June was a fun, busy month for me. And my rod, I suppose.
Well, it’s finished. Finally. I applied finish (lightly thinned Varmor R10) in a few coats and I learned a few things along the way:
1) I used a bristle chip brush to apply the first coat. It didn’t go too badly, actually, but I didn’t have great control. Probably won’t be doing that again.
2) I used a soft, low-lint rag to apply the second coat. NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN. The tips turned out okay, interestingly enough, but the butt? Ugh. I ended up sanding most of the finish off entirely.
3) Three days is not enough time, even at 90 degrees F, for a varnish coat to dry. This is why I applied the first coat in early June but didn’t get through the last coat over the butt until about a week ago.
4) Similarly, applying finish either a) highly thinned down OR b) at normal viscosity, and rotated (horizontally) for the first hour, is a great way to avoid drips. Brushing at normal out-of-the-can viscosity and hanging immediately = drips. Hence sanding.
5) You cannot “touch up” a varnish coat. Hence sanding.
6) I am the son of a woodworker, and if you haven’t picked it up yet, holy smokes am I picky about my varnish finish.
7) My one-piece burl cork handle is kinda cool, but I probably won’t go with that look again. Just something about it that isn’t sitting quite right with me. I like it, but… Next time will be rings of one sort or another.
8) For the time being, the “turkey baster” method worked well. I used a 5mL pipet for my “baster” but I did the entire butt using maybe 3mL of thinned finish. The final look came out pretty good actually, and was very conservative on using material. Note, I liked that. James Reid “CaneCaster” gave me a few tips on the method, which can be summed up as “thin heavily, up to 50% with good turps – drip lightly, rotating the rod as you go, and gently chase the bead – properly thinned you can not get drips (found this to be true) – no more than 1 coat per day”
Pics coming shortly, most likely to Facebook. I recently picked up a DSLR largely for this purpose so they should be good.