The finish on most modern day blanks is 'baked on' straight out of the 'mould' and can't be reproduced with epoxy finishes and the like which are fine for the ring whippings, and indeed I do finish them in epoxy, but it's not really practical on the blank itself.
Several coats of well applied varnish not only looks good but lasts a lifetime, literally, I still see a friend who has a aset of NWB carp rods that I built over 25 years ago and they still look in mint condition!
Recently I was visited by a long time Trafford Angling customer, Keith, who I've known for donkey's years, and he brought me his treasured Tri-Cast feeder rods for a bit of sprucing up. The rods have been rebuilt with a fresh set of Seymo RDX match rings which are a great set of durable lightweight rod rings that suit all match and feeder rods perfectly.
The ring whippings had my usual 2 step process to finish off the rings, then the blanks have had 5 to 6 coats of varnish applied with a days setting time inbetween, plus a ' resting time' of about 2 weeks, I don't really like to let them go 'til I'm happy they're 'right' which includes more drying time than people usually like!
The results speak for themselves . . . . . . . ;)