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View Full Version : Revarnishing. What are my options?



billcarr
05-05-2013, 05:53 AM
Wasn't sure where to post this. I bought an inexpensive soprano uke on Ebay. Nice Acacia wood but the varnish was cloudy and blotchy. I have stripped it down to bare wood and now I am wondering what my options are for refinishing it.

Oil? Varnish? Shellac? (I have done a few bagpipes with this)

Any tips would be great.

Bill

5268652687

Dan Uke
05-05-2013, 05:56 AM
Lot of people use truoil as it's easy to put on.

Doc_J
05-05-2013, 06:13 AM
The Luthiers' Lounge might be a better place to get good answers.

For ease, Tru-oil. If you can do a French polish (shellac), that would be better.

I've also heard Deft lacquer is not terrible for what you are doing.

Ukuleleblues
05-05-2013, 06:39 AM
Tru-oil works great and makes it easy to touch up if you are an aggressive strummer. Did a uke once in tung oil, it made the neck soooo smooth but I think Tru-oil is much easier to use.

OldePhart
05-05-2013, 08:26 AM
Depends on what you like. If you really like the look of purely naked wood just rub in several good coats with Renaissance Wax. It will give a fair amount of protection but almost no gloss - it tends to bring curl and grain up a little, and will darken very light woods just a bit, but otherwise just looks like unfinished wood... Some folks call Renaissance Wax the woodworker's secret weapon (like duct tape for the handyman).

It does need to be reapplied periodically (couple of times a year, maybe more if you play the uke a LOT).

John

ScooterD35
05-05-2013, 09:10 AM
I would go with shellac. Easy to do right, easy to fix.Make sure you remember to tape off the bridge and fingerboard. They don't need to be finished.


Scooter

billcarr
05-05-2013, 09:23 AM
I would go with shellac.
Scooter

Much as I like real shellac (the real stuff) , it does tend to chip easily. I would like something with gloss. Maybe acrylic varnish thinned out and about 6 coats just rubbed on with a sponge.

Bill

ProfChris
05-05-2013, 12:20 PM
Most acrylic varnish I've seen has a nasty blue tinge, and is very brittle.

I use shellac for the ukes I make - wiped on rather than properly French polished. No problems with chipping.

You want the thinnest possible coating for the best sound, so will need to pore fill if you really want high gloss. I'm content with the open pore look and a nice sheen.

TheCraftedCow
05-06-2013, 10:25 AM
TruOil . No ukulele ever gets the beating of a rifle in the brush, or hanging in the scabbard on the side of a horse or mule . No ukulele is outdoors in snow, sleet ,hail or rain. When was the last time you threw your ukulele on the back seat of your pickup, or hung it on the rack where it got scorching hot from the direct rays of the sun? Such is the life of many rifles which cost far more than a lot of our ukuleles. Lots and lots of them have a TruOil finish. I have yet to see one which was French polished.

OldePhart
05-06-2013, 11:04 AM
TruOil . No ukulele ever gets the beating of a rifle in the brush, or hanging in the scabbard on the side of a horse or mule . No ukulele is outdoors in snow, sleet ,hail or rain. When was the last time you threw your ukulele on the back seat of your pickup, or hung it on the rack where it got scorching hot from the direct rays of the sun? Such is the life of many rifles which cost far more than a lot of our ukuleles. Lots and lots of them have a TruOil finish. I have yet to see one which was French polished.

Ahhh, but no rifle stock has to sing sweetly of gentle ocean breezes... :)

Just tweakin' ya a little...

John

fumanshu
05-06-2013, 11:52 AM
I would go with TruOil too....it's not hard to use...I think Mike from MP ukulele told me to touch up his uke with some wax if I remember well...that's really easy to do and easy to touch up after.


https://soundcloud.com/baouke/star-filante-by-caro-bao

SailingUke
05-06-2013, 12:33 PM
Careful using ukulele and rifle together, congress may put in ukulele controls.
I wonder if banjos are considered an asault weapon :).

I would go with an oil finish on the uke, it lets the beauty of the wood speak for itself.