MISTAKE #3: Finishing problems.

Finishing mistakes are a bit tougher to conceal than wrapping goofs. Just as the name implies, the finish is the final step and what you or your customer will have to stare at for the rest of the rod’s life. The most common error is improper mixing. I have witnessed some extraordinary bungled finishing jobs because the rod builder did not take the time to properly dispense the right amount or did not mix the finish properly. Varnish finish type rod builders can ignore this part as it mostly applies to the two part epoxy finishes. I have a particular sequence of steps that will eliminate the risk of the epoxy finish not curing properly. First, make sure you dispense the right amount of part A and part B into an approved mixing vessel, cup or whatever as long as it is approved for the epoxy you are using. Second, I allow the finish to ‘rest’ and come to room temperature before the actual stirring starts. After a couple of minutes, I will mix for a full 3 minutes making sure that I get all the part A and part B mixed together. After the 3 minutes, I allow the mix to rest again for a couple of minutes to allow the air bubbles to percolate to the top and dissipate. No reason the apply air bubbles in your mix to your thread wraps. Everybody knows that thread wraps will turn dark and somewhat translucent when the epoxy is applied unless you have treated the thread with a color preserver of some sort. The problem with applying the epoxy directly to ‘untreated’ thread is that the epoxy is continuously curing as you are applying the finish. By the time you get to either the butt section or the tip section, depending on where you start the epoxy finish has started to cure and will not saturate the thread wraps evenly and you will have a different thread tone from one end of the rod to the other. To eliminate this problem, I take the time to ‘Pre-Treat’ my thread wraps. Not using a color preserver but using spar varnish to get the same color tone as if I applied the epoxy directly to the threads. By using this spar pre-treatment, I accomplish three things; first, the spar is very viscous and penetrates through the thread wraps to the blank itself. Second, the color tone is now even on all my wraps and third, the dried spar varnish is a harder surface for the epoxy to easily flow and level out on the wraps. By following this pre-treatment you will be amazed how easy the epoxy finish flows over the wraps and your finish will be professional grade. You most likely will still have apply two coats of epoxy to get the glass like finish we all admire.

Another finishing mistake that I would like to cover is not rotating the rod during the drying phase. You will need to rotate the rod for at least 2-3 hours so the epoxy finish will not sag and has a chance to level out. Even when I did a complete varnish finish I rotated the rod after about the 3rd or 4th coat of varnish just to help dry and level.

IMPROPER ROTATION DURING DRYING TIME

SUMMARY: Easy to avoid.

All of these ‘Mistakes’ if you will are relatively easy to avoid if you take the time to properly layout your grip, reel seat and tip length, wrap with patience and take the time to mix and apply your finish. Have patience and you will have a professional looking custom build.

1 thought on “THE THREE MOST COMMON MISTAKES IN FLY ROD BUILDING – MISTAKE #3

  1. Bill Sidney says:

    I never let my Epoxy set as you did + never used varnish ,will give it a try on next build Thanks for the tip

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