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Old 04-24-2015, 11:12 PM
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Default Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Just my take on the aesthetics of the rods I now own, specifically the finish on the blank.

This evening I took delivery of an estimated 1998-2001 Orvis "Silver Label TL" 865, 8'6", 5wt., 2 piece rod, 2 7/8oz., 6.5 mid-flex. Naturally due to my wife's help I can't find my old catalogs so the year is confusing me a bit.

In the day purchased a 94/95 HLS 865 "Bighorn Special" (my all time fav. rod) which I recall was different from the top of the line rods was hardware and flex. The HLS mid-flex, the TotL were tip-flex. Same day I purchased a 795 Clearwater "Far & Fine" for the wife (bottom of the line and full-flex). Shortly thereafter I purchased a 1995 Rocky Mountain "Tippet" (which I believe translated to lesser hardware). In 1997 a 908 Silver Label RM "Powerhouse".

Those 4 rods from 94-97 all have the unsanded, clear lacquer blanks, yet never considered anything else all of my rods even those I purchased for a short period or borrowed (all Orvis) simply came that way.....Last year from a gentleman on this forum I purchased a 2000 Trident TL 842 and it's blank was the first sanded I owned. However they're different than most having a green tint to the clear lacquer. Finally I purchased a HLS2, 907 "All Rounder" year unknown...It was also sanded, yet it had a solid gray (in the worst shade ever) lacquer covering it.

Frankly, the Trident TL though nice left me still liking my unsanded blanks. The HLS2 left me loving my unsanded blanks.....Yet that brings us to the rod that came in today.

Unsure of the year not knowing when the HLS2 came out and when the "Silver Label" ended (though assume from the HLS2 finish and reel seat they brought the name back after), I also had not considered the "TL" designation just assuming it to be unsanded (and am not sure of the years they made "TL" rods)....Yet I received a surprise.

What "TL" stands for is they first off used a higher modulus graphite, and a compound taper on the blank vs. a straight. It also stands for that it was sanded to reduce weight, control the balance point, and more so to insure all rods were the same size..........Silver Label "TL's" are exactly the same blank as the Trident yet do not use the MVR grip dampening (always sounded like a gimmick to me), and it turns out do not have the green tint.

I have to say, the sanded Silver Label TL blank is actually quite beautiful....They simply used a clear lacquer on them, yet unlike the consistent spiral of steps you get in the unsanded blank, you end up with what almost looks like a grain of sorts.....I'm impressed.

As said I'm unsure of the year only able to find my 2000 catalogs and the hardware on the Silver Labels is way off.......This rod has the Trident hardware and perhaps a Redwood or Rosewood burl reel seat.

Now the rod I had intended on purchasing for a friend who has rods so crappy even RipTide did not care for them (yeah, stunned me too).....Worse still though he could buy Orvis Corp., he found the initial price when he saw it of $61.00 too much!.....and this rod is "like new." Ultimately it went for double that, and I was considering selling it here already having my HLS 865 (same wt., length, level of hardware, and close to same flex, think the HLS is 7.5).

Yet I have to tell you now I'm debating....It's a nice looking rod.

If you ever get a chance to see a blank that just has the clear lacquer/varnish on it instead of the paint they use on most now take some time and look it over.....It really is a nice look, and actually looks nicer than the unsanded (and yes I realize there are other differences performance wise).

Though I had no intention of using it wanting to get my money back.......I'm seriously thinking of giving it a heave up against my HLS 865. I mean what the heck, even though they're the same size I have 2 hands....right?

B.E.F.
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Done right I like both. I love the look of Scott G series unsanded translucent grey blanks. I also loved the look of deep blue-green sanded blank on my Sage SP as well as the deep brown RPL and green of my Winston WT. I see on this and other threads people talk about painted blanks, from the looks of the Sages I have owned, it seems more like a color tint was added to the resin. This leads to a transparent color where you can see deep into the fibers of the blank.
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

I know absolutely nothing about aesthetics, just ask my wife about my choice in clothing.

Over the last 25 years or so I've fished three generations of Orvis 1 wts, and I can say by a wide margin my favorite was the original unsanded version. Of course, for the sake of fairness I can safely say that for most of the stuff I use today, I'd preferred the previous versions. Unfortunately, just like me, old stuff wears out and needs to get replaced.

have fun,

p.s. IF you are interested enough to spend some time researching what you have, you may be able to find some info here - http://archive.org/web/ , although it is rather hit and miss.
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Last edited by pszy22; 04-25-2015 at 04:28 AM.
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Old 04-27-2015, 11:27 AM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Well, mu earliest graphite's had the un-sanded cellophane tape resin scares, Orvis and Scott. Theory was that sanding them might cut into a surface fiber damaging them. But G.Loomis and Sage didn't buy it and thought the resin ridges added minuscule amounts of extra weight. Modern paint jobs on blanks are very thing coatings of tinted resin that can add a clear (Loomis NRX gray with blue wraps, tinted, that appealingly translucent but color toned appearance or opaque, more pigment density as glossily executed by Winston and Sage. The coated blanks offer some surface protection and almost no mass to the blank so it is truly an aesthetic matter...NRX "natural" and translucent green versions are the same weight because both are painted, one clear the other green. It is what is under the paint and how its casts that interests me most.

PS: I do have an HLS 8 1/2'/#5 mid-6.0 flex in like excellent condition that could be pried out of my paws but not for $61.
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Old 04-27-2015, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Okay, time for me to show my ignorance, again. Besides the obvious, what is the difference between sanded and unsanded blanks? How does one tell if ones rod is sanded or unsanded? Do they fish differently? Are there advantages of one over the other? Is it just aesthetics?

