I have a rod that had a guide pulled out of the wraps. With a little 'surgery' I was able to put a new/matching guide into the holes in the wrap on one side but it wouldn't go into the other. Found out there was a broken guide foot still lodged in there.  When I undid the wrap far enough to get the broken piece out the silk thread snapped. I've discovered that the person that did the rod used white thread, color preserved it and then varnished over that. I need some way to simulate the ambering in the varnish so I can just rewrap the one side of  the guide. I am not redoing the whole rod just for one guide. I was asked to do this as a favor. My wife has suggested a couple of drops of tea in the varnish. PLEASE, I need help with this, somebody must have run into this before.  (Bill Walters)

I've used tinted Danish oils to color the varnish, and I've also stained the thread with something or other.  Tea would work if you let it dry before varnishing, and you'd just have to mess with the application rates to get the color you want.  You should do a test on a scrap first if you need to get things just right.

Good luck, this is more art than science.  (Brian Creek)

I've added oil based transparent stains such as Minwax to the varnish with good results.  (Marty DeSapio)


On Sunday morning I made the mistake of  trying to take apart a wet rod with wet hands. The normally smooth ferrule got stuck, my hand slipped, and the second guide from the ferrule on the tip section was dislodged and bent. Since it was Sunday morning I said "Darn it"!

When I got home, I noticed a small can of Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane that I had purchased a few years ago for something not related to rod making. The stuff was still thin & looked good, so I wrapped a new guide on (Gudebrod "A" nylon - I'm one of the 16 outcasts from Claude's recent survey) and gave it a coat. The directions said it dried in 3-4 hours, and sure enough my wrap was dry by about 4:00. I applied a second coat, and then a third coat at 9:00.

So rather than going on the disabled list for a week or two, the rod I broke yesterday was ready to go fishing again this morning. I was casting from a local beach by 6:00, and by 7:30 AM had released two five-pound pink salmon. The rod (an 8' WF8 with a linear taper of .290/100" starting .080" at the tip) handled the fish with authority. The guide wrapped yesterday looks as good as the others, which were finished with Man-O-War Spar. I don't know if the fast drying PU will hold up as well, but I was impressed with the stuff for a quick repair.

BTW, I used my rubber "ferrule pullers" to take the rod apart this morning!  (Tom Bowden)

I've tried nearly all the PU varnishes over the years, but about seven or eight years ago I settled into using nothing but Minwax "Fast Dry" for all my rod work.  I only apply one coat per day because I like the stuff to have a chance to cure a little.  One rod in particular was built back in 1976 and finished with the Minwax "Fast Dry," and it's still with me.  I no longer fish it as much as some of my other rods, but the finish is nearly as good as when I first put it on.  In any case, you will have no problems whatever with the Minwax PU varnish.  (Bill Harms)

Are you able to polish the finish out? If so, what do you use?  (Bill Bixler)

Yes, polishing work very nicely with the PU, despite what you may have heard.  I don't know how successful polishing may be on large surfaces like tabletops and such, but the PU finish on a fly rod polishes beautifully. The key here, perhaps, is that you must allow the finish to cure for a few days prior to polishing - though I think all varnishes would require that.

The product I use is a 3-part system made by "Nova" that I buy at a local hobby store.  You can also use 3-M products, George Maurer's products or any number of polishing compounds available through Brownells.  I've used them all, and all will work well (with technique and practice perhaps being more important than product.)  (Bill Harms)

Been listening in and enjoying hearing more details of finishing with PU.  Was wondering how much (if at all) dust is a factor in  varnishing wraps - does anyone cover their rods to keep dust off during curing? (Ted Godfrey)

Airborne dust is no issue at all if the air in your room is even moderately calm.  In every case when I've run into problems, it has been either dust remaining on the surface or dust in the brush.  The "Fast Dry" PU forms enough of a surface-film (within 5 minutes) that airborne dust will no longer seriously affect it.  It will be the little "fuzzies" in the thread that need to be dealt with, far more than dust particles.  Anyhow, any problems are soon obviated, since, after several coats of varnish, one sands the wraps.  And also, after all is complete, one polishes the rod, as well. In my shop the windows are usually open, dog running around, and the ceiling fan is on.  So, I pay very little attention to the dust issues.  (Bill Harms)

After a  few disastrous finishes on my first few rods, I have settled on using International's Goldspar PU spar diluted very seriously with Penetrol.

