ROD BUILDING TIPS
Finish Cracking

By Tom Kirkman, (RodMaker Magazine)

Here's a question from the September/October 2000 issue of RodMaker magazine:

"I finished a Sage two-hander (15' 3pc, GIII) using single foot Fuji SIC guides, regular Gudebrod size A thread and DuraGloss epoxy rod finish. Now after a few trips and a couple Atlantic Salmon (the best at 20 lbs.) I notice small white "dots" or lines in the epoxy finish right at the foot of the guides where the thread climbs onto the guide foot. The problem is only seen on the tip-section, where movement of the rod is maximum. Single foot and double foot guides on the mid and bottom sections are fine.

Now my suggestions as to why I see the problem are either I have not removed enough material from the guide foot and a stiff guide foot would probably not follow as well the blank movements, causing stretching and cracking of the epoxy. Or possibly I used too much thread tension. Would this add to the problem?

I would appreciate any comment you may have on my suggestions or other causes. I will not make any repairs until the season is over. The rod performs just fine and I plan to use it throughout the rest of the season. Sigurd. . . Bergen, Norway

RodMaker Magazine

Finish cracking at the edge of the guide foot is a problem for most, if not all rod builders. The problem lies in the fact that the blank and the guide foot flex at different rates and therefore some movement occurs between the two whenever the blank/rod is flexed. This movement often creates a small crack at the extreme edge of the guide foot. If the blank and guide foot were completely immodilized against one another it is likely that these cracks would not develop, but nylon wrapping thread, even when coated with epoxy finish, will stretch to some degree. More thread tension can actually help, but could also damage today's thinner walled, high modulus blanks.

So what is a rod builder to do? Removing more material from the guide foot and creating a sort of 'feathered' edge can help. A thinner foot is one that flexes more easily and can stave off these cracks, to some degree. Some builders have experimented with different finishes and/or different finishing techniques. Most have meet with limited success. Until we have guides made from a more flexible material or with a more flexible design in the area of the foot itself, these cracks are likely to be around awhile.

If it helps ease your mind at all, I will mention that these minor cracks or stretch marks do not easily allow the penetration of water and thus the wraps are not quickly underminded. I have rods with these same cracks that have fished well for over a decade and still show no sign of needing a re-wrap. ~ Tom Kirkman

Publishers note:

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along! Help out your fellow rodmakers! ~ Publisher, FAOL

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