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What varnish can I use to protect signatures that I have collected on my travelling Ukulele

Nichola Burke — Jan 28, 2015 10:03PM HST

My Mother is 90 years old and I recently travelled to the U.K. from Australia to the celebration. Whilst there I met many old and dear friends and got them all and my Mother to sign my travelling Ukulele. These signatures are precious to me and I would like to preserve them. What varnish can I use that will not bleed the ink into the wood? The signatures were made with a marker pen.
Thanks for your help.

1 Community Answers

Joel - Mar 17, 2015 at 10:06PM HST

The Ukulele Site Agent

I spoke to a luthier who does a lot of refinishing and repairs for us on used instruments. He suggested using a very thin layer of shellac to coat the signature. You can purchase it in a spray can so its easy to apply. You just need to make sure the surface of the instrument is clean and tape off anything that doesn't already have finish on it with blue painters tape (bridge, fingerboard, cover soundhole, strings ect.) If the signature is on the top, cover up and tape off the sides. Hold the can about a 12-16'' away from the instrument and just do a fine dusting with the shellac, you dont want to put a full-on layer, you just want enough to very thinly coat the uke. Almost like your just misting it and letting it fall evenly rather than just aiming for the one spot with the signature, you still want to get an even coating.

Later on if you do need to remove the shellac it wont be that difficult as long at it isn't laid on too thick.

This isnt the same type of finished used on that instrument though. If you wanted a consistent coat that covers the entire instrument and looks more professional its a much more elaborate process. If you are mostly interested in protecting the signatures, the shellac should do the job. Just do a few practice runs with a scrap piece of wood so you are familiar with how the shellac will dispense and cover the area you want to protect.


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