Possible Nitro finish solution for the hobbiest/builder

Discussion in 'Builder's & Retailer's Forum' started by Terry McInturff, May 3, 2008.

  1. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Hello all,

    I am playing with the idea of offerring my personal services as a finisher for your guitar project. I do not know if I will decide to offer this, as a number of things need to be considered at my end; just putting this out there in order to see what the potential might be.

    Your input will be greatly appreciated!

    It occurs to me that it could be feasable to take a raw-wood guitar from you that was mostly sanded to my specs, and for me to then sand it to my specs, and to complete the finish from there using the very finish schedule that I researched and perfected for the TCM Carolina and other modern TCM guitars.

    This is a nitro finish that differs in important ways from, and is superior to, the nitro finish that I used from 1996-2006.

    I would ONLY offer nitro-cellulose lacquer finishes. No catylised finishes of any sort. Not that there is anything wrong with those finishes...there is not. I am an expert at nitro and so I want to offer my expertise.

    I have a completely sealed automotive-style spray booth (I could handle one Jaquar XJ-6 at a time but I only spray guitars) with multi-filtered clean air through-put, dry air to the spray gun (filtered seven times) and of course great lighting, explosion-proof everything, and state-of-the-art automatic fire-suppression. But I guess that is to be expected from any truly pro guitar finisher.

    Experienced builders know that the final stages of the build process can make/break the ultimate quality. Maybe this is where I can be of help...in the final sanding stage, and in the complete finishing stage.

    At this early point in my thinking, I'd only want to be responsible for the final sanding and finishwork. This way, I could fit the "outside project" in here-and-there right into the finishing schedule of the TCM guitars.

    Your project would get the very same attention-to-detail, finishwise, that my own work gets in every way. I hate to tout my quality as it seems so egotistical to do so. I shall have to let my reputation and history speak for itself, for better or for worse. But I will "stick my neck out" and say...I do know my way around a nitrocellulose lacquer guitar finish.

    I would want to recieve the guitar in a very close to finish-ready state. I would provide you with very easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions as to how to best prep the guitar before it is sent to me.

    As for pricing, I am too early in my thinking at this time to provide any hard data...and indeed, the actual pricing would depend upon too many things to just go ahead and post about. You will probably find my pricing being in concert with the quality of service and especially quality of finish.

    This means many hundreds-of-dollars for Terry McInturff to personally do the final sanding and spraying on your guitar. I do not know if this will be of value to any of you. It may be to a small number of folks, I do not know. I would not be the most economical solution. It all has to do with the value that you place upon your project.

    I am best at doing transparent and semi-transparent work, with all that implies. I am also available for the ocassional sparkle finish and classic gold-top stuff. I'll offer the entire extent of my knowledge and ability as regards the various figured maple staining effects that some folks say that I helped to pioneer.

    I would offer "period-correct" finishes for the builders of Loar-era mandolin/guitar products. In addition to those Spirit Varnish finishes I would also offer genuine French Polish for those who desire the delicate beauty and outstanding tone that this finish is known for. These things are mixed by hand from raw elements here at TCM. The real stuff is, unfortunately, not available in a bottle.

    Hand-stained on the wood 'bursts ala the Loar era are available. These in particular took me many years to get pretty good at; I do not think that I will ever tire of trying to better myself at those, since the originals appeal to me so highly.

    Every one of those was a separate work of art....and the best of them was simply....the best. I can only imagine how those craftsmen felt when they were told to "hang up your brushes, we are spraying colored lacquer now". Hand stained sunburst finishes are a certain look that is deeper and somehow more magical, IMO. A lost art.

    Please comment on your thoughts regarding the Llyod Loar finishes on the Gibson mandolin family instruments of that period.

    I will leave exact repro's of the classic opaque Fender solid colors, fancy opaque "flame-or-biker tank", and all other cool finishes to others whom have a far better mind for such things. I have a true admiration and love for such but have never developed my skills along those lines. Mary Kaye? I will do it. Sonic Blue? Fiesta Red? Paisley? Not my bag. I love it, can do it, but I just do not want to.

