Since I started building folk instruments two years ago, and as I had everything to learn on my own (and with the help of all those generous builders/teachers on the Web), I've made innumerable mistakes.
There are so many tasks to perform in building an instrument, choices to make, so many things that can go wrong, that do go wrong, so many mishaps and frustrations. But so many joys also, tiny triumphs and lilliputian pleasures. And then, sometimes, there's the coincidence of effort and good fortune: not entirely luck because you've been trying so hard and experimenting, but still, the good fortune that befalls you is a gift. And it is an extraordinary feeling to look upon what you've made, but that was also partly made for you so that you think: what great good fortune, this is so perfect!
In this instance, it is this new finish I'm trying and I knew straightaway when I applied the first coat yesterday that I had chanced upon something special. Today, as I buffed the uke before applying a second coat, I could see the wood coming alive: all the patterns and waves and variegated colors. I'll post pics in a few days, when I've done all the coats, not sure how many yet.
This is the back of a uke I made last year: the butterfly is there to hide an ugly knothole in the wood and remind me not to take things too seriously!