Epoxy over varnish?


Human Being...a work in progress
Used varnish of some sort on my last build, and now the thing is ugly....cracking finish on every wrap. It's a beach rod, a five weight, that's been used heavily over the year since built. So my question is - can I overlay a new layer of finish without first removing the old, cracking varnish? Could/should I use an epoxy this time around to avoid the rapid breakdown? Can epoxy go directly atop the varnish?

I could care less about the looks of this rod, but care greatly that it stays mechanically solid for another several years of hard use.
My background is wooden boats, but I think there is some cross over when it comes to finish. You should remove or at least sand down the exsisting varnish. I'll let others make recommendations on which Finnish to use, but I wold go for a epoxy with a uv coating over it.

Dr Bob

Active Member

I suspect you can epoxy over most anything, but it will look bad. If it were my rod, I would take off the varnish, thread and guides and start over, this time using a good thread wrap epoxy. Lots of work, but if you want to keep the rod, it will be worth it. Removing just the varnish without damaging the trheads is a not likely.

Dr Bob
I made the mistake of putting epoxy over varnish on a rod years ago and had to end up redoing it any way. Strip it all off and start from scratch. You will be glad that you did. Make sure to get all the varnish off of the blank and use a fine steel wool to prep the blank under the wrap to get the epoxy to bond well.

Guy Gregory

Active Member
Short answer: no. varnish is a surface coating, epoxy is a chemical bond. Varnish over epoxy: sure; epoxy over varnish: no bond with the substrate, Remove varnish, all of it, with alcohol, then epoxy