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Craftsmanship...who really cares?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by theHIGHLANDER, Sep 7, 2009.

    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 9,475


    Well it seems most of you understand what I mean. One of the cars in my examples was indeed PAID FOR, VERY WELL. Sadly the guys who did it will no doubt keep doing it. And doing it well below the expected quality/price ratio. I see most of the comments are regarding poor body work. I also mentioned electrical, plumbing, safety issues, and mechanicals. Sorry kids it's all over and not just these few cars. Hot rods ain't about perfection? Well if that ain't a rat bastard idea if ever I heard one. Yes indeed, I put all kinds of hours and effort and $$$$$$ into a shit pile in the name of hot rodding...NOT! Look at a class act drag racer. Everything fits and has a purpose. I said class act. Not as much on the outside of a circle track car since they get beat up every weekend, but the chassis on some of those are works of art. Some of those. I just find it a bitter pill sometimes. And to just blow it off and say "I drive my cars..." is a cop-out.

    I like the reply about the early car club inspections. I remember that when I joined an OT club once. I also can appreciate and respect a DIY guy that muddles through and finally gets it right, as well as the guy who just doesn't know true quality and is as proud of his car as the Duesenberg owner. There's no 'line in the sand' regarding this rant but I'll bet I can name dozens of HAMB rides that hit the mark before there's ever a drop of paint applied, as well as dozens more that rival the highest end cars in their quality and execution no matter how humbly appointed or traditionally approached. My dear departed Dad always said, "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over..."

    Oh yeah, and once again 29nash, your slip is showing. Nice cop-out.
  2. Erik B
    Joined: Sep 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,945

    Erik B

    This thread has been bouncing around in my head ever since I read it. There are lots of issues here and I could go on forever. I try to aspire to being a Craftsman but I'm only at a Journeyman level. I always try my best and always try to improve my skills. It gets frustrating as I try for perfection but sometimes it gets by me. Now when it comes to being paid for work I always strive for the best workmanship and never bill for what I have in it. What the goal is to do high quality work in a minimal amount of time. Yeah, that's tough but I've know a few that can do it.

    I've also noticed some of our best craftsmen step away from their craft and have the apprentices doing the work after they have built a reputation. Great to pass your craft on but really hard to keep the quality control up.

    And then again I've know good Craftsmen that can't bill for their quality and go out of business. I find that some of the best craftsmanship out there is done by someone getting paid by the hour and not the job. They can take the time to get it right if it doesn't cut into their earnings.

    And now back to that fender that's not quite right...
  3. cruzingratiot
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Posts: 346

    from Detroit MI

  4. Lunatic
    Joined: Sep 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,198

    from Carson,Ca.

    good work takes time and money..unlike "pimp my ride" or them other misleading cable shows..most people try to pay as little as possible for bodywork .but us bondo artist still need to do a good job cause are names are on it.. especially on a rare or kustom ride.
    I understand crappy fiberglassed bondoed rust LOL

    Attached Files:

  5. 39 All Ford
    Joined: Sep 15, 2008
    Posts: 1,531

    39 All Ford
    from Benton AR

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  6. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,726


    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  7. Lunatic
    Joined: Sep 28, 2004
    Posts: 1,198

    from Carson,Ca.

  8. kwmpa
    Joined: Mar 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,241

    Member Emeritus
    from Pa

    That is exactly what happens too...where i work we charge $50.00 for normal work $65 an hour for custom and the other body shop guy make 13 and 14 dollars an hour...we have a mark up on all the parts we sell so say we order a part for your car from a gets marked up 2%....on top of all that we do skim coat most of the cars that come through...and its a time and money thing we push cars out the door all the time...our restoration shop gets run like a production sucks really bad....i could use a new job now that i read this

  9. Body Filler Is Your Friend!:D:D I learned that years ago.
    Let those guy's that want perfection, spend there money on these high $$$ shops to have a show stopper.
    I drive what I build. My car & truck look good. My daily driver is my 65 F100.I wanted it that way.So why not make it look good too, and abuse the crap out of it.
  10. 29nash
    Joined: Nov 6, 2008
    Posts: 4,544

    from colorado

    You obviously have a high opinion of your perfect work, theHIGHLANDER, but a wordsmith you are not. I don't think you know the meaning of cop-out (copout). Me copout? Please point out that passage and I’ll go back and correct it. I’ve been guilty of being arrogant, forthright, opinionated, blunt/ to the point, and having more fun with my jalopies than the law allows, but making excuses for my workmanship? It is what it is and I'll match it's quality to yours any day.
  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 32,387


    I won't go into the "pro" work or workers. Except I have seen photos of work by some of the professional builders on here that I wish I could afford to have work on my rigs.

