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View Full Version : Refurbish Your Ukulele!



Ronnie Aloha
08-30-2009, 10:43 PM
I bought a used Kamaka Tenor with pickup in Hawaii off Craigslist. I almost didn't buy it when I saw it in person due to a large number of scratches, smudges (that I could not rub out with my thumb) and pin head nicks. There were also some minor dings on the lower edges of the top and side. The piece was owned by a woman so there were heavy strum scratches from her long nails.

It was a good price and it had some nice curliness to it so I bought it anyways. I came back to Los Angeles and went to the Guitar Center and purchased a "Fender Instrument Care Kit" for $25.00.

It consists of three bottles of cleaner, "Mist and Wipe," "Swirl and Haze Remover" and "Polish and Conditioner."

You start with the Mist to clean off dust and other residue that could scratch the surface. Then the Swirl remover is used (this is made by Meguirar's the company that makes car care products) and this removes the majority of scratches. It probably has some cutting agents like rubbing compound for a car. You finish with the Polish.

I have to admit this was the best $25.00 I've ever spent on my ukulele supplies. The Kamaka has a showroom shine and I have to angle the uke in direct sunlight to see any of the scratches. Of course the small nicks are still there but those cannot be taken out.

I was going to take pics of the uke before the process but I was too excited to apply the process and forgot to take them. I haven't figured out how to post photos on this site (I can only get the thumbnails to show up and then the slideshow that follows only shows about a 3 x 3 image. Not enough to show the detail I'm talking about.)

I'm going to take the kit to my daughters halau on Tuesday to clean her Kumu's Kamaka Tenor. Her uke has decades of wear on it and I'm going to be interested to see what the results are.

Any help on the image posting would be appreciated. I thought I followed the instructions in the FAQ page but I've noticed most posts have photos that exceed the max. files sizes shown on the "manage attachments" pop up.

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/DSC_5513.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/DSC_5514.jpg

A close up of the strum area that had a large amount of scratches on the top and bottom from the previous owner's nails.

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/DSC_5512pickarea.jpg

This area had some scratches and a half dollar sized smudge that I was trying to rub out with just my thumb to no avail. It came right out with the Haze and Swirl remover. The bottom near the pickup shows the reflection from the stone. The Kamaka shines like it came from the factory!

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/DSC_5515reflect.jpg

the.ronin
08-31-2009, 05:14 AM
What kind of finish does your Kamaka have? I’m wondering if this kit would work on any kind of finish.

To post pictures:

1) Go to http://imageshack.us/

2) Click “Browse” and find the picture file you want to post

3) Click “Start upload!”

4) In the first box, “Direct link to image,” highight that whole thing inside the box and copy it (CTRL-C)

5) Go back to the UU post page and click on the “Insert Image” icon and paste what you just copied (CTRL-V)

It should look something like this without the asteriks:

*http://theimageaddressyoucopiedandpastedhere.jpg*

Kanaka916
08-31-2009, 05:22 AM
Here's a detailed post about uploading images (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showpost.php?p=36173&postcount=6) found in the FAQ. Also there are a number of image hosting sites; Photobucket, Tiny Pic, Pict, etc. Image Shack and Photobucket seem to popular and you'll need to create an account to use their services.

the.ronin
08-31-2009, 05:25 AM
... Image Shack and Photobucket seem to popular and you'll need to create an account to use their services.

I don’t think you need to create an account for Image Shack.

LameLefty
08-31-2009, 05:34 AM
A lot of companies make products like that - guitar people tend to love Virtuoso products, or similar stuff from boutique builder Bruce Petros. They do a fabulous job removing surface scratches and generally improving the shine of an instrument. They will buff up a satin finish instrument to semi- or full-gloss pretty well, too, but you have to be careful not to buff through the finish entirely.

Another thing to consider is whether the product contains silicone (a lot of Meguire's products do, but not all) - if they do have silicone, it will be very difficult to remove and will make any repairs down the line difficult, as silicone interferes with glues.

Kanaka916
08-31-2009, 05:53 AM
I don’t think you need to create an account for Image Shack.
Yea, I think you're right! But in doing that, you leave it open for public access. Best bet would be to open an account for storage.

Ronnie Aloha
08-31-2009, 06:18 AM
A lot of companies make products like that - guitar people tend to love Virtuoso products, or similar stuff from boutique builder Bruce Petros. They do a fabulous job removing surface scratches and generally improving the shine of an instrument. They will buff up a satin finish instrument to semi- or full-gloss pretty well, too, but you have to be careful not to buff through the finish entirely.

Another thing to consider is whether the product contains silicone (a lot of Meguire's products do, but not all) - if they do have silicone, it will be very difficult to remove and will make any repairs down the line difficult, as silicone interferes with glues.

Herb,

I checked the bottles and the Mist states there is no silicone. However, the Swirl and Haze do not specifically exclude silicone since they don't list any of the ingredients.

Ronnie Aloha
08-31-2009, 06:19 AM
Here's a detailed post about uploading images (http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showpost.php?p=36173&postcount=6) found in the FAQ. Also there are a number of image hosting sites; Photobucket, Tiny Pic, Pict, etc. Image Shack and Photobucket seem to popular and you'll need to create an account to use their services.

Thanks Kanaka. I have a Photobucket account but I was trying to upload via the method in the FAQ section which limited the file size. Directly inserting the [img] worked great.

