I recently built-up a bright red fiberglass blank with black wraps and silver tipping for my daughter (her favorite color combination). Everything was going pretty well including the elk antler tipped fenwick style grip with downlocking black Lemke reel seat until I got to the final step-- the inscription. I struggled and struggled using a calligraphy pen and acrylic black artists' ink over a Fixative. Uneven ink flow and writing looked like an 8 year olds' English assignment. I kept rubbing it off with water and re-doing (maybe 4-5 times) and the finish on the rod started looking a little dark and hazy and so I did the best I could and sprayed the Fixative over it and then epoxy layers added. Well, the epoxy didn't go much better with bubbles after bubbles-- now up to 4 coats patiently scrubbed off using a fingernail board and redone. I did better with the Pro Kote, but the high-build Flex Coat (all I had left) was worse- even using a hair dryer on low, first spreading the finish on aluminum foil, etc.
My question is this: I am thinking that maybe I should take this back down to the bare rod and try to redo the inscription. I am afraid that I will rub off the red paint (?) I presume is on the blank. This only happens to the rods that are really important for loved ones-- the others I can crank out pretty darn good the first time around. What would you do? I am mindful of the fact that perfect is the enemy of good, but I want it to be really nice. I also don't want to ruin the blank and have to start over from scratch.