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BobP

A Primer On Solarez

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Guys have different criteria regarding topcoats.  For me, durability and ease of application are the most important things.  Solarez is quick, durable, and yields a satin gloss topcoat unless you buff it out mechanically to a high gloss - which I don't go to the trouble of doing.  Satin is OK by me.  After curing, Solarez is not quite as glossy as epoxy and it's considerably less glossy than a urethane like Dick Nite.  The speed with which you can get a ready-to-fish topcoat with Solarez, plus its moderate cost are its big advantages.  We're all learning the little tips and techniques of Solarez as we go along and gain experience.  I just wanted to get some tips out on Solarez for those who are trying it for the first time.  Other guys may have different techniques, but this works for me.

 

1.  The name of the game with Solarez is to control the amount and movement of the wax flakes that the finish contains.  The wax is necessary for the finish to cure hard.  It rises to the surface after application on the lure and it "suffocates" the UV chemical reaction to form a hard slick surface.  Without it, the finish would remain sticky.

 

2.  STIR the finish in the jug just before you apply it.  This disperses the little wax flakes floating on top of the finish and will result in a higher gloss on the finished product. 

 

3.  Brush on the finish with an artist's brush and immediately clamp the lure onto a lure rotator for about 10 minutes.  This allows the Solarez to level out and the wax flakes to rise to the surface of the finish.  The rotation prevents the wax flakes from migrating to one spot on the lure.  If you simply hang the lures up, you are likely to get a white blush on the lowest part of the lure as wax flakes migrate to that area.  The blush will be more apparent on dark painted areas.

 

4.  To cure the finish, you can either put the lure under a UV light for 3 minutes or alternatively, just sit the lure outside in sunlight for awhile (I use 30 minutes).  It's easiest for me just to set the still-running lure rotator out in the sun.

 

Solarez may take anywhere from 5 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on how you apply it and how you cure it.  But even 45 minutes is the Land Speed Record for topcoats.  Personally, I've had some sheeting and drip problems in cool weather when I tried dipping lures, so I brush it on.

 

 

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Thanks for the detailed write up. I have been thinking about trying solarez but worry about the finish bring to dull. I have been using gst but the cure time is just too long. You wouldn't have any pictures of baits that have been top coated with solarez would you? Maybe something in the gallery? Thanks again.

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I just did a few yesterday, will get a photo in daylight tomorrow and post them.

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2-IMG_0729.JPG1-IMG_0726.JPG

 

Solarez coated baits - one commercial bait (lightly sanded and coated) and 2 D-bait variants

 

To me, Solarez clarity and gloss rate just below D2T and considerably below moisture cured urethane.  Most users would not notice that - it's only when you hold lures side-by-side that it becomes apparent.  I see the issue this way:  If you build baits as practical fishing tools, no problem, the bass almost surely won't care.  In fact, some guys don't like to fish baits with high gloss.  If you aspire to museum quality paint schemes that really pop, you probably want maximum clarity and gloss and should stick to a thin and clear urethane for best results.  

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Edited by BobP

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I might just have to try this stuff out! I do have a UV light at home. Is there any topcoat that you guys know of that gives a "matte" finish?

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Since the gloss indicates a stronger coating, from longer molecules, I'd suggest you stick with gloss, and try just dulling the gloss with a green Scotch pad, or some other really mild abrasive.  Maybe some polishing compound on a soft rag.

Edited by mark poulson

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Wahoo International makes and sells it direct:  http://www.solarez.com/productsnew/gloss.html  They sell a variety of UV cure products but the gloss resin seems most applicable to crankbaits.  As time goes on and other guys explore the possibilities, they may find other UV resin sources that may be clearer/stronger/ etc than Solarez.

 

BTW, yesterday I accidentally tested impact strength by trying to polish a lure on a high speed wool pad in a polishing machine.  Lost control, the lure did a two bank shot off a steel shelf and a concrete floor.  Result - a small chip similar to what you would expect with epoxy, which I repaired in a few minutes.  I didn't see much difference in gloss after I polished the lure, but maybe I used the wrong polishing compound.  At any rate, I'm moderately happy with the un-polished result and very happy with the speed of the application process. 

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Wahoo International makes and sells it direct:  http://www.solarez.com/productsnew/gloss.html  They sell a variety of UV cure products but the gloss resin seems most applicable to crankbaits.  As time goes on and other guys explore the possibilities, they may find other UV resin sources that may be clearer/stronger/ etc than Solarez.

 

BTW, yesterday I accidentally tested impact strength by trying to polish a lure on a high speed wool pad in a polishing machine.  Lost control, the lure did a two bank shot off a steel shelf and a concrete floor.  Result - a small chip similar to what you would expect with epoxy, which I repaired in a few minutes.  I didn't see much difference in gloss after I polished the lure, but maybe I used the wrong polishing compound.  At any rate, I'm moderately happy with the un-polished result and very happy with the speed of the application process. 

I had to throw a lure down my concrete driveway twice which yielded a very small crack around the bottom hook hanger of a 1.5. I threw it like I was skipping a rock so there were many hits to the concrete. I was impressed. I dipped it for another coat right afterwards and as we have already figured out it does not make the original crack disappear but it was sealed and ready to go in the water again. 

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I have been using the gloss. I spoke to the owner of solarez recently and asked him about the low voc because of the smell of the Gloss and he said the LOW VOC was very thick and would be much harder to apply on smaller objects? You could try it. I will try a pint next time I order to see how good or bad it is?

If anyone has used it let us know what they think about it?

Solarez is a great product any way! I put that **** on everything.

Edited by Jdeee

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Yeah,  Wahoo's web site is confusing about which resin is which.  I was just going by the look of the label on the jug I received 6-8 months ago and don't remember them offering a "low VOC" version back then.  JMHO, I would opt for whichever version is thinner in viscosity and the jug with more VOC's probably means that it contains more solvent and is thus thinner.  I brush Solarez on vice dipping lures but the thinner version would be my choice too - so I'd get the regular version, not the "Low VOC".

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I have had good luck with Solarez the low tech way.  To distribute the surfacing agent I just give the container a good shake up, then I open it and pour out what I am going to use into a plastic salsa cup.  Stir the cup a little while I coat the bait with a brush.  I don't have a lure turner yet so I just roll it over and tip until I can see no brush marks and I am ready to expose it to sunlight.  Important part for me is to only expose it to sunlight for 5 seconds or less even as you turn and roll it to expose all surface.  Then get it right back inside for about 30 seconds.  I will repeat this several times and you can tell it is setting up then I will finally hang it outside and turn it a couple of times to make sure and get a complete cure.  This results in a gloss finish just a step down from D2T like BobP said in his post.  If I let too much sunlight hit it too long, then the Solarez cures too fast and is gets cloudy.

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Boy Bob I'm glad you posted this topic. I just ordered a qt of the gloss, should be here in a couple of days. I can't wait to try it out. It really sounds like a great product.

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Bubba that's not the right product you want the gloss version in at least the quart size the product you show is a matte finish. I'm not around my shop to get the exact label information but if memory serves me right it was somewhere in th $25 range

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That looks right to me just in a smaller container or portion than what I order. It's good stuff easy to work with and speeds up building if you don't mind a duller finish than what epoxy has. I like it for sealing and building foiled baits.

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