What do you use for sealing whippings?

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
I'm about to bite the bullet and refubish my Wallis Wizard. In the past I've used cellulose dope to seal and colour preserve the threads before varnishing, but is this the best option? I know Hopkins and Holloway do a thread sealant, but is it any better?

What do you use?
 

preston96

Well-known member
I'm about to bite the bullet and refubish my Wallis Wizard. In the past I've used cellulose dope to seal and colour preserve the threads before varnishing, but is this the best option? I know Hopkins and Holloway do a thread sealant, but is it any better?

What do you use?
Varnish! :j
 

Jeff Woodhouse

Moaning Marlow Meldrew
By far the best -

seal the whippings first of all with a PVA glue watered down a little and let it dry.

Then use the H&H resin coating - resin + hardener - and apply it very thinly. I MEAN VERY thinly. If you get the mixture right it should take a couple of hours to dry, but you MUST keep turning the rod as this stuff slips around the whippings so easily. Being resin based though, you can stick it under water for as long as you like and that coating will never come off.

You can treat the remainder of the rod (the cane bit) with varnish by all means.

EDIT: just thought a little more - I'd warnish the rod, then whip on the rings, then seal them, then coat them. I think that's about right.
 
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the indifferent crucian

Well-known member
It depends if you are going to do a sympathetic restorsation, Sean. The original Wizard was whipped in bright red silk, and simply doped and varnished.

It helps to thin the dope with cellulose thinners to get a good penetration, though I know of others using French Polish with very good results.


I personally finish with a few coats of Blackfriar Super yacht Varnish.

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


If you would like to do something more modern and higher quality then the sky is the limit. I don't like the H&H sealer..it is just thinned down PVA anyway, and doesn't do a very good job, too.


Using two-pack resins is tricky, because you need to turn the rod section to evenly distribute the resin...even then you will get a tear effect that a good builder will spot...you need to alternate the direction of rotation to avoid this.


A pal of mine has developed a rod turner to do this. You simply touch the rod section and the motor reverses!:eek:


I use a home made whipping station that I addded a 'ballroom glitter ball' motor to, from Tandy for £10.


I've not used proper resin from H&H and the like but did get a good result of a carbon float rod using two-pack resin from a modellers shop.

You need to mix it for twice as long as you think and don't lift your mixing tool from the pallet, it's the only way to avoid bubbles. It will go streaky, then opaque, then clear...only now is it ready to use. A 12 minute setting resin still seems to take 20 minutes to set, though and goes runnier as it warms up, naturally from the chemical reaction.

If you find it is setting miss-shapen you can get it runny again briefly by heating it up with a small angle-poise lamp.



You can see why most people go the thinners and varnish route:D:D:D

Here is the whipping station, pre motorisation, complete with lilac velvet from the Wife's dressing gown. She hasn't noticed yet.The big fat vegetarian cookbook is the silk tensioning system, but it's coated pages mean I still have to put a weight on top sometimes. Something of a work in progress.:eek:


 
Here is the whipping station, pre motorisation, complete with lilac velvet from the Wife's dressing gown. She hasn't noticed yet.The big fat vegetarian cookbook is the silk tensioning system, but it's coated pages mean I still have to put a weight on top sometimes. Something of a work in progress.:eek:

Hahahahahahahahh ..................I hope you took it from a hidden part !!!!

I'm just imagining her putting it on --and thinking "Now where the hell has half of my dressing gown gone ??"

You could always blame the moths I suppose ........;);):eek:
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
Thanks for the input folks! I'd got into the habit of using varnish alone on carbon rods, but i've just done a Sealy match rod with green A grade thread and its too translucent for my liking. D grade doesn't seem to be as susceptible, but I think it looks a bit numb. I've now got a queue of rods to do - Milwards Specialist, Aspindale Avon, Chapmans 500 and then the Wizard. I can remember occasionally getting a patchy finish with dope when I was in my floppy hat days and I didn't want to do a load of whipping and then ruin it.

I've been using the Seymo Professional varnish from H&H which I really like. It can be applied with a cloth or brush and dries in about an hour to to a lovely semi-matt sheen. as Jeff says, once I've stripped a cane rod I apply a coat of the Seymo varnish as a 'holding coat' before I whip on the rings.

I lke the whipping station IC - questionable taste in decor though - glitter balls and lilac velvet :eek:

I've been thinking of getting one of the commercially built ones as doing a load of intermediate whips is like tying flies without a vice and is very hard on the fingers.
 

Fred Blake

Well-known member
It depends if you are going to do a sympathetic restorsation, Sean. The original Wizard was whipped in bright red silk, and simply doped and varnished.

It helps to thin the dope with cellulose thinners to get a good penetration, though I know of others using French Polish with very good results.


I personally finish with a few coats of Blackfriar Super yacht Varnish.

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


If you would like to do something more modern and higher quality then the sky is the limit. I don't like the H&H sealer..it is just thinned down PVA anyway, and doesn't do a very good job, too.


