How long should a urethane coat take in a shop?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bopeuph, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Author of "Soul Fingers." I'm the Duck Dunn expert.
    *Note: I've already posted this in the repair forum, but figured I should post it here as well for visibility. If there's a problem, my apologies to the mods.

    I'm getting pretty fed up.

    First of all, let me state that I trust the shop owner, and have been going in and out of his shop for the last 20 years. I don't think he's trying to pull a fast one on me.

    About three years ago, I wanted a P-Bass. Picked up a brand new Squier in a pawn shop for $100. Then I wanted to mod it out--I bought a set of Quarter Pounders, Hipshot-A bridge, tortoise shell pickguard, thumb bar, bridge and pickup covers, the works.

    I decided after having all these parts that it would be better to have the local repair guy do it; the pickguard needed to be routed a bit because I couldn't find the exact right fit, I couldn't solder, and didn't trust myself installing the covers.

    Since I was hurting for bread, I told him not to rush, as it will be rare that I get a job that people would rather me do on my jazz bass or my upright. Took him a year.

    I should have learned my lesson with that, but as it came out, I asked him if he could leave it in for one more job. I wanted a urethane coat on the neck so it felt more like my Geddy Lee. I didn't like the feeling of bare wood on my hands.

    That was two years ago. I live about 50 miles from there now, so I asked him a few weeks ago to have it ready around Christmas, since I'll be visiting then and am getting a lot of Motown gigs in January.

    I made up the Motown thing, but the very next day after I told him that, I got a desperate call to do some Motown concerts last week. I did them on the Geddy, and did fine, and the bandleader wants to use me on more of the Motown shows. I've just been fasttracked to his #2 bassist.

    I don't want to be a pest, but three years in the shop is too long. Would it be too much to call him tomorrow and ask to have the bass ready by Friday? He told me a few months ago that there's already a coat on it, and the bass is in pieces, so I assume he's already started.

    He's already apologized for the time and told me the neck job is going to be done at no charge, so I've got that going for me.

    TL;DR: How long should a urethane neck job take in a busy shop from start to finish? Could I expect it in a few days?
  2. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012

    Presuming they're going to do multiple coats and sand it down between coats, it would take several days -- and quite possibly a week or two, depending on humidity -- for an extremely un-busy shop from start to finish. Like, if you were their only customer, it would still take 7-10 days...because each coat needs to dry thoroughly, and that takes time.
  3. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I can tell that you were just trying to be patient and reasonable by taking a "get to it when you can" approach when you dropped it off, but having worked in a number of different shops in many different industries, once your project gets stuck into the "get around to it" pile, that is where it will stay.
    bassmeknik likes this.
  4. Man, I'd ask him to put it back together - that's crazy. If the shop is set up for it, spray a neck even with a cure time between coats is 15 minutes per day for a few days. 4 bolts to pull the neck off, and a few more to pull the tuners. Re-assembly and restringing is 20-30 minutes tops.

    I hate hearing about really simple jobs taking a year - there's no excuse for that except the shop owner being lazy.

    You literally could have bought the stuff in a spray can and learned how to coat the neck yourself in less than a week's time for $5 in materials.

    Good luck.
    Baird6869 likes this.
  5. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Do you have any idea how long it takes to breed and raise enough of them to make a urethane coat? ;)
  6. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Author of "Soul Fingers." I'm the Duck Dunn expert.
    Yeah, I think this is what I'm going to do. I called him first at the beginning of the month, and then again last week. I'm just going to tell him that I really need the bass for the gigs coming up in the new year, and want to pick it up on Friday.

    Yeah, I feel like he is lazy. This is the second time he's taken a lot longer to do a simple job. It took nearly a year to install pickups in my Epiphone.

    Lesson learned. From now on, I'm going to say something along the lines of "no rush, but I absolutely need it by x date when I'm supposed to have it." Also, I live next to Guitar Factory now, and there's no reason I shouldn't be calling those guys from now on.

    Well, maybe I shouldn't have asked for the cage free stuff, then.
  7. I suck at soldering. Really, I tried for over ten years and finally I gave up - but even at my worst, installing pickups took me an hour (its a 5-10 minute job).

