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I have a question about making an impregnation tank for blanks - tried several rod tubes for making a tank, all works with the modified cap and integrated valve, but seems that the cap isn’t really airtight. If I put the pressure in, some air will squeeze out between cap and tube. I put an tight O-ring around the caps thread, but the air flows out anyway.

I read somewhere to put some Vaseline to the O-ring, but not sure I this works (do not have it tried again).  (Stefan Grau)

    I used galvanized 2" pipe, threaded on both ends and used a cap on the top end. Inside the cap I made a thick polyurethane washer so that the end of the pipe would seal against it. Also, I used Teflon pipe tape on the threads, and really cranked down on the cap with a pipe wrench, getting it all very tight. It takes some doing, but I got it to where it won't leak off the pressure.  (Martin-Darrell)

      Thanks very much - isn’t there a problem with the Teflon pipe tape and the polyurethane washer cause I think to make also impregnation by an acetone-Plexiglas solution?  (Stefan Grau)

        I use a xylene solvated polyurethane as the impregnating medium, and have no problems. There shouldn't be any problem with either the tape or the big washer in the acetone. You can always drop small pieces of each into acetone, and see if there is any adverse effect.  (Martin-Darrell)

          Be veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery careful with the xylene, major major carcinogen.  (Patrick Coffey)

            Always a good idea to point out the dangers of using organic solvents.

            Don't wear it, don't breathe it, don't eat it.  (Martin-Darrell)

Rule

I and several of my rod making friends have been using Nelsonite for a little while, I would guess we have used it on 20 or so rods and to the man we love it. We have cut several pieces after it was soaked for 3 or so minutes and in our opinion it does seem to soak through the rod. There is a color change that takes place. I personally like to soak it for 5 or more minutes to make sure, I know they said 30 seconds but I did not trust so short a time. And on the Spey Rod, thanks for the help, it did not seem to make it all the way through when I cut the end for the ferrule so I re soaked it for a few more minutes. Nelsonite does seem to make the rod just a tad faster and there is no noticeable change in weight but I have never weighed it before and after. Recently I sanded the rod down to 400 grit before I dipped it. After it dried, and that can take up to 72 hours I sanded the rod down again, this time to 600 grit and then used Perfect II. The rod is slick as glass and I do not think it needs any other coating. Waxing might have some advantages but the rod is beautiful as is. I missed some enamel when sanding the rod so re -sanded the places I missed and re Perfect II the Nelsonite was under the enamel and still gave a perfect finish. You have sharp edges, no runs, no drips, no errors. It sure beats dipping a rod. I know we all do things differently and there are more than enough opinions go around but we like Nelsonite in East Tennessee.  I have also have used Tru-Oil over Nelsonite and it works well if you do want an additional finish. Still no dipping. 

Let me clarify. There is no color change in the exterior of the bamboo a blond rod I made is still just as blond. The color change is when you look at the end of the rod at the power fibers, the interior of the rod should be darker.  Perfect II or III is a 3M rubbing  compound actually after I looked at the bottle I used 3M Rubbing compound medium cut. It is used in removing scratches in paint in the auto industry. It contains no wax or silicone. It removes scratches to 1200 grit. I think the fine goes to 2000 grit either works very well. It can be found at most Auto Parts stores that also carry car paint.

I know of two places to buy Nelsonite.  Barrington Cues for $12.95 per quart or from the factory in a 5 gallon can for about $80 (616-456-7098 Nelsonite Chemical Products Grand Rapids MI     #15B02 Stabilizer)

I hope that some of the more inquiring minds on the list will do a test to see if it is truth or hype.  (David Ray)

Rule

Three days have gone by after dipping a 42 1/2" scrap replacement tip for a 9 1/2 ft Leonard that didn't quite make it and the tip had to be remade.

  • I used Nelsonite 30B02 - 30 % resins and compatible with spar varnish. 
  • Made a copper dip tube 5 ft. long. 
  • Tip was sanded. Dipped for 5 minutes.  Nelsonite rep. said close grained woods take longer.
  • Weighed tip on my reloading scale.  150.3 grams and 152.8 grams after drying.
  • Tested deflection from the bench.
  • 33" with no weight.  26" with given weight before treating.  33" with no weight.  26 3/4" with given weight.
  • Color before dipping was blond.  Resins did change the color just a shade darker.  Not an unpleasant color.
  • Also dipped a 6" .380 hex butt scrap that I intend to make some ferrule plugs.
  • Used a razor saw and cut the end from the tip butt section.  Resin apparently  saturated all the way thru.  Same with the larger .380 piece.
  • Dipped the strip and didn't wipe it down.  There was a coat of resin that was removed with 4/0 steel wool and then polished with wool flannel rag.  It left a dull shine on the strip.

Conclusions are that it does add some weight but 1 1/2% is minimal.  It does stiffen the rod slightly.  While I personally prefer the finish that Sutherland Wells Spar gives to a rod, there might be some advantage to impregnate and dip a one coat finish. That might be lighter than three coats of varnish.  I have two Heddon  7 1/2 ft. 5 wts ready to sand.  I intend to impregnate one with one final coat of spar and finish the other rod with the usual three coats of varnish.

Not very scientific but I learned what I wanted to know.  (Jerry Young)

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I know that some of the members of this list have experimented with the Nelsonite.  What are your thoughts after trying it?  (Joe Byrd)

    I like it so far. It does look a bit "plasticy", but it is okay if buffed down a bit. I am going to use it on a lot of the new blanks I am milling out. Weight gain and action change is almost nil.  (Bob Maulucci)

Rule

Just thought I would give a report on the 35% Nelsonite with wax #3542B.  I like it. I have used it on several rods. First you need to get your blank perfect before you soak it. Sand down to 400 or 600 grit and then steel wool to get the bamboo as smooth as you can. I like to soak it overnight and then it seems to work best that when you let it dry wipe it down lightly with a paper towel and let it dry. Now all you have to do is to polish it and or buff to a nice sheen. I have also let the rod dry as is and used 400 and 600 grit sand paper to smooth the finish and then polish and I have also let the rod dry as is and used steel wool to smooth the surface and then polish. Stan Smartt used the paper towel method and it seems to work best. I have also used varnish and Al's Wrap Rite to cover the signature and they both seem to work.  I don't think that this finish will satisfy everyone, it will not be shiny enough. I do believe after reading the instructions that it should do a great job of keeping moisture out of the rod while adding very little weight.  (David Ray)

Rule

OK guys here's some new poop on impregnating. After the long discussions about Nelsonite, I had some discussions with Mike Brooks concerning his own mixture for impregnating as well as commercially available products. He basically said what some others had about Nelsonite -- basically it is acrylic plastic dissolved in acetone and gives a plastic-like finish. He then suggested I take a look at Daly's Sea Fin Ship N Shore Sealer. Said it was almost the same as his and cheaper plus it's in production. The catch is the company is in Seattle. After checking with them they sell it in quarts and gallons for $11.95 and $34.65 respectively. Shipping for small amounts will be $7.50 for UPS ground. I'm going to order enough to dip my Dickerson 7612 blank and see how it turns out and I'll get back to the list on that experiment in a month or two.    (Larry Puckett)

    Larry we can buy it out west here off the shelf and it works great  (Ron Rees)

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For my next rod I want to try impregnating, since the blank gets soaked in a liquid, what would be the best glue?  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I've successfully used resorcinol before impregnating rods.  The rods were soaked in the impregnation fluid,  a penetrating varnish, for several days after gluing.  (Bill Lamberson)

    With Nelsonite and Mike Brook's impregnant, I have used URAC and Resorcinol with good results. I would not use a PVA (Titebond II) type glue, but that is just based on a hunch.  (Bob Maulucci)

      I have used Nelsonite with rods glued with Titebond II Extend and have had no problems whatever.  Keep in mind that with Nelsonite you only soak the rod sections for a few minutes.  (Hal Manas)

Rule

Just thought I'd toss a thread out to the list and see what everyone thinks. I’m building my third rod right now, in the process of rough planing the bevels right now, and I'm wanting to try my hand at impregnating the blank. I know of one web page on the net that sells a wood stabilizer (no names) but the page has been down for about a month, and I caught a remark the other day in the archives about a bad experience someone had with the company, who shall remain nameless. To make a long story short, I’ve been looking around at Home Depot and Lowes to find something that might work as well as this wonder stuff mentioned in the Archives, and I came upon something called Minwax Wood Hardener.  It smells like an Acetone base, and the can says it contains polymer resins and that it penetrates all types of wood. Has anyone on the list ever  used it, and if so, did it work, and were there any major problems to using it? I just plan on soaking for a few minutes, and sanding it down without varnish, maybe just a couple thin coats of carnuba wax. Any thoughts?  (David Spangler)

    I've used the product on burled reel seats, and the effects seem very positive.  You'll surely need to soak the bamboo for more than "a few minutes" to get any significant penetration.  But perhaps you're only looking for an "in the wood"  final finish, and I wouldn't know how the product performs in that regard.

    Why not try a test section that's close to your finished dimensions?  Let it soak a day or so, and weigh it before and after.  Drying and curing may take a few days, but weighing repeatedly will tell you when it's ready.

    One drawback with using this product may be its price.  You'd need to purchase enough to fill a small PVC tube, and that could set you back a tad.  (Bill Harms)

    I tried it, years ago.  Once was enough.  Hardened the wood all right.  *SNAP*!! 

    Brittle is not better, and this product seems to make the bamboo brittle.

    It WILL penetrate wood very quickly!!   It does what it says.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    I have use the Minwax Wood Hardener on one rod last year...

    Worked pretty good and was simple to use...

    The rod is still fishing the southern tail waters with my friend Barry and going strong.

    I took a 1/2" conduit cut to length, blocked one end, put a rubber stopper with a hole in other end. Filled with Wood Hardener, put in butt section and used the hand held vacuum from my food saver and put it under vacuum for 15 minutes.

    The blank needed to be polished but seemed water tight, the action was comparable to that of a varnished rod of the same taper...

    Not a top shelf finish but maybe a couple of coats will help on that...  (Dave Collyer)

Rule

I have a can of Mike's Stuff and I don't want to bother Mike for I see that a lack of email is not his problem right now.

How long do I soak a rod and how long do I dry it and can it be "kick dried" in an oven?  (Eamon Lee)

    There was a discussion about this on another board just recently. 

    This is from Mike himself,

    "One thing I do differently than a lot of other guys is alter the structure of the bamboo. I soak some blanks for 3 or 4 days in it. The problem with that is you have to wait 3 or 4 MONTHS for it to "kick" (or a couple of weeks in a hot box will do, also, but I always have several blanks going at once). Once it kicks, the bamboo is quite a bit stiffer, with a bit more spring to it. If you don't let it kick, you end up with a noodle when you heat it to straighten it. Most guys soak it for an hour or so and dry it a couple of days. That gives pretty good penetration, waterproofing, etc.  and it will kick and set up in a couple of days."  (Mark Babiy)

Rule

My first rod is soaking in Mike's impregnation sauce.  I put it in last night.  Mike recommends that it soak 2 to 3 days.  Others have recommended 12 to 24 hours.  I'm a little anxious to say the least.  Tempted to wipe it down tonight but that would be just 24 hours.  Should I give it another day?  (David Bolin)

    Listen to Mike - he invented the stuff.  (Larry Puckett)

    Wait the 2 to 3 day recommendation. This will allow maximum penetration.  (Bob Maulucci)

    I'd go with Mike's advice.  He's the one that makes the stuff.  He hasn't steered me wrong yet.  (Mark Wendt)

Rule

Can anyone help me to understand the difference that impregnating will make in a stress curve? I enjoy studying stress curves, but we treat impregnated rods such as Orvis the same as varnished rods like Granger and I am pretty sure that's not the case. Is there a rough rule of thumb to use, like maybe an impregnated rod is one line weight stronger than a varnished rod? Half a line weight? Or do we assume that the added mass of the impregnation resin makes it a push? That doesn't seem likely to me, but I have no proof. Mike Brooks talks like an impregnated rod has more life, or zip to it without much added weight. Seems plausible. But if that is true then the stress curves of the impregnated rods mean nothing. Orvis, Sharpe/Ritz, Farlow, etc stress curves mean nothing except as comparisons to each other. Has anyone  developed a stress  curve model for impregnated rods? Or maybe I'm way out in left field and impregnating introduces a whole different set of numbers in a different way. Or is this just the midnight ramblings of a  deranged cane-aholic?  (Phil Rundhaugen)

    It's a little difficult to explain without getting technical.  I'll try: The Garrison-type stress analysis, which we commonly use to compare rod actions, does not include any factor that accounts for the stiffness of the material.  To do so, would have complicated the analysis immensely and limited the usefulness of stress curves by introducing additional variables.  The stress curves that you ordinarily encounter are calculated assuming that the rod remains straight no matter what forces are applied (Or, in other words, it is assumed to be very, very stiff). 

    Some of the folks that regularly attend the Catskill Gathering are planning to demonstrate a recently popularized static deflection method called "Common Cents".  I think that this technique might be what you are looking for.  Unfortunately, you would have to build and test several rods to get the information you need.  (Jim Utzerath)

Rule

I would like to build a impregnated rod.  So what choice do I have?  There is Mike Brooks impregnating  solution which works very good what I have her, but needs 6 months to dry. The problem is I would like to fish this rod this year. Also I can try the vacuum impregnating with Acryl and Acetone. I use this system for my reel seats and it is a really mess.  And there is Nelsonite, what I can not buy in Germany where I come from. And some one told me that it makes the bamboo very brittle.

