Epoxy still tacky... what now?

I am in need of some advice from the collective knowledge pool on how to handle epoxied wraps that are just not setting up.
The build is a 10'6" 8 weight switch. Everything went together well, to include the first aplication of epoxy to the wraps.
I put the second coat on, and it will just not harden. It is still tacky after over 2 weeks.
I know my ratio was correct because I used the pre-measured foil packs in 1 to 1 ratio, they were thoroughly mixed, then spread on tin foil prior to aplication.
The packs were, however a couple years old...and initialy thick and cloudy, but eventualy cleared up. Is this my problem?
What now??
Do I put another coat over the top and hope it hardens? Strip it down and start over??
Any and all advice will be greatly apreciated.


Active Member
A few tings to try -
- Not sure if you have used a torch on your finish? I use one of the small torches and put the flame on about half. I would only try this if you have an electric dryer/turner. With the dryer on put the flame under the wrap and see if it will get soft or start to flow (do not leave it on to long or you will burn the finish)? If it does take a brush and pull off all you can, make sure not to leave clumps. If you get quite a bit off try and put the rod in a small room with a heater on and with a thinner coat might harden some, or just put another coat over the top.

- On a small area try denatured alcohol or goof off and work the finish and try to get down to your first coat. Some times it takes a little while for it to work and then dissolves the non cured finish. If you use goof off clean with DNA after.

_ If you get down to a hard coat take 600 or 1000 grit sand paper and scuff the finish. Clean with DNA and recoat.

Good luck
I had the problem with a rod a few years ago, I also used some old Flex Coat. I put the rod in direct sunlight, ran cold water on them and cussed a lot! After a couple of months of this they finally hardend. It's a 10' 4 pc 3 wt that I didn't want to re-wrap! Fishes well now. Good luck....
Paul, I come from a boat building backround not rod building, but the epoxy is similar. LDs suggestion is what you need to do. Gently heat it to it's "heat defelction" temp where it goes soft, and gently scrape or brush it off. Good luck!
Though I've built several dozen rods over many years, I dread the final step of thread coating, because it so often goes wrong; i.e., finish that doesn't harden for weeks, if ever. Here are the few tricks I think I've learned:

First, use color preserver, of course. (I haven't tried NCP threads.) Two coats. It looks like clabbered milk when you put it on, but it dries in under an hour, per coat, and it does what it's supposed to.

It is essential that the two-part "epoxy" or polymer be mixed to exactly a 50/50 ratio, not just kinda/sorta even. Get a set of stainless steel kitchen measuring spoons; the smallest is probably more than enough for most rod jobs. Heat the two bottles to warm, in a pan of water, stovetop. (Heating those two plastic bottles or packets in a microwave can produce spectacular meltdowns.) Put the two parts together on aluminum foil, or in an aluminum cupcake tin; stir for two minutes. I haven't had a problem with bubbles, but a little warm air from breath or a hair drier may eliminate bubble tendency.

It's best to apply the coating fairly thick at first, and check your results. The stuff has an annoying tendency not to spread over 100% of the wraps, even using a rotator.

Apply with a little plastic brush, or butter knife, or sawed-off popsicle stick; it doesn't matter much. You get more reliable, even results with an electric rotator, like my $40 Cabela model. But you can get by by resting the rod sections across a cardboard box, with shallow notches cut in the top edges. If doing it manually, rotate the sections a quarter-turn every 15 minutes or so, for the first few hours. Here's a useful trick: a few minutes after applying the finish, stop rotating the sections for a minute. The excess finish will sag to the bottom of the wraps. Card the excess off with a business card, then resume rotating. If you've done everything right, the coating will be hard as glass tomorrow morning.


Active Member
Having done this myself one time 30 years ago, I know how frustrating it is to have it happen. Unfortunately, there are only two ways to really remedy the problem of tacky 2-part wrap finish:

1) Strip the finish, which means you will most likely end up damaging the wraps, so you may as well just strip the thread wraps and re-wrap the rod. or

2) Mix up a batch of finish and thin it with a few drops of acetone (the acetone will evaporate quickly and it only takes literally a few drops, like 3 to 5 drops. Use the back end of you finish application brush to get the drops of acetone,) and apply the thinned finish over the tacky one.

I'd use #2 because it takes a lot less time, is a lot easier, you don't have to worry about damaging a thread wrap, and it will result in a hard finish on the wraps.

When I mix the finish, I use one of those small plastic cups Flexcoat markets and stir it well, but gently with a small plastic stick for 30 secs to a minute. Then I pour the mixed finish into an aluminum pie pan that I've lined with aluminum foil. This spreads out the finish and gets rid of the bubbles for you. Then simply apply it to the rod.
Thanks all for the great advice. (except Jason....)
I ended up waiting it out, and took advantage of that big orange ball in the sky finally making an appearance.
A full month, and some good direct sunlight did the trick and hardened it up.
Going to try to do a finish coat tonight. Hope to have some pics of the completed rod for you soon.


not your average member
I can't emphasize enough- the 2 part mixture must be exact. And I stir in a plastic cup for a min of 2 minutes. I do a very very slow stir so as not to stir up to many bubbles and 2 min + to ensure a good mixture. I haven't had a bad finish since my very first attempt. Always the same process.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
Epoxy used to be the bane of my existence! Not so anymore though. I use the plastic cups with the markings on them. First thing I do is take a felt marker and mark the two increments I'm pouring the mixes in to so there is no mistake. Don't be cheap! Mix plenty (1/2 - 3/4 cup) and small variations in amounts don't have as much of an effect, but get them as close to the same as possible. Mix for a full two minutes...and don't guess, TIME IT!! Equal parts mean nothing if the mixing is done in a half-assed manner... The mixing is where most guys fail...Don't be that guy! I use a watch with a sweep second hand placed on the table where I can watch it go around. Mix thoroughly by digging into the bottom of the cup and bringing the stuff to the top.

After it is mixed dip your brush into the mixture and drag it up the side of the cup to the rim, rub off the excess like you do with a paint brush and a pail. Do this several times in the same place and it will do two things; remove air trapped in your brush and also result in an area underneath the rim where the epoxy is nearly free, if not completely free of bubbles. Start dipping from this spot to apply your finish.

When the stuff gets to the point where it doesn't flow the way you want it to, stop and mix another batch - don't be cheap.
I just recently had that happen on my second coat just before I was to leave on a vacation trip. I just knew that I would have to eventually do it over so in desperation I overcoated the wraps with fingernail polish and damned if it didn't work. At least well enough to use until a rebuild over the winter.