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Harder body filler for metal.

jlcustomz

evil painter
#1
Doing a bit of custom metal work which parts of may not be as close to perfect as I'd like. Would really like a harder filler at least for lets say corners of wheel well & extended sail panel edge where a few spots need more than a thin skimcoat & could easily get hit hard & chip.
I used to use usc all metal for such a need without any known issues, but heard too many bad comments about it here to use again. I've seen labmetal advertised, which is probably glorified JB weld, but never tried or talked to anyone that used. JB weld is tempting to try as a base filler for what few areas I want something tougher at, wonder if it would actually be ok for a few small areas?
I remember in the 70's & 80's there was something I think was called redhand that was like a true epoxy filler that came in quarts, but haven't seen in over 30 years.
 

Barry

Paint Fanatic
Staff member
#2
Vette panel adhesive over epoxy.

Years ago JB was made by usc and and when they showed me, it was all metal.
That was 20 years ago may have changed.
At the time story was told to me that a bodyman came up with idea and was now worth millions.
So they said?
 
#3
i have always used the metal2metal from evercoat. i guess similar to the usc all metal stuff. i have never used the usc stuff or the vette panel adhesive to compare but i have never had an issue with m2m. its hard and doesnt shrink back. i always put it over any welds or panel seams that would ghost in the heat with regular filler. never had something come back where i could see it when i used that stuff. personally i think its awesome.
 
#6
Hard to beat lead but it can be problematic. Impurities or tin flux not nutralized can bite you down the road.

It's a skill that is developed. Cleanliness is key and keeping the heat low are critical.

A lot of the stuff I work on that was custom bodied used it to make edges and and fill the welded seams. Most of the time it's worn out/cracked so I have to melt it out and start over. Time consuming but I wouldn't ever use plastic filler to make a gap.
 

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jlcustomz

evil painter
#8
Definitely not interested in trying lead or whatever their probably substituting for lead now. Think last I checked my local finishmaster didn't stock the M2M, but I have got vette panel adhesive there before , which would be a good step above regular filler near edges.

Been wondering for a while if jb weld is the same as it used to be. Still have some holding to numerous spots of my el camino gas tank from 1993 where others recently said it wouldn't work, but maybe they were too lazy or ignorant to do it right.
 

JGR

New Member
#12
Keep it simple, metal lab is not meant to use like a body filler. You have three choices and I have used all three with great results! I use it over welds, heavy filling or old lead seems
1 usc all metal
2 Evercoat metal to metal
3 USC Duraglas Fiberglass Body Filler
 

Slofut

Active Member
#13
Dont use the high heat version. The regular is the same with normal heat tolerance. Then they have lab metal 400 that air cures and withstands 400deg. Check out the links on that page
 

Slofut

Active Member
#14
JGR, I'm inclined to agree with you as to overthinking the original question.
On seams, filler of any kind isn't going to add any significant strength to a welded joint and personally I would use Poly-Flex there every time because the panel will flex there differently than the area around it, Poly Flex will move much more than regular filler before cracking.

But on a (metal) door edge I would be very much tempted to use lab metal as it does have lots of tensile strength (for a filler) and bond strength. It may fair better than most fillers in this kind of application? I've used it in the shop for various typed of projects but never a body filler on say, a wide flat surface. That would not be a good idea as you'd prob never get it sanded flat, and as you say they have standard autobody fillers made for that.
That said, I haven't used LM on a metal door edge either, but I've actually ran a bead down the edge on a few and dressed the welds (brit cars :rolleyes:).
I've always thought of "metal" body fillers as bondo with aluminum powder, which I'm not sure would have any benefit anyway. Lab Metal is some impressive stuff though, fun to play with.
Your thoughts?
 
#15
I was only referring to near edge use as I agree filler ain't gonna fix a crappy weld bead.
I did use a harder filler last night on a couple of wheel well edges that weren't close enough to perfect----- Tig welder & filler rod.:p
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#17
Chris,
How involved is the application of lead? I have never worked with it myself but watched a video of a guy dong a "led sled" a long time ago. It seemed like a skill that one would have to develop.
Sorry I missed your post 68. Brad summed it up good. If you want to learn it Kent White (tinmantech.com) goes into far more detail than I ever could on the forum here.

http://www.tinmantech.com/html/vid_art_science_autobody.php

If you want to learn it that is the video I'd recommend. Kent is "Old School" (hate that term...sorry) I learned it from my Dad who did bodywork a long time ago (He had me late in life when he was 63!) He worked at Fisher Body in the 1930's so lead was all they used back then. Lead when applied properly and filed properly will last a lifetime. Biggest issues people have is not neutralizing the flux and sanding it with aluminum oxide sandpaper. It will develop a type of corrosion when sanded with AO paper. Always file and if sanding is necessary use silicon carbide paper. Kent covers all this in the video.
 

Chris_Hamilton

Trying to be the best me, I can be
#18
JGR, I'm inclined to agree with you as to overthinking the original question.
On seams, filler of any kind isn't going to add any significant strength to a welded joint and personally I would use Poly-Flex there every time because the panel will flex there differently than the area around it, Poly Flex will move much more than regular filler before cracking.

But on a (metal) door edge I would be very much tempted to use lab metal as it does have lots of tensile strength (for a filler) and bond strength. It may fair better than most fillers in this kind of application? I've used it in the shop for various typed of projects but never a body filler on say, a wide flat surface. That would not be a good idea as you'd prob never get it sanded flat, and as you say they have standard autobody fillers made for that.
That said, I haven't used LM on a metal door edge either, but I've actually ran a bead down the edge on a few and dressed the welds (brit cars :rolleyes:).
I've always thought of "metal" body fillers as bondo with aluminum powder, which I'm not sure would have any benefit anyway. Lab Metal is some impressive stuff though, fun to play with.
Your thoughts?
Lead on a door edge will last a long time. Guys did it all the time in the 40's and 50's. I'd be scared to use the lab stuff as I'd have no idea what adhesion long term would be like, to either the base metal or subsequent filler/paint over it. In general if the gaps are that far off it's best to correct them by welding in more material (1/16 filler rod welded to a door edge works nicely) or working the hinges, repairing/replacing structural damage etc..
 
#19
I have Kent's dvd on leading and he doesn't mention nutralizing the flux in it. He just wire brushed the tinned metal clean before applying the lead. I don't really agree with doing it this way. But.. he makes his own tin flux and maybe it acts different then the tinster flux that is available to us. I've been wanting to try his recipe from way back but I haven't.

Heres a 54' 356 Porsch I did. That edge was done and shaped to the door from the factory. They usually rot out behind the lead in the body seam. I had to replace the metal behind and re-lead. I couldn't imagine trying to repair this using any type of modern filler. Might work fine but I'll never let myself find out the hardway. I just filed it until I liked the door opening. It cuts quick with a sharp body file but it's still very labor intensive. My grandfather in law that taught me used a 8" body grinder with 36 grit discs to shape. Made a huge dust cloud in the shop. He is one of the lucky ones since he's 93 years old and was strictly a body man using only lead from his bodyshop days to his restoration days quitting a few years ago. We own a couple of the cars he did in the early 80's and the leaded seams are OK. He never had the aluminum oxide contamination that I've seen. I'm a lot more careful with my personal safety and cleanliness of lead work than he ever was.
 

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#20
i have never done lead work on a car but have done a crap load of soldering over the years. most fluxes are an acid of some sort which is probably why neutralizing or removing it from the metal is recommended.
 
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