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"OUTSOURCING" FINISHING
Author
Post
matthewrust

Total Topics: 20
Total Posts: 102
I am about half way through the build. I have completed the body and the neck work began last night. I have been thinking about completing the build and having a professional builder do my pore filling and finishing. I am waiting for a call back from the guy who does Randy Lucas's finishes (his shop is in the town where I live) to see what he charges.

Two questions:
Who here would be willing to finish my guitar with Nitro or water based nitro?

What would you charge to do it?

I may still just finish it myself, but I like the idea of focusing on the building and assembly and having a professional finish it for me. Thanks!!!


Apr 08, 09 | 6:12 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I have been considering using Addam Stark....thats all he does, and I was given his name by Rick Turner. Here's his contact information:

Addam Stark Guitar Finishing
Santa Cruz,Ca
Shop 831.429.8113
Cell 831.588.6488
Email: six50mm@yahoo.com

http://addamstarkguitars.com/

Nice guy, not exactly cheap, but a pro finish wouldn't be even if you do it yourself. If you talk to him, tell him to get on this forum...he would have some great advice.

Apr 08, 09 | 1:08 pm
Adaboy

Total Topics: 64
Total Posts: 509
There is a guy named Joe White on the OLF that finishes guitars for other luthiers.

Apr 08, 09 | 5:43 pm
blues creek guitars Authorized Martin Repair Ctr

Total Topics: 52
Total Posts: 1011
there are 3 guys that I use. Dale Bartholemew of Easton , He was supervisor of Martins finishing dept. Paradox Mountain Strings Alex Gray. He just moved to Boston area and Fred Castner also a Martin finisher. All 3 are excellent finishers and will be able to help. Email me and I will get you the info to contact them
john hall

Apr 11, 09 | 4:38 pm
Fred Tellier

Total Topics: 17
Total Posts: 63
I have seen and played quite a few of the Joe White finished guitars and his work is flawless. If I was to send a guitar to anyone for finishing Joe would be the man.
Search for his finishes on OLF and see the results. Joe is also a real nice guy to be around. I first met him at the Ann Arbor OLF gathering and he donated a finish as a door prize.

Fred Tellier

Apr 13, 09 | 10:06 am
Dave_E

Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I'd consider this myself and not be to proud not to do it. If I ever do though, it will be for a guitar that just turns out perfect, not close, but perfect. Someday when I actually achieve that, I'd hate to mess it up with my finish job! :-)

Dave

Apr 14, 09 | 2:54 pm
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
Joe White does do great work, but he does not, nor does he plan to ever use nitro. (I asked him today after I won the free finish door prize today at the OLF gathering in Lake Zurich, Illinois ... so I guess I'll be settling for Poly on my 00028ML!).

Martin


Apr 18, 09 | 7:44 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I just got a new job in Lake Zurich! i need to visit OLF and start getting involved in some local gatherings!

Apr 18, 09 | 10:46 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Congrats Ken! What will you be doing?

Joe White has finished several guitars for guys over on the AGF; they have all been happy -- very happy.

Apr 19, 09 | 4:25 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
Thanks Bill! I have been selling capital equipment in the Plastics industry for 10 years.....ultrasonic welding, linear vibration welding, laser welding, very cool stuff, but 80% of our market is the automotive world. As you can imagine, sales have been dismal for 3 years, and I can no longer support my family with this job.

I found a position with a company that provides air pollution control systems for heavy industry. The company is small, a $13mm 16 person company who has grown steadily for the last 30 years. They have a 60% sales closure rate from all incoming phone calls, which is really the only form of sales they have ever had.....still quite impressive. They have grown most rapidly in the last two years, and are continuing to do so. They needed a new sales person to very quickly become the Sales manager, and truly become a nation wide presense. The Manager position was what attracted me the most, aside from their solid growth, and the niche they have that is steadily becoming a requirement of all heavy industry. I am very excited about the position, as well as the fact that I may be able to increase my build budget...a little bit.

Apr 19, 09 | 6:52 am
Fred Tellier

Total Topics: 17
Total Posts: 63
Joe'e Poly finishes certainly don't harm the sound of the guitars as they are as far as I can tell quite thin. The guitars I have seen and heard that he did are all great sounding and the builders who use Joe are very good so will not accept a less than perfect result.