    If you're next to Guitar Factory, by all means take it there! Good to hear they're still around. I swung by there in the 90's and walked in and they gave me a tour. Real nice guys (if its the same people) - and I was basically just a broke college kid, not a high potential sale.
  8. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Author of "Soul Fingers." I'm the Duck Dunn expert.
    It is. Great guys, and they always have time to answer questions on DIY jobs I have. Doug has even said he wished he had time to help me with a job because he liked the idea. Best guys for a setup, too: $20 plus strings, and it's done while you wait.
  9. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Not sure how long it takes, but I'm pretty sure it's less than three years. ;-)
  10. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    For a busy shop, assuming he is squeezing you in between other customers, and assuming multiple coats of poly with buffing at the end, less than 2 weeks allowing for proper curing time.
  11. SneakyT

    SneakyT Commercial User

    Dec 5, 2005
    Depends on the urethane used. Standard poly will take at least a couple of weeks, a high end 2 part 2K urethane about a week or less. Moisture can be a huge factor in dry times also.
  12. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Seems like telling this guy "no rush" was a big mistake. Insist that he commits to a completion date when you give him the job, then hold him to it. At this point, just call him back and say "I need my bass completed by XX date." He should be able to give you a straight yes or no answer. If he can't commit (or if he blows the deadline), I'd start looking for another tech. You don't need to be apologetic or make excuses -- you are a paying customer.
  13. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    And you keep giving him work?
    bopeuph and Jeff Scott like this.
  14. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Author of "Soul Fingers." I'm the Duck Dunn expert.
    This is the last time. Some local guys have a feeling that he's not going to last much longer, anyway. He just moved into a smaller shop...I'm hoping for a massive sale soon. But since I now live next to Guitar Factory, I'm going to start using them.
  15. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Author of "Soul Fingers." I'm the Duck Dunn expert.
    Yeah, I just did that. Told him I want it by Saturday, because I'm doing a show with the Marvelettes next week (actually, it's in January, but whatever it takes to light a fire under his ass now).

    He told me that because he moved into his new shop, he had someone holding some overflow in a warehouse for him. Said the neck will be finished by the weekend because it's in the shop, but the body is in the warehouse...and wouldn't you know, the guy who has the key just got in a motorcycle accident. He's going to "try." He's lost any repair jobs from me, period. Sucks, too, since I've known him and used his shop since I was a kid.
  16. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    To fully cure, you are somewhat correct. I believe cure time at 70 deg F with a RH of no greater than 50% for oil based poly is 30 days, lower temps or higher RH levels and jump that number up...

    that is to FULLY CURE the urethane though. There is a huge difference between dry and cure...

    FWIW, Even fully cured, the best urethanes feel sticky to me. I VERY much prefer a smoothed and oiled finish versus urethane any day! Feels better to me anyway.
  17. bopeuph


    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Author of "Soul Fingers." I'm the Duck Dunn expert.
    I've heard people say that about urethane finishes, but my Geddy Lee feels great. I got it used, and it was probably very well broken into. I'm guessing that does make a difference.
  18. Shabz

    Shabz Guest

    Jun 20, 2014
    It's pretty obvious work only gets done on your jobs as some kind of freak occurrence

    Made me chuckle with the thought of immediately handing back my bass to the guy who just took a year to install some pickups
  19. Big Hoss

    Big Hoss Up note, down note, blue note, brown note...

    A LOT depends on the quality of the urethane itself, and how the prep was done... My Ibanez basses both are worn in on the backs of the necks, so that the urethane is off of the thickest part where my thumb rests... The years of hand oils and sliding motion have worn them butttery smooth... Not something I would expect any urethane of any sort to match...

    I'm not sure about the Geddy Lee Signature Jazz basses, but I know Geddy had the urethane stripped off his own 72 Jazz neck and oiled it up. There was an interview with him a couple of years back where he was talking about having that done...

    I must confess to preferring oiled finishes anyway, as a woodworker not just as a bass player. Traditional oil / wax finishes just feel right to me. Urethane finishes much more so than lacquers, feel like plastic to me, I just don't care for the stuff... Like so much else in this pursuit, YMMV and a LOT depends on personal tastes...

    I hope you can get things settled with this guy soon... And I am sorry you are having such a hard time with getting your instrument completed... May the extra time have been worth it in quality!
  20. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Is the guy's last name Serio, perchance?