Get Those Body Lines Straight!

How do I get my body lines straight on a long panel? This is one way to do it...

First get a long straight edge. Make sure it's straight, as it will determine how straight your line will be. A long piece of steel flat stock or aluminum is good, as it will stay straight, but will bend along the curve of the car so it stays in contact with the line.

Now line it up along the body line. Draw a line with a pencil. This is your straight line guide.

Ok, now get some 3M masking tape. Don't skimp on masking tape. Get the good stuff. It doesn't cost much more, but it will save you the mess you will get into with cheap masking tape. Trust me, you will thank me.

Now lay out a tape line along your pencil line. You're gonna put it below the line with the top edge of the tape just touching the pencil line. Start the tape before the line, and stretch it out the full length of the line. Pull on the tape a little to stretch it slightly, but not enough to pull it off where you stuck it on at the start of the line.

Now eyeball it holding the roll of tape and lay it down along the pencil line. It may take a couple of tries to get it right. You can't just put in on the car a few inches at a time following the line as it will curve. Then you won't get your body lines straight.

Now stand back and look at it from different angles to make sure it looks straight.

When it looks good, you can now block sand down to the tape. Avoid cutting into the tape, as you will ruin your line. If you need to fill any more, simply pull the tape, do your work, then redraw your line and retape.

When you get the area above the tape the way you want it, we'll work on the bottom of the line. Take another piece of tape and line the bottom edge of it up with the top edge of the tape that's on the car. Now pull the old piece of tape off, and the new tape should be on top of the pencil line.

Now do your block sanding up to that tape line. When you're done, pull that tape off and check your line.

You might have to do this process a few times.

When you're happy with the line, you will want to go over it lightly with your sandpaper to smooth out the sharp edge. Whether you're block sanding or doing mud work, the process is the same....

That's how you get your body lines straight!

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