Here's a question from Volume 4, Issue #3 Issue of RodMaker magazine:
"I wrote to you about a month ago concerning the rod I was building.
I was having trouble with the finish drying properly. Well since then I have
completely redone that section of the rod and had put on my first coat of
finish. I used a hair dryer to try to get the few bubbles out that I had. I
also purchased a new finish, LS2000, to use this time.
Well, I'm writing this to you cause I'm still having problems. Even though I
used the hair dryer and got out all the bubles I could see under a 3x lens
there still seems to be some bubles that remained. The few places I am
talking about are more like if the bubbles burst inward and the finish didn't
fill in the area.
I am about at the end of the everything I have read. I know it's not the finish
as the cup that I use as a test pot looks great.
Are there any other suggestions you can offer? . . . "
Tom . . . Malvern, PA
Bubbles in the finish are a constant headache for rod builders. The
LS2000, and the newer Supreme are great at releasing any introduced
bubbles, but the heat you applied may have contributed to the problem.
Let me explain.
Most epoxy rod finishes of late can be gently heated in order to reduce
bubbles. This gentle application of brief heat will temporarily reduce the
viscosity of the finish which allows any bubbles to rise to the surface and
escape. However the LS epoxy finishes are made with a different type of
amine in the hardener, which actually boils at about 160F so any addition
of heat that raises the temperature to that level can actually create more bubbles
rather than eliminate them. Notice the finish in your cup, which I assume you
didn't heat, does not have any bubbles like the ones on your wraps. See the
Luckily, the maker of the LS finishes formulated these epoxy finishes to release
bubbles on their own, without any need for the application of heat. All you need
to do is reduce the depth of finish so the bubbles can rise and leave the mix on
their own. After mixing in your cup or shot glass, pour the mix out onto a flat
piece of aluminum foil. Let it sit for a few minutes and watch the bubbles
race to the surface and disappear! (This procedure works well for any epoxy
finish, but take the working or pot life of your particular finish into account lest you
allow the finish to sit too long before you begin working.) Next, take care not to
do too much brushing as you apply your finish. I like to load my brush, hold it
above the wrap and bring it down onto the wrap as I rotate the rod underneath it.
One or two revolutions is all it takes. If you apply the finish like you would brush on
paint you will introduce more bubbles into it. Some rod builders have dispensed
with brushes althogether, preferring instead to use non-porous items like metal
spatulas. Give that a try sometime - it might be for you.
Using a toothpick to mechanically pick, poke and pop bubbles is fine. Exhaling on the
finish will also get rid of bubbles to some extent. But whatever you do, if you are
using the LS finish, resist the temptation to apply heat from your hair dryer or
similar device. ~ Tom Kirkman
If you have any tips or techniques, send them
along! Help out your fellow rodmakers!
~ Publisher, FAOL