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There was a fleeting reference on the list to coating a rod by flooding or squirting the varnish over the rod from a squeeze bottle. Or at least that's what I think I remember.

I am just about ready to varnish a six foot one piece, and would like to know a bit more about this squeeze bottle method before I start putting the extension on my drip tube.

Is the rod suspended vertically, or horizontally, on a turner? What stops the varnish from drying with sags and drips?

If anyone has any pointers, all will be gratefully accepted.  (Dave Kennedy)

    When Bob Taylor (of Leonard fame) started working at T&T he noticed a bunch of Turkey basters laying around the rod shop floor. He came to find out that T&T used the Turkey basters to varnish their rods.  (Marty DeSapio)

      I did the recent post. Suspend the rod vertically over a clean can. Take the squeeze bottle and simply flood it on from the top. You will have to use a lot to get the entire rod coated, but you can reuse the stuff that collects. Next time I will probably tie a weight to the lower end to keep it from whipping around so much and missing the can. Let it drip for several minutes, then into the drying cabinet. It does seem to go on thicker than it does using a dip tube, but my results were great. Perfect finish with no runs or sags, but note that this was with a blank with no guides in place yet. I used slightly thinned Man O War spar.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

        The way Bob Taylor explained the T&T Turkey Baster method is pretty much the same. You suck up the varnish in the Baster and holding the section in your hand (guides attached) you squirt out some at the top of the section from the baster and allow to run down the section. You roll the section from side to side to get an even coat. Hang up and let dry. I'm sure it takes a little practice.  (Marty DeSapio)

    Here is how I solved a similar problem; I bought 6 1/2 foot piece of copper pipe 1" in size and solder a 45 degree elbow on the bottom, to that I attached a faucet.  Clean out the pipe then fill with varnish, tape off the top to keep out all dust. Open the faucet to a fast drip and let the varnish drip back into the varnish can. As it comes out the faucet strain it through a piece of cloth. When finished put a 1/2 teaspoon of thinner in the varnish and seal it up.

    Keep the faucet closed and the top taped for two days then remove the rod and you will have a rod with no dust blemishes.  Repeat for second and third coats.

    Remember to put the rod in the tube before you add the varnish.  (Mark Dyba)

    This was the same rod that I was asking the questions about changing from 2 piece to 1 piece.

    In this case, I didn't use the squeeze bottle method as I thought it sounded too messy.....

    I put an extension on my drain tube and moved the whole shooting match outside on a calm fine day. I had taped a temporary hook on the extended tube to hang it up with, then spilled a bit of varnish on the tape when I was filling the tube. As you can guess, the solvent ate the adhesive in the tape, the hook came off, the tube fell off the wall. I only managed to catch the tube and the remaining varnish on the second bounce. There wasn't too much varnish spilled on the washing that was on the clothes line as most of it sprayed in the other direction, on the house and the window of my workshop.  (Dave Kennedy)


I was just noting the discussions about wipe-on varnish and other methods not requiring the use of dip tube or drip tube; someone once told me that at Thomas & Thomas the standard method of varnishing is with a kind of a "turkey baster," and that the varnish is just flooded on with that, presumably pretty thick.

I know that you get a lot of urban myths arising around really prominent entities like Thomas & Thomas, but wonder if anybody knows if that one is actually true or not.  (Peter McKean)

    It is easy. Hang the rod vertically, tip down, over a coffee can, and apply thinned (and warmed) varnish with a baster or squeeze bottle. It will flow down and give a nice finish. I have only done this before guides are wrapped. But it does work. I think it gives a slightly thicker coat than dipping.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


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