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I have used spar varnish in a dip tank and am pleased with the coverage but is there a good way to de-gloss the high sheen on the final coat?  (Bruce Combest)

    Sure is, just use it awhile, it will dull down soon enough.  (John Channer)

    Meguires auto polish, in the tan bottle, #2, will do  quite nicely.  As you might suspect, test it before you start rubbing away on your rod.  (Harry Boyd)

    I lightly rub down with steal wool 00 enough to get rid of gloss and any blemishes or dust, then polish with bowling alley wax to protect.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    Moisten a small piece of felt, actually don't have it dripping but put a good amount of linseed oil on it.  put on the felt enough Rotten stone so that you can't see any powder.  Rub the finish until you get the look you want.  Wipe with mineral spirits.  I use Behlens Buffer's Polish.  It comes in #1, #2, #3 and finishing.  #1 will put a satin sheen on the finish.  Work your way up the numbers until you have the finish you are looking for.  If you go all the way it will shine/gloss better than when you started because you will have rubbed out any minute imperfections.  (Dennis Aebersold)

    I have a block of wood with a 1/2" thick slab of felt glued to it that I use for rubbing out the finish on cabinetwork. I apply some mineral oil to it and dab it into some rotten stone and rub it lengthwise on the strip, counting the passes so as to get all sides to the same point. Works for me!  (Art Port)

    If you use it with tres bien furniture polish (non silicone) its as easy as putting on hand lotion. In varnishing instruments I sand with 220, hit it with 0000 steel wool and tres bien and then go over it with rotten stone and tres bien and you can comb your hair in the gloss. From start to finish takes maybe one hour to sand and polish a upright bass.  (Patrick Coffey)


Spar varnish polishes back to the original shine to the point where you can't tell it's been polished with 3x magnifiers, that's what I like about spar. Just use 3M's Perfect-It and Finesse-It polishing compounds, they work like a charm.  (John Channer)

    I agree that any marks can be rubbed out, and this may have something to do with the spar I'm using, but there is a distinct difference between the gloss out of the can and anything I can create by rubbing, and I've tried many different compounds. Based on your experience, I suspect it's the varnish I'm using. (Martin-Darrell)

      I used to use Man-O-War and it polished very well, the only problem with it is it tends to pull out to the corners and leave a little valley over the flats,  kind of makes the rod look clover shaped or something. On the recommendation of Ron Kusse (a little harmless name dropping there), I've been using Last & Last Marine and Door Spar Varnish and it not only polishes out great, but it lays flat on the rod, no valley to sand down to. Try it, you'll like it.  (John Channer)

        Never heard of Last & Last varnish. I've had a problem with valleys using Epiphanes. Where do you get this? Who makes it?  (Bill Hoy)

          I see the Last & Last spar at my local paint store. I use Prat & Lambert Spar and have loved it. Quite expensive though $ 23 a quart and $60 a gallon.  (Marty DeSapio)


Thought I'd try again, others interested too. Need part or order numbers for 3M's Perfect-It & Finesse it polish. 3M makes several compounds under the Perfect-It name;  looking for correct product.  (Chad Wigham)

    You want the Perfect-It II Rubbing Compound #39002 and Finesse-It II Machine Polish #39003.  (John Channer)


I use Helmsman Spar Urethane. I find that if I need to sand the final coat that I can't get the shine back up to its original luster. There was a thread on something called Flitz (or something like that) to bring the luster back up. Could someone let me know how to get it? None of my suppliers know anything about it.  (Hank Woolman)

P.S. I've used Meguires, Perfect It, etc. Butcher's Wax has done the best so far.

    Flitz is a metal polish, often used in polishing silver.  Some of the places near you that sell silverware will have it.  They have a web site, too.  But I don't know what it is.  (Harry Boyd)

      For all interested.  Flitz web site is  (Bob Nunley)

        There is also a more widely sold (Home Depot? I think) copy of Flitz, except it is pink (Flitz is blue).  Be forewarned:  Flitz leaves a greasy residue.  (George Bourke)

    There are two different Perfect-It II's.  You may have the coarser grit one.  Have you tried the other one?  It has a much finer grit, and works really nice for bringing back the luster of the urethane.  It does take quite a bit of elbow grease to make it work.  I think it was Sir Nunley that mentioned that in order for the Perfect-It to work, heat needs to be generated to make the surface flow back to fill in the scratches.  I sanded down a few nubs on my last rod, the one I made for my wife, using 1000 grit wet/dry, and used the finer Perfect-It, rubbing rather vigorously, and the spots came out very well.  You couldn't tell it had been sanded.  (Mark Wendt)

    I forgot to mention, 3M has changed their line somewhat, the products are now called Perfect-It III, and the two we use would be the Machine Glaze, part number 05937, and Finishing Glaze, part number 05941.  Of the two, the finishing glaze will really bring out the shine, although it does need more work to do it's job.  (Mark Wendt)

      The one I have is Perfect-It III Rubbing Compound part # 05933. Do I have the wrong stuff?  (Marty DeSapio)

        That's the rubbing compound.   I think you have one of the right ones.  I might have given bad info, the Finishing glaze is more like a polish to finish everything up.  They changed all the durned formulations  and  part  numbers  when they  switched to  the Perfect-It III.  When I went to the auto body supply shop and asked the fella that ran the place which compound I should use, he pointed me to the machine glaze.  He was out of stock on the Perfect-It II, which didn't have as many varieties, and said the Finishing Glaze was the last thing that the shops use after they've used the rubbing compound and Machine Glaze.  I used the Machine Glaze, which is designed to be used with those electric buffers, which generate heat during the buffing.  Took a lot of elbow grease, but the 2000 grit sanding marks disappeared.  (Mark Wendt)


For many rods I tried to get the perfect finish out of the  dip tube, and produced some pretty crappy rods as a result. I do not have a dust free dipping  tube environment;  in fact, mine is not even moth-free.

I am now producing a finish on my rods that I think is pretty good, and what I do is this - after the final coat, which I try to make as dust and blemish free as I can, I go through a polishing procedure that involves Perfect It 1, followed by Perfect It 2, Finesse It, and finally Meguires Plastic Polish.

Perfect It 1 is quite gritty, and will cut out a lot of the major imperfections, the others progressively improve the finish. I use my Dremel tool with a  felt pad using the Perfect It 1, on low speed, to smooth out the varnish on the wraps. You stuff up a few to begin with but pretty soon get the hang of it.

The resulting finish is not as glossy/glittery as the raw PU varnish, but has a deep, lustrous sheen that is pretty classy.

I should mention that I sand the hell out of the successive varnish coats prior to the application of the final coat with 1500 and 2000 grit wet & dry paper.  (Peter McKean)

    I am in the process of building a dipping apparatus so this thread is very timely. I plan to use clear Plexiglas tubing about 1" diameter with a valve in the bottom so  I can control the rate at which the varnish drains. My thought processes suggest that if I drain the varnish and then leave the section in the tube overnight before moving it to a drying chamber then I should get no lint or dust on the finish. My question is will the varnish setup up past the tacky point if it is left hanging in the tube 24 hours or will the fact that it is in a small tightly enclosed chamber slow the drying time considerably? If so would placing a piece of nylon stocking over the top allow it to breathe a littler more?  (Larry Puckett)

      I'd like to ask a question in addition to this one.  What do people who use a drain tube setup do about varnish in the guides?

      In a dip tube setup you just clear the guides but how do you do this if the guides are 2 feet from the access?  (Tony Young)

        I close the valve when the varnish drains below the guide and allow the residual to catch up.  Occasionally you'll get a bubble in the guide, more likely the stripper, but it'll pop, sometimes later than sooner, normally within a minute.  (Ed Riddle)

          I'll probably be flamed to the ends of the earth for  saying this, but you varnish the blank not the metal!  Not a single Payne, Howells, Leonard, Carpenter, or Dickerson in my possession has any varnished metal.  If you just dip after putting the fittings on, you'd better dip the cork and reel seat too otherwise the blank will absorb moisture under the cork grip.  (George Bourke)

            I always apply varnish to the bare blank and sometimes again after adding grip, reel-seat, ferrules, guides and wraps.  But I never apply varnish to the grip and reel seat.  (Ed Riddle)

              I suppose the simplest answer is to suggest that you varnish the ferrules, reel seat and cork and then go and fish with the result. When you have done this you wont need to take our word on why you should not do it!  I have even heard of people whipping the ferrule itself. Cane has quite enough parasitic weight, without adding more. if you don't like the idea of a metal ferrule use a cane one, it’s cheaper, too.

              You can also legitimately whip it, although I should have thought that Kevlar thread would be better than silk, although silk(and terylene)are a much better option than nylon, which stretches. The first thing that any engineer is taught is the properties of materials, there is a saying that there are no wrong materials, only wrong applications, I commend the concept to you all.  (Robin Haywood)


I just purchased a Wright & McGill Granger Deluxe GD9050.  The varnish looks to be in very good condition but needs polishing.  I'm looking for some advise on what to use and how to use it.  (Bob Murphy)

    Pick up a copy of Michael Sinclair's restoration handbook. There are detailed instructions for polishing with Brownells polishing compounds.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    My experience with Brownells is that its pretty course, will take the varnish off and hard to bring back a shine. 2000 grit sand paper type polishing. If you're going for a "clean & shine" use 3M Perfect-It. It'll take more rubbing, but with good results. Machine Polish #39003 & Rubbing Compound fine cut # 39002 can be found at an automotive/paint oriented store.  (Chad Wigham)

      I sort of work backwards. Like Chad, I would advise the mildest treatment first. If you don't get anywhere then go to a more aggressive polish and work back to the finer grits (no, you do not put butter on these!).  I just polished out a Divine I started with a good washing with Murphy's oil soap. Then I went to 3M Imperial hand glaze and it didn't polish much. So, I went to a slurry of pumice in mineral spirits; then to rottenstone in mineral oil and finally to the hand glaze. It is just amazing what you can accomplish with polishing. The rubbing will mobilize some of the old varnish and it will lose it's crazed appearance. One warning. Not all varnish polishes the same. I have had little luck polishing Heddons. Granger varnish from the Wright & McGill era seems to be quite polishable. Edwards varnish from the 1950's seems to be a lot like Heddons, too soft to take a good polish.  (Doug Easton)

      The triple "F" Brownells is pretty course but the 5 "F" produces a high gloss. I feel that 4/0 steel wool saturated with Brownells works better on old varnish then does the high tech rubbing compounds. Very important! Only my opinion. (Marty DeSapio)


All of the recent discussion on polishing varnished rods has raised my interest.  How do you apply the polish? Is it done by hand with a rag or by some kind of a buffing wheel?  Do you buff axially along each flat, one flat at a time?  How much pressure do you apply?  How long do you rub?  Do you keep rubbing after the compound dries out or not?

