View Full Version : Extreme Makeover, Ukulele Edition - removing scratches from my Kamaka

10-14-2010, 12:57 PM
Okay, so it isn't an Extreme Makeover, more like a facelift, or some Botox for my beloved Pele. As I posted previously, I had my Kamaka tenor (my go-to ukulele) refinished in a gloss finish. They did a great job (albeit with one bubble) and removed a lot of the scratch marks the ukulele had suffered. Unfortunately, I played my newly refinished ukulele while wearing a Hawaiian shirt with coconut buttons and they scratched up the back of the uke. I apologize for the poor viewing angle, but you can probably see some white scratch marks across the back, mainly on the left and right sides.

I did a UU search to find out about removing scratches and came upon a year old post from my buddy Ronnie Aloha, in which he used a Fender Instrument Care Kit on his Kamaka tenor. http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?18373-Refurbish-Your-Ukulele

I figured it couldn't hurt to try it so I visited my local Guitar Center in Pasadena, CA to pick up a box. Unfortunately, they didn't have it, so I had to drive out to Cerritos to get one. (About 33 miles away). I headed out and got there, only to discover that the one box they had had leaked and was only about 3/4 full. I had already spent 40 minutes driving out there in LA area traffic so I didn't want to leave empty handed and I bought the bottle.

I went home and proceeded to follow the directions, only to discover that the bottles were not only leaking (as they had done all over the back seat of my BMW) but the swirl remover -- which is supposed to have a consistency of lotion or condensed milk, was like cloudy water. I applied it repeatedly, and was able to get ten of the twelve scratches out, not perfection -- but still a success.

I figured that the box was not only leaking, but probably way beyond its shelf life. Since I knew Guitar Center wouldn't have it, I did a check for a local Sam Ash store that did. The one in City of Industry did, and at 8pm, I made the drive out there to get a box. So I drove the 27 miles (only took a half hour at that time of night) and they had seven boxes in stock. I told the sales clerk what happened with the Guitar Center box, and he allowed me to check the consistency of the swirl remover. I did so, and was glad to see it was indeed like lotion. It turns out it didn't make that much difference, and those two scratches are still visible, but on the whole, what a remarkable transformation!

Since I had all the strings off, I also put a very thin coating of lemon oil on the fretboard...just left it on for about fifteen minutes then wiped it off.

The entire ukulele feels like glass -- just like a freshly waxed car would. It shines like crazy and I couldn't be happier with my purchase. For a twenty five dollar investment (okay plus the cost of gas to Cerritos and City of Industry!) I gave Pele an extreme makeover. She is almost wrinkle free and looks and feels great. :)

I give a major shout out to this kit, if you have some scratches in your uke's finish you may want to try it, but hopefully you will have better luck finding it than I did. And a big hip hip hooray to Ronnie for mentioning it in the first place. Thanks man...it didn't take out all twelve scratches but Pele and I thank you for the great work that it did do.

10-14-2010, 03:21 PM
Thanks for posting this information.

I can use this.

mm stan
10-14-2010, 04:02 PM
I've noticed that outdated polishes seem to separate with age, some can be revived by vigorously shaking the bottle for a while, older ones may need more than 2minuetes to pull back together
if it does...I hope it helps.....MM Stan...

10-15-2010, 01:13 AM
Thanks for the info :D

10-15-2010, 05:48 AM
Thanks for the report. Glad to hear you are happy with the results especially after all the driving.

10-15-2010, 05:51 AM
Thanks for the info wickedwahine.....very glad to hear Pele is all spiffed up and ready to "play"!!!

10-15-2010, 08:21 AM
That's a beautiful ukulele. You had me at "Okay." :)

Thanks for the information about scratch removal!

10-16-2010, 04:48 PM
I've gotten a few scratches out of some used ukes with Howard's Burnishing Compound (same folks that make Howards Feed N Wax). This is like a more gentle car polishing compound. I have also used 0000 steel wool first before the burnishing compound. Do a small test spot first.