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The Finishing Conundrum - 06-22-2019, 05:51 AM

I got interested in building cues because I love pool and I love wood. After joining this site in 2011 I read this forum and it's archives for countless hours. In 2013 I spent a couple of hours at my friend Sheldon Lebow's place where he showed me his shop and a quick overview of what he had going on. It was the coolest thing ever!
Eventually, I decided to give it a shot.

So here I am a half a dozen years in and tens of thousands of dollars spent on my hobby, which fortunately I can afford. And I'm coming to the realization that I simply do not enjoy the finishing part of it. I have built a lot of cues using Chris' epoxy finish and have it down pretty well really. It takes me a long time but they come out good. But I loath doing it. Have dabbled in some other materials but not enough to perfect anything.

A couple of years ago I posted a thread here about having sent a cue to Scot Sherbine to finish for me and took some heat for it and got some good feedback too.

But lately I've come to the conclusion that there is no equal to automotive clear coat.

I had 6 cues completely finished sitting there staring me down for a month with no finish on them. I finished one with water base because it was a gift for my brother and a good tester. Finished another with epoxy as usual and it came out good. And I sent the other 4 to Pennsylvania and they came back looking stunning in very short order.

I am now seriously considering giving up on finishing my cues and having Scot do them all for me. He's younger than I so it could very well be a lifetime arrangement so to speak. I know I could learn to shoot clear coat but it would require a lot more time and expense to do it safely. And I am out of space completly at my shop. And the truth is I still think I would not enjoy the process. And building cues is a hobby for me that I started doing because I enjoy it. Most of it that is.

So I am weighing the pros and cons. The upside is obvious. I get the best finish to highlight my other work and my cues will have a durable beautiful finish and I don't have to do it. The cons? It almost doubles the cost of each cue and then there's my ego. But I'm not in it for the money anyway. I make more money every day at my auto repair shop than I could ever do building cues.

Proficient must enjoy doing this work as they offer it to the public. Besides I suspect Scot has employees doing the work anyway. I haven't asked but I suspect that's how it is. How is that different than me hiring someone on site? After all my auto tech's do the vast majority of the actual wrenching at my shop. Is it different?

I'm just afraid that if I continue stubbornly insisting on doing what isn't fun for me that I may just quit altogether. And I don't want to. The design and construction is still relaxing and rewarding. I also have had almost as much satisfaction building my CNC machines and jigs and such as the cues themselves. Just got my first CNC router setup for inlays and ring billets and I'm like a kid in a candystore with it.

This is my conundrum.

Comments?

Thanks,

JC


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06-22-2019, 08:15 AM

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06-22-2019, 08:21 AM

Try solarez? It changed my outlook on finishing.

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06-22-2019, 12:47 PM

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Originally Posted by skipthorp View Post
Try solarez? It changed my outlook on finishing.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
I did try it. It smells like bondo and it' moves through the building fast and lingers long. Can't be good.

Sometimes I wish I smoked cigarettes just so all this other stuff wouldn't matter.

Thanks,

JC


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06-22-2019, 01:20 PM

I say buy a shed and convert that as your spray booth.

20 cues a year? Some $2K in outsourced finishing ?
Shipping is expensive nowadays too. Never mind the risk.

If you stick with epoxy coat, you could make a heat box with spinners.


  
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06-22-2019, 02:09 PM

I see your thinking, but your setting yourself in a potentially voulnerable situation and you loose full controll over your work. Take a deep breath, plow through as much source material you can find and spend the the money buying quality tools, epoxy and clearcoat, sanding pads and cutting/buffing compounds and spend a few days learning your products and do some mock up pieces until you get the hang of it.



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06-22-2019, 02:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kim Bye View Post
I see your thinking, but your setting yourself in a potentially voulnerable situation and you loose full controll over your work. Take a deep breath, plow through as much source material you can find and spend the the money buying quality tools, epoxy and clearcoat, sanding pads and cutting/buffing compounds and spend a few days learning your products and do some mock up pieces until you get the hang of it.
I have the hang of the epoxy finish and they come out good I just don't enjoy doing it. That's what it's about more than anything. I just don't like doing it.

And the epoxy isn't as hard of a finish as auto clear coat.

I'm afraid if I take too many deep breaths of the good stuff it will hurt my health irreparably

JC.


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06-22-2019, 02:29 PM

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Originally Posted by JC View Post
I have the hang of the epoxy finish and they come out good I just don't enjoy doing it. That's what it's about more than anything. I just don't like doing it.

And the epoxy isn't as hard of a finish as auto clear coat.

I'm afraid if I take too many deep breaths of the good stuff it will hurt my health irreparably

JC.
Yeah safety first!
I pretty much time my spraying so it's the last thing I do that day. I put on gloves and a full face 3M mask, spray and leave the shop, when I'm back the next day I air out the shop properly before I start working. A spray booth is obviously better, but I havent had the time to build one yet.



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06-22-2019, 02:50 PM

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Originally Posted by Kim Bye View Post
Yeah safety first!
I pretty much time my spraying so it's the last thing I do that day. I put on gloves and a full face 3M mask, spray and leave the shop, when I'm back the next day I air out the shop properly before I start working. A spray booth is obviously better, but I havent had the time to build one yet.
Drop everything and make your booth.
Make one on wheels if you have to.
Take them outside after spraying.

Fiberglass filter plus carbon filter in front of an explosion proof fan or TWO.
Then ANOTHER fan blowing the exhaust from those two fans .


An old unplugged fridge makes for a good storage of drying cues.
Outside in the shade would be ok.


