defect of as little as .001 or less can be seen in the right light, 1/8 in is really a considerable amount of filler in most repairs. When I lay a straight edge over an area to be filled, I almost always find that it needs 1/8 in or less and I waste more "Bondo" than I leave on the vehicle.
  22. Get it as nice as you can. Duraglass as a base then light filler. Short strand glass as a base is water proof and will stand the test of time.


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
  23. rod1
    Joined: Jan 18, 2009
    Posts: 645


    There is a Question one must ask himself;How many cars do I want to finish in my lifetime?
  24. "Also many people make the mistake of using the cheapest-ass shit filler for $20/gal (ie real trade name 'Bondo'), thinking Bondo is Bondo and why pay $60/gal for Rage Gold. Trust me you get what you pay for in this case."

    I have found this out to be correct. There definitely is a difference in the filler products. Get it from a body shop supplier, not Autozone.
  25. aaggie
    Joined: Nov 21, 2009
    Posts: 2,529


    I can say "close enough" in three languages.
  26. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 8,994

    Rusty O'Toole

    I'm tired of arguing about this so will just say, use your own judgement.

    If you have never done any bodywork in your life then of course, you would metal finish everything perfect and use no filler at all.

    If you worked in as many body shops as I have, you have seen filler 2 or 3 inches thick that stuck in place for 40 years and gave no trouble. In fact I have seen more filler failures of thin coats of filler, like 1/8", than the 2 or 3" thick stuff. If the metal rusts away or there are pin holes behind the filler, the thinner it is the faster it fails.

    Have seen metal on old cars ground thin, work hardened and ruined because Mr Perfection would not use 1/8 of filler where he should have and it didn't make a damn bit of difference to the finished job whether it had 1/8 or 1/16 except if he hadn't ground the metal so thin it would not have cracked and split the first time he went to the drag strip.
  27. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 16,502


    Properly applied and finished professional-grade body filler is not a crime.
  28. johnybsic
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 612

    from las vegas

    I always heard "I don't want any bondo on that car, do it right, Blah blahh blahh" from my buddys like "filler" was a bad word for hacks.
    Then I learned they don't know shit, and are just talking out of their ass.
    My uncle does custom cars & rods for a living, VERY high dollar-super sweet-crazy money stuff. He told me don't worry about what people say. Do your best to get the car straight and close, EVERY car gets at least a skim coat, and thats on the high $$$$ stuff, let alone hotrods and drivers for the working man.
    He was right.
    Where to draw the line, I don't know. but if your wondering of you're close, you're probally there. Skim and shoot, get to drivin!
  29. soapman
    Joined: Nov 24, 2013
    Posts: 47

    from California

    WOW!!!!! Finally some real world advice! It seems everyone here metal finishes everything to such perfection.....Oh, by the way, how do you lead in a body line?

    P S Yes I really need to knew. I need to blend two different body lines.
  30. I had a friend that got into some quite high-end body work. He had some kind of 50s Italian creation (Cistalia/Osca) in the shop and was doing a strip and paint. The whole front of the car was a weldment made up of fairly small pieces. each of those pieces looked to be made using a claw hammer and a sandbag with very little planishing after the rough forming. I don't think it ever saw an English wheel. It looked like there were about 100 coats of old lacquer primer sprayed on it then left to dry for a year, after all this, it was sanded/sculpted to shape and painted. I was astounded at the poor quality of the metal work on an "Italian" high dollar piece.
    Let your conscience dictate the filler thickness! I try to stay under 1/8, but reality is 3/16 sometimes. This is my own stuff, I don't do customer stuff.

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