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Post 27 Jun 2021, 22:57 • #1 
New Member
Joined: 12/30/16
Posts: 22
Location: US-SF
Hi,

Just wondering if anyone else has experienced and solved a problem I'm having with the lack of fully saturating wraps, be it with varnish and/or epoxy. I've thinned my first coat of epoxy with DNA so it flows easily and while it seems that it covers all the wraps and soaks in, ultimately it looks like some of the wraps go completely or at least near transparent, which is what I'm expecting when saturated, and other portions of the same wrap kind of retain their color a bit and it's individual shape is more defined as if not being fully saturated as opposed to blending together to create one color / tone. Of course applying the 2nd coat after the first sets up doesn't change what's already been done.

Varnish, the same at times, though i don't thin or heat it. I apply it liberally and it's not like I'm starving the wraps. Again, same kind of results at times, but not all the time as well as sometimes the epoxy works just fine.

I'm don't know if it's different tensions within my wraps, though I can't imagine it changes that drastically from one 1/16 to the next. My wraps are also consistently packed tight; at least it appears to be with magnification.

I'm beginning to wonder if it's the material itself, as if there's inconsistency in the nylon / silk, some oil of coating from production that's causing the problem. My hands are washed, and sometimes wiped with DNA before starting a wrap so... I don't feel like i'm contributing to it.

I've noticed more with Clover silk, and sometimes YLS though I haven't done extensive repetitive testing to be determinate. I seem to have better luck with ProWrap nylon and Fuji's thread (actually I find the Fuji to be the best in terms of remaining/holding on to it's color and standing out against colored blanks just a tad, a bit better than the other nylons & silks which goes more translucent and can somewhat disappear completely.... depends on the blank color and what you're after of course).

I've kept the thread in clear bags and minimize any contamination I can think of.

Thoughts?


Update: ran another test with the varnish, and while it appeared that the wraps were saturated equally, I went back about an hour or so later and noticed "shimmers" where some of the wraps were translucent and other portions were lighter and held more of it's color ,or is it trapped air?

Note that these are light colors wrapped over a Winston blank; wrapping a lighter rod probably wouldn't show up these differences as much given the lower contrast between values.


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Post 28 Jun 2021, 14:16 • #2 
Sport
Joined: 12/21/17
Posts: 78
Location: US-MN
I use a hair dryer and heat up the epoxy real good and push it around the wrap before putting it on a rod turner and have had nice results with nylon "a" thread. I have not used silk or size 00 thread but if your going for the thin low build look with spar or varnish then I would cut the first coat with thinner around 50/50 just as a saturation coat.


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Post 28 Jun 2021, 14:31 • #3 
Guide
Joined: 06/27/11
Posts: 313
Location: US-OH
Your last statement points to what is likely the main problem...light thread on a dark colored blank (without using color preserver).


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Post 28 Jun 2021, 15:03 • #4 
New Member
Joined: 12/30/16
Posts: 22
Location: US-SF
Yes but doesn’t explain the inconsistency within a wrap; some parts looking fully transparent/translucent and other portions like it wasn’t fully saturated or trapping air (for lack of a definitive explanation).


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Post 28 Jun 2021, 15:12 • #5 
Guide
Joined: 06/27/11
Posts: 313
Location: US-OH
Light threads on dark blanks often tend to look “splotchy” as opposed to uniformly coated. I don’t know why exactly. It’s just a combination I avoid.


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Post 28 Jun 2021, 20:09 • #6 
Guide
Joined: 06/07/15
Posts: 116
Location: US-PA
I had that same problem twice - both were light threads on a dark blank. Only other thing I can think was that my thread tension was too tight and/or inconsistent on the wraps. not sure if this helps but someone more experienced may address thread tension and epoxy absorption.


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Post 28 Jun 2021, 23:44 • #7 
New Member
Joined: 12/30/16
Posts: 22
Location: US-SF
Ok, latest attempt with YLI and Clover silk:

#1 was thinned varnish applied with a bodkin and everything looked like it took the varnish evenly and fully saturated. Nice smooth coating over the wraps.




#3 after drying for a bit and ready for 2nd coat of straight varnish. Looks like the threads are more exposed as the varnish dried.




2nd coat went on fine, covered the wraps evenly and all looks perfect; didn't see any signs of problems either before or after applying.

#4 after a couple of hours and having dried more, the "shimmers" or whatever this is.




No idea what happens between #3 and #4.


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 09:17 • #8 
Guide
Joined: 07/12/17
Posts: 339
Location: SW B.C.
For me, the varnish application is much too heavy. The aim should be the thinnest coat possible on each one.
I think it's reflection under the glob of varnish... ?


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 09:29 • #9 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8207
Location: US-ME
1. Too much thinner. Use only the type recommended by the varnish manufacturer, and no more than the amount recommended. To "thin" further, you can very slightly heat the varnish by placing your container in a dish of hot tap water.

