Tips To Help Beginners To Get Better At Finishing Dents

Here are three different tips that I think will help you get a little bit better at finishing if you're just starting off learning Paintless Dent Removal. Now if you haven't done so you can subscribe to our channel.

I regularly do dent repair videos tutorials and also advise on theory videos like this. You can subscribe to the channel to stay up to date with every video release.  Don't forget to give the YouTube channel a thumbs up to help it grow, reach and help more people like you!

TIP #1 Use A Tight-Lined Line Board

If you've seen any of my videos so far you'll know that I am a line board user. So if you're also using lines to fix dents then this top tip is for you. Often when we're starting out we can get basic boards online particularly the ones that are for beginners. But not all line boards are the same. So do take the time and actually measure the lines on your board. Often they can be seven or eight mil in width. 

Personally I think that's a little bit too wide to pick up any real detail, any of the fine detail. It's absolutely fine for picking up large shallows and getting you started with those basic principles. But particularly when we're talking about finishing a dent and getting that last 10 percent, that's when I think a tight line board really comes into its own. So I use tight lines and they're just three mill apart. That means I've got a three male black line, three mill white gap, three mil black line, and so on across my entire board. For me it makes a huge difference in picking up the fine detail when it comes to the finishing stages of PDR.

By all means have a couple of different boards as well. You can have wide lines to get you started. And then when you come to that kind of last 10 percent of the dent perhaps try switching to the tight lines and see the difference. I think it will really help you pick up the micro lows, identify any micro highs you get within your repair area. So that is tip number one is to try using a tight lined align board.

Tip #2 Check Your Angles: Getting Your Reflection Right

So my next tip for you beginners, when it comes to finishing the dent is about perspective.  You may have heard me talk before about cross-checking your work and checking your angles. It really is so important if we take a line board reflector like this. Quite a simple basic setup, often we're setting up our board, we've got our dents and we've got  our body position. It makes a huge difference when we're talking about finishing to do the cross checking. Usually we're referring to swapping sides so going left to right right to left and also front to back, back to front.

So they're kind of just some of the basic angles when it comes to cross-checking our work throughout the repair when it comes to finishing. I'd say there's a little bit more of the kind of fine adjustments we can do with the board. Typically if we've got our board set up parallel to what the area is working in just a slight tweak, say 45 degree angle and it will give us a new perspective on that reflection.

So it will change, distort the reflection that we're working with and again tilt it 45 degrees down. You can do this of course for the left, the right, the front and back and that's going to give you three times as many angles at every position to check your work. Now it's not just about those angles left and right we can also tilt the board back depending on our light that might give us a better, cleaner , brighter, reflection. Also tilting the board down you get some good lighting on it if you're using a reflector board. By tilting the board at this angle it will effectively make those lines in a reflection group together, so become even more narrow or tight. As I said in ‘Tip Number One’ it makes a huge difference in the fine details. 

Finally with this line board kind of adjustments it's also about how close you are to the board. Often we can be working on fine detail getting really nice and close with our dent here, our eye line here and our board here. By taking it to that level and then moving the board further back, moving your head position further back, it's going to give you a new perspective. Again change that reflection and give you kind of a new working area or new perspective to see the dent that you're trying to fix.

Do try playing around by pushing the board further away from yourself. Put your body position back even if you set the board up a couple of meters away,  put your body back a meter or two away and kind of move your head your body left and right to really kind of assess the damage. It's going to make a huge difference of course. You might have to bring a little bit closer to reach the dent to do your repair. It's all about identifying that damage to help you finish. So that is ‘Tip Number Two’, checking your angles and working out your perspective on getting your reflection right for finishing the dents.

Tip #3 Blending To A Finish

Finally in ‘Tip Number Three’ we're going to talk about blending to a finish. Often when we're talking about finishing a dent we're referring to taking out the kind of micro lows and the micro highs. That still remains within our repair area. Now often particularly when we're using a line board we can get it to a point where the reflection reads true i.e all those lines read straight. We look at it from every angle and it looks like the dent is out. Often it's when we're packing up our tools,  putting them in a van to let you glance back and you can just see a slight distortion, a slight flicker in the reflection indicating that there is just a little bit there that's not quite finished.

Now often this can be down to a blending, a process that takes a bit of time to learn and really kind of understand. To learn a bit more about blending you can check out my video also here on YouTube. Go back and have a look at that to really understand the theory and the principles of what is blending and how we use it for PDR. When it comes to finishing often when we're working on a set repair area, we can just get a slight bit of distortion in a panel. Sometimes when it's stretched but also just the fact that we've worked one particular area on a sheet of metal. 

So again all about that perspective that we covered in tip number two really checking your angles to see what's high what's low. Often I use blending as a process that helps me finish my dents so by using blending techniques, blending tools i.e my blending hammer I can work around the repair area and blend out the damage.

Now there are two different types of blending. I refer to them as vibration blending and reaction blending. I do a full tutorial within Learn PDR Online. If you want to go into real detail about the blending process and how I use it, by all means check out our website and you can find out more details or just pop your comments and I'll answer them.  

Blending for finishing can make a huge difference as I say we've got our lines, everything's read and it's looking pretty good but in the natural light,  what we call the customer's view we can just see a slight bit of distortion. Now as a PDR technician we're always focused on those fine details. 

So I am talking about very kind of minor distortion in a panel but often blending can be overlooked as a way to finish a repair. It really blends out the area of damage that we've been working on and blends it into the existing panel and it can be all of the difference between finishing a repair to a high standard.

Let’s Wrap It Up!

So that is it for my top three tips! When it comes to finishing for you beginners! I really hope you found this tutorial useful and informative. 

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