I use about four coats on the butts, three on the tips, one coat a day and only sand the obvious crap, or after the last coat.

I am a patient man, and I hang the varnished blanks in my drying chamber for about four weeks before I do anything much to them, more if I  can manage it.

As I get to build more and more rods, it seems more and more to be a truism that the less you rush it,  the better the rod.  The standard of finish on my rods  has moved from "shitty" to "pretty good" over the last ten or twelve rods.

Like most truisms, it's not always true, but it's not a bad rule of thumb to go on with.  (Peter McKean)

What is your procedure for finishing with the PU? Do you dip, brush or spray? What grade paper do you sand with between coats? I've used this as the finish for reel seats and usually give it a good rubdown with 000 steel wool between coats which I brush on. It seems to dry very hard.  (Larry Puckett)

I always finish my wraps first, and then varnish the entire rod.  I recently started using Mike Brooks' "Walnut/Amber Oil" on the wraps - two extremely thin coats, separated by two days drying, each.  This seems to ensure a beautiful, translucent end-result.  Then, maybe six or seven coats of the Minwax  "Fast Dry"  on the wraps (one a day), two days curing, with sanding only after the sixth for smoothing and shaping.   Finally, I apply the finish to the rod by brush - two slightly thinned coats, followed by two days drying, a sanding, and then a third coat.

The paper I use for sanding is 1200 grit, followed with very light use of 0000 steel wool (avoiding corners at all costs).  After the final coat and three more days of curing, I complete the process with the "Nova" 3-part polishing regimen.  Although quite a number of days pass from start to finish, the actual time spent working on the rod is very, very small. (Polishing actually takes me longer than any other single part of the process - but that's only because I'm fussy.)  (Bill Harms)

What kind of brush are you using to apply the finish to the rod?  (Mark Wendt)

The brush is a rather inexpensive, camel-hair, artist's brush, 3/8" wide, with a flat cut.  It only needs to be soft enough to flow the varnish gently, yet flat enough at the tip to pull the "edge" down as you stroke. (Bill Harms)


I need to wrap only one guide on a Granger Deluxe rod that has been wrapped with black & white jasper silk thread that has a very definite yellow look from the original varnish.

I was wondering if anyone has any ideas on how to match the yellow color so I don't have  to strip and completely rewrap the rod.

I have tried mixing some oak stain with my varnish but it just got darker.  (Larry Tusoni)

I have run into this many times. This is what I do. Get an ink cartridge refilling set. They come with three colors of ink. Red, Yellow and Green, I  think. Anyway, The yellow is very strong, so you won't need much. Mix just a drop of the  yellow ink and a couple drops of water. Use a Q-tip to rub your "mixture" over your black and  white wrap. This will color the white to a yellow. The more ink you use, the darker the color will be. Let the wrap dry for 24 hours and then varnish with a dark varnish.

This should get you pretty  close to the color of the original wraps.

Hope this helps you and any one else trying to match Granger or Heddon  colors.  (Dave LeClair)

Try a test wrap with a yellow highlighter (permanent ink), color preserver, and then varnish.  (Will Price)

Any oil based stain will blend with varnish.  Yellow pine toned down with a brown one works.  Apply several thin coats or it will be uneven.  Just finished two Hardy CC de France rods using this technique.  (Gary Marshall)

Just an update.  What ended up working was using a yellow highlighter maker to yellow the b&w jasper silk thread before I varnished it.  (Larry Tusoni)


Site Design by: Talsma Web Creations

Tips Home - What's New - Tips - Articles - Tutorials - Contraptions - Contributors - Search Site - Contact Us - Taper Archives
Christmas Missives - Chat Room - Photo Galleries - Line Conversions - The Journey - Extreme Rodmaking - Rodmaker's Pictures - Donate - Store