Two questions...  First, when you are finishing intermediate wraps or small bands of wraps which aren't tipping but perhaps at a signature wrap, how do you apply the finish?  I've tried a small (#10) pointer brush, toothpicks (plastic and wooden), the corner of my regular finishing brush, and everything else I can try.  The first coat or two are okay, but once the finish stops soaking into the wraps it always seems to slop over the edges of the wrap, giving me a look I don't like. Any ideas?

Second, well heck, can't remember the second question.  CRS is slipping up on me fast.  I'll think of it later.  Any help with the first question is much appreciated.  (Harry Boyd)

My  mentor taught me that if the  finish was washing off the wraps then they are done.  I use shellac in the 1/4, 1/2 and no thinned. I also have been using thinned MOW finish .I don't think it matters what you put it on with, so long as you are careful to keep it on the wraps.  When you have a hard shell on the  wraps, further applications are going to the bamboo.  (Rich McGaughey)

I know one fellow who puts the finish on with a dentist's pick.  Haven't tried it, but his wraps sure look good.  (Neil Savage)

Time consuming, but I place a wrap of plumber's tape on either side of each wrap. Very close too but not touching the wraps. When dry just remove the tape and you have a clear cut finish

Works well for me. (Mike Lajoie)

Don't you have that "hard" edge that comes with a dried tape edge?  If so, how do you handle that?  (Onis Cogburn)

You polish them down using Perfect It Extra cut, Perfect It, Finesse It and Imperial Hand glaze,  and they look bloody near perfect.

In my opinion, you need to do some smoothing after you finish the wraps anyway, no matter how careful you are.  (Peter McKean)

I use the butt end of a paper match . Intermediates always work best with a thinned lacquer color preserver because the lacquer builds so slow that any slop over disappears once the solvent evaporates. After 2 or 3 coats just dip.  (Marty DeSapio)

Slop over only matters if the blank is already varnished. As I dip my rods after the wraps are finished, I don't worry about slop on any of the wraps, I just take my Exacto knife and scrape all the edges on all the wraps clean before I wipe down the rod and dip it. It's lots easier than worrying about every tiny bit of excess that gets on the bamboo. You might try a very fine needle, I don't own a brush of any kind for rod work, I just use my dubbing needle for varnishing wraps.  (John Channer)

Two answers to one question :-}

If you dip after varnishing the wraps don't worry about it.  Be sloppy then do as John Channer suggested and trim them up just before dipping, it works great and you get a nice clean line at the wrap edge.

If you wrap after dipping you can either wrap w/ plumbers tape (don't use masking tape the varnish will dissolve the adhesive and leak under the tape) or you could probably use Scotch tape (I haven't tried that yet) or do what I do and do a good job but don't worry about a little slop  and use a 5-6" piece of fly tying floss to wick up the excess, just pull the floss across the blank right up to the edge of the wrap and the floss will pull the excess varnish off and leave a clean edge. I do this w/ the rod on a turner and clean up both sides of a guide wrap then stop the turner w/ the guide up and slide the floss thru the guide and clean up the excess under the guide foot. After the varnish has cured if you polish w/  Perfect-it or Meguires Plastic Polish you'll never know the was any slop-over.  I use a 5" piece of drill rod sharpened to a soft point stuffed thru a small cork for a handle  to apply varnish.  (Dennis Higham)

I varnish my blanks first and then wrap the guides on.  So, when I varnish the guide wraps, I don't want any of the varnish going over the wrap and onto the blank. It looks very sloppy.

I use a small, sparsely haired brush. This will hold more varnish, than a thick haired brush and give a better finish. You can trim some of the hairs off the brush if you have to, but you want the hairs to be spread slightly, so there are gaps between the fibers.

Very carefully hold your brush on the left side of the wrap and slowly rotate the rod, until you've gone all the way around. Then, you are going to "pull" the varnish from the left side of the wrap, over to the right side, flat by flat and pull the brush down, at the edge of the wrap. Then turn the rod to the next flat and do the same thing again, until you've gone all the way around all six flats.

If you do happen to get some over the wrap and onto the blank, Turn your brush around and using the rounded end of the brush, start at the top of the wrap and holding it against the edge of the wrap, pull the rounded end down the edge of the wrap. This will remove the varnish on the blank. If you do this carefully, you will never know it was there.

This is the way I do mine and it works good for me.  Hope this helps.  (Dave LeClair)


I collected pine sap, mixed it with turpentine and wallah! This works wonderful on wraps! Now, I will share with you my last evening's activities and a new thrill for your wonderful elixir. It starts with a comfortable chair and a glass of scotch in a dimly lit room. Take a nice swig of the scotch, dip a thumb and forefinger in the elixir and rub them together. You can make beautiful music worthy of an evening entertainment!  (Timothy Troester)

For the benefit of those of you who don't have ready access to pine trees, but who are interested in making this concoction, head to your nearest sporting goods store and buy yourself a pitcher's rosin bag. The stuff is already powdered for you! This is the same stuff gymnasts use on their gloved hands when performing on the rings and parallel bars. Helen Shaw (the fly tiers among you should recognize the name) used it as her dubbing wax, and even as a head cement! Great stuff. I will have try it in the application that initiated this thread. Have used it a la Helen Shaw.  (Frank Schlicht)

Scotch and music aside, how long do you let the pine sap and turps mixture set before you use it? I found a bunch of hardened pine sap on some of our pines on campus and heated it with some turps in a double boiler set up using two beakers from our chem lab. I poured off the resulting liquid and kept doing so as it melted from the sludge in the beaker until I had what I believed what was as much as I was going to get. I have had it resting in a little, 4 oz., narrow necked, bottle with the cap off for the past three weeks or so. The liquid is becoming clearer daily while the impurities settle their way to the bottom of the bottle. I was going to filter the liquid a couple of times in order to get it as clean and free from the residue as possible. My question is this: Am I going through this process correctly, am I spending too much time or not enough?

A friend told my he used to let turps set uncovered for about a month to let it thicken and would rub it on the tuning pegs of the dulcimers he used to make and play. The thickened turps would help to keep the tuning pegs from slipping.  (Phil Crangi)

It sounds to me that you are just about there. When this stuff is completely settled you will have a liquid that looks like varnish with no residue on the bottom. You can start using it before that since you will just take a drop of the 'good' stuff off the top anyway. Then you can continue to pour off the clear stuff and discard the settlement. Just make sure you don't do a 'Frank Drummond' and take a the jar, tighten the lid and shake it! I'm serious Frank picks up any jar or bottle, tightens the lid, and shakes it! Guess it's just a habit of his I have been working on breaking. I need to get myself a butt section that has a glue line in it (which won't go into a rod) and use it as a stick to whack him on the knuckles when he does that! Anybody else want to take a class from me?  (Joe Arguello)

I have not heated the mixture. I let is set and the sap dissolved into the turpentine. I poured it thru an old tea strainer to filter out the bark chunks. I did use turpentine and not turps.   (Timothy Troester)

Well Timothy, I was going to say that that was a waste of good hootch. But considering it was scotch, let me suggest that you dip your fingers into the elixir and then into the scotch. It just might make scotch fit to drink. I'll stick to my Crown Royal. <BIG G>  (Will Price)


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