View Full Version : help with uke finish.

03-26-2009, 05:15 PM
i just got my new makala concert in the mail, but its not ass glossy as i would like. i want to put a finish on it, anything to give it that shine to stick out alot better. does anyone have experience with this process of applying a finish, or any recommendations of a product to use?

03-26-2009, 09:49 PM
If you can find out what the instrument was originally finished with, that would be a plus, although not entirely necessary. Most likely, it has a nitrocellulose finish, which means you can sand it down with some 220 sand paper, then re-spray. Pretty much anything you can find in a can at the local hardware store should be sufficient, for one uke. Just because it comes in a can, doesn't mean that you can't get professional results. It just takes some practice. Try shooting a few pieces of scrap lumber you can find around the house.

The second most likely finish is a catalyzed poly finish. It's still okay to shoot nitro(spray can laquer) over this, but not the other way around. Poly finishes dry harder than nitro and you may get separation between the coats, if the base is softer than the top.

Third most likely is that it's a urethane based finish. Still fine to shoot laquer over, for the same reasons as poly.

Although you can shoot right over after sanding, I would recommend stripping the old finish to the wood. You may encounter discoloration due to different finishes being applied. If you want to chance it, try a small test patch on the back of the head, to check it out.

Good luck!

03-26-2009, 10:45 PM
Rubbing down and refinishing a uke is a big job, and best not attempted unless you have some experience in that area. If it has a matt finish you can often make it more shiny by using metal polish. There is a product in the UK called "Brasso" specifically for polishing brass (would you believe). It contains a very fine abrasive and will polish your uke without causing scratches.

Fine rubbing compound, as used on automobile finishes, is even better. Again it is a very fine abrasive which will give a more shiny surface.


03-27-2009, 01:42 AM
i read somewhere on this forum about polishing oil, or something like that to add shine to my uke. im not really trusting my self sanding it and adding my own finish to it, could i possibly use this oil as an alternative?

03-27-2009, 01:56 AM
I don't know that product, but it sounds as though it will do the trick. A matt finished uke will soon start to become more shiny in the places where you hold and touch it - particularly on the back of the neck - so the polishing oil is probably just doing the same thing, artificially and quickly.


03-27-2009, 07:47 PM
I like to use Meguiars gold class car polish to shine up my ukes... it gives my ukes a mirror finish

03-28-2009, 05:19 AM
thanks a whole bunch guys! i think im going to get some guitar polishing oil for my uke, but is there any sort of technique i should go about when poilishing it? like take off the strings, or not oil up the fret board, or anything like that?

03-28-2009, 12:17 PM
its easier when you take the strings off, and put em back of later, also i have found taking the tuners off saves some time. As for the fret board, I would use some fret cleaner lem seed oil. Sup with all the cleaning? Wow em with the uke playing not the uke.