If I didn't enjoy finishing Joe would be doing my guitars also.

Fred

Apr 19, 09 | 8:43 am
Jim_H

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 212
Since some of you are familiar with Joes work, perhaps you can answer a question for me.

I'm about to send my KMG OM off to him, and I wanted to double check something. I read a post on the OLF that indicated he pore-filled the top with epoxy. Just curious if anyone knows about this?

I'll definitely toss Joe and email before I finish the crate and ship the guitar, but I thought I ask here before I write him.

Thanks
Jim

Apr 19, 09 | 12:17 pm
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
Jim,
I think you'd be safest asking Joe himself about that. I've got a document where he describes his process, but you should communicate directly with him if you have any concerns.
Martin

Apr 19, 09 | 1:31 pm
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Jim - Here's the doc that Joe used to send out but like Martin said, contact him. Things might've changed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Thanks for your interest Bill. here is some info to get you started. 
This is a generic response that I have typed out to try to answer most of the general questions about finishing with Lawrence McFadden's polyester instrument finish.
 
I prefer the guitar "in the white" and sanded with 150 to 220. Try to keep your guitar away from any known oily or silicone impregnated surfaces. Those rubbery drawer liners and table mats are notorious for causing contamination in finishing. Stay away from Armorall or other tire dressings too. DO NOT Armorall your guitar case!!
 
I am pore filling with West System epoxy in most cases. Some guitars may not need such an aggressive fill and I may elect to use the Polyester finish itself as the pore filler. I do not put epoxy on the top, only on back/sides when it is used. I prefer to do my own pore filling so that I can assure that I have a "known" surface to apply my finish. If you prefer to do your own pore filling I cannot guarantee my finish on your instrument. I have also experienced "staining" from pore fillers other than West System. I am comfortable allowing pumiced tops to ensure that gaps are filled between the top and purflings.
 
The guitar is sealed with a catalyzed sealer called Rosewood Sealer/1704. This creates a bond between the raw wood (top) and also the epoxy pore filled back and sides and the polyester finish. Rosewood sealer also seals oils that are present in some woods and creates a stable surface to apply the Polyester finish.
 
I do any and all masking that need to be done including soundhole, fretboard and soundports.
 
The turnaround is 14 to 21 days and I will most likely be cutting this down to 10 to 14 days or better. Instruments may be dropped off personally or shipped to me. Shipping costs are not included in my finishing prices. DO NOT USE FOAM PACKING PEANUTS to ship your instrument. I can send you photos of other clients' shipping boxes for their bodies and necks.
 
The cost for a guitar body finish is $300.00. A neck is $100.00. If I am doing both the body and neck at the same time the cost is $350.00. You save $50.00!
Guitars with necks that cannot be removed for finishing are an extra $50.00 due to the extra time and difficulty involved in finishing this way. Classical/slotted head necks are an additional $50.00 again due to the extra time and difficulty in finishing the openings in the peg head. The neck can be all gloss, all satin or satin with gloss peg head front. The cost is the same.

Sunbursts and colors will be calculated on a "per design" basis as there is no general way to calculate this service because of the many options associated with bursts. Please forgive this impersonal reply but there are lots of details that have to be worked out based on your particular finishing needs but this will answer most of your questions. Thank you for your interest in my polyester instrument finish and I look forward to working with you soon! Joe White 574-370-5577 or 574-825-3359."

Apr 20, 09 | 4:19 am
matthewrust

Total Topics: 20
Total Posts: 102
So we're talking $400 plus shipping both ways for a slothead kit to be finished? That is a bit higher than I was planning on. Maybe I'll give Tru-Oil a shot...

Apr 20, 09 | 5:01 am
Bill Cory

Total Topics: 158
Total Posts: 3584
Professional-level finishing doesn't come cheap. I haven't used Joe's service yet, but possibly will on the scratch all-Koa design I'm working on now.

Apr 20, 09 | 5:05 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
It isn't cheap, but it aslo depends on what your intentions are. If you want an almost perfect instrument for yourself, its not cheap no matter what you do. I would suppose you will spend 50-250 on finish, supplies, equipment, and extras we never think about before all is said and done on your first one anyway, so getting it done by a pro is really not that much more expensive. Addam Stark quoted me at $300 total, so same ballpark.

