I'm chuffed to my latest pinky plonk ukukele, however the mahogany neck is bare, should I varnish, polish or leave bare. I did use diesel on my last but im not sure.....any advice

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I sprayed my mahogany uke neck with clear enamel.  I also sprayed one purple for my daughter's uke.  I would do something to toughen it up.  The wood is pretty fragile if left bare.

IMHO, clear enamel - too soft and dries slowly. Polyurethane,- some fairly hard but still slow to fully dry. Lacquer - usually available in cans of clear, white and black, for colors use clear over a wash or base coat. Dries in minutes to handle and usually very hard durable finish. When I use a clear coating it is always lacquer.
Thanks. Clear lacquer it is

This one has a couple of coats of sanding sealer brushed on,then 3 or 4 coats of aerosol lacquer,lightly sanded between coats

I like to use wipe on varnish. Is easy to use, impossible to mess up, looks great and dries hard. Check out this book I found at the local library 'Wood Finishing 101' by Bob Flexner. He talks about all the various products that you see in Home Depot and hardware stores and gives the pros and cons for each. Perfect for CBG builders. Good luck!.

I used shellac diluted with alcohol rubbed on.

Tru oil is a easy finish that holds up very well. I've done a few of my last builds with it and I'm very happy with the results. You can build up as many thin layers as you want for a very high gloss finish....or, buff it back with #oooo steel wool to a flatter finish. Works well on gunstock too lol :)

I've been using tru oil too. It's so easy to work with and safe too. I dont have any decent places for spraying, so the wipe-on technique is perfect for me. It's also extremely easy to touch up if any wear does occur, but I've found it to be very resilient. The only drawback is it takes a lot of coats to get a super high lustre, but that's not my style anyway.

I'm using Tru Oil for my latest build. 12 hours between coats, wipe off the excess immediately, very light sanding between coats with 600grit. I've gone 6 coats and it has a good shine to it already. Will try wet sanding it today.

Have you ever used it before Rickey? I can do 3-4 coats on a good day with only a couple of hours dry time between coats. I usually knock it back a little between coats with the #0000 steel wool and wipe on another coat using the small cotton gun cleaning patches. My best results come from starting at one end and working toward the other using thin layers and letting it level out itself............believe me, a little goes a long way ;)

I've been pretty happy with Tru Oil when I thin it down a bit with mineral spirits...  but I like the wood feel...  so I normally go 1 thin coat, or I'll use just a coat of boiled linseed oil...

Good question....I too want to know the answer to this question.....


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