View Full Version : The Trials of Refinishing

02-28-2015, 08:34 PM
I'm doing a restoration/repair project on a smashed uke and have reached the refinishing stage. The top has been replaced and the neck and fingerboard reset and glued back down. The uke has been re-bound which meant the sides had to be scraped with the new bindings. The back was not cracked and the finish can be left intact.



Now to take the finish completely off for refinishing... It is impossible to take everything back to bare wood consistently I have found. The old finish tends to "pool" on the waist making complete sand-out impossible. I did the best I could short of sanding through the sides and called it good at this stage:


Note the patchy areas where the old finish has been sanded through and other areas still have lacquer. Stay tuned to see how it takes a finish.... I'm hoping it is going to even out and turn out OK. We shall see.

By the way, the original finish was a water based acrylate which is what it is being replaced by.

03-02-2015, 11:06 AM
I will end this thread by showing that indeed it is possible to hide an uneven refinish preparation. After 4 days and 5 base coats, the blotches have disappeared. I think the key was using diluted lacquer (like to like) to fill the uneven surface densities and going slow and light. The rest of the finishing process can now proceed as per usual just like a finish on a virgin uke.


Doug W
03-02-2015, 03:47 PM
I tried dipping my feet in the water of uke building by making a cheap kit and trying to refinish an old uke. I did ok, but ended up with the problem you are discussing and didn't have the patience or background or maybe the brains to figure out how to fix it like you did. It was a good lesson for me and I ended up deciding that I am a player and not destined to be a builder and I congratulate you in sticking with it. The finish looks excellent to me.