Sunday, February 22, 2015

Plugging Fiberglass Blanks

Plugging Fiberglass Blanks

Whether you decide that plugging a glass blank is right for you and you think that it doesn't matter, or that you've heard all sorts of things about fiberglass wall thickness integrity or moisture prevention. Me, I think it does all of those things plus it gives my rods a finished look. It's one of those details that I make sure we do on our custom builds.

Plugging a graphite blank is no big deal as the blank is not as transparent as fiberglass. We typically will use a dense rubber plug on our Sage builds but the rubber plugs show through glass blanks and just plain looks hideous. We had to come up with a solution that works and looks good.

We use epoxy adhesive to plug our glass builds. Here are the simple steps for making a very clear and transparent ferrule plug:

1. Make sure the ferrule is square and not cracked or jagged. Use a Q-tip with lacquer thinner to clean the inside of the ferrule. Blanks will typically have a waxy residue from the mandrel during the manufacturing process.

Glass blank ready for plugging
 2. Mix your epoxy adhesive and place into the ferrule, put about enough glue to fill        approximately 3/8" to 1/2". This really depends on the diameter and your particular likes.

Inverted ferrule on plastic while drying
3. Stand the glue filled ferrule upside down to let the epoxy level inside the ferrule. Place on a piece of plastic as not to glue the ferrule to your workbench. 

Cured epoxy waiting for sanding
 4. Let the epoxy cure completely before sanding and trimming. If you use 5-Minute glues, wait at least 60 minutes before working on the ferrule. Obviously, if you use slow set glue wait at least 8-12 hours. You want the glue to be hard, so don't rush it.

Sanding the ferrule
 5. Using an abrasive sanding disc or just a piece of sandpaper on your workbench, sand the end of the ferrule and don't forge to bevel the edge slightly. We don't want any glue to prohibit the proper fitting of the blank sections.

Voila! The clean transparent glass ferrule plug
We've been very pleased with this process and it's very simple to do with a little bit of preparation and patience. I like that it gives the ferrule a professional finished look.

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