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I use four coats of spar varnish to finish my floats. Usually I only wait two hours for drying time between coats. Honey-colored spar varnish looks nostalgic.

Nice Vid Damon...

talking about colors on floats... the chartreuse, orange, blue and green... in my neighborhood get lost in the water with reflections etc on these tired old eyes. i was thinking the other day i need to paint something that doesnt get lost in the sky and tree reflection. fall with the floating colored leaves on the water is a green or orange nightmare.... have you tried pink as a float color... red doesnt seem bad a choice either. i need to try something.

and great looking floats by the way!

I find the wood itself is best, unpainted. Pink would be easy red and white. again. Colors that work best on the water don't sell necessarily. Look at most crank baits. The colors are all based on human perception of the color wheel. Yellow stands out the best for me. Who do you sell yellow? Pair it with purple. Think LSU. How do you sell orange? Pair it with blue. Think Denver Broncos. How do you sell red. Pair it with green. Think Christmas.

Honestly  I don't float fish anymore, but people keep buying the floats, so I keep making them. I've found the more gear between my fingers and the line itself lessens the sensitivity. That's why I've gone to the handline exclusively. I still haven't found anything more sensitive than my fingers.

Different colors work in different situations. Black can be great because it contrasts with everything. When the reflection on the water is high, the black float will contrast with it. White can be great for the opposite reasons. It reflect everything. Cloudy days, the bright colors can shine.

Also if in the springtime there is a lot of chartreuse on the bank, well use a red float because all that green will make the red stand out. No one color will work best in all situations. Out on a blue ocean I'd be using tons of orange. Whatever the primary color is use the opposite color on the color wheel, and it will stand out much more.

The US NAVY experiments on color visibility on the water and to make it short, orange won.
I add black bands to break up the color and make the float more visible.
As for varnish I apply two or three coats of clear gloss and go fishing.

Yeah, that makes sense. In a big blue ocean, orange is opposite on the color wheel, complementing color. Nice idea with the black bands. I haven't figure out how to do bands yet, lol.

I typically use fluorescent orange, but "regular" Orange works good, too. A tip band of fluorescent green on the ends contrasts well with the Orange.
To make contrast, or visibility bands, I chuck the pointy parts of the float in a drill, spin at moderate speed, and apply black paint with a paint brush as the float turns.

Its not precision, but I make floats to use. Unless one sees utility as art, mine wouldn't be called artitstic in the least. My most useful floats are refurbished from damaged and abandoned commercial floats I find around the lake; the ones that get away from people, or get broken and discarded. They serve as the raw material. Putting them back in service interests me more than the "artistic angle."

However if a blank canvas for a more artistic float were wanted, precision and uniformity are key. The best artisan floats I see start with a precision-made base. If that were your thing, a bench lathe would take you a long way down that road.

Cool video Damon. I use a satin finish polyurethane and I dip all mine twice right in the can then hang them by the eye to dry. About 2 hours dry time between coats and overnight before handling. Max length on mine are about 8 inches. As for color I paint a few but prefer natural colors. Some long casts from shore necessitate color but casting distances from a boat or pole fishing it not needed for me. 

GUYS;; JUST WAIT TILL YOU GET OLD !! LOL !!   BIG REASON I PAINT MY QUILLS SEVERAL COLORS;; FOR THE TIP;; ITS A BRIGHT ORANGE;; OR PINK ; OR RED;; DOWN FROM THAT IS A CHARTUSE COLOR; AND AT THE BOTTOM ITS BLACK;; BUT;; THE CHARTUSE; AND PINK OR RED; OR ORANGE; ALSO HAS A DRY BRUSHED EFFECT ALSO;; CALL IT; A CAMOFLAGE TYPE COLOR;; NO ONE COLOR;  REALY DOMINATS; ITS A BLEND; OF SEVERAL..  BIG REASON I PAINT THE TIP A BRIGHT COLOR;; HELL;; ITS EASIER FOR ME TO SEE !! IN A BOAT; ROCKING;; WAVES; WAVING; SUNLIGHT BOUNCING OFF A QUILL IN ITS NATURAL COLOR; ITS NEARLY INVISIBLE-- TO ME !! LOL !!  JUST WAIT A FEW MORE YEARS;; YOU WILL SEE EXACTLY WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT;; LOL  FOR THE TOP OF A FLOAT AT MY AGE;; THE BRIGHTER  THE BETTER !  AND FOR  THE RECORD;; I JUST DIP MY QUILLS ALSO; HANG THEM TO DRY-- ALL DAY ! THEN A RE DIP !!  THEN; HANG TO DRY FOR SEVERAL DAYS;; LET THEM AIR OUT A LOT !  GOOD VIDEO DAMON!!

Man, you guys are so advanced: multi colors and bands and stuff. Goodness. Yeah that's why I made mine so long as well. The old eyes, having nine inches of float out of the water makes it easier for me to see no matter the color.

Yeah, two hours seem the way to go.

I use a pair brush to apply black stripes. I just spin the float with my off hand till I have a complete band. I only go around once because if try to remove imperfections I end up with really wide bands. After the paint has dried I might redcoat directly on top to sharpen the line. A paint pen or even a magic marker will all too.

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