After reading the following tech story, it would be great if everyone, no matter what their skill level or experience, could tackle the most difficult of dents on their truck, but unfortunately, it's not that easy. So why are we bothering to start our series on auto body sheetmetal repair at the advanced end of the spectrum? The answer is quite simple, actually-with the advent of extremely low-priced auto body tools flooding our shores from China, we've noticed that everyone and their dog seems to be taking a shot at tackling dent repairs on their truck and destroying it in the process. We're not going to get into whether or not the Chinese-made tools are any good, but we'll just say we believe it's always been good practice to buy the best tools a person can lay their hands on.

Enough said. Traditionally, the tool responsible for wreaking the most amount of body damage in the hands of an amateur is the slide-hammer. It's a simple device that attaches to the sheetmetal by drilling a hole into the body, screwing the tip into it, and slamming a heavy circular weight up the shaft away from the dent. In the clutches of a novice, these are real good for stretching the metal until the screw rips out and leaves a peak reminiscent of the Grand Teton national monument.

To demonstrate the Spitzenagel (more commonly known as an auto-body stud welder), the tool that superceded the slide-hammer, we enlisted the help of Jerry Sievers and Mike Gaucher at Paint 'N' Place in Placentia, California. If you are in the market for one of the best custom or restoration paint jobs around, give Jerry a call. On the other hand, if you would just like to ask Jerry a question about how to do bodywork, we suggest enrolling in the autobody course he instructs at Riverside Community College (or a school in your area).