Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Circa 1929 Martin Tenor Ukulele - Cleanup Finished

Coming down the home stretch.  I need to clean the fingerboard, and then put some Kramer's on the body, string it up and twang!

There was a lot of dirt, crud, buildup on the frets.  Actually along the sides of the frets.  I took an X-Acto knife to this stuff to free most of it up.  Ugh.

I had just read on the interwebs about this Dunlop fingerboard cleaner and conditioner.  Since I have instruments that could use it, I got some.

The cleaner rocks.  I don't know what's in it, but it removed all the grime from the ukulele's fingerboard.  I made a few passes - until a cloth stopped turning brown.

After the cleaning, I used some of the conditioner.  The fingerboard looks amazing now.

Final step was to polish the frets with these "fret erasers" from Stew-Mac.  I had been using fine steel wool, but wanted to give these a shot.

They work great at removing file marks (I didn't have them but I'm sure I will on some other instrument) and really polish the frets up nicely.

The fingerboard cleaned up, conditioned and frets cleaned.  It's gone from being black to its original color.

As an aside, this is Brazilian rosewood.  Martin used this on their instruments until the late 1960s when the export ban went into effect in Brazil.  At that time they switched to Indian rosewood.

I used Kramer's Best Blemish Clarifier and Antique Improver on the body.  These are two different products - the clarifier cleans up haze, seems to magically minimize the appearance of scratches, and just works wonders.  The Improver puts a nice gloss on the finish, and according to the Kramer's people, replenishes natural oils in the wood.

I've used their products for years and they are absolutely wonderful.

The back of the uku looks much better now.  You can see the repaired crack - it's visible, but it's solid.

The wear marks on the front look better after the Kramer's was put on.  The finish was pretty dirty too - now it's clean, had a nice gloss.  It looks like an old but cared for instrument.  A real relic (as opposed to those fake 'relics' that are prevalent today).

The beautiful rosewood bridge and ivory saddle.

I strung it up with this set of low G Aquila 'Bionylon' strings.  I got them because they have a wound 3rd and 4th string, which I wanted to try.

Now I have 2 ukuleles tuned to low G - this one and my Kanile'a.  I needed a low G tuning for one of these classes I'm in - it's a sight-reading class using  James Hill's books.  A lot of the parts are written for low G.  At first I wasn't sure, but now I dig that tuning.

Apparently I am being 'green' by using these strings.


Post a Comment 1 comments:

  • zardac said...
    February 19, 2013 at 3:06 PM
    I have used Kramer's on a bunch of antique stuff, and it works wondrously.

    Nonetheless, I'd hesitate to use it on my old archtop guitar.

    Kramer doesn't give it an unqualified thumbs up:
    "Though I do have some luthiers using my product in their work, I generally do not recommend its use to the general public..."

    I do like the results I've gotten from Virtuoso polish and cleaner.

    I've gotten a couple of compliments on the appearance of my 1940's guitar.

    One person opined that it looked like an old well cared for violin.

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