Tip and butt blanks are done and ready for the tedious process of bringing your rod to life adding varnish, rod guides and grip.
Gave the rod blanks 4 coats of diluted-by-half spar varnish. I wet sanded with 2000 grit paper between each coat.
Tried brushing the varnish on but only got drips, streaks, runs and bubbles. Came across yet another Rube Goldberg device that fixes this issue. Got a rotissery motor and rigged it up with a stand and simple pulley to sloooowly retract a rod section out of a PVC tube filled with spar varnish. Works like a charm.
I've really gone down the rabbit hole now and am making my own snake guides with an Art LeClair Snake Maker.
I wrap the snake guides, agate stripping guide, tip-top guide, and Rush River Rods Z-ferrules with Pearsalls and UTC silk thread. Delicately paint the wraps with two coats of Epifane varnish.
Looking for a way to set my rods apart aesthetically from the teeming masses I discovered enameling on copper. I create very liberal interpretations of fishy patterns on the slide band reel seats and keepers. Maybe not the traditional presentations Garrison might have approved but then WTF!
The reel seats and slide bands are 5/8" and 3/4" copper pipe caps finished with Thompson Enamels. Enamel comes in powder form sprinkled onto the metal then fused with a 3750° Map-Pro Gas blowtorch. Fun.
I use a variety of assorted exotic woods for the reel handles: Cocobolo, Bocote, Bubinga, Padauk, Purpleheart, Black Palm, Granadillo, Spalted Tamarind, etc. Lathe turning from 1" and 1-1/2" square stock.
If you’ve put all that effort into building a bamboo rod you would probably not be too anxious to just throw it in the back of your pickup unprotected. A rod sock and PVC rod tube protect it nicely.