So what is the best way today to impregnate a bamboo rod? And is it possible to reach the same results of impregnation like Orvis or Sharpe's with there Bakelite impregnation?  (Olaf Kundrus)

    I emailed a Cue Company about Nelsonite and this is their answer.

    “Nelsonite is not like stabilization by impregnation. You just apply the Nelsonite and it settles the wood. Once dry you can sand and then polish as usual but Nelsonite will not polish as it is not an epoxy. You would still have to spray finish or use a Cyano to polish.”  (Dave Henney)

      Hopefully Bob Maulucci with pop in here. I seem to remember that he used Nelsonite for a rod or 2 then abandoned it. He now uses Mike's solution.  (Larry Puckett)

        I have a rod I just finished, that I used Mike's impregnation solution on. If you use a heated drying cabinet it speeds up the cure time considerably and it doesn't add any noticeable weight or make the bamboo brittle. What I noticed about Nelsonite is that is changes the action, where Mike's impregnation solution does not. These are just my observations.  (Bill Walters)

        Yeah, I think the Nelsonite worked okay, but I like the look of the Mike Brooks stuff better, and I also have been using it to set the dye I have been using on blanks. Once I used up my pint of Nelsonite, I saw no use in continuing to use it. Mike's stuff also stiffens the blank very nicely. I think it is a good "set it and forget it" finish. Also, I have had no problems varnishing over top of it.  (Bob Maulucci)

    I have made many rods using Nelsonite and from my experience I have not seen that Nelsonite makes a rod brittle and use it on every rod I make.  I, like you, would like to know more about other options on impregnating a rod.  (David Ray)

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I am going to be the devil's advocate here. How many of you guys have seen any serious delaminations, sets, or water damage to your rods that might have been prevented by impregnation? What's the point of impregnating if you heat treat? What's the point of varnishing over an impregnated rod if your object is to make it able to be buffed on the surface?  (Doug Easton)

    First, I think the basic reason for impregnation is that it makes the rod about as carefree as that plastic stuff. No worry about it getting water damaged or rotting out under the  ferrules, grip, or seat. Some also like the byproduct effect of stiffening the action a bit.

    Second, with respect to why varnish over an impregnated rod. Mainly to achieve that hi-gloss look that many folks seem to like. On a recent poll here or on Clark's board some makers reported that about 80% or more of their customers went with the impregnated finish and the rest went for the hi-gloss varnish. Some folks think that looks "traditional". Me, for rods I fish I like the matte finish of a buffed impregnated rod.  (Larry Puckett)

      I have an impregnated Orvis that I used to fish all the time and I like how it stood up to the average abuse a rod gets when its getting fished exclusively. Also, when it comes time to replace the wraps you are just replacing the wraps not revarnishing the whole rod. My self-built impregnated rod is not a work of art but it is durable and well constructed. Its a rod that will be fished for a long time to come.  (Bill Walters)

    1. I think that a rod impregnated with something like Mike Brook's sauce will be stuck together forever and a day.

    2. I think the stiffness of heat treating is still important, and actually I think that impregnated rods seem to take sets just as easily as a non impregnated one, maybe even more so. I think some light heat treating is imperative.

    3. Personally, I like semi gloss or matte finish, but I really think the average buyer equates impregnated with cheap and avoids it like the plague. Therefore, I sometimes dip a rod over the impregnant. As far as excessive build up or weight, because the impregnant seals the blank I can get away with one or two light coats over top. It is a good filled surface to dip once over.   (Bob Maulucci)

      I agree with most of what you say, the exception being the part about impregnated rods taking sets.

      "2. I think the stiffness of heat treating is still important, and actually I think that impregnated rods seem to take sets just as easily as a non impregnated one, maybe even more so. I think some light heat treating is imperative."

      I think (if I understood you correctly)you were trying to put emphasis on the need to still heat-treat but, its been my experience that Orvis rods don't take a set any more readily than any other rod. Maybe it depends on what the rod is impregnated with and time will only tell with regards to Mike's impregnation sauce.  (Bill Walters)

        Yes, you understood that correctly, BUT I have seen a bunch of impregnated rods in a friend's shop, and he showed me how he could bend them into a pretzel pretty easily. They were almost impossible to get straight after they were fished hard. I won’t mention names, but they were not done with Mike's impregnation fluid. They were older rods. He was asked to straighten and repair wraps, and he had no idea how he would get them to  stay straight.  (Bob Maulucci)

Rule

Here's the stuff I got from Mike on drying times for his impregnating solution:

This was from Mike Brooks:

I make the impregnation sauce and a few other varnishes. I can be reached via email at mibrooks27@msn.com, cell 541-914-7510. I ran out and actually have another batch I have been brewing that is just finishing up. It is $30 a quart us shipping. One quart will do 20 blanks or so.

One thing I do differently than a lot of other guys is alter the structure of the bamboo. I soak some blanks for 3 or  4 days  in it. The problem with that is you have to wait 3 or 4 MONTHS for it to "kick" (or a couple of weeks in a hot box will do, also, but I always have several blanks going at once). Once it kicks, the bamboo is quite a bit stiffer,  with a bit more spring to it. If you don't let it kick, you end up with a noodle when you heat it to straighten it. Most guys soak it for an hour or so and dry it a couple of days. That gives pretty good penetration, waterproofing, etc. and it will kick and set up in a couple of days.

More instructions:

This is the easiest, safest method I have found for impregnating cane rod blanks. Purchase a piece of PVC pipe, one to 1 to 1 1/4 inch inside diameter and two end caps. Glue the end cap onto one end, making certain that it has a waterproof seal. Place a raw bamboo blank (one sanded, but not finished in any way) into the tube. Fill the tune with impregnation solution until the rod blank is covered. Cap the other end and stand in a corner for 12 to 24 hours or so. Pour the impregnation sauce back into the original can, give it a squirt of Bloxygen, and seal - a one quart can should be more than enough to impregnate ten to 20 or more 2/2 blanks. Next, wipe down the wet blank. Let it sit for an hour or so and rewipe it --- the varnish on the outside will have started to tack. Then, let it set in a WARM place for 24 to 48 hours. The impregnation solution will cure out so long as the ambient temperature is above freezing. It will even cure out in the presence of moisture. It will just take a very-very-very long time to cure out (like several weeks).

Once cured, you will find that your blank will be varnished and impregnated all at once. The impregnation solution is actually a three-part solution. The stuff that does the actual impregnation will penetrate right through to the center of your blank. It will interact chemically with the bamboo and will make it  harder, stiffer, stronger, and will produce a slightly faster action rod. The action will actually change by 10 to 20 percent. The other two parts are varnishes. One is a reactive varnish that penetrates the enamel layer of the bamboo and combines with it producing a very durable surface. The other varnish is a coating that makes for a nice, easily maintained shine that you can polish out and refinish or add to with Mike's Stuff.

One caution, allow your impregnated blank to cure completely. Immediately out of the impregnation solution it will be pretty loose and will take a set in a heartbeat. Allow it to hang for several days to allow the rod to cure. How long depends on your method. I hang mine for a full month, but I don't use a hot box. Guys who do use hot boxes get their to cure in 2 days at 125 to 175 degrees.  (Larry Puckett)

    Here is some more information from Mike regarding the Impregnation Solution and it's application:

    "As for the impregnation solution, different people use it different ways an depends on how much time you have. I impregnate for a couple of days - soaking the blank in a rube of impregnation mix. This gets very nearly 100% penetration but, then, it takes two to three months for the blanks to completely cure out at room temperature (which is what I do, but I have 10 or so rods going at a time). Other builders do pretty much the same thing but force cure it in a  heated box (125 - 150 degrees F.) and cure it in a week. Other's still, impregnate for 12 hours and cure it in a couple of days but the only get 25 percent penetration. And there are a few hobby builders and several professionals that apply it with steel wool and just let it dry overnight and immediately coat it  with Mike's Stuff to kick cure it. All of these methods work to water proof the rod. If you want to structurally change the rod, though, making it faster and more consistent (which is what I was shooting for to begin with), I think you want 50% or more penetration and that means 24 hours or more in a tube and a week in a hot box or several weeks minimum at room temperature."  (Chris Carlin)

      My question with soaking a rod for 24 or more hours in Mike's Solution is what does it do to the glue especially Titebond II? I would not have a concern with Nyatex but has anyone used Mike's Solution on rods glued in Titebond II or Weldwood plastic resin?  (David Ray)

        Again from Mike:

        "The impregnation solution ought to be compatible with all cured glues. I have used it with a variety of epoxies, PU (Gorilla Glue & Bordon's), Titebond II (the water based stuff), various Resorcinols, URAC 585 and URAC 185, Melamine Glue, and Hide Glue (it actually helped the Hide Glue and made it waterproof). For almost all of my gluing I use Resorcinol and Bordon's PU if a customer objects to the tiny glue lines you sometimes get with Resorcinol and have never had a problem."  (Chris Carlin)

      Here is everything I've been able to gather about Mike Brooks' products.  (Chris Carlin)

      Walnut Oil - some users have remarked that if they put on a heavy or moderately heavy coat of the walnut oil that it can take days or weeks to dry. There are two workarounds for this - (1) mix it 50-50 with a standard spar varnish (you  will still get the transparent look, no hazing, and the thread will be completely hidden -- more spar than that and you are on your own, though -- I used Daley's SuperSpar for my experiment and it worked fine, chemically MOW ought to be be even better) or add 1 teaspoon of Winsor and Newton JAPAN DRIER to a one ounce bottle (NOT the purple stuff, the stuff that looks like really thin varnish). This will set up a fairly heavy coat in under 24 hours without buckling. If you already have a coat on your thread that is taking forever to dry. Dip a brush in a 50-50 mix of spar and Japan drier and overcoat. It will be dry the next day. Or, if you are not in a hurry, just allow the walnut oil varnish to dry on it's own. Even a fairly thick coating or three will dry eventually..... If you put on a really thick coat, though, it will buckle just like a really thick coat of spar or any other paint.

      * *

      Impregnation Solution - I have received lot of raves about this, but everyone wants to know how I dye the stuff! I use TransTint Dyes from Woodcraft stores. It is $16.95 for a large bottle. I fill a 54 inch length of 1-1/4" I.S. PVC pipe and it takes just under a quart of the solution to do this. This is large enough, by the way, for three or four 2/2 blanks. For that elusive Payne Red color, dissolve 18 drops of Golden Brown dye to 30 drops of Reddish-Brown. I dissolve it first in an ounce of turpentine or Mike's Stuff and filter it through the clothe as it doesn't want to completely dissolve in varnish or oil based products and will leave some gummy spots on your blanks when you pull them (BUT! If that happens, just wipe them off as best you can and, then, rub off the rest with 0000 steel wool after it dries). Pour the solution into the tube, add the rods, and gently shake. Let this just sit somewhere out of the way for 24 hours or so, pull out and dry repeatedly while it bleeds (or don't and you will end up sanding the "bled out" vanish lumps --- not a problem, but it takes more time). I get around 50% penetration in 24 hours. The dyed color is *in* the bamboo so you don't have to worry about sanding if off, either.  Don't  bother  straightening  the  blanks until  they are dry. They will take sets like crazy while wet with the solution. I straighten after 24 hours and, then, let the blanks rest for another 48 hours to completely cure and they stay straight. I have reports from some users who actually straighten the wet blanks right out of the impregnation tank who claim that works really well for them, but I have not tried that. If it works, maybe we've come up with a better mousetrap for straightening glued up blanks!

      If you need to duplicate ammonia treated rods, use the TransTint's Golden-Brown and Reddish-Brown 50-50 for the old WM color and straight reddish Brown for the Waterseal color. Black, and I mean jet black, can be had by adding 2 ounces of filtered black to a quart of the solution and leaving the blank in for 48 hours. TransTint makes about 10 colors. Forget the Golden Oak, it's a really creamy yellow color. They have discontinued their bright colors and primary colors and I am going nuts trying to locate replacements.

      If anyone out there runs into good oil soluble dyes, I would be extremely interested. I have a customer that wants his blank dyed olive!!!! and TransTint doesn't make that color.

      You don't have to mix it with MOW or anything else -- the MOW or Japan Drier just helps to dry it a bit better, but the point is that it will dry absolutely transparent, no frosting, white marks/streaks, nothing..... and you can't get that with MOW or any other varnish currently on the market (or, actually, with any of the classic varnishes either). Send me an email address and I will forward you some photo's that will just blow you away. The reason for the MOW is that it will kick slightly faster. The Japan drier will kick it much faster and will thin it a bit at the same time. And, by the way, I make a fast drying rub on varnish that you really ought to try for your cabinet making. It dries - and I mean bone dry - in about an hour. Four coats and your wood is completely waterproof and can be as polished as you could  possibly want. We refinished a table with it and polished it out and it blinded the neighbors, friends, and our pet cat.

