I was talking to Peter in Connecticut the other day and he was getting perfect results from hoods on a stand.
But his side panels were not so great.
Working on a door through the window opening is good for no drill PDR, but it limits the distance you can work.
Your arms are just too short!
Two things you can do.
First, work the dent a little high. Now move your light back and or closer (lower angle) and work down the high like it was a glue pull.
This is best done with the long hammers, but you can still get good results even with your regular hammer and knock down. You have the whole length of your arms now.
What you want to do is blend the high out.
Once it looks good like this, you’re done.
You may have to go back and push it again, but you’ll do it with the thought of “high, but smoothly rounded” or no sharp lows in it. This will be easier to take down smoothly.
Second, Peter asked how do you cross check a panel you can only work from one direction?
Side panels in particular will give you grief here, but corners of hoods and trunks worked on the car often present the same problem.
Go ahead and move your light completely to the other side. You won’t be able to work it, you are just checking it.
Now, look for trenches or lows which appear only from this angle.
Grab a grease pencil or dry erase marker and mark them using the light. Put a mark or a line right in the low.
Now put your light back to the workable angle and push the mark. Raise it a little high to be sure you pushed “through”.
Move the light back to the unworkable view again and knock down using this angle.
This is a pain, but worth it to have a clean repair in all angles.
After trying it out, Peter wrote:
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk on the phone yesterday…
Talking to you made me feel good and right after I got off the phone I went and pushed two door dents using the ideas you gave me.I think they turned out the cleanest door dings yet!
I love cars and I hate to see people getting ripped off at bodyshops that’s why I want to get into PDR myself.