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Bodyworking tools include some familiar, general purpose metalworking tools as well as specialized tools used only in auto body repair. The following is a description of the most commonly used body work tools.


A number of different hammers are useful in the body shop. Many are specially formed for a specific metal shaping operation.

Ball Peen Hammers

The ball peen hammer is a useful, multipurpose tool for all kinds of work with sheet metal. Heavier than the body hammer, it is used for straightening bent underpinnings, smoothing heavy guage parts, and roughly shaping body parts. It is sometimes used before work with a body hammer and dolly begins. Several ball peen hammers of different weights will see a lot of use in a body shop.


A light sledgehammer is an essential tool for the first stages of re-forming damaged thicker metal parts. Those with short handles can be used in tight places. The sledgehammer can be used to clear away damaged metal when replacing a panel.


The rubber mallet gently bumps sheet metal without damaging the painted finish. It is often used with the suction cup on soft cave-in-type dents. While you pull upward on the cup, the mallet is used to tap lightly all around the surrounding high spots. A popping sound occurs as the high spots drop and the low spot springs back to its original contour.

A steel hammer with rubber tips is another mallet useful in bodywork. The soft-faced hammer, as it is sometimes called, is used to work chrome trim and other delicate parts without marring the finish.

A dead blow hammer has a metal face filled with lead shot (balls) to prevent rebounding. It will not bounce back up after striking.


Body hammers are the basic tools for working sheet metal back into shape. They come in many different designs. They have flat, square, rounded or pointed heads. Each style is designed for a special purpose.

Picking Hammers

The picking hammer has a pointed tip on one end and usually a flat head on the other. It will take care of many small dents. The pointed end is used to raise low spots from the inside. A gentle tap in the center usually does it. The flat end is for hammer-and-dolly work to remove high spots and ripples. Picking hammers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have long picks for reaching behind body panels. Some have sharp pencil points; others have blunted bullet points. Select the head best suited for the job.

Bumping Hammers

Larger dents require the use of a bumping hammer. Bumping hammers can have round faces or square faces that are almost flat. The faces are large so that the force of the blows is spread over a large area. These hammers are used for initial straightening on dented panels or for working inner panels and reinforced sections that require the use of a reverse curve light bumping hammer. The faces of these hammers are crowned – one in the opposite direction of the other. The tight curve of the faces allows concave contours to be bumped without the danger of stretching the metal. Remember that the contour of the hammer must be smaller than the contour of the panel to avoid stretching the metal.

Finishing Hammers

After the bumping hammer is used to remove the dent, final contour is achieved with the finishing hammer. The faces on a finishing hammer are smaller than those of the heavier bumping hammer. The surface of the face is crowned to concentrate the force on top of the ridge or high spot.

A shrinking hammer is a finishing hammer with a serrated or cross-grooved face. This hammer is used to shrink spots that have been stretched by excessive hammering.