    I can say this as a hobbyist builder.
    1. All too often I (we) get in too big a hurry or have a self imposed deadline to meet.
    Rushing body work or a paint job to be able to take the car/truck to a run.
    Just flat tired of working on it and saying "ah to hell with it", and not putting that
    extra few hours in with the longboard.
    Not taking the extra time to attend to the details on the chassis, engine, interior or
    pick another part.

    I can't count the number of times I rushed to meet a deadline on my truck and cut a corner that I should have spent an other hour here, fifteen minutes there and time to get the proper fasteners for this that or another.

    2. Lack of skill to do the job right and not trying to learn how to do it right. I've seen a lot of cars done by people who thought that they knew what they were doing that looked pretty rough while I have seen some first efforts done by guys with no automotive background that were close to perfect just because they took the time and effort to learn how to do it right.

    3. No sense of design, or continuity of theme in a vehicle. I think we are seeing a lot of this lately. How many chops have you seen in the past three or four years that have no thought put into them except to lower the roof hard. Add grills, bumpers and or tail lights that just don't fit the flow of the whole car. The physical workmanship may be there but the mental workmanship is missing.

    A guy asked me when I was going to paint my truck a while back. My answer was that I would never paint it until I had it slicker than a very nice truck that happened to be at the show we were at at the time. The guy who just happens to own the shop where that truck was finished and the paint work done was standing there with us and gave me one of those looks. The thing is that I know he understands where I am coming from. This time around I intend to take the time to get it right and an hour extra here and ten extra hours there will just have to be done to get it the way I want it.

    Think about it as a "what if." What if you had spent an extra designing and building the motor mount brackets? What if you had spent five more hours getting the firewall a whole lot better even though you rarely open the hood at shows. What if you had put a bit more thought into running the fuel line from the tank up to where the flex line goes to the mechanical pump? What if you had spent another three or four hours grinding, sanding and getting the housing and brackets on the rear end just that much slicker before painting it? The list goes on and on.
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  12. weez
    Joined: Dec 5, 2002
    Posts: 860


    Practically every customizer/bodyman I've known is capable of genius work, but does hack work sometimes, yet bitches about all the other guys' hack work he's had to fix. So I take it all with a grain of salt.
  13. Crystal Blue
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 609

    Crystal Blue

    I'd rather do something 2 or 3 times while I'm in my shop to get it just right, rather than say... "that's good enough". I'm 9 years into one build, and it will be done, when it's done right.:p
  14. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,726


    Could this have something to do with the gold standard? "The higher the quality of work you desire, the more "$gold$" it requires." (Usually)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  15. I'm thick like a honeybun glaze- sometimes. And on borrowed time in my car are two small glass patches ( there's good steel where it counts ). But there's no use for shoddy shops.
    BTW there's some spooky lookin' geometry in chassis design & set- up out there.
    I saw a rod -run in the Dakotas with some pos 'rods' a while back here on the HAMB- sheesh.
    WE've got a good culture for well built stuff down here. That comes partly from tough registration regulation in the decades previous.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  16. 19Fordy
    Joined: May 17, 2003
    Posts: 7,726


    Just curious to know: If that 9 year car build is a paying customer how do you reconcile the time frame without the customer becoming upset?
  17. Erik B
    Joined: Sep 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,945

    Erik B

    Mr48, you make a good point or 2. I can really appreciate some perfection I see on show cars but rarely do they get the concept and design done to that level. So many of the big name builders can make a car that has great craftmanship, or at least appear so, but the quality of design and proportion can be severely lacking. And it usually follows through with upholstery and detailing. It kills me to see all that effort, and money, going to waste on poor design execution. One big name car I was looking at SEMA was so beautifully built but when you stepped back it was just all wrong and cartoony I can only feel sorry for some of the craftsmen involved.

    And then there are cars that may have not achieved perfection in the bodywork but have the look and can excite the senses beyond the shiny paint. Or the misguided use of perfection like the 55 Chevy that was so perfectly painted that it seemed to not be a 55 Chevy anymore.

    Body craftsmanship is only one part of the equation of making a great car.
  18. Brahm
    Joined: Oct 4, 2001
    Posts: 487


    Funny as I read this thread, seems all us SoCal guys are on the same page. We try our best but don't stress over the petty shit as we all love to drive our cars.. Call it a cop out if you like, but the way I see it, there are only 2 reasons a car should be trailed if its broke, or if the gas costs more then trailer!