I am using Man-O-War spar varnish and 3M Perfect-It II Rubbing Compound (Part number 051131-05973.)  The instructions on the container are no help on a rod.  This stuff is a light tan liquid but dries out very rapidly.  Is there some little trick that I am missing?  (John Sabina)

    The little trick you are missing, if your polished areas are coming out dull, is to use the Finesse It II Machine Polish when you are done with the Perfect it. I start on a blemish with 2000 grit used wet, butter optional, I just use spit, then go to the Perfect It then Finesse it. I just use a rag and rub like hell, keep the rag dampened with polish when it dries out. It takes me a couple of minutes per spot. In anything related to wood finishing, sanding, staining, varnishing or polishing, always go with the grain, the imperfections in what you are doing are much less likely to show than anything done cross grain. One other little thing, if you have to fix a spot on a wrap, expect to take twice as long with the Finesse it to bring it back to high gloss than you did getting rid of the sanding marks with the Perfect It, the Finesse It is a must on wraps, nothing else I know of will restore the original gloss like it. To end on a good note, MOW polishes very well, if you chase the spots long enough and hard enough, you will not be able to find them when you are done.  (John Channer)

      Just to add a little bit to John's note - having finished all of my early rods to a finish that was, to say the least, underwhelming, I am now getting pretty obsessive about finish, and getting a little bit better at it each time, too.

      I am  finding that having gone through the same routine of 2000 paper, Perfect It 1, Perfect It 2, and Finesse It, and having rubbed the finish to as good a finish as I can achieve, I can improve it even further by applying a final coat of Meguires Plastic Polish (and I'd give you the stock number of that if it didn't involve walking down to my workshop for about the 50th time today.

      I went up to the Central Highland Lakes  this morning, usually a source of good (1 1/2 - 5 LB wild browns, usually on a dry fly) fish, but the wind was blowing so hard that I didn't bother to launch the boat. Came home and worked all afternoon, and finally had a beer at about 7:00 PM; believe me, it went down like a Vaseline oyster!  (Peter McKean)


I've got an itch to try some rotten stone  for polishing out the finish.  I use, and like, the automotive "swirl remover" type products, bit I just want to see if I am missing something good with the RS.  My understanding is that rotten stone is messy but is the traditional method for polishing.  Questions:

What type of oil should be used?  What is paraffin oil?

How should it be applied?  I've read something about felt pads and tampons, is this correct?  (Kyle Druey)

    I use boiled linseed oil, mixing the rottenstone in to a consistency of really thick gravy (red eye for you enthusiasts).  I've had good success using a felt pad for rubbing it in.  It really doesn't take much to "sheen" out the rod with the rottenstone. The trick is to do it  the same way  you'd use a wet/dry sandpaper - let the grit do the work.  Remember, rottenstone has a much healthier grit than the polishes, it's more of a rubbing compound.  I use it to take the gloss off Helmsman spar gloss urethane, to make it look "satiny".  I really do like the finish the rottenstone gives.  (Mark Wendt)

    Have you tried using unscented talcum powder mixed with oil?  It's supposed to do the same thing but much finer.  Although not as fine as cheese.  (Nick Kingston)

      Haven't tried that one before.  Wonder if you can still get unscented talc here in the US.  I haven't seen it on the store shelves in years, when I used to use it in model airplane dope to fill the weave on silk for painting.  Anybody know?

      Pretty cheesy Nick.  (Mark Wendt)

        Cheesy is as cheesy does.

        A friend used to use it to polish balsa floats. But he was a bit anally retentive (not just a perfectionist). So I'd be interested to know if it works on rods as well.  Maybe being unscented makes no difference.  Maybe the scented stuff works just as well. (Nick Kingston)

    I believe "paraffin oil" is British English for kerosene.  I have also seen that felt pads are used (for furniture finishing) but have not tried it.

    When I got my small lathe, I got it unassembled and the instructions said to mix oil and toothpaste to lap the surfaces.  I used WD-40 and whatever toothpaste I had at the time.  Worked very quickly.  It might be too aggressive  for rodmaking, I don't know.  I will have to try it.  I don't like a really high gloss finish on a rod.  (Neil Savage)

      Toothpaste has a high amount of talcum in it.

      Minty fresh rods mmmm. (Nick Kingston)

        Cream tooth pastes are the least abrasive, like original Crest or Colgate.  Gels are the next, Anti-tartar the next, stain removal or smoker's like Topal and Pearl Drops the next and dental powder the most abrasive.  (Steve Cohen)

          Years ago, we used to use toothpaste to polish out scratches on aircraft (plastic) windshields. It would not leave any swirls.  (Tony Spezio)

          Cream toothpaste range all the way up to very abrasive. I used to use Crest (original) to break in small gears.  Consumer Reports does rate toothpaste abrasiveness (as it erodes tooth enamel).  (George Bourke)

            I have been following this discussion on polishing with some interest as I have always used the swirl remover car polish which gives a great finish, but sometimes too good - the really good finish out of the dip tube has some imperfections revealed by polishing.

            I have now got some rotten stone to use to take some of the gleam off the varnish but have wondered about the mention of toothpaste.  I am not intending to use toothpaste, but keep looking at my electric tooth brush and wondering if it may be ideal to use polish rods with using a rottenstone and water (or oil) paste. Knowing the ingenuity on this list I thought I should check if anyone else has spoiled a perfectly good toothbrush trying this before I try it and what was the result.?  (Ian Kearney)

              My guess would be that the electric toothbrush would be too aggressive for polishing a rod, it would be apt to go through the varnish if used with rottenstone.  (If I remember right, rottenstone is finely ground limestone.)

              I'd certainly try it on a test piece before I attempted it on a good rod -- who cares about the toothbrush, you don't want to ruin a lot of hard work on a rod!  (Neil Savage)

    I've used rotten stone - works OK. I used a piece of chamois leather instead of felt and water as a lubricant.

    There are at least 2 grades - use the finer.  (Don Anderson)


This is for other newbies:

Last night I was looking at my beautiful blonde quad.  The wraps were utterly perfect, but perhaps a little thick.  So, my nervousness get the best of me and I grab a soft cloth and some polishing compound and start trying to polish the wraps.  I was thinking that I could polish the wraps down a little bit.  I polish and polish and polish lengthwise.  And I polish and polish (you might think I was Polish- I'm Sicilian and Hungarian, actually).  My hand is hot.  I run over the guides, over the decorative wraps near the grip. 

When I stop polishing, I catch my breath and see that the darned polishing compound  lodged under the edges of my beautiful wraps.  So, I spend all evening with a toothpick and some denatured alcohol digging the little white line out of the edges all of my wraps.

I  backtracked  in my  mind at  that moment and tried to  hit Control-Z, but undo it did not.  Sucks!!!

In the end, I had to carefully clean the entire rod section and do another coat of spar on the wraps.  They now don't look quite as good as they did when I started.

Lesson learned-  Know when to leave well enough alone.  Fiddling just for fiddlings sake could screw-up days of exacting work.  If you are nervous, go lap something.  (Joe West)

    Yes, but those little things will get to you and you will sooner or later decide to figure out a  way that works for you to deal with it.  I have a love/hate relationship with those nagging details.  They push me to fix them, but man are they nagging.  (Carl DiNardo)

    Next time try a soft bristle toothbrush.  (Timothy Troester)


I have a student who wishes to take the shine off the varnished rod sections and I was wondering what most of you use.  If you use the rottenstone, what do you mix it with and what ratio do you mix it?  Do you do this after the guide wraps?  If not, do you take the gloss of the guide wraps too? How do you clean up the section after?  Any precautions I should look out for?  (Scott Grady)

    I just did a rod last night with a satin finish. Just pour a teaspoon of rottenstone powder in a bowl, and drip in some mineral oil or olive oil until it gets like Hershey syrup. I apply with a felt pad, and do not do the guide wraps. You could hit the area between the wraps with a q tip dipped into the slurry. If you use mineral oil, it can sit around for weeks without going bad.

    The only thing to watch out for is not catching the tip of the rod with your felt- I snapped one clean off once. Some like to bring the polish back up a bit with 3M perfect it, then 3M finesse it.

    I have started rubbing down all my rods - Even spar can look like plastic if it is not dulled down a bit. You are shooting for a warm glow - not completely matte, but not a mirror shine.

    The nice thing about this process is that you can get rid of most dust motes and imperfections with the rottenstone, then leave as is or bring it back to a higher luster.

