I picked up a bamboo rod today, in poor shape. I just wanted it to work on. It has no collectors value, I'm going to fix it and fish it. It has a number of issues to be addressed. Loose feurells, missing tip guide, a snake guide tied on with string, etc. I've built glass rods, so I have the basics to put it together.
The finish is shot ; worn off, peeling, discolored, etc, so I need to strip it down to bare wood. My first question would be, how best to clean it up and do the least damage to the wood ? Chemical strippers concern me, as I don't want to have the glue dissolve. Scrapers, sanding, or what ? I'm thinking of using Tru Oil to finish it once it's cleaned up. I've had good results with that on fine wood projects and custom gun stocks, but I'm open to any and all ideas.
Thanks for the suggestion. I've never thought to use glass shards. I do use cabinet scrapers, or back scrape with single edge razor blades. I sometimes use mini drawknives and thumb planes, but I've never worked on anything so narrow or fragile as a wooden fly rod. Last thing I want to do is nick the bamboo.
I'm looking foreward to seeing how the guys with experience do this. There's so much knowledge available on these forums. There is always somebody who has the know how, and will share. Best forums on the web to learn from !
I've never stripped one so I won't speak to it. However I've used Truoil on a couple blanks. It is easy and looks amazing. Just lots and lots of coats! I did it before ferruling the blank or wrapping guides. Wrapping isn't that different than graphite though the corners are something to get accustom to. If you use silk, especially gossamer, it is a challenge compared to nylon, but can look great. I found Al's Wrap Rite from Angler's Workshop gave me the best color, if you want to use CP. I tried several others and the color didn't turn out as well, for me at least. The combo of Al's wrap rite and Al's finish worked great.
To restore the finish of a collectable rod that I have, I was told to use mineral spirits and fine steel wool.
Whatever you use, it's important not to sand down or cut any of the "power fibers" of the bamboo outer surface as that's where the rod's strength lies.
If it is an old finish, like you are describing, a single edged razor or glass shard used like a scraper will probably remove the finish without damaging the bamboo. Shoot on many older bamboo rods, I have refinished, my thumbnail was sufficent to remove the majority of finish.
Personal Opinion: Do not use chemical strippers or even acetone to remove the finish. Best way to delaminate a rod is to use them, especially with the old horsehide glues. Water can cause horsehide glued strips to delaminate.
I would re-attach the ferrules before finishing the blank. If you use Philo Bond (contact cement) or the like you don't want a finish between the bamboo and ferrule. I avoid epoxies as they don't have the tensile strength (flexibility) to last over the years. That is just my experience having repaired several loose ferrules where epoxy was used to install them.
Make sure the ferrules aren't pinned. Many a ferrule and blank has been ruined by the ferrule being forced off without the pin being removed.
Thanks for the advice, Petee. I use contact cement for a lot of projects. Great stuff . Once it dries to the touch, and the two parts are joined, can you still slide the feurel into position on the rod ? Do I need to join the parts before the glue is ready and dry, so it doesn't grab on touch ? Does the glue need to be thinned in this application ?
I look foreward to hearing back from you, and appreciate your time !
I have done a few rods and had guidance from people who knew the game, here's what I was taught..............
Remove all line guides and wraps = careful work with razor and peel off the old silks.
If the ferrules are loose, remove them, watch out for 'pinned ferrules' some aren't just glued on.
Remove the old varnish using a good stripper. Work quickly and plan on it taking multiple treatments before you have bare wood.
Examine the sections to see that all the glued splines are solid.
How to Impregnate your own rod
Use a length of PVC pipe long enough to fit the sections, 1.5 or 2" diameter will be good.
Cap one end so it will hold fluid.
Wrap the rod sections with wire or strings so you can suspend them in the tube vertically.
Fill the tube with Linseed Oil and hang the sections in the oil for at least 8 hours.
Remove from the oil bath and wipe the sections with a non shedding cloth and hang them vertically in a warm dry room for 2 weeks to cure.
After 2 weeks hand buff the oil finish and then re-dress your ferrules and guides with the silks you have chosen for the rod. Finish all windings with Spar marine varnish and you're done.
I have done this with the cork grips on and with the grips removed. If you leave the grip on, don't soak the cork. Suspend the butt section with the winding check about a quarter inch above the Linseed oil. The oil will wick up the shaft under the check.
I still have one of the rods and the finish is beautiful, never will need redone again.
'Ya see, Ard, this is why we're glad you're back !
Good stuff. I have some spare pvc, and some boiled linseed oil. I'll make a paper template of where the guides are before I cut them off. 'Priciate the input.
The amount of information available on this board is amazing. You guys are awesome. Thank you.