misterg’s spice rack uke build : Part 8 – Painting the body & more frets

I like wood.

I liked the grain pattern in the edges of the body.

I would have liked to finish it in a nice transparent sunburst.

You can get aerosol cans of tinted nitro that would do the pukka job, but just the colours come in at over £45, plus the clear coat.

And the grain on the body isn’t that great…
And the edges would be under the black, anyway…
And my son would like black…
And I would probably louse up a sunburst anyway and end up having to paint the body a solid colour.

I experimented on scrap trying to make a sunburst with wood dye…

…then I hit the body with 3 coats of primer and some metallic black. :-[

Not too bad, actually! 🙂

It’s Vauxhall Diamond Black in an aerosol can from Halfords. I was very impressed with the paint – The primer built up well and was easy to sand; the top coat went on smoothly with a good gloss, and didn’t splatter at all.

I wet sanded the primer which was a bit of a mistake in hindsight. Despite my best efforts, the wood got wet around the screw holes and started swelling. I stopped as soon as I noticed it, but you can still see the witness marks if you know where to look. Luckily, the worst is hidden by whatever is being held on by the screws. Dry sand next time. (Next time??)

There seem to be two ways of dealing with the binding when painting a body. You can mask it off, or do what the cool kids do and just paint over it and scrape it off later.

I wish I hadn’t tried to be one of the cool kids 🙁

The paint was stuck like the proverbial to the binding, the primer especially. Trying to scrape the primer off with a razor blade went badly, with gouges and chatter-marks. After getting it so nice on the bare wood, this was disappointing :(. I also slipped and put a fine scratch on the front of the body… :'(.

What you need is a tool I saw on the TDPRI Telecaster forum – a dowel with a Stanley knife blade in it:

The dowel rests on the body and controls how far the scraping goes, and the Stanley knife blade is rigid enough not to chatter. I used this to rescue the binding after the primer and to remove the colour coat, and it is *much* better than the razor blade. If I ever do this again, I would *definitely* mask off the binding!

This is a metallic finish, so needs a transparent lacquer over the top. I would have just sprayed it, but that the instructions on the can said to sand the paint back before lacquer.

Sand a metallic?? Surely not!?

Yep, sand it – it’s important (it said so on the can). So I did. And sanded through the paint! >:( >:( >:(

That isn’t a highlight (in any sense!):

This time I masked off the binding (and the rest of the body) and used the last of the aerosol can to put a couple more coats on. Right down to the last drop, the can sprayed well and gave a good gloss:

The binding ended up quite undercut from the body, but looks a lot better than it did!

I dutifully flatted the top off again and hit it with 5 coats of lacquer (flatted off after 3 coats). The lacquer sprayed like the aerosol cans I remember – inconsistent and splattery once the can was half empty.


When we had the strings on, I noticed that a number of frets around the 9th – 15th were high on one side. It turns out that I hadn’t cut the slots quite deep enough here – only by 0.1 – 0.2mm, but enough to leave a noticeable gap under the fret, once you know where to look. One, in particular was high, so I very gingerly eased it out of the slot with some pincers, ran the saw through the slot again and pressed in a new length of fret wire (which is when I took the photo of the method). It went so well, that I pulled and replaced 6 in total 🙂

The 9th & 12th have been replaced here:

That’s better:

Why don’t I quit while I’m ahead?

A few of the position markers were sitting a little proud of the fingerboard, so I had the bright idea of using the dowel-in-the-drill-press method to pressing them home. I couldn’t get them to budge (I think there was probably too much glue in the bottoms of their holes), and what’s more, I managed to bruise the fretboard in the process :'(:

Luckily, a hot steam iron and a damp cloth managed to bring most of it out again. Phew!

I just shaved the ends of the markers flush with a sharp knife.

Just got to wait for that lacquer to dry now…

More tomorrow…

One thought on “misterg’s spice rack uke build : Part 8 – Painting the body & more frets

  1. None of your “photobucket” images are being displayed – I’m seeing an error message instead saying “please update your account to enable 3rd party hosting”. This means all I can see is your text 🙁

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