I'm getting ready to work on finishing and I'm wondering what everyone uses to thin MOW spar varnish.  I think on the tips site Bob Nunley  talked about  thinning spar  with turps  (30% turps, 70% varnish) when working with wraps.

How do the rest of you thin the spar?  Also what are the ratios that you use for wraps & for overall rod finish?  (Todd Talsma)

I am not that experienced a rod maker (only three). I used MOW spar right out of the can using a drip method of finishing. The only thinning I did was to prevent thickening of the varnish in the can and to help with viscosity while dripping. I used mineral spirits and only a splash or two in the can (quart can). For wraps I consulted the George M book and he recommended 4 parts spar to 1 part ms to apply thin coats (4 or 5). For a beginner I am quite pleased with the results and fishing friends have been very impressed with my work.  (Bill Bixler)

How are you doing your drip setup?  (Todd Talsma)

I use a set up that I got from the archives. The Sir D method is the one. I got 8 foot tubes that protect fluorescent bulbs and cut them in half. This gave me enough for 2 48" sections. You can get the 1 1/2 inch PVC caps for the ends. In the bottom end you tap a hole and insert a pet cock valve and can use this to regulate the speed if the drip. To keep the sections from "kissing" the sides of the tube I used the plastic stuff that is used for packaging tools and the like. It is heavy and a pain to open. I cut discs out and punched a few holes in them with a paper punch for the varnish to flow through and inserted one on the tip and one on the butt of the tip, and one on the tip of the butt after masking off the female ferrule and the bottom part of the grip. Attach string to the butt ends and insert them into the tubes after filling with the varnish. Open the valve to the desired speed of flow and drain right back into the can (don't forget to put the can there, like I have and don't forget to keep an eye on the can as it is filling, like I have. It is quite a mess to clean up). When done, put a top cap onto the tube and let it dry for as long as you like for a dust free environment. BTW I used a Black and Decker work mate as a makeshift stand for the tubes. Portable and can be taken apart.  (Bill Bixler)

While on the subject of thinners- I've been using naphtha to thin my linseed oil/varnish blend for wood working finish. Naphtha being as I understand it a more refined and faster evaporating relative of paint thinner/mineral spirits. Has anyone used naphtha to thin P+L Varmor or any poly based finishes, and what were the results?  (Ned Guyette)

Last evening I decided to try thinning varnish with naphtha at a ratio of 1 to 4.  It looked good in the mixing glass so I applied it to a rod I am building.

Disaster!   After about three minutes the stuff became jelly like on the rod.  What goes on can come off I guess, but my advise to anyone trying this stuff is experiment first before using it on a rod.  (Mark Dyba)


What do you prefer to thin spar poly varnish with?  For wraps...  (Joe West)

For wraps I usually don't thin either spar urethane or regular spar.  I do heat in a hot water bath, though, which improves flow and penetration.  The more you thin, the more coats you need.

For the dip tube, I thin spar urethane with Naphtha and regular spar with artist grade turpentine.  But only about 5-10% -- my withdrawal rate is pretty slow (less than 3" per minute).  (Rich Margiotta)


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