    And finally, if you want to bring it back to a near mirror, use Hut plastic polish available at woodcraft. It is one of the most versatile final polishes I have found for just about any material.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      Rottenstone and water also work well together, easier to cleanup than oil.  (Randy Tuttle)

    DuPont number 7 rubbing compound.  (Chris Obuchowski)


I have a rod 1 week fresh from its final varnish dip (Varmor).  What's the consensus opinion on polishing?  Should I hit it now while the varnish is still soft, or should I wait a few weeks for it to harden more?  (Greg Kuntz)

    It's most likely hard enough to polish now, I only wait 3 days here in Colorado. Longer is better, you want the varnish hard rather than soft to either sand or polish it.  (John Channer)

    After a week the varnish (Varmor Poly is hard).  (Marty DeSapio)

    P&L Varmor is my choice for a finish on all my rods. Urethane varnish is very hard when dry (unlike spar it dries to a very hard finish in 24 hours) If you polish with 3M’s Perfect-It and Fines It you will need to also use 3M’s Perfect It 3 It has a little more cut than Perfect It. Urethane varnish is so hard when dry that Perfect it will not touch it (this quality is why I use it) It will polish out as well as spar but unlike spar you should get at it before 24 hours as  it keeps  getting harder (isn't that what you would want?).  (Dave Norling)


I've been using Varathane for years and it was a snap to polish. The finish is hard enough that dust specs could be easily removed. Switched to a Spar Urethane [Minwax] which is a lot more flexible material and the dust specs are a SOB. Any ideas what type a abrasive/technique would work?  (Don Anderson)

    I don't know if this is any assistance, but I've used a number of different varnishes over here in Australia (which probably don't correlate to the brands you have in the US). I've had general success with the 3M cloth abrasives, which come in 3 grades (Bailey Woods sells them). I use the coarse or medium to knock the top off a dust spot, the fine one to work it smooth, and then finish up with a rag and some Auto detailing swirl remover.

    I'm not sure how soft the varnish is that your using though. The only other thing maybe is to keep the rubbing pressure very light to avoid tearing into the varnish, which is a road to a world of pain I've been down before.  (Nick Taransky)

    I use 0000 steel wool and Brownells or 3M finesse it. Also don’t wait a few days, rub it out fairly quick. 1 day or so.  (Dave Henney)


I've got three coats of shellac and tung oil on and am just thinking if I rubbed on a coat of wax I could most likely get more "Gloss" out of the finish.  I know the automotive industry has some interesting types of wipe on finishes on the market, like poly glycoats that apparently go beyond just basic carnuba wax.  I've personally used a product called "Liquid Glass" that claims the product has ground glass particles and when wiped on and put in the sun it bonds to the underlying finish. You can build up as much as you like as each coat bonds to the previous. Pretty good stuff - I put it on the dash of my 57 Chevy truck after I painted it and rubbed 20 -25 coats on it - that was back in ' 83,  and I've not touched that dash for 20 years and it just looks like it has a coat of glass on it to this day (hasn't changed one bit over time) 

Pros and cons anyone?  (John Silveira)

    I know the automotive industry has some interesting types of wipe on finishes on the market, like polyglycoats that apparently go beyond just basic carnuba wax.

    Two things to be aware of here.  First, any sort of automotive finish with silicones in it (which cuts a fairly broad swath) will make refinishing difficult down the road, as stuff really doesn't want to stick to it.  This is good for autos, shedding dirt, road grime, etc., but you'll probably curse it if you ever need to strip and refinish a rod so treated.

    Second, some of these auto finishes may react with the varnish/oil/etc. on the rod, and lead to slumping, crazing, etc.  All depends on what is used on the rod and the composition of the finishing product in question.  Never hurts to run some tests before slathering your  entire rod collection with some wonder goo.  :-)

    I've personally used a product called "Liquid Glass" that claims the product has ground glass particles and when wiped on and put in the sun it bonds to the underlying finish .

    Eeek!  Ground glass is quite abrasive.  If it's fine, it'd be on a par with rubbing compound, if coarser, more like sandpaper in its effect.  Not sure I'd want that near a good varnish/oil job, and certainly no where near ferrules.

    Sure, there are wonder "waxes" these days, but keep in mind they are designed to go over something a fair bit  different than tung oil or spar varnish.  May work, may not, and may have undesirable side effects down the road.  Best to test, IMHO, before using extensively.

    Stuff rated for "wood furniture" is probably safer, but again, beware silicones.  Read the label, if nothing else.

    FWIW, real carnuba paste wax works pretty well, when you come down to it.  (Todd Enders)

      It has been a couple of years since the last time, so here goes. Check here.

      OK, so that happens to be the most expensive wax there, the site is worth a read, they have a wealth of information about waxes.  (Larry Blan)

    One of my graphite rod building friends has been using Liquid Glass as the only finish on  the wooden parts of his rods for years.  He likes it, and tried to convince me to use it.  So far I haven't but might if I called the technical support people at LQ and learned a little more about the product.

    You already know more about finishing than lots of us.  Why don't you explore it a little more and give us a report?  (Harry Boyd)


I got my hands a little too far apart while polishing a new tip section with steel wool and put a rather nasty bend in the upper 1/3 of the section.  Nothing broke and no fiber lifted, but it put an unfortunate kink in the section that took another 1/2 hour over a heat gun to straighten out.  Everything seems solid - did I do any permanent damage?

I guess that's one way to test  the quality of my splices and glue up.

Note to self - When polishing sections move hand towards the skinny end ONLY.   (Bill Benham)

    If it kinked and did not break, I suspect you may not have heat treated enough. It is just a guess. Fish it like it is, it might take another set or it might be just fine.

    I would be interested in knowing what it does. BTW, I am polishing out a rod today.

    Here is a tip on steelwooling the tip ends. Lay the tip section flat on the table. Steel wool the flat that is up with the bottom flat laying flat on the table. This will work for all but the flat opposite the guides. The flat with the guides is placed on the corner of the table with the corner between the guides. Doing this allows you to put some pressure on the steel wool on the flats and will keep the section from flexing. If the flat next to the flat with the guides will not lay flat on the table because of the guides, bring it right to the edge of the table having the guides off the edge so the flat is flush with the table.  (Tony Spezio)

      Take a 1-by board and drill a hole(s) for the guide(s) to hang down into. Then the section of rod will be supported while sanding the flats. I don't use steel wool, because I'll probably take toooo much off of the corners. But, I do use a shop vac to remove  sanding dust. (David Dziadosz)

        A good idea. The only problem I see is having to make boards for the different guide spacing. I will give it a go.

        As far as removing too much from the corners, I take that into consideration when using the steel wool. I try putting pressure in the center of the wool on the flat. For the fine tips, I just use a very small piece of wool. It is just a knack of doing it that works for me. I have tried fine sandpaper, it just loads up too fast. I also find that I have to break the edge on the corners just a bit to keep the varnish from running off.  Will see you at the SRG I hope, we can talk more about this.  (Tony Spezio)

          All you need is a board about 9" long and one hole about 4" away from one end and a short piece to support the free end of the rod section. Then, just move it around. I  use sandpaper, 1000-2000 grit(s), on a wedge cut from a 3/4" board about 3" long. I cut the paper in strips, 3/4" X 5 1/2", fold it over the wedge and clamp it with a 3/4" black paper clip. It's really light and the paper doesn't load up as fast. I usually hold the section in my left hand and sand with my right without any support. It works pretty good, because you can tilt the section and see the light reflect off of the parts that had not been touched with the sandpaper.  (David Dziadosz)


What is everyone using to rub out the finishes in their rods?  (Doug Hall)

    I sand bumps with 2000 grit wet/dry used wet then polish that out with Perfect It and Finesse-It made by 3M, available at auto paint suppliers.  (John Channer)

    I've been using Finesse-It II from 3M for rubbing out my finishes, and it works pretty good, both on spar and polyurethane.  (Mark Wendt)


Well, unless  I want to  buy a quart (smallest size available locally) of Finesse-It II for $30 plus I need an alternative polishing compound to finish my rod with. Suggestions?  (Wayne Kifer)

    I've been using Meguires Scratch-X.  Seems to work OK for me.  (Neil Savage)

    I found 3M Rubbing compound at the local Napa auto parts store. Part #03900, 8 ozs for less than $10 (I think). Labeled as "clear coat safe". A lifetime supply for you and me at our rate of production.

    I use this as a final polish. It leaves a surface nearly as shiny as fresh dipped without any further treatment.  Matter of fact, I am not sure you could tell the difference between a surface polished with it and an unpolished fresh varnish.

    Also, I remember Harry Boyd mentioning once that he found Finesse It (not labeled as such) in the boat supplies section at Walmart. Was labeled for removing scratches in fiberglass boat surfaces. They logically would carry it in Coos Bay. I believe he said it was in a small bottle and also selling for less than $10.  (Steve Shelton)

    Just another tip, for what it's worth -

    I go out to my local upholsterer and he gives me offcuts of upholstery leather, as close to natural in color as I can get, and I cut myself wooden blocks of hardwood about 2 1/2" X 1" X 1", and I glue precut pieces of  the leather to the blocks, ROUGH SIDE OUT, and these blocks are what I use to apply all my polishing brews.  They cost nothing, are easily replaceable and work well, and especially they help to preserve the sharp angles of the hexagon.

    Earlier, when I am preparing the blank for dipping, (and I dip before I apply the guides as it makes polishing so much easier and more effective, for me anyway)  my final "soup" for smoothing and prepping the blank is to polish it down with a slurry of Tung Oil and Rottenstone (we call it Tripoli over here), and it is these wooden blocks that I use  there as well. I just label the blocks so they always get used for the same compound, and they last for ages.

    I glue the leather on with Loctite 409.  (Peter McKean)

    Spend the $, it will last a long time and it works very well for a final polishing before wax.  (Frank Paul)

      I agree. I have tried a lot of things. This one seems to be the best. I haven't found anything that even comes close. Also, use the felt pads you can get from Brownells in the gun shop. The pads come in hard, medium and soft. The hard ones are the ones to use.  (Timothy Troester)

        The 3M product may be the best but if you live in a remote area of the  world where such products are hard to find (such as I do) there are alternatives that work well.

        The best I have found is a 3 stage antique car polish called California  Gold. It does a very good job and may well be based on the 3M product.  (Ian Kearney)


I finally finished my dip station and dipped my first rod.

The tip section was done first and is great.  the butt section has one bubble, one very slight sag and if you look really carefully some micro bubbles.  I used Varmor thinned 8% with Penetrol and heated the varnish to approximately 85 degrees.  It's been about 18 hours.

since my usual source is unavailable I'll ask the questions here.

How long should I wait until trying to rectify these problems. (can says 6 hours to recoat and to scuff between coats.)

