Kingcaster uke build : part 11 – How to paint an electric ukulele – Part 2

It’s going to get worse before it gets better…

I’m not sure that I have the patience to be an expert painter. I’m not sure that I have a gentle enough touch to be an expert painter. In my last post I talked about some of the challenges I’ve been having painting the body of my electric ukulele. I’d had a bit of a nightmare with the undercoat, but things seemed to be looking up. I closed off having applied the red finish and having left the body to hang for 24 hours. Have you been wondering what happened next? Read on…

Even before the paint had set things weren’t quite going according to
plan. I mentioned the problems that I’d had with strange pin-prick holes
in my last post.  I’d resorted to some targeted spraying to try and
remove and had ended up with runs. Having left the body to dry
overnight the finish had vastly improved. There were still runs to deal
with, but the finish was smooth with minimal orange-peel. I brought
the body inside and lay it flat on a cardboard box while I played
aroundwith the electrics
. When I came back to it, it had stuck to the
box! I pulled it off and there were marks in the paint! I rubbed them
thinking that it was fluff and made it worse! What on earth was
going on! In disgust, I wrapped the body in a towel and stewed for
a week. Unwrapping it revealed that the towel had marked the surface.
Can you believe that? There was an imprint of the pattern of the
fabric. I don’t really know what went wrong. Perhaps I should
have given it a lot longer to cure before handling it? With all the rain
we’ve had, perhaps humidity had effected it? Perhaps I just used
the wrong type of paint? I set to it with some sandpaper…

 

Here’s the body having been sanded. I didn’t do a great deal to it. My
attention was more on working out the runs, but I did take the chance
to smooth it all over. You can see that I got down to the undercoat in
a couple of places. That forced me into putting on another coat of red…

 

I did have maybe half a tin of the original red spray paint left, but given the problems I’d had with it, I took my chance to opt for a different type of paint. I popped down to
Halfords and got hold of some Sunburst Red. It’s practically the same as the previous
colour but I was hoping that it would go on a better and be a bit tougher.

 

Here’s the end result. It was looking pretty good! I had very little
trouble spraying and the end result was encouraging. At this point I
started to lose my way a bit. I knew that I needed to sand it to get a
smooth finish, but I wasn’t really sure how to go about it. After much
Googling I learnt about wet sanding, so that’s what I did…

 

I bought a selection of different grade sand paper and worked my way through them.
I learnt a couple of lessons here. The first on was the problem of getting water into the
screw holes. It caused the wood to rise a bit. I obviously tried to avoid it, but you
can’t wet sand without water! The second was to not sand it too much. Of course, I
had to sand it too much to learn that lesson. 😉 Sanding took the shine off the finish
but I also took it back to the undercoat in places.  I found that I got into a cycle
of touching up and sanding. Everything I did seemed to create some other problem.
Eventually I managed to work my way down to the finest grit. I finished off with
some T-cut, cleaned it and stood back to admire my creation. It wasn’t perfect,
but I figured that it was time to move on to lacquering.

I’ve applied the lacquer and it’s hanging up to dry. I’m going to leave it overnight and inspect in the morning. If I’m feeling brave I may simply sand and buff… at least that’s what I’m hoping for. With all the problems I’ve been having with paint, I wouldn’t bank on it!

Looking ahead I still have the neck to lacquer and I realised this week that I forgot to put some inlays into the neck! Oh dear! Wouldn’t it be terrible if I screwed that up! I’ve ordered some mother of pearl fret markers and will have to wait for them to arrive before I tackle that.

Can I keep focused and see this build through? I really don’t know…

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