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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Default Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    I know some rod makers, most notably Orvis make quite a few of their blanks/rods unsanded as opposed to say Sage, who doesn’t.

    Is there a difference, other than aesthetics? I can see that manufacturing costs should be less with an unsanded blank/rod, but other than that is there any “real” difference?

    Discuss.
    Mainline the blueline

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Belle Vernon, PA
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    302

    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    Well....being a Scott guy I fancy those non-sanded blanks. Rustic looks I guess but I’ve always been a fan


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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
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    Columbia, MO
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    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    I don't have an answer for you, Jayr, but I am interested in seeing the responses. I have both sanded and unsanded rods and I can't tell the difference in performance, but that may just be a comment on my skill level.

    Thanks,
    steve
    "As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler" ...Izaak Walton

    "Nothing is as bad as something that is not so bad"...Sr. Percival Blakeney, aka The Scarlet Pimpernel

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Portland and Maupin, Oregon
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    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    I think it's just a fashion statement...

  7. #5

    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    I listened to the head designer at Scott, Jim Bartschi, talk on the subject on two podcasts recently. Basically, he said two things that caught my attention: that when you don't sand there is no way to cover a mistake. You have to wrap the material around the mandrel perfectly if you aren't going to cover up your work. And that on modern materials, with their high strength and extremely thin fabrication, there is little room for error. Slight mistakes in sanding affect performance- particularly out at the tip. Your "taper" is so slight way out there, that sanding actually affects it. An unwanted finish creates a more consistent product as a result.

    Made sense to me?-

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

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  9. #6

    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    Understand that first scrim (glass or carbon) is wound around a precisely ground stainless steel mandrel (giving hoop strength) then longitudinal fiber patterns, flags, of graphite sheet impregnated with uncured resin is oh, so carefully rolled onto that. The taper of the mandrel in concert with the precise flags of often mutli-modulus graphite give the blank its taper...this is the arts and craft of the rod. After rolling, cellophane tape is warped around the uncured blank before it is hung in an oven for curing at precise temperatures carefully timed. Cooled and removed it's mandrel is hydraulically extracted and the tape removed. Beneath the tape resin that has seeped to the surface of the blank during the curing process leaves those well known "resin scars on the blanks surface, all blanks.

    What you see is the tape pattern not the wrapped pattern of the carbon fibers beneath, that can only be seen in x-ray or test slicing and microscope viewing cross sections of the blank. Independent research has revealed that not all blanks are fabricated equally much less perfectly but this is another story.

    Scott states accurately that sanding the resin scars smooth risks cutting a surface fiber in the process thus damaging the fiber structure. This may have been more true in the old days or in less carefully mass produced factory rods and our quality crafted rods today can be sanded without damage which also removes minor amounts of mass from the blank. Even Scott and Orvis may partially or lightly sand the blank leaving only part of the excess resin visible. The internal important structure is not visible. Many blanks are painted with a very thin protective coating...even natural graphite matt blanks like some of G.Loomis's NRXs for example receive a thin clear coating so the grey and green painted NRX's weigh the same and have the same mass. At this point, the thickness of the epoxy thrad finish may be adding more superfluous mass than the paint.

    Blank fabrication craftsmanship along with selected material science and, of course, taper design form the heart of a fly rod. Its external finish and components, as we have been discussing in the Aesthetic thread, are important to most of us as well, but they, along with sanded or not (assuming quality work) do not a great casting/fishing rod make...that is invisibly imbedded in the heart of the rod, the blank itself.

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  11. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    I have several old g series rods in 4 through 8 wts. That are now in retirement. Although I do have a Radian in my current trout kit quiver of rods. I always liked the cool look of the unsanded blank. I recall some of the above post in a road trip conversation a few years ago and the comments paraphrased from the Bartschi podcast in the preceding post certainly make sense. There is a lot to be learned and understood about the technology, craftsmanship, and artistry involved in creating fine wood and graphite flyrods.

  12. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Albuquerque, NM
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    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    Question: Are conventional fishing rods available in both sanded and unsanded blanks? Does the answer to that question have any implications for fly rods? I cannot recall ever seeing any kind of conventional rods that were unsanded. Also, the only blanks I know of to be unsanded are the Epic models.

  13. #9

    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    I toured the Winston factory many years ago and watched the process of rolling blanks. It has been too long for me to recall the details and all the steps. We got to see them roll the pre-preg "flags" onto the mandels on the heavy press- the speed at which that takes place definitely was a surprise to me at the time.

    Bartschi definitely claims that sanding the tips creates variability in the flex, and that their approach is actually more demanding- and not them being lazy and skipping a step. This was his interview with April Vokey I believe- the other one I've heard is the Itinerant Angler interview. I actually left with a far greater appreciation of Scott's craftsmanship. He talked about their wraps- and that they actually cut all the windings in the same position around the rod for uniformity! Several things in there that really impressed me. The new fiberglass, too


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  15. #10

    Default Re: Sanded vs. Unsanded blanks?

    Quote Originally Posted by el jefe View Post
    Question: Are conventional fishing rods available in both sanded and unsanded blanks? Does the answer to that question have any implications for fly rods? I cannot recall ever seeing any kind of conventional rods that were unsanded. Also, the only blanks I know of to be unsanded are the Epic models.
    Yes- there are unsanded spinning rods out there.

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