Here's a question from the Volume 4 - Issue #3 issue of RodMaker magazine:
"Fairly new to rod building, I'm starting to get the hang of finishing
when it comes to getting complete and level coverage. However, I still
have trouble getting a cosmetically good finish between the feet of the
guides. On the outer edges of the wrap, a finish with a crisp and
straight edge is simple enough. I hold my brush still and turn the
blank. Between the fore and aft foot of a double foot guides, things
get a little more complicated. If I underwrap, the finish will cover
the space between the feet and it's not so bad. But, if I don't
underwrap, getting that "finish - bare blank - finish" with a straight
edge gets time consuming and difficult. As you know, simply rotating
the rod in this area will not allow the finish to get underneath in the
tunnel between the guide and the blank. Dabbing Flex Coat with a
toothpick sometimes leaves a glob that can be hard to control. One
slip and the finish will get on the part that I want to be bare and
getting it off is a "bear." In my area (South Mississippi) humidity
and temperature is high most of the year. This gives me little time
to work most finishes. If I make this job too tedious, my finish will
set in the cup before I get through with all the wraps.
So, is there a trick? I've seen you mention in RodMaker and on the
Rod Guild message board that you can get the finish on your wraps
in a matter of minutes. Can you help me speed up my process without
sacrificing quality? I build casting rods mostly and Flex Coat is
my finish of choice.
Tom, IMHO, RodMaker Magazine is the best thing going. Keep up the
good work. If the preceding question imparts too much on the time
that you spend with RodMaker, ditch the question and I'll figure
out something. By all means, don't let my trivial problem hold
up as great a production as RodMaker. I mean this with all sincerity
and eagerly await the next issue.
Thanks again and Best Regards," Greg . . .Moss Point, MS
You're already on the right track, but need to modify your technique
just a tad in order to get a nice, square edge on the inside edge of
your wraps. First, you are finishing correctly when you load the
brush and hold it above the wrap, rotating the rod underneath and
letting the finish flow down and onto the wrap. This is the quickest
way to get good coverage and a square edge. For a steady hand, place
a block of wood or some other stable item directly behind the wrap and
use it to rest your forearm or the heel of your hand as you hold the
brush above the wraps. Move it along as you go. This will help
greatly in getting a crisp, square edge on your finish beyond the edge
of each wrap.
I personally like to use flat brushes rather than round ones.
Normally I use either 1/4, 3/8 or 1/2 inch brushes depending upon
the size of the wrap areas I need to cover. If you will hold such
a flat brush so that just one edge barely overlaps the inside edge
of the wrap and the blank, you should not get any finish into that
area between the guide feet. The amount that will get onto that
particular blank area will depend solely on how far past the edge of
the guide wrap you hold the brush.
As far as filling in the tunnel between the guide feet and the wrap
you can do this with a toothpick or other pointed instrument. Just
get a small drop of finish on the end and push the tip of the
instrument against the tunnel opening and hold it there. The
finish will be sucked into the tunnel opening. You can add
additional drops of finish until the tunnel will accept no more.
This isn't hard to do, but you have to do it before the finish gets
too thick and hard to manage. Otherwise instead of a drop, you'll
get a string of finish that is hard to place anywhere.
Working in a cooler area will extend the working life of your
finish slightly, as will pouring it out onto a flat surface of
something like aluminum foil. Humidity has no effect on your
epoxy rod finish. If the working life of your particular brand
of finish is still creating problems for you, then you must either
work faster, change finish brands, or finish your rod in two or
more stages with a fresh batch of finish for each stage.
Everyone develops their own technique for finishing as they progress.
My own method consists of getting the wraps well covered quickly,
(spending perhaps only a few seconds per guide wrap) and then going
back and touching in any dry areas and filling in the tunnels. I
find that a finish that provides even 15 minutes of working life is
more than adequate for my personal technique. The finish you are
using may require you to adjust your technique slightly or your
technique may require you to select a different finish altogether.
~ Tom Kirkman
If you have any tips or techniques, send them
along! Help out your fellow rodmakers!
~ Publisher, FAOL