How to Fill Dents in a Guitar Body Before Painting

Written by tom becker
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Guitars not only produce exceptionally beautiful sounds, but they can be beautiful works of art in and of themselves. Like any piece of fine art, guitars sometimes need touching up. If a guitar becomes damaged and requires painting in whole or in part, you must fill any dents before applying a new finish. Two distinct techniques can remove dents from a guitar body and help create an even surface for painting. Which technique you use depends on the nature of the dents you want to repair.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Dented guitar
  • Soldering iron
  • Ruler
  • Grease pencil
  • Distilled water
  • Small cloth
  • Orbital sander
  • Fine-grain sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife

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  1. 1

    Plug a soldering iron into an outlet, and allow it to heat up for at least 15 minutes.

  2. 2

    Mark the axis of the dent with a ruler and grease pencil. This allows you to pinpoint the location of the dent during the steaming process.

  3. 3

    Dip a small cloth in distilled water, and fold it into a square approximately two to three times the size of the dent area.

  4. 4

    Place the folded cloth over the dent.

  5. 5

    Press the tip of the heated soldering iron over the centre of the cloth. Use the grease pencil marks to keep the iron centred over the dent.

  6. 6

    Hold the soldering iron on the cloth for approximately 5 seconds. Stop and check to see if the dent has disappeared. Continue to steam for another 5 seconds, if necessary. Repeat this process until the dent has expanded, and the surface is even.

  7. 7

    Sand the surface of the dented area with an orbital sander using fine-grain sandpaper. Sand only for a few seconds at a time.

    Wood Filler

  1. 1

    Apply a small amount of wood filler to the dents in the body of the guitar with a putty knife.

  2. 2

    Smooth the putty into the dents with the putty knife until the filler sits evenly with the surface of the body. Allow the filler to dry according to manufacturer instructions.

  3. 3

    Sand away any excess wood filler with an orbital sander using fine-grain sandpaper.

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