Using two-pack resins is tricky, because you need to turn the rod section to evenly distribute the resin...even then you will get a tear effect that a good builder will spot...you need to alternate the direction of rotation to avoid this.


A pal of mine has developed a rod turner to do this. You simply touch the rod section and the motor reverses!:eek:


I use a home made whipping station that I addded a 'ballroom glitter ball' motor to, from Tandy for £10.


I've not used proper resin from H&H and the like but did get a good result of a carbon float rod using two-pack resin from a modellers shop.

You need to mix it for twice as long as you think and don't lift your mixing tool from the pallet, it's the only way to avoid bubbles. It will go streaky, then opaque, then clear...only now is it ready to use. A 12 minute setting resin still seems to take 20 minutes to set, though and goes runnier as it warms up, naturally from the chemical reaction.

If you find it is setting miss-shapen you can get it runny again briefly by heating it up with a small angle-poise lamp.



You can see why most people go the thinners and varnish route:D:D:D

Here is the whipping station, pre motorisation, complete with lilac velvet from the Wife's dressing gown. She hasn't noticed yet.The big fat vegetarian cookbook is the silk tensioning system, but it's coated pages mean I still have to put a weight on top sometimes. Something of a work in progress.:eek:


For my most recent restoration I used PVA sanding sealer, which worked out pretty well, though I did suffer a couple of minor varnish bleeds under the ring feet, where the sealer hadn't penetrated properly. Previously I've been using Pale French Polish, which I have to say gives the best finish I've ever achieved, and being both thin and volatile you can apply liberally to get a good seal without risk of the excess leaving an uneven finish. The first rod I did with PFP (a J.B.Walker kit MkIV carp rod) is as good as the day I finished it, three years on.

Going back further I've used banana oil (which is just thin cellulose), aircraft dope and even cellulose-based metal lacquer. The trouble with all cellulose sealers is that they are brittle when set and prone to crack as the rod flexes, allowing moisture through.

I've also done a few with varnish alone, which is very long-lasting and flexible, but it gives a transluscent finish I'm not too keen on (though the Americans love it). If you do go for the see-through look, two things to watch out for; a) wear latex gloaves, or use a fly tying bobbin holder when whipping, as any grease from your fingers will make the affect blotchy, and b) make sure all the whipping turns are tightly packed together, as otherwise the gaps will show up when varnished. One way to test if a whipping is properly packed is to paint it with distilled water before sealing; the water replicates the translucent varnished state and will show up any gaps. Once dried out the whipping is completely uncontaminated and ready to varnish.

For an Allc0ck's Wizard restoration I've found the best match for the original red silk to be Gudebrod scarlet A-grade nylon (not the NCP type) with two coats of pale French Polish as a sealer, and four coats International yacht varnish. However, Gudebrod appears to be going out of business, so you may have to hunt around for a supply. Don't whatever you do use Pacific Bay thread (too metallic), Fish-hawk thread (stretchy, unravelly rubbish) or Celebrated Talbot (too plastic-looking). If all else fails, I've got good results in the past with Sylko mercerised machine cotton thread, which is available in a wide range of colours and shades. Just make sure you burn off the fuzzies with an alcohol lamp before sealing.
 

the indifferent crucian

Well-known member
That's all sound advice Fred, and it mirrors things I've been told by some other restorers who have had some fine results.

It's a desperate shame about Gudebrod and I fear it will be permanent with the workforce sent home last month. I too, have had some acceptable results with Sylko and the shade range is enormous, but some are very 'hairy' ....others as good as silk.

I did find I got a good penetration by thinning down Clear Shrinking Dope with cellulose thinners, but I must try this French Polish. It would be nice to do a whole rod and not get a single 'bleed', something that has so far evaded me!
 

Fred Blake

Well-known member
That's all sound advice Fred, and it mirrors things I've been told by some other restorers who have had some fine results.

It's a desperate shame about Gudebrod and I fear it will be permanent with the workforce sent home last month. I too, have had some acceptable results with Sylko and the shade range is enormous, but some are very 'hairy' ....others as good as silk.

I did find I got a good penetration by thinning down Clear Shrinking Dope with cellulose thinners, but I must try this French Polish. It would be nice to do a whole rod and not get a single 'bleed', something that has so far evaded me!
The first rod I did with French polish was something of an experimental excercise, and not knowing how much to apply I had to rely on instinct. I gave the whippings (vintage Elephant brand green/black 'jasper' silk machine thread) a coat, making sure they were fully soaked, and left it to dry overnight. I repeated the excercise the next day, but found the whippings did not absorb so much, so only coated them quite thinly to avoid runs. I did however make sure I'd covered the edges properly and allowed a little to spread onto the cane, which I then wiped off with a finger (one of mine, as no-one elses was available). I also allowed some to flow between the ring feet and the cane under the whipping, as this is where you tend to get most varnish bleed.