      The impregnation solution ought to  be compatible with all cured glues. I have used it with a variety of epoxies, PU (Gorilla Glue & Bordon's),  Titebond II  (the water  based stuff), various Resorcinols, URAC 585 and URAC 185, Melamine Glue, and Hide Glue (it actually helped the Hide Glue and made it waterproof). For almost all of my gluing I use Resorcinol and Bordon's PU if a customer objects to the tiny glue lines you sometimes get with Resorcinol and have never had a problem. The 75% penetration you are getting is pretty much to be expected - pretty good considering that Orvis only got around 20% with their's. You've got to try adding a dye, too. You can duplicate all sorts of classic rod colors. (As for free advertising here - a quart can will do at least 10 3/2 or 2/2 blanks of average size which makes it pretty inexpensive, too. I can make a quart do 20 to 30 blanks. Figuring that it costs me about $25 to make a quart, that makes my impregnation cost around $1 per rod. ANd that's cheap!)

      As for VTBamboo's comments...thank you! We all learn from criticism and suggestions and I honestly appreciate your's. The purpose of my posting, though, was not commercial. The samples I sent out were and are free - I even pay for the postage. They were meant for makers to try and get comments back to me. I admit that I have a commercial interest....eventually. I am also making a color preservative, a touch up varnish for antique rods, a couple of variety of wipe on varnishes, a primer for urethane coats and spar, and a bamboo glue (works down to 40 degree temp, 1 hour plus pot life, slightly expanding, alcohol soluble - cleanup and thinning, natural cane colored, with the rigidity of Resorcinol) and will be putting out samples for beta testing this winter and I have developed a dipping tank-drying cabinet combination that only takes up a 6" X 100" wall space that keeps dust from having any possibility of landing on the blank until it is dry (uses Plexiglas, a static generator, one way vents on top & the sides, and a series of 7 watt bulbs for light and heat - you can see what you are doing while having dust blow all over your shop and not worry about any of it getting on the rod - I sand grips while dipping my rods!!!).

      There are probably lots of ways of creating flawless, clear wraps, but most of us do not have your expertise or experience. I'm a chemist and so figured out a way that would work for me. When I look at the steps you have to go through to achieve your clear wraps, however, I am more convinced than ever that a one step process like I get with my Walnut Oil varnish is the way to go. In the end, it is a whole lot cheaper and is certainly easier to use. The walnut oil prevents bubbles from developing in the first place and it naturally fills in thread voids. This is not to say that I have come up with "the best" way of doing anything, it is just one way, and it works for me and enough friends that I wish to share it.

      This is Mike Brooks. I make the impregnation sauce and a few other varnishes. I can be reached via email at mibrooks27@msn.com, cell 541-914-7510. I ran out and actually have another batch I have been brewing that is just finishing up. It is $30 a quart us shipping. One quart will 20 blanks or so.

      One thing I do differently than a lot of other guys is alter the structure of the bamboo. I soak some blanks for 3 or 4 days in it. The problem with that is you have to wait 3 or 4 MONTHS for it to "kick" (or a couple of weeks in a hot box will do, also, but I always have several blanks going at once). Once  it kicks, the bamboo is quite a bit stiffer, with a bit more spring to it. If you don't let it kick, you end up with a noodle when you heat it to straighten it. Most guys soak it for an hour or so and dry it a couple of days. That gives pretty good penetration, waterproofing, etc. and it will kick and set up in a couple of days.

      As for the Nelsonite. I tried it in response to a post here a while back. It didn't work for beans, but I understand there are a couple of versions out there and I was only able to get one used for hardening cue balls. The Pentacryl, on the other hand, is supposed to be used for stabilizing green wood for turning.

      That's at room temperature. I use a hot box only when I have to because the things scare me (fire danger). I am saving up money to buy one of those neat ovens  I see advertised by a guy on the listserv. It is apparently for use outside so I don't have to worry about burning down my shop. That will allow me to experiment even more. I have found that baking at around 300 really kicks the drying time. I also would like to experiment with double tempering cane  like Bob  Sherrill does.

      I used a 1 1/2" PVC tubing with Mike's impregnating solution and it worked fine. Soaked the 3 sections (at the same time) for two days, wiped them off, let them dry / cure for a couple more days and then used them. Everything seems fine ... great stuff. Going to try it in the future on reel seats, but will probably let the wood stay in the solution for several extra days.

      You know full well that I'm busy writing a review of Mike's products for Power Fibers, but I'll give you a sneak preview.

      I've used "Mike's Stuff" as a pre-varnish on a half-dozen rods and blanks. So far, nothing but good things to say.

      I've used Mike's Amber Oil wrap varnish on four rods, and find it very simple to use if one follows Mike's directions. It does what it claims. Hard to beat it, IMHO.

      I used Mike's Color Preserving wrap lacquer on one wrap, and found it very similar to using the straight lacquer one buys at a hardware store. Mike's product may be a little thinner than straight lacquer. I do very little color preserving, but can see that Mike's product would work as well as any. The wrap was a hunter green Gudebrod thread and went about one to one and a half shades darker.

      Best of all, I impregnated my first blank this past weekend. Saturday afternoon I dropped a 2/1 7'6" 4 weight sorta similar to a PHY Perfectionist taper with a slightly swelled butt in a pipe full of Mike's Impregnation Sauce, and left it there about 52 hours. The Louisiana summer had my shop at about 95 degrees. Monday evening I pulled the blank out and simply wiped off the excess with a cotton rag. Tuesday night I cut about 1/8" off the butt end of both sections. The tip was penetrated all the way through. The butt had the solution almost all the way through, with about a tenth of an inch of the very center still dry. I suspect the tip end of the butt section is completely penetrated, though I haven't cut it off to mount the ferrules yet.

      The Impregnation sauce left a flat finish. I have polished out a little of the butt to a semi-gloss finish. I'll donate this blank to the Southern Council FFF as my booth fee for the Conclave in October. I will say that I think the "sauce" added a tiny bit of weight, and stiffened the blank a little, though I haven't done any real testing. I suspect that all the blanks I sell from now on will be impregnated. It's just too easy not to use.

      I've already praised Mike's Stuff here and in a couple of other places, but I'll repeat it for any who may have  missed it. I've used his Amber wrap varnish on several rods and it is outstanding! It's the only product I have ever used that absolutely prevents "shimmers" in the wraps. I've also used the CP and it works better than any other color preservers I've used, 2 coats of it and a coat or two of spar and the rod is ready to dip, no worries about blotches. I've used the pre varnish also on several rods and it also works as advertised. I bought a quart of the impregnating fluid at the Colorado Rodmakers Reunion (thanks to Ricks Rods), but I haven't had a chance to use it yet. There is a blank in the making for it. Mike, thanks again for the samples, I'll be a  regular customer, so please don't quit making it!

      I will be using a finish called Mike's Stuff which is a hand rubbed finish but takes 20 coats it adds time to the building the rod but you are guaranteed a perfect dust free finish

      Mike's Stuff was made purposefully very hot so as to cure out fast. If you leave a bottle open for more than a few minutes it will start to cure out and you end you with an interesting paper weight. I store mine in an old refrigerator and am able to extend the shelf life for a few months, but it only keeps for 6 months maximum. Take your partially kicked bottle and put it in a refrigerator or freezer and save it for preparing blanks. Get a new bottle and use it for finishing work. Mike

      One thing that I learned about Mikes stuff is this. As you use out of the bottle, put marbles in the bottle to replace the stuff you have used and limit the air gap in the bottle. It keeps a heck of a lot longer and wont turn to Jell-O. Makes a great looking rod too

      ...just experienced your problem! I had a flat jar of Mike’s Stuff and it started to jell over; and I mean really jell over - it was the consistency of Jell-O. Being cheap, I was sealing/pretreating some blanks and so really lathered it on. It worked great. It sort of liquified when I was steel wooling it in. Best of all, I had a small open seam (under where the cork would go) but the jelled MS mixed with the bamboo sawdust completely sealed it up. As an experiment, I touched it up with sandpaper and it flat out disappeared leaving a nice sharp corner. A very happy accident. If your hadn't written about your problem, I might never have tried this. It worked like a charm. A further experimented by directly mixing a little sawdust with the jelled MS and tried to fill glue lines. Those that had even a tiny opening filled in nicely and sanded out to where they were invisible. Thank you!

      Mike's Stuff - It kicks in under an hour and you can completely finish a rod in under a day. Also, makes for a nice final finish. Heat it in a water bath and apply liberally on a raw blank. Keep rubbing until it soaks in and starts to tack. Then, wipe most of it off. Let set for an hour and repeat twice more. Then, wrap and finish your wraps with whatever thread varnish or lacquer is to your liking. Then, in one very long weekend, apply 20 coats of Mike's Stuff. Wipe some on with a small 2 or 3 inch square of cloth and wipe it off when it tacks for each coat. No dust, no brush marks, and the finish is always just perfect. Also, the rod will be impregnated with this for a couple thousandth's of an inch and be completely waterproof.

      The wipe on varnish is pretty neat. You wipe it on with some 4/0 steel wool or even a rag and rub off. Do that a few times and you end up with a real nice finish on the rod without having to make a dip tube and such. I have used the Stuff as an overcoat on some duller finished rods to shine them up a bit and it worked great. I have also used the Walnut Oil for  threads and it does  exactly what it says it will. The only problem with the walnut is that it dries a little slow, you may need a kicker.

      His CP is similar to some lacquers and works well.

      My favorite of all is the impregnation solution. I first tried it on a junk fine weight tip that I planned to toss anyhow. I soaked it for about 72 hours and pulled it out. I wiped it down every couple hours until pretty dry and it looked great. I allowed it to dry overnight in a heated area. I then cut the blank in half to check penetration. Penetration was right at 100% at the center of the tip, very impressive. I next did a butt with it and then cut it. After 72 hours and drying, I cut the butt section in half and had 90%+ penetration there also. Good stuff. I have gone to using it on all my blanks. As you can probably see, I really like these products and would not hesitate to recommend them.

      I just finished a rod with Mike's stuff, color preserver and his rod varnish. All of the products worked great. I used four coats of the wipe on Mike's stuff, wrapped the rod, used the color preserver (four coats, thinned a bit) and then three coats of his rod varnish thinned 50/50 and dribbled it over the rod. I was really pleased at the finish. Looks as though it were dipped. The varnish dries really nicely and looks great. I don't think you will be disappointed in the finishes.

      I make several different varnishes - for my own use and for the use of friends - and all serve different purposes. The wipe on varnish that quick cures called Mike's Stuff is not even remotely related to standard varnishes. To begin with, it is a reactive varnish. It also penetrates several thousandths of an inch into the bamboo, combines with both the lignin and cellulose in the bamboo and physcially alters the structure of the bamboo making it very waterproof, chemical "proof", etc. Indeed, if you tried to remove the finish from a rods finished with Mike's Stuff you would find that some of it would appear to be in the cane and just wouldn't come off no matter what you did. I designed it for amateur builders who want to finish a rod with nothing more than a piece of cloth and  a  chair  to  sit  on.  It  cures  in  about  an  hour  (not dries...cures) and can be recoated immediately or weeks later with no adhesion problems. You can build up a surface with as much depth and as shiny as you could possibly want. Some guys have put on 20 coat and their rods make me ashamed of the ones I dip - they are just drop dead gorgeous. All that and a 2 ounce bottle will do that 20 coat finish on a any "normal" rod.

      The walnut oil is designed to make for frost free wraps. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on  your perspective) a one ounce bottle, the smallest amount practical to package, lasts practically forever. It will easily do 100 rods. Ditto for the two CP's I make. The impregnation solution is pretty thrifty, too. A one quart can will do 20 rods, or you can do like A.J. recommends and just steel wool it in (it works great and he gets very good penetration. I didn't believe it until he showed me). The dyes make exact color copies of famous blanks (Waterseal, Browntone, "normal" Granger, Phillipson, Jim Payne orange-brown, etc.). I also make a classic varnish for spot repairs on these and another version for brushing or wipe on or drip finishing rods (both are true spars). And I make a dipping version of ammonia treatment. And I am continually playing with all kinds of other finishes, too. I have even developed a special glue for bamboo rods that is natural cane colors and strong as (*&*#$)*&!

      Don't know about the impregnation stuff for an hour or not. I soak mine in it for a while. I have used the Mike's Stuff over Waterlox Sealer/Finish which is tung oil based and had excellent results. It is really nice stuff.  I also used it as an overcoat on a rod with General Finishes Arm R Seal on it which is also tung based and again it did great. Hope that helps and I am sure Mike will chime in on the impregnation stuff.

      Mike's Stuff works fine over Tung Oil, but why would you want to use Tung Oil? The Mike's Stuff cures out in a fraction of the time. As for the WaterLox Sanding Sealer, it dries pretty fast but doesn't have much of a solids content. I use just plain Mike's Stuff as a sealer coat on all my blanks and it works just fine for me - so do Darryl Whitehead, A.J. Thramer and a lot of other professional builders. Plus, it's pretty cheap. A one ounce bottle will seal a dozen blanks. A two ounce bottle will seal and prep several dozen blanks or can be used by a hobby or occasional builder to completely finish one or two rods. At around $10 for a 2 ounce bottle, that is pretty cheap when compared to a dip tube, varnish, motor, etc. that etc. used once or twice a year.

      As for the impregnation solution, different people use it different ways an depends on how much time you have. I impregnate for a couple of days - soaking the blank in a rube of impregnation mix. This gets very nearly 100% penetration but, then, it takes two to three months for the blanks to completely cure out at room temperature (which is what I do, but I have 10 or so rods going at a time). Other builders do pretty much the same thing but force cure it in a heated box (125 - 150 degrees F.) and cure it in a week. Other's still, impregnate for 12 hours and cure it in a couple of days but the only get 25 percent penetration. And there are a few hobby builders and several professionals that apply it with steel wool and just let it dry overnight and immediately coat it with Mike's Stuff to kick cure it. All of these methods work to water proof the rod. If you want to structurally change the rod, though, making it faster and more consistent (which is what I was shooting for to begin with), I think you want 50% or more penetration and that means 24 hours or more in a tube and a week in a hot box or several weeks minimum at room temperature.