    I am into offerring the enhanced wood look. It's my thing.

    I do not know if my offerring of the ocassional custom finish service will be viewed as any sort of opportunity by anyone at all. But I find the finish process to be incredibly satisfying and rewarding, even after having sprayed so many guitars over a 31 year career.

    Note: I do not want to offer "refinishing".....only virgin guitar wood, thank you! :)

    Just testing the waters. Is there any level of interest in this?
    I am also available on a consultancy basis regarding benchwork/finishing techniques for the production minded builder.

    As I am most assuredly advertising a potential service, this may qualify as "spam"...I am wary of doing that. Moderators...let me know. I put it here because I thought that the topic would be of at least some interest...and hopefully would stimulate some finish-oriented discussion, which I personally would welcome on this thread. I thought that this post might go un-noticed elsewhere. Does the fact that I am a one man shop keep me out of the "Manufacturer's" area? I put it here at the Small Builder's area in hopes that it belongs here.
    Still learning! :)
     
  2. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Sounds intriguing.
     
  3. lifeson1

    lifeson1 Supporting Member

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    Terry,
    Just e-mailed you!
     
  4. martyncrew

    martyncrew Gold Supporting Member

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    I think that this would be a useful service and would guess that $350-450 would be the price range that I'd be comfortable with for a really pro job. I live in the Bay Area and local prices for finishing a paint ready body are $200-300 for a semi-pro job and $300+ for pro. I would say that Terry's work would command a 20-30% premium over these rates.
     
  5. george4908

    george4908 Member

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    I can see there being a market for those who want to put together their ultimate part-o-caster guitar, and want the finish work to be top notch. That may or may not be the kind of guitar you had in mind, but I'm guessing that most of the people looking for finish work are building bolt-on Fender-style, not setneck Gibson-style.
     
  6. doublee

    doublee Member

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    I would love to hear more, I am putting together a USAG maple neck and body, solid color. I do not need a mirror finish, just a pro job. let me know,
     
  7. newking70

    newking70 Member

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  8. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Many thanks to those of who have expressed an interest in working with me.

    I would be able to work with you on set-neck or bolt-on style guitars. Acoustic guitars as well.

    In all cases, I will need to speak with you prior to moving forward. If you are interested in hearing more regarding your particular project, please call me at 919-718-6011 during normal working hours Eastern Time. You may well be asked to leave a message; please do so, and include your name, number, and a time when you can be reached; you will want to reserve 15 minutes or more for the conversation.

    You can also email me at tcmzodiac@yahoo.com and leave me the same information; I will call you at my earliest opportunity.

    Many thanks again,
    Terry
     
  9. Guitarpentry

    Guitarpentry Member

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    Just found this thread. As a weekend/hobby builder myself, I'd be totally interested in a service like this.....I have been, rather. Having built about 5 electric basses/gtrs from scratch, I find it totally frustrating when you take hours upon hours to finely sand the unfinished product totally smooth for finishing, ONLY to find that you pretty much SUCK at finishing. And I'm never happy with the final product!
    As you stated, the finish makes or breaks all those hours you put into it.
    I've had the splendid opportunity to use a 'professional' spray booth for one bass, and sprayed nitro on it. It was the most fantastic experience, but the man has since moved and taken his booth with him! :FM
    Here's my current project, and after painful amounts of Tru-oil, I'm so NOT happy with the result....YET. At this stage, it's just had a couple coats of danish oil first.....maybe I shoulda left it that way or gotten in touch with you!
    I'm definitely interested in this service on future builds. I'll be in touch...it just takes me forever to build one as I am full-time student and have a day job.
    [​IMG]
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  10. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

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    This is very intriguing Terry. Keep us posted.
     
  11. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    5 month check-in: Terry, did you ever get taken up on your finishing offer and if yes, did it work out satisfactorily for all concerned?
     
  12. PLAYLOUD

    PLAYLOUD Member

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    email sent
     

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