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A friend of mine mentioned 'blocking' as a way to smooth out body panels while in the shop. I'd never heard the term before. Could somebody please explain to me what he may have meant. thanks.
 

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You wrap the sand paper around a specially made block it keeps the paper flat so the putty and primer is sanded evenly. It is a must in smoothing panels out. They can be picked up just about anywhere, auto paint supply and auto part stores. I would recomend using a hard block. I only use the soft blocks on bumpers and curved panels.

It looks like this
 

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no problem.
 

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Not to jump in, but won't those "square off" a radiused feature instead of maintaining a perfect curve? I'm a total body newbie, but it seems like those blocks are too hard to do, say, the top 1/2 of a MKII door. Perhaps the grit of the paper has more to do with that though?

Thanks for your patience.
-Scott
 

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Thats why i mentioned soft blocks. They are flexable for curved surfaces. I only use a hard block on flat panels. Really narrow areas i will sand by hand. The blocks are mainly for leveling putty and primer.
 

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If you use your hands to sand flat panels you are applying pressure unevenly because all 4 fingers(thumbs usually hold but dont apply pressure)press down leaving 4 pressure points.. This cuts grooves or waves in the substrait. The block applies this pressure evenly giving a smoother finish. This isnt usually a problem for small surfaces.
 

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I see. I didn't realize the differences were that great. Thank you for the info. I'm taking an autobody class this semester and it's something I'm really interested in because I can be anal and it's okay :)

----edit:
See I told you I was anal. I edited this just to add one "e"...:shakeshea
 

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whats the downside of using a soft block on flat panels? i have a solid rubber block that works well.. its got some flex, but not too much.. about the consistancy of a tire.. is that considered "hard"? its softer than the solid hard plastic block i have!
 

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I would consider that a hard block. I consider a soft block as something you can fold in half. Hard blocks cut harder so less work on the first of putty or primer. On the second coat i go to a softer block which is less agressive. Then i use a light grit and a soft block for finishing.
 

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the better ones are at auto paint supply stores.
 
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