I haven't done large scale body work in ages... but back in the day,
we always used a tube of red lead to fill the minor imperfections. In
watching the various rebuild shows on TV, I don't see anyone using it
anymore. I do see them bondoing the whole car... not so sure I like
that. The do block out the whole car, but then it's back to more bondo
if there's an imperfection.
Is red lead still in use? Or is everyone using large amounts of bondo?
Around here, "red lead" was a term used for a red primer coat, perhaps
originally containing lead. This same paint was used to spray rear end
gears to "pattern" them as a check on the adjustment.
"Leading" a car with real metallic lead was often done in the old days.
It came in bars, rolls, etc and was heated and applied to the tinned
surface when it was about the consistency of butter.
I dont know of anyone locally who could or would use lead anymore.
It might not even be legal.
The polymeric fillers like Bondo can do a good job and last a long long
time if applied properly.
I see that my slang was a bad idea. We used to call it red lead, but I
think it was really "spot putty". Came in a large tube about 2" in
diameter and 8" long. Seemed like primer that had the consistency of
peanut butter coming out of the tube. Traditionally it was red in
color. I always thought that it was named "red lead" because it was
some sort of lead based paint as a base.
So, let's change my post... anyone using "spot putty" anymore?
Yes, where 3 passes of wetsanded primer would take too long.
It's great for sandscratches and other similar minor fills.
I use metallic lead substitute for actual dents. Others use
polyester fillers. Both work. A glob of spot putty can
shrink and crack, spoiling the job.
On Sat, 17 Apr 2010 12:41:43 -0700, "Dick Cheney" <Dick
I was taught to only put it on with a razor blade or thick squeegee to
fill very minor imperfections like sanding scratches and to use filler
for anything that was actually "filling", so I doubt mine did much
cracking, but your experience is noted!
Still, I wonder about the use of bondo type fillers. Do you put them
on with a razor blade when you are down to some minor sanding
scratches, or do you just fill with sandable primer until they're
Spot putty is available. BUT it no longer contains the lead pigment
which gave it the red color (and the red lead name) and is now called
"glazing putty". Now you can get it in red, green, black and blue.
It's even harder to get body lead now. I'm glad I stocked up a few years
Fiberglass, either as the cloth mat or as the chopped fiber mixed with
the polyester, can be a satisfactory medium for a lot of fixes.
If it is done correctly and used for the right applications, it works well.
Most of the colors produced until about 1978 used lead pigments for the
White was basic lead carbonate, red is a lead oxide, blue comes from
lead sulfate, with lead oxide carbon and some zinc oxide, yellow,
orange, green, were lead chromates.
Take a look at just about every Navy ship built and the base color under
that paint will still be red lead primer.
The spot putty/glazing putty that was sold up till about 1980 used lead
based pigments. Primary reason being that nothing developed to replace
the lead pigment held up as well.
It is also the reason why the prices of red, blue and yellow auto paints
went through the roof when lead pigments were dropped. The reds went up
almost 300% as did the blue.
I picked up some bulk lead a while back for another project.
The price has become rediculous. I understand our conflicts
abroad have resulted in much lead being turned into ammo
never to be returned to the system. Ammo is also in a bit
of a shortfall these days with an accompaning high price
As far as the red lead goes, IIRC, all paint containing lead
was banned by the Federalis in the late 60's or early 70's.
It was good stuff for it's day but modern paints, fillers
and coatings properly applied are far superior for metal
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