The next steps in this process were to apply new surfaces to the ukulele. It is this resurfacing that brings the ukulele back to life, it feels much newer than the beaten and worn surface that was there prior to sanding it down.
First of all I wanted to paint the headstock black again. I only wanted to paint the front of the headstock and I was going to use a spray paint (aerosols allow an even surface to be achieved easily and speedily), I therefore needed to cover those areas I did not want to paint. I did this using plastic sheet and masking tape, carefully edging the front of the headstock with masking tape.
I created a make shift spray booth outside using boxes, doing this outside provided the necessary ventilation, however, I also wore a mask to reduce the fumes I inhaled during these stages of the project.
After several coats of paint had been applied, roughed up, and reapplied, I removed the tape and plastic, and cleaned up the adhesive residue using a little solvent, to reveal the newly painted surface… I was very happy with the result.
The next step was to apply lacquer to the surfaces both the painted surface and the wooden surface. I did not want to lacquer the fretboard so I careful covered that using masking tape to create the edges and plastic to cover the fretboard.
The same spray booth was used, and with lacquer it is very important to wear a mask. The only problem with working outside is that when you live in a desert you have to wait until very late at night to undertake the process in order for the outside temperature to cool enough to be suitable for the application to work! Several layers of lacquer were applied every day for three days.
After this process, I was able to remove and clean up the masking tape and plastic from the fretboard, and then to oil the fretboard. Oil was applied every ten minutes for several hours, after which the fretboard really began to come back to life and the cracks and dryness began to disappear. Eventually the fretboard on this ukulele will need to be replaced if the instrument is to remain playable, but, for now it was nice to be able to improve its condition and retain the old fretboard.
Phew… almost finished!