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Old 09-16-2017, 01:46 PM   #1
MARTINSR
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"Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

"Basics of Basics" How to feel your bodywork
By Brian Martin


The skill of feeling your body work, or even feeling the panel before you start, is a part of the repair just as much as the blocking with sandpaper. If you don't feel it properly, how good is the blocking you are doing? If you can't feel a high spot, how are you going to remove it?

I have seen (every day) guys feeling bodywork like in photo number 1. I can't grasp how in the world you can feel anything this way, other than a tiny flaw. Don't do this, ever. If someone has somehow dug out the skills to do it this way and they do good work, more power to them, but learn to feel it standing up rubbing it in a long flat motion.

Photo number 2 shows how I use my hand to feel from my fingertip to the bottom of my palm. If you run your hand over a low or high spot using your whole hand you feel it much better. It's like using a longer straight edge, a straight edge that's two inches long isn't going to work as good as one 7 or 8 inches long right?

Photos 3 and 4 show you how to feel a dent: standing to the side and sliding my hand over the area from end to end.

If you wanted to see high or low spots in a panel you would look "down" it like photo number 5 right? That is how you need to feel it too! Your eyes and your hands work together, as long as you don't "see what you want to see" because then you will "feel what you want to feel" which is another part of feeling your work.

When you feel your work you have to WANT to find an error. If you don't want to find one, you won't. It's just how our brains work. Use it to your advantage with your wife, look for the good stuff and that is all you will see. That isn't a joke; that is a life lesson. But with your bodywork you have to WANT to find something, you have to be thrilled to find something. If you are, you will, and you will correct it before it's too late. If you don't want to find something, you won't, and you will be sanding off primer and re-filling it with body filler. OR you will be expecting your primer to do more than you should. You don't want to ask your primer to do more than it can, that is a recipe for disaster on many levels. Your primer is just to fill scratches, and extremely mild imperfections. The more you correct before you prime, the better.

On that note, don't even think of leaving your body filler in anything coarser than 120-grit paper. That is the very, very coarsest paper you would ever want to leave filler in, I go to 180 most every time. This is for a few different reasons, one being the primer isn't asked to do too much. But on the subject of feeling your work, the finer the paper the better you can feel highs and lows. The coarse paper leaves scratches that camouflage flaws in the filler! You could be rubbing your hand over a high or low spot and not feel it because of the scratches. Where with the fine sandpaper it's more like feeling a painted surface. This also goes for how you see it too, if it's sanded with finer paper you can see the flaws easier than if it was sanded with coarse paper. This doesn't mean you only sand your filler with 180-- for that info you need to read the "Basics of Basics" on Body filler.

A tip that often works for me is to close your eyes as you are feeling it. Also, to use a rag or paper towel under your hand so that you don’t feel the differences in texture from filler to paint or bare metal.

Now change how you feel your work, and go out and find some flaws to fix and make your body work better!
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Last edited by MARTINSR; 09-16-2017 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 09-16-2017, 08:14 PM   #2
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Great article Brian! Not too long and filled to the roof with very useful information!!!
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Old 09-16-2017, 09:34 PM   #3
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

I was given the tip of closing your eyes while feeling for dents by a painter friend of mine. It really works good for me.
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Old 09-16-2017, 09:41 PM   #4
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Good info.
I'd suggest trying not to grammatically incorrectly randomly capitalize, and quote things. Its annoying and detracts from the good info.
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Old 09-16-2017, 09:42 PM   #5
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Thanks Stomper!

Yeah, it's an old trick that someone reminded me of AFTER I posted this and went back and added it.

Brian
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Old 09-18-2017, 02:49 PM   #6
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Sometimes using a thin rag between your hand and the panel will help you not be distracted by the differing textures of metal and filler. I've found that it makes a huge difference.
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Old 09-18-2017, 08:45 PM   #7
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

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Originally Posted by franken View Post
Good info.
I'd suggest trying not to grammatically incorrectly randomly capitalize, and quote things. Its annoying and detracts from the good info.
My recommendation for a "TROLL" such as you is to not bother yourself with reading posts that annoy you. Life's too short.
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Old 09-18-2017, 11:05 PM   #8
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

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My recommendation for a "TROLL" such as you is to not bother yourself with reading posts that annoy you. Life's too short.
It's all good, I didn't respond to it and should have. Honestly, the thing is, I am a body man and not an english scholar or author.

In looking at writings of this kind I have seen this method used often to emphasize points. I am more concerned with writing in a way that "puts the tools in the readers hands" instead of your typical writing on subject such as this.

It's my style, hope it works out for most people who read my "Basics of Basics."

Brian
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Old 09-19-2017, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

It amazes me that anyone could read such a helpful, well written and concise post and the only thing they got from it was grammar related...

Keep up the good work, I read your posts ALL the time, and have never had a problem understanding them. Rg

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It's all good, I didn't respond to it and should have. Honestly, the thing is, I am a body man and not an english scholar or author.

