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How To: "Shave" things off your cars body

12-18-2001, 11:01 AM
Shaving is a process done on various items on a cars body panels. In general you "shave" anything that interrupts the smooth flowing lines of your cars sheet metal (Door handles, antennae, moldings, wiper nozzles, etc). The point is to remove the item and fill it in so it looks like it was never even there and the result is a smoother overall look. Taking the most oft shaved item, your door handles, I'll explain generally what the process involves.

The first step to shaving anything is to remove the actual item you want shaved. In the case of the door handle, you remove the inner door panel and remove the screws and rods holding the handle in place. You'll be left with just the empty hole. Now what you do is take a sanding device and remove all the paint about one inch around the hole to expose the bare metal. (Actually you could leave that step until just before welding to reduce the risk of rust). The next step is to get a piece of non-galvanized steel and trim it into the general shape of the hole. It's very important you use steel because you're going to heat this up and melt it. If you use aluminum or any of the softer metals, the heat needed to melt the steel body panels would melt the aluminum much sooner and splatter it before it had a chance to bond it to the sheetmetal. Now you have the piece of steel in the general shape of the hole, the next thing to do is to get it into the general convex of whatever you're welding it to. Meaning if you look at the door where the door handle was, the metal had a slight curve. To make it flush, you need to get the piece of steel to follow this curve. They make several tools to accomplish this but one of the easiest ways of doing this is by getting a soft cloth sack, you fill it with sand and lay it flat on the floor. Then you get a rounded not too heavy rubber mallet. And you use the mallet to lightly bang the metal on the sack to get it to slightly curve to the curvature of the car's body. All of this involves test fitting, trmming, test fitting, banging, and repeat about a million times until you think it's PERFECT. When dealing with highly visible objects such as custom bodywork, perfection is key.

Now you have the car prepped and the piece of metal prepped, what you need to do is get a professional to weld it around the hole on the car. This is where it gets controversial. I've seen ppl spot weld it in and I've had ppl tell me that brazing would be the preferred method since it doesn't warp the metal. After talking to a few very experienced car customizers (That I've known for a while and have seen the numerous works of art they can create), Normal welding seems to be the preferred method. All welding in general will heat the metal enough to slightly melt it. And as you could imagine this warps the metal. Spot welding warps the metal at specific points which will be very difficult to conceal. Brazing is another method similar to soldering. The problem with brazing is that it doesn't provide the strength needed for a strong metal like steel. So normal welding is preferred. You weld it around leaving a thick bead and let it set. Then you spend a little bit grinding the bead down to make it flush with the rest of the sheetmetal.

Taking it to a professional, they shouldn't charge you much just to weld in a small piece of metal. You could always try doing it yourself if you have an experienced friend with a welder. After you have it welded in place and grinded and sanded down, you need to get bondo body filler, mix it hardener in the right proportions and use a light coat over the whole area enough to cover all holes. Then you let it sit an hour and sand the whole area well. The idea is to fill any small imperfections and give it the true smooth look. Give it another coat if you feel it's necessary. Usually two to three coats is sufficient to hide the smallest of imperfections. Be very careful with this step because if you don't get it looking JUST right, when they paint it, the imperfections will be VERY apparent and sometimes if you don't get it perfectly flush, it'll look wavy in the light. I've seen it happen a few times and basically you can't tell until the light hits the right way and the only ppl who can actually tell are the ppl who did it, but they seemed to be pretty dissapointed by it.

At this point you can have it painted by professional, or you could apply a primer to prevent rust and have it painted at a later date. Assuming you can get a quality painter, you have officially shaved a part of your cars body. All this generally applies for the larger holes on the car. For the smaller ones like the emblem holes and wiper nozzles, the only thing you change is you weld a piece of metal from BEHIND the hole enough to cover entire hole and have a little extra on all sides. Then you fill the thin gap left with some bondo and follow the same procedures.

Now that you have that cool shaved door handle look, how the heck do you get back into the car??? Well several aftermarket companies such as AutoLoc ( specialize in making small solenoids that are placed in the door. What they do is when a button on a remote is pressed, this small motor pushes out a small piston and that pushes out the door and it opens automatically. These solenoids come in different strengths from 8 to 80 lbs. in force for different size doors and applications.

