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Last night when I finished the last dip for a rod I tried a new way of sealing up the dip tube. I use a 1" PVC tube with some odd ball fittings I found at the hardware store, on top to bring it up to a 3" o.d. and about 2 1/2 " i.d. with a banded rubber cap ("J" cap). I installed a air fitting nipple in the center of the cap and connected an automotive hand operated vacuum pump/tester. I used a needle valve between the tube cap and the pump. I just put a few drops of mineral spirits on top of the Helmsman (to allow for evaporation during dipping, start the cap on top on the tube (the vacuum pulls the cap the rest of the on), a few strokes of the vacuum pump, close the needle valve and it's sealed! I didn't use the band clamp on the cap and the vacuum has held overnight. If it leaks off, I start using  the clamp. It doesn't have to be in a deep vacuum, just enough to evacuate the air and keep the cap on.

The pump was only about $25, that I bought at an automotive parts store, enough 1/4" plastic tubing so I can move the tube around, and a small needle valve I had laying around. You can even disconnect it at the valve and use it to test vacuum components on the car!

I tried the cans of Bloxygen, but it was a hassle getting it into the finishing cabinet. I didn't try the vinegar/baking soda trick, that would have been a bigger hassle for me.

If it doesn't work, I'll let you know. So far, it's looks like a good, clean, and easy way to seal up the dip tube. If anyone else has tried it, I would like to hear your comments.  (David Dziadosz)

    I have often thought of mentioning a similar  thing, but I guess I had always thought it would be too commonplace. Maybe not. So here goes!

    You can buy rubber plugs with a little cheap plastic evacuation pump (hand) whose purpose is to evacuate partly consumed bottles of wine. These little things have just a slit valve in the top, and they are very effective.

    I just had a friend make me an aluminum plug  to screw into the cap on my dip tube, which fits the sealer plug, and I suck out the air each time I use the tube.  The little neck is easy to make, just make it as a copy of the last 1" or so of the neck of a bottle of red wine, tap the cap, thread the fitting, and screw it in.

    About 6 strokes of the pump and it's done, and so far, the vacuum has still been holding whenever I go to use the tube again.

    These things are easily available from wine dealers, come three to a packet including a pump, and are as cheap as chips.

    If you are reading this, cannot find them, and would like to try, just send me a Mayday and I'll  send you  some.  (Peter McKean)


All this dip tube talk got me thinking about a conversation I had with Jerry Foster about food savers. You know...the little suck machine...(get yer mind out of the gutter Wendt).  Anyone ever used one of these things in conjunction with a cap with a fitting on it and pull a vacuum in the tube? Was it worth the trouble? Don't know why I even asked since my stuff seems to go for years in the tube without doing anything to it.  (Mike Shay)

    Yeah, I've done it for years - I use a kit that is put out here for keeping opened bottles of wine, and had a friend turn up a fitting that fit the end o my dip tube.

    I really don't know how much good it does, as like you, Mike, I don't seem to recall ever having any varnish go off before I used it.  Didn't ever have much bloody wine go off either when I think about it.....

    I seem to remember that a couple of years ago I sent one of these little kits to somebody on the list, and got back some very nice Dan Bailey flies in return.  (Peter McKean)

    Not for the dip tubes...

    But I do use it to vacuum seal bamboo blanks if they are being shipped or will not be used for awhile.  (Wayne Daley)


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