      One thing about the impregnation mix a lot of people don't know, it can be used on a blond blank and will not change the color, or it can be dyed to duplicate Bakelite or any other look you can dream of (for dyes use acid set dyes from Jacquard or use the alcohol based dyes from Woodcraft stores).

      Forget Ammonia treating. It is WAY more trouble than it is worth. If you want that ammonia treated look AND that little extra stiffness, do the following: buy some reddish-brown (RB) and gold-brown (GB) TransTint dye from Woodcraft. Mix them 75% reddish-brown and 25% golden-brown for a really dark reddish ammonia color ALA Edwards. You can  adjust this, by going to 25% RB/75% GB to achieve the look of a Granger. Dissolve one ounce of the mix in a quart of denatured alcohol. Pour into a length of 1-1/4" PVC, suitably glued on one end, and immerse your blank for several days with the "open" end loosely capped with a PVC cap just pressure fit on . The dye will completely penetrate the blank and DYE it the desired color right down to the  center (IE: you can't sand off the color). If you want the color darkened quite a bit, add one ounce of vinegar to the tube AFTER TWO DAYS (!!!) and let it set for at least 24 additional hours. Then, pull the blank and allow it to dry overnight. The alcohol will evaporate rather quickly. A big plus with this is that ALL of the moisture in the rod is gone - the alcohol will displace it. Then, impregnate the blank by immersing it in impregnation solution. If you use the stuff I make ($30 a quart - will do around 20 2/2 rods), place the blank in another length of 1-1/4" PVC, fill it up with impregnation solution and allow the blank to sit in the solution anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days. Pull the blank and let it dry on a flat surface or, hang it. It will be really flimsy until the impregnation solution kicks. This will depend on the ambient temperature, humidity, etc and can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months. I tend to air dry/cure my blanks but I always have 20 or so going at any one time. If you have access to an oven or hot box you can force cure them in a day or so by "cooking" them at 150 degrees. This will set the dye and will stiffen the blank considerably. The cost for this based on my local hardware stores: one 10 foot length of PVC @3.25, cut in two 5 foot sections, one for dying, one for impregnating; 4 PVC caps @ $0.57 each, PVC glue "kit" @ 5.95, 2 bottles of TransTint dye (it's in a liquid form in a 2 ounce plastic squeeze bottle) @ $16.95 ea.; 1 gallon denatured alcohol @ $6.95, impregnation solution @ $30 plus $10 shipping. So, your total cost wold be $92.33, but remember this will do at least 20 blanks making your cost around $4.62 per blank. Compare this with the cost of genuine ammonia treating and it works out to be about under 1/4 of the cost with much more precise control over the color. A big plus is that it is safer, a lot less messy, and looks exactly like you has ammonia treated the blank. Indeed, I don't think an expert can tell the difference between the two methods on even a raw blank.

      This is the easiest, safest method I have found for impregnating cane rod blanks. Purchase a piece of PVC pipe, 1 to 1 1/4 inch inside diameter and two end caps. Glue the end cap onto one end, making certain that it has a waterproof seal. Place a raw bamboo blank (one sanded, but not finished in any way) into the tube. Fill the tune with impregnation solution until the rod blank  is covered. Cap the other end and stand in a corner for 12 to 24 hours or so. Pour the impregnation sauce back into the original can, give it a squirt of Bloxygen, and seal – a one quart can should be more than enough to impregnate ten to 20 or more 2/2 blanks. Next, wipe down the wet blank. Let it sit for an hour or so and rewipe it --- the varnish on the outside will have started to tack. Then, let it set in a WARM place for 24 to 48 hours. The impregnation solution will cure out so long as the ambient temperature is above freezing. It will even cure out in the presence of moisture. It will just take a very-very-very long time to cure out (like several weeks).

      Once cured, you will find that your blank will be varnished and impregnated all at once.  The impregnation  solution is actually a three-part solution. The stuff that does the actual impregnation will penetrate right through to the center of your blank. It will interact chemically with the bamboo and will make it harder, stiffer, stronger, and will produce a slightly faster action rod. The action will actually change by 10 to 20 percent. The other two parts are varnishes. One is a reactive varnish that penetrates the enamel layer of the bamboo and combines with it producing a very durable surface. The other varnish is a coating that makes for a nice, easily maintained shine that you can polish out and refinish or add to with Mike’s Stuff.

      One caution, allow you impregnated  blank to  cure completely. Immediately out of the impregnation solution it will be pretty loose and will take a set in a heartbeat. Allow it to hang for several days to allow the rod to cure. How long depends on your method. I hang mine for a full month, but I don’t use a hot box. Guys who do use hot boxes get their to cure in 2 days at 125 to 175 degrees.

      Forget Ammonia treating. It is WAY more trouble than it is worth. If you want that ammonia treated look AND that little extra stiffness, do the following: buy some reddish-brown (RB) and gold-brown (GB) TransTint dye from Woodcraft. Mix them 75% reddish-brown and 25% golden-brown for a really dark reddish ammonia color ALA Edwards. You can  adjust this, by going to 25% RB/75% GB to achieve the look of a Granger. Dissolve one ounce of the mix in a quart of denatured alcohol. Pour into a length of 1-1/4" PVC, suitably glued on one end, and immerse your blank for several days with the "open" end loosely capped with a PVC cap just pressure fit on . The dye will completely penetrate the blank and DYE it the desired color right down to the  center (IE: you can't sand off the color). If you want the color darkened quite a bit, add one ounce of vinegar to the tube AFTER TWO DAYS (!!!) and let it set for at least 24 additional hours. Then, pull the blank and allow it to dry overnight. The alcohol will evaporate rather quickly. A big plus with this is that ALL of the moisture in the rod is gone - the alcohol will displace it. Then, impregnate the blank by immersing it in impregnation solution. If you use the stuff I make ($30 a quart - will do around 20 2/2 rods), place the blank in another length of 1 1/4" PVC, fill it up with impregnation solution and allow the blank to sit in the solution anywhere from 4 hours to 3 days. Pull the blank and let it dry on a flat surface or, hang it. It will be really flimsy until the impregnation solution kicks. This will depend on the ambient temperature, humidity, etc. and can take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months. I tend to air dry/cure my blanks but I always have 20 or so going at any one time. If you have access to an oven or hot box you can force cure them in a day or so by "cooking" them at 150 degrees. This will set the dye and will stiffen the blank considerably. The cost for this based on my local hardware stores: one 10 foot length of PVC @3.25, cut in two 5 foot sections, one for dying, one for impregnating; 4 PVC caps @ $0.57 each, PVC glue "kit" @ 5.95, 2 bottles of TransTint dye (it's in a liquid form in a 2 ounce plastic squeeze bottle) @ $16.95 ea.; 1 gallon denatured alcohol @ $6.95, impregnation solution @ $30 plus $10 shipping. So, your total cost wold be $92.33, but remember this will do at least 20 blanks making your cost around $4.62 per blank. Compare this with the cost of genuine ammonia treating and it works out to be about under 1/4 of the cost with much more precise control over the color. A big plus is that it is safer, a lot less messy, and looks exactly like you has ammonia treated the blank. Indeed, I don't think an expert can tell the difference between the two methods on even a raw blank.

      I have done this with blanks glued up using a number of different glues and haven't had  any problem with any of these that were cured. The glues experimented with include epoxies and heat set epoxies, Titebond II, URAC,  Resorcinol, Gorilla Glue (unless this is set, it WILL dissolve the glue)- ditto for other PU glues. Allow these to cure for 7 days before dying). The reason to use alcohol instead of water, is that water will swell the bamboo and you might pop a joint. The alcohol causes virtually no swelling, plus, as I said above, it will completely dehydrate your blank (no more soft tips!).

      Other colors you might be interested in are Browntone (1 part RD to 10 parts GB), Leonard - straight  Honey-Amber (HA), Waterseal - straight RB, Payne (1-GB, 1-HA, 1-Medium Brown, 4-Reddish Brown and a pinch of orange dye). Rockler stores sell the powered form of these alcohol soluble dyes in 8 ounce jars @ $28, which is actually a pretty good deal and the powdered form is available in a lot more colors. The only colors you need, by the way, are the four mentioned in this note (although you might want black if you are trying to duplicate Bakelite impregnation on some Hardy's, just mix it very very sparingly into your mix). With these dyes you can also do some pretty strange blank colors - purple, blue, lavender, black, pink (!! - don't laugh,  it looked lovely  and went to a drop dead gorgeous blond), etc. Good luck and have fun experimenting.

      I use either URAC or Resorcinol for 99% of my rods, but have experimented with several other glues. Once the glue has cured, the alcohol wont touch it. This is a cheap, efficient, and safe way to remove moisture from bamboo blanks. If anyone is interested, take a normally sanded out blank that you think is dry. Weight it and flex check it, using some small weights attached to the tip with the rod clamped to your bench. Soak it in alcohol for 24 hours. Dry for 8 hours and re-weight and check, again. You will find that it is around 10% lighter and quite a bit stiffer than before the alcohol treatment. Don't take my word for this. Try it yourself, it will cost you almost nothing.

Rule

I've tried two different wipe on  finishes with very different results.  First was Formby Tung/poly and the other was a straight wipe on poly.  The Formby Tung worked great and only took about three coats to achieve a nice glossy smooth finish.  The straight poly did not cover nearly as well, apply as evenly, or build as quick.  (Lee Orr)

Rule

As I make more rods and branch out, I've been thinking about impregnation. I'm notoriously hard on equipment so I figure that might be a good way to go. I understand impregnation can add weight as well as change the action. I'm wondering why one would impregnate a rod 100% as opposed to say 25%. It would seem to me that the protection would be the same. Am I missing something?

Presumably an impregnated hollow rod would only be impregnated a small amount.  (Jim Lowe)

    I think the idea behind impregnation is not only to provide a liquid and vapor barrier (which is what varnish does) but also to fill in the parts of the bamboo structure with resin so that it can't physically take on water vapor.

    The idea of "surface impregnation" has always seemed very odd to me.  Even varnish will impregnate the surface to some degree.  If the material used is better at keeping out water vapor than varnish, then that's great, but I doubt in the long run it keeps the internal structure free of moisture exchange.  It might slow it down, more than varnish does even, but that's it.  I may be wrong, but I believe that is true of any material that could conceivably be used on a rod as a coating/impregnate. 

    Of course, that's not a bad thing at all, especially if your material is better at water vapor exchange than varnish.

    Personally, I think there's something to complete (or near complete) impregnation.  I think the Orvis method is in this category, and I have several impregnated rods from the 1940s where the varnish on the wraps are shot but the sections are all straight as an arrow.  In fact, I have never seen an Orvis rod with anything but a very minor set.  (Rich Margiotta)

Rule

Last year at the Catskill gathering I picked up some impregnating liquid from Hal Bacon. Does any one have the recipe for using it to do a rod. I remember something about leaving it in the solution for 7 days then removing it for an hour or so then putting it in the oven for a certain amount of time at a certain temp. Any body got the recipe. I also would like to get any feed back on this stuff and an address for reorder if it is available.   (Robert Venneri)

    Hal's directions say to soak for 7 days flipping the tube once or twice a day then pull out and wipe off. Then, cure at 250 degrees for 2-4 hours.  (Dennis Higham)

      Yep, and here is the link to getting more.  (Bob Maulucci)

        Any specifics on tube material?   Will a tube made from PVC be satisfactory?  (Bob Williams)

          Hal uses PVC.  (Dennis Higham)

Rule

I am planning to impregnate a rod I am working on and was trying to decide whether to turn the ferrule stations down before or after I do the impregnation.  Does it make any difference?  (Bob Williams)

    I normally impregnate before but I really don't think it would make much of a difference.  (David Ray)

Rule

I want to try impregnate a rod. Unfortunately Mike's secret sauce can't make it through customs so I am thrown onto my own very limited resources. Following on Harry Boyd's earlier posting of North Coast Knives' jam jar- heat and seal system, I wondered whether it would work to:

1.. hang a sealable copper pipe in the vent-pipe section of my vertical heat gun oven,

2.. fill it with a non-linseed, oil-rich penetrating varnish, 

3.. heat up the oven (and the varnish) to +-90 deg C,

4.. insert the sections,

5.. turn off the heat and seal the pipe.

6.. open up when cool

Besides trying not to enter the extreme rodmaking section by starting a fire in the varnish does anyone have any comments or suggestions? do you think it could work?  (Stephen Dugmore)

    My thoughts:  You'd need a pipe long enough to hold the varnish after you insert the rod and still have a fair amount of air space above the varnish, maybe 30 cm. or 12", whichever measure you prefer.  (The jam jar works by creating a partial vacuum.)  Leave it sealed for as long as you think it takes for the varnish to penetrate, I'd go for 3 or 4 days, but that's a total guess.  I don't see why it wouldn't work, let us know the results.  (Neil Savage)

    If you are concerned about fire shut the varnish up in a cabinet with a 150 watt bulb and it will be over 90 degrees.  (Timothy Troester)

    Thanks to all for responses to my home baked impregnation question. It would appear that it might work, but on the balance of things introducing a vacuum by some other means might be better - sorry Todd!!. I will look into it, but any suggestions for how to introduce a vacuum without requiring an expensive vacuum pump would be appreciated.