"What if the system fails?"

If the system fails because either the actuator has malfunctioned or the car has somehow lost all electrical power, there are several things you can do. Try the passenger side door. Have an emergency button somewhere outside the car, like in a fenderwell. Or yes, try crawling in the trunk. This is just until you get it fixed.

"What if the battery fails on the remote?"

If the battery dies, which will eventually happen, you can have a spare remote or have an extra battery either on your person or again somewhere in an emergency location outside the car like in the fenderwell.

"How strong of a solenoid should I get? I don't want the door flying open and hitting another car"

About 8 pounds should be enough for import car doors. This is just enough strength to just pop open the door about 2 inches out.

"I live in a cold climate, Iíve heard of the door freezing shut, is this true?"

Technically, yeah itís true. Water might creep into the door jambs and freeze overnight locking the car shut. But letís think about this. If the door has the possibility of freezing shut, what makes you think if the handles werenít shaved that you could open it anyways?? You could do the same thing when the solenoid fails, crawl in through the trunk. But if youíd like to take extra precautions in icy weather, then get a 12 or 15 pound solenoid for extra power. Be warned though, itíll throw the door open a bit more possibly knocking it into the car next to you.

You can wire this solenoid to your alarm system's remote on one of the auxiliary outputs on your alarms brain. Or if you still don't like the idea of a possible failure, sometimes what ppl do is just shave the handle and leave the key hole there. That way you don't need a solenoid and the door can be manually opened with your keys just like normal.

As for what else could you shave other than door handles? Whatever you can remove, smooth over, or just generally can do without. The things I've seen are

Door handles
Side Moldings
Rain gutters
Wipers (They use RainX)
Wiper nozzleís
Inner taillights
Whole taillights all together (They replace them with smaller LED's)
Engine Firewall
Key holes
License plate holes
Gas cap door (This is a cool one, they relocate the gas cap and hose elsewhere, sometimes behind a removable rear taillight)

Just a word of warning. Having your door handles shaved in any way is illegal, no matter where you live. It is considered for show purposes only. Because if you were to ever be in a serious accident, emergency crews couldn't open the door to rescue you. They will be forced to punch out the window possibly causing further injury to you or others with broken glass.

And thatís basically what there is to it. Donít be afraid to try it yourself either. I saw one dude with a del Sol shave a few body parts using old locker doors that his school had thrown away, he prepped everything, took the car to have the parts welded, then prepped the car for paint and he knew someone who did paint and got a whole custom orange paint job and he estimated all the exterior work to be less than $1000!!! Iím sure the judges at the shows had no idea. If youíre still hesitant, Get a door from a junkyard and practice on that. Doing all the work yourself and saving large quantities of $$$ is the preferred method of show winners. Have Fun. :)

12-18-2001, 04:20 PM
Hmmm... just like that, huh? I guess it sounds easy enough...

Good job RR!!!

12-18-2001, 07:16 PM
I wouldn't try anything like that with my babuh...

12-18-2001, 11:57 PM
At first I thought this thread was "how to shave things off your body" by RR...

wow... this looks interesting :confused: :finger:

12-24-2001, 10:33 PM
Originally posted by OisinT
At first I thought this thread was "how to shave things off your body" by RR...

I tried to be very careful about the choosing of my words for the title :)

As will I have to do for the next chapter which will come in a few more days as well, "What is and How to 'French'" :smoka:

12-24-2001, 10:46 PM
Originally posted by Rice-Rocketeer

I tried to be very careful about the choosing of my words for the title :)

As will I have to do for the next chapter which will come in a few more days as well, "What is and How to 'French'" :smoka:

:D :coolguy:

06-06-2002, 11:34 AM
okay so that doesnt tell me how to go about doing/or getting my Moulding shaved.. do i weld a strip of metal in & then bonda -- or what.. some1 get back to me soon!

06-10-2002, 02:04 AM
That's exactly what I explained in the thread. Prep, weld, bondo, primer, paint.

09-15-2002, 04:01 PM
how much does it cost usually to get a professional body shop to shave the door handles and modlings separately, and paint them?

