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HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Brett Ford (---)
Date: July 12, 2021 08:39AM

Before I explain the details of the situation, I’ll say I have done a little research and it seems the main answer is to pull everything off…the epoxy and thread. I’m looking for any possible options to try first before doing that.

I put on a first coat of epoxy last night using ProKote original. Mixed well, a few bubbles but no big deal. I applied epoxy to all guides, then onto an inscription area, then lastly onto a dragon scale butt wrap. Guide thread was Hitena nylon translucent. Dragon wrap was pro wrap metallic silver size A. Had a few bubbles in guide epoxy, wave of heat and good to go. Get down to the dragon scale and had numerous bubbles. Wave them all with heat, come back 20-30min later to more bubbles. I hit them heat, again came back 20-30min later and again more bubbles, hit them with heat. Repeated that another two or three times before needing to go to bed. With the last time being very hard to get them all to pop with heat, I believe a few I couldn’t get also. Checked on it this morning and saw more bubbles had appeared. I’m assuming most of the bubbles are from the air pockets created by the dragon scale wrap?

Is there anything I can try? Any tips for applying finish on a dragon scale wrap if I do have to strip it all and start over?

Thanks for any help.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Michael Ward (---)
Date: July 12, 2021 09:29AM

Can you trim the bubbles without cutting into the thread? You’ll want multiple coats over the dragon scale anyway.

Best to go with as light of a coat as you can to start to help any air escape.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.alma.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: July 12, 2021 09:33AM

Before doing a total re-do, I would try light sanding to take off any sharp edges with fine sandpaper then another coat of epoxy. One thing about epoxy that is surprisingly good news is that the evidence of sanding disappears with the next coat. If the bubbles are shallow enough so that you can smooth them out without getting into the thread, you may be able to save the job.

I think it is worth a try rather than jumping to the "disaster" option without trying to save it.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Brett Ford (---)
Date: July 12, 2021 10:41AM

Michael Ward- I’m at work right now so I can’t say for sure how well I could do that, I for sure could on at least some of them as I could visibly see them raised at the surface. I’ve got enough prokote for one more coat…after that I’ll be switching to Gen4 light so hopefully that will help me avoid future problems in other builds or if I do end up needing to start over on this dragon scale wrap.

Michael Danek- yea that’s why I asked here, to hopefully find the best option to try, before I get to the point of starting over. Can’t hurt to try something, either it fixes it or it is just as messed up and I need to start over anyways. Do I need to wait longer than about 20hrs before sanding it with prokote? I know prokote supposedly hardens slower than others…

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.alma.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: July 12, 2021 10:46AM

20 sounds like a little early for ProKote, but make sure it's totally dry feeling, no tackiness, or softness feeling to it. I'd go 48.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: July 12, 2021 12:59PM

I see no mention of CP, that would have removed all air and sealed the thread so none would have come from that either.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Brett Ford (---)
Date: July 12, 2021 07:52PM

After sanding the finish, what should I wipe it down with to clean the sanded particles off?

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: July 13, 2021 12:43AM

Brent,
You have received good advice from previous reliers. Allow me to add that while sanding scratches will indeed disappear with an additional coat of epoxy, attempting to remove ALL the sanding particles may ultimately prove to be (more of) a problem. Consider shaving-off the outward “shells” of the bubbles with a razor blade and recoating. I suspect the original problem arose as (when) the initial epoxy thickened due to pot-life near the end of coating your wraps. Also, too thick of an application of the initial coat could hinder bubble-release. I doubt the use of CP would have eliminated your problem; it, too, is susceptible to entrapping air (bubbles) within a wrap which would, consequently, require an overcoat of epoxy as well. Applying a different brand of epoxy over the initial ProKote should not prove to be a problem = they are all similar enough to not really react with one another.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!! BUILDING YOUR OWN SIMPLY ENHANCES THE EXPERIENCE.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Brett Ford (---)
Date: July 13, 2021 01:07AM

