Book Review: Panel Beating and Body Work, by Bengt Blad
From time to time, publishers will claim a book is the "bible" for a particular subject, implying that it includes everything there is to know about the subject matter. If ever there were a book that should be called a "bible" about automotive body work and metal shaping and bending, this is it. This two-volume, 1458-page tome on Panel Beating and Body Work has it all.
Over forty years ago, when the book's author, Bengt Blad, was a young medical student in Uppsala, Sweden, he bought an MGB, and soon discovered that his dream car was not in the condition he hoped it would be. Hiring someone to do the body work needed was too expensive, so he used his talents and skills to learn how to repair his MGB himself. This became the start of a new career, and instead of a medical degree, Bengt quickly earned his reputation as "the panel beating doctor".
Over time he has not only accumulated great skills and all the tools a well-equipped workshop should have, but has also built a huge collection of literature, both in Swedish and English, which describes different aspects of the panel beater's work.
Since he'd never found a comprehensive book on this subject, Bengt decided to write his own "thesis", which contains all his collected experience of more than 40 years in the panel beating profession — described with the same intricate detail he might have used had he continued with his medical career.
Mr. Blad says "There is no good book on the market elsewhere. The books offered are very thin with very little information." Since this information wasn't available, Bengt determined not to let it disappear as he neared the end of his working career. Because many of his colleagues are not inclined to pass on the information they have acquired and because they have no desire to draw back the veil of the mysteries of their craft, Blad knew this was his mission.
The two volumes are heavily illustrated, with photos and concise drawings. As an indication of the quantity of photos and drawings, in the first 100 pages there are 92 graphics and this continues throughout. The volumes are clearly written, and text explaining especially important information appears in bold type.
There's really too much information in these volumes to discuss adequately here. But the table of contents listed below (including number of pages devoted to each subject) will give you a clear idea of what is covered.
This brings up the question of price. At the time of this writing, the two volume set sells for approximately $115.00 US (plus shipping). Note: there may be minor price adjustments because of currency exchange variations. At first glance, that will seem expensive. However, you would have to buy many lesser books in order to obtain the same knowledge, and much of the information would be repeated in each book.
If you have a serious interest in doing auto body repair or restoration, this book is a "must have" for your library. The book is available online at https://www.bladsforlag.com/en.
Table of Contents
1. Car Body Development - 9
2. Organizing the Workshop - 8
3. Hand Tools - 45
4. Machines - 123
5. Supplies - 43
6. Welding - 105
7. Using Hand Tools - 27
8. Handling the Car - 29
9. Measurement and Alignment - 33
10. The Use of Machinery - 113
11. Wired Edges - 34
12. Pressing Tools - 49
13. Riveting - 39
14. Filling - 35
15. Bonding - 19
Index/Lists of Tables and Drawings & Notes
16. Introduction to Daily Work - 81
17. Doors and Lids - 255
18. The Sills - 69
19. The Wing - 129
20. Miscellaneous Panel Work - 121
21. Chrome Parts - 27
22. Bonding in Practice - 21
Definitions & Conversions