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Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Jack Duncan (---.sd.sd.cox.net)
Date: September 02, 2019 06:39PM

For years I've kept a bottle of 70% ethyl alcohol at my work table. I use it to keep the blank clean of fingerprints and other stuff as I wrapped. I also use it to clean my tools before I start wrapping and start applying epoxy. And most importantly, I also use it to clean the wraps before applying the finish epoxy. I wait until they appear dry, usually 10+minutes. I've used all the finish products with pretty much equal success, and most of my finish wraps turn out quite good, but occasionally I get a crater, or a bump, or a poor result on a wrap or maybe 2 or 3 wraps. So after reading this forum page on the subject of silicone and other foreign substances contaminating finish epoxy, I'm wondering if it's a mistake to use ethyl alcohol to clean the rod and the wraps. I've never used DNA or acetone for the aforementioned purposes. So, is there a better product to use with less risk? Or, should I stick with ethanol? I want my wraps perfectly clean before I apply epoxy. Please advise, Jack

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Bruce Tomaselli (---.hsd1.pa.comcast.net)
Date: September 02, 2019 06:55PM

I've always used denatured alcohol. Is it the same thing? I was taught that it was the safest.

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Donald La Mar (---.lightspeed.lsvlky.sbcglobal.net)
Date: September 02, 2019 07:22PM

There is alcohol and there is alcohol and alcohol, all of which is referred to as alcohol.

Jack

Are you certain the alcohol at your work table is ethyl alcohol and not isopropyl alcohol? Isopropyl is commonly available in drug stores in 72% + or - and 90% + or - solutions.

Ethyl alcohol, aka ethanol or grain alcohol, is the alcohol we consume as an adult beverage. When it is de-natured (poisons are added) it is sold as de-natured alcohol, aka DNA. Needless to say DNA is not consumed but is used by rod builders as an uncured epoxy solvent, a cleaning agent, and fuel for alcohol burners.

I'm not a fan of DNA - it's the stuff other than the ethanol used to de-nature it that concerns me. Acetone and its fumes are just plain bad stuff, and it can pass through the skin quickly. It too is an uncured epoxy solvent and that is probably its best use for the rod builder.

I use the 72% isopropyl alcohol to lightly wipe down new blanks and to clean up any epoxy drips or minor contamination on my hands. I only use acetone to thin epoxy when making clear wraps.

Bruce

Safe in terms of what? All burn well and some are poison.

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Jack Duncan (---.sd.sd.cox.net)
Date: September 02, 2019 07:42PM

Donald:
Thanks for the quick response.
I understand the difference in the the various alcohols. I use ethanol because I believe it's the purest; and if I really get frustrated while wrapping, I can drink it. I do use DNA for it's appropriate use, cleaning mixed finish epoxy from my tools, and general clean up during and after finishing, but in general I keep it away from the rod blanks. I also stay away from Acetone and Lacquer Thinner because they are so noxious. What I'm really looking for is an alternative to ethanol that may have less risk of contaminating the finish epoxy, if there is a risk.
Thanks again, Jack

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.97.252.156.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: September 02, 2019 08:21PM

This is the second time I've heard of this practice in recent weeks. I have never wiped wraps with anything prior to finishing, and I don't know why anyone would. I may dab with masking tape to remove dust, but that's it.

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: September 02, 2019 08:41PM

There should be no need to wipe your thread wraps with anything, provided you don't contaminate them between wrapping and finishing.

.............

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Anthony Unger (---.sub-174-201-9.myvzw.com)
Date: September 02, 2019 09:51PM

Say that to the very off color whites that get cleaned before epoxying... Lynn is refring to me.. I use 91% isopropyl alcohol, prior to the current job i was covered in grease and oil.. Hydrolic oil and gear oil dont come off easy.. If you ask many rod builders they will tell you they burnish and pack with thier finger nails.. Thus getting whatevers on your hands on the wraps.. Its probably the natural oils in our skin, but ive tried washing ny hands every 20 min. Or so, etc., etc. And still have trouble with finish unless i clean the wraps before epoxying.. Again i use 91% isopropyl alcohol.. As far as i can tell, there hasnt been an issue yet, and ive built a bunch of rods now

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: September 03, 2019 01:35AM

1. Do not use your finger nails to burnish or pack thread. There are excellent tools to do the job and no risk of contamination.

2. If you have oil and grease on your hands, keep both scrubee as well as ordinary citrus cleaner in your clean up area. Also, keep a good scrub brush handy to remove any sort of dirt or grease from your hands. Just imagine that you are a Cardiac surgeon performing heart surgery. Go to that extreme to get your hands clean before wrapping rods, and it will really help to minimize any issue with contamination.

3. If you need to clean something use Windex or equivalent which is an excellent degreaser but doesn't leave some or the by products behind that Alcohol may.

4. Under normal circumstances, before work is started on a blank I clean the blank very well with simple green cleaner or windex window cleaner. Then, after the handle is finished and prior to wrapping, I clean the blank again. Normally, this is the last time that I use any sort of liquid on the blank.

5. After finishing the thread wraps, I will use either blue or conventional masking tape to tack off the thread wraps. Using masking tape to tack off the wraps has always given me a dust free and clean surface on which to apply thread wrapping epoxy.

Best wishes.