  
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06-22-2019, 05:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JC View Post
I have the hang of the epoxy finish and they come out good I just don't enjoy doing it. That's what it's about more than anything. I just don't like doing it.

And the epoxy isn't as hard of a finish as auto clear coat.

I'm afraid if I take too many deep breaths of the good stuff it will hurt my health irreparably

JC.
All epoxies are not created equal. Not knowing your procedure is hard to recommend ways of avoiding whatever you dislike. Preparation is king when it comes to finishing no matter what you are using. Automotive clears have a habit of releasing elements as they dry. Heck, I'm an old guy, I remember when Imron was best, used on airplanes, what could be better and safe. Well, well, guess what, nasty smelling stuff, toxic as hell, most are dead.

Do we really need automotive clear for finishing pool cues. Cars spend their lifetimes outside, pool cues sleep safely in their cases. Epoxy finishes are hard enough for pool cues. Unless, you can set up a great spraying booth and drying system that's safe best to leave it alone.

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06-23-2019, 03:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JC View Post
I got interested in building cues because I love pool and I love wood. After joining this site in 2011 I read this forum and it's archives for countless hours. In 2013 I spent a couple of hours at my friend Sheldon Lebow's place where he showed me his shop and a quick overview of what he had going on. It was the coolest thing ever!
Eventually, I decided to give it a shot.

So here I am a half a dozen years in and tens of thousands of dollars spent on my hobby, which fortunately I can afford. And I'm coming to the realization that I simply do not enjoy the finishing part of it. I have built a lot of cues using Chris' epoxy finish and have it down pretty well really. It takes me a long time but they come out good. But I loath doing it. Have dabbled in some other materials but not enough to perfect anything.

A couple of years ago I posted a thread here about having sent a cue to Scot Sherbine to finish for me and took some heat for it and got some good feedback too.

But lately I've come to the conclusion that there is no equal to automotive clear coat.

I had 6 cues completely finished sitting there staring me down for a month with no finish on them. I finished one with water base because it was a gift for my brother and a good tester. Finished another with epoxy as usual and it came out good. And I sent the other 4 to Pennsylvania and they came back looking stunning in very short order.

I am now seriously considering giving up on finishing my cues and having Scot do them all for me. He's younger than I so it could very well be a lifetime arrangement so to speak. I know I could learn to shoot clear coat but it would require a lot more time and expense to do it safely. And I am out of space completly at my shop. And the truth is I still think I would not enjoy the process. And building cues is a hobby for me that I started doing because I enjoy it. Most of it that is.

So I am weighing the pros and cons. The upside is obvious. I get the best finish to highlight my other work and my cues will have a durable beautiful finish and I don't have to do it. The cons? It almost doubles the cost of each cue and then there's my ego. But I'm not in it for the money anyway. I make more money every day at my auto repair shop than I could ever do building cues.

Proficient must enjoy doing this work as they offer it to the public. Besides I suspect Scot has employees doing the work anyway. I haven't asked but I suspect that's how it is. How is that different than me hiring someone on site? After all my auto tech's do the vast majority of the actual wrenching at my shop. Is it different?

I'm just afraid that if I continue stubbornly insisting on doing what isn't fun for me that I may just quit altogether. And I don't want to. The design and construction is still relaxing and rewarding. I also have had almost as much satisfaction building my CNC machines and jigs and such as the cues themselves. Just got my first CNC router setup for inlays and ring billets and I'm like a kid in a candystore with it.

This is my conundrum.

Comments?

Thanks,

JC

Hi John
Only you, can really decide what's best for you and your cues. Chances are pretty good that the one's judging your decisions are not going to be your customers anyway. Each cue of yours that's finished and delivered, closes it's own chapter. Which ever route you choose, you have to accept it. If you choose to have someone else do it, it would help if you had some understanding of how they do it because sooner or later, you might have to work on it.


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06-23-2019, 03:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyInCali View Post
Drop everything and make your booth.
Make one on wheels if you have to.
Take them outside after spraying.

Fiberglass filter plus carbon filter in front of an explosion proof fan or TWO.
Then ANOTHER fan blowing the exhaust from those two fans .


An old unplugged fridge makes for a good storage of drying cues.
Outside in the shade would be ok.
Thanks Joey, it`s all comming together now in my new shop, the fridge trick was a neat idea



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06-23-2019, 04:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyInCali View Post
Drop everything and make your booth.
Make one on wheels if you have to.
Take them outside after spraying.

Fiberglass filter plus carbon filter in front of an explosion proof fan or TWO.
Then ANOTHER fan blowing the exhaust from those two fans .


An old unplugged fridge makes for a good storage of drying cues.
Outside in the shade would be ok.
Fridge is a good idea but shouldn't it have vents. Most finishes utilize air, heat and humidity.


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06-23-2019, 07:43 AM

As a sometime cue buyer, I really don't care who does the finish work if it turns out nice. As long as you are doing quality control, and willing to stand behind the work it doesn't make much difference.

If you are telling customers you make everything, start to finish, that would be a issue in my opinion. If you are transparent about it, doubt many people would care.

just .02 from a potential customer, not a cuemaker.


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06-23-2019, 08:12 AM

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Originally Posted by JC View Post
I just don't enjoy doing it. That's what it's about more than anything. I just don't like doing it.


JC.
A hobby is all about enjoyment. If sending the cues out for finish makes you happy, go for it.

Guess I am luck. I enjoy seeing the cue get it's first coat of finish. Joint protectors are the thing I hate. If I had to make them. I would give up playing cue maker.

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