I have been using Tung Oil Varnish on my rods and the wraps.  Since I dip my rods this is no problem but the problem is using the Tung Oil Varnish on the wraps.  It just seems to take so many coats to get a good finish on the wraps.  Is there an easier or quicker way to finish the wraps than what I have been doing like using Helmsman or some other finish on the wraps first and then dipping the rod in the Tung Oil Varnish.  (Tom Peters)

Like so many things about rod  making isn't the devil in the detail?

I finish the wraps on a new 8 footer last winter as per the recommendations in Sinclair's book.   Three coats of lacquer with the first coat thinned by one half and the last thinned very little.   Then I added one or two coats of Helmsman spar.   The outcome looked really nice and I liked it better than the lone application of varnish.  Now I've fished that rod around 30 days this season.   The wraps will have to be completely redone.   There are two problems.   Some wraps have gotten whiteish and opaque and I assume this is the result of the layer of varnish separating from the lacquer.   I expect most of the wraps to develop this problem as it seems to be marching up the rod.   The second problem is that many of the wraps have developed cracks.  Now I something have that happen at the ferrules, but in this case it is a bit more extensive.   Either problem alone is unsightly, but taken together the once sparkling wraps now look darn weird.   Any comments?   Wrong type of lacquer?   Are some  lacquers softer?   (Bob Milardo)

I have had the best luck with Aero-Gloss (model airplane dope).  I apply two coats (thinned) and then spar varnish until smooth.  I also use the Aero-Gloss for fly head cement as it is cheaper than commercial head cement. Haven't had a problem with white/opaque wraps (.....yet!!).  (Tom Mohr)

I had the same experience with lacquer and color preserver.  Both resulted in cracks at the butt ends of the foot wraps as well as the crowned end of the ferrule wraps My supposition is poor adhesion between the lacquer or color preserver and the varnish underneath.  The responses I got when I mentioned these problems were:


In the previous post I neglected to mention I used a polyurethane gloss spar by Helmsman.

So many people have said lacquer preserves the original color of the thread, and I guess it does, but not with all colors, at least in my experience.   The pesky problem wraps I spoke about were done in a medium tone olive green  silk (sometimes called Granger Green) with occasional red accents.   With these colors I can't see much difference between wraps done with lacquer bases and those done with straight poly.   The lacquer I used did not help to retain the original thread color.   Maybe it does so with lighter color threads.   For darker colors, and even a relatively light olive, I can't see any reason to use lacquers.   And I'm guessing the only reason production folks did is because it dries so fast and is therefore inexpensive, although prone to blowing up the occasional factory.  (I was  able  to  apply  3  coats  in  one  evening  without   explosive side-effects)  Otherwise, it seems like a terrible choice for a wrap cover.   It cracks and does not hold well to poly varnish.   Maybe there are varieties of lacquer that work better and are not so hard (and prone to cracking) like Aero-glass but I can't see a reason to use the stuff on new rods.   It's an old tradition that just doesn't work very well.

I have tried wraps in gloss poly and satin poly and in these cases didn't see much difference, but in this instance I was using two different brands (a Helmsman gloss poly and a Minwax satin poly).  They both are very durable and work well; neither preserves the original color of the thread.  (Bob Milardo)

I'd offer the following experience: After wrapping apply 3 coats of Pratt and Lambert R10 gloss varnish directly to the wraps only and then dip the entire rod with 2 or 3 more coats of the same varnish. Now mind you, the thread will change to a darker color when varnished so make a test wrap first so you can see the final color. If you wish to have the thread of the wrap not darkened when varnished but stay at the original hue then use 2 coats of U-40 Color Lock2 on the wraps first before varnishing. The U-40 is sold by Angler's Workshop in Woodland, Washington. No problems noted using this system.  (Ray Gould)


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