ROD BUILDING TIPS
Epoxies

By Tom Kirkman

Here's a question from the Volume 4 - Issue #6 issue of RodMaker magazine:

RodMaker Magazine

"I'm an amateur rod builder, and I started off using Flex Coat Rod Builder's Epoxy to attach grips, reel seats, etc. I have just gotten to the point that I feel proficient at using this relatively quick-set epoxy. I now feel fairly comfortable with it.

However, I've been hearing great things about U-40's Rod Bond, and was thinking of trying it. But, it's a paste and I know nothing about using pastes. Here's my question: How far superior is Rod Bond to Flex Coat? Is there a difference in strength and longevity? If so, is it such that it makes any "practical" difference?

If Rod Bond really makes that big a difference, I'll switch and just learn how to use it. If the difference is minimal, I'll probably just stick with what I know.

Thanks for your help. I'm sure there's a magazine article where you compare the various grip epoxies, but it's not in any of the magazines I have." Andrew . . .Siloam Springs, AR

Both epoxies are excellent for rod building tasks and both are more than strong enough, and durable enough, that they are interchangeable for most assemblies. But there is also much to be said for having the right tool for the job.

I have been using the Flex Coat Rod Builder's Epoxy for many, many years. I find it to be excellent for assembling grips, handles, butt caps, etc., etc. But there are times when I wish it wouldn't run or sag, which like all liquid epoxies, it is prone to do. That's where U-40 Rod Bond comes in. It was specially formulated for performing rod building related assembly tasks. One of its major perks is that it stays where you put it! Being roughly the consistency of a gel, like vaseline, you don't have to worry about it running or leaking out of your joints or seeping into your cork or grip materials. It can be used in nearly all rod building related tasks with outstanding results. And why not - that's what it was made for!

So is one better than the other? That depends upon what you want your epoxy to do. Both are more than adequate in terms of strength and longevity although they do possess slightly different properties. Thus, it boils down to which you find more helpful in your rod building endeavors.

Personally, I keep both on hand. I find myself using the Rod Builder's Epoxy for adhering cork rings and installing almost any type of grip to the blank. The U-40 Rod Bond is what I reach for when I need to install a reel seat, uni-butt gimbal or butt cap. Either can be substituted for the other and be expected to work fine on a fishing rod. But I think you'll find that when it comes to any particular application, you may find one is easier than the other to work with. Epoxy doesn't "go bad." I'd keep some of both on hand and use whatever is easier depending upon the task at hand. ~ Tom Kirkman

Publishers note:

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along! Help out your fellow rodmakers! ~ Publisher, FAOL

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