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I just completed the most successful dipping (in terms of lack of dust contamination) of two rods. What's different? Added an ionic air purifier next to the dip tube and ran it for several days before and during dipping. God knows my environment is less than clean and dust free, and just about impossible to clean thoroughly with all the shelving and material stored therein. Comes with the territory of having most of my rodmaking at my office/warehouse place of work. That and the table saw and surface planer also share the space.

Anyhow, the ionic air purifier seemed to knock down the dust floating in the area and kept it down long enough to get the rods dipped and safely in the drying cabinet. About $30 cost purchased online.  (Steve Shelton)

    For those of you who are thinking of investing in a purifier and may have a room that's small enough to be able to benefit, there's an old photographers' trick that'll cost you NOTHING (like the sound of that? Do I have your attention?) : Get a spray bottle, fill  it with water,  and spray the area around your enlarger - OK, your dip tank - with tap water. It won't clean up the place but it'll durnsure keep the dust from blowing onto your finish!

    It isn't as much fun as another "tool", but it works.  (Art Port)

      I don’t know what all the fuss is about!  Granted I’ve only built five rods but everyone came out with a glass smooth finish without a single dust speck and I didn’t use any dust control whatsoever.  I do my dipping in the same basement room as I power mill, power sand, etc, etc.  I blow off my dipping fixture and let the room settle overnight.

      The next day, MOVING VERY SLOWLY so as to NOT stir up any dirt, I wipe my rod sections with mineral spirits and dip.  I hang my sections in the same room till air dried and then heat at about 120 degrees F in my oven to finish the job.  I think the keys are: to make sure the sections are dust free, work in a draft free room which has had a chance to settle out, and don’t stir things up by moving fast.  (Al Baldauski)

        Positive air pressure!

        If your dip tube is enclosed in another chamber,  feed filtered air INTO the enclosure.  Any particulate floating around will be pushed out of the enclosure and away from your dip tube.  I took one of those furnace hepa filters and cut a 5 inch, patch large enough to cover a 3 inch hole, and then placed a surplus 4 inch computer server fan ($15) over that.   That generates enough air flow that it pushes all of the air out of the chamber and no dust gets in.  Another maker uses a filtered air purifier machine from Wally World that costs about 60.  (Ralph Tuttle)

    I still have dust issues (four dogs, a cat, and power tools), but got some good advice from Jim Bureau. Jim told me that most of the dust in your finish is stuff that came off the rod. I do two things: 1)rinse the rod with mineral spirits, and 2) put shrink wrap plastic on the grip. The plastic keeps cork dust in place, and protects the grip from stains during final finishing. I can't remember all the grips I have wrecked by putting the butt section down into a puddle of varnish, epoxy, sanding dust from silicon carbide sandpaper, coffee rings, and the like. I also run a Jet dust filter for a couple hours before dipping. My wife turns it on for me when she gets home at 3:00 PM, and by 6:00 the shop is pretty clean. I also have learned to banish the dogs to the garage and instruct everyone not to let them in. They invariably used to cluster around me as I sat in front of the dip tank, and then start a fight to see who would be the one to sit closest to me. I would actually find dog fur in my finishes. Clumps of it. (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I think the first step is to never let your freshly varnished rod come in contact with room air, make some sort of dip tube arrangement like Wayne shows in his book. Rather than use 12" PVC, I just made a 5'x1'x1' box with a Plexiglas door and my dip tube comes out of the bottom of it. Having a fairly high ceiling and a crawl space under the house so the tube can go thru the floor helps. Second step is to get the rod absolutely clean. A shop vac(mines a mini, lives in the varnish room) will help, as will the other tips on rod cleaning.  (John Channer)

    I've set up a similar system, using clear florescent tubes, one lower & one upper. Pull the section out of the varnish in the lower tube up into the upper tube to let dry. The two tubes are connected with a short sleeve made of the tubing & slit to wrap around the junction of the top & bottom of the tubes. It does however take at least 8 1/2 ft of room. Been using computer compressed air in a can for a final blow off.  (Chad Wigham)

    Didn't I hear a couple of years ago that someone just left their rod in the drip tube after draining all of the varnish.  Anyone try that?  I've been thinking of giving it a shot because I don't have a really high ceiling, and I'm nervous as a long-tail cat in a room full of rockers when I move the rod to the drying cabinet.  Those fluorescent light tubes aren't too expensive, so they could be disposed of after a few dips when the varnish builds up.  I'd hate to have to run through too many brass drain valves, though.

    Right now I do have a vinyl curtain around the drip tube and drying cabinet.  It isn't airtight, but I give it a vigorous rub now and then with a wool cloth, and a lot of dust sticks to it (static electricity).  It's not ideal, though.  (Jason Swan)

    I use the same arrangement, drawing the rod section out of the dip tube in to a clear plastic tube.  But I only have a little over 7' headroom, so I put the entire setup at an angle.  There's some pictures of it on Todd's Tip Site.  (Ron Larsen)

    I was starting to write the same post as yours! I have about the exact setup. But, I had to go through the concrete floor in the shop. Can't imagine the dip tube and the drying cabinet being separate.

    Drilling the hole through the floor was a pain, but worth every penny! I went through the floor to realize I was going into the edge of the footing. I rented a diamond core drill. I had to hook up a garden hose so it ran in water, so it wouldn't overheat. Not too messy, I ran a wet vac as I drilled and it didn't take long to drill down the 20" to fit tube and cabinet below the ceiling height. It did take two people for the drilling process though. I grouted a PVC liner in the hole for the dip tube to slide into. Then I placed a wooden night stand over the hole and the drying cabinet on it. I had to modify the drawer in the night stand for the tube, but the stand is a handy place for storing finishing supplies.

    The mist spray bottle of water sure knocks down a lot of dust in the air. Even a mist on the ole head keeps a stray hair from floating into the cabinet and crossing over several flats. Don't ask how I know that! And don't make fun of a shedding old man! LOL

    I also found out that most of the specks in the finish was on the rod before dipping. I vacuum as I rub the rod section before dipping. I too have a designated shop vac, complete with filters. (I don't know much about buffing finishes!)

    When I sand, I sand one flat at a time and wipe down the rod and the sanding platform after each flat. I found that if I roll the rod over sand dust, it seems to bed debris into the surface that's hard to remove.

    Time consuming, but works for me.  (David Dziadosz)

    3M makes a product called a detailing cloth. It is a tack cloth without the sticky. It is wonderful!

    Wayne's first book and video shows him REALLY inspecting the rod before dipping. Try it before and after using the detailing cloth. You might be surprised as Jim Bureau states that there is junk on the rod.  (Dave Norling)


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