Visual Encyclopedia

Bondo (putty)

Bondo putty is an automotive body filler and a brand name used by 3M for a line of American-made products for automotive, marine and household repairs.


Before the 1940s, body solder was often used to repair large imperfections prior to painting. Solder repairs were conducted using a flame and wooden paddles covered in tallow or motor oil, which prevented the half-molten lead from sticking. After the war, automotive panels became thinner and larger, with a greater susceptibility to warping. The earliest 'plastic solder' can be traced to around 1940, a do-it-yourself solution to panel beating.

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Bondo, or body filler, is a putty used mainly in the automobile field to fix dents and sometimes even deep scratches. It is mixed well with a small amount of hardener (pictured) and then applied to the dent or scratch in a thick layer. Then it is sanded until smooth. The body filler might leave traces of a darker color, which indicates the low spots. These spots require more bondo, then more sanding. Bondo must be painted over after applied, unless you want patches on your project!

Contributed by Christina A. Zito

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