OK... I've wanted to do this for a long time, and since I am currently setting up my garage shop to build some mandolins, I decided to jump in on a refinish and subsequent re-setup of my Michael Kelly Legacy O - F-4 style. I bought this early on in my mandolin voyage in '04, before I joined the Cafe. It is an '02 or '03 model - "B" stock and I got it pretty cheap from a pawn shop on ebay, so I have always considered it potential project material. It sounded pretty good but initially had a problem staying in tune. I have changed the tuners to black-button elites from Stew-Mac which look and work great. I put a cast tailpiece and nicer bridge. At one point a year-and-a-half ago or so I sanded off about half the finish and rubbed it out to a nice lower sheen finish, and it just kept sounding and playing better.
Then some guy here on the Cafe posted pictures of his "The Loar" LM-700 that he had scraped and sanded the finish off, and was impressed to say the least. I had suspected that under the thick dark shiny finish was some very nice wood but I didn't know how easy getting to it would be. I never liked the dark black and red-orange finish anyway and want to finish in a very natural thin wood grain finish, but first I gotta get this stuff off. The first two photos show the original finish in it's glossy glory. While I'm at it I'm reshaping and carving the scrolls and working the recurve too.