View Full Version : Summer project -- refinishing and stencilling

04-06-2012, 03:29 AM
The summer is coming, and I have plans. I am going to buy a reasonable soprano ukulele (perhaps a Lanikai LU21), strip the top, refinish it in the colour of my choice, stencil a simple design on it, then clear-coat it.

(I have discovered that Inkscape has a fantastic "Trace Bitmap" function on it that will allow me to produce a stencil from any image I choose.)

Details will follow in a new thread when I get started.

Anyway, on to the questions:

How should I go about refinishing the top? Should I strip it completely before colouring, or should I simply key it, and apply the new colour on top of most of the old finish?
And in either case, what should I use, stripper, or abrasives?
And if abrasives, what grades should I start and stop at?

Oh, and just to remind me that my ambitions are humble in comparison to some, here is a picture of a stencilled ukulele that I stole from here (http://johnmondelliproductions.com/thecogisdead/images/tumblr/tsr04.jpg):

35936 (http://johnmondelliproductions.com/thecogisdead/images/tumblr/tsr04.jpg)

04-06-2012, 06:18 AM
Stripper can run and destroy the finsh in other places - do you intend to refinish the sides?

Sandpaper can wear through the thin top veneer and make an ugly line. If you use sandpaper I would stick to 100 grit or finer to avoid going too far.

I heartily recommend the LU-21 for this, I have one, it is very sturdy and has lasted 5 years, thrown in suitcases and dragged all over the world, or thrown in the trunk of a car with my other gear. It sounds pretty good, though not as nice as my solid-wood ukes. I did do a set-up, it got sharp as you played up the neck when I first bought it.

04-06-2012, 07:06 AM
I'm painting one now -we just sanded lightly with steel wool so the paint would stick. I wouldn't use stripper- too harsh. Fine sandpaper, as Pondoro mentioned, would also work.