View Full Version : Sticky or Tacky Lacquer finish

06-11-2012, 08:17 AM
Quick question. Love my new K-brand ukulele, but its lacquer finish feels a bit tacky or sticky. Not to where you are leaving fingerprints, but just a little tackier than I would like. I am wondering is it possible these finishes just cure over time and get better (well, it eventually will) or is this just the property of a gloss lacquer finish? Thanks

06-11-2012, 08:35 AM
Which K brand is it? The glosses I own don't feel that way

06-11-2012, 10:02 AM
are you sure it's Lacquer? Lacquer dries very fast, unlike enamals, or maybe some polys. Lacquer should be dry to the touch, even sandable within 15 minutes or so of spraying it. Another difference between lacquer, and enamal or poly is that it can soften back up when a thinner of some sort is sprayed on it. Enamals do not do that. So, either something was sprayed on it to soften the lacquer maybe? Even then, it should dry back up. That said, Lacquers can continue "gassing" for years, but still should be dry to the tough within minutes of spraying. Also, all that said, Lacquer takes a month or so to actually cure hard.

06-11-2012, 10:03 AM
Yeah, I was wondering if you had applied anything to the uke (polish etc)

06-11-2012, 10:16 AM
Yeah, I was wondering if you had applied anything to the uke (polish etc)

Did not apply anything to it - it feels dry to the touch, it just feels what my mom used to describe as "cleppie," which is kind of similar to tacky. I am not describing it right, but there is a definite stick or tackiness to it that I have not ever experienced before. Thanks, Mike

06-11-2012, 10:21 AM
I'm guessing that your uke is not a Kanile'a. Their UV cured poly finish is pretty tough and should never feel like that.
Actually any new K brand uke should not feel sticky.

Some sweat and alcohol will react over time with lacquer, but a new uke should not do that. I had a used uke that had that feel when I got it. Virtuoso polish would make that feel go away temporarily.

06-11-2012, 10:22 AM
are you sure it's Lacquer? ... all that said, Lacquer takes a month or so to actually cure hard.Yeah, it's lacquer. Now, in terms of taking a month to cure hard, is it possible that if it goes in the case right after manufacture or sits in a humidified case that it will not properly cure? I am just guessing here, but maybe it just never had a chance to dry right or got overly humidified in the case? Hmmmm. I'm going to call the shop where I got it and see what they think. Or maybe take it in to Elderly Instruments repair shop (not where I bought if from, but I live close to them) and see what they think.

06-11-2012, 10:25 AM
I had one awhile back that had a thick poly finish on it, and it was kinda like what you describe. You could take your finger and rub on it, and hear it screech kinda like sneakers screaching on a gym floor? If that is what you are talking about, I would bet to guess it isn't lacquer, but a thick poly finish. A customer brought me his, to completely sand down to bare wood (it was like armor), and shoot it with nitro lacquer. Made an awesome finish, and he absolutly loved it after that, but, damn, I'll never commit to getting that thick poly stuff off again, lol..

06-11-2012, 10:41 AM
What brand is it? Whichever K it is, it's a fault and I would be doing what you are doing and calling the shop.

As Tudorp says, it won't be a Kanile'a due to their process.

06-11-2012, 10:56 AM
To me, Lacquers are the nicest finishes (IMHO), and Nitro is what I like to use. It was the finish of years of yesteryears though. Lacquer can soften, in fact, I have had some guitars get damaged finishes from laying up against something textured. The lacquer over time took on that texture a stand it was on, or fabric it was laying on if left for long periods of time. So, yes, Lacquer can soften, especially a newer finish, but that feel, no I have never had that with lacquer.

06-11-2012, 11:29 AM
Yep. Old lacquers can easily be damaged - a common culprit is foam or rubber supports on guitar stands. I speak from experience having an old fender neck wrecked in that way.

That's why I'm asking which brand it is as I'd be surprised any modern K brand was using an old time lacquer that they shipped without curing

06-11-2012, 12:27 PM
I 've had that sticky feel with a water-based lacquer finished uke.
But like I said it was a well used uke.

mm stan
06-11-2012, 02:00 PM
It could well be it needs time to cure...

06-11-2012, 06:28 PM
Its a Kamaka HF3. He posted about it earlier.

07-17-2012, 11:39 PM
Interesting, I recently got a Kamaka HF-3S from the Kamaka factory and it did feel kind of sticky and clingy to my skin when I first pulled it out of it's case. I just assumed this was because it's was brand new and clean. My first glossy lacquer finish ukulele. I assumed this was normal and have not thought about it since. From the reactions to the first post, I guess it is not normal.

How much time is needed for it to be cured? What type of lacquer does Kamaka use? My Uke should be around 3 weeks old now. I think it's not as clingy now but again, I never took note. I'll check again tonight.

I'm currently reading the forums to see how I can polish and add a coat of polish for protection against scratches (i'm thinking to add polish so that only the polish gets scratched and can be buffed out OR adding an ipad screen protector). I also have Gibson restoration polish which I have never used yet and am unsure how it will react to a lacquer finish as I have read some mixed reviews. I'm currently holding and playing the uke like a fragile egg but I don't want to over baby it and not get the most out of it. It was built to be played so I will do just that with it.

mm stan
07-18-2012, 12:49 AM
I wouldn't polish your uke until the finish cures/hardens...be patient..

07-18-2012, 01:35 AM
I'm pretty sure that Kamaka uses nitrocellulose lacquer. Perhaps you should post your questions over in the luthier's lounge.

07-18-2012, 09:33 PM
After checking last night, the ukulele is now smooth to the touch and hard and not sticky at all. I shot an email off to the factory just to check on my other questions.

07-27-2012, 04:50 AM
My Kamaka was the same when I picked it up. It actually smelled a lot like fresh lacquer and not as slick to the touch. I had it for 3wks in Hawaii and then a week after I got home, I used that Virtuso Polish and it's nice and slick now. My uke was stamped April 2012 so I figured that lacquer should be long cured by then. Knock on wood.