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Fish Eyes
Posted by: Jack Duncan (---.sd.sd.cox.net)
Date: July 26, 2022 08:34PM

I know this is an old subject on the Forum, but I'm baffled at why I've recently gotten a few Fish Eyes on my last couple wraps. So I need some advice. After previously reading about the problem here (before I ever had any), my perception is they are often caused by contamination. But in my work space I go to extremes to be Mr. Clean. I'm also very careful about bubble control, including about 10 seconds with a heat gun on each wrap. The only solvent used is acetone, very sparingly (DNA is illegal in CA). I also use 90%/10% isopropyl alcohol (10% distilled water is the only additive) to keep things clean and near sterile in the general area. I don't use it on the blank. For "rags" I use HONEST 100% pure cotton dry wraps: no additives whatsoever
My present supply of finish epoxy--Threadmaster Lite--has been in use for about 14 months. I normally use up and replace my supply of finish in less than a year. Nonetheless it seems my present supply should still be serviceable.

Finally I'd like to fix the few fish eyes I have.. I'm thinking of sanding out the eyes and applying a third coat of finish. Please advise.

As always, thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice.

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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: July 26, 2022 08:48PM

Make sure what you have are actually "fish eyes" which tend to occur by the dozens or hundreds. A crater or small pin-hole here and then is a different thing. The former is indeed the result of surface contamination over the broad spectrum. Or... in the mix itself. A few craters or pin-poles are the result of only small areas being contaminated by something as simple as a finger touch. Sometimes a second coat of finish will be repelled in small areas by the previous coat if that coat has cured beyond a certain stage.


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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: July 27, 2022 01:22AM

While Tom’s observation and reply certainly have merit, it is quite difficult to diagnose / pinpoint the actual issue from a second-hand observation point of view. It seems logical that you have a contamination issue. If you had no problems in the past but are experiencing problems now, SOMETHING HAS CHANGED IN YOUR PROCEDURE!!! A multitude of variables could be the culprit; but which one? While the process may be lengthy, to learn EXACTLY what the culprit is, run sample tests by eliminating the things you have changed ONE AT A TIME. Your problem could be different mixing cups, stir sticks, brushes, masking tape, the burger joint down the block cast it’s greasy fog your way, or maybe the Missus was trying to help you by cleaning your workstation with Pledge. Then again, it could be as simple as washing your hands. Keep an open mind and start with the simple possibilities first and progress until the culprit is revealed.

Mark Talmo

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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: John DeMartini (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: July 27, 2022 08:18AM

Sounds like contamination and we can only guess the source. One area that often gets overlooked is air borne contaminates. Source of these contaminants may be from dust (air filters), from aerosol products,air fresheners, oil, cooking vapor, deodorants, bug sprays.

The possibilities are too numerous to mention, my point is contamination can come from other sources than direct handling.

Review your daily activities and also be aware of others who may be using the area you work in for things they may do or bring into the room.

Have fun


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/27/2022 08:19AM by John DeMartini.

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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: Jack Duncan (---.sd.sd.cox.net)
Date: July 27, 2022 07:45PM

Thanks for your quick responses.

If my fish eyes aren't caused by that new In 'N Out a few blocks away, it must be contamination coming from somewhere in my process.. I'm mentally going over my process repeatedly, and can now think of a few steps more vulnerable than others, so I'll start with those, perhaps do some testing, and make some changes, e.g. I trash most brushes after use, but I keep a few quality brushes for special purposes, and I re-use them. I clean them in U40 brush cleaner. My jar of cleaner has been re-used many times. Periodic fresh U40 is my first and best guess for a cure.:

While I'm writing I also want to thank Tom for the nearly 10 years he's helped me do a better quality job, and making me feel totally inadequate on several occasions. I also thank Tom on behalf of the other hobbyists who love the art and craft of making a rod blank their own. Tom, I hope you can find lots of time on the water, and if you ever get to CA let me know. You won't need a fly rod. I have plenty.

Jack Duncan
San Diego

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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: Mike Ballard (---.ip-54-39-133.net)
Date: July 27, 2022 09:33PM

What you need to do now is just fix what you have. If you wipe the wrap down with alcohol and then do a quick light scour with scotchbrite, dust it off with a light brush and then apply another coat of epoxy you should be fine.

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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: Norman Miller (---)
Date: July 27, 2022 09:51PM

When I’ve had fish eyes in the past, I wet sand with 800-1000 grit sand paper to smooth out the finish. I then wash with soap (Dawn) and water and rinse. When dry I recoat with epoxy. In my opinion, I think the soap and water does a better job of getting rid of contamination, than organic solvents.

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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: July 27, 2022 10:10PM

Dawn may be the better overall choice. I doubt it has the ability to leave behind the sort of additional contaminants that cause a subsequent problem.


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Re: Fish Eyes
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: July 28, 2022 11:30AM

1. I never ever reused a brush.
2. I frequently wash my hands.
3. Once I have cleaned a blank initially with soap and water, I never let any liquid touch the blank again.
4. Every few days, I open the windows in the shop and use high pressure fans to blow all of the air, dust and any thing else that is floating in the air - out the windows.
5. I wash my hands again.
6. If, in the rare event, I have had to scrape or sand something on the blank, I do not use a solvent, rather I use the light tack blue painters tape to tack off the blanks surface. I have never had an issue with any contamination by using the light tack blue painters tape for tacking the finish.

Best wishes

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/28/2022 11:32AM by roger wilson.

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