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I am in the process of building a drip tube system and am having trouble, not with the actual construction, but with visualizing the stabilizing feature that is used for the tip section so as not to touch the sides of the tube when removing the section.  Also how this is removed from the tip after it is dry without leaving some kind of blemish on the finish.  I have been on the tips site and have seen various contraptions but there are no actual photographs showing these stabilizers attached to the actual tips before immersion into the tube.  If anyone can explain this part of the dipping process with some sort of clarity, or if anyone has photos of a tips jigged with the stabilizer before immersion, it would be greatly appreciated.  (Robert Cristant)

    I have seen reference to this, but I don't understand the need. I dip mine, and have the string pulley dead center on the tube and the rod sections never hit the side of the tube. If you use a plumb bob (read also, string with weight on the end) to position the pulley, or, in your case, find center of the top of the tube and hang the sections there, then I don't see how it can be a problem. If you do need something, hand the tip sections by the tip top and put the "bumpers" on the ferrule.  (John Channer)

    Tony Spezio wrote a great piece with pictures for Power Fibers, Issue 2 (click here to see the article).  Tony (and others) use tape and stick pins to keep the rod off the sides of the tube. OR why not build it into the ferrule plugs. I use my LeClair cutters to make ferrule plugs out of dowels for dipping butt sections. You could drill through this and add pins or rods to keep the sections in the middle of your tube.  (Bob Maulucci)

    Perhaps some confusion between DRIP tube and DIP tube may be part of the answer.  I think that the tip stabilizers are mostly only used by the DRIP tube folks, where the section stays in the tube and the varnish is drained slowly away.  For a DIP tube, where the section is pulled from the tube, I don't think you'd likely need anything on the tips if your pulley is directly above the tube and the tube itself is also vertically plumb. I've not seen the Tony S. article recently, so perhaps there are new approaches to dipping, but it seems to me that most folks who dip sections probably don't use any stabilizer devices; at least I don't, anyway, haven't needed to.  (Ralph MacKenzie)

      I think you are clearing up the confusion.

      Mine is a "drain" tube. They are also called " drip tubes". You are right about the "dip" tube, no stabilizers needed. Retracting the section from a "drain" tube can be tricky without something keeping the section from touching the walls of the tube.  I need to tilt the tube in order to retract the section because of the low ceiling in my room. The pins I use keep the section from touching the tube wall.  (Tony Spezio)

    I tape the ferrules and tip top, then a clothes pin can hold the section centered and still over the tube.  (Rex Tutor)


Just a question about what people use to hold the two tip sections together when varnishing via the drip method. I tried masking tape on the tip tops and it fell apart and I used it also to cover my ferrule on the butt (that fell apart too).

I am new to this (just finishing my first rod).

Oh! and I discovered that blu-tack and varnish don’t mix (well actually they do mix, it slightly dissolved in the varnish)  (Andrew Chan)

    I use the spreader thingies that Brian Smith uses in his drip tube setup.  You can see these here. Then I use a fly tying bobbin spooled with cheap sewing thread and wrap each section to the skewers sticking out each side.  Half hitch or whip finish, your choice...  ;^}  Haven't had one come off in the tube yet.  (Mark Wendt)

    I dip, rather than drip...  Well, I drip sometimes, but that's more a function of age than rodmaking -- and I hate going to the urologist.

    Sometimes I will dip the first coupla coats on two tips at the same time.  To keep them separated I use a couple of ingeniously bent paper clips, one at the ferrules and another at the tip tops.  Scotch tape works better than masking tape on ferrules.  (Harry Boyd)

    If I'm reading your question right, you're having problems with the masking tape coming undone in or because of  the varnish.  Kyle Druey recommended Scotch Lacquer Masking Tape in a post he sent back in April.  I picked some up but haven't had a chance to use any yet.  It is lime green in color and apparently isn't affected by the solvents in varnish.  (Tim Wilhelm)

    I started doing two tips at a time since I started making two tip rods. At first I used a cap from a pill container with two holes for the tip tips and a center drain hole. ( see back issue of Power Fibers) From there I went to a plastic straw between the tip tops to drain in between them. Used quilt pins to keep the sections from touching the tube sides. Now I am using a 1" section of a graphite rod with tooth picks through it like an "X" to keep from touching the walls of the tube. The rod sections are taped between the tip tops. The tip tops and ferrules are wrapped with Teflon tape. Start in the middle of the ferrule and wrap down so there is just one layer of tape at the ferrule wrap. I leave just a hair line of the metal showing beyond the wrap. The Teflon tape idea came from a list member. Don't remember who. Great idea.

