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Thread: Summer project -- refinishing and stencilling

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    The frozen wastes of Arctic Europe

    Default Summer project -- refinishing and stencilling

    The summer is coming, and I have plans. I am going to buy a reasonable soprano ukulele (perhaps a Lanikai LU21), strip the top, refinish it in the colour of my choice, stencil a simple design on it, then clear-coat it.

    (I have discovered that Inkscape has a fantastic "Trace Bitmap" function on it that will allow me to produce a stencil from any image I choose.)

    Details will follow in a new thread when I get started.

    Anyway, on to the questions:

    • How should I go about refinishing the top? Should I strip it completely before colouring, or should I simply key it, and apply the new colour on top of most of the old finish?
    • And in either case, what should I use, stripper, or abrasives?
    • And if abrasives, what grades should I start and stop at?

    Oh, and just to remind me that my ambitions are humble in comparison to some, here is a picture of a stencilled ukulele that I stole from here:

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Near Cincinnati, OH


    Stripper can run and destroy the finsh in other places - do you intend to refinish the sides?

    Sandpaper can wear through the thin top veneer and make an ugly line. If you use sandpaper I would stick to 100 grit or finer to avoid going too far.

    I heartily recommend the LU-21 for this, I have one, it is very sturdy and has lasted 5 years, thrown in suitcases and dragged all over the world, or thrown in the trunk of a car with my other gear. It sounds pretty good, though not as nice as my solid-wood ukes. I did do a set-up, it got sharp as you played up the neck when I first bought it.
    Last edited by Pondoro; 04-06-2012 at 06:20 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Southcentral Alaska


    I'm painting one now -we just sanded lightly with steel wool so the paint would stick. I wouldn't use stripper- too harsh. Fine sandpaper, as Pondoro mentioned, would also work.

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