A ukulele doesn’t necessarily need a finish. Light woods will become gray after a while, and you have to be careful to avoid dents and scratches. But wood is a natural material. I made samples in the past to verify new concepts and designs. I didn’t use any finish on some of these ukuleles. I am astonished how good they are still looking. Ukuleles which are played a lot should get some protection. Here are some suggestions:

Clear coat:

 A glossy or satin clear coat gives a very good protection

 A spray cabin and some experience is needed.

 The hard surface might have an negative impact on the sound quality


 You can just wipe the oil to the wood

 Oil gives a nice “honey” color

 The protection is very bad

Danish Oil:
This is a mixture of oil and clear coat. It is also used for wooden floors.

 Can be wiped to the wood easily

 Gives a nice color

 Protects the wood

Established, traditional way to finish stringed instruments

 Can be wiped to the wood easily

 Gives a nice color

 Protects the wood

 You need to wipe up to 15 layers on the wood, and the finish should be renewed from time to time

If you decide to spray a finish, then it could be done after assembly. You should tape the fretboard and the bridge, and put some paper or clothes into the sound-hole.
If you use a finish, which is wiped on, then it is much easier to do it before assembly, because the corners and edges around the neck and bridge can be reached much better. But you have to tape the areas which will be glued. Never try to glue something on a finish. A bridge, which is glued on an oiled body will never stay the string tension.


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