Ivan Reyes took his first collision repair class in 2018 during his freshman year at Kingwood Park High School in Kingwood, TX. Reyes said he wanted a different perspective on the automotive industry and believed that instructor Jeff Wilson’s course would offer that.
“I feel collision repair is a form of art because it transforms something damaged back to looking new again,” he explained. “I’ve always had a love for art, and I feel that collision repair also requires the same amount of patience, technique and the right ‘eyes’ for detail.”
Wilson said Reyes is a perfectionist on the non-structural side of the collision industry, while most of his students are more drawn to painting.
“He has a natural talent for forming metal back into shape and making it look new again,” Wilson added.
Reyes recalls the first time he was given a damaged piece of sheet metal in class.
“Without hesitation I began to fix it and finished within five minutes,” he said. “It was in that moment when I looked around the room and saw my peers still trying to figure things out, I discovered my talent.”
Reyes described the process of metal forming as pretty straight forward.
“First you get your palm dolly and a hammer, typically one with a flat head, you place the palm dolly behind the metal, apply pressure, and lightly tap the hammer directly behind the metal while the palm dolly is supporting the process,” he explained. “With caution, you smoothly start making circles around the direct damage until it has gone flush.”
Reyes said he finds this practice appealing because it takes him to a “stress-free zone.”
“It’s just me and the metal, and all I can focus on is right in front of me,” he added. “It feels natural and simple to me.”
Reyes said his favorite project so far was working on an SUV trunk door with extensive damage.