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View Full Version : How do I refinish my ukulele?



davoomac
02-18-2008, 02:32 AM
How do I go about refinishing my old ukulele? The clear varnish coating is rubbing away on my uke and some of the wood is getting marred. Is it possible to sand off the finish, and restain the wood a different color? Please pardon my noob-ness. :D

Aldrine Guerrero
02-18-2008, 06:26 AM
depends on which company you got it from. You can usually go to the factory and get it refinished. Other than that, you can probably ask someone to do it for you.

Misguided Musician
02-18-2008, 06:37 AM
I know some guitar shops that refinish guitars for a small price. Try looking for a few instument repair shops, they may be able to help you out.

Landon
02-18-2008, 06:49 AM
depends on which company you got it from. You can usually go to the factory and get it refinished. Other than that, you can probably ask someone to do it for you.

thats what i was planning on doing to my old uke aswell. do you know how much it cost's to refinish a kamaka?

rmcnelly
02-18-2008, 07:48 AM
I got a Harmony Concert off eBay, and the finish was cracked all over, the back was marred up, and the neck had funky dark stains bleeding into the finger board.

A friend convinced me to refinsh it, since the uke is all mahogany, and was otherwise intact.

I used Formby's Furniture Refinisher to remove the old varnish. I began using just a cloth, but switched to steel wool on the larger areas. The uke was beautiful under the old finish, most all of the stains on the neck came off and the back looks like new.

The next step was rubbing in Formby's Tung Oil Satin Finish with a soft cloth. I let the initial coat dry for about 18 hours, then let the 2nd coat dry for several days, then applied a 3rd coat.

The uke looks wonderful.

NukeDOC
02-18-2008, 08:18 AM
ive been thinking about using bugoy's uke as a test dummy for a finishing project. i have good experience in building fishing rods, so im pretty good at working with flexible slow drying resins that finish nice and glossy when spun slowly to allow it to dry evenly. we're talking about 24hr drying times here though.

a two part resin/hardener kit made for fishing rods is about $20 for some of the better stuff. the stuff i use for building. and there should be just enough there to make a good coat onto the surface of the uke. then i can hook it up to my rod-drying turner and spin it for 24hrs. only thing im worried about is how flexible that kind of finish is. its doesnt quite dry like a varnish does. its got a very hard, but rubbery feel, so this could actually be a plus when holding it up without the strap. better grip. and because its flexible, as the wood settles with age, it should be able to move with it. im also wondering about the dampening effect it will have also, since it is a softer compound when dried than a varnish would be.

one cool effect i learned from building rods, is the "marblizing" effect. here's an example of some marblized finishes...
http://www.kzreelrods.com/images/Rod_Photos/MarblizingExamples.jpg
imagine what kind of cool effect that would have on a uke!

my brother's uke is a sunlite tenor made of who-knows-what unfinished plywood. and im hoping that the finish mellows out the tone just a little bit. his uke is actually turning out to be one badass uke little by little. and its all free to him hahaha.

davoomac
02-18-2008, 09:22 AM
These are some great ideas. thanks guys. What are the costs of some of these suggestions?

Cost to have a refinish job by a pro?
cost for materials for self-refinish?

Nuke that sounds crazy! So you are actually in the process of putting that finish on your brother's ukulele? I'd love to see some pictures if you want to post em!

rmcnelly
02-18-2008, 09:27 AM
I can't remember for sure, but I think the total cost for the Formby's Furniture Refinisher + The Tung Oil was less the $20 from Lowe's.

NukeDOC
02-18-2008, 09:33 AM
These are some great ideas. thanks guys. What are the costs of some of these suggestions?

Cost to have a refinish job by a pro?
cost for materials for self-refinish?

Nuke that sounds crazy! So you are actually in the process of putting that finish on your brother's ukulele? I'd love to see some pictures if you want to post em!
still in the planning phases. there are so many things i want to do to some of these ukes that i have.

its kinda like the import racing car scene. youve got cars that are all about show. then youve got cars that all about performance. and then you got the badboys that are both "show and go". and they take these little honda civics that push less than 100hp stock and turn them into total BEASTS.

thats what im planning on doing to my brother's uke.