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My kids tend to be rough when playing in the living room and have banged up the metal mesh grille on our wooden radiator enclosure.

Does anyone have any tricks to bang out the dents? Or will it be easier to replace the metal mesh?

It looks something like this

alt text

found on this site.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The metal mesh can usually be purchased in sheets at home improvements stores, then cut to size. A sheet isn't very expensive (last I looked, under $30). So, it is probably easier to just replace as opposed to taking it out and trying to cleanly remove the dent.

More research shows they come in 3x3 sheets, and you'll want to ask for "decorative metal screening".

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It would probably be easier to replace the grille. To bash out the dents you might have to take out the existing grille which might cause more damage.

Assuming you get it out cleanly or can get good access without taking it out, place the grille face down on a firm but padded surface and then take a wooden or rubber headed mallet and hit the grille where it sticks up. Make sure that you keep the grille steady so it doesn't bounce. You want to transfer the energy into the grille and specifically into the deformed area. Start with fairly light taps and gradually increase the force until it starts to flatten. Too much and you'll cause a dent in the other direction.

Repeat until you're satisfied.

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This is one of those things that will probably be done several times during occupancy. Cheap autobody tools are available, a standard bumping hammer and shrinking dolly would be the best bet. Hammering against any soft surface will stretch the metal, hence the use of shot bags and wood blocks in the early years of coach building to make those swoopy fenders, the opposite of which you're trying to accomplish... –  Fiasco Labs May 3 at 15:01
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