In looking at writings of this kind I have seen this method used often to emphasize points. I am more concerned with writing in a way that "puts the tools in the readers hands" instead of your typical writing on subject such as this.

It's my style, hope it works out for most people who read my "Basics of Basics."

Brian
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Old 09-19-2017, 01:15 PM   #10
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

I can promise you, I had no problem understanding you. I hope I can apply the method as well as you explained it. I've had him troll my posts before and honestly it's getting old. He needs to get on twitter if that's what he wants to do. There's no place for him here. He was obviously not loved as a child.
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Old 09-21-2017, 03:14 PM   #11
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

I was taught this technique back when I was a teenager by a guy named Don Robania. He had a body shop up the street from me. I worked for Don briefly... here's why. And let me quote Don even at the risk of being shot down by the grammer cop. Don to me, "YOU DON'T HAVE THE PATIENCE TO BE A BODY MAN!" end quote.

Don dogged me and I had to quit! But there is a lesson in body work for sure... Patience is a virtue.

I'm skimming the body section here because I'm preparing to evaluate rust and abate and replace body parts as necessary.

So, I'm soaking up the tips!

But I also need a dose of "Zen", I know that's for sure.

Anyhow, nice post, thanks for taking the time to instruct!

j
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:11 PM   #12
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Thanks Brian for the write up. I always look for your posts on the subject of body work and paint work. There are others here as well that I really look up to for their experience with the art of doing body work. There are many guys/gals I'm sure that appreciate all you guys taking the time to help newbies out.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:58 PM   #13
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Right on, thanks for the kind words guys.

I don't know if you caught it but the truck I am working on in the photos is an SSR. DAMN I dig those things, saw the first one when it was just a concept car at the international auto show in SF. It's of course loosely designed to look like one of our AD trucks from 47-54. It was an honor working on it.

Brian
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:02 PM   #14
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Great write up Brian. Thanks for again sharing your experience / knowledge.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:32 PM   #15
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Good write up as always! That's how I was shown years ago too
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Old 09-23-2017, 04:20 PM   #16
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Great info. MARTINSR as always ! Most of us are here to learn & share how to do better work....don't give a damn about grammar or what should be capitilized !!
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:38 PM   #17
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

great article Brian. I learned the same tecnique by trial and error. I also learned that a block sander with foam under the sandpaper can make more work for you if not used properly. when I was learning (self taught trial and error) back yard bodywork I would press too hard on the foam backed sander which would distort the panel from too much pressure and also the foam would conform to the wrong shape. now I use a hard block. actually I use a piece of plywood with the sandpaper stapled onto it. along with that i use light pressure. that way only the high spots get sanded off. longer board equals flatter surface. keep the sandpaper tight on the board as well.

I know, rocket science, right?

in the end, after I think I am ready for paint, what has worked for me is to put a light at the front or rear of the vehicle, then wipe the whole thing down liberally with a dripping wet rag of wax and grease remover, then stand at the other end and look down the vehicle. if you see ripples or bumps etc then that is what the new paint job will also reveal. if you like what you see then you are ready for the final prep. if not you have more work to do.
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:39 PM   #18
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

I like that wall poster in the background "right the first time".
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Old 09-23-2017, 11:40 PM   #19
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

I usually only use "right the second time" when talking to my older sister, haha.
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Old 09-24-2017, 06:34 AM   #20
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Thanks, Brian I used your tip yesterday. Thought it was about ready, Not quite, went over it again, and again. 3rd time, shot some epoxy on it....Thanks for posting....Ed.
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:13 PM   #21
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Quote:
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I like that wall poster in the background "right the first time".
When I read this all I saw was the "right" and thought you were talking about this poster that's in my garage where I will post photos from.

I made it when I was a Cub Scout Den leader and we would have meetings in the garage on making things. I left it there because I am getting old and will need it one day.

Brian
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Old 09-24-2017, 01:14 PM   #22
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

And thanks for the kind words guys!

Brian
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:31 PM   #23
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

i had problems in the past "feeling" body work. i was using my right hand back then.
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Old 09-24-2017, 05:34 PM   #24
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Quote:
Originally Posted by cg285 View Post
i had problems in the past "feeling" body work. i was using my right hand back then.
AHHHHHHHH, damn it! DAMN IT, I hate when I hear something so valuable as this that I forgot to put in the "Basics"! CRAP!

Yes, I am right handed but feel my body work with my left hand! Why, because my left hand is more sensitive because it's not subjected to the work my right hand has over 58 years. My left hand can find stuff my right hand and it's calluses and scars can't.

VERY good point you brought up!


Brian
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:11 PM   #25
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Re: "Basics of Basics" How to feel body work

Thanks for posting this, I have always enjoyed reading and learning from your posts on here as well as on other sites.
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