FRETS.COM Tips & Tricks

Mario says, "You should do this."
Lacquer Brush Bottle
© Frank Ford, 4/23/98; Photo by FF, 1997

Mario Martello is something of a legend in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's made his living exclusively from fretted instrument repair since 1957 and has a reputation for getting the job done right and done right on time. For some reason there are no "old jobs" sitting around in his shop waiting for the "right time" to start. Mario's my hero, and I think of him when I'm tempted to put off something I don't want to face up to right now. The sheer volume of the work he's turned out is truly amazing.

Mario's a man with a strong grounding in the traditional materials and techniques of woodworking and lutherie, so I always listen when he gives a bit of advice.

This is another really simple idea that's saved me an incredible amount of time.

All you do is take a good quality brush and mount in the cap of a bottle. Pick your size according to what kind of work you do.

Fill the bottle with clear lacquer and you're always ready to touch up a small spot on a lacquer finish:

This is no big deal, but you'd be surprised at how much more likely you are to start a touchup job right away. Later you may spray or airbrush on some more, or even continue to brush a little. The big deal is that immediately you have added a bit of finish where it's needed and you can go on to other things.

I use my Mario Bottle almost every day. If a customer brings in a touch up job, I'll dab a little on the minute he leaves the shop. If I'm unclamping a crack repair, I may add a little lacquer to the area right away.

No brush to clean up. No using cheap brushes that drop hairs and don't work right.

Thanks, Mario.

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