Fly Fishing Traditions

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Good Old Stuff

I had a friend over the other day and we were talking about all the gear we've collected over the years. I pulled out one on my "Old Favorites". It was an Orvis impregnated bamboo rod that I had purchased new about 20 years ago. It's a 5 weight rod. I found the rod tube, opened it up and pulled out the rod sock. It was damp. I said to myself, "Oh, No!" The wood insert was swollen and the nickel was very tarnished. The bamboo had mold on it. I wiped it down and set it out to air out.

This later led me to pull out an original "Powell" signature series rod that has been sitting in the corner for awhile. It is a 5 weight graphite rod that has two tips, a 5 and a 6 weight. Fortunately it looked great. I picked it up on Kienes Board as a backup rod for my drift boat, but when I received it I checked it out and thought its too nice for that! I think I'll start using it now.

I then dug out my rod tube for a 7 weight, Orvis bamboo rod that I bought used a long time ago. It was also an impregnated bamboo rod. Believe it or not, I bought it to use chasing half pounders on the Yuba. Believe me when you hook up on a hot Lower Yuba bow it puts a bend in that rod! I got into the bamboo rod thing after reading a bunch of John Gierach novels. I you've read his stuff you know what I'm talking about. Fortunately this one was in good shape. Thank goodness. So the score was 2 out of three in good shape.

This all got me thinking. It's time to keep these rods out. Maintain them and have them where I and anyone wandering into Fly Fishing Traditions World headquarters can take a look at them. It will even give me a nudge to get them on the water again.

Cleaning up a Bamboo Rod

For my 5 weight bamboo rod I had a task list went something like this.
  • Clean off the mold from the bamboo with denatured alcohol. I took a lint free cloth soaked in in alcohol and wiped the bamboo rod until all signed of mold were gone and there were no trace of dirt or mold remaining on the cloth. Done!
  • I then cleaned the cork handle.  I used dish soap with a soft tooth brush. I didn't need to go to the fine grit sandpaper level. The cork grip cleaned up nice with just the soap and water. Done!
  • Clean the metal on the reel seat and stripping guide where tarnished. I purhased a cleaning and polishing compound that specifically said it was safe for silver and nickel. I applied it with a lint free cloth and repeatedly rubbed the metal areas until the oxidation was gone. I did this for the metal parts at the reel seat, the stripping guide and the winding checks. Done!
  • Now to check the fit of the ferrules. I've always had a problem with the ferrules on my bamboo rods so I thought I'd better go to the source, Orvis. They recommended using Denatured alcohol to clean the inside of the ferrules. I poured it into the ferrules and using thin strips of the lint free cloth with a toothpick to swab the inside. I did this until the cloth came out clean. For the male ferrules I used the cleaning and polishing compound first, repeated it until my cloth was clean showing no residue. The ferrules were heavily oxidized so I cleaned them carefully with extra fine steel wool until they slid cleanly and firmly together. Done!
  • Once the metal parts were good and clean I dried everything with a clean cloth. I then took a furniture polish and applied it to all the bamboo parts and thoroughly wiped in in. Done!
I did this process to both of my Orvis bamboo rods and they are now hanging on the wall and ready to go. It took me most of a day to do both rods but it sure was worth it. They look great on the wall and I can't wait to get them out on the river.

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Have any Questions or Comments? Let me know, Clay.