    For the tip ferrules,  I don't immerse all the way. I have a 1/8" plywood spacer made. The spacer is cut so that it fits inside the tube with two holes to accommodate the ferrule ends and a small hole for the hanging loop. This part does not go into the varnish. I drain with the tip tops down when doing the tip sections. The ferrules only get immersed to just above the wraps, the tip sections have the rod section between them. On the butt section the ferrule end is plugged with a rubber plug and wrapped with Teflon tape, using one wrap where the thread wrap ends again leaving just a hair line of metal showing. When wrapping the tip sections I make it a point to have the wraps and guides at the same location in each tip. This is so I only have to make one stop at the wraps and at the guides. Sometimes the film in the guide seems to take forever to break. I find if I hit that area outside the tube the film will pop real quick. Be careful that you don't get the tube too hot. The draining is done at about 4" a minuet stopping at the wraps and guides. The grip is wrapped in plastic wrap and taped. I don't like to put tape on the cork, it has a tendency to pull little bits of cork when it is removed. Something else I do is leave everything in the room that I will be using to do the finish varnish including the rod. The thermostat in the room is set to 80 degrees F for a day. This stabilizes all the stuff at the same temp. This is just my way of doing it, others may have a better way, I am real satisfied with the results.

    Almost forgot, the tape I use is masking tape from Wal Mart. It may get a little sticky when removed but I have never had any problem with it coming off. No problem removing it from the Teflon tape. I don't know what varnish you are using, maybe that might make a difference. I am using Helmsmen.  (Tony Spezio)


I am a bit puzzled by the action of my drip tube and am wondering if any one else has experienced this same problem.

When I varnish my blanks I use the drip tube system. Lately after pouring the varnish into the tube and i nserting the blank I notice the rod blank being drawn to the side of the tube creating quite a bend. Some hours later, when I withdraw the blank, I have a nice bend to take out. This has to be due to static electricity created from pouring the varnish. Has anyone else experienced this problem when dipping or dripping?  (Mark Dyba)

    I've just started using a drip tube (and I'm not sure I'll stick with it.)  You're right about the static electricity, but I've not seen it THAT bad.   I wrap a large masking tape ball around the end of the section, about 1/2 inch wide.   It's big enough to keep the rod from the edge of the tube.  

    How are you securing the rod at the top of the tube?   I use a cloths pin ALA Garrison's dip tube, so the section is free to float where it will.    (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    I have posted this a while back. Also check one of the early issues of Power Fibers. I have done over 60 rods in the drain tube and have never encountered this situation. I used quilt pins stuck in the masking tape on the tip tops to keep the rod section centered. I have gone to a short length of graphite rod with round toothpicks through it to keep the rod from touching the sides.

    Will be glad to send you a photo. With this setup, I do both tips at the same time. 

    For the (tips) ferrule end, I made up a strip of 3/16 thick wood. The rounded ends of the strip just fits in the tube. The strip is not as wide as the tube. Two holes are drilled in this piece to accommodate the ferrule ends of the tip sections. This centers the upper part of the tip sections at the upper part of the tube.  Photos are the best way to show you this. Just "drained" a rod yesterday.  (Tony Spezio)

      I've used the pins in the tape (Tony's method) for over 4 years.  Never a problem.  (Ed Riddle

        I also am using Tony's method and it works great!  (Andrew Chan)

Take some number 16 or down to a number 20 gauge wire and spiral it around your tube, about every 6 inches, then hook the other end around a cold water pipe, with a ground clamp, purchased at just about any hardware store and that should solve your problem.  (Jim Christman)


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