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Anthony Unger (---.15.236.249.res-cmts.ovr.ptd.net)
Date: September 03, 2019 05:29AM

I hear ya roger, but back to the original question of the post.. Does alcohol (of any kind) adversely affect epoxys ability to adheare? Or cure properly? Or any other issue that may arise other then the possibility of the addition of contamination due to impurities... If its used to thin out epoxy, one would think it would assist in saturation no?

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: September 03, 2019 10:58AM

As long as it has fully evaporated from the surface it will not affect the epoxy- other than perhaps leaving behind anything that was added to it in terms of fragrance, impurities, etc. This is why you never use a solvent as the last step in your surface preparation.

Now what if the alcohol hasn't fully evaporated? This is where you may run into additional problems. If the epoxy thickens and sets before the alcohol has managed to completely escape, you can wind up with anything from a bubble issue to worse. This is why when epoxies are thinned, acetone is generally regarded as the best product to use. Because it is more volatile than the alcohols, it will evaporate from the mix much more quickly and usually manage to fully escape the epoxy before the setting and curing process has made this impossible.

..............

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Anthony Unger (---.sub-174-201-9.myvzw.com)
Date: September 03, 2019 11:13AM

Thank you tom, if i dont use alcohol, and have trouble, do you see anything wrong with giving the entire rod a bath with warm water and dish soap before the second coat? pat dry, then air dry..

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: September 03, 2019 01:10PM

I don't know - that's a lot to be putting on the thread. Water, soap, etc., and then having to make sure you get it all rinsed off well enough. Best bet is to not get anything on the rod between finish applications. If this is something you're doing later out of necessity, I'd probably just go the isopropyl alcohol route followed by clear water.

...........

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Jack Duncan (---.sd.sd.cox.net)
Date: September 03, 2019 01:33PM

Thanks everyone. Your responses have been enlightening and educational. Some of the answers inspired me to do a bit of research online (I know, not the best source), but I've learned that the only alcohol to use for my purposes is 90% isopropyl with 10% water only. If I use it sparingly and let it totally dry, I probably can't harm the wraps, or the blank. I will continue to use DNA for clean up of mixed finish epoxy as needed. I wish I would have had this forum 20+ years and dozens of fly rods ago when I started this hobby. Now with my remaining supply of ethanol, I can make martini's
jack

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Anthony Unger (---.sub-174-201-9.myvzw.com)
Date: September 03, 2019 02:08PM

This board has removed the learning curve and allowed me to leap forward many times...

Tom, im talking about washing the epoxy after the first coat to get contaminents out of the pits.. Not soap and water directly onto the threads.. Then again, if you get a fish eye, theres no epoxy at the pit.. So water could potentially floodthe wrap under the contaminent.. Hmmm... I dunno.. That idea never really sat well with me.. Ive done it twice.. And feel that was twice 2 many.. Although it did work.. Thankfully. I rarly have issues with epoxy anymore.. In the beginning it was a nightmare... Lol

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: September 03, 2019 05:30PM

Why would there be any contaminants in the "pits?" I think a lot of problems are caused by guys trying to do too much. This applies to actually putting the epoxy on as well. I've still never figured out how it can take more than maybe 15 to 20 seconds to put epoxy on a wrap. But I've watched guys do it and take several minutes as they poke and prod and try to make the epoxy level, which it will do automatically if they'll just put it on and leave it alone.

If you plan to put a second application of epoxy on, don't spray anything that would contaminate the first application. Don't handle it. Don't pass it around for inspection. Just let it alone. That's usually more than good enough.

............

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Dan Ertz (---.dsl.airstreamcomm.net)
Date: September 03, 2019 05:35PM

Anthony - try wearing latex gloves while handling the blank and wrapping it to keep things clean. Added bonus is they are very grippy - probably grippier than your skin would be by the time you scrub your hands enough to totally degrease them.

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.97.252.156.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: September 03, 2019 05:37PM

As far as I know, you have to thin epoxy, acetone is the best thing to use. Anthony, you threw yourself under the bus! I wouldn't do you like that Bro!

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: September 03, 2019 06:46PM

Lynn,
If one is to thin epoxy --- a very bad idea -- use XYLENE.

Xylene is considered the solvent of choice for epoxy and is used as both a thinner as well as a cleaner for epoxy.

But, the best thing to do, is to NEVER thin epoxy, and never use a solvent that is intense for anything in rod building.

The best thing is to keep the hands surgically clean, as well as the rest of the garb to avoid contaminating anything on the rod or in the shop.

If you want to get dust off a wrap before coating, just use blue masking tape to tack off the guide wraps. I have used blue masking tape for years as a final step before coating to tack off the guides and have never had an issue with the tape causing any sort of contamination.

Take care -- but above all, keep your hands clean!!!

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Anthony Unger (---.sub-174-201-18.myvzw.com)
Date: September 03, 2019 06:55PM

Lynn i was acually trying to lure tom into a trap.. It backfired... :)

Hey guys, i dont have any problems... I dont need to try anything new... I found a method that works for me... Ill gladly show anyone any of my rods, ive found a system that works.. Plain and simple.. I was just trying to help... Lol

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Re: Ethyl Alcohol as Cleaner
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.97.252.156.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: September 03, 2019 09:26PM

If it ain't broke... By the way I got the acetone thing from a couple of. finish suppliers. Few things evaporate faster. [flexcoat.com] (tip #12)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/04/2019 03:14PM by Lynn Behler.

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