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.
Expect the unexpected! Wear safety glasses with mechanized tools, use jackstands under your project, wear gloves when handling metal or solvents, suit up when painting, and use appropriate fresh-air-supply gear when using toxic chemicals such as paint strippers, catalyzed paints, and media-blasting sand. Take care of yourself, and live to bust another knuckle!
HAMMER AND DOLLY SET
HAMMER AND DOLLY SET
Probably the most basic way to massage sheetmetal is with a good set of hammers and metal dollies. The dolly is placed behind the metal as a backing brace while the damaged area is smoothed with the appropriate-face hammer. Using Grandpa's claw hammer for pounding out dents is not only cheesy, but it can be dangerous as well. Use only hammers designed for striking metal.
Price range: $20 to $270
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!