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Thread: Inside the ukulele?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
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    Southern Ohio
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    83

    Default Inside the ukulele?

    Any of you guys apply finnish to the inside of your ukuleles?

    Thanks
    Sawdust

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Kekaha, Kauai
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    You will find that some of us do and others don’t. The arguments for are; it looks cleaner, it is easier to blow out dust and it slows down the effects of humidity changes. The arguments against are; it makes future interior repairs difficult and it is an additional layer of finish that can adversely effect the sound.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2016
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    I don't see the point
    You don't stop playing when you get old. You get old when you stop playing

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  5. #5
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    Oct 2014
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    Little River, California
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryS View Post
    I don't see the point
    Well actually there are several potential points: 1) It might look better, 2) it might increase volume and sustain, and 3) it might stabilize expansion and contraction of the sides and back. Plus it is relatively easy to do so why not? Well first of all you have to do it with back on because you wouldn't want to apply finish along the sides of the back where it will be glued to the edges of the sides and the linings because glue doesn't adhere as well to finished wood as it does to bare wood. Just spray once the back is on and then close the box with the top. Sometimes I do it and other times not. Why? Because I'm not sure 1, 2, and 3 are true and it is an extra step so I don't always bother.

  6. #6
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    Jul 2012
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    Mangawhai NZ
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    Sometimes I do it and other times not. Why? Because I'm not sure 1, 2, and 3 are true and it is an extra step so I don't always bother.
    1 part science, 1 part uncertainty and 1 part pragmatism. Luthiery is a wonderful mix.
    Miguel

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Grand Junction, Colorado
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    I do it as sealing the inside slows down the absorption and release of humidity, which minimises cracks.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Yakima, WA
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    In my experience with instruments that have a sealer or some kind of finish on the inside, a few times in my shop I have had a guitar come in with a finish, shellac that was brushed on, and after some years have past, the finish collected a lot of dust and dirt that turned to an awful mess. I couldn't blow or wipe the dust out. It is for that reason I would not apply a finish to the inside. Also, some of the bracing on the inside was loose, which also had finish applied. What could have been a simple repair, turned into a costly one.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
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    Massachusetts, USA
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    From what I've read about furniture making, the idea of finishing the inside of pieces (as well as the backs of pieces that would be against a wall) is a fairly new idea. Say within the last few decades. I remember reading an article by a woodworking journalist who said that he had looked inside about a zillion old pieces of furniture to see how they were constructed, but had virtually never seen an old piece with original finish on the inside. This has been true of every old piece of furniture I've personally looked at, although I haven't looked at enough to be considered any kind of expert. It's now conventional wisdom that both sides of every board must be covered with finish to prevent warping. But if that were really true, there would be no old pieces of furniture that still had flat boards. The reality is that if the lumber was properly dried when the piece was made, it was properly constructed, and the piece was used or stored under decent conditions (e.g. not exposed to water and not subjected to extreme changes in humidity like moving from the Amazon to the desert), the piece can stay stable for hundreds of years.

    Of course instrument making is a very specialized form of woodworking, and uses some very thin pieces of wood. But I believe a lot of instruments over the centuries have been made without finish on the inside, and a lot of them have held up well if used and stored under decent conditions. Knowing the conventional wisdom regarding finishes in furniture making is just wrong, I would have no problem skipping finishing the inside of an instrument.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    I invite people to get a piece of spruce and finish one side only (be it a quick wipe of shellac or spraying nitro etc) ....and see how the wood reacts.

    In short, apart from slowing down the intake and release of moisture, finishing the end grain and both sides of a piece of wood (be it a table top or instrument top) is good woodworking practice to equalise the moisture absorption/evaporation rate.

    Also, it is more logical to attempt as best we can to minimise cracks occurring then holding to the notion that we shouldn't do all we can as it is a little easier to repair if it does happen.

    PS it is easier to repair a crack without a finish on the inside but its only 20 seconds of rubbing with alcohol to take of a little shellac on the inside. As for it collecting more dust...I don't know what to say to that apart from my advice to play the thing and stop looking inside it.
    Last edited by Beau Hannam Ukuleles; 12-04-2019 at 06:59 PM.

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