The Zen of Coating Rod

Using a Coating Rod is like learning to ride a bicycle.  There are no attached directions on learning their proper use.  Nevertheless, once learned; you never forget, you cannot believe it took so long to learn, and when finally mastered, that it was so hard for you to learn.

To become one with your coating, carefully clean the rod portion with a clean cotton rag or tissue before starting your coating process.  Next, mix your solution per the enclosed Dan Burkholder Drop Count Chart© one step down.  That is, for an 8X10 print mix the number of drops for a 5X7.  The best coating is obtained when the paper is placed on a 3/8", or thicker, “float” glass plate or other "really" flat surface.  Without a flat surface, it is all but impossible to become one with your coating rod.

Starting at the outer perimeter of your paper, hold the rod 10-15 degrees off the vertical, in contact with the paper.  Pour your solution along the entire edge of the tube (in front of the direction you plan to travel across the paper).  Lift the rod slightly (less 1/8") to use the capillary action and surface tension of the solution to form a continuous film, uniform in thickness, along the entire length of the rod.

Without lifting the coating rod, and with a slight downward pressure, traverse to the opposite edge of the paper.  Don’t lift the coating rod yet!!  Without lifting, return to the starting point, and then back again.  Somehow, the solution makes it back to the front of the leading edge of the rod for the return trips.  Some make four trips across the great divide and some prefer only three.  Much like the bicycle, some travel the first attempt, and others use 10-12 times to get the Zen of it.  The key in learning seems to be in not lifting off until you have a good coating.  As with the bicycle, when you become as one, you can try peddling without holding on to the handlebars.  Be sure to breathe relaxed, try a few mantras, and enjoy.

As a side note, once you have your uniform coating, you can add brush marks to the edges if you like, and no one need be the wiser.

                                                          Zen Jon

Dan Burkholder Drop Count Chart©

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