Surviving the Elements: Auto Body Paint and Other Blogs

3 Core Techniques Implemented By Panel Beaters

by Mae Fisher

When you are involved in an accident and your car has suffered great damage on its bodywork, the expertise of panel beaters may come in handy in terms of restoring your car's bodywork back to its original, brand new state. Car owners may be interested in knowing exactly which metalwork techniques that panel beaters adopt in straightening the dents. Here are three core metalwork techniques implemented by panel beaters in the course of their work.


Due to the impact of a crash or collision, the crashed section of the vehicle normally stretches out. Therefore, to reinstate the overextended section back to its original condition, panel beaters take part in shrinking the crashed bodywork with a hot torch, and pounding the dents using a hammer, a moist rag as well as a dolly. Basically, heat is applied onto the dented section of the vehicle until it emits a dull red hue. The extremely hot, dented panel rests on top of a dolly and the panel beater strikes out the dents through a shrink hammer on the exterior side. After a series of strikes, the dents start to disappear and the bodywork becomes straight. Subsequently, a moist rag is used to cool the panel, which allows the previously stretched metal to contract, and harden quickly.


Planishing is a more refined version of the shrinking technique. It entails shaping and leveling the dented panel through the use of a planishing hammer. Basically, the dented panel is positioned above the contouring tool, popularly termed a planishing stake. Remember that the planishing stake assumes the factory shape of the dented bodywork. So, when a planishing hammer strikes the dented panel, the piece becomes curved and leveled based on the outline of the planishing stake, which represents the car's original shape.

Spray painting

The concluding step of the restoration process involves spray painting the repaired metal panel. This is done in a well-ventilated area. To begin with, the surface is sanded to remove any bumps or unevenness before painting. A primer is also applied to make sure that the applied paint adheres well to the panel surface. Because it's only the restored area that is being spray painted instead of the whole bodywork, the panel beater chooses a coating that matches the factory coating of the car. In the end, no one is able to notice the restoration work on the bodywork, much to the contentment of the vehicle owner.