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Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Lazar Dragovic (---.crnagora.net)
Date: September 01, 2021 07:40PM

First of all hello, and thank you for letting me be a part of this great community.
I have a really old 1.8m long fiberglass rod, that i want to refurbish. Its older than me so everything on it has to be replaced. I already removed the grip(it was solid plastic), reel seat and guides. I want to colour it (because it has some knicks and scratches which are too deep to sand out ) and then varnish it. But cant set mind on which varnish to buy.
I live in Montenegro, so procuring epoxy for rod building is expensive ( delivery cost alone are up to 2x of the price of epoxy) and available 2 part epoxies and PU for boats are are expensive and come in large volumes only. Reading on forums I have seen people use varnishes for boats. Now since they are much cheaper then aforementioned stuff i need help choosing.
I can get:
- Water based acrylic varnish for indoor and outdoor use (for windows, doors , flooring...),
- Oil based alkide varnish for boats,
- Oil based alkide and urethane varnish for boats and
- Nitro cellulose lacquer/varnish (but ive been told it would yellow when exposed to sun and water).

I would like to use the same stuff for thread wrap coating.

I would be using this rod primarily for squid fishing from a boat and ocassional shore fishing for small fish.

Thank you all in advance for taking time to read and give any advice, I will gladly answer any qestions you have.

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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: September 01, 2021 08:59PM

PermaGloss. This is precisely what it was designed for. It will never yellow, chip crack nor peel. Ralph designed it for bamboo rods.


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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.alma.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: September 02, 2021 08:15AM

Is Permagloss available in Montenegro? If not then maybe auto paint/clear coat finishes are an available option? Many use them to paint blanks in the US.

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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: September 02, 2021 10:10AM

I see that this is an importer in Montenegro that may be of help if you don't already use their services:


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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: September 02, 2021 03:16PM

While I agree that Perma Gloss would be the first choice, both to refinish your blank and use as a thread finish, apparently acquiring such is difficult in your country. Nonetheless, I suggest you consider “biting-the-bullet” and doing what it takes to get the Perma Gloss because it was specifically designed for rod building. If it is just too difficult or expensive to obtain, a urethane spar varnish would be the next best thing. I have not used acrylics so cannot comment. Lacquers tend to be brittle and oxidize easily.
For actually stripping the finish off the blank, use a razor blade held 90* to the length and surface to scrape the finish off. You will be amazed how quickly and easily it will flake / chip / pop off the blank but WEAR EYE PROTECTION!!! Finish with a very light sanding using 400 grit sandpaper, just enough to blend any marks in the surface.

Mark Talmo

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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Lazar Dragovic (---.crnagora.net)
Date: September 02, 2021 04:32PM

Thank you all for replying.

Lady Luck has smiled on me this morning as I found a water based urethane varnish for boats ( MARELAC water based, Vitex ). According to manufacturer its flexible , it wont yellow in the sun and is water repelant. I found it in neighboring Serbia, and luckily can have it delivered in 2 days for free (by a friend). I will try it out on a old telescopic rod and try to build up on thread , and report back to you.

@ Michael Danek

Permagloss, to my knowledge, is not available in Montenegro only ordering online.

@ roger wilson

I didnt even know this existed , gonna check it out , thank you.

@Mark Talmo

Well see how it goes with the varnish I found, if its not up to task Permagloss it is.
Thanks for the tip, scraping is a breeze to sanding it.

I am trying to make this build as cheap as possible and still get good results, I know ill have to sacrifice something but I will worry about problems when they arise . Now Im in search mode for machine embroidery thread for guide wraps and reel seat . I should be able to find it , but we will see... :D

This may be off topic but finding anything in Montenegro can be quite a chore. 90% of businesses do not have a website, and if they do it is most likely not updated or has an inventory of what they sell. So you have to go there and see for yourself, and commute to other towns and stores is a bit long (traffic and winding mountain and sea side roads, amazing views though).

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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Russell Brunt (---)
Date: September 02, 2021 04:36PM

In your shoes....I would use a "spar varnish". I don't know what brands are sold there locally. That said the auto clear coat is the better option if it can be had. Consider making friends with someone who paints cars.

You could also look for epoxy used as a pour-able product to coat table tops. That is basically what normal thread wrapping epoxy resin is. But you wouldn't want to coat the entire blank with epoxy, just the thread wraps.

Russ in Hollywood, FL.

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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---)
Date: September 02, 2021 05:09PM

Is there a practical reason for painting a finish coat on a fiberglass or graphite rod blank or is the purpose of fish coats strictly for looks?

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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.alma.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: September 02, 2021 05:51PM

Just for looks, Phil, on graphite. I expect but don't know on glass. Don't use epoxy on the whole blank. Too heavy, hard to get it smooth on the long lengths of finish involved. Auto clear or Permagloss is much better. Since it's a period glass rod then Permagloss o the threads, without a lot of build, will look just fine.

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Re: Varnish, help with choice
Posted by: John DeMartini (---)
Date: September 02, 2021 06:38PM


I mentioned this in previous posts but I think it is worth repeating.

I always apply a coat of paste wax on my rod after I clean it with soap and water. The paint, PermaGloss or other finish is intended to be a permanent finish and should be protected, the wax is intended to protect the finish, the wax is not a permanent treatment it is sacrificial. The paint or other coating on blank is a finish, wax is a protectant.

The wax tends to fill in voids and fine scratches and tries to form an even surface which makes it shinier. The wax also makes the surface “slippery” and somewhat resistant to minor scuffs and rubs, also the wax helps to make the rod easier to clean (fish slime, stains and other contaminants).

Cleaning the rod before applying a coat of wax minimizes wax build up so in theory there is rarely more than one coat of wax on the rod.

Have fun.

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