First comes the sanding. I sanded each uke to 320 grit. Then comes the pore filling. Many of the woods used for instruments have substantial pores which must be filled if you are to get a smooth and shiny finish. With this build, the necks are Honduran Mahogany which needs filling. So does the Walnut, Rosewood and Cocobolo.
For this build I am going to use the sawdust/shellac pore fill technique. Very simple and effective and the wood remains it's natural color. The secret is fine sawdust created on your sander. Sand the end grain to get the finest sawdust. Then use a cotton ball and 1 pound cut dilute shellac.
Put just a few drops of shellac on the cotton ball and shake a little sawdust out of your "salt shaker" onto the wood and start rubbing in a circular motion. The sawdust is moistened by the shellac and rubbed into the pores, filling them up.
Sawdust collects on the cotton and is distributed as you rub. The shellac drys very quickly as the alcohol evaporates. Your first coat should take only five minutes. Let it dry, then sand lightly with 320 grit and apply another coating. Don't put too much shellac or sawdust on or it will get gummy.
After the third application you will notice a bit of a shine. Look closely, the pores are filled. let it dry and you can begin the French Polish process. That will happen tomorrow. I got all the bodies done also. They should quickly take on a shine tomorrow. Thats always fun !
As usually happens, about the time the finishing begins I begin to get the itch to start a new build. Here I am roughing out the shape of the Walnut neck on the bandsaw. I am going to be building Concert Pinecones this time. I picked out nice clear Engelmann Spruce from my stash, for the tone wood. I have not made Pinecones for quite a while, and am looking forward to it.