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View Full Version : Kala Soprano SMHS Mod/Refinish Underway



KevinV
03-19-2014, 05:34 PM
I've really been digging the solid mahogany Kala I got as a 2nd off Ebay. The price was right and allowed enough room for me to do these mods and still come in under the price of a new SMHS.

My order is en route from StewMac and I'll be installing Waverly friction pegs to replace the ones that are on it. I'll move those to my Kala 15S. I'm shaping a bone nut/saddle for it, will clean and lemon oil the fretboard/bridge, polish the frets, and seal it up with a thin, satin nitro finish. Most of the sanding is complete and should be ready to go by my next weekend (M-W) during which time the supplies should have arrived.

During the interim my Kala 15S is getting lots of play time. With the project uke torn apart, it's the only mahogany soprano available, and doing a fine job I might add.

I didn't take any before photos. It's a run of the mill Kala so any picture you find online will look almost identical. I'll get some after shots though. It shouldn't look too much different, but the headstock will lend some individuality. I raise egg laying chickens and decided to include a water slide of a chicken under the refinish. I'm raising a fresh batch of pullets right now and they enjoy the uke. I go out to the brooder and play for them and it calms them down and puts them to sleep. So having the chicken on the headstock combines 2 of my favorite things.

Progress will be slow, but I'll keep this updated for anyone interested.

KevinV
03-23-2014, 05:30 PM
The goods have arrived, and today is my Friday. I'll have some time over the next 3 days to move forward with this project. My plan is to complete the stripping and get started on the new finish. No rush…I want this to turn out right.

Uke-Conn
03-23-2014, 06:07 PM
I love that you serenade your chickens! Do they do the chicken dance?

Will be watching for updates on the project -

KevinV
04-16-2014, 02:12 PM
No, the chickens don't dance. But they do seem to like the sound of the uke. Most tend to stop what they're doing and sit down with their heads cocked to the side. A few will come right up near me and watch closely for mistakes.

The project got delayed and I finally finished the sanding today and have started applying the finish. I put on one coat and applied the waterside. The second coat is on now and drying. I want to have a thin, satin finish so I plan to apply 4 coats, wet sand, and if all looks well, the next coat will be final.

I have the bone nut and saddle blanks, but will probably string it back up with the Tusq that came with it. Once I get a feel for how it sounds with them, I'll cut and shape the bone to see what kind of difference I hear.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v467/bikenriden/Kala%20Refinish/th_DSC_0476.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bikenriden/media/Kala%20Refinish/DSC_0476.jpg.html) http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v467/bikenriden/Kala%20Refinish/th_DSC_0477.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bikenriden/media/Kala%20Refinish/DSC_0477.jpg.html) http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v467/bikenriden/Kala%20Refinish/th_DSC_0475.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bikenriden/media/Kala%20Refinish/DSC_0475.jpg.html) http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v467/bikenriden/Kala%20Refinish/th_DSC_0478.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/bikenriden/media/Kala%20Refinish/DSC_0478.jpg.html)

kmac66
04-16-2014, 02:30 PM
What strings do you use on your 15S? I've got the Aquilas that came standard and I'm not really crazy about them, but at least they're loud.

KevinV
04-16-2014, 02:34 PM
What strings do you use on your 15S? I've got the Aquilas that came standard and I'm not really crazy about them, but at least they're loud.

I put on a fresh set of Aquilas. Intonation was off with the set that came on them. I have no idea how long they were on there. I've got lots of other strings waiting to be tried, but I dig the Aquilas, so they stay on for now.

PhilUSAFRet
04-16-2014, 03:42 PM
Would be surprised if the bone gave you any advantage over tusc

Nickie
04-17-2014, 01:09 PM
I've contacted Kala about getting my concert changed from satin to gloss, and htey said don't do it....what do you think?
BTW, love the chicken!

Ukejenny
04-17-2014, 03:39 PM
Looking very good! I love the headstock. That is cool.

KevinV
04-17-2014, 04:34 PM
I've contacted Kala about getting my concert changed from satin to gloss, and htey said don't do it....what do you think?
BTW, love the chicken!

If they won't make it gloss, you should be able to with a little elbow grease. I'll post a link to the thread where I turned my Kala Acacia Tenor from satin to gloss. It worked out quite nicely. It wasn't a refinish, only buffing.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?31578-Kala-Acacia-Tenor-All-Dressed-Up&highlight=kala