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Since the nylon Vs silk question came up, what about different wrapping finishes?  Traditionally varnish goes on bamboo blanks and epoxies on graphite rods.  Why is this so?  The varnish route takes several days and 4 to 6  coats with  some sanding in between.  The graphite guys get a nicely finished product with a lot less effort and time, usually one coat and a few hours drying time.   I've heard claims that once the varnish or epoxy surface is dry, it is compatible with the other type finish. 

Any thoughts anyone?  (Rich Teeter)

I used Flexcoat Lite on  my first 2 rods at John Long's suggestion.  I found it cracked at a few of the guide feet after a couple of years.  I used spar (Varathane 900 from Golden Witch) on the next 2 and like it better.  Even though it takes quite a while to put on, it seems to stand up better.  Maybe I didn't have the first rods clean enough?  Whatever, spar seems to me to be the way to go, and the time to do isn't that much more, just put on a coat and let it spin.  4 days for 8 coats for me.  Of course, I don't have all that much experience either.  I may try Birchwood Casey's Tru-Oil on the next one and see how it works.  I like it for a finish but it takes  a lot of coats to look really good.  (Neil Savage)

4, 6, 8 coats of varnish, that seems like a lot!

I might be doing something wrong but I do 2 coats on tips and 3 for butts and that seems almost too thick.  I have been using P&L 61 and L'n'L oil based spar varnish.

Isn't Varathane 900 spar poly?  (Kyle Druey)

I guess I wasn't clear, I was talking about what I did on wraps, not the whole rod.  (Neil Savage)

Having done both it is my opinion that vanish is easier to use and takes a lot less prep time. When using epoxies  it isn't as simple as mixing two parts and applying it to the rod. You must very careful that the two parts are equal, to much hardener and you will have cracked finish sooner or later, not enough hardener and you will have a finish that wouldn't completely set. The environment also needs to be controlled as this has an effect on the reaction of the finish, temperature, humidity, and particulate matter are concerns. Then there is also the working time and micro bubble that will cause the hazing effect, this is done with vacuum and heat. Last but not least is keeping the rod, wrapping area, and your hands clean so that there is no cross contamination of oil, silicon, and dust. I have found that if this protocol is not followed you end up with a less than perfect finish in looks and durability. I have on occasion done bamboo rods with epoxy finish that is very thinned back so as not to build up and have liked the effect an to date have not had a complaint. Cracking at the feet is sign of not filling the tunnel, thread tension, and to much hardener.  (Tim Doughty)


I was just wondering what people thought was a good coating over silk threads. I've heard of using Tru-Oil but does it work very well?  (Eric Theiman)

Spar varnish if you want the translucent look. That's what I use.  (Dave LeClair)

I'm a big fan of Tru-Oil, but not for wraps! Every test wrap I did with Tru-Oil turned the thread a much darker color than it was originally and I didn't get the translucency I was after either.    (Will Price)

I second that!  I use Varathane 900.  When it's gone or dries up, probably Helmsman spar.  (Neil Savage)


I have a half a bottle of Al's Wrap Rite finish for wraps that is thickening up. Was wondering what I should use to thin it a bit. (Tim Pembroke)

Anglers has a thinner for it, or take it to the paint store and start opening cans until you find one that smells the same. I tossed the bottle I had ages ago and can't remember what I thought it was thinned with, I didn't like it well enuf to use to that point.  (John Channer)

Al's stuff thins with distilled water - but be careful because when you thin this stuff, it may not coat the thread and soak in to the wrap correctly and prevent splotching of the wrap. Ask why I know - it happened to me. I would just use what you have or purchase a new bottle. Just my experience and opinion.  (Frank Paul)

You're confusing the Al's Color-rite (which is a color preserver with Al's Wrap-rite (which is a varnish concoction).  I think the original post was concerned with Wrap-rite.  (Rich Margiotta)

My bottle smells strongly of isopropyl alcohol. Try a little of that before you toss it.  (Larry Puckett)

You're making the same mistake as Frank, that's the Color Rite that smells of IA, the Wrap Rite is made from some sort of varnish and a solvent, I  seem to think at the time I had it that it was naphtha, but I could be wrong.  (John Channer)


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