Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Pen on Epoxy, Rod-Building

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Short Summary for writing on Epoxy

  • My standard is Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen S (0.3mm), F (0.5mm) and M (0.7mm) for a thick line.
    • Good Alternatives: Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.5 to 0.7, Copic MultiLiners and Testors Black Enamel
  • After applying, allow a week to dry (maybe 2 days is good), but I am allowing the pigment a week to set in my dry box.  As I am not a production house, I can wait.

Discussion – General and Procedure

As noted earlier, I been experimenting to reduce variability and problems with my rod-building. I was getting inconsistent results, so I started to take a step back to do some testing and set some standards.  My standards for epoxy and CP have become:

  • Epoxy: ProKote – 2ml CC of A and B, plus 0.5ml of Acetone.
    • Given Acetone is an agressive solvent, it is important my tests also include my complete finishing formula
    • Alternate Epoxy: Flexcoat Lite, plus Acetone – small quantities.
    • Aside, I have since acquired some DNA (hard to find in Canada) and it works fine witk ProKote, but keeping to Acetone, given difficulty to locate DNA.
  • Color Lock: Al’s Color Rite
    • Alternative:Flexcoat Color Preserver.
  • For a Traditional Finish use U-40 Perma-Gloss Urethane Varnish, but please note that the pen-ink below are tested for ProKote Epoxy. It is likely that Flexcoat will provide simialr results, but Urethane will not.

Now, it was time to test writing tools.  First, I note for writing on dark rods, Testor’s Silver Enamel has always worked for me, but not all Testor colours (which led to my frustration to start experimenting); so the challenge was finding a tool that worked for yellow and light coloured blanks, where the ink should be dark or black. My procedure was simple:

  1. Pick up a collection of pens and inks that are available (18 in all).
    1. The collection were available to me already or references in rod building forums as good instruments.
    2. Please note in other tests, I did find a pen of the same make in different colours did behave differently. Yes, there were several experiments before this, trying to get a handle on some of the variables.
  2. Paint a wood dowel white and let it cure for a month.
  3. Apply a thin layer of ProKote and let it cure for a week.
  4. Write on the test rod and let it cure for a week.
  5. Apply a think layer of ProKote and let it cure for a week.
    All curing was done in my Epoxy Box with a temperature around 80F (26C).
  6. Examine, recommend and play around with the recommendations.

Illustrated Records

Some pictures, but please note that the one pass of Epoxy meant the epoxy got dirty across the whole blank.





The Pens in the same order as displayed above:


and the inks, used with a Speedbal Calligraphy Pen


Quick Summary on and in ProKote Epoxy

  1. Staedtler Permanent S Blue – high bleed – fail
    1. Note in preliminary test with Urethane – Blue passed, but black failed.
  2. Staedtler Permanent F Black- high bleed – fail
  3. Sharp Permanent Ultra Fine Point – fail
  4. Copic Multiliner Black 0.1 – smears easily until cured, but with patience is good. 0.1 is a litttle too fine.
  5. Copic Multiliner Red 0.1 – like red, but tint is weak.
  6. Copic Multiliner Red 0.1 – like black and like black worthy of consideration.
  7. Uniball Signo 0.7 Gel – works, but was difficult to apply. Move on.
  8. Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.5 – application is fair-good, dark and permanent once cured.
  9. Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen S (0.3) – application is fair-good, dark and permanent once cured.
  10. Copic Multiliner SP 0.3 – application is fair, 0.3 is a little to fine, but permanent once cured.
  11. Pigma Micro 0.5 – application is fair, but permanent once cured.
  12. Koh-i-noor Ink – Calligraphy Pen – difficult to apply and flow, might be ok with a better pen.
  13. Winsor Newton India Ink – Calligraphy Pen – fair application, a little weak, but permanent when cured.
  14. Liquitex Arcylic Ink – Calligraphy Pen – will not adhere – fail.
  15. Speedball Calligraphy Ink – Calligraphy Pen – flows and permanent.
  16. Coodlers Ink – Calligraphy Pen – will not adhere – fail.
  17. Testor Black Enamel – Calligraphy Pen – flows and permanent.
    1. Note another Testor colour failed an earlier experiment- Might be procedure or colour.

After which, I did some “fooling around” as illustrated in the following image and and note


  • Test Group 2 – Clean your sample with Alcohol before you start. Staedtler Pigment appears to more suscpetible to running from the dirt and grease we transfer by hand.
  • Test Group 3 – The impact of a marker size varies from manufacturer to manifacturer, but you are looking at 0.3mm to 1.0mm depending on effect.  The Faber Castell S (0.3) appears to be deeper and darker than Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.5.
    • Copic Multiliner is probably a fine choice and may be disadvantage in my test by using the 0.1mm nibs.

What if I was going to play with different colour?  I would look at Copic, assuming I can get the pens at 0.3 or 0.5mm thick or Testor’s Paint Enamel, but I would test first.

Last note, there is a reasoned argument on a RodBuilding Forum (Link – Post 13) that the current and common use of Acetone or DNA does not serve the chemistry well and suggest a Sherwin-Willians product Polane (r) Reducer K54.


Given ease of application and permanance once cures, for black use Faber Castell Pitt Artist Pen S (0.3mm), F (0.5mm) and M (0.7mm).

In addition:

  • The first alterntive is Staedtler Pigment Liner 0.5 and 0.7mm.
  • Second alternative is Copic Multiliner.
  • Testors Black Enamel Works with a Calligraphy Pen works.
  • Always cleans area with DNA (Alcohol)
  • Always give the pigment a week to cure.
  • With every change, test it out.



Written by raspberryfisher

2013/12/26 at 20:52

One Response

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  1. sanford has another sharpie product…item no. 13801.
    industrial super permanent ink.

    apparently it is used for some types of archival marking.

    after drying it is surprisingly durable.


    2014/02/24 at 19:44

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