Been Reading Issue 32

Anyone who has read the tales of the LDV van repairs will know that bodywork and paint finish is hardly my strong suit, so I need all the help I can get. That’s why I was delighted when this dropped onto the doormat.

It’s written by Julian Woodstock; a time-served body man, a teacher in bodywork repair, refinishing and restoration courses, and a Street Machiner. While it’s mainly aimed at those working for vehicle refinishing qualifications, there’s plenty to learn in here for anyone – let’s face it, you could have done 25 years in the body shop, but if you’ve been out of the game for just five years then half of what you’ve learned is probably obsolete.

Because the book’s aimed at those on a vocational qualification course, there is a slight whiff of school textbook about it, but that’s no bad thing. It does assume a small degree of knowledge and experience on the reader’s part, so if your painting portfolio is limited to creosoting the shed with a four-inch brush, you’re starting on the back foot. Being a technical title, it can be quite jargon-heavy in places, so a second read-through would probably be in order for maximum retention if you’re a novice, like me.

Still, after a full read-through, I found I’d learned a great deal. It’s written in a style even I could understand, and there were clear, simple photographs to illustrate. I certainly have a better idea of what I should be buying and using on my own projects, and maybe now I won’t feel quite so out of my depth in the bodyshop suppliers. Sadly, the book can’t provide what I need the most to improve my bodywork: patience, and any degree of natural skill or talent….

A Practical Guide To Vehicle Refinishing, by Julian Woodstock, is published by CRC Press at Taylor & Francis ( in softback with a RRP around £29.99.