Kevin Tetz
September 1, 2003

If you've decided to tackle the body chores of your current project, or are even considering it, you've probably been overwhelmed by the assortment of tools that are available. And chances are you've been overwhelmed with the cost of some of them too! There's an amazing array of specialized body tools, and costs can get out of hand quickly; but you still need to have the right tools for the job. So where do you start? There's a big difference between collision and restoration repair so the first order is to figure out what your goals are. Someone with a MIG welder and some basic metalworking skills can install a set of floorpans in their vintage Ford without a fully stocked body shop, but if you have a car with the front bumper wrapped under the footwell from a banzai encounter with an unsuspecting light pole, you'll probably need to enlist the help of some professionals. Either way, you're still going to need a basic set of body tools to start off with. A great place to shop is The Eastwood Company. The company has been providing specialty tools to the automotive hobbyist for over 25 years, and its selection and value are second to none.

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We've put together a list of what I think are "must haves" in the body shop. Many of them are multipurpose, making them economical purchases that cross over to other repair areas, and some of them are specific-duty. All of them will save you time and energy when you reach for the right tool for the job!

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CONCLUSION
The learning curve for doing your own bodywork can be frustrating and painful, but it doesn't have to be. Having the right tool for the right job is more than half the battle, and making a game plan before you start melting down your credit card is very important. You don't have to buy the best of everything to get effective results, but spend your money wisely; and remember that good value sometimes comes with a bigger price tag.

If you enter into this field with an open mind, a reasonable budget, and a willingness to study some basic techniques and principles, you can get excellent results right out of the gate!