    Heck my '29 DeSoto was my daily commuter when I lived in LA, and Big Bear some how i made it threw that winter w/no chains... I remember driving up to Bear in a crazy snow storm, head out the window, wearing full winter coat, gloves, ect, covered in whatever other shit i had in the back trying not to freeze my ass off and cranking that little manual windshield wiper as fast as I could try to keep the snow off the windshield, and the car on the road.

    I think a lot of the do it yourself attitude between being a perfectionist, and just having to get shit done depends on whether or not you grew up wrenching on your daily driver or your second, third, whatever project. If the only car you work on, is the only car you got.. and you gotta get to work, or school.. hey sometimes your twistin those wires together wrappen em with ducktape @ 7am before class is the only way your getting there, or better yet patchen shit up to with bondo and a quick paint job isn't the worst thing in the world if your goal is to have a good enough looking ride to turn some heads @ the street races, or pick up a girl or 2 :)

    I think hamb is great, and there is a wealth of knowledge but I get the feeling a good lot of you are more into nostalgia for nostalgia sake, and less about just wrenching and having a good time with your cars. Not everybody can, or has the desire to be maliciously anal about every little detail on there car, rat rods aren't the end of the world, and just cause it was built after 1960 doesn't mean it ain't cool.

    Now don't get me wrong, if there is something I want done right, and I don't think I have the skills to do it myself I will pay others to do it..but I won't pay others for shotty fucking work. If I'm gonna shell out the bucks I expect it to be done better then I can to do it myself.. (which is why I'm having SDRC fix my chop), but when it comes to hobbyist wrenchen away.. As long as your not putting giant fucking spoilers on the back, or really poor selection in wheels, your alright in my books!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  19. jamesgs4
    Joined: Aug 22, 2007
    Posts: 253

    from denver

    My friend has a overhaulin' car, built a few years ago and i can tell you it has held up really well. I am a painter and I can tell you that the paint is very nice still, and as a mechanic also it runs line a top, a top with a bad ass 572 stuffed in it! the car wasnt a deadline car though, it was one of the ones where chip foose showed up at your door and you get to pick how your car is done.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  20. SlowandLow63
    Joined: Sep 18, 2004
    Posts: 5,958

    from Central NJ

    Based on some of your other statements regarding paint prep and bodywork, I think not. :D

    And before this becomes a pissing match...

    The sad part is, the guy that can turn the car out in 2 months with a straight paint job on it will make more money and get more customers than the guy that turns out the same straight paint job done right in 8 months.

    I know what you mean. A car I'm working on now has so much filler and paint on it (for no reason mind you) that I was able to straighten 90% of it out without adding any filler or material to it. All it took was a little time with a block. Another one I worked on was completely skim coated and when it was stripped, there was no reason for it. I don't know what some people are thinking.

    Its no secret that I'm not a metal-finisher. Never claimed to be and probably never will be. But I get the metal as close as I can, feel out the panel and add to the low spots. Usually with one helping of primer and some blocking its straight. It saves time, materials, and the paint job 5 years down the road.

    TheHighlander isn't talking about DIY backyard car guys. He's talking about a high-end shop getting paid high-end rates.
  21. wvenfield
    Joined: Nov 23, 2006
    Posts: 5,523


    That about covers it.
  22. sawzall
    Joined: Jul 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,753


    gotta agree to disgree with ya mark..

    its about MONEY..

    Money that the cheap a** car owners WILL not spend to make it right..

    (myself included!)

  23. Flatheadguy
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 2,037


    It's a bit like breast cup measurements.....
    Some is Good
    More is Better
    Too Much is Just Right
    At least, that's how many of us start off. It's been a long time, many years, but I am starting to get the idea. This after fifty years building.
  24. This is pretty much the same reason I left the auto body trade a couple years after finishing schooling. I worked for three different body shops in the area who were more concerned with turning a quick buck than doing it right. One example was a Malibu turned Chevelle 454 SS clone. It was GREAT, even up close and personal...although the guy who did the bodywork was a great sculptor, it was in the way in one of MY bays until this guy finished the BODYWORK three months into it...when it could've been done right in METAL in less time. The shop manager left to go to a restoration place not long after I left..he wasn't happy about the way things were either.