2. Too much applied. The first "coat" should look like it stains/darkens the threads, nothing more. If it looks like a coating above the level of the threads, more is being applied than necessary.

Too much application with too-thinned varnish will leave the dried varnish uneven (its remaining solids being unevenly dispersed).

3. Don't expect the threads to fill and gloss over until the 3rd or 4th coat. Don't think of it as coating them.

4 Varnish dries by solvent evaporation, so the volume of finish does diminish as it dries. Thus the threads will look more exposed on the first couple coats. If they don't, much too much was applied .

5. To the extent the thread braid is visible in unfinished thread--and it is, as you can see on a spool or unfinished wrap--it catches light and shadow and doesn't have a uniform color appearance like a piece of colored tape. To the extent it appears shade variant because of the braid, and depending on the contrast of blank and thread, this appearance may be highlighted further by the finish. That type of "shimmer" doesn't necessarily indicate that the thread hasn't been saturated completely. It may be the opposite, the finish having brought up what was already there. The only way to find out is to cut it off, inspect little sections of thread, and do it again, very likely for a similar outcome. Only you can decide if that's worth the trouble.

Hold your rod at arm's length in natural light and quite likely your eye will tell you that the finish and threads look good. The eye blends the "shimmers" for a rich appearance with character. If you want a more solid appearing finish, you may need to choose less contrasting blank/thread colors. In nylon, size 00 thread will look solider as well, simply because its braid is finer.

Let's take two silver-gray auto finishes, one metallic paint, and one the gloss solid enamel style of old that is trending again in today's new cars. You can tell one from the other immediately standing next to the cars. Now view them out of the showroom at driving distance. You may still have a preference, but both look good. The metallic has "the shimmers." Or perhaps in this analogy you're thinking you never noticed the difference. Bingo.


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 09:32 • #10 
New Member
Joined: 12/30/16
Posts: 22
Location: US-SF
Thanks for the detailed response! Makes sense and will run the next tests along these line.

Thanks again!!


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 09:38 • #11 
Master Guide
Joined: 12/31/15
Posts: 899
Location: Three Forks of the Flathead
There isn't much to add to whrlpool's excellent post above, but since it's been mentioned by others that they prefer a base coat of epoxy before applying varnish (my preferred method at the moment, as well), I feel obligated to make a small addition:

Do not thin epoxy. That can lead to all kinds of problems as the solvents evaporate out. Unlike varnish, it isn't designed to be thinned.

This has been covered pretty extensively in the forums, but here is a recent example that is worth taking a closer look at.


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 10:55 • #12 
Master Guide
Joined: 09/26/10
Posts: 383
Location: Montana
Curious what varnish are you using?


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 11:13 • #13 
New Member
Joined: 12/30/16
Posts: 22
Location: US-SF
Helmsman


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 12:31 • #14 
Guide
Joined: 06/27/11
Posts: 313
Location: US-OH
I don’t thin Helmsman at all. Dry to the touch doesn’t mean cured either...with varnish. Let the coats dry a good while in between the next one.


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Post 29 Jun 2021, 13:44 • #15 
Master Guide
Joined: 09/26/10
Posts: 383
Location: Montana
I would also suggest not thinning it either. If you warm it, than stir it frequently. I tend to not warm.

Different varnishes will affect the thread differently. Poly will retain the most color, followed closely by spar urethane, and spar will turn transparent. I will select the varnish on what effect I am looking for. I suspect polys and urethanes dry faster and leave the most air in the wrap kinda like color preserver. When I use them I have started double coating them to get the most consistent color saturation. I usually apply a moderate coat followed by another moderate coat in another half hour to an hour. Especially on silk which sucks up more varnish than nylon. But to be honest, a certain amount of “mottling” will occur with poly and spar urethane depending on the application and the brand used. It is the nature of the product.

If you are looking for translucent/transparent wraps than spar will need to be used. But then other problems can occur, ie shimmers. The best method I have use is the walnut oil and spar mixtures. This approach has been discussed extensively on the Classic Bambop Forum for more info. Jim Bradley (Springcreek) published an excellent tutorial on its use and you can google it. This mixture is a pain to apply and is time consuming. But using this mixture is still not a cure all. I still run into flaws with my own wraps at time. They will be a heck of a lot more noticeable as the blank gets darker or the thread lighter. I will use the epifanes/walnut oil mixture as directed for the fist applications. After that, I differ, as I like to use spar urethane as it dries harder than spar. When I used spar, I could never get the wraps to harden enough (even after 6 to 8 months of curing) so a mark was not left with the figure nail test.

Another approach is the thinned epoxy. Chris Carlin has done an excellent tutorial on it as well. You can google it too, and it has also been discussed extensively on the Classic Bamboo Rod forum. It’s much easier and provides possible more consistent results, but I am still a varnish man for a variety of reasons. Good luck!


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