How aggressive and which method for each (1000 grit versus 0000 wool)?

Any help would be appreciated.  (Ralph Tuttle)

    I'd say wait longer than 6 hours, more like 48 hours.  Sandpaper on a block will give a flatter, nicer finish than just scuffing with steel wool.  I use 600 grit between the first two coats, and 800 between coats two and three.  (Harry Boyd)

    I touch up my varnish (if need be)  between coats with the 3M superabrasive polishing paper (cloth backed), and an oblong pencil eraser as a sanding block. This lets you work the flat nicely without cutting all the way through the varnish on the edges. I find the cloth vastly superior to steel wool or normal wet and dry. It picks up most of the sanded residue as you go. Just wipe/brush the rest off. Bailey Woods at CSE sells this in packs of 9 sheets (3 x 3 of 9, 15 and 30 micron). Note, it is also great for ferrule fitting.

    For big chunks/drips, use the 30 micron. For little dust nibs, use the 15. After the final coat, use either, followed by the 9 and then car detailing "Swirl remover" on a rag, and you can bring up any final imperfections to a nice finish.  (Nick Taransky)


This is a request for info from any one who polish finishes (i.e. cuts back the finish then use's a polishing compound to finish off the rod.

I've got a 6'6" 3 wt that's ready to go and I thought I'd have a go at polishing the thing.

The plan is to let the varnish fully cure then cut back with teak oil and rotten stone then polish with? (need the name of a polishing compound that someone has used).

The vanish is poly urethane based.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received.  (Luke Bannister)

    For a compound I've used Meguires auto compound for light scratches. It seems to take the brightness off. Then  a couple of coats of Butchers Bowling Alley Wax. That gets done at the start of each season, then during when I'm bored and not fishing.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I normally use the rottenstone with a white oil (French polish lubricant) followed by a French polish restorer for a satin gloss.  For higher gloss the auto body polishes such as Meguires as already mentioned are the way to go, and a search through Google will find you UK suppliers and remember you get what you pay for.

    You will probably have to experiment to see what best suits your varnish and preferred technique.  I tend to use leather for the coarse applications followed by cotton cloth and finishing with cotton wool.

    Unless your original varnish finish is very good be prepared for quite a lot of rubbing and if you use too coarse a compound or too much elbow grease prepare for the unpleasant experience of breaking through to the cane just when you think you have got it licked.  (Gary Marshall)

    3M, in an auto stores.  They make a couple of grades.  "Rubbing compound" cuts fast.  "Buffing compound" is finer. 

    The last time I looked I found some under the Turtle wax trademark. 

    There's also Jewelers rouge.  You can find it at some places that carry Dremel.  I'm sure you could get it at a Jewelers supply.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    Crest toothpaste.

    I could not find an easy supplier of any of the Meguires or 3M products and I remembered some body shops in my home town using it.  I used the coarse side of an offcut from a leather belt to apply it - it helped keep me rubbing parallel to the flats and preserver the corners.  (Greg Dawson)

      Here is a site at which you may order 3m products and the product I use, 3m Finesse-It machine polish. This is the finest cut product I have been able to locate.  (Timothy Troester)

    I have used the 3M products (Perfect It 1, Perfect It 2 and Finesse It) which are available from auto products suppliers.  You can do as I do and use them in series, or you can omit one or two depending on the final result you are after.

    Just a tip;  it is not easy to maintain the sharp angles of the hexagon at this stage, and what I do is go to the upholsterer who gives me offcuts of upholstery leather.   I cut small blocks (5-6 cm X 3 cm X 3 cm approximately) and glue precut pieces of leather nap side out and mark on each which grade of compound it is to be used with.  They last a long time and when they do give out it is only the work of a few minutes to make up a new set.

    Doing your polishing with these makes it a lot easier to keep your sharp angles.

    If you are really a glitter fan and want to polish it beyond the Finesse-It I find it hard to better Meguires Clear Plastic Polish.   (Peter McKean)

    Novus Plastic Polish (#2 Fine Scratch Remover).  Several sites on the web offer free samples.  (Ron Larsen)

    Unlike spar which cures slowly urethane cures quickly and becomes very hard. I try to polish the rod before 24 hours with 3m's Perfect It. If I let the varnish dry for over 24 hours it gets so hard the polish doesn't touch it.  (Dave Norling)


How do you all cut the "brightness" of your finish.  Was casting a rod I recently finished and even from my lawn in New Jersey I was putting down fish in Wyoming.  (Louis DeVos)

    I lightly knock off the sheen with 0000 steel wool and use  different grades of swirl remover to give a wonderful low luster.  (Adam Vigil)

      I cut it back with Perfect It Extra cut, and then bring it back to the desired degree of shine with Perfect It II and with Finesse It.  I apply them using pieces of wood with leather glued rough side out to one surface.  (Peter McKean)

    Toothpaste on a piece of leather belt.  (Greg Dawson)

    I too have been wondering this. I just finished my first wood reel seat and didn't like the shiny poly finish. I rubbed it out with 4/0 steel wool to a matte finish and then polished it with pure carnuba wax. Did I do it right? This is also my first band reel seat as well and I want to know that this will hold up before I glue everything together.  (Barry Janzen)

      Whatever suits you.  The amount of gloss to the finish is very much a personal thing.  One reason I like Tru-Oil, I can stop before it gets too glossy or go for a high gloss.  (Neil Savage)

      If what you are looking for is matte finish, there are a couple of products. 3M builds a burnishing product, 4F Rottenstone, a car paint oxide remover or toothpaste [not the gel kind]. I use a piece of chamois about 2" square with water as a lubricant. Each finish responds differently. Varathane finishes can be done within 24 hours. Minwax Spar Urethane - best wait a week or 2. Spar varnishes are "softer" and require even more waiting time in my experience. Experience with your finish is the only way to know what works for you.  (Don Anderson)


Since it's so quiet I thought that I might ask for an easy spar polishing regiment.

I "pour finished" two tip sections and got the spar a little thick on the last coat.  (to the point that the rod is dang near round down by the tip top) It's dried for about a week and I was considering sanding it out with 1500 grit and then rubbing the scratches out with something like Meguire's car cleaner/wax. Anyone have an easier/better method.  (Bruce Johns)

    I use a 3M product. "Finesse-It II" machine polish and I use Brownells felt pads.  I have used the soft, medium and hard pads and I think the hard one works best. I do not think there is anything finer than this product.

    Before you use the Finesse-It you can run some fine sand paper down the flats with a hard block. The compound will rub out the marks.  (Timothy Troester)

    Be sure the varnish has set up all the way before sanding the flats. You night know this but here goes. If the varnish is just dried on the surface and still not really set up all the way through, the varnish that is not set up will become sticky from the heat generated by sanding. This will cause the soft varnish to "ball" up and not be smooth. Just take it slow and check while sanding. It may not be a problem at all, just something to watch for. Some varnishes take longer to set up than others.  (Tony Spezio)


After the final coat of varnish is applied, allow the rod to cure for at least 10 days.  Then tackle the polishing process as follows:

Polish out the varnish first with Rottenstone mixed with Windsor & Newton Drying Linseed Oil (to a syrup-thick consistency), applied to a hard-felt block (available thru Brownells). Rub down each flat, this dulls and flattens the finish, and preserves the hex shape. Next, clean the blank with a damp paper towel.  Bring back a smooth gloss shine using 3M Imperial Hand Glaze (part # 39007), applied with a clean cotton cloth.  [An optional step is to repeat the polishing process with Meguiar's Clear Plastic Polish #10.]  Finally, using a clean cloth, apply a coat of 3M Perfect It Liquid Wax (part # 39026).  (Bernie Elser)


I tried something a little different last night maybe someone else has already thought of.

You know that orange waterless hand cleaner that you buy at Napa or Lowes? I was cleaning my hands with it, and noticed on the bottle label it says “pumice”. So… the light bulb went off in my head (albeit dimly) and I tried it on a True Oiled reel seat as a polish instead of the 3M finishing compound I normally use. It works excellent, and smells good too.

I might try thinning it  with a  little water and rubbing a blank with it. Not as messy as rottenstone or pumice, and not nearly as expensive as the 3M Perfect It or Finesse It.  (Tom Vagell)

    “Orange” based cleaners can be pretty aggressive and may damage a finish.  Hand cleaners are among the mildest but I would suggest a test piece on each type of finish you might use it on before committing to the final part.  (Al Baldauski)

    Also be very careful about the contact time.  The "orange" is actually d-limonene, which is a really good solvent, which is why it works so well cleaning greasy hands. The important thing about limonene is that a very little goes a long way - it can soften finishes fast. 

    I had a conversation with the folks who distill it from citrus peels in FL. It is used as a paint/finish additive to promote smoothing out during application. Naturally, the light bulb lit up and I ended up with a pint sample, which I tried in place of Penetrol. Seemed to work a little better - and the shop smelled great !

    Also, the grit size in my orange hand cleaner seems to be pretty coarse; very coarse compared to rubbing compounds.  (Carey Mitchell)

    Ahaa, This might explain the Payne varnish odor! And the wonderful smooth brush finish.  (Doug Easton)


Has anyone used toothpaste for final rub-down after varnishing? (instead of rottenstone/linseed oil?).  If not, why not?  (Vince Brannick)

    WE used to use tooth paste to polish out scratches on Plexiglas airplane windshields years ago, never tried in on rods. May have to give it a try.  (Tony Spezio)

      It occurred to me that if it polishes enamel on teeth, why not? And shouldn't it be a lot easier to clean up? But there may be disadvantages ~ that's what I'm 'fishing' for.  (Vince Brannick)

    I've read here and elsewhere that it works fine but have never used it. The reason I haven't used it is because my brother gave me a pint mason jar of 3M Finesse It and a pint of Perfect It from the the paint shop department where he works. They work great and I still have well over 1/2 pint of each left. Should last me for quite sometime.  (Will Price)

    I have.  I could not locate any of the "usual" rubdown products commented on by members of the list for my first rod and then remembered that the auto-finish shops in my home town commented on using toothpaste (and products like "Brasso" and "Silvo") for cutting a finish.  It took the high gloss finish down to a very nice satin finish.  Off course, it smelled minty too.  I think I used Crest.  Not sure if the brand has any impact.  I used small pieces of leather (offcuts from a belt) as the polisher.  I squeezed a bit onto the back of the leather and polished away until I got the finish I wanted.  It did not take long at all.

