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Thread: Shellacking the Inside of the Ukulele

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    Little River, California
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    1,755

    Default Shellacking the Inside of the Ukulele

    I've been thinking that shellacking and finishing out the inside of the ukulele body is a good idea. Many of the high end luthiers on this forum do it so what the hell. I think this might be good idea for three reasons: 1) It provides extra protection against humidity changes in the environment in the back and sides, 2), it might give some extra acoustic volume and projection (maybe) and 3), it just looks better if you look inside the sound hole which nobody ever really does other than us builders and luthiers.

    Below are some pictures of my shellacked finished insides. Next time I actually might sand. Such a concept. Also included are pictures of my "ridiculously over engineered neck block" (to quote Pete) which I'm starting to think might be a waste of effort.

    DSCN8051.jpg

    DSCN8054.jpg

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Greenville, VA.
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    Default

    Reason #4: A saturating finish on the inside prevents wood varieties like big leaf maple from transfering stains to the inside of the body.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
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    409

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    I'm not a luthier or builder, but I always look around the inside of my instruments. I appreciate to see the detail the builder has done, also see just how sloppy some factory builds can be. I've always wondered why the insides aren't finished. As mentioned above, it can aid for climate concerns. I am also a drummer and the higher $$ drum shells are finished inside. This also aids in sound projection, so I think the same could apply for stringed instruments.

    Yours is looking fantastic!!

  4. #4
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    Apr 2017
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    Central CA Coast
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    A very classy looking interior and neck block!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    UK
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    I'm not convinced. Finishing the inside won't stop the instrument being subject to variations in humidity. It might slow transfer down a little but it won't stop it. There's also a downside for any possible future repairs, it just makes things more difficult.
    As for the volume/projection? Pure speculation or unfounded optimism.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Grand Junction, Colorado
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    Any barrier over wood will slow down the effect changes in humidity to the wood, which is beneficial in every way. This on going benefit far out ways any possible future repair needed. Besides, just sand a small area and cleat it- pretty easy.
    Also, it is common work practice in furniture making (so ive read) to seal each side of, say, a table top to stabilize it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    a tiny dot in north of...
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    bob taylor wasn't convinced , neither am i

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael N. View Post
    I'm not convinced. Finishing the inside won't stop the instrument being subject to variations in humidity. It might slow transfer down a little but it won't stop it. There's also a downside for any possible future repairs, it just makes things more difficult.
    As for the volume/projection? Pure speculation or unfounded optimism.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Yakima, WA
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    Repairing instruments with finish on the inside (there are very few) is not as easy as you make it sound. When I do get a guitar in for repair and I do need to go inside, many times the inside shellac finish is sticky and has collected a lot of dirt and dust. Also, I have a shop next to a guy who repairs wooden furniture, old and new and rarely are the undersides of tables finished. I personally don't see much benefit of a finish on the inside of any instrument and thankfully I don't come across it too much. Just my experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Hannam Ukuleles View Post
    Any barrier over wood will slow down the effect changes in humidity to the wood, which is beneficial in every way. This on going benefit far out ways any possible future repair needed. Besides, just sand a small area and cleat it- pretty easy.
    Also, it is common work practice in furniture making (so ive read) to seal each side of, say, a table top to stabilize it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Grand Junction, Colorado
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    2,348

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackBearUkes View Post
    Also, I have a shop next to a guy who repairs wooden furniture, old and new and rarely are the undersides of tables finished.
    Interesting!- ill have to ask around

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Zealand
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beau Hannam Ukuleles View Post
    Interesting!- ill have to ask around
    I worked in a cabinet making shop in the eighties,,we rutinely sealed the underside of table tops.
    Kind Regards
    Dennis

    dpophotography@yahoo.co.nz
    Southern Cross Instruments
    New Zealand

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