SFA: What's the Answer?
Best Machine for a Start in Stone
If you were just starting in the industry what would be your first purchase?
I’m going to be entering this market and (thank God) found this resource of SFA. I have a shop that does laminate and solid surface and would like to get into stone, mainly quartz. I don’t foresee a tremendous amount of volume like some of the others on here. But hopefully some day we will get to that level. We are connected with a lot of home builders and I want to be able to offer all surfaces to them under one roof. Right now, I am losing the stone work and I know I can pick up a few new ones if I offer everything in-house.
So my question is, what do you think is the most-valuable way to make a real attempt at entering the market without spending a fortune? After reading this forum all weekend, my plan so far is to find abridge saw and a sink cutter like the Ghines Systematic, and do the rest manually. But would I be better spending a little more and getting a used 5-axis saw? I’ve read the Ghines machine won’t do corner sinks, which is a problem because I’m doing them all the time now in the other surfaces, so my area must be partial to corner sinks. Also, in my area ,we see tons and tons of L-shape kitchens which will be difficult without a water jet maybe?
How about a leather finish? Can you do that with hand (wet) polishers?
My goal is two kitchens a week. It will start out much slower than that, I’m sure, but in the past whenever we have gotten into something new it starts slow but builds fast. My budget is under $100k but that needs to buy all the hand tools as well.
Any advice is appreciated and thank you.
The best advice I can give you is to spend the first $100 of that budget on an SFA membership. This will get you into the Member's Lounge where there are a multitude of discussions on this. You also need to attend the workshops. They are free of charge, you cover your travel and lodging. Also fill out your signature line so we know who we are talking to. You may be able to find a member close to you that will allow you to visit their shop to see what machines they have and how this is done.
I started out with a bridge saw and hand routers and then later got a CNC router for edges and sink cutouts. We ran that way for years and upgraded to a 5-axis saw two years ago.
USA Stone and Tile
3203 Powell Avenue
What Darryl said!
Stoneworks of Augusta Inc.
3843 Wrightsboro Rd
I'll add to this.
Started out with a Blue Ripper track saw, then bought a used bridge saw and we are now in the process of buying our first 5-axis. Start slow, low cost is the best advice I can give. Unless you jump in full-bore ready to go full-time stone, then do whatever you want. :lol:
We have a 5-axis saw for sale that will be in the "start slow" price range. It's listed in the classifieds if you want to see some pictures.
Guy Robertson, SFA
Robertson Manufacturing Inc.
Buy Guy's saw and you will never need another until you are past 15 kitchens a week.
Can a 5-axis saw cut sinks? If yes, how does that big saw cut vanity holes? And inside Ls?
Suggestion: Poll your existing customers and develop an estimate of how much work is already out there for you. If you underestimate significantly, you will quickly find yourself looking to replace your original purchases.
If you can get 4 or 5 kitchens a week, I'd recommend a used bridge saw and a used but inexpensive CNC like a Park Destiny. If that's too big a bite to start with, get the used bridge saw and a Wizard. I was doing almost $2M in sales with a Wizard for my sink machine before I got a CNC.
If you like shoot me a PM and we can discuss your options. Lots of questions to answer about volume, work mix, lead time, your existing physical plant, and the like before you decide on machine purchases.
Custom Stone Interiors
St. Cloud, Minn.
I spent most of my money on motorcycles, women, and beer. The rest I wasted. -- author unknown
Have you considered building your sales by outsourcing the fabrication for a bit while you learn the install side of things? Several successful months/years of this could stretch your budget and you'd have some volume to rely on for Day 1 of your fabrication venture. We did that for almost $2M per year. It’s nice to have work waiting when you fire up the machines.
Find someone local with some inventory that you could sell from.
Custom Marble Inc.
matt (dot) firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a small sink CNC that cuts a perfect sink. I actually have two and will be selling them, as we are moving up to a larger machine. Complete with tooling and we will train, as needed.
I'm only in the research stage at this point. I'm thinking sometime next year for a target date. I just became a member also, so as soon as I'm active I will look more in the members area. Some good info I have received and I am revising my plan.