How To Use A Template To Fix Body Work

Sometimes when your vehicle has body damage, you’re lucky enough to only have it on one side and are able to use the clean side as a template. All you need for your template is a piece of cardboard and a marker to trace the part you want to re-create. Cut along the line and you’ll have two patterns – an outside and inside template.

Metal has a memory and knows the shape it wants to go back to. So before you use the template, take a hammer and dolly to slowly put the original shape back into the piece. The key to re-shaping metal is to go slow so you don’t over shape the metal and have to go back the other way.

Place your template along the piece you’re working on to see how close you are to the original shape. Aside from looking at the metal, you should be able to feel the high and low spots that need work. By using the flat side of your dolly you’ll be able to see how far you need to hammer down or up. Be sure to utilize both sides of your hammer.

This type of repair will leave dents and chips in the paint on your surface. So it’s a good idea to use coarse sandpaper to quickly remove the finish. Then you can move to a higher grit to prep the surface for primer. Grease and wax remover preps the surface for 3-4 layers of primer. Depending on your application you will need to decide how much additional body work the metal needs.

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