    One question I was asked was whether I knew what would happen to the glue with impregnation.  I have been using PU glue. Would there be any adverse affect on the PU glue, especially if I use turpentine to thin the penetrating varnish?  (Stephen Dugmore)

      I build nodeless and glue the scarf joints with Titebond II.  The Deks that I have used for impregnation has not had any noticeable detrimental effect on the scarf joints.  (Bill Lamberson)

      This is a question that's been bothering me too.

      I'm trying a bamboo ferrule (Bjarne Fries F.I.B.H, Power Fibers Volume 8, Pages 24-33), and am at the stage of fitting the females to the male.  Bjarne uses PU glue thinned 40:60 with acetone to seal the bamboo and adjust the fit.  Bob Nunley used Plexiglas dissolved in acetone to impregnate the bamboo for his bamboo ferrules.  My concern is that acetone dissolves just about any plastic, and may dissolve or weaken the glue.  Anybody have any suggestions for impregnating the end (~3 inches) of a rod section?  Vacuum and pressure are out of the question, since I only want to impregnate the ferrule portion of the rod.  I already have the female ferrules on the tips wrapped with silk and 3 coats of varnish on the silk.  (Robert Kope)

        I use Super Glue. Put the ferrule end in a plastic baggie with super glue. Tie the baggie tight around the rod. Let it soak for several hours.

        This is not my original idea, got it off the list a good while back. It works well for me.  (Tony Spezio)

          I have made Bamboo-look-a-like-ferrules using Super-Glue impregnation, light brass tube and a small caliber bamboo stick as the cover.  (See here)

          The Super-Glue impregnation does not prevent swelling of the cane during fishing. It makes the ferrule easily jammed after long fishing period and you need a tool ("clothespin", "peg") to help to loose it.   (Tapani Salmi)

            Good to know this, I have not had this problem yet. Maybe I have not gotten the ferrule wet enough to swell. I might try to see if I can get the ferrule stuck by wetting the ferrule.

            On the Twisted Miss I have a graphite insert in the bamboo female ferrule and a graphite sleeves on the male end of the tip sections.  The graphite came from discarded graphite rods. On the quads, it is bamboo to bamboo.  (Tony Spezio)

            Try wax. This acts as a lube and a water proof seal. No need to impregnate but the Minwax stuff works well if you want to go the extra mile. I do not incorporate a taper in the ferrule so there is no problem with sticking.  Paraffin or candle wax is fine.  (George Rainville)

        I haven't tried it but I seem to remember someone using super glue for this purpose. Didn't they soak the piece in a baggy with the air removed? You may even be able to use a test tube and seal around the bamboo.  (Don Schneider)

        I have made and used about 6 ferrules out of bamboo. I put them in Minwax wood hardener for a couple of days to soak them. This stuff smells like the dissolved Plexiglas. After that is done I wrap the ferrule in white silk and varnish it to give it support. I also dip the end of the tip section in the solution for a couple of hours to let it soak in their as well. I have been trying to break them for about 4 years unsuccessfully. They are kind of fun on my play rods.  (Gordon Koppin)

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Does anyone see a problem with impregnating a ferruled blank if I tape up both the male and female ferrules with  masking tape.  Before I tape the female I'll plug the female ferrule with one of the rubber plugs I got from Jeff Wagner.  For impregnation, I'll be using the Landmark tile glue.  I wasn't sure whether the stuff would penetrate the masking tape and if so what it might do to the nickel silver ferrules.  (Bob Williams)

    I am not familiar with the process of impregnating with tile glue. Could you or anyone else describe the process?  (Steve Weiss)

      I'll tell what I know and believe to me true.  One year at the Catskills rod gathering Hal Bacon talked about impregnating blanks and I think he was the one who recommended the Landmark tile glue (milky white color, skim milk to watery consistency).  I participated in a group purchase with Bob Venneri and 2 others to split a case of 4 gallons (about $50 per gallon).  I believe Hal suggested soaking the blank in the solution for 5 days.  I've heard others says that even 1 day is adequate.  I just took a blank out of the solution last night after soaking for 3 days.  I made and use a PVC tube and pour the solution in so it covers the blank.  Every 24 hours thereafter I gently (so as to not damage the tips) turn the tube end for end a number of times to make sure the glue is not settling (I'm not sure if it does settle) and to make sure the sections aren't stuck together (have never had that happen).  Once removed from the solution (blank is very dark but will lighten once the solution is thoroughly dry), I wipe down the blanks with some rags.  I then put the blanks in my oven for an hour at approximately 150 degrees to dry out the moisture from the glue.  Additionally, I steel wool the blank.  Some have suggested polishing with Micro Mesh.  I may try to test polish with the same solutions I use to polish varnished blanks.

      Finally, there was not ill effects on the ferrules of the blank I just soaked.  I did tape them up well.  The solution did soak into the tape but again I've not noticed any ill effects, the ferrules fit no different than before I soaked the blank.

      After all that said, I really don't prefer impregnated rods over varnished rods.  However, you can finish a rod much quicker which is what I was trying to do with this current rod.  My first impregnated rod was really a test to see how I like the process and results.  The rod fishes fine and no signs of the cane absorbing any moisture.  (Bob Williams)

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What do you all use for an impregnating sauce?  I'm thinking of impregnating a rod that I'm working on.  I found a recipe on another site posted by Mike Brooks using a couple of Daly's (Ship n Shore and Super Spar) products. 

My only concern is the drying time.  I really don't want to wait the recommended months to finish the rod. 

Has anyone used the recipe using Daly's products?  If so, how long do you keep the rod submerged, and then how long do you dry it?  Do you air dry, or kick it in an over?  (Aaron Gaffney)

    You soak for 24-48 hours depending on the amount of impregnation desired. You can kick it in an oven at 125-175 for 24 hours (Mike has given several different versions of this time/temp combination on various boards so be ready to experiment some). He also mentioned once that he likes to dip 2 coats of Epiphanes thinned 25%.  (Larry Puckett)

    Contact Mike and he will tell you how to "kick it"  to dry faster, there is a heating process.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    It would be interesting to see how much weight impregnating adds to the rod?  (Doug Alexander)

Rule

Dipping versus Impregnating

I'm really disappointed to say the least.  I've done a quick and dirty moisture resistance test on some beveled heat treated strips.  The idea was to compare the moisture resistance of impregnated strips to strips dipped in varnish.  Without going into all the details of the test, the conclusion is that impregnating does very little to prevent the strips from reacquiring moisture over time.  It's been noted recently that dip varnishing doesn't prevent the requisition of most of free water (at equilibrium) after a year or so.  I just thought maybe impregnating would be better.  According to my test, it is much less effective.

Here's a little more detail.  All test strips are about 2.5 inches long.  There are 4 strips in each test group.

  • Group 1:  No finish
  • Group 2:  Soaked in Ship'n Shore for 24 hours and heat cured at 175 degrees for 1 hour.
  • Group 3:  Soaked in a mix of 3 parts Ship'n Shore, 1 part Ace Spar and 1 part turps for 24 hours and heat cured at 175 degrees for 1 hour.
  • Group 4:  4 dipped coats of Ace Spar lightly sanding between coats and curing in the drying closet for about a week.

I weighed the strips before and after finishing.  Both the soaked and dipped strips gained about 5 percent.  So I have to assume the soaked strips retained some solids from the impregnation process.

I submerged all the strips in a glass of water weighing them at timed intervals.  After 24 hours of soaking, the weight gain was as follows:

  • Group 1:  22 percent
  • Group 2:  22 percent
  • Group 3:  21 percent
  • Group 4:  4 percent...that's not a typo, it was 4 percent for the dip varnished strips and two strips gained no weight at all.

The difference is so outrageous, I feel like an idiot for doing the test.  But I've impregnated all but one of my rods under the assumption that the moisture resistance will be equal to or better than dipping.  That doesn't appear to be the case.

So...did I do something wrong?  I suppose I could soak some strips in the impregnation solution for 3 or 4 days and see if that makes any difference.  I don't see how it would.  I heated the strips at 150 degrees for an hour immediately before I soaked them in the solution.  These are individual strips with the pith totally exposed.  They should have been saturated in 24 hours, shouldn't they?

Has anyone else tested the impregnation sauces for moisture resistance?  (David Bolin)

    I'm not sure your test is valid in that in a rod the pith is mostly covered with glue rather than being exposed to the moisture except on the ends.  It might be more valid to glue up an untapered section and cut it in short pieces, and redo the test.  If the cross section is the same, or nearly so, it should make a fairly good test.  (Neil Savage)

    Is 24 hours enough time for impregnation to work?   (Rich Margiotta)

    The consensus of the feedback so far is that 24 hours was not long enough to completely impregnate the strips.  I'll start over and do a 3 day soak.  The test I did was not with Mike's sauce.  I used the alternative recipe of S'nS and Spar that Mike recommends since he's not selling his stuff any more.  I still have a quart of Mike's original sauce.  I'll do the 3 day soak in both Mike's sauce and the S'nS/Spar for comparison and post a follow-up in a week or so.

    Would someone share their oven curing routine with the list?  I don't want to wait weeks for the test strips to cure at room temperature.

    Also, the purpose of the test is not to measure the moisture resistance of a finished blank.  I just want to know if impregnating adds more of less moisture resistance than dipping.  (David Bolin)

      Here is the contents of an email I rec'd from Bob Maulucci a few years ago and it reflects the impregnation process I use when I choose to impregnate a blank:

      Here is the method for impregnating rods as Hal Bacon showed us all a few years ago at the Catskills Gathering. The impregnant is Landmark Acrylic Urethane  Acrylic based tile sealer. The link is here.

      I have mine in a few quart containers. I fill a PVC tube that is a little more than 4.5 feet long. I fill the tube and dunk the rod for about a week. I cure in my Reiter oven after that point (see below). The coating impregnates the rod surface 50-60 thousandths. It eventually leaves a nicely buffed surface with very little work. I use auto compounds. My only concern is to make sure your oven is not going to fluctuate too much.

      To quote Dennis Higham, "Hal's directions say to soak for 7 days flipping the tube once or twice a day then pull out and wipe off ...then cure at 250 degrees for 2-4 hours."  (Bob Williams)

    I promised a follow-up to the dip vs. impregnate post below.  Harry sent me some cutoffs to test glued up hex sections.  Here are the weight gain results after soaking in water for 24 hours.  See Group references below in the original post.  I soaked the impregnated sections for 4 days in this test.

    • Group 1:  12%
    • Group 2:  9.7%
    • Group 3:  9.5%
    • Group 4:  0%

It appears to me that Ship-n Shore impregnation adds very little to the moisture resistance of the finished hex sections.  It adds no practical moisture resistance as compared to dipping in ACE spar.  Granted, soaking a section in water for 24 hours is not a practical application, but the point was to test moisture resistance over years of use, not just one trip to the river.  I'm going to weigh the test strips again in a year and see how they compare at equilibrium.

I'll probably wipe my blanks down with SnS to temporarily seal them prior to dipping, but I'm not going to use SnS for impregnation.  I'm going to soak some test sections in some of Mike's original sauce.  I hope the results are better.  I've finished several rods with the original sauce.  None of my rods were actually soaked in SnS.  (David Bolin)

Last follow-up on this topic...I promise.  I added one more group of Harry's hex pieces to the test.  They were soaked in Mike's original impregnation solution for 5 days, left in my drying closet for a week and dried in the oven at 150 degrees for about 4 hours.  Weighed them, soaked them in water for 24 hours and weighed them again.  Here's the final results:

  • Group 1:  12.0% - no varnish or sealer of any kind
  • Group 2:   9.7% - Soaked in Ship-n Shore for 4 days
  • Group 3:   9.5% - soaked in 3 parts SnS, 1 part Ace Spar, 1 part Turp for 4 days
  • Group 4:   0.0% - 3 coats dipped in Ace spar
  • Group 5:  16.7% - soaked in Mikes original impregnation solution for 5 days

OUCH!  Surely someone else has done moisture resistance testing on impregnated blanks that produced significantly better results.  Please speak up.  I hope my testing is somehow fundamentally flawed.

It has been reported by several makers that a rod with any finish will reach equilibrium in about a year.  If that's the case, maybe moisture resistance really doesn't matter all that much under normal conditions.  I'll weigh these test pieces again a year from now and see what happens.   (David Bolin)

    Find an old impregnated H-I and cut it up and see what happens, I'm pretty sure they used Bakelite resin like Orvis did. Somehow it doesn't seem like soaking in what is basically thinned varnish would do any good.  (John Channer)

      Did you weigh the pieces before you impregnated them, and then again after drying to see how much sauce was retained? Maybe the weight gain would be to small to notice though.  Just a thought.  (Tom Kurtis)

        I did.  The weight gain was nominal.  The dipped pieces gained the most at about 2.3%.  (David Bolin)

    How is the thickness of the SnS version vs. the original? I wonder if viscosity  is an  issue.    If   you   are   going   to   compare   them head-to-head, I would thin down the thicker of the two, and try to match them. As for curing the rod sections, the 3-6 week mark is when most people feel that the sections have stopped weeping impregnation fluid. Every rod I have used this method on has continued to cure out for up to 6 months. I suggest that the customer store the rod by hanging the rod in the sock, out of the way, for the first year.  Just my .02, so let me know what you find out, OK?  (Kevin Little)

      I have a can Landmark in front of me with my notes from that gathering about Hal's recommendations.  Just a few of things to add from my notes...

