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Old 06-30-2011, 05:24 AM
rvc rvc is offline
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Default Rebuilding an old WonderRod

I have recently come across an old Shakespear WonderRod my father gave me back in the late 50s. It's 8' long, 2-piece and is a kind of pinkish brown in color. I am going to try a rebuild, and a guide set and a grip are on their way.

The only problem with the rod itself is a worn spot just below the ferrule on the butt section. The spot is about 3/4" long and extends slightly more than half the diameter around the rod. I have no way to measure the depth accurately but it appears to be less than 1/32" deep.

I figure this will be a weak spot in the blank and intend to try a repair. My approach will be to lightly sand the worn surface down to "good" glass and feather the spot into the rod surface. Then I will epoxy some fiberglass tow in place and when that has cured sand the surface flush with the rest of the rod.

Does this sound like a reasonable way to proceed, or is there a better way? I'll post some pictures if anyone is interested, assuming there is not a minimum number of posts required before I can do this.

Thanks for whatever response may be forthcoming.

RVC
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:45 AM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

RVC.
That's about all you can do,just be careful,don't add too much Glass as you have to sand it off.
You can still buy replacement Ferrules,however the old ones could be difficult to remove.
Brian
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:12 AM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

I'd use the epoxy to build up the damaged area and then trim off any nubs that stick through.
Without having seen the rod, it sounds to me as if the fiberglass has deteriorated and I wouldn't want to risk sanding off any of the remaining solid fiber
You could always cut it back and replace the ferrule, but IMO you're then stepping beyond what is cost-effective
Your call.

One thing about working on these old rods. There's always a chance that after putting in all the time and effort to refurbish or restore, you take it out for a test-drive and decide that the rod's a dog.... Personal experience
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

Interesting. I always considered fiberglass to be pretty much inert forever, but now that I look at the affected area closely it does appear to have decomposed in some way - a kind of powdery substance that is easily scraped off with an Exacto knife. Your advice makes sense but as it doesn't seem to go very deep I'm going to try reinforcing it with tow and epoxy as I mentioned and see what happens.

Thanks for your input.

RVC
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Old 07-01-2011, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

RVC.
Just lately I've read where Fibreglass mainly in Transoms & Hulls of Boats Breaks down & goes powdery,if this is the case I would go along with Riptide,however make sure the area you want to fill/repair is absolutely dry otherwise nothing will adhere to it.
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

It this rod has heirloom quality memories for you, and if you intend to fish it in the future, then I'd take it to a custom rodbuilder and let him perform the repair for you. At least in the Poconos, many of the bamboo rodmakers also have experience working with fiberglass.

Pocono
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Old 07-02-2011, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

Thanks for that. The rod is important to me but not so much as to have a custom rod builder look at it. I don't know if there is one of those around here anyway. I have already begun the repair process as mentioned in my first post.

The problem area is not that big a deal and it is not deep at all. The area has been sanded down and feathered into the rest of the rod. I have a supply of 3K tow and some West System epoxy and should have that applied by the end of the day. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks for your input and interest.

RVC
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Old 07-02-2011, 08:50 AM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

RVC,

The reason that I replied as i did is because I have a similar, fortunate situation.

About 3 years ago while looking for my mother's old skis, I came across the first fly rod that my father bought for me; a 7'1" solid glass Montgomery Ward's Hawthorne model; advertised at that time for trout and panfish.

Click the image to open in full size.

It had a little fraying on a couple of the guide wraps. I wanted to get it back into top shape; because I planned to, and in fact do, fish that rod every year. I was going to do the fray repair myself, but in the end I went to one of our local custom rod builders; Ben Turpin Custom Rods, to get the repair done. And I'm glad that I did.

Ben Turpin Custom Rod Building and Guide Service

Good luck with your rod; it sounds like you've got it well under control. I think you'll enjoy fishing it. I can tell you that a Wonderod is a huge step up over the solid glass stick that I fish. I have a 7'9" 5 wt. Wonderod Purist model that I enjoy fishing; it's a very nice small stream rod.

Whenever I catch a fish on that old solid glass noodle it brings a smile to my face; at that point, the fish becomes secondary and the memories primary.

Pocono
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:29 AM
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Default Re: Rebuilding an old WonderRod

That's a neat looking rod. Thanks for the picture and for the story behind it.

When I found mine it was in pretty bad shape. In addition to the minor damage already mentioned it was missing a couple guides and the rest were banged up. And the grip had been pretty badly eaten up by the enormous cockroaches we have here in Florida. So I have a new guide set and a new grip ready to install after the repair is complete. The guides will be much more closely spaced than the old. I'm looking forward to fishing with it again.

Thanks again, and thanks also for the link.

Rick
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