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How to clean the Kamaka semi-gloss lacquer finish

Pae — Jan 28, 2015 07:33PM HST

I have a new semi-gloss tenor from Kamaka, and wondered if anyone can give me advice on how to clean it. Can I use regular guitar polisher just like on other ukes?

I'm afraid that some specific polish cream might destroy the finish.

Thanks!


6 Community Answers

Joel Blechinger (The Ukulele Site Setup dept.) - Jan 30, 2015 01:25AM HST Best Answer

Hello Pae,

In the shop we use the Dunlop 65 guitar polish. This works fine to remove any residue or dirt that you cant get off with a micfrofiber cloth alone. I wouldn't recommend any fretboard cleaners or oils, waxes, or buffing compounds as you dont want to change the shine on the semi gloss finish you just want to gently remove any buildup of oil or residue. The best thing is to regularly wipe it down with the microfiber cloth alone to prevent buildup but if necessary a gentle wiping with the liquid based polish is fine. Aloha!


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Donna - Jan 30, 2015 at 01:24AM HST

You can clean ukuleles with a lacquer finish, which includes your semi-gloss Kamaka, with a damp cloth, not wet. Then lightly buff it with a dry, soft, clean cloth, preferably cotton or very soft microfiber intended for this purpose (see 'Accessories' on the Ukulele Site). Never use anything with wax or oil in it on the lacquer finish. Fingerboard oil should be used only on the fingerboard, not on the lacquer finish of your instrument.


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Bo - Jan 30, 2015 at 01:25AM HST

Dan Erlewine of StewartMac has some great books on guitar maintenance and repair, and the finish on ukes should be no different.
He recommends a step by step escalation - first, simply breathe on the instrument to moisten it, then wipe with a wet rag! Sounds silly, but unless your uke is really dirty, this does the job.

For a semi gloss uke, that's as far as I would go. Moist breath and a soft rag (old cotton T-Shirts work well) will do the job of cleaning all but the dirtiest of ukes. I don't see a need to use a polish as there's no 'shine' to a semi-gloss finish, but that's a matter of opinion.

But, if you want to go further or have dirt that can't be removed by the moist breath treatment, then you can try a bit of GUITAR polish -[NOT FURNITURE POLISH!!!]- but first try it on a small, out of the way spot on the uke. Apply to this small area, wipe it off, and give it a few minutes. Then see if the finish looks okay (is not discolored, dissolved, etc. If it looks fine, you're good.

Apply the polish to the RAG, NOT the UKE! Wipe the uke down lightly with the damp rag, then wipe off quickly with another dry soft rag. Give it a few minutes, then buff out the finish again to remove any remaining polish and give it a little sheen.

If this is your first time cleaning an instrument, do one surface at a time - I recommend starting with the back, then proceed to top, sides. I never polish necks, only clean them.


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Joel Blechinger (The Ukulele Site Setup dept.) - Jan 30, 2015 at 01:25AM HST

Hello Pae,

In the shop we use the Dunlop 65 guitar polish. This works fine to remove any residue or dirt that you cant get off with a micfrofiber cloth alone. I wouldn't recommend any fretboard cleaners or oils, waxes, or buffing compounds as you dont want to change the shine on the semi gloss finish you just want to gently remove any buildup of oil or residue. The best thing is to regularly wipe it down with the microfiber cloth alone to prevent buildup but if necessary a gentle wiping with the liquid based polish is fine. Aloha!


rated : 1 Up Down

Michael - Feb 04, 2015 at 07:24PM HST

Hi,

Anything appropriate for your guitar should be fine on your uku. I use Dunlop 65 lemon oil on my fret board and Renaissance wax on my ukus and get good results.

Good Luck.


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Andy Chen - Feb 04, 2015 at 07:24PM HST

Actually, I would like to know the answer to this question, too.


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Pae - Feb 27, 2015 at 08:30PM HST

Thank you, guys, for great answers.

I've been avoiding lemon oil on the fretboard on the Kamaka. But I used to use lemon oil on the fretboard on my KoAloha, and it worked great.

I recently notice that my Kamaka semi-gross has residue on the fretboard after having not played the uke for months. I'll use just microfiber cloth to clean it, and will report back the results.

Thank you again. I appreciate your advice.


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