February 14, 2016
In the rod building process, after you wrap your fishing guides on the rod blank, you then mix and apply an epoxy finish over the wraps. When cured, the epoxy will not only provide the support the thread needs to secure the rod guides in place, but also provides a nice gloss finish that is aesthetically pleasing.
Although a simple step, if you do not actually mix the epoxy correctly, it will potentially not cure, and cause some severe headaches. This article goes over how to mix the epoxy finish correctly.
Avoid These Common Problems
Your rod is built, the epoxy is applied, and you left it to dry in the spinning rod dryer. Returning after the suggested curing time, you notice the epoxy has failed to dry. This is actually a common mistake.
Basically, most brands of epoxy sell a 50/50 blend of resin and hardener, but if mixed incorrectly, the epoxy will not dry.
Another frequent mistake that will harm the curing process is the mixing technique. New rod builders have a tendency to whip the epoxy mixture like scrambled eggs. This technique will not speed up the process and rather, it will increase the number of bubbles in the epoxy.
Avoiding these bubbles is easy, simply stir slowly and rotate every few strokes from clockwise to counterclockwise. Once mixed thoroughly, which usually takes several minutes, pour the mixture into an aluminum dish with a flat bottom.
The aluminum dish will help reduce air bubbles even further and preserve the epoxy mixture for extended use. When mixed accurately and correctly, the 50/50 blend epoxy will cure in the suggested time and leave you with a new sleek custom rod.
Try an Electric Epoxy Mixer—Just as the name states, an electric epoxy mixer makes sure the 50/50 epoxy finish mixes correctly. Now some think, what do I need an epoxy mixer for, just mix and stir, right? Technically, yes but remember you have put in hours of work getting your rod built exactly how you want it - and this finishing step can really make all the difference in the world.
We use the CRB Epoxy Mixing System.
Being around rod builders, we hear it all the time. My finish didn't set properly. Mine still feels tacky to the touch. I can't get all the bubbles out of mine. Sound familiar? It happens to the best of us.
As easy as mixing epoxy is, the fact that it is just mixing and stirring causes us to sometimes get a little lazy, and not mix it properly. Please don't do that. Always check and follow the epoxy packaging directions. If it says mix for 5 minutes, mix for FIVE FULL minutes before letting it rest while you get your brush and self situated to apply the epoxy on your custom rod.
How The Mixer Works—Begin by getting your 1 oz or 2.5 oz mixing cup ready and draw out 1:1 of resin and hardener and add to the mixing cup. Place the mixing cup in the mixer, add the weighted stirring rod, turn it on and let it roll—it is that easy.
The benefits of this compact mixer greatly outweigh its average $30 price tag. When we used an electric epoxy mixer for the first time, we were amazed at how bubble free the epoxy came out compared to stirring it manually. Even stirring by hand as carefully as possible we always seemed to work bubbles into the mixture.
The CRB Epoxy Mixing System, for example, has an 18 rmp mixing motor, which will also lengthen the working time of the epoxy. It is mounted on a powder coated aluminum base with non-skid feet to keep the stand in place on your workbench. On the back of the mixer stand has holes for 4 brushes and the small weighted stirring rod to help with organization.
Although somewhat skeptical on the need for a simple tool like the epoxy mixer, we were impressed at how it did exactly what it said it would and helped eliminate human error in our finish. This also comes in a 220v system so our rod-building friends across the pond can use this tool as well.
The CRB Electric Epoxy Mixer is an inexpensive investment that will really help with the quality of the finish on your next custom rod.