      Hal found that seven days yields about .060" of penetration (with the Landmark).

      You can varnish over the rod after impregnation if you want to.

      If no varnish will be applied, buff at very low speeds to avoid burning.

      And you should finish the blank to 1200 grit paper before impregnation.  (Carl DiNardo)

        How does the Landmark affect the action? Mike Brooks' formula speeds it up a bit, so I've got in the habit of taking a thousandth or so off of the taper to compensate for this on rods that I plan on impregnating. Works pretty good, once I figured out exactly how much the sauce changes the action. (Kevin Little)

          To that I cannot speak.  I used it on the very last rod I completed back in '04.  Just started making again about a month ago.  That rod was a 2 piece 6' 3 wt. from Wayne's book, and I love it.  I only impregnated the blank; no varnish except over my signature and on the guide wraps.  Having never built the taper previously, I can't compare it to anything.

          I don't have the numbers handy at all, but I remember that it hardly added anything weight-wise.  It didn't seem to alter the color of the cane too much, which I know some formulas can do.  Super easy to use and not a bad chemical to have around the house.  If you do use it, be certain to buff your blanks even if you are going to apply varnish -- my oven tray left slight marks after the oven treatment.

          Maybe Bob knows or remembers Hal's comments on action.  Or maybe somebody else???  (Carl DiNardo)

            One of the rods I impregnated was built using the Thomas 6'8” 3 wt taper from the Howell's book.  Everyone that has ever cast the rod has loved the way it cast.  Last year at the Catskill gathering I cast a varnished Golden Witch built rod owned by Mike Simon,  All Mike told me was that it was a 3 wt rod. Shortly after I started casting it, I mentioned that it cast a lot like a rod I built  I asked Mike about the rod and he indicated it was built using the Thomas 6'8" 3 wt taper.  I didn't do a side-by-side comparison but both rods were true 3 weight rods.  (Bob Williams)

I tested 6" untapered, glued-up sections that had been impregnated with Mike Brook's sauce. After 24 hours, I showed no weight gain, and a 6% gain with 3 coats of dipped spar.  I wonder if you are getting full penetration of your test sections? I soak the glued-up sections in the impregnation sauce for 36-48 hours, to ensure penetration, then hang them to dry in a warm area. It takes at least 3-4 weeks to dry, at the least, with heavier sections taking up to 6 weeks. Also, there should be a small (3-7%) weight gain to the section, due to impregnation. Lastly, the impregnated finish is inside the bamboo, with minimum buildup on the exterior, so note your measurements.

Let me know what you come up with.  (Kevin Little)

    The 2 rods I've impregnated so far with Mikes sauce I soaked for the same time as you and got 100% penetration. The only drawback in my opinion is the 6-8 week cure time. Dewey Hildebrand was kind enough to share his oven curing regimen with me which cures the rod much quicker. At this point in time I do all my heat treating by flaming with a torch but am seriously considering building an oven solely for the purpose of curing impregnated blanks.  (Will Price)

      I cure out my sections while hanging near my boiler in the basement. On my next set, I believe I'll make a box to hang and cure them, using 2, 125 watt light bulbs for a heat source. If you don't mind, could you send me your regimen for curing with the oven? I'm always looking for a better mousetrap.  (Kevin Little)

Rule

I have built already some rods and varnished them, dipping and brushing. Now I want to try to impregnate my next rod can some of you maybe advice me how to do that. Do I have to impregnate all the strips separate or can I do it with the whole blank, how long does it stay in the impregnation oil and what kind of oil can I use best for it.

Hopefully somebody can advise me on this.  (Jaco Pronk)

    First some information. Take a look at this.

    Now if you will allow me to pontificate a bit about impregnation - Why would you want to deaden the soul of a bamboo rod by stuffing plastic inside it? Sure you will gain some longevity and durability, but the feel of the natural substance will be masked by the weight and stiffness of the synthetic substance inside it. If you are selling your rods and you want them to last over a hundred years maybe impregnation is the way to go, but there is a reason used impregnated Orvis rods are priced the way they are. Availability is one reason (why are there so many used ones for sale?), but desirability is the main reason. People seem to turn away from impregnated rods after a while.

    As for durability and longevity, as a rodmaker, you will be in the best position to repair or replace your rod should something happen to it, so that shouldn't be too much of a concern. Don't impregnate and enjoy the unadulterated feel of a bamboo rod.

    Here I go sticking my neck out again. What the heck, it sure increases the postings on this list!  (Darryl Hayashida)

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How much does bakelite impregnation add to the stiffening effect of the blank. Has anyone done any tests on this.  (Gary Nicholson)

    The person who can probably best answer this for you is Mike Brooks.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      I have been in touch with Mike about the Bakelite impregnation this is what he had to say. It looks like we should increase the diameter a full line size.

      Bakelite is an old plastic resin. Most shops using it immersed the blanks in it, under pressure  (actually a vacuum) for two to three days. This achieved a penetration of between 20% and 40%. Then, the impregnated blanks were baked to set the resin. The result is quite a bit faster and stiffer than natural bamboo and is one of the reasons even small Orvis rods take heavier line weights. I figure it adds about 1 to 1-1.2 line weight to an equivalent size diameter rod.

      Mike

      (Gary Nicholson)

        I think you mean decrease the diameter.  (Bill Walters)

          What I was trying to assess was how to make a non impregnated rod have the same casting power as an impregnated rod. To copy the taper it looks like you will have to grow the diameter somewhat.  (Gary Nicholson)

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Does anyone know what the Wulff rods are impregnated with?  (Larry Tusoni)

    Yes they were impregnated with bakelite.  (Gary Nicholson)

    I'm not 100% sure, but it should be bakelite. Once Orvis shared that formula with Sharpes so that Sharpes could build rods to Orvis specs, I believe when the patent expired all of the English rod companies. used it to impregnate their rods. Possibly someone from across the pond will chime in to confirm or debunk this answer.  (Will Price)

      My best source, Overfield, says it's "A Bakelite resin". This would have been something like a phenol-formaldehyde impregnated under pressure, although its not impossible that it was vacuum impregnated I suppose. Crude old Bakelite was quite stiff, but quite heavy and I should take a lot of convincing that it achieved anything much more than adding weight and softening the action. The latter because it is less stiff than bamboo, so the combination will be more stiff than Bakelite but less stiff than bamboo. By no means all of the English rod companies used it, in fact Sharpes were the only company of any consequence to use it to any extent. We do not have the extremes of temperature in the UK that you enjoy in the USA, if we did I expect that some of the epoxy goops we use would become suspect. Phenol formaldehyde was followed by Urea Formaldehyde, much loved by Dick Walker in the fifties but, according to some contributors, it is not future proof!  (Robin Haywood)

    Thanks for all that responded.

    This is what I should have asked:

    What material is used to impregnate the current Wulff rods?  They are made in England by a Tony Fordham (not sure of the name as I can't read his script)  (Larry Tusoni)

      I wonder if that could be Tony Fordham, as in the defunct Davenport and Fordham and the possibly live Wakefield and Fordham, distributors of fishing tackle to the trade.  (Robin Haywood)

        You are correct, it is Tony Fordham as in Davenport and Fordham as in Wakefield and Fordham.  (Paul Blakley)

          The rods you are referring to are the NEW Royal Wulff Products renditions of the old Lee Wulff rods as produced by Sharpes for Farlows (and retailed in the States by Norm Thomson Outfitters back in the late fifties/earls sixties). The NEW rods are finished by Tony Fordham here in the UK from blanks that I believe are produced by Chapmans of Ware (which is where Tony Fordham lives I believe?). Chapmans blanks are impregnated with a phenol formaldehyde resin. (Paul Blakley)

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Well, after thinking about it for 2 or 3 years, I have decided to do the Plexiglas impregnation on a rod.  It works really good with the inserts so maybe it will have some positive effects on the bamboo.  I thought I would post the process as I am basically lazy and would procrastinate if I wait until I had finished.  Everything below reflects some early experiments and is based on the process I use for preparing reel seat inserts.  Each strips need to be continuous with no glue joints.  IE: no nodeless strips!

Some thoughts:

There is a couple of questions to be answered along the way.  One is how well will the Epon stick to the impregnated bamboo and if it doesn’t can the Plexiglas be used as the glue.  My first attempt will be to impregnate the strips, plane and finish in the usual manner.  One option is to finish plane the strips, bind without glue and impregnate the blank.  If the amount of retained Plexiglas is sufficient, it should bridge the glue joints so that additional gluing would be unnecessary.  This is an experiment for farther down the road.

This raises the question of how much Plexiglas should the bamboo retain.  The amount that is retained in the article being impregnated can be kept quite small.  This is accomplished by thinning (solvent to Plexiglas ratio) and varying the method of impregnation.  I intend to start with one; pressure.  By placing the bamboo in a solution of Plexiglas and solvent in an enclosed chamber, the Plexiglas can be forced into the bamboo by using air pressure.  I have used this method on some insert impregnation experiments and it works.  If this amount is insufficient, the ratio of Plexiglas to solvent can be increased and/or a vacuum can be used in addition to pressure.  The method of using pressure alone is attractive as the Plexiglas solution is forced into the bamboo while compressing the air within the bamboo.  At 100 psi, the air is compressed to a very small volume.  When the pressure is released, the air expands pushing the excess out of the bamboo.  This leaves a thin coating throughout the bamboo.  The ratio of solvent to Plexiglas can be manipulated to get the desired amount of retained Plexiglas.

If a higher amount of retained Plexiglas is desired, a vacuum pump can be used.  This is implemented in the same method as recharging an air conditioner after repair.  The bamboo is placed in the chamber and a vacuum is drawn.  After the material is out gassed enough, the Plexiglas solution is injected into the chamber and a pressure is applied.  After sufficient time for the Plexiglas to enter the bamboo. Pressure is removed and the strips taken out of the chamber.

The impregnation chamber:

The impregnation chamber is constructed of 1 ¼” galvanized pipe.  You may want to use 1 ½” if you intend on doing a whole rod at once.  You need to decide what length before you ask the store to cut and thread it.  Some stores, Lowes for one, carry some precut and threaded pieces.  I have a 50” piece that I decided was to short for some applications so I use a coupling and one of several random “nipples” (short pieces of pipe threaded on both ends) to make up the length I want.  This came about after I had purchased a 50” piece of pipe and realized that if I made a 8’ or longer rod, 50” is not quite long enough.

Now purchase two galvanized end caps.  One goes on each end of the pipe.  Now drill a hole through the top of one end cap and thread it for a ¼” air fitting and screw a ¼” male quick disconnect fitting into the cap.  Check the air fittings for compatibility.  There are several different types of quick disconnect fittings and they are incompatible with each other.  Check what you use on your air compressor and get the same thing.  If you don’t have a compressor, KMart has some real bargains on some small compressors right now.

Impregnating the strips:

To prepare the strips for impregnation, you need a piece of ½” to 5/8” metal pipe or rod the same length or a little shorter than your strips.  You need something to hold the strips under the impregnation solution and the pipe will do this plus providing a straight surface to hold the strips straight while being impregnated.  To use this, arrange the strips with each strip parallel to the pipe with the enamel side contacting the metal pipe.  Bind the strips to the pipe while insuring the strips are as straight as possible.  There is an old technician’s trick that can be used here.  By starting with a few half hitches at one end of the strip, the string used (dental floss or dental tape can be used here as well as most other string the same size or larger.  If you haven’t seen this done, check some old electronics texts on shop techniques.  In a pinch, I can probably scan a page from an old text.  Now you should have the strips for a blank laced (bound) to a pipe and ready for impregnation.

Make sure the galvanized pipe is clean inside.  Acetone and MEK is a very volatile solvent and oil or similar product will be dissolved and added to the Plexiglas solution.  Now screw the bottom on.  Use some plumbers goo or tape to get a good seal.  You don’t want a leak here with 100 PSI or you will have Plexiglas all over your floor.  Now set the pipe vertical with the open end up.  Make a stand to hold it this way or strap it to a table leg like I do.  Now insert the pipe laced strips into the pipe.  Now pour the Plexiglas solution into the pipe filling it until it completely covers the bamboo.  Now screw on the top.  It is not as important to get a really good seal since nothing but air will leak at this end,  Now hook it up to your compressor and run the pressure up to about 100 PSI.  Let it set for a while. 

How long is “a while”.  Truthfully, I don’t know so I let it set for 24 hours.   After I have decided that is enough, I release the pressure, unscrew the top and remove the bamboo.  A handy attachment to the air fitting is a valve fitting.  There is a cheap one sold by Harbor Freight stores that claims to be a regulator.  It is nothing but a leaky valve.  Works great to slow the air release from the pipe when the quick release is disconnected.

Making Plexiglas “syrup”:

The “syrup” is Plexiglas dissolved in acetone (or MEK).  Plexiglas can be bought at Home Depot or other sources.  Make sure to emphasize “Plexiglas”.  Some stores assume you mean clear plastic and will substitute Lexan or other clear non glass products.  They may or may not be soluble in acetone or MEK.  It’s difficult to identify the amount you need from 1/8” thick sheets but do your best and buy what you need. $10 to $12 is enough to make a gallon or more.