Once this second coat was dry I could see no advantage in repeating the excercise, so went straight onto the yacht varnish - two coats on the whippings only, then three on the whole rod. My labours resulted in no varnish bleed, perfectly smooth whippings which are still as sound as the day I did them and no nasty shimmers or whitish bloom you sometimes get with cellulose. The French polish actually gives a mellow, aged look to the whippings.

The next project - a seven foot fly rod built on a new Chapman's blank - was whipped with gold Pearsall's gosammer tipped with two turns of cardinal. This received the two coat French polish treatment followed by the yacht varnish, and the final coat was rubbed down with toothpaste (a cheap, readily available and effective alternative to rubbing compound) and turned out far better than any rod I've ever done. As it's such a light, flexible rod I'd have expected to see some signs of cracking by now (two years on) but all whippings, including those on the ferrules, are perfect.



 
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the indifferent crucian

Well-known member
Thanks for that again, Fred. The work on the fly rod looks particularly nice, all the more so for being two years old.

You use some expressions that are familiar to me....I detect that you may live in Hampshire, I'm sure I recognise that accent.


Clever idea with the toothpaste.
 

Fred Blake

Well-known member
Thanks for that again, Fred. The work on the fly rod looks particularly nice, all the more so for being two years old.

You use some expressions that are familiar to me....I detect that you may live in Hampshire, I'm sure I recognise that accent.


Clever idea with the toothpaste.
Guilty as charged! The photos were taken when I'd finished the rod, but apart from a slightly grubby cork handle from two years' use, it's as good as new.
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
Thanks Fred. I'm just finishing off a Chapmans 500 and I've been using diluted cellulose dope as per IC - a diluted version of what I've always used. I tried varnish alone on a Sealey match rod and as you said I got a translucent finish that I wasn't happy with, particularly as the rod had some water stains.

I'm not a fan of yacht varnish as I find the finish too shiny and I've experimented with Seymo Professional varnish from H&H. This is a water based product that dries quickly and gives a lovely semi matt sheen.
 

Fred Blake

Well-known member
Thanks Fred. I'm just finishing off a Chapmans 500 and I've been using diluted cellulose dope as per IC - a diluted version of what I've always used. I tried varnish alone on a Sealey match rod and as you said I got a translucent finish that I wasn't happy with, particularly as the rod had some water stains.

I'm not a fan of yacht varnish as I find the finish too shiny and I've experimented with Seymo Professional varnish from H&H. This is a water based product that dries quickly and gives a lovely semi matt sheen.
I'd be concerned about the waterproofing qualities of any water-based varnish; the H&H stuff is probably intended for carbon rods rather than cane. However, if it works for you, go for it.

You can get a semi-matt finish with yacht varnish by thinning the last coat with around 15% by volume white spirit. This last coat is cosmetic only, so make sure the first couple of coats are full strength for waterproofing. Alternatively, rub down ordinary yacht varnish with a powdered pumice/linseed oil rubbing compound or toothpaste to take the shine off.
 

the indifferent crucian

Well-known member
I was a bit concerned about some of these water-based coatings too, but then I thought of how many things are sealed with PVA in the building trade and thought I might be worrying over nothing.

I usually whip straight onto bare cane when restoring a rod, but it makes sense to coat the cane under where the whippings will go I suppose, particularly when one considers how the rings hold the whipping away from the rod surface. For that reason I always varnish into the spaces either side on the guide leg, which soon tells you if you didn't seal that silk properly:mad:


Incidentally, Ronseal do an outdoor grade varnish in matt. I've used it for floats and on one rod. Like all Ronseal outdoor products, it has quite a 'tint' to it, and a few coats on a rod would darken it significantly. But there is no denying the longevity of their products.....my front door has been varnished in it for 6 years on a poorly keyed surface and it is still fine. The white painted frame, however, is my next chore.
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
I think IC's right Fred. Once the carrier for the resin (water in this case) has evaporated the coating is pretty resistant to most things. It will also tend to 'cure' in sunlight, toughening it up even further.

I used a cane rod all through last Summer and the Winter before it met an unfortunate end early this season ( story here ). Despite the tip being dunked in the river, several days of torrential rain and a few hard frosts the cane showed no sign of water penetration. I should have renewed the intermediate whippings though!
 

Sean Meeghan

Well-known member
Bad news on the Seymo Pro varnish. 3 coats on the rod. Decided to rub down with wire wool before final coat. Varnish lifts slightly and ruins finish:mad:.

Now have to strip the rod (hopefully saving the whippings) and start again with yacht varnish.

You line and learn!
 

George387

Well-known member
Sean have you tried Morrells severe use waterbourne lacquer instead of varnish? I stumbled across it some years ago and havent touched varnish since. I use it to seal all my rods now and also use it when making floats and never had any problems with it peeling or cracking. it comes in varying depths of sheen I personally use the 10% sheen which isnt too much in your face if you know what I mean.
Morrells - Home - Wood Coatings - Translucent Finishing - 1 Pack Waterborne Wood Lacquers
 
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