Your preference on tip-top adhesives?


Lucky if I get out anymore!

I am on to my second rod now (geesh, I haven't even fished the first one yet!) and was wondering two things:

1) What tip-top adhesives do you prefer?

2) What method do you use to apply the adhesive and tip-top?

On my first rod I used a Flex Coat tip-top adhesive stick that you heat with a lighter. It didn't seem to melt and stay viscous long enough for me to apply it with care - I had to work quickly and it seemed to dry almost immediately after I applied it to the rod tip. My rod building guide (by Kirkman) suggests using a 5-minute epoxy but there is little instruction in the manual on how to apply it. Comments?

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I am experimenting with a rubberized Cyanoacrylate Glue,(instant glue similar to super glue), that is used on model airplanes. This is available at hobby and modeling shops.

It is a Gap Filling consistency, a bit like warm honey in flow, and works fast but is easy to handle. You have to be very careful to have everything clean and at room temperature. You only need a tiny amount of this type of glue.

You work a droplet into the open end of the tip-top and you have to have the alignment PERFECT as you push the tip-top onto the rod tip, and you can then hold it firmly against the tip for about one full minute; WITHOUT MOVING IT AT ALL! Then just set it aside on the bench for overnight cure once you have the initial set. (Which should only take fifteen seconds to a minute).

DONT use the catalyst spray that quickens the cure as it reduces the quality of the bond a little.

Tips for success include scratching the surface of the blank where the tip-top will be covering the tip so that the glue has a better mechanical bond. Maybe 340 or 220 grit is fine, a little twist or to at the tip is all you need- enough to haze the surface.

If you are doing this right there will be no squeezeout of glue or dripping or running. You dont want that. Just enough to bond it to the rod tip without any running out of the joint. This glues sets in the absence of air and if you use too much it takes a long time to set and is a weak bond.

Have some kleenex tissues handy to help if you do drip any. And have a can of Acetone handy too, with the lid removed and ready to assist in cleanup. Acetone is the solvent for these glues. And if you accidentally glue yourself to the project or work, bench etc, you will need a bit of acetone to get you out of trouble.

It helps to orient the tip downward during this process
as the glue is less likely to run out of the joint between tip-top and rod tip then, and if it does it can just drip out away from the rest of the work, and onto those newspapers you put out before trying all of this.

Simple cleanup of small amounts of this glue, off of a rod blank or metal parts, is no problem. But be aware that Acetone can wick into the joint and ruin the glue bond if you get it wet at that point.

Ventilate well. The fumes emmitted from this glue as it sets damages lung tissues on contact. NOT KIDDING!
I've used that Flex Coat adhesive stick with success by doing it the way I learned in the Clark-Skamania club's class: heat the stick and smear it on the blank the way you did, then let a long string or two form as you remove the stick. When those cool, cut them off and stick them into the tip-top, reheat both the rod and the tip-top to melt the adhesive, and stick them together. This adhesive has the advantage that it's easy to correct misalignment later. I've managed to alter one epoxy installation by heating it with a hair dryer, but that experience made me prefer other approaches.
those adhesives sticks are just hot glue. Cost 3 or 4 bucks and you can get them for a dime at craft stores! make sure you do not use the low temp glue as a buddy of mine had a melt down in his truck on a hot day. Was easy to fix but what a surprise. The easy to fix angle is the main reason to use glue at all. Otherwise one would just us expoxy. Bob has a good idea as far as dropping some down in the tip top. I've seen guys shave off slivers for this too. Often when you are having trouble its that the tip top is one size too small. A little space to work with helps a lot and the glue will fill any voids. Most of the rods I've built get very hard use and I haven't had a top fail for that reason. A couple of rods back I decided that I am capable of lining up the tip top and using epoxy and have been very happy with that method. I put the tip on last with the epoxy so there are guides to line up with. With the glue I generally put it on first and figure to line it up later.
Epoxy will soften with heat also if you need to remove the top. Takes more heat and ruins the epoxy. You must re epoxy. The five minute stuff you get at Lowes or HD is fine.


Lucky if I get out anymore!
Thanks to all for the advice. That "string" technique for filling the tip-top should save me a lot of time and trouble.

I have been encouraged more than once to join the Clark-Skamania Flyfishers. Perhaps I will take a closer look and make the the leap. Thanks again.