Break up or saw up the Plexiglas.  You need a vessel to dissolve the Plexiglas in.  A good place to start is a pint or quart fruit jar with a lid.  Make sure it is glass!  The Plexiglas comes with a sheet of protective plastic on each side of the Plexiglas.  If You are going to break up the Plexiglas, leave the protective plastic on.  If you are going to saw, take it off.  If you decide to break it up. Wear leather gloves and use protective eye wear.  The Plexiglas mimics glass when broken and breaking produces shards ever bit as sharp as glass.  A flat top anvil and a small hammer work well.  The hammer will produce “star” cracks in the plastic.  The protective sheets hold most of the Plexiglas together so it doesn’t scatter to much.  Most of the pieces can be collected by striping them off the plastic.  Sawing produces a lot of irritating plastic sawdust.  Wear protective eye wear.  What size of pieces do you need; small enough to fit in the jar.  Jars are the preferred container for dissolving the Plexiglas.  Fill it about 2/3 full with Plexiglas pieces and cover with acetone (or MEK).  Shake it several times a day; invert the jar to keep the Plexiglas from making a glob stuck to the bottom.  If this happens, just sit the Jar upside down and shake it often and the Plexiglas will drip away.  In 2 or three days you will have a “syrup” that looks like clear Karo syrup.  Dilute and use.

Determining ratio of Plexiglas to solvent.  There are a couple of ways to do this.  First start with either two equal jars or a jar and a quart sized measuring cup.  Put a piece of tape on that will be the jar containing the Plexiglas marking where a quart is.  Determine this before adding the Plexiglas.  Now add the Plexiglas pieces.  Now pour a quart of acetone (MEK) into either a measuring cup or a second jar that also has a 1 quart mark.  Now add acetone to the Plexiglas containing jar until the quart mark is reached.  Now measure the amount of acetone (MEK) remaining.  This is the volume of the Plexiglas.  One quart minus the Plexiglas is the amount of solvent by volume.  Now keep track of how much solvent you use to dilute and you will always know the ratio.

Second method.  If you forget to measure, there is still an out.  This is easy if you reload ammunition.  You will already have a scale for measuring weight accurately.  Now you need a small, light container to hold a sample of the Plexiglas solution.  This can be the syrup or any dilution along the way or the final solution.  You can fold a piece of aluminum foil to make a small container.  If you are using a reloading scale, it must fit in the measuring pan.  Now add enough Plexiglas solution to produce a reading of about ½ to 2/3 the maximum on the scale.  Better to err on the high side rather than the low side.  Record the weight of the container before adding the Plexiglas solution and after the Plexiglas solution has been added.  Now set the container of solution where it can evaporate.  Pick a place where the vapors will not accumulate.  Not a good idea to breathe to much solvent fumes.  In a weak or more, remeasure the container.  It now contains only Plexiglas in the container.  Compare the weight of the container before evaporation and after evaporation.  The amount of solvent by weight is the total weight of the container before evaporation minus the total weight after evaporation.  The weight of the Plexiglas is the total weight of the evaporated container minus the weight of the container alone.  The ratio of the solvent to Plexiglas in this case is by weight.

Containers.  It is to your benefit to dissolve the Plexiglas in a glass container with a wide mouth that  can be closed with a screw on lid.  You will want to shake and invert the contents while it is dissolving.  Using this method you should be finished in 2 or 3 days.  I used a 3 lb potato can once.  It had a vinyl lid that I protected with a sheet of aluminum foil.  I had to stir it because I couldn’t shake or invert the container.  It took over two weeks to get all the Plexiglas dissolved.

I will post the results as I go along.  I am drying and heat treating the strips this weekend.  I will try and get the impregnation done sometime this weekend or next week.  I have the strips sitting in a PVC pipe with desiccant.  This weekend I will remove them and heat treat and then impregnate.  (Onis Cogburn)

    I finally planed the strips I impregnated.  They were done with a 20% solution.  They glued just like straight bamboo.  I would recommend straightening and rough planing before impregnating.  I think a 10% solution would be sufficient.  I don't think there will be any difference in performance between impregnated and non.  Impregnation might make the action faster but I will have to finish this one before I can tell.  Should finish in a month or so.   (Onis Cogburn)

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A question to those that use Mike Brook's Impregnation sauce. Making my latest rod I decided to mix a batch of this stuff and give it a try. In researching its use, it says to allow the rod to sit for several weeks or to place it in a hot box to have it "kick". Here are the question(s). What magical events take place when the rod "kicks"? How do you know when it has taken place? I do not have a drying cabinet and mine has been hanging in the rafters for about 6 weeks. Just wondering when I can continue to work the rod.  (Bill Bixler)

    When the rod kicks it becomes stiffer. Before it kicks it takes a set easily. When I made my second rod, and the first with impregnation sauce,  I thought I must've really gotten things right because it was supposed to be a six-weight and cast one quite well. I didn't know about the curing time anp promptly set of to catch landlock salmon with it- I had to remove a set from it after each few times I caught fish.

    The next fall the rod didn't cast worth a damn with the 6-weight. Putting a seven weight on it it cast great and several schoolie stripers didn't give it a set. Since then I've used it for salmon, stripers and shad with no complaints.

    You can work it now in terms of making the rod, just don't fish it yet, or if you do straighten any sets when done. If you can hang it over or next to your furnace, water heater, politician or other windbag. You should be able to fish it soon.  (Henry Mitchell)

      Ditto Henry's comments, and I'll add a thought. I knocked together a drying cabinet out of scrap plywood, and fitted a socket base in the bottom. Mine is 6'x1'x1', with a divider about 1' up from the bottom. Drill a 1"-1.5" hole in the divider and in the top. Screen both holes with something to act as a filter (I use 1.2 micron urological filters, cut to fit). Using a 200W bulb, I get temps @ 100-105 degrees.  (Kevin Little)

    Do you have an oven for heat treating your cane? If so I'll send you the instructions that Dewey Hildebrand gave me on kicking the impregnation within a couple of days.Much better than waiting around for the 2 months that Mike recommends in letting it kick on it's own.  (Will Price)

    How long did you soak the sections?  If you did a 100 percent impregnation, a three day soak then it will take awhile. The rod as it cures it will ooze, for a better description, until it is almost completely cured, then give it another couple of weeks. Now that our temps are getting up there, set it in the attic. In my experience it takes 100 percent impregnated  sections take about two months to fully cure in my 90 degree hot box.  (Tim Pembroke)

    "What magical events take place when the rod "kicks"? How do you know when it has taken place?"

    I used Mike's original impregnation sauce on 5 rods before I tested it for moisture resistance.  My tests certainly were not lab quality, but they should be directionally correct.  I posted the results of those tests here on the list a couple months ago.  You said you mixed up some of Mike's impregnation solution.  I assume you're referring to the Ship n Shore version of the formula.  I tested that in addition to the original formula.  If you have an impregnated cut off from that blank in the rafters, you can check the moisture resistance of the blank.  Just weigh the cut off piece and then soak it in a glass of water for 24 hours.  Now weigh it again.  In my tests, the impregnated sections had weight gain of about 9.5%.  A section with no varnish of any kind gained 12%.  A section that was dipped in Ace spar three times gained 0%.

    So what does that have to do with the "kick"?  This is just a theory, but it appears to me that the kick is the point at which the liquid in the solution has evaporated.  It's going to take a while for that to happen naturally.  The blank has a tendency to take on a set prior to that "kick" because it's effectively wet to the core.  Once it dries out, it returns to a state very close to a rod with no impregnation at all.  In fact, it will probably weight almost exactly what it did prior to impregnation.

    So the "kick" is basically the point at which most of the impregnation stuff is gone and you're back to where you started with a raw blank.  I didn't test the moisture resistance at different points in the drying process, but I expect the resistance is high when it's wet with solution and gradually declines as it dries out.  That would seem to make sense.  So if you test it while it's wet with solution, it's probably not going to gain any weight.  When it's dry, it gains weight like a raw blank.

    I know that contradicts conventional list wisdom, but it's easy to test for yourself.  I sincerely hope I'm wrong.  But until someone comes forward with better test results, I'm going to be dipping all my rods.

    Please note that I did not test any other impregnation formulas.  There are several out there in the list archives that might waterproof a blank.  Also, the five rods that I've impregnated are wonderful rods.  I love them all...even the paras.  But I wouldn't dare leave them out in the rain at camp.   (David Bolin)

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I use clear penetrating epoxy sealer on both rod blanks and reel seats to eliminate water as a problem. The sealer is from Smith and Company.  This is a very thin deep penetrating epoxy which eliminates moisture and seals the blank.  I've cut pieces off and found the sealer through out the fibers. But, because it airs thoroughly, there is no noticeable weight added to the blank.  I first let my blanks cure for a month after glue-up, then soak them for up to two hours in a trough of the 2 part penetrating sealer(get the cold weather blend - it's thinner and seems to penetrate better.)  USE LOTS OF VENTILATION: this stuff is very volatile and the fumes can't be good for you!  I hang the blank in my cabinet for a week or two to evaporate the sealer, buff with four ought steel wool and dip twice for finish.  (Jon Lyman)

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Anyone out there ever use Barringer Cues replacement for Nelsonite called Resolute?  I want to impregnated a few blanks, but they no longer sell it in quarts, only 5 gallons for $100.00.  I would never use that much.

Does anyone know if Mike Brooks is still making his sauce?  Anyone have his contact info?

    Impregnation solution:

    The mix, again, is one gallon of Daly's Ship 'n Shore to one quart of Daly's Super Spar to two quarts of paint thinner. Shake, cap the end of a 5 foot or so section of 1-1/2" PVC pipe and fill with the mix (takes about a quart), stick your sections in for a couple of hours to 4 days and air cure for 2 months (hanging from the rafters of your shop....and they will dry and set arrow straight). Or, you can kick them and cure them in a day or so in a 200 degree rod oven or hot box.

    This is Mike's formula, as he posted on Clark's classic rod board. My understanding is that he's not selling it any more.

    I've lost his email address, hope this helps.  (Henry Mitchell)

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Walking through the local home improvement story a few days, (a bad idea) I suddenly had a question for the list.

Anyone use one of those deck treatments, like Thompson's Waterseal?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    I haven't tried "water seal", or any other specifically designed finishing product except Daly's Ship and Seal for impregnating rods. I believe Thompson's acts similar to the Daly's ship and seal, as it's designed to sink into the substrate of the material. (Daly's is a very good compound that can be buffed to a glossy, almost shell-like finish if desired...)

    However, I'm beginning a project on finishing wraps (specifically) to determine the best replacement for the former Helmsman Spar Urethane. (Now demised by the EPA regulations I'm told.)

    I have 5 different compound mixes, of which I've only managed a single coat so far due to a fishing trip and a dipping session that needed tending first. Two are of spar varnish, two of spar urethane (oil-based) and one of spar urethane (water based). Judging by the first coat's results, I think some members of the list will be interested. I will get another coat on tomorrow and begin a photo log that I can make available to anyone interested when it's complete.  (Mike St. Clair)

    I have used it on a deck. Everyone I know says bad things about it; from price to quality. I have heard guys who are suppose to know say there are better products for the job. It seemed fine from what I knew at the time. You have to reapply every year. (Timothy Troester)

      Yup, Thompson’s seems to be another one of those products where they put the money into marketing rather than development. It doesn't last at all.  (Ray Wallace)

    I've used Thompson's Waterseal on my pine bark handles.  The material being a bit porous, I didn't want water soaking in.  So far, I've been happy with the results. 

    Also, on the deck, it goes down easier, and lasts longer than spar varnish.  There may be better products for the job, but I don't know what they are.  (Paul Gruver)

    Why would you want waterproofing? Are your rods rotting away? Has something gone wrong with rodmaking as we've known it for the past century or so?  (Bill Harms)

      Hmmm, it seems as though you don't share Crompton's view on sealers.  After having recently read somewhere of his opinion of sealers versus varnish, I kinda had wanted to explore it myself.  Now where did I read that?  (Tim Wilhelm)

    Not Thompson's Waterseal but I've used Landmark tile sealer to impregnate a few rods.  I think Hal Bacon was the one who came up with the process of  using the tile sealer for impregnating rods.  (Bob Williams)

    PS: I had a new deck built last year and they used some other water sealer on it that should last 5 years.  When I asked if it was Thompson's they said they never use Thompson's because it has to be reapplied every year to be effective.   I don't recall what they said they used.

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I will be using Mike’s [Brooks] sauce as a impregnation solution, and am wondering how long I need to let my sections dry (Epon) before I can put them in  the solution (1 part  spar - 2 parts thinner - 4 parts sealer).  The sections have air dried for 9 days now.  Just wondering if the solution will affect the glue at all if dipped too early.  (Louis DeVos)

    I put my glued up sections next to the furnace, weighing them daily and not sealing/impregnating/varnishing until the weight stabilizes- then I figure all the moisture is out. I don't think that there's any way it would affect the Epon after all that drying.  (Henry Mitchell)

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OK, I know we just had this discussion or maybe I read about it somewhere else.  What's the verdict on using tile/granite sealer to impregnate a blank?  I can't find where I was reading about it.  Is it something that works or am I having a brain fart?  And would it work to stabilize a reel seat insert?

Found a bit of talk on the tips section, but I know that's not where the majority of discussion was.  (Pete Emmel)

    Unless I'm having a brain fart, I believe that it was Hal Bacon who did the experimenting with the tile sealer to impregnate rods. The verdict was that it is an acceptable method to impregnate. On the few rods that I've impregnated, I just used Mike Brooks sauce and method with very satisfactory results.

