It's finally finished - Kay restoration complete!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Tom Hutton, Apr 17, 2005.

  1. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    So the bits of Kay that I bought from fellow TBDB'er Mike Edelman have at last been put together and can be called a bass again!

    Here are some of Mike's before pictures - scary stuff...



    Mike also supplied an Englehardt neck, rosewood fingerboard and the original Kluson tuners.
    Mark Sonksen here in Chicago set the neck, attached the fingerboard etc., but I did all the stripping/finishing myself, resulting in this...





    I'm *very* pleased with the way it turned out, particularly when looking back at the "before" pics!

    Let me know what you all think, all opinions are welcome. I have tons of photos, and I shrunk these ones down so as not to b0rk anyone on dial-up, so if anyone wants to see more/bigger photos, let me know! Hopefully I will find the time over the next week or so to put them all up in a proper webpage...


  2. Klelewon

    Klelewon Supporting Member

    Mar 15, 2002
    Los Angeles
    WOW. That is Beautiful! How does it sound?

  3. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Beautiful indeed! Can you describe your finishing process for us? What did you use?
  4. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    Very nice job. I like the look of the rosewood FB.
  5. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Man - I'd be pleased too! I actually dropped by Mike's to look at that bass, and wound up passing due to time constraints... Given what he was asking for it, I coulda woulda shoulda....

    Again, excellent job. That bass looks great. :cool:
  6. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    Thanks! To my untrained ear it sounds pretty good - better than my last bass anyway...

    I finished it, as per Arnold Schnitzer's suggestions in one of the finishing threads on here, with Waterlox, tinted with oil paints. First, a few coats of plain Waterlox, then 1 coat tinted with Burnt Umber, 1 with Burnt Umber/Alizarin Crimson, then 1 with Burnt Umber/Lamp Black. I then put a few more protective coats of Waterlox.

    I also like the rosewood fb - I have to take the bass back to Mark Sonksen for a bit more setup work, and he'll finish the fb/neck with linseed oil. The tailpiece kinda spoils it though - it's some old painted hardwood one Mark had lying around - when I get some cash, I'll probably replace it with a decent rosewood one to match the fb.

    I guess I was pretty lucky - the fact that it looks half decent is much more to do with the wood than any skill on my part - under all that auto body primer cr*p it was covered with, it could have been driftwood for all I could tell!

    Thanks for the info you gave me Brent - although I didn't glaze the bass in the end, your "cooking with oil" page was very helpful.
  7. That's what I call a restoration. Beautiful job! I've always thought Kay used better grade veneers than most laminates and this really shows it off. Those photos are well done also. You've made yourself a classic showpiece from a "salvage" instrument. Congratulations!!!!! :)
  8. Beautiful job Tom! Hard to believe it's the same bass from the before/aft pics! Congrats!
  9. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    What Waterlox finish did you use, exactly? Looking at their website, they have tung-oil as well as urethane based finishes. Just wondering, it's nice. :cool:
  10. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Very nice! That is definately one of the most stunning Kay's I've seen so far in my adventure.
  11. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Wow! I knew the veneers were good, but that's gorgeous! I'm glad it came out so nicely.

    When I got the bass, some of you may recall, it had two coats of purple metalflake lacquer and a poorly scarfed neck joint that had failed again. What a transformation!

    Fantastic work, Tom.
  12. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    And a PS to Brent: Wait until I show these pics to our friend Mr. Wilson! ;-)
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Man, that looks incredible...good job!
  14. JTGale


    Oct 26, 2004
    Hummelstown, PA
    Very nice, indeed! Although I am a big fan of ebony fingerboards, that rosewood one just looks "right." And a matching tailpiece in the future? That will look even more smokin! Good job! :D
  15. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
  16. A wonderful job, congrats! It makes me believe there is certainly a market out there for old, sick and abused instruments - so guys like Tom can bring 'em back to health. I'm inspired!
  17. Nice job!! That is a nice transparent finish. I assume you used the Gym Floor Finish? What brand of oil colors did you use?
  18. Tom Hutton

    Tom Hutton

    Nov 22, 2004
    The Waterlox I used was simply called "Original Sealer/Finish" - it's one of the tung oil based varnishes, although the can says it also contains linseed oil. As for oil paints, they were all Rembrandt, except Alizarin Crimson, which IIRC was Windsor & Newton.

    There are a few spots where I messed up the colour a bit (ie just below the button), but nothing major - and it's all good experience in case my better judgement fails again and I decide to restore another bass :)

    I had planned on making the colour a little darker, but I thought that might make the rosewood fb stick out a bit, and I didn't want to dye it, as it's a nice piece of wood.

    Anyway, it all turned out pretty well, so thanks again to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and experience to this forum, I could never have done it without you :D

    [edit] I just realised that I forgot to mention this, so in case anyone is interested, the bass is an M4 Maestro from 1937, serial number 1187 [/edit]
  19. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Are you *sure* that's the same instrument?
    Man, that came out GREAT!
  20. I have not seen a zillion basses in my time, but I can't say I've seen a nicer looking plywood. And especially considering the age, the appearance is really astonishing. Those things are usually so beat up. Did you have a lot of damage to repair/conceal, or was the outer ply in pretty good shape? And I'm guessing that the "purfling" is painted? Looks great in any case.

    Could you post a link to the thread from which you gleaned all of the refinishing advice? Thanks!