    I also managed to get some rottenstone from Lee Valley around the same time.  I varnished a piece of pine 1x6 and segmented it into a checkerboard - one strip untouched and one strip polished with the toothpaste or rottenstone etc. to give me an idea of the finish it would give me.  (Greg Dawson)


Typically I finish my blanks, then wrap, then finish the wraps. If I were to get a flaw in the finish, lets say a minor sag, if I polish or sand down the flaw, how do I get that flawed area back to the same sheen as the rest of the blank? I've tried going through the steps with polishing papers and fine abrasives, but the area still has a hazy look to it. I can't put any wax on it since I still have wraps and finish to go. Is that the missing link, or is there a way to get the gloss back prior to waxing?  (Paul McRoberts)

    I use finesse-it by 3M. I end by doing the whole with it takes out the sanding scratches from 600 grit sandpaper and leaves a very nice sheen.  (Timothy Troester)

      By way of reference, is Finesse-It coarser or finer than Perfect-It, and if you've tried them both, which do you prefer for the final rubdown?  (Steve Yasgur)

        Finesse-It is finer. It actually is not listed with the grits. It is listed as a polish. Perfect-It will take the varnish off so you must be gentle with the Perfect-It. I go-to-town with the Finesse-It and use hard felt pads I get from Brownells. I use the Finesse-It for final rubdown.  (Timothy Troester)

    Novus 2 Fine Scratch Remover.  It'll bring the shine back.  (Ron Larsen)

      There's a ton of Novus Plastic Polish on Ebay.   (Ron Larsen)

    Finesse It and Perfect It are a system, I find it takes both. First, wait long enough for the varnish in the bottom of the bump to be hard enough to sand, you don't want to sand thru to soft varnish! Then level it with 2000g used wet, rub those marks out with Perfect it then bring the gloss back with Finesse It.  (John Channer)


I was watching How it’s Made or one of those TV shows a while ago and they were doing Gibson Guitars.  At the end of the process, they showed a guy that was buffing the guitars on a large buffing wheel.  I have thought about this for a while but have never really cared to ask, but since the board is slow, would it be possible to use a buffing wheel on a grinder to buff your rods after the varnish has cured?  Would this be useful or would it be too expensive from having to load up the buffing wheel with the expensive finesse-it?  Just wondering. It would make it a lot easier to buff the guides back to a glossy shine if there was any dust that needed to be removed from the guide area.  (Greg Reeves)

    Just don't use one of the little buffing wheels on a Dremel grinder- buffed the threads off a guide. Too fast a speed I think, and something softer than felt would help. (Henry Mitchell)

      Funny you would say that because that is exactly what I use! The trick is to use variable speed and turn it slow, works great. Like the song says "slow down you move to fast" time and patience! Not all tools should be run full speed at all times. (Joe Arguello)

        To use the Dremel tool,  polish with wheel #323 -- loose cotton wheel.  Wet the wheel first with water, then use the slowest speed and a light touch.  Careful not to let the wheel slip off the rod section and damage the rod with the collet holder.  Ask me how I learned that! (Harry Boyd)

          My Dremel is 40 years old, speed is not variable.  Are you saying I need another tool?  (Henry Mitchell)

            Wow! after looking at the Fordom web page I realized how expensive these tools have become! It seems to me that I paid about 150 bucks for my Fordom flexible shaft tool. I love the tool but I don't think I would pay 250 - 350 for this tool! So back to the Dremel tools! If I was looking to get something like this I would get a single speed tool and a foot speed control for it. Here is the link for that control. If you already have a Dremel  maybe all you need is the control. This allows you to use both hands and control the speed very carefully and precisely. Hope this helps.  (Joe Arguello)

              Do you mean #423?  I couldn’t find  a #323.  Also, do you only need to use water and the cotton wheel or do you use a polishing compound such as the 3M products?  (Greg Reeves)


For a long time I always rubbed my rods out with pumice stone & oil.  For some reason, do not ask me why I got out of this habit (probably just wanted to get out & fish the rod).  So here is what I would like to know.  How many of you rub out your rods with pumice stone & oil, what oil do you use & what if any polish do you use afterwards?  I know a lot of guys rub out their rods with the automotive rubbing compound & the automotive polishes but how many are old school?  (Bret Reiter)

    I used a kit sold by Constantines in the Bronx.  (Ren Monllor)

    Usually I don't have to rub out the finish at all. Sometimes I need to rub all or part of a section down with 1000 (notice I leave out that g-word) wet paper, using boiled linseed oil well thinned with mineral spirits and re-dip.

    Pumice is very aggressive and I never have used it on rods.  (Steve Weiss)

    I use FF (medium) pumice mixed with 3 in 1 oil. I brush finish with MOW gloss, which has a distinct amber color. The pumice cuts the gloss,  and I just leave the resultant matte surface alone. The finish takes on a soft, amber glow in the sunlight which I like,  and the finish does not flash like a gloss coat would. I don't do this all the time, as it is a bit of work to get the finish uniform, particularly around the guides. If there are any dust motes or other imperfections, it will save you some time to level them first by wet sanding with 2000 g--- sandpaper.  (Tom Smithwick)

    I use rottenstone plus paraffin oil for my first rub down on the finish. I follow this up with Finess-It (sp). Seems to work well.  (Frank Paul)

      Automotive paint restorers come in different types, which means some are more severe than others, so its a good idea to run some tests. In the UK Luke and I have settled on Auto-Glym. As it happens I like its products for cars, too. Even if the merest glance at any of my cars would make  you doubt  that I ever actually use them for that! Funnily enough I'm more protective of the leather than the paint, can't stand abused leather.  (Robin Haywood)

    I use rottenstone (we call it Tripoli powder over here) with pure Tung oil. Works beautifully.

    I use the 3M products to de-glitter the varnished blank, but find the Tripoli/Tung very useful for final rubdown prior to dipping - I varnish before I wrap guides on.  (Peter McKean)


What should I use to get Finesse-It off of a rod before waxing it?  (Henry Mitchell)

    I just use a piece of paper towel to buff it off.  It does not seem to leave any residue except in nooks and crannies around guides and that is easily wiped or brushed away.  (Tim Anderson)

    I use pieces of old white T shirt that is freshly washed and dried without a dryer sheet. Then a tooth brush to remove any residue around the guide feet.  (Tony Spezio)

    I'm not sure.  But if it's  anything like McGuire's Swirl Remover, which dries chalky white at the base of the guides, running very warm water over the deposit works pretty well, especially if you encourage it gently from time to time with a soft bristle brush, such as a toothbrush that’s worn out, or an infant’s hair brush.  That’s assuming you’d like to keep the section.  If you were pretty unhappy with it to start with, I can recommend far more entertaining ways to address the question!  :-)  (Steve Yasgur)

    Seems to come off pretty well with just water and a clean rag/soft brush for the fiddly bits.  (Peter McKean)

    I never used anything.  (Timothy Troester)

    Warm water and Dawn dish detergent.  Use a soft bristled toothbrush.  But the wax may take off most of it.  (Mark Wendt)


I have been reading on the tips page about 3m Finesse-It and Perfect-It and decided to try and find some.  A Google search turned up several types.  The Finesse-It seems clear enough but under the Perfect-It name, there are rubbing compounds, polishes, swirl removers, light color polishes, machine polishes etc.

Could someone who uses it clear up the fog for me?   (Rick Hodges)

    I have both and I like the Finesse It best. In my opinion that's all you need so I hope this helps, certainly make the choice easier.  (Joe Arguello)

    Perfect It II and Perfect It II Extra Cut.  (Peter McKean)

      Ah, variety!  :) Joe prefers Finesse-it and Peter Perfect-it II.

      Gents, may I ask what type of finishes you put on your rods?  Does one product lead to a higher gloss or a more satin finish?  (Greg Dawson)

        When I went to the auto body supply place, the guy told me that 3M has gone back and forth between the name finesse it and perfect it. The newest packaging reflects the perfect it label. He said if you were unsure, check the 5 or 6 digit product number as that has stayed the same throughout all the packaging changes. The product number I have is #06068. Not sure if what I was told is fact or not, but I would be interested to know. What product #'s do you guys have???  (Paul McRoberts)

          Sorry, rereading my note, I did not make it clear - Perfect It II Extra Cut is a relatively coarse grit solution, Perfect It II is much finer, in itself sufficient to impart a shiny-side-of-matt finish, and Finesse It (the one I use is in a clear bottle) does not cut  much at all so far as I can see, but imparts a high shine, maybe you would call it gloss - but it is not the glittery, gaudy gloss that you get with varnish alone.

          Certainly in this country the names of the products have been unchanged for at least 15 years or so.  (Peter McKean)

            I think what Peter describes is also true for the "Perfect It" and "Finesse It" names in the US.  I have an old bottle of Perfect It that I have used for a number of purposes for years and recently added a bottle of Finesse It.  Perfect It is definitely coarser than Finesse It and takes a more aggressive cut.  Neither product is really coarse.  For the small surfaces of a rod, the differences between machine and non-machine versions is probably not important.  I went for the cheapest bottle of Finesse It and have been pleased with it.  (Tim Anderson)

    I've had both my products so long now that the original bottles have long since died and I've had to put the rest of the contents in other bottles. IIRC,  the Finesse It I have is the machine polish. Anyway, the Perfect It is a tan color and has some grit to it, it's use alone will get a blemish sanded with 2000 about halfway back to the original gloss, the white colored Finesse It will bring it back the rest of the way. For some reason, all my flaws seem to wind up on or next to a wrap and getting the finish over the wrap back to high gloss has always been the hardest part of polishing for me, it takes me both grades to get it right.  (John Channer)

      Thanks guys for all the info.  Things are somewhat clearer.  My goal is a smooth finish polished to just short of a true high gloss.  I am currently dipping with MOW, sanding with 1000 grit between coats, and rubbing out with rottenstone and oil after about a week on the final coat.