    As far as stabilizing a reel seat, well it will impregnate the reel seat but to me stabilizing means hardening so that you don't get chip out when turning on the lathe. I'm not sure that tile sealer will do that. Besides it's just as easy to soak in Minwax wood hardener.  (Will Price)

    A short time ago there was a discussion on impregnating rods. Bob Nunley said he was using TileLab Gloss Sealer and Finish and that this could replace varnishing. A question was raised as to the effect the tile sealer might have on rods glued with Titebond. Since I love Titebond and find good varnishing the most challenging part of rod making, I decided to find out.

    The rod in question is an 8 ft., 3 piece, 5 wt with Poratelli’s streamlined  bamboo ferrules, hollowed out using Poratelli’s “sharktooth” hollowing technique as described in the latest issue of the IBRA Journal. The glue was TBIII. Each section was soaked in the tile sealer for 3 days and left to dry for two weeks. I did not use an oven.

    One seam on the female ferrule of the mid section slightly delaminated (about 2”) when I was fitting the male slide of the butt section. This could have been caused by the sealer weakening the glue or by a poor glue application at this point. The wall thickness here is .044 in. It was reglued with some thin CA. No other defects were found (other than some glue lines caused by poor planing). I tested the rod today. It casts beautifully. I then tried to see how it would handle stress. Inasmuch as there are no large fish in my backyard, I tied 18 inches of 5x tippet to my leader, tied the other end to a heavy garden chair, and imagined I was landing a large trout. Pulling hard, I bent the tip nearly 180 degrees and eventually broke the tippet. There were no ill effects on the rod at all.

    My conclusion is that TBIII can be used safely with the tile sealer by hobbyists like myself but that if I were planning on selling rods I would want to see some more longevity tests to be sure the glue joints hold up over time.  (Jim Healy)

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OK, I know we just had this discussion or maybe I read about it somewhere else.  What's the verdict on using tile/granite sealer to impregnate a blank?  I can't find where I was reading about it.  Is it something that works or am I having a brain fart?  And would it work to stabilize a reel seat insert?

Found a bit of talk on the tips section, but I know that's not where the majority of discussion was.  (Pete Emmel)

    Yes, it was on this list. In fact Bob Nunley gave the best description of it along with a number of other contributors. I purchased a gallon of the stuff but haven't tried it you. I will let everyone know what i think about it after I have used it.  (Phil Crangi)

      Here is what Bob had to say, I saved it for reference.  I hope you don’t mind me posting this Bob.  (Henry Mitchell)

      Henry, Even though it's not as easy to use, I prefer Deks Olje.  The tile sealer works great, but like I said, the Deks Olje is hands down the best.  I just had no idea it was available from anywhere after Flood dropped it from their line.  I will order a gallon next week.

      As for the Tile Sealer, what I used was called TileLab Gloss Sealer and Finish  3 days soak then a 3 day set and a 4 or 5 hour pop in the oven at the end and the rods are ready to wrap.

      Answering some questions that came up yesterday;

      I do not finish as usual over the TileLab (or Deks either for that matter).  Impregnating replaces varnish.  As a matter of fact, for functionality, impregnating is the way to go.

      Pressurization or heat are not required with either product... just a soak in a PVC tube, let it dry then polish it out with 0000 steel wool.  You may then, if you just like them shinier, buff them out with Finesse-It or some other kind of polish, but I just prefer to hit mine with 0000.

      I don't know how these products would act with Titebond or any glue other than URAC.  I do know that neither of them will hurt the bond that you get with URAC, but Titebond, I'm just not sure.  I'd suggest taking one of your cut offs from a rod, soak it in whatever you want to try to impregnate with and see how it holds up to the chemicals.

      "What other things can I use?"   Well, you can use anything that will dry in a reasonable amount of time.  When you are choosing an impregnant, there are several considerations you have to make... Does it keep the water out of the cane (you aren't going  to be  varnishing over this,  so it had better)?  Does it dry in a reasonable amount of time?  Some varnishes and Polys take days, some take weeks, some take YEARS to completely cure.  Anything with a really high Tung Oil or raw linseed oil content... well, that's going to take years, especially if it's deep down inside the cane where it can't get to oxygen.  You don't want something that's going to stay liquid inside the rod for any appreciable amount of time.

      What does it weigh?  Very important.  It's not important to get tech data sheets and know the Specific Gravity of your "soup"... simple test.  Choose your poison.   Put some in a cup.  Weigh a piece of scrap bamboo on a digital scale that has decent resolution (Hey, it's 49 bucks at Staples and if you use URAC, you darn sure better own one anyway).  Soak in your soup long enough to make sure it's soaked all the way to the core.  (3 days with TileLab, 8 or so with Deks Olje, I don't know how long with normal Poly's because I had a bad experience with that one time and I will never... well, read the book). Take it out, give it a week or so to dry.  Weigh it again.  Did it gain any weight?  If so, calculate the percentage of weight gain.  MAKE A NOTE.  Now, take a piece about  the  same size,  weigh it, and  varnish it  as usual... use the same speed and same number of coats you normally would.  Let it dry then weigh it.  What percentage weight gain did you get with the varnish.  Now compare your impregnated piece's percent of weight gain to the varnished piece's percent of weight gain.  Are they comparable?  Is your soup too heavy?  You don't want something that will weigh significantly more than normal varnish.  You want something that gives you protection WITHOUT adding weight.  Remember, our tapers are based on stresses at certain points along a beam.  If we change the weight of the beam, we change the casting characteristics, so, just for those who want to try it, be warned that Phenol Formaldehyde Resins (commonly known as Phenolic Resins) weigh significantly more than three coats of varnish;  however, they are absolutely waterproof, chemical proof.

      So that brings on the next thing to consider.  How water proof is my "soup"?  Easy to figure out.  Again, take scrap sections (use the impregnated and varnished sections you used to test for weight gain) and soak each of them in a cup of water overnight.  Take them out, dry them, then weigh them on your digital scale.  Were there weight gains?  What was the percentage of weight gain?  Did the impregnated piece gain more or less weight than the varnished piece?  Did it gain ANY weight at all?

      In the end, you need something that is chemical and water proof, that adds an amount of weight comparable to your varnish, that does not react adversely with your adhesive, that LOOKS GOOD when buffed out and that keeps water out of the bamboo, even in extreme situations (soaking overnight is extreme enough).

      Have fun and trust me... do NOT try impregnating in a 200 PSI vessel, using a low pressure sewer cleanout cap to seal it off.  They are NOT capable of holding more than about 35 PSI... trust me on this one!

      Bob Nunley

        How much use has the Tilelab product seen? The data sheet specifically says " For interior dry areas only." so how well does it stand up to exterior wet conditions? Anyone actually used it for any length of time with success?  (Larry Puckett)

        Yep that one too. I had forgotten all about that one and it hasn't even been that long ago. I'll just chalk it up to geezin'.  (Will Price)

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I'm interested in impregnating some bamboo to improve the dimensional stability.  I've used Minwax Wood Hardener on bamboo ferrules,  I'm also aware of Pentacryl and that some folks have used a "syrup" made from Plexiglas dissolved in acetone.  What experiences have you all had with these products?  What other options are out there?  Is there anything out there that will penetrate the bamboo, then polymerize and prevent splitting?  (Robert Kope)

    Whatever happened to Terry Ackland?

    Do you remember Terry's claim to have discovered an impregnating agent that did all the above, as well as 100% waterproofing, plus zero color change, and added ZERO WEIGHT to the blank.  It was to spearhead his drive to revolutionize the market for rod blanks, in fact.  (Peter McKean)

      I doubt it's possible to impregnate bamboo without also adding weight. The "stabilization" factor is probably bogus anyway, as is the need for added "protection."  What do we need from bamboo that it doesn't already give us? And at what cost to the natural material and its optimum taper/weight? Where's the net gain with impregnation?  (Bill Harms)

        Well, Orvis has been doing it successfully for decades. I have several impregnated rods and the ease of care is great. And, I’m not convinced that there is a significant weight gain with impregnation over varnishing. Instead of the varnish on the outside you put it inside.  (Larry Puckett)

      I've had good success soaking glued sections in Epiphanies gloss for three days, then removing the sections and repeatedly wiping off any varnish that shows up on the surface.  The surface can be polished after it has had a chance to cure.  Sections that I've cut after soaking appear to have good penetration of the varnish.  The process adds about the same amount of weight as regular varnish, and when I have compared weight gain of sections suspended over water in a closed container the impregnated sections pick up less than varnished sections.  (Bill Lamberson)

        Do you think there is something unique about Epiphanies that works in this process? Have you tried this technique with other spars, or Helmsman?  (Timothy Troester)

        That sounds cool. Thinner? temperature? before or after ferruling? It sounds like it should make for a nice low-key finish.

        I've thought of soaking the blank in a sealer such as Daly's Ship n Shore, letting that dry, weighing it, then repeating the process until there is no more weight gain; after that seeing if it can still absorb water.  (Henry Mitchell)

          It leaves a nice low gloss finish.  I turn the ferrule stations before soaking, but don’t glue the ferrules.  I just soak the sections at room temp with no vacuum or pressure.  The varnish isn’t thinned.

          The process isn’t original to me, I got it from the Rodmakers archives many years ago.  (Bill Lamberson)

          I've tried a similar Ship-n-Shore test.  It was a waste of time.  Here are links (experiment & followup) to the details on my blog.

          I was very disappointed with the test results of a process that was mentioned numerous times on the List as an acceptable alternative to dipping a rod.  The moral of that story is to test everything.  If you have some SnS around the shop, set up a test of your own.  It would be simple to do with some scrap pieces.   I may have missed something.  (David Bolin)

            My thought was to dip, dry, then dip and dry repeatedly until the dry weight  stabilized, i.e. no more of what's in the sealer that does the  waterproofing could be absorbed. I'm not interested in impregnation that changes the nature of bamboo, only that protects it from the elements.

            One of the most fun times I've had with a cane rod was when a guy in his twenties looked at my rod and said "I heard you can't get them wet." My reply was to submerge the rod.  (Henry Mitchell)

            I just read your blog and  I’m not surprised at your results. According to various emails I have from him Mike’s formula is 1 gal of SnS to 1 qt Varnish and 2 qts paint thinner. It needs to soak at least 48 hours to get complete penetration — 24 hours is not long enough. Heat setting the resins takes 24-48 hours at 200-300 degrees and they rarely come out straight that way — he prefers just hanging the blanks in the shop to cure for 2-3 months!  (Larry Puckett)

              Here is the method I use courtesy of Dewey Hildebrand. It has worked for me on the 3 rods that I have impregnated. 8-12 hours =  50% penetration. 24-36 hours = 100% penetration. At the end of the time period for soaking take the sections out of the tube and wipe them down with an old clean t shirt. Put them in a 200 degrees oven for 30-40 minutes. Take the sections out of the oven wipe down and hang in a warm room for 24 hours. repeat the oven procedure and hang again for 24 hours. After 3-4 treatments the blank should be completely cured. This procedure is fine for glues that are not real heat sensitive such as URAC and Resorcinol. No problems with straightness or delamination and the blank being ready in 4 days versus 2-3 months works for me.  (Will Price)

                Just for the fun of it, compare a cutoff piece of an impregnated blank with a dipped (three coats of spar or whatever) piece of one that was not impregnated.  Weigh each of them.  Then submerge them in a glass of water for 24 hours, remove and weigh them while they're still wet.  Calculate the percentage weight gain for each of the two sections and compare them.  I hope you find that the impregnated piece is at least as moisture resistant as the dipped one.  In other words, it should gain no more weight as a percentage of it's original dry weight than the dipped one.

                I hope I'm wrong, but I think you'll be disappointed with the results.  It appears to me that it will take something more invasive than soaking bamboo in varnish to equal the moisture resistance of a few dipped coats of varnish.  But its easy to do the test and find out for sure.  (David Bolin)

              I expect there were several different versions of the impregnation recipe circulated on the list.  All I can say is set up a test and try it before you assume it works.

              With a little fine tuning by Alan Kube and friends, there's another one of Mike's concoctions that's very cool.  It's a transparent wrap solution.  Here's the link to Alan's version of the recipe.  It works...if you stick to the recipe.  No substitutions!   (David Bolin)

                Where do you get the walnut alklyd medium?  (Phil Crangi)

                  Any art supply store like Artcraft, Dick Blick, etc.  You'll find it in the oil paint section. (which is where I found it).  (Steve Yasgur)

                  Any art store has it. Craft stores, too. Michaels, JoAnnes, etc. Cost about 8 bucks depending where you get it.   (Don Peet)

        I got it all except the last line.  Is this a test you did to see if the bamboo absorbed water from the air?  (Louis DeVos)

          That is right.  I put the rod sections in a saturated atmosphere by suspending them in a closed container which was partially filled with water.  After a few days I weighed them to determine how much moisture they picked up.  The impregnated section picked up less weight than a varnished section which in turn picked up less than an a section with no varnish or impregnation.  (Bill Lamberson)

          I am very interested in impregnating my glued blanks with varnish. I am always experimenting with different type of finishes and methods for finishing. I would really like to fully understand how it all works. If some kind soul out there would care to show me the way I would be eternally grateful. I have been using Helmsman Spar Urethane and I like the results. If I impregnate the blanks with it would the end results be the same as the drain method I currently use? Any help will be greatly appreciated.  (Phil Crangi)

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