Soft Touch Clear Coat Finish

thardertharder Member Posts: 23
edited April 7 in Clear Coat Information
Hello Everyone!

I am not a firearm finisher. I don't do hydrographics for a living. What I do build are custom fishing rods. But, I do them quite a bit differently than most builders do. I build my own reel seats. I build them out of exotic burl woods. After machining, the wood is finished with Urethane. Generally 2 coats. The foregrip of the reel seat is made of the finest Portuguese corks that I can buy (and let me tell you at $3 for a 1/2" ring it gets very expensive) directly from a trader in Portugal. I combine them with custom aluminum hardware. I also completely build my own composite graphite rear grips.

Well, I'm thinking about changing my finish, for maybe both front an rear grips to Soft Touch Clear Finish. Maybe the rear should stay gloss? I've read that they are very durable and that it's used on Firearms. That's really a big plus for me to consider. I'm just a little concerned how it can endure the handling and constant assault of sweat, oils, bug spray, fish guts and everything else that goes with it, plus the constant handling, on a daily basis. A lot of my customers fish all...day...long... (most hunt just as hard). And, then what of them shoving them into rod holders when they troll? Can it handle that? They get banged around pretty good! Does it have exceptional abrasion resistance? Does it scar or look scared?

So, before I order it (and I think I'm going to try the Big Brain Soft Touch), I'd like to hear what experienced minds might have to say about it? Any suggestions brand specific would be helpful too.

Oh, I should note, the way I found out about this site is because I bought a new ANI R150 Spray Gun from Jim at K2 Concepts (your fearless leader here - @K2Concepts ). I don't think I've EVER had that high quality of service from anyone. Anyway, I love this gun. I've been shooting both 1 and 2 part Urethane Clears through it. My gun has a .80 tip. I know, measurably smaller than what you guys use but it serves my purposes perfectly.

Anyway, your thoughts on the durability and ease of spraying Soft Touch Clears would be greatly appreciated. I see that there are different suggestions on what to spray on top of. Thoughts on that as well.

Thank you for your input.

Tom
Post edited by tharder on

Comments

  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    edited April 7
    I thought maybe I should post a photo of one of my Spinning Rod Grips;



    Post edited by tharder on
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,333 El Moderator
    Beautiful work! Many people use soft touch but my personal experience has not been good. We had it peel on a waterfowl gun and never used it again. Browning recently had an issue with some of their soft touch clears, and we refinish a lot for them. But many companies still use it. Give Big Brain a call and apply exactly per their instructions. It needs a controlled environment with plenty of airflow while it cures. They can lead you in the right direction.

    Do NOT use it on a project first. Especially with the high end quality that you’re putting out (and your customers are paying for). Do a sample and run it through the wringer to be sure it’s something that you are confident in. Give it a thorough test, and see for yourself. The feel of the soft touch clear is very nice. Velvety and smooth. Durability is my main concern, but I’m almost certain it was something in our process that wasn’t done properly.

    Report back your results and let us know how it goes!
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,520 El Moderator
    Really nice looking stuff. As @MidOhioHydrographics mentioned, you are going to want to test this stuff on something other than a finished product. Honestly, I would probably try 3-4 different versions and test like crazy on them before I made my decision. What might make it easier to make a choice would be calling some paint reps. Likely they would have a sample of their clear, applied in their lab to a product that you could feel and check its durability. Once you know the product is good, you could try to duplicate the results in your own area, and see how easy that is. I have found limiting yourself to one choice to start with can discourage you from pursuing the project further if you have a failure. When starting with 4 different options, you tend to be more optimistic and learn more about the nature of the product.
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    edited April 7
    Thanks for your comments @MidOhioHydrographics and @WileECoyote . And, thank you both for your compliments too. I very much appreciate it. You're exactly the type of professionals I was hoping to hear from. I'm wondering, do you guys think the figure and fine details of these Burl Woods would show through the finish the same way as with the very, very clear Urethanes that I'm using now?