Thanks.
steve
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Let's look at this logically, let's not use linear or inverse reasoning"

1. the blank building process on hollow glass/graphite composition.
2. There is a mandrel. That's a piece of machined steel highly polished to a specific taper around which the graphite/glass cloth is wrapped.
3. Then there is a piece/ pieces of graphite/ glass cloth cut like a pendant, impregnated with resin which is tacked by heat to the mandrel and rolled under a controlled pressure process around the mandrel.
4.shrink wrap tape is spiraled around the mandrel, cloth and there is a slight overlap.
5. The combination is baked, sometimes stage baked, but this takes longer, until the resin melts and the tape shrinks. Resin does nothing put allow the fibers to adhere together. the tape shrinks and squeezes the air, resin away from the fibers. Any air left creates weak spots in the blank excess resin goes into that overlap of the tape and when it hardens creates a ridge.

That ridge gives no more strength to the rod than does a thick paint job make a fender of a car stronger.

It does leave excess weight which doesn't do anything else but slow the action of recovery down.
6. Now the sanding process done properly only removes this ridge, not down to the longitudinal fibers of the rod.
7. This for the best performance can be buffed or highly polished for a satin finish or even a semi gloss one. Good rod companies use an ultra violet light inhibitor to protect the bonding resins.
8. The cheapest way to build a rod is to spray paint it at this point, okay, cheapest next to not sanding it.
9. Dipping the rod in a clear coat for a shine or to protect the rod from UV is the next step.
10 This adds weight which makes the rod slower to recover in speed and is like putting extra weight in the trunk or your sports car.
11. Just some thoughts to consider. The rest is up to you, do you like a rod with a lot of thick stuff all over it? or a high performance blank? The mere finsh isn't the only thing unless you judge a book by it's cover.

There was once a custom rod builder in the Keys who used to buy blanks, sand off the finish, wind on the guides and then cover the whole rod with about three coats of epoxy resin and said that he "fine tuned" the rod. They cast like a hoolla hoop. (Anyone ever try that? It's a real goofs ball idea like the idea of hand casting. Handcasting? Yes, we can do it but it's like throwing an arrow with out a bow or shooting a rifle bullet with a slingshot, WhY would anyone want to do that?

Jack
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Old 04-27-2015, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spm View Post
Okay, time for me to show my ignorance, again. Besides the obvious, what is the difference between sanded and unsanded blanks? How does one tell if ones rod is sanded or unsanded? Do they fish differently? Are there advantages of one over the other? Is it just aesthetics?
I'll try and get some photos up tonight.

B.E.F.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Well unfortunately my photography skills are lacking so perhaps I'll try and improve on these in the daylight in that the flash washes out a lot of detail, yet in kind makes it reflect back white in some areas.....Worst of all I didn't get the detail I wanted, that is to show the rough edges of the spiral wound material.

In any case, here is what I was able to get......Click on photos for full size versions:

Click the image to open in full size.


From Bottom to top, all 2 piece:
Trident TL, 8'4", 2wt., 2 3/4oz., Mid 7.0 flex, sanded
Rocky Mountain "Tippet", 7'6", 3wt., 2 1/2oz., *Full 4.5 flex, un-sanded
Clearwater "Far & Fine", 7'9", 5wt., 3oz., *Full 5.5 flex, un-sanded
HLS "Bighorn Special", 8'6", 5wt., 2 3/4oz., *Mid 7.0/7.5 flex, un-sanded
Silver Label TL, 8'6", 5wt., 2 7/8oz., Mid 6.5 flex, sanded
HLS2 "All Rounder", 9'0", 7wt., 4 1/8oz., Full 4.0 flex, sanded and painted
HLS Silver Label RM "Powerhouse", 9'0", 8wt., 3 7/8oz., *Mid 7.0 flex, un-sanded
* = estimated flex rating from 2000 specs.

Unfortunately that view doesn't show the blank detail very well, so here are the tip sections in the same order:

Click the image to open in full size.


I had a lineup of the stripper guide area yet it didn't show the detail I hoped for. I'm short of time at the moment so can't finish this post, yet I'll try and get some better comparative shots tomorrow which might explain the difference "cosmetically".

B.E.F.
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Last edited by GrtLksMarlin; 04-28-2015 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

I like mine sanded with a translucent tint of green or blue. Painting a high end rod is just strange to me and cheap looking.
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Old 04-28-2015, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded Rods....Aesthetics.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spm View Post
Okay, time for me to show my ignorance, again. Besides the obvious, what is the difference between sanded and unsanded blanks? How does one tell if ones rod is sanded or unsanded? Do they fish differently? Are there advantages of one over the other? Is it just aesthetics?

Thanks.
steve
Hi Steve.

Take your fingernail and run it down the blank, you will feel and probably be able to hear a "ZZZZ" as you do so.

Sometimes rod companies dip the unsanded blank into resin, in this case the ridges are a little less pronounced because the resin fills in the space a little.

Some cheap rods are sanded poorly and you will find that you can feel the ridges in some spots and not on others. This is a sign of poor quality work by the sanding operator.

All of these point toward the company just wanting to save money on the production of the rod and take away from the potential of the rod.

Some of these rod companies claim that "their" reason for doing this is to not take away rod strength. A good rod company builds a tad more material into the blank to compensate for this and make sure that their centerless sander/grinder operator knows what he's doing.

Leaving excess resin on the outside of a rod does nothing but impede the rod's performance.
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