      I have ordered a bottle of finesse it II but it sounds I like I may need an intermediate step with something a little coarser like perfect it and maybe stopping there if it looks good to me.  (Rick Hodges)

        John's pretty much stated what I would have.

        Part numbers if you're still interested...

        Perfect-it II #051131-05973

        Finesse-it II #051131-05928

        Using one or the other alone will result in unsatisfactory results IMVHO. Perfect it will rub out sanding marks down to about 1200 or 1000 gr. Finesse it will rub out Perfect it. That's the way it was supposed to work. Perfect-It and Finesse-it will bring a sanded wrap back to original gloss. About the only thing I know that will.

        Oh, and you don't have to do it by hand. A little soft, loose sewn cloth buffing wheel on a Dremel is a god send.  (Mike Shay)

          Yes, that's true, but DO remember that Perfect It comes in two grades, in silver and in blue bottles, of which one is marked Extra Cut.  Where it is stated that you need to use BOTH i find it is a good idea to use all THREE, especially if sanding out any significant blemishes.

          I will send the Product Numbers later for the two Perfect-It's.  (Peter McKean)

          And if you want a finish that positively "glows" when you are done, try part number 051131-39009.  This is the Perfect-It II Foam Polishing Pad Glaze - Dark.  Simply mahhhvelous.  Joe Byrd got me on this stuff.  (Mark Wendt)

    In the custom painting industry where I come from the absolute mar free finish is done with the Black finesse it or perfect it (i still have a hard time believing they go back and forth). The black is the final finish and when it comes to "black paint" which is the hardest to get perfect again the only thing that produces the most perfect finish is "Black finesse it" I've used it and have used about everything else and it's the one. The trick is also (when it comes to custom paint and buffing the finish) is to use a "Foam" pad on a machine to get the perfect finish.

    Any ultra fine cutting paste previous to the black is usable to smooth out the finish (if you sand any dust for example) you'll use the ultra fine to remove the sandpaper marks. then follow up with the finesse it black.

    Of course you're not going to use a machine polisher on your finish so I've found the best thing to use for finishes is an old cotton white T-shirt - just seems to be the best - load a 2" piece of the T-shirt with the black finesse it and rub your finish till you're happy.  (John Silveira)


In light of recent conversations about the 3M products and using them prior to and after final varnish, I wonder if anyone could compare those to Brownells triple F and 5 F compounds Mike Sinclair talks about in his "restoration" book.

Anyone have experience with both that could shed some light?  (John Dotson)

    I've used the "555" on impregnated reel seats and love it to death.  A tube is a lifetime supply for what I've used it for.  I've never tried it on a rod.  (Mike Shay)


I just finished a Boo build for a friend and I need to clean up the finish, it has a few boogers in it.  I know I will need to let it set for a while to let the finish cure before I screw with it.  How about 5 days?  I am going to deliver it this Saturday.  Right now it is in the house where it is semi-toasty.  What do I need to do?  Wet sand it? Use rubbing compound (ultra fine)?  There are only couple of boogers in the finish.  One looks like a cat hair and the other a piece of lint.  Both popped off easily with my finger nail but, there is a slight outline where they were.  (Pete Emmel)

    How many coats do you have on it?  There is a product called Finesse It and another called Perfect it, each a different grit of polishing formula.  I think you can find it in auto parts stores.

    Personally, if I don’t have too many coats on it, I just wet sand with 1500 grit and dip it again.  I also use steel wool just to give the varnish something to grip to for that final coat.

    If you’re not using a tack cloth, get one of those too.  Helps with the cat hair and lint boogers.  (Brian Morrow)

    I use Maguire's clear coat polish, made for automobiles, after a light rubbing with Dupont number 7 rubbing compound.  (Chris Obuchowski)

    For something that serious, like a cat hair, you are probably going to have to wet sand it first. I use 1,000 or 1,500 grit backed by a popsicle stick. I put a drop of linseed oil on the grit and maybe another on the imperfection on the rod. If you don't have linseed oil, just a drop on any kind of oil (3 in 1 comes to mind). Sand lightly and carefully and try to stay on the imperfection. Check it frequently until it is gone. Then polish the spot with Finesse It or any other quality polish. You should be able to bring back 90 percent or more of the shine. Move to the next imperfection and repeat. Then I put the rod back in the drying cabinet and polish the whole thing the next day. I'm presuming you have  three coats of varnish on the rod. If not, I'd just sand and redip. Five days should be plenty of time. I usually wait three days but with today's varnishes, 24 hours might be enough.  (Larry Myhre)

    I have used Finesse It and then Perfect It, both from 3M. I got my from an aircraft catalog, something like Spruce something or other. I have enough for about 10,000 rods. They are both amazing products, can't say enough about them. I think Tony Spezio mentioned these products. I also use 0000 steel wool between coats and follow Tony's lead of using a magnet after wiping down the rod that gets all the little steel bits off and it really works we'll. I have to say I don't know what Tony is THE Answer Man, he is amazing. (Phil Crangi)


I have the large bottles of hardly used Perfect It and Finesse It and am wondering the best way to apply them.  Should I rub them by hand with a cloth or with a cloth slowly turning on my lathe.

Any help would be appreciated.  (Tom Peters)

    I use one of the shop towels to put the stuff on and rub the rod section by hand. The shop towel seems to provide a little abrasive effect when applying the Finesse It. I then polish with a soft cloth. Hope this helps.  (Frank Paul)

    I apply with hard hand pressure back and forth using a felt pad.  (Tony Spezio)

      Same here as Tony. I get hard felt pads from Brownell's.  (Timothy Troester)

    Coming from the auto painting industry and custom painting background ...

    I would use a piece of "T" Shirt , for some reason t-shirts work very well. The felt pads sound interesting.

    Now the best thing going for automotive finishes is using Foam pads to apply the finesse it and perfect it. One of those products (I forget which now - it's been a while since I've been in the automotive industry) is a BLACK liquid.

    When using a foam pad on automotive finishes there is literally NO WAY to get a better mark free finish, the black liquid and foam pad is flawless.

    2 cents.  (John Silviera)

      Another method that works for me is to glue a piece of split leather to a paint stirrer, split side out, finished side in.  Apply the finesse-it it with the fuzzy side, going longitudinally.  I've found it lets me do a flat at a time, and then I wipe it down with a piece of a t-shirt. Nice result.  (Greg Kuntz)

    If we can get the Preacher Man to tell us, once again, how he does it with a Dremel tool.... Huh, Harry? He has shown me the how too's and it works!! You have to be real careful, not to burn the finish! I would think you will want to buff with the grain, not against it, with the lathe method.

    Are there imperfections in the finish?? Oh my! Shouldn't the finish come out of the tube perfect?? (David Dziadosz)

    I apply mine using a hardwood block about 2" X 1" X 1" on which I glue a piece of leather offcut, with the rough, suede side out.  I have a block for each of the three grades P1, P2 and F.

    I find that using the blocks (which last for ages) I can get stuck right into it and still be able to maintain good sharp edges to the blank.

    If doing the job after the rings are bound on, things get a lot more fiddly, and I have made a series of smaller tools, shaped for access to tight corners.

    Works for me!  (Peter McKean)


I've just finished a rod, and would like to restore some of the gloss that I had after varnishing.  I have sanded it down to 2000 grit, and polished it with Finesse It, and Perfect It.  It has a nice sheen, but I would like more of a gloss -- without varnishing again.  Any suggestions  (Walt Hammerick)

    Try Novus Plastic Polish #2.  I can go back to high gloss after sanding with 1500 grit using this stuff. (Ron Larsen)

    A high gloss will contribute to rod flash which is not a good thing for catching trout,  but great for catching fishermen.  (Dave Burley)

    Not long ago someone wrote somewhere that ferrule flash caused fish to spook. Bob Nunley responded with something like, "Any fish that can't see my 400 pound butt yet spooks because of the flashes from my ferrules is just too smart for me."

      I'm kinda the same way about high gloss rod flash. If that fish can't see my 145 pound self, but sees my shiny rod, well, I just won't catch him.  (Harry Boyd)

        145 pounds??? NOW HARRY....LOL

        I've seen people be concerned about a flashy rod, but have BRIGHT Orange fly line!  (David Dziadosz)

      I respectfully disagree about the rod flash being detrimental to catching trout.  For well over 2 decades, I've been making and fishing high gloss rods.  Well over 800 of them, so far.  Keep in mind also that the vast majority of composite rods, while they may be black, green, gold or whatever, are high gloss.  With the exception of my impregnated rods, every rod I've ever made has been high gloss... very high gloss.  I've heard this point of view before, as well as how using bright polished ferrules and chrome guides will spook trout, but as a life long fly fisher, and a pretty darn decent one, I've never seen fish take off because of the gloss of the rod... now, I've seen them run from me stumbling trying to get in a position to cast to them, but never have had any experience that the sun glaring off of the rod would spook the fish. 

      I've also heard that you should wear subdued colored clothing to go after trout.  I have a huge collection of orange, peach, bright blue, purple and even one day-glow lime green Columbia shirts that I fish in...  no problem there.  Sometimes, I look like a damn Holiday Decoration walking down the banks of the rivers.  The trout don't seem to mind my bright clothes anymore than they seem to mind my shiny rods with bright polished hardware. 

      It's not where I fish that would make the trout immune to being spooked by flash, although fishing on the White and Norfork are a trout fishers dream and those 100 fish days in the spring and summer are a blast, but I've fished everywhere from New York to New Zealand, Canada to the saltgrass flats on the southern most tip of Texas, all the great streams I could find in the wonderful Rocky Mountain States (MT, CO, WY, NM), enjoyed the great and TOUGH fishing in the Northwest in ID, UT and OR, and have never had to worry about the shine on my rod spooking a fish. 

