PDA

View Full Version : Travels over for signed travel uke?



fivetide
07-22-2010, 10:45 PM
Hi there. It was suggested on the Uke Talk board that I brought my question over here - I hope you can help me with some good advice.

I got my Kala spruce travel uke signed by the band Midlake at a recent festival. I love it!

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4100/4819059066_1d2a890de6_m.jpg

Trouble is, this isn't an opportunist eBay thing, and I don't want more signatures either - I want to take my travel uke to a lot more festivals and play it without rubbing off the Midlake sigs.

It's signed with a Sharpie, I believe. How can I coat/spray/paint/tape or somehow protect the front of the uke so that it looks neat, protects the sigs and doesn't bleed the ink?

I was hoping I could just take the strings off and spray with some sort of fine lacquer or something that wouldn't affect the chemicals in the Sharpie ink? (I don't have the pen used to write on the uke)

Any help much appreciated - this uke MUST continue to be my Festy beater, just with added Midlake cool :)

What products / approach should I use? Thank you.

ksquine
07-23-2010, 09:04 AM
I'm pretty sure spray can lacquer would be fine....a google search of "lacquer over sharpie" turns up lots of results
If you're worried....just put your own autograph on a piece of scrap wood and spray over it. It will be good practice for when you need to autograph ukes.
Don't forget to cover the bridge and figerboard with masking tape, inflate a balloon in the soundhole to mask that off, maybe mask off the sides too

chiefnoda
07-23-2010, 09:23 AM
Hi fivetide

My instinct as a chemist (I teach chemistry at college level) raises a red flag.

Sharpie uses ink and organic solvent and that makes it water resistant and that's why it's stinky. Organic solvent is "non-polar" which dissolves other non-polar substance like the ink. Water on the other hand is a polar substance, and that's why the Shapie ink (non-polar) does not dissolve in water (polar).

When you use solvent based finish, it will dissolve the Shapie ink. If you use finish that's water-based, then the finish will dissolve when it is wet (ie, rain and sweat). I don't think there's a winning combination.

This may be a wacky idea, but you can contact Sharpie (Newell Rubbermaid co), and ask them to refer you to their science department and you can talk to their engineers. They probably study these problems and may have some neat ideas. See their website for contact info

http://www.sharpie.com/enUS/FAQ/default.html

I found, more often than not, the industry scientists are very willing to help you out (essentially they are bored in be in lab, and find a chance to talk directly to users a nice get-away).

Good luck
Chief

Matt Clara
07-23-2010, 12:18 PM
If you use finish that's water-based, then the finish will dissolve when it is wet (ie, rain and sweat).

But if water based finish dissolved every time somebody perspired on it, it wouldn't be used for instrument finish, and yet it is. Luthier suppliers sell it. It isn't wildly popular just yet, but for other reasons.

tattwo
07-23-2010, 02:16 PM
Thanks Matt...;) you beat me to it

MutinousDoug
07-23-2010, 05:08 PM
Hello,
I've been lurking here for about a year and didn't think I had anything to contribute until now.
My Son in law is into sports memorabilia and knows about such things as Sharpie or Magic Marker signed stuff. The ink is inherently unstable. It fades with the slightest hint of sunlight. Cover it or don't; it will fade badly. He has pages and pages of posters with signatures so badly faded as to be unrecognizable if not for the context.
HTH
Doug

Matt Clara
07-23-2010, 05:18 PM
Hello,
I've been lurking here for about a year and didn't think I had anything to contribute until now.
My Son in law is into sports memorabilia and knows about such things as Sharpie or Magic Marker signed stuff. The ink is inherently unstable. It fades with the slightest hint of sunlight. Cover it or don't; it will fade badly. He has pages and pages of posters with signatures so badly faded as to be unrecognizable if not for the context.
HTH
Doug

I have an artist friend who told me the same thing. I was going to say something, but then I said, oh what's the point.

Keef
07-23-2010, 05:30 PM
I am happy to report that I have first hand knowlage on this subject I used to work in the Florida swamps hence lots of sun we would mark alot of things with a sharpie and the sun would fade the markings in about a week.
I have also made designs on wood work using a sharpie and I can tell you that if you spray a clear coat over it it will make it run HOWEVER I have had success by dusting a lite clear coat on but you must resist the urge to put on a nice wet shiney coat or you can kiss those sigs good bye
.
Please get a sharpie and a piece of test material to prove it to your self first

Keef
07-23-2010, 05:37 PM
As much as I admire some bands and players I don't think I want anyone writing on my uke :) at least not a good one :)

Matt Clara
07-23-2010, 11:34 PM
As much as I admire some bands and players I don't think I want anyone writing on my uke :) at least not a good one :)

Sorry to call you out (two people in one thread, no less!), but, aren't you the guy who put gold pin striping on a $1500 Koaloha scepter?