09-15-2002, 05:18 PM
nothin like a clean shave -- not my car... but this is just for refference..

09-15-2002, 05:27 PM

09-21-2002, 10:12 PM
nothin like a clean shave -- not my car... but this is just for refference..


11-08-2002, 07:38 PM
ffhjhjhjhjh :bloated: Hey, I am young, cant legaly drive yet, but i WANT to shave my door handels, I'm not looking for a pro-job here, somthing that will look decent and cost not a lot.:thinkerg: any one have any suggestons or Ideas? PLEASE let me know, my ride needs to be nice for whe i turn 16!:jump:

11-08-2002, 11:24 PM
Originally posted by celebrity_4_life
Hey, I am young, cant legaly drive yet, but i WANT to shave my door handels, I'm not looking for a pro-job here, somthing that will look decent and cost not a lot.:thinkerg: any one have any suggestons or Ideas? PLEASE let me know, my ride needs to be nice for whe i turn 16!:jump: Like it says above in the process, you can even try it yourself. :D

Also, shaving your door handles is illegal in most areas.

11-09-2002, 04:56 PM
Illeagal? is it illegal in Ny? I have been to many shows and seen a few cars (registered in NY) Even my bothers honda had shaved handels(untill it got rear ended and smashed by 3 other cars) Its most likely leagal, my car isnt,...not regestered,.. But when I'm old enough,...I'll try the "shaving" on the passengers side. I want this to be a neat little daily driver,.........and confuse :bloated: people,..haha:D This is a long shot,..but I am "ricing out my car, already have a new muffler, HUGE spoiler, racing stripes,and racing pedals, any one know where I might get some Altezza's for a 1987 Chevy Celebrity? haha, it'll be a MIRICALE! Thanks,....KyLe

11-10-2002, 01:04 AM
lol, I don't think they make altezzas for your car. And it's illegal in new york, that is because it's a safety hazard. Let's say you're in an accident or something of the sort, it would be harder for them to get into your car if you don't have door handles. A lot of people do have shaved door handles, but you will get a fix it ticket if they notice. And that's a hard thing to fix, lol.

11-11-2002, 07:28 PM
Yeah,..I never saw altezzas for a celebrity,...dont think I ever will! haha
Unfortunetly,... I cant shave my door handels,..yet,.....I blew the radiator,...and 2 hoses,....I just fixed it,..but I cant spend to much money. I will go ahead and shave them though,..just a matter of time:D If the cops wanna give me a "fix-it" ticket i suppose I'll have to,...............but untill then:devil:

07-04-2003, 07:46 PM
I found your information on shaving things off your car body very informative. I'm in the process of building my first full custom 1950 Ford 2dr sedan. I do all the work myself and enjoy chnging the appearance of these old cars. I wonder if you could possibaly tel me how to go about frenching the tail lights on my car. I bought some books by Tex Smith but, there was nothing really helpful. I have many cars and they were all hopped up for speed and that sort of stuff. This is a little different. I weld,do body work,paint,metal fabricate and so on. This tail light thing has me stumped. Thanks for any help. Ken (oldiescarman)

09-01-2003, 12:56 PM
so say i want to do my rain gutters on the roof of my car, do i weld and sand to perfection or can that be done with just bondo ect??

09-02-2003, 06:29 PM
so say i want to do my rain gutters on the roof of my car, do i weld and sand to perfection or can that be done with just bondo ect??
sorry that I can't find a better picture, but is this like what you're talking about, the slight indent that runs from the front to the back of the roof on each side?
If that's what you're talking about I wouldn't weld that. That much welding it's most likely going to get hot and start warping the metal and your roof would look like the waves in the ocean lol
Fiberglass would be the way to go with that. Fill in all of that with fiberglass. You won't be able to sand the fiberglass down to how you would want it, so don't fill it clear up to where it's even with the roof with the fiberglass. Once that has had a chance to sit, finish is off with good old bondo and then sand it down to perfection.

09-15-2007, 10:46 AM
would you have any installation guide or anything on how to install the shave door latch kit i got the kit but i recieved no instructions and there are parts there i dont recognize

09-16-2007, 04:47 PM
Oi, newb, we start new threads for questions. K thanks.

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