If you are selling your instruments, you've just added that much more quality to them, and can either raise or justify your price as such.

Apr 20, 09 | 8:21 am
Jim_H

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 212
I emailed Joe about the use of Epoxy on the top.

First and foremost, Joe is a great guy, and is very patient with answering questions.

Here is the response I got from him Re: the prep of the top.

Joe White Said:
The tops are sanded (if needed) to remove any sand scratches. The tops are all different. If I feel that the soft growth between the grain lines can use some structural (cell) integrity then I may elect to use epoxy on the top as well. When and if I do, it is only one application and is so thin that immediately after applying it, the top is dry. So, very little epoxy (if any) is used.


I also got a similar email to the one Bill posted, but there was no mention of soundboards at all in mine, and there were a few other odds and ends that were different (nothing of note though).

The way I look at it, he is a pro and there is no way that I (with zero finishing experience) am going to question his judgement on something like this. I'm going to let him do his thing and see what comes of it. I should have it back in 2-4 weeks. I'll post pics here when I get it back.


Apr 20, 09 | 9:42 pm
Jim_H

Total Topics: 27
Total Posts: 212
One other thing that Joe mentioned to me. He is only doing two piece (Neck Off) guitars right now except under special circumstances. He said that doing neck on finishes is too time consuming for the most part.

Re: the cost/value thing. It's going to depend on the individual I think. There is no way I'm ever going to set myself up to spray nitro, or cure a UV finish, so that leaves me with the choice of something that is brushed on, or a oil or varnish finish. Since durability is one of my primary concerns, I'm pretty much left with a water based brush on application. I experimented with this, and it was just too difficult to get it right (too many choices for pore filling, cure times, staining, etc...).

When considering outsourcing, in addition to the costs of the work itself, you have to consider shipping and packing fees, insurance, and the risk of letting a shipping company handle the instrument.. unless of course you have a local finisher, which would definitely be a bonus.

I'm in Seattle, and Joe is in Indiana somewhere, so I'm building a small crate to ship the instrument in (Joe sent some pictures of examples previous customers have used). I haven't priced shipping this crate both ways yet, but it's going to be pricey! :)

Apr 20, 09 | 9:51 pm
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I'm not too far from Indiana, used to be part of my territory....ahh, he's in south bend area, 1.5 hours from me! Lets see, tank of gas, shipping guitar....I'd make the drive!

Apr 20, 09 | 11:41 pm
matthewrust

Total Topics: 20
Total Posts: 102
I am in Indiana! So that solves the shipping issue... I'll have to look into that...

Apr 21, 09 | 4:04 am
enalnitram (Martin Lane)

Total Topics: 47
Total Posts: 332
I'm pretty close to Joe, too (Grand Rapids, Mi). I'll be ready to have Joe do his thing to mine in about a month from now. I'm planning on driving my guitar to him, and also picking it up. I think he said he was in Middlebury, Indiana, which is straight down 131 for me.

On saturday he got to take a look at my unfinished body, which was cool. and we talked about what his various tints would do to the look of it. at the event I went to, there were several guitars he had done right there. they looked fabulous. he held up one which I really liked the look of -- it looked a bit like it had a slight aged tint to it, so I said, "can you finish mine like that one?" ... and he said it had been finished clear! so I guess that's what I'll do, also. (my spruce top isn't very "pale.")

I'm planning on having him do the body and peghead glossy. and the mahogany surfaces of the neck done satin.

Joe has tons of samples, so it'll be cool if you can visit him and take a look at those.

here's a pic of Joe White, Mark Swanson, and me, talking about his various finish options...


Apr 21, 09 | 8:13 am
Ken Hundley

Total Topics: 40
Total Posts: 2169
I have 8 sets of a pinkish spruce. I wasn't too happy at first with it, but the more I look at it, the better I like it. It's MINE! Some is bear claw too, which I have not worked with yet. I am really, for some reason, moving away from a lot of standards. I guess its because I can buy them.....I don't want to build them. Hope the finish works out Martin!

Apr 21, 09 | 4:17 pm



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