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Every can of varnish I've ever seen says to stir the varnish before using.  So, when your varnish is in a dip tube, how is this accomplished?  Will the warming of the varnish cause a turnover sufficient for mixing?  I would think that removing and inverting the tube would cause unwanted bubbles.  (Pat Higgins)

    I use McCloskey's Man-O-War.  I keep a couple of 1/2" stainless steel balls in the tube and slowly invert the tube of varnish a half dozen times before dipping.  If I do it a few minutes before varnishing it bubbles don't seem to be much of a problem.  I store the varnish in the tube (PVC) and top it off with Bloxygen before capping it after I'm done varnishing.  (Bill Lamberson)

    Two polys that I have found that requires NO stirring is Helmsman by Minwax and Zar exterior poly. I use Helmsman because it doesn't require stirring and it's easy for me to buy, and I keep it stored in the tube. I like the way Zar colors the silk that I use, but the company warns about anything coated with it, the UV absorbers can surface if not in direct sunlight regularly. And most of my rods are in the bags in the closet, but I haven't seen this on the few rods that are coated with Zar. Zar is a lot lighter than most spars and makes a blonde rod almost too blonde, but looks good on a flamed rod.  (David Dziadosz)

      I believe it is not necessary to stir gloss varnish and poly. Just the semi-gloss and satin type.  (Marty DeSapio)


Anyone have experience mixing varnishes? I have an old can of Varathane 900 that is sort of an orphan now. Can it be mixed with MOW in a dip tube?  (Larry Puckett)

    Experiment, get a small container 1 or 2 ozs. mix the varnish in this container, if it works out continue if not you are out a couple of ounces of varnish. This is what I would do anyway. Hope this helps.  (Joe Arguello)

    I doubt it; Varathane is polyurethane, MOW should be a spar varnish. You'd be mixing apples & oranges.  (Chris Obuchowski)

    The Varathane 900 is not a bad color preserver, and will give a great bond of the wraps to the cane (the wraps will darken a little bit, though, but stay opaque, not transparent).  (Chris Obuchowski)


How do you "mix" the varnish prior to dipping. Varnish is composed of resins, various chemicals and solvents that should be mixed prior to use. How do you do that?

Do you keep the varnish in the dip tube and shake it there/remove and mix or???  (Don Anderson)

    What I look for in varnish is the one that states on the label "Do not stir or shake before use" I have used these spar varnish for all of my rod building career. I put it in a 2" pvc tube and use the plug on the web page below, I fill the tube to within a couple of inches and the plug fits inside the tube forcing the air out, the varnish does not skim over and since you don't have to disturb it you don't have to worry about air bubbles.

    Hope this helps.

    Here is the plug I use, you can find them at Home Depot or most hardware stores.  (Joe Arguello)

    I put two half inch ball bearings that I had laying around in the bottom of my tube.  I can then just roll those back and forth to mix up the varnish. Make sure the lid is on tight.  (Matt Fuller)

    If I have a varnish that requires mixing, I never shake it.  I may use a paint stir stick.  If I do stir, I stir very slowly to avoid introducing air into the varnish.  Fortunately my Spar never need to be stirred (knock on wood).  (Pete Emmel)


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