The Body Hammer and Dolly

A body hammer and dolly are used to tap down the high spots in a metal panel. What about low spots? A low spot on one side of a panel is a high spot on the other! Normally, a body hammer and dolly is used to stretch metal but there are special hammers that can shrink metal called shrinking hammers. Unfortunately, they leave a crosshatch pattern on the metal.

There are many different shapes and weights of hammers and dollys that due to their use and the shape/curvature of the metal being repaired. The website www.metalshapers.org has a great page: Ron Covell's Hammer and Dolly tips on the types of hammers and dollys and how to use them. It describes the characteristics of hammers: the weight, the material, the shape of the hammer face, the shape of the tip and even the different types of handles. It covers dollys and why there are so many different styles. Lastly, it talks about hammer on and hammer off techniques. I strongly recommend reading Ron's tips!

Here's a series of videos that demonstrate how to hold and dress a body hammer, and how to apply the hammer on and hammer off techniques:

TIP: Turn down the volume for the intro music then back up for the dialogue.

You dress a body hammer to make sure that the face is smooth and free from scratches and imperfections. Any imperfections on the hammer face will transfer to the metal that you are working with. Do not go overboard and file down the crown on the face - read Ron Covell's tips to see why the crown is important if you haven't already!. Correction on the video concerning filing: you do NOT back stroke a file as in the video. Back stroking a file will dull the file. Always, stroke in the forward direction, lifting the blade on the return stroke.

Dent Repair Using Hammer-On-Dolly

Car dent repair training: 4 bigger dents using hammer off technique

Hammer off technique raises the lower sections. The dolly is placed behind the metal on a low section and the hammer hits on the surrounding high spots. You try to hit within 1 inch of the dolly edge. This offset hit causes the low sections to raise. You don't need to hammer using the fist of God, be patient and use light tapping as appropriate. Practice will give you the feel for how hard or soft to hit with the hammer.

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Copyright Aug 2011 Eugene Blanchard