    Really great advice @WileECoyote regarding trying multiple product offerings, and not just one. Very good advice. The only problem is, who else offers such a product? I've found only two companies, US Paints and Big Brain, of them, only Big Brain offers a smaller amount (Pint, Quart). US Paint I can only find in gallon amounts, of which, I am unwilling to spend that much for something I feel unclear about. Who knows, the Big Brain product could be made for them by US Paint, then I wouldn't actually have any choices at all then, would I?

    Maybe @Dinnetta_gobigbrain could chime in. Dinnetta, I sent to you guys a question on your site. I need to make a decision today on this product. I have a number of new Fishing rod orders to complete and I need to test this stuff before I'll be willing to put it on my rods. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
    Post edited by tharder on
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,155 El Jefe
    @tharder Looks like you deleted this...probably on accident? I checked the moderation que and none of the mods deleted it. Regardless here it is back up and running.
  • smedlinsmedlin Member, Business Ninja Posts: 2,278 ✭✭✭✭✭
    tharder said:



    Oh, I should note, the way I found out about this site is because I bought a new ANI R150 Spray Gun from Jim at K2 Concepts (your fearless leader here). I don't think I've EVER had that high quality of service from anyone.

    Tom

    it runs in his family.. his mom gives really good service also.

  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,333 El Moderator
    @Tharder the “pop” of that beautiful grain is going to be very similar to the sparkle in metallic paints. The less gloss you have in your topcoat? The less pop you’re going to get.
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    I must have deleted it. Odd, I was editing it to add your signature Jim. I must have clicked something wrong. Thank you!
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    @MidOhioHydrographics , so you're telling me the look won't be quite as dramatic? Is that a good assessment of what you said?

    What about how it scars? Shoving them in and out of rod holders and all the rest of what they do to them? Can it stand up to the abuse and will it make a white scar as they do it to them?
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    edited April 8
    I thought I would post a couple of crude phone photos of a recent piece I sprayed with a Urethane gloss. They're pretty good for a phone. For once, I apparently was able to hold still that day. These are photos of a piece of Amboyna Burl I had completed all of the machining on and just after the second coat of Urethane was shot. The photo above is a grip with Desert Ironwood. This is really a beautiful wood. By the way, that is it's natural color. So, you guys, please educate me on how the Soft Touch Finish would change the look of a piece like this? @MidOhioHydrographics and @WileECoyote , you guys seem like you might know best. Thanks for your opinion.

    *Note; this site blew them up bigger than they really are so they appear blurrier than what I see from their smaller size. I still think you'll be able to tell how the Soft Touch would change the "impression" of the burl wood.*



  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,333 El Moderator
    Yes, your best bet would be to test it. I would get some of their “Dead Flat”
    Clear also. Spray that over one of your burls, and that will show you then, you can always let that fully cure, and easily sand/scuff it and go over it again with your urethane gloss to save it. You won’t be able to do that w the soft feel. Once it’s on, i wouldn’t coat over it. But you’ll get the same look and test the pop of the burl, without the soft “feel”. And as far as the durability and scuff/scar resistance, that’s up to you to test. I would clean, sandblast (or scuff well) and paint a few sticks of PVC with Big Brain’s recommended black base paint (since black shows everything) then apply the Soft Touch over that properly. Then test the durability of it in and out of rod holders, etc.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,520 El Moderator
    In my experience there is going to be a little opaqueness to the soft grip, but no idea how much its going to kill the look. I talked to my contact at Prime Coatings in Wisconsin, and apparently he works for Diamond Vogle now. Apparently both companies offer a "soft touch clear" but I haven't been able to get much info about either (to be fair, I only sent a few texts because I actually had things I had to do on the house) but it would be worth it for @tharder to contact them about it.

    Keep in mind, not ALL flat (or denim) clears can be saved by scuffing and covering with gloss clear. Prime's flat clear can be buffed, and the haze will remain the same.

    Do you have a website @tharder? My son was asking to see some more of your work.
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    Thanks for your input @MidOhioHydrographics and @WileECoyote . You guys are very helpful. I bought a quart of the Brain Dead Soft Touch Flat Clear. It was the only one I could find quickly at a price worth testing.