Keef
07-24-2010, 02:43 AM
Yes that's me :) originaly that was to hide a tiny Nick that really bothered me but now i am really glad I did it . What people do with there ukes is a personal choice life is short do what makes you happy as long as it's legal :) if I was somewhere with my sceptre and Jake was there too I would be highly conflicted over getting an autograph on my uke I guess I would have to go with how I felt at that moment
.
This carved piston design is outlined in sharpie with a clear coat http://i921.photobucket.com/albums/ad54/Kempocat/bfb2e818.jpg nothing fancy just the stuff you buy at home depot

fivetide
07-24-2010, 02:45 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm still no clearer on what to do next however. Is there an actual product you can point me to that I can spray on to my (masked) uke top that will protect those sigs and let me continue to play it? Any links greatly appreciated. I live in England so sun fading not too much of an issue, but I could deal with that over time anyhow. Running sigs however would look pretty awful.

ps. I also own a KoaLoha concert and pineapple. Noone would get near those with a Sharpie. But this is just the travel uke i take camping.

Keef
07-24-2010, 03:00 AM
You could use a peel and stick clear coat film

Lori
07-24-2010, 06:50 AM
I don't know if you have a steady hand, (and I haven't tried it myself) but you could use a branding point on a soldering iron, and trace the signatures so that they were permanently burned onto the surface of the soundboard. Then you could add a protective layer to seal the wood. Or, maybe scan in the signatures to a computer, and maybe KoAloha would laser engrave for you (although you probably have laser engravers where you live).
–Lori

Vic D
07-24-2010, 12:32 PM
If I really wanted to keep the autographs I might scan or photograph the original then have them printed on the top of a new custom uke. Matt Clara has experience with that sort of thing. The thing about adding finish on top, lots of problems with adhesion and other things first off and you're going to deaden the volume somewhat, especially if you slap plastic film over it.

Keef
07-24-2010, 12:48 PM
Not to side track the main question but this thread begs the question
.
If you wanted to get an object autographed what pen would be best for you to supply the autographer with?
I believe paint pens are actualy available

Matt Clara
07-24-2010, 01:01 PM
If I really wanted to keep the autographs I might scan or photograph the original then have them printed on the top of a new custom uke. Matt Clara has [some] experience with that sort of thing. The thing about adding finish on top, lots of problems with adhesion and other things first off and you're going to deaden the volume somewhat, especially if you slap plastic film over it.

Fixed that for ya! By all accounts a laser transfer process would be the best ('m going to try one soon), although if you're going custom, you could get them laser burned, as Lori pointed out, or spend the big bucks and have them inlaid! But he just wants to preserve them, and the answer is, there's no way to preserve them perfectly and still use the uke. Probably the best bet is to either put it in a case in a dark closet and just bring it out as a conversation piece, or, retrace the signatures once a year and play it as much as you'd like. Somebody could probably make a stencil to make it easy.

fivetide
07-26-2010, 01:27 AM
Huh. I had no thought it would be impossible - I naively thought I'd be able to spray a clear coat of some kind over the top and carry on. What a shame. I guess they'll just have to get worn out then. Thanks all for your various advice, anyway.

seeso
07-26-2010, 07:05 AM
This question comes up from time to time. Here's an interesting thread for you:

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?3204-Autographs-on-ukes&p=36065#post36065

Ahnko Honu
07-26-2010, 07:26 AM
Used a clear acrylic spray but go VERY lightly on the first coat and wait until completely dried before applying several more LIGHT coats. I make a line of wood handle fishing spears and I sign and clera coat the handles with no problem. As mentioned in earlier post do a test spray on a another piece to be sure. I would not recommend a lacquer as the lacquer solvent dissolves just about any other clear coat including what's already on your 'ukulele.

Joe Hell
07-26-2010, 10:23 AM
I don't know about wood but I sprayed a plastic pickguard with a polane clear satin finish we use here at my work. There was no bleeding to the sigs and the finish is durable beyond expectations. You might be able to check with Sherwin Williams for the best one.

BTW...it's a RockBand guitar for XBox autographed by Joe Satriani, Duff McKagen and Slayer guitarist Kerry King. I have also used this on a couple other Ted Nugent autographed Fender Strats with the same results. When I used it on a solid body guitar with no pick guard I found the finish was tough enough to take INTENTIONAL abuse with a guitar pick with no scuffing or scratches.

Vic D
07-27-2010, 10:39 AM
Used a clear acrylic spray but go VERY lightly on the first coat and wait until completely dried before applying several more LIGHT coats. I make a line of wood handle fishing spears and I sign and clera coat the handles with no problem. As mentioned in earlier post do a test spray on a another piece to be sure. I would not recommend a lacquer as the lacquer solvent dissolves just about any other clear coat including what's already on your 'ukulele.

I was going to say acrylic might be a safe way to go. If I were to do this I would first make sure the top is clean then I'd take a fine green pad, preferably a bit used and very carefully lightly scuff the top while taking care not to scuff the autographs off, just enough to reduce the shine a bit. I'm not sure what I'd clean the top with since it has marker on it... maybe a vinegar water solution I dunno.

fivetide
07-30-2010, 12:23 AM
Thanks again for all your help. I'll let you know how it goes with acrylic / polane.