Mark Talmo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Brent,
> You have received good advice from previous
> reliers. Allow me to add that while sanding
> scratches will indeed disappear with an additional
> coat of epoxy, attempting to remove ALL the
> sanding particles may ultimately prove to be (more
> of) a problem. Consider shaving-off the outward
> “shells” of the bubbles with a razor blade and
> recoating. I suspect the original problem arose as
> (when) the initial epoxy thickened due to pot-life
> near the end of coating your wraps. Also, too
> thick of an application of the initial coat could
> hinder bubble-release. I doubt the use of CP would
> have eliminated your problem; it, too, is
> susceptible to entrapping air (bubbles) within a
> wrap which would, consequently, require an
> overcoat of epoxy as well. Applying a different
> brand of epoxy over the initial ProKote should not
> prove to be a problem = they are all similar
> enough to not really react with one another.

I was able to sand it a bit, didn’t prove to help enough. A couple high spots were thin and I appear to have scuffed the thread underneath and any spots down in the “scales”/lower sections weren’t able to be sanded. I did a quick search and saw someone mention using a soft toothbrush to get rid of most of the dust from sanding. I did that, then re-coated it when I put the second coat on everything else. At this point I am just trying to decide whether I’ll just ignore it and except the flaws(I’m a perfectionist so not likely to leave it alone forever) or if I’m going to just strip the butt wrap off and try again with Gen4 light.

What would be the best method to strip the current finished butt wrap off of the rod?

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: ben belote (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: July 13, 2021 10:40AM

Brent, cp is used to entrap and seal the air in the thead so that it does not escape and form bubbles when you apply the epoxy which may be a little too thick for them to pass through..

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---)
Date: July 13, 2021 12:28PM

I keep a pencil-point electric soldering iron handy when I apply an epoxy coating over windings. In my experience bubbles, if any, appear right away, not later. I hold the hot tip of the iron close to the bubble until it pops, then rotate the blank until the sag created in the epoxy evens out. It doesn't take long.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Brett Ford (---)
Date: July 13, 2021 12:58PM

Phil Ewanicki Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I keep a pencil-point electric soldering iron
> handy when I apply an epoxy coating over windings.
> In my experience bubbles, if any, appear right
> away, not later. I hold the hot tip of the iron
> close to the bubble until it pops, then rotate the
> blank until the sag created in the epoxy evens
> out. It doesn't take long.


The bubbles I was getting were appearing both right away and later…much later, over an hour later.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: July 13, 2021 03:09PM

Brett,
You don't mention whether you used CP or not.

For myself I never use CP unless specifically specified it to be used by a client.

However, with your dragon wrap, you might find it very beneficial to use cp on the wrap before every applying finish. The one thing that CP is very good at and that is encapsulating the thread. As a result, no bubbles can result from anything going on in the thread.

I don't know if your dragon scales are conducive to the use of CP, but it might be the savior in this instance.

--------------------------------------------------
Just for a bit of application update. For myself, I use flex coat and mix for 2 minutes. Then, starting with the long butt wraps I will apply enough finish to be sure that there is enough finish on the rod to cover everything very well. Then, I quickly move on to the rest of the guides, including the tip top.

Then, with the rod slowly rotating, I apply gentle heat from a heat gun, until the finish is water thin starting at the first butt wrap - and I make sure that all of the finish has penetrated and flowed out nicely from the warmed water thin finish. Then, I proceed in order to the guide wraps and the tip top. Then, using very bright lights and head band 2 or3x magnification, I inspect every part of the rod wrap starting from the butt to the tip top making sure that every wrap is perfect, free of bubbles and has clean edges. If necessary, I will add a touch of finish or wick off a touch of finish if there if a foot ball has formed some where on the thread wraps. By insuring that the finish is water thin by the use of gentle heat - the finish penetrates well, any potential bubbles are gone and the finish turns out well each time.

-----------------------
In your particular case, I would remove the finish from the butt wrap and start over. I think that you are too much a perfectionist to let this lay, or for you to get a goods night speep.

