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MissAnthrope's avatar

What is the most practical way to varnish a dowel-like piece?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21501points) June 30th, 2012

I’m starting up a punishment cane business, using kooboo rattan. I have already worked out a method to straighten the rattan, but I find that, when it comes to varnishing, it’s awkward.

So far, I have been doing them like: one end, dry, the other end, dry, etc. I also find that drying them is awkward, as well, because I have to find a way to not touch the wet varnish part onto anything.

I feel that there must be a more efficient way, or perhaps a method a bit more clever, and I’m just not seeing it. You guys are so creative and clever, please tell me what I should do!

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14 Answers

thorninmud's avatar

Can you get a small screw eye into one end? That would allow you to suspend it from a hook.

MissAnthrope's avatar

That is a good idea and I will keep it in mind.. The only thing is that I have the ends finished nicely (sanded and rounded), so I don’t want to make a hole. However, you’ve given me an idea.. I hadn’t thought of a hook, but it is nice to be able to hang toys via a loop or something. I’m wondering if they make nice ones that would look good. I’ll look into it, thanks!

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Try a fishing pole drier like this TA-DA.

thorninmud's avatar

How long are the canes?

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Tropical_Willie – I love gadgets! I think I might have to buy one of those, once my business gets off the ground and is making money. Thanks!

@thorninmud – Depends on the piece of rattan, where I can cut, but they will be between 2–3 feet long.

Sunny2's avatar

Can you use 2 step drying, suspending the dowel with 2 suspended string or fine fishing line loops, brushing on the varnish first in the middle of the rod, drying that and then doing the two ends? Or vise-versa. Or is that what you’re already doing?

thorninmud's avatar

Another possibility—

Press a pushpin into each end of the cane (corncob holder style) and suspend the cane horizontally by resting the push-pins on supports (e.g. boxes) on your worktable. This has the advantage of being able to rotate the cane by rolling the head of a pushpin under your finger.

There will be two little pinholes of course, but they’d be easily filled. I’d level the edges of the pin holes with a quick lick of fine sandpaper, then apply a tiny drop of gel superglue to cap off the holes.

MissAnthrope's avatar

@Sunny2 – That’s what I’ve been doing so far, holding it in one hand, applying varnish up to where I’m holding it, letting it dry*, flipping, and repeating. I just wondered if there wasn’t a better or more efficient method.

* for my smaller canes, I jerry-rigged a system of propping them up in such a way that the wet varnish is not touching anything, but this will probably be harder with the longer canes, hence my plea for help! :P

rooeytoo's avatar

I put a thumb tack in one end, tie a string around it, dip the cane into the varnish and then hang it. A thumb tack hole would not be hard to cover with a dab of varnish after the rest of it has dried.

What exactly is a punishment cane??? OMG don’t tell me you are using them to spank children! You will be run out of town and fluther!!!

MissAnthrope's avatar

I have a practice cane that I will try the thumb tack idea on. Rattan might be a bit different from wood, in that it’s a vine, so the ends are cross-sections with the xylem and phloem exposed. They don’t lacquer the same as the rest of the cane, so I’m not sure if I could patch the holes discreetly. I’ll try it out and see. Thanks!

And LOL! No… They are for consensual adult enjoyment.

flutherother's avatar

Spar varnish is best but it is harder work and takes much longer to dry. It is less likely to flake on a flexible cane.

MissAnthrope's avatar

Yep.. That’s what I use, spar urethane. :)

rooeytoo's avatar

@MissAnthrope – I used that technique with bamboo, I’m not sure if that is the same as rattan?

(and I am so relieved to learn of their intended purpose, heheh)

MissAnthrope's avatar

They are similar in some ways, but different in others. The main differences are that bamboo is hollow, while rattan is solid. It’s also more flexible and durable than bamboo, at least for this sort of purpose. Bamboo tends to splinter and break, so it’s not recommended as a material.

I’m somewhat new at this, so figuring it out as I go, but I think the end product will be nice. Most people selling rattan canes are leaving them a natural color under the varnish; I am going to try to do them in other colors, both natural(ish) and not.

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