      I look at it like this... we have a nice shiny rod... we use it in a restricted space to cast anywhere from 10 to 80 or more feet of line to fish... this line, no matter how well you cast, slams the water, compared to what anything else natural to the rivers and streams would do.  The leaders make a ripple on the surface, the fly, especially if you're using anything but a dry fly PLOPS in the water and even with all that commotion, the trout will still come from behind a rock or log to take the fly. In addition to that, I'm about the size of your average NFL Linebacker... If my lard ass coming across a stream doesn't spook the fish, then the shine on my rod isn't going to send them for cover. 

      Now, I've fished both my varnished rods and my impregnated rods in almost all of those areas, with the exception of New Zealand (didn't take an impreg when I went to NZ) and the numbers of fish I've caught on one vs the other...absolutely no difference.

      Personally, I put "Rod Flash" and things like Bigfoot, Champy and the Chupacabra in the same file... just legends that get a lot more recognition than they deserve.

      Plus, I've got to think that if rod flash were a problem, people like Summers, Kusse, Taylor, Aroner, Paul Young, Jim Payne, Everett Garrison, T&T, Leonard, Winston (all very shiny rod companies) and a host of others, would have started dulling their rods down decades ago.  I will say about those men and companies something that we say about great pool players when we go to the big tournaments... "That guy knows SOMETHING!"

      The only thing I know for sure is that if you present the correct fly for the conditions or hatch, properly to a trout (nice cast, delicately lay both fly and line on the water, don't slap the water with the line, get a great drift, etc), then you'll catch fish... a LOT of fish. In my experience, it doesn't seem to matter if your using a super high gloss bamboo rod or a subdued impregnated rod, or if you camo paint the thing, you'll catch fish if you play the rest of the game well.  (Bob Nunley)

        Likewise respectfully, I went to the fly fishing show in Charlotte, NC (and despite the snow and ice, made it home) and sat in on a lecture being given by Wendell "Ozzie" Osafovich who has been using a movie camera on the end of a stick for 40 years to try to understand what fish see.

        This site covers very briefly the concepts of refraction of light and what the trout sees.  But there is an example of what you will see in his DVD and why I suggest you take a look at this.  His DVD "Trout Vision and Refraction" is 75 minutes long and very thorough. I have no financial or other connection to this business.

        Very basically, according to Ozzie, a trout's binocular, color vision above its head is a cone of 97 degrees because of the trout's eye structure, with rods and cones at the "bottom" of his eyeball.  Also, non-color, black and white vision covers a sphere around his body, since underwater, his eyes bulge out and can operate like lizard eyes, so a trout has views to the front and back and from beneath. Essentially a complete sphere when all aspects of the total vision is accounted for. 

        Outside this upper cone of vision, the trout sees a mirror of the surface and either sees the bottom reflection or in deep water, just dark.   Bait moving along through the water is reflected in the surface. Juveniles may strike the reflection.  What this means to us is that the trout can see both the top and the bottom of the bait. When a fly, real or artificial, hits the surface in the area the trout cannot see directly, the dent in the water surface made by surface tension leaves clear feet imprints in the reflective surface.  The pattern of these feet clues the trout as to whether this is food or not.

        More importantly to this discussion, along the edge of this visual cone, the refraction of the light makes it possible for the trout to see all what is going on along the bank and on top of it, no matter how low you go. Actual pictures from this perspective show clearly the flattened image of the fisherman and the red orange,white colors and flashing wristwatch of the fisherman. The DVD contains actual examples and the effect on fish.

        He also shows an actual example of a black graphite rod flashing in the sun during casting. It even scared me.

        I don't think there is any question that he is scientifically correct.  I also believe you when you say lots of fish have been caught by fishermen wearing highly colored clothing and sporting a flashy rod.

        As to your offer of proof that flash makes no difference, since renown rodbilders have highly polished rods, one must remember the rodbuilder's job is to catch the fisherman and not the fish.

        I think Ozzie's point is that caution will allow you access to those wary trout you will never see if they are spooked by bright clothing and rod flash.

        I recommend any trout fisherman get a look at this DVD to make up his own mind.  It might be a good topic for a chapter meeting.  (Dave Burley)

          Oz is a friend of mine - we attend the same TU Chapter - and whenever I give a cane talk or he does a DVD presentation, he never fails to point out that I should finish my rods by spraying them FLAT black!

          His evidence is indisputable, but I go with my matte finish and gloss wraps anyway.

          Bob, maybe those 100 fish days should be TWO hundred fish days, if you'd dim the brights! LOL  (Art Port)

            I'm too old to do a 200 fish day, and think I'm going to start carrying a spotlight on my hat just to spook it down to a 40 fish day! 

            I don't know Oz personally, but know his reputation, which is quite good.  Doesn't mean I agree with him, even though his DVD and presentation are quite convincing, and somewhat scientifically based.  I've caught everything from stocker trout to 30 inch browns on shiny rods... got a pic on the wall of the shop of a 26 inch bow I caught in 12 inches of water with  a  shiny rod... I think I was wearing orange that day and mirror front sunglasses.

            As I said, I respect Oz and his opinion, but it just doesn't seem to ring true for me out on the river... and as most know, I'm not the most stealthy guy in the world... a bit of a "bull in a china closet" from time to time... well, most times!  Again, no matter what the camera shows, no matter what the range of vision, both peripheral and color, that trout have, I catch quality and trophy range fish with very high gloss rods and bright polished ferrules, on a regular basis.  Of course, I fish ALMOST as much as many people work, so that may make a bit of a difference... the fish may just recognize me and my size 15 wading boots and say, "Oh, let's go after his fly... that guy don't eat trout, anyways, and he'll just let us go if we'll give him a good ride!"

            Glossy day to all!  (Bob Nunley)

              The only person  my shiny  rods have to please is me! No justification needed.  (Joe Arguello)

                Where does one buy the flat black bamboo fly rods? You guys do market them to all the shine averse?

                Bottom line guys is that people who know how to catch fish, do. Those that do not, still wont, not even if you give them a rod so dull you'd think it was a black hole. They will, however, come up with lots of excellent excuses.  (Larry Lohkamp)

                  If the fish are that spooky, my flyline will spook them long before I'm close enough form them to see my shiny chrome tip top, let along the fancy butt wraps.... (Paul Gruver)

                  Wow... This is great! I really have enjoyed the different inputs on this matter. First of all, while I have not seen the DVD that was first mentioned, I did watch the trailer and found it very interesting and insightful. The aligning witness to flash (or movement?) =spook was also good. ( as to WHY the fish was sitting there... was he sleeping, eating or taking a shit?  I think the later... thatz why he got the heck outo there ... it stunk! )

                  But paint the rods BLACK??? Why are fish darker on top and white on the bottom? Why are many of our military planes painted in the same manner, cammo top - white belly? Because while looking skyward,  WHITE... not BLACK is harder to see. So black IMHO would be as bad or worse than chrome plate, much less varnish. So is there any truth to stealth? I think that there is some merit. Otherwise we could just tie a 4 inch piece of 5x tippit to blaze orange rocket tip and not worry about what the trout do or don't see.

                  I do agree with the movement thread. Although comparing a deer which allegedly sees only in B/W to something that sees in color like a turkey or trout... (and how do we know this exactly?) I have walked up to a knee to waist deep 20 foot wide creek and could not see a trout anywhere, got on my knees in the water and just sat... and in about five minuets trout were appearing out from under rocks... BTW, I was wearing a bright red Scottish plaid shirt at the time.

                  Guess we all need to wear camo, paint our rods white, check the temperature of the water at the depth we will be fishing, use 20 feet or more 8X tippit and cast without moving..... and we will catch lots of fish. While there is merit to the DVD, and I find it informative ( I plan on now purchasing this), we all have to come to terms with what we are willing to do to  enhance our catch success.

                  I for one 'draw the line' at 20 foot of tippet! Happy fishing!  (Harold Maxwell)

                    Long ago, I had the pleasure of meeting, tying, and talking at length with the late Gary LaFontaine      in        Chicago.  Mid-nineties.  I was accompanied by my wife and eldest son, about 11 at the time, who practically worshipped the guy.  Gary was fantastic with kids at the tying bench and I still have the flies he tied with my son in a small case.  Now, Gary used to conduct these underwater live tests, lying for hours in a wet suit on the bottom of Montana trout streams until the trout got used to him, while having someone cast over him and judging the reaction of the fish to whatever they were trying at the time.  This made him a firm believer that, when the light was right, bright things, especially on the rod since it was the one thing in motion most of the time, scared plenty of fish.  To repeat, *when the light was right*.  Weather conditions, times of the day, too much false casting, etc., all came into play.  Now, my son, reading this stuff, really took that part to heart and even took to wrapping reel seats with dark tape, insisting on black or blued guides, all that.  When we met Gary that time (we would meet again several years later and his views had not changed), I asked him about it, since personally I wasn't convinced and liked the shiny stuff on my rods and jangling from retractors on my vests.  Still do.  He pretty much told me what he'd written, went over the tests he'd conducted. The guy had this contagious enthusiasm about him, just wonderful.  Not wanting to argue, but still looking for an answer that might suit me, I asked, "So what if my rod is really bright and I don't want to change it? What then?"  Without hesitation, he said, "Find a way to catch them anyway."  I thought, well there you go.  This guy simply could not be defeated.  If I insisted on risking spooking fish with reflective tackle (guilty), there were still other ways to stalk and catch my prey.  He didn't take it personally or insinuate that I must be daft to continue using what I liked using in the face of all he'd discovered.  His theory was, there's always another way.  Fishing the way you like to fish was just as important as any other aspect.  He did add that the best fishermen fish often, pay attention like a Buddhist, and learn by repeating successful tactics, thereby reducing errors.  I still maintain a running argument with my son about this, but mostly just for laughs and a way of remembering a really fine man.  (Bob Brockett)

                      I must say that my Antipodean view is that I cannot recall ever having frightened a fish in circumstances where I was forced to postulate rod flash as the cause for the fright;  there are always,  in my case, plenty of other potential culprits, such as general  bumbling clumsiness!

