I put 1 coat of tung oil varnish (Waterlox) on the entire blank with my fingers as thin as possible prior to wrapping.  I let it dry for a few days and rub down with #0000 steel wool before I wrap.  The wrapping goes much easier.  (Marty DeSapio)


What I do is very straight forward. I go around the blank once and catch the tag end (as you start any wrap). Next place the pull cord under the wrap.  Proceed and count as many wraps that cover the pull cord as you want (usually 3-5 turns with Gossamer depending on the look you want). Pull the tag end under with the pull cord. Slide the wrap tight to the guide wrap. I then simultaneously tug both tag ends in opposite directions to tighten the wrap and then trim tag ends. The only thing I would call a tip is the fact that I wrap over a blank that has been sealed with 1 Extremely THIN COAT of spar varnish rubbed on as thin as possible with my fingers and allowed to dry.  Then I rub lightly with #0000 steel wool. Doing this gives the wrapper a bit of friction to work with that he  wouldn't have with an unsealed blank.  (Marty DeSapio)


I'm at the stage of my my first rod where I can either dip it now and wrap later or wrap now and dip later, what are the advantages of either way?  (Tim Stoltz)

Personal opinion only:

I would never wrap on a guide over varnish. I think that the overall varnish coat glues the whole thing together and I have serious misgivings about the guide foot sinking into the varnish beneath it. Probably for no good reason but...  (AJ Thramer)

I like to rub on a coat  of  Tung oil spar as thin as possible  prior to wrapping. I let dry and rub with #0000 steel wool. This gives a nice base to wrap on. The silk sticks ever so slightly allowing the wrapping to go easier.   (Marty DeSapio)

Sanding flats between guides is difficult at best.  I dip my rod without guides, then sand all the varnish off.  Dip again, and sand perfectly flat.  Probably sand 50% of the varnish off this time.  Let sit a coupla weeks.  Wrap the guides, dip again.  If the third coat is really nice, that's all it gets.  If not, then sand down and dip a fourth coat.   (Harry Boyd)

I follow the same steps, except that I apply 3 full, wet, coats of varnish to the wraps before I do the final dip.  (Ted Knott)

Guess I should've mentioned that I also finish the wraps completely before dipping the final coat.   Though I don't use three full wet coats, the five ultra-thin coats of various potions and extracts that I do use does the job of filling the threads quite nicely.

Thanks for picking up on my oversight.  (Harry Boyd)

I made a rod for the auction at TroutBum BBQ in Grayling this past summer.  Due to my procrastination, and the fact that the rod was going to be a joint project between myself, and local fly shop owner, rod wrapper extraordinaire, Tom Hargrove, I was really rushed on the dipping.  So I tried two dips of Harry's method of dipping and sanding down to almost bare cane between.  I then delivered the rod to Tom for wrapping.  After wrapping all that was required was one final dip, and the rod was ready to go.

It worked great, and as Harry said, the sanding between coats, without the guides was a breeze.  Definitely will be my finishing method of choice from now on.  (Mike Biondo)

(After "talking" with Mike, he said that Wayne Cattanach came up with this originally.)

This is what I like to do. I will dip the blank 2 times then wrap. Finish the wraps and then dip 1-2 times more.

Dipping before wrapping allows you to work on the finish and get it ultra smooth without the guides in the way. Then dipping 1-2 more times over the wraps give the blank a very continuous finish. And no the finish does not stick to the guides.  (Adam Vigil)

I would not wrap on a totally unsealed blank.  If you have time for the varnish to set I would varnish before wrapping. The varnish would have to be totally dry before wrapping or you will learn new cuss words.  I apply four coats of Tung oil varnish, sanding between coats with 0000 steel wool. The tung dries a lot faster than plain varnish. The blank has a slippery feeling at this point.

My wraps are totally filled before the final dipping. I dip in thinned varnish twice.  I am really pleased with the results.  (Tony Spezio)


I have been reading the 'Lovely Reed' and noticed that Howell suggests wrapping the guides and then dipping the rod in varnish and Maurer suggests dipping first and then wrapping the guides. Any advice  on the pros and cons of each approach?  (George Wood)

Most rods were varnished last, I think it became "just the way it's done." I prefer the look of a finish done this way, I like the look of a smooth finish flowing over the guide wraps and it helps to minimize them. It's a little more difficult to wrap over varnish as you have to let the varnish harden well so the thread doesn't dig in too much to move it, you also need to use less thread  tension. It is also a little harder to get a clean line of finish around the edge of the wrap, if you varnish last you can just scrape away any finish that gets out on the cane. Where  finishing the blank first is a real advantage is if you want to color preserve the thread, it's ver hard to get  blotch free wraps if you dip the rods after wrapping them, the pressure of a dip tank drives the varnish thru any weak spot in color preserver.  (John Channer)

I like to dip several coats of finish first, then sand smooth, wrap/finish/sand guide wraps, then one final dip to blend everything together. Wrapping this way has worked well for me. I don't like a buildup on the guides and I don't like trying to clean varnish off of them!  (David Dziadosz)

I've done it both ways over the years but have stayed with adding the guides after varnishing no varnish on guides was already mention. No stopping while dipping at each guide and also I can polish out any imperfections in the varnished blank. You do have to let the blank dry very well before wrapping the guides. Just my thoughts. See what works best for you.  (Tom Whittle)


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