Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Filling Veneer Chip - Silvertone Baritone Ukulele

I'm going to attempt to patch the veneer chips on the headstock that were caused by a careless removal of the original nut some time in the past. 

Since I don't have any scraps of mahogany laying around to make a patch from, I bought this wood putty called "KwikWood" and I'm trying that. 

Basically it's an epoxy putty that you stick on/in your wood crack or chip or whatever, let it dry, and then finish it. 

I quickly found out that this stuff is tricky to work with if you have a tiny chip to fill, which I do.

It took a few tries, but I managed to get a small piece of putty on my chip.  I'd guess this stuff will work well on bigger spots - just a bit hard to handle for such a small repair.  But I think it's going to work.

You can also see some scratches I want to work on as well.

Next I need to stain the putty to match the headstock veneer.  The KwikWood container says the putty is stainable, "but it absorbs stain differently than wood."  Sounds ominous.
I have a handful of stain colors on hand, but nothing that is remotely close to matching the Silvertone's veneer. 

So it's off to the Despot to get some stain.  I actually took the camera with me to try and match the color of the veneer in one of my pictures to a stain sample.

It didn't work.  I wound up making 2 trips and buying 5 (count 'em) cans of stain.  So my investment, including the putty, is almost $30 to fix a 3mm chip in the veneer.

I justify this by telling myself that now I have about 10 different colors of stain on hand for future projects.  And I make a bunch of samples on scrap maple to boot.

The downside is none of my out-of-the-can colors match closely enough for my satisfaction.  So I come up with a few mixtures of different colors and try them out on a piece of board to hold up to the uku.

It's hard to tell in this picture, but I came up with a mix that is Pretty Darn Close.

And I start applying the stain with a small paintbrush.  Turns out that "absorbs stain differently" really means "doesn't absorb stain well."

After two coats, the fill is slightly grey colored.  After 6 or 7 coats, it's beginning to look light brown.  All in all, I wind up putting about 20 coats of stain on the putty fill.   Touch a bit on, go away for a couple hours, come back, touch a bit on, etc.

But it looks very close in color in the end.  Considering I'm the only one who knows there is a repair there, I think I'm happy.  Maybe.

In between the multiple coats of stain, I decide to start cleaning up the body of the ukulele.  For a first pass, I use some Kramer's Best Blemish Clarifier.

This is an all-natural finish cleaner, and it is truly amazing.  It's a cleaner for any sort of old finish - varnish, shellac, lacquer, what have you.  (We have lacquer here).  Note that I did not say 'modern' finish.  It doesn't play well with poly or acrylic at all.  Which is good, since I don't play well with poly either.

Just put a small amount on a soft cloth, wipe it on and you have magic.  Highly recommended stuff.   Their web site is not so great, but the product is amazing.  I have another Kramer's product I'll be using on the uku also.


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