    It doesn't stop there...a certain limo/hearse company in the area was another place I saw excessive plastic filler shipped out the door to maximize profits without any regard to quality. I was in the final inspection/touch up department. I don't know if anyone here has the means to purchase said vehicles on a regular basis (seems management thought people well-off enough to buy the limos would replace them before the bondo became an issue), but you would be shocked, perhaps even APPALLED to see the amount of Rage filler in a 130" stretched Cadillac, or a 120" Lincoln. The last car I worked on was an export model 2000 Cadillac with european taillights, was being built for Sting. Gorgeous car, Pearl Parchment paint...but it was covering enough Bondo that I'm surprised it didn't crack going out the door.

    As much as I would like to say it's a recent phenomenon, I cannot. My first fat-fendered chevy fleetmaster had lead a half inch thick in places. Undoubtedly done in the mid 50s, as the car was used as a TRAILER with a tow bar on the front bumper from about 59 to least it didnt fall off the fenders until I got hold of it.

    The one car I fudged on just to get it out in a hurry was my own '51 Business coupe that I used as my personal project when I was taking auto body classes. I bought correct rear fenderwell patch panels, but ran into some old body work that had enough mud to make me think it was the car the two soldiers were pushed off the cliff in during the opening of The California Kid. I had a week to get done, with about 4 hours per day...that car HAD to get done because there was NO WAY I was gonna let it stay there all summer just to be finished by someone I didn't know next semester...I intended to tear it down and do it right, but alas...someone wanted it worse than I did. I'd kinda like to know what happened to that car...last I heard it had made it to southern Kentucky/northern Tennessee...would be kinda easy to spot, the VIN/serial number stamped on the firewall looked like a 'leet spelling of "hillbilly"

    Those of you lucky enough to work where quality is first consideration are lucky indeed. I envy you...I'd rather be doing bodywork/paint than stuck behind a counter selling car parts to those with the IQ of a dungbeetle, but I live where I live, and don't have the funds to open a shop here, even if there would be enough business to support it. (sigh)
  25. That's kinda what I took from his post as well...

    I wonder what people are gonna think when we start importing vintage cars from Cuba though? I wanna be first in line for a 52 chevy four door powered by a russian jeep engine :p

    Not only that...I would like to have a 59 Buick bass boat...I wonder if that one guy ever made it to the states?
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  26. pimpin paint
    Joined: May 31, 2005
    Posts: 4,937

    pimpin paint
    from so cal


    Over the last 30-40 years I've had a bunch of people ask me " Are all painters, metalmen & mechanics drunks and flakes?" I use to tell them that if you wern't drinkin or usin before you started in the craft, it isn't long before you'd be! To that I'd added "guys don't usually pick this line of work because the line to be an astronaut was to long to wait in!" One of my most vivid memories was the day I met Keneth Howard, drunk off his ass and pissin' in a garbage can, in an alley at an early "Rat Fink Reunion". All I've read/heard about the late Harry Westergard wasn't much more impressive! The super talented/skilled jus' seem to always be a odds with their demons.
    None of the above should be construne as an excuse for hack work or "puttyflinger's work" being sold as real metalwork! I was never more shocked however,as when I discovered that some of the early Ferrari bodies built by Ghia and some of the other smaller Itallian coachbuilders were just roughed into close shape, shot with a very thin putty, and sanded to perfection with an ''idiot stick"!
    I think the biggest challange to Craftsmanship today is the " I want it all and I want it now" brand of thinking. Not many today wanna get dirty or break a sweat, and those who do have a very tough time charging what they actually have in a job, because most goods available today are made to be sold so cheaply!

    Swankey Devils C.C.
    " Better is the enemy of good enough"
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 9,475


    Sorry, not my style. But thank you for the opportunity.
  28. 40chevythrowensparks
    Joined: Aug 16, 2009
    Posts: 100


    I worked with my dad helping him run his construction biz&#8230; I was his trim man as well&#8230; my dad was very old school you do it once and do it right in a timely manner or get the f!ck off the job&#8230;that&#8217;s how it should be&#8230;. Do the work you get paid to do and to the very best of your abilities and in a timely manner
  29. Crystal Blue
    Joined: Nov 18, 2008
    Posts: 609

    Crystal Blue

    It's my own project. I learn as I do. If it's not correct, I do it over. Due to medical reasons, I haven't done much in the past year, except plan the next things to be done. Also, if I want a $10.00 item, but a $2.00 item will do, I'll save up for what I have my sights on, and not settle for the quick way. I think I said that right.:rolleyes:

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