Be safe

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Brett Ford (---)
Date: July 13, 2021 08:18PM

roger wilson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Brett,
> You don't mention whether you used CP or not.
>
> For myself I never use CP unless specifically
> specified it to be used by a client.
>
> However, with your dragon wrap, you might find it
> very beneficial to use cp on the wrap before every
> applying finish. The one thing that CP is very
> good at and that is encapsulating the thread. As
> a result, no bubbles can result from anything
> going on in the thread.
>
> I don't know if your dragon scales are conducive
> to the use of CP, but it might be the savior in
> this instance.
>
> --------------------------------------------------
>
> Just for a bit of application update. For myself,
> I use flex coat and mix for 2 minutes. Then,
> starting with the long butt wraps I will apply
> enough finish to be sure that there is enough
> finish on the rod to cover everything very well.
> Then, I quickly move on to the rest of the guides,
> including the tip top.
>
> Then, with the rod slowly rotating, I apply gentle
> heat from a heat gun, until the finish is water
> thin starting at the first butt wrap - and I make
> sure that all of the finish has penetrated and
> flowed out nicely from the warmed water thin
> finish. Then, I proceed in order to the guide
> wraps and the tip top. Then, using very bright
> lights and head band 2 or3x magnification, I
> inspect every part of the rod wrap starting from
> the butt to the tip top making sure that every
> wrap is perfect, free of bubbles and has clean
> edges. If necessary, I will add a touch of finish
> or wick off a touch of finish if there if a foot
> ball has formed some where on the thread wraps.
> By insuring that the finish is water thin by the
> use of gentle heat - the finish penetrates well,
> any potential bubbles are gone and the finish
> turns out well each time.
>
> -----------------------
> In your particular case, I would remove the finish
> from the butt wrap and start over. I think that
> you are too much a perfectionist to let this lay,
> or for you to get a goods night speep.
>
> Be safe

Thanks for the insight Roger, I mentioned only what I used…so no CP. I don’t even have any CP, I’m new to rod building still but have seen enough on CP’s negative effects on guide wraps, that I decided to not use it at all if I can help it. Obviously a decorative wrap like my dragon scale doesn’t need to be structurally strong like a guide wrap, but since I don’t build a big volume of rods, I don’t see the point in keeping any CP around just for a once in awhile use. I’m fine using the NOCP threads for any thread work I want to stay original color and my guide wraps themselves so far have strictly been dark thread with no need to keep original color.

After reviewing things in my head and seeing how the second coat went, I believe my issue was how much finish I put on the dragon scale wrap for the first coat. Which in turn would’ve left too much finish for the bubbles to travel out through easily and making it harder to heat up and get it thinner so it soaked through the thread better. I’ve got some Gen4 low build on the way so hopefully that will help me keep the coats thinner.

Yes Roger, I’m far too picky to leave it alone, this particular rod was a rod I intended on doing a number of firsts with. First rod with all top end components…Phenix k2 blank, Fuji titanium torzite guides, first dragon scale wrap and also my first try at making a custom grip set. An of course the grip set wasn’t just a run of the mill straight grip or standard split grip either. I did a “hidden reel seat” type grip with a material called syncork.

I actually did a search and found a few comments by you explaining your method for removing epoxied wraps from a rod, so I’ll be proceeding with that as soon as I find my heat gun. Side note, I’m also going to try using the heat gun instead of an alcohol torch for heating purposes while applying finish.

Regards,
Brett

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: Brett Ford (---)
Date: July 14, 2021 03:04PM

Quick update for anyone interested, got the dragon wrap all pulled off last night. Came off much easier than I expected. We’ll see how try #2 goes on Friday.

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Re: HELP- bubbles in dry finish epoxy
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: July 15, 2021 02:51AM

Brett,
Congratulations on your use of Syncork to help construct your rod grip. If done properly and well - the material makes a wonderful grip. But, it is normally much more difficult to work with for several reasons than working with cork.

Good luck

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