Who knew a wood filler wood bring me into contact with some of the most interesting, talented and passionate humans out there. One such person is Sylvan Wells. He is a luthier by calling and an accidental attorney. He is also driven to help others by sharing his talent and knowledge. Sylvan has been willing to think out of the box and was the first Luthier to try our Clear GoodFilla. It is not easy to find an expert that is willing to try something new. I'm not sure why this is so, but I liken it to my teenage expert self where I knew everything (just ask my parents). Therefore there was no need or room to learn anything else. Sylvan immediately called me with the positive results he got. He also invited me to my first Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans Symposium where he generously asked me if I'd like to introduce the Clear Filla to one of his classes. As a testament to Sylvan's versatility, he also helped refinish the trim pieces from his friend's Rolls Royce. (see pics) He stripped the badly weathered wood, filled them with Clear GoodFilla, and finished them with spar varnish. I bet his friend is thrilled, and I'm sure there are not many Rolls Royce cars trimmed by a luthier's touch.
I am happy to announce the end of field testing, and therefore the eminent appearance of two new products. GoodFilla CLEAR Grain Filler and GoodFilla CLEAR Stain and Paint base. Both are the result of some brilliant chemistry and out of the box thinking by some passionate coatings experts. We have designed the labels, and are looking for feedback. Sometimes we miss the obvious by being too close and involved with the process. Please post your suggestions via the comments tab.
My daughter is a budding classical guitarist. She started when she was seven, and she just turned ten. Her growth precipitated the need for a new guitar. Her teacher volunteered one that was no longer needed by one of his former students. However, while deeply discounted, it needed repair. So I took the opportunity to visit renowned Luthier and Classical guitarist, Richard Brune (pronounced Brew-nay) Richard and his son Marshall work out of their shop in Evanston. The workshop is drenched in guitar parts and tools. As I stood in wide-eyed wonder, I asked questions that I hoped didn't come off as inane. I also took the opportunity to drop off some GoodFilla samples. The damaged guitar stayed for repair, and I left. It turns out that a new guitar was slightly more expensive than the repair, so I called, and Marshall graciously allowed me to come and pick up the damaged guitar. I took the return opportunity to get feedback from Richard and Marshall regarding the use of GoodFilla as a grain filler on their beautiful guitars. It turns out, they had put the GoodFilla through its paces, and they liked it. Richard was happy that it dried quickly, and was easy to sand. He was also impressed with the GoodFilla's ability to accept pigment. He had just finished a stunning guitar he chose to make as a tribute to the recently deceased classical guitar player, Paco De Lucia. Richard proudly displays the guitar below. Marshall has added the GoodFilla to his unique french polishing technique.
I often take my children to my shop, but the visit is usually short lived. The reason, nothing kid friendly to do there. On our last visit, I broke out Gork's GoodFilla, some plywood boards, some putty knives, and multiple colors of universal colorants. I seated them around one of the workbenches, and let them create to their hearts content.
Testing lab produced samples of GoodFilla.
I am naive.
This self awareness has been forced upon me in the process of bringing my new water based wood filler to the market. I thought that the manufacturing process would be a slam dunk.
Here is how it was listed in the planning stages:
1) Give formula to lab
2) Lab makes formula
3) Lab gives formula to me for approval
4) Come up with a brand "Gork's GoodFilla"
5) Test the name, it's received well
6) Test the new filler in the shop, it works.
7) Publicize that I have the best water-based wood filler in the world
8) Send samples out to show how great our wood filler is
9) Get inundated with requests and purchase orders
10) Ship the world's best wood filler from the factory in Tinley Park, Illinois.
Adding pigment to see depth of color saturation. Looks great.
Steps 1 through 8 went flawlessly.
Here, so far, is the reality based list.
9) Tell sample recipients to toss their samples because it appears the pre-production product's shelf life is not long enough. (I did get an email telling me that one of my prospective customers tested it anyway, and loved it)
10) Manufacture more pre-production samples and test for shelf life.
11) Ship the "World's Best Water Based Wood Filler" to customers.
12) See steps 8 through 10 above.
My business coach has told me that this process is completely normal. My gray hair agrees.
I was going through my pictures, and I found this one.
This is Maple. She died of cancer 18 months ago, and I miss her. She was one of two dogs we were blessed to have in our life.
Every moment for her was an opportunity. A great athlete, the tennis ball was her toy of choice. The reasons were simple. It bounced, fit easily in her mouth, floated, and a human came with it. Therefore, if it was not confiscated, she would spend hours with a neon green fuzzy ball.
Maple operated at one speed, fast. Not super fast, but fast enough to accomplish her task. She was aware that stuff had to get done, time was of the essence. She was miserable at the end of a leash, had little patience for other dogs, never looked where she was leaping, nitpicked her treats, and refused to have her nails trimmed. I readily identified with her.
She died in my arms on August 18th, 2011.
The memories are seared in my brain of our times together. A dog.
I have four children aged from 10 to 3. Every moment with them is burned onto the hard disk of my brain until they no longer fit neatly into a timeline. Each of the thirty five thousand digital pictures my wife has recorded of our family, triggers an instant recall, as if we had just taken the picture. The depths of my love for them is uncharted.
I have buried my head in the sand for the last five days because I refuse to feel the pain of identifying with a parent who has suddenly lost a child.
Thank you, Maple, for digging me out of the sand.