Ronnie Aloha
08-31-2009, 06:21 AM
What kind of finish does your Kamaka have? I’m wondering if this kit would work on any kind of finish.

The Kamaka was manufactured on April 1, 2008. Works for me since a lot of people call me a Fool anyways.

It probably has the most recent type of finish. Some thin clear coat unlike the KoAloha which has a sturdier coat.

Blrfl
08-31-2009, 06:28 AM
I checked the bottles and the Mist states there is no silicone. However, the Swirl and Haze do not specifically exclude silicone since they don't list any of the ingredients.

The manufacturer should have a material safety data sheet (MSDS) available. You may have to call and ask, but that will reveal the ingredients.

--Mark

Ronnie Aloha
08-31-2009, 06:42 AM
These bottles will probably last me a lifetime since I baby my ukes so if anyone wants to try some on their uke you can stop by and try it out!:shaka:

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-31-2009, 06:47 AM
Wow! Thanks for sharing.

A guitar player (Hawaiian) once commented that if he ever needed to find someone with good fingernails, all he had to do was look for a ukulele player!

Needless to say, strummers like I am, leave a lot of fingernail marks on the upper bout face of our ukes. I've gone to placing (shudder) clear packing tape on both sides to protect the finish and wood.

I'm glad to know that there are products out there that can help clear up some of the superficial marks caused by our fingernails.

Thanks again for posting. And your uke looks beautiful!

itsme
08-31-2009, 07:44 AM
Needless to say, strummers like I am, leave a lot of fingernail marks on the upper bout face of our ukes. I've gone to placing (shudder) clear packing tape on both sides to protect the finish and wood.
You might look into the Kling-on (http://www.kling-on.com/) removable top protectors. They're intended for acoustic/classical guitars but I'm sure you could shape it to fit the uke.

jdbuddha
08-31-2009, 07:48 AM
Nice work Ronnie!

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-31-2009, 07:53 AM
Thanks for the tip.

Maybe the UU Store will carry these, among other items.

How about "cling-on" UU stickers? (for car, boat, plane, ukuleles, cases, etc)

Ronnie Aloha
08-31-2009, 06:03 PM
http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/DSC_5559kamaka.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/DSC_5541.jpg

http://i14.photobucket.com/albums/a340/RonnieTrojan/DSC_5531.jpg

the.ronin
08-31-2009, 06:36 PM
These bottles will probably last me a lifetime since I baby my ukes so if anyone wants to try some on their uke you can stop by and try it out!:shaka:

Dude you're in my neighborhood so I might just take you up on that!! :D

Ronnie Aloha
08-31-2009, 07:45 PM
Dude you're in my neighborhood so I might just take you up on that!! :D

No problem. Just let me know. Shoot me a PM if you're planning on being in the area.

trizzle333
09-01-2009, 02:42 AM
are there any suggestions for protecting a signature from Jake Shimabukuro while doing some polishing and refurbishing on a uke?

Ronnie Aloha
09-01-2009, 07:04 AM
are there any suggestions for protecting a signature from Jake Shimabukuro while doing some polishing and refurbishing on a uke?

Trizzle, try this link:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?t=11865&highlight=signature+jake+protect

the.ronin
09-03-2009, 05:59 AM
Ronnie, thanks again for the heads up on this.

Anyone find out whether there was silicone in the Swirl and Haze bottles?

For the fretboard, you guys think this Dunlop Lemon Oil (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Dunlop-Fretboard-65-Ultimate-Lemon-Oil-425264-i1134774.gc) is kosher?

the.ronin
09-03-2009, 09:19 AM
Just got an email back from a Maguiar’s “Senior Surface Care Specialist” confirming that the Mist, Haze, and Polish products do not contain silicone.

Ronnie Aloha
09-03-2009, 12:57 PM
Just got an email back from a Maguiar’s “Senior Surface Care Specialist” confirming that the Mist, Haze, and Polish products do not contain silicone.

Whew!:shaka:

the.ronin
09-15-2009, 10:05 AM
Ok good news, bad news, and then good news. :D

Dude from Maguirs sent me the MSDS’s for each of the bottles confirming zero silicone. However, he said that the kit should only be used for glossy surfaces and not for satin / matte finishes. I did find a place online (http://www.dnmusic.net/cc/fender-genuine-parts-and-accessories/fender-099-0508-000-fend-meguiar-instru-care-kit/prod_965.html) that them for $20 or $25 shipped so you can save a little bit on taxes.

Ronnie Aloha
09-15-2009, 10:37 AM
How should I clean and care for my ukulele?

Kamaka ukuleles have a lacquer finish and can be cleaned with a damp cloth, not wet. We recommend buffing your Kamaka with a dry, soft, clean cloth such as 100% cloth baby diapers. You can also use a commercial instrument cleaner like Martin Guitar Polish or GHS Guitar Gloss. We do not recommend that you use a cleaning product that has wax in it. Oil should only be used on the fingerboard and not on the lacquer finish of your ukulele.

Kamaka ukuleles are built with solid wood, which is directly affected by temperature and humidity. Gradual changes in temperature and humidity will generally not be harmful to our instruments. However, rapid changes in temperature should be guarded against. Keep your ukulele in a good case when not in use. Avoid storing it near heaters.