    Lastly, no @WileECoyote , I don't have a website. Boy, I sure get that question a lot once people see these photos. Unfortunately, I have not put the time into getting one built. To be honest, I'm a little fearful of creating a website. Most of the time they're looking for what I charge to build a fishing rod. If you look at what G.Loomis charges for the top fishing rods...that's pretty much what I charge. Boy, that is extremely generalized given there are so many options to choose from.

    The problem is that the vast majority want a custom fishing rod but struggle to pay for this level of custom work. I'm trying to streamline the process to make them less expensive (and offer different levels of custom work) but you guys already know how it goes when you're doing custom work...if you're not careful you'll be working for $3 an hour (or less). I've been building rods for over 40 years and started this business up in my retirement. So...you get the idea.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,520 El Moderator
    Yep, that problem kicks a lot of people's asses. As I get older, I sympathize with people trying to get a deal less and less. I have seen too may people beg for a $2 discount and then laugh as they walk away cause they screwed over the supplier just trying to help someone out.
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    Oh, by the way @WileECoyote , to address your comment about this Soft Touch finish obscuring the figure of the wood. Without trying it, I think I can safely say, that it will indeed do so. It kind of depends on just how smoothly I can get a coat down, and here's the problem, without putting down too much. I too know that to lay down a glass like finish with a gloss you have to be just on the verge of running the finish. That mentality I'll have to strike, consciously, from my thinking WHILE I spray. I know, not so easy in practice, is it? Keep in mind, my pieces are mounted on a rotating shaft constantly turning. So, things don't run as easily.

    It is so hard to be fair in pricing and, at the same time, be fair to oneself. You want your work out there to generate more. You have to have it if you're going to see referral business. But, should we price too high then nobody will be out there to share our work. Hence we start the constant struggle to find a balancing point. Furthermore, ALL of us, are looking for ways to distinguish ourselves from the pack and offer something unique and superior to warrant pricing that truly compensates us for all we put into these ventures. I too struggle with that. In part, that's why I've developed these grips...there's nothing like them out there...nothing! But, being a die hard fisherman, all day comfort and superior functionality is my #1 motivation.

    I think I'll make you guys a little collage of some of the artwork I've done on rods. Just a few, made much smaller on one page. It's the artwork that draws most people, but, making a grip of exceptional all day comfort has been an obsession of mine. Funny, it will be of little notice once they're out there in numbers. Speaking of which, all of my rod builds are numbered. I should add they are affordable. Something G.Loomis sells for $500, that's what I sell a similar model for, AND, far superior in build quality and much, much better parts. Being custom made, the customer's names are on every rod I build.

    Thanks for the help you guys. I'll be back with some photos, results and observations. Now, to figure out how to rewire a brain not to lay down so much material! Clearly, I'll have to practice. (by the way, how does this stuff sand off, is it difficult? Brain Dead's site say within 48 hours it's diamond hard. That's pretty hard!).
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Administrator Posts: 14,155 El Jefe
    Well if you are looking for a bond from the flat to the print/basecoat? I suggest you shoot some "clear binder" over the wood or print? Either way the clear binder will both seal the product and create a layer of paint for the soft touch to bond to but not let the soft touch want to sag or run...

    Just a suggestion...

    As for pricing? Rolex kind of set the standard for watches and you don't see anyone walking into a Rolex store and asking for a 50% off because they will "Tell all their friends?"...

    Yea stick to your guns...don't ever let them see you sweat...they can sense fear...
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    @K2Concepts, what binder are you speaking of? Do you mean some kind of flat? I have a 2k flat that's fantastic are you suggesting something like that? Or, should I spray a gloss and then coat it at the very end of it's window? Thanks for your comments, I appreciate it.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,520 El Moderator
    Clear binder is just paint without the pigment
  • thardertharder Member Posts: 23
    edited April 27
    Well, here is the results (@MidOhioHydrographics, @WileECoyote, @K2Concepts). I guess I like it. I just don't know how durable it will be. I couldn't bring myself to putting this finish on the Desert Ironwood Burl reel seat.


    Post edited by tharder on
  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 10,333 El Moderator
    Nice! It looks very good! Test the durability and let us know how it goes!
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Member, Moderator, Business Ninja Posts: 7,520 El Moderator
    Awesome, please keep us updated with your results.
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