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I'm a bit troubled by something that has happened with my final coat on my latest rod (#4). I'm using Helmsman in a drip tube, and haven't had this problem before. On the wraps it looks like the varnish has "bubbled" up. I had this happen with some test wraps using linseed oil, I used no linseed on this rod. I put too much linseed oil on the test wraps, and as it dried it would bubble and wrinkle up. The previous coat had been on the rod  for almost a week and sanded down, so I know I didn't have too much , or any wet varnish on the wraps. The odd part about all of this is that the finish over the rest of the rod looks great. 2 wraps on the tip, the check wrap, sig wraps and the stripper wraps are completely messed up.  I put my cans of varnish on top of the hot water heat for about 24 hours before I need it, and I filter the varnish every time I use it. Anyone have an idea as to what may have gone wrong? Also what's the best way to fix this? Sand it down and apply another coat?  (Robert Hicks)

    I had a similar thing happen- in that case I put on too much varnish on the guide wraps, and then recoated it again (and probably again) before everything had dried completely. I am not saying this happened to you, but as you redo the wraps you might deliberately shoot for the thinnest coats you can manage, just to insure complete drying.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    What finish did you use on the wraps?  Often polyurethanes will not adhere to oil based varnishes even though the reverse is not true.  In other words, spar will stick to poly, but poly will not always stick to spar.

    Really need to diagnose the problem before prescribing a solution.  (Harry Boyd)

      I used same poly thinned about 50/50 for the first 2 coats, then full strength on the last 4 coats. I used your everyday paint thinner as I had in the past. No color preservers or anything that I haven't done in the past.  (Robert Hicks)

        I'll venture two guesses, and really have about equal confidence in either theory.  First, it is possible that as you cleaned the rod, particularly the wraps, in preparation for dipping some mineral spirits worked its way into the tunnel created by the guide feet.  When you dipped the rod, the mineral spirits prevented the poly from adhering well to those guide wraps where it was a problem.

        To correct the problem, carefully sand the wraps and the entire rod section down and recoat.

        My second theory is: Shop Gremlins.  They're mean little buggers.  (Harry Boyd)

          I'm not real sure what happened with the wraps, but I'm taking no chances. I cut all the messed up wraps off and found that at the feet there was a sticky mess, even though the tops were hard and ready to sand. I'm guessing I didn't seal the little area around the feet that well with the first few coats. That explains the guide wraps, but I found nothing wrong with the sig wraps, as far as wet stuff underneath. I have dumped the little jar of guide varnish just to be safe and mixed a new batch. Here’s to trying it again! Thanks for taking the time to reply.  (Robert Hicks)

    Update... After redoing the guides on the butt and sanding the ones on the tip down. I reapplied varnish via the drip tube, same results this time too. Not as bad and I have sanded the guides down and they are acceptable. However, After some more thought I think I may have found the problem or problems. The last time I thought I had the problem found, but to no avail.

    How does bluing solution (Casey's brass black) affect varnish? I followed the directions on the bottle and made sure that I washed all the solution off, then wiped it down good, maybe some residue was left on the ferrules? I'm leaning more towards my second guess, than this one.

    Another thought, I raided my wife's panty hose drawer for some panty hose to filter the varnish. I didn't wash the hose off, like I'm thinking I should have. Could some laundry detergent residue been left on the hose and hence tainted the varnish causing my problem? The reason this comes to mind.  The varnish on the rod looks to have a "white dusty" something or another in the varnish.

    Only other thing I can thing of is the shop gremlins that Harry spoke of. Do those things really reproduce if they eat after midnight?  I was wondering where my turkey on rye and single malt ran off too.

    I have dumped all varnish and I'm in the process of cleaning the tubes out.  I may even rebuild the drip system just to be safe. I was able to get a decent finish on the rod, but it's not what I wanted it to be. I'll buff it down and see how it turns out.  (Robert Hicks)

      It might be a fabric softener used on the panty hose too.  (Rich Jezioro)


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