Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rod shop in full swing

Thought I'd share some of what we are working on right now.
Currently, I am working on a new Batson light 6ft spinning rod. It's almost done. Hopefully will make a young man quite happy. I matched it up to an Abu Garcia Cardinal 101 spinning reel. During the test casting I was very pleased with how it casts. It should be a real joy to fish with this rod! 
Check out the wraps on this!
Last Friday we hit the motherload of used fishing rods.  There was a "pre-garage" sale going on in Georgetown and we managed to get there first.  I was glad I took several hundred dollars along as we were able to get a very nice selection of graphite rods and a nice collection of mid-water crankbaits!  As you can see below, there are some real nice rods in this collection. These will be added to our certified pre-owned collection. These rods below are just the "Good" rods, there were more lesser quality rods besides these. Two of these are G. Loomis rods.

These are my first collection of crankbaits. I can't wait to try them out!

We have already stripped down one rod and are working on some others.  These are by far the best collection of rods I've been able to find off Craigslist. The gentleman who I bought them from had no idea what I was going to do until I showed him one of my new rods I had in truck with me.  I think his eyes practically popped out of his head.  :-D

As you may remember from a previous article, manufactured rods are a lot like manufactured homes.  There are a few really good manufactured homes, but most are pretty much trash and eventually fall apart.  The same holds true for manufactured rods.  This can be seen below.  This rod is a 6'6" Castaway that was generally still intact except for peeling paint and damaged guides.  And while the handle below was in fair shape before we tore it to shreds (see pic above - there are 3 CWYs), the workmanship of the reel seat assembly shows through when you see that it was mounted on a cardboard "toilet paper" type roll. The only thing holding the reel seat on was a *half* ring of epoxy on the butt end and a minimal ring of epoxy on the other.  It's a wonder it didn't fall off already!

Below you can see me working on scraping the above rod.  I use the razor blade method (the way I was taught) because with the proper grip and attention, you can tell when you are touching graphite and not push further.  This method works especially well with rods with old finish. This particular rod was actually quite easy to clean off once we got the lump of epoxy off the butt end of the reel seat area.  I'm glad the manufacturer didn't put it on any better or it would have been a real fight!

If you look at the first picture at the top, you'll see a blank laying next to the rod in the jig.  That blank is the Castaway rod that I'm cleaning above.

Here it is up close after the first coat.  We hope to restore these to better than brand new condition.

How can I say that?

Because these rods will have a urethane finish applied by hand (finger) so it fills the pores of the blank which resists peeling, the finished rods will be splined, they will have the correct amount of guides on them, the reel seats will be thoroughly glued, the wrappings will have underwraps to protect the rod from damage under heavy use, and finally, the finish on the guides will not be so heavy that the rods loses some of its action.  All of these "features" are called "Custom rod standards" and you will only find them on hand-built rods.  The work that goes into these pre-owned rods is why I like to refer to the finish product as "certified pre-owned".

I know when I'm done rebuilding a rod that it will be not only be a piece of art, it will be fully functional as a tool to catch fish that won't break down when you need it most - with a fish on!

I am planning on taking these rods to our local bait shop where I will have them displayed for less than their original price. I have already spoken with the owner and he already offered to sell rods for me.  Once I have a couple to sell I'm going to take them to him to see what he thinks.

We want to know what you think as well!  Are you a rod builder?  Give us some tips on things we can do to make life easier for ourselves.  I'm sure there are more creative ways to tear a rod down so if you have some tips, please share them.

I will keep posting more pictures as I have time.


Mike for HCFR.

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