- By Rich Forhan
(Reprinted from the volume 6 #5 issue of RodMaker Magazine)
Everyone is looking for that perfect, level, smooth glass-like thread finish
appearance, and for a method that guarantees such a thing. Well, the good news
is that there is such a method, but it won't be exactly the same for each one of
us. What will be the same for each of is, the necessity of sticking to the
particular system that works perfectly for each one of us, different though they
may be. Bear with me a moment while I outline the system I use.
Routine - as in a consistent procedure. Here's my consistent
procedure for Flex Coat High Build:
While wrapping the rod, I keep both bottles of epoxy in a shirt pocket - which
effectively warms parts A and B to aid in measuring and mixing. (Tip from Tom)
I use Yorker caps on each 4 oz. bottle and pour directly into Flex Coat mixing
cups - near a heat lamp. I pour in part B until it ALMOST breaks the surface
tension on the 2.5-ML line. By the time I'm ready to pour part A - part B will
look dead level on the line. I pour part A to the 5-ML line. The two parts in
each 4-oz bottle should start dead level with each other. As you pour for 4 rods
or more - look - are they still dead level? If not, adjust where you stop the
pour for each part.
I use a swizzle stick (it gets better with age) to mix for 2.5 to 3 minutes -
near the heat lamp. I mix until all the swirls are gone.
I have a 3-inch square piece of 3/4 inch plywood that has a top section 2 inch
square X 1/4 inch deep removed. Over this block of wood, I wrap a piece of
heavy-duty aluminum foil. I pour the epoxy out on this foil and breathe most of
the bubbles away.
I don't use color preservative but apply the epoxy directly to the threads with
2 different spatulas. The motor turning the rod is a Flex Coat 100-RPM. I have a
hand rest 11 inches above the table and next to the rod to steady my hand for
I move quickly on each wrap, applying enough epoxy, then PRESSING on the spatula
to run the epoxy over the end thread and onto the bare blank in a straight line.
Use a spatula and PRESS at high RPM - you'll see what I mean. I make one pass
down the rod and then return to the beginning to add enough high build for a
one-coat effort. (No threads showing) I stop the motor - remove the rubber end
piece and turn the rod by hand - using a narrower spatula to coat the eye side
of the guide.
I take my mini-flame thrower and burst any remaining bubbles.
Once I'm satisfied with the amount of epoxy on each wrap and the absence of
bubbles - I move the rod to the heated drying box (75-85 degrees). I have a
temperature-controlled heater, shielded from the rods, that I use inside the
box. I built the box with one sheet of 3/4-inch plywood. I use an Ingraham
model 12-806-timer set for 6 hrs in summer and 8 hours in winter for turning the
Once the rod or rods are spinning, I go back to wrapping or working on handles
and occasionally wipe the backs of each single foot guide with a metal spatula
as the rod turns. This will prevent excessive build up by capillary action in
this area. Once the epoxy stops building up - I leave the rod alone. The rods
turn on a BBQ motor set up that can handle 8 rods. I never do that many rods at
once. Four rods wrapped and spinning is an extreme day for me.
It takes about 20-25 minutes from the time I start the watch for mixing to
finish most rods, including 8 foot Flip Stiks. I have used just about every
thread epoxy - and like them all. However, I have become so accustomed to the
characteristics of High Build Flex Coat - it has become the only thread epoxy I
Will duplicating my routine guarantee you the same beautiful results I get?
Yes. However, some of what I do may be outside the bounds of what many other
experienced rod builders and some epoxy finish manufacturers recommend as being
proper. That's the point here - you must find a system that provides you with
the results you desire and make that your routine. Write it down if you must,
but duplicate it every time. Change nothing and never modify your routine
outside of any experimental process where you are actually looking for different
results. Remember the old saying, "If you keep doing what you've been doing,
you'll keep getting what you've been getting." Once you find something that
works perfectly, stay with it.
I like to see rods I have built that have received years of hard use by
tournament anglers (I'm one myself). The blanks, guides and handles show various
stages of wear and tear. The blanks and guide epoxy are usually scuffed. Some of
the single foot guides are slightly bent and the grips are dirty - all signs of
a favorite high performing tournament rod. I intend my custom rods to be the
most used in the boat and on a cost per use basis - the least expensive. Flex
Coat High Build and the routine I use to apply it has not let me down. Perfect?
- close enough. Develop your own routine and when you are satisfied with the
results - change nothing!