                      I fish my rods as they come out of the bag - that is, I do not deliberately de-gloss them, nor do I ever set out to polish them save in the course of routine wiping clean and dry. I use  International Goldspar varnish, so they start out pretty slick, but I find that the glitter sort of attenuates over the first 6 months or so.  (Peter McKean)

                Oh, and I meant to say -"Indisputable" ? There are very few things on the face of this green earth that are indisputable, and panicking fish with shiny rods ain't one of them.  (Peter McKean)

        With all due respect to Bob Nunley, the fact that you have made 800 rods (and are still counting) is anecdotal and contributes nothing the the fundamental issue. What I am about to relate is ALSO anecdotal as it is a single,  but personal, experience. It does, however, speak directly to the issue. My intent here is not to offend anyone, but rather enlighten to some basic facts.

        Now, if you were a graduate student and I were editing your thesis and came across something like this in it, you can rest assured that you would never, in your wildest dreams, have realized just how much red ink there is out there; and most likely be really PO'd at me.

        While working my way along the bank of the S. Platte downstream of Deckers, and well-hidden back in the willows with my rod held in the normal butt-forward and level mode and well below the tops of the willows, as was I, I spied a nice trout lazing in the current. I stopped dead in my tracks to get a better look at it, and to try to figure out an approach to the fish. The fish stayed calmly in place, doing what lazing fish normally do, until I raised my rod tip "ABOVE" the willows. The sudden bright flash from the rod tip, which surprised me, sent that fish off like a Saturn Rocket. For all I know, it still may be fleeing. With over 40 years experience as a fisherman, and having advanced degrees in  the biological sciences at the time, as well as having spooked more than my fair share of fish in the interim, there was, and is, absolutely NO question in my mind but that the flash from that rod spooked that particular fish. There were NO predatory birds, or other potential predators, other than my buddy who was well over 100 yards down stream, in the area that might have spooked it.

        Now a question, if rod-flash was not a problem, why have several of the older flyfishers/writers encouraged their readers to dull the finish of a new rod before EVER taking it astream? Some have gone so far as to advocate painting them some hideous dull earth tone color in an effort to eliminate flash. There has to be some basis in-fact from their experiences for them to go this far in their writings and recommendations.

        In 60+ years of fishing, I can honestly say that, to the best of my knowledge, that the above noted experience is the only time I have ever spooked a fish due to rod flash. This is NOT to say that I have only done so the one time; it simply says that THIS was the ONLY time I have ever observed it.

        As someone trained in the sciences, I assure you that it is extremely dangerous to draw conclusions on anecdotal data.  (Frank Schlicht)

          Just received this excerpt  (from an early Skues book) from a local flyfishing doyenne

          "The reference to a neutral gray recalls a greenheart rod of mine made by Farlow and painted heron-blue, and its extraordinary invisibility to the trout. Again and again I have held it over a trout lying under my bank, and have waved it to and fro without scaring him until I showed myself, and it certainly seemed as if it were of a color to which the trout was almost insensible. I remember speculating at the time whether it was by reason of his scheme of coloration that the heron was able to get within striking distance of the fish. I afterwards had a split-cane Test rod built by Messrs. Hardy Brothers, and I got them to color it similarly, but the varnish put a flash upon it which discounted its invisibility, and that and the fact that the coloring matter under or in the varnish added not a little to the weight of the rod led to my discontinuing the use of heron-blue coloring for my rods."

          My view on this is that having no flash can't hurt.  (Steve Dugmore)

          Absolutely NO question in your mind, Mr. Science...?

          "As someone trained in the sciences, I assure you that it is extremely dangerous to draw conclusions on anecdotal data."

          You would do well to temper your academic pretentions and take your own advice to heart. Your credentials and your intellectual standards for "red ink" do not serve you well. It's possible to spook a fish in any number of ways, including by a sudden flash of light, but unless you're in the position of the fish, you won't have a certain explanation.

          a)  If you saw the flash bounce off your rod, the light came from the flat that provided the ideal angle of incidence and reflection between the sun and your eyes. What are the chances that your fish was positioned at this same angle? Anything is possible, but is there really "NO question" in your mind...?

          b) It's possible that a flash spooked your fish, but it's just as likely that the mere movement of your rod sent the fish scurrying for cover. You'll never know.  (Bill Harms)

            I agree with Bill in that the likelihood of the matter was the movement is what spooked the trout. As a lifelong hunter and having studied the same thing pertaining to what a deer sees in zoology classes at Penn State I have come to the conclusion that whether it's deer or trout it is all speculation. No disrespect to Oz but all his studies prove is what humans see through the camera lens. Period. We have no proof what a deer or trout sees for sure and we never will until we can actually look at these things through their eyes. We know how rods and cones work in the eye in regards to sight when it comes to us but there is no way to prove what a deer or trout sees. We can only speculate.

            I have sat in the woods in blaze orange and had deer feed within 10' of me  completely unaware of my presence, and there was nothing between me and the deer except air. I have also been dressed in head to toe camouflage perched in a tree 15' off the ground and had deer spot me because I raised a cigarette to take a puff. Movement gave me away.

            I'll stick with a nice glossy finish on my rods because that is what I like.  (Will Price)

        The operative statement is that you "...have never seen fish take off...". This statement does not speak to how many you may  NOT  have  seen!  Also,  the  analogy  of  a  line  and fly "...slams the water, compared to anything else natural to the rivers would do."... is most disingenous, at best. Have you never heard a beaver slap the water with his tail, within 50 feet of where you were fishing, or a kingfisher hit the water in pursuit of its lunch? Things "natural" fall into, or enter, the water all the time, creating a disturbance of some magnitude, large or small. What about a deer, or elk, etc. splashing into the water? They don't always use stealth when they enter the water, e.g., the fleeing animal.  Or trees falling into the water? Fish have to become somewhat accustomed to this kind of disturbance in order to survive.

        I have little doubt that there are waters out there that have natural materials in close proximity that can, and do, reflect light into and onto the water surface, occasionally with a flash, perhaps due vegetation movement, etc. These materials would be expected to be stationary and to reflect rather consistently, to which the  resident fish will become acclimated. Your comments about where all you have fished, again, may have little or no bearing on the fundamental issue. All of the areas you mention are very popular fishing destinations, and have been for years, giving the native fish ample time to become acclimated to the flash from a rod. This still does not say, or prove, that it doesn't, or won't happen.

        The only difference between your "argument" and mine lies simply in the fact that you say you "have never seen " it happen; whereas, I say "I have". So what does this all prove? Nothing, in the real world. I simply saw One fish in ONE place at ONE point in time under a certain SPECIFIC set of conditions flee in panic from rod flash. This singular instance does NOT a case make, any more than does the number, and names of, rod builders who have built, and continue build, rods with a lot of flash. With respect to the number of fish that have perhaps been caught with such rods; we have an expression here in Texas that says that "A blind hog will find an acorn sooner or later."

        By the way, ALL of my rods have a bright shiny finish that I frequently enhance with a little Turtle Wax and a good wipe down. My personal position on the issue is that I will spook so few fish with rod flash that it is not worth the time to ponder. There are enough gullible fish  out there to satisfy my "cravings!"  (Frank Schlicht)

    What kind of finish are you using?  I've used Finesse It and Perfect It for many years and get a great polish out of them, but I'm using spar varnish which polished out much easier than Polyurethane.  I am going to try the Novus Plastic  Polish however... If I can get them to shine even more, I'll give it a shot!  (Bob Nunley)

    I may have used the Finesse-It  and Perfect-It  in the wrong order -- I get confused as to which to use first.  My varnish is Helmsman Spar.  When I get home tonight from work I will polish it down with Finesse It, and see how it turns out.  (Walt Hammerick)


I'm just curious, but for those of you that use rotten stone and boiled linseed oil to rub their blanks down after final finish, has anyone got a ratio that they consistently stick to that works for them?  When I mix up mine, I just eyeball it.  I'm just wondering if anyone out there has a recipe that they stick to that gets them a consistent slurry that you like to work with.

I'm not trying to get too scientific here, but I've been curious about this for a while.  (Scott Bahn)

    Birchwood-Casey Stock Sheen and Conditioner is rotten stone and oil mixture that works for me. It's not that expensive and considering how often it's used I see no reason to mix my own. They have the ratio right. That's about as unscientific as I can get.  (Will Price)

    I use pure Tung oil and rotten stone (it is called Tripoli powder over here) instead, and I just slurry it up as I use it. 

    I rub the blanks with a pad made of a block of wood about 2" X1" X 1" to which I glue a piece of leather (preferably undyed, or at least a light color) ROUGH SIDE OUT.  I do the job on a glass sheet cut to fit the bench top, and I  just sprinkle a small (1 or 2  rounded tablespoons)  quantity of Tripoli and dribble in the oil until I have a revolting looking thick slurry, with which I proceed to rub down the blank. Hard, and with due attention to the preservation of the sharp edges.

    As it gets too wet or too dry or just plain disappears, I simply add a bit more of oil or of powder.  I don't think that this is a process which needs to be codified too precisely - a slurry is pretty much a slurry, as long as it works well.  The essential ingredient, not made enough of, is elbow grease. If you don't rub it hard enough, it won't go well.

    The purpose of the glass table top is mainly its ease of cleanup.  (Peter McKean)

    I use #7 white polishing compound (in the green can) made for automobile clear coats.  (Chris Obuchowski)


Has anyone tried to polish out blemishes in Helmsman Spar Urethane with micro mesh pads?  It works great on CA finishes and was considering trying it on a small section.  I have the perfect it, finesse it, Novus plastic polishes, etc.  Just thinking of trying something different and was wondering if anyone else had given it a try.  (Greg Reeves)

    I've used 1500 or 2000 grit to polish Helmsman.  Follow it up with Finesse It.  It works fine if it's done within 48 hrs. after  coming out of the dip tank.  Difficult or impossible to polish out with Finesse it after that.  (Paul Julius)


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