Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Rediscover the virtues of Lead Loading

Plastic body fillers have come a long way in recent years, but there are still jobs that are best done with a good old-fashioned dose of lead.

For some time, it looked as though lead loading was a dying art. Concerns over health and safety combined with a great leap forwards in plastic filler technology seemed to banish lead from mainstream bodyshops and confine its use to a few classic workshops who were keen to recreate the original production methods on their projects. But recently it has been enjoying something of a revival in the wider trade as its virtues have been rediscovered.

The 3 main benefits of lead loading
  • suitability for deeper fills
  • greater durability
  • remains malleable
  • meaning, lead loading is ideal for finishing joints such as at the tops of rear quarter panels on today’s thin metalwork, the extra time spent in the application paying dividends in the long run with a repair that won’t sink, crack or absorb moisture.

    You'll need to practice
    As well as being laborious to apply, lead loading is a skill that takes practice to master. For one thing, you are applying lots of heat and this can cause more damage through distortion if you get it wrong.

    What tools do you need?
    You may have access to an oxy-acetylene torch, but this is very fierce and the heat is very localised. It can be done if you keep the torch moving and this can be a quick way of lead loading, but it takes a lot of practice to master. A plumber’s blowtorch is better, not least because it gives a wider flame and this is what most people will use. Alternatively, if you have access to a powerful hot air gun this will be slow, but it is a great way of learning the craft. And if you are new to the leading game, then there is a sound argument that it is better to spend two hours putting on the lead and filling it flat than to spend 15 minutes applying the lead followed by three hours coping with panel distortion.

    You can see the 12 steps for an invisible repair on the Frost website, click here... (Thanks to Simon Goldsworthy from the MG Enthusiast magazine for the article).

    Before doing anything, make sure your panel can be soldered. Click here, for more info ...

    If you want to give lead loading a try, you can find at Frost.co.uk a Basic Body Solder Kit for £38.40, and a more comprehensive kit: the Standard Body Solder Kit for £78.13. EXCLUSIVE OFFER: For 3 days only the Standard Body Solder Kit is at £70.00 ONLY. click here to buy your kit! Offer expires 24/09/2011.

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