Finishes, Glues & Tip Top Cement!
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When speaking of rod building 'finish,' we're refering to the coat of epoxy that is put on the guide wraps. This is the coat which is usually applied ONLY TO THE THREADS.
When speaking of 'glue,' we mean the epoxy that is used to attach parts, like the grip to the blank, reel seat, and so on.
Tip Top cement is used just as you'd think. It's usually a solid that you can melt in order to achieve a good bond between the blank and the tip top. Tip Top Cement is formulated so that the guide can be manipulated in order to have it line up with the spine of the blank. It's nice to have the 'wiggle room' when working on your rod. One stick of this adhesive will last for about 100 rods, so there is no reason to cut corners here. Some of these are two-part epoxy type products instead of a solid. These will also allow for the tip top to be moved when heat is applied. This is also helpful when you wish to repair the rod.
More About the Finish
Much has been said and written about fishing rod finishes, but once again we'll try and make this simple for you.
Two-part epoxy finishes, Flex Coat, Trondak and RodDancer for example, are available in "high build" and "light" formulas.
Most hobbyists can get away with putting on one or two coats of the "high build" and be done with it. There is no need to look for other solutions in most cases.
Some professional builders use a "light build" as a first coat and then a "high build" as a second coat. This will work fine, but you'll then have to purchase both sets of finish, which will cost more money.
Bamboo builders like thinner finishes and will use either a coat or two of "light build" or 4-5 coats of some thinner and usually one-part finish.
The most important thing we can tell you about two-part finishes is that it is essential to use equal amounts of the parts, or the finish will not cure correctly. We provide syringes for measuring and advise folks to use a full syringe (3cc) of each and not try and get away with less. You'll use a bit more of your finishes this way, but this helps to ensure proper proportion. We get calls and emails for novice builders who cannot get the finish to cure and it remains sticky. This is almost always due to uneven measuring and/or incomplete mixing. If you take care to do both carefully and correctly, you'll have no problems with your finish!