FS Orvis CFO VI & Extra Spool - One of a Kind

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Steve Cole - Nisqually and Adjacent Environs

This is a "rehabed" Orvis CFO VI reel and spare spool. The reel suffered from severe neglect by the previous owner. The frame is now down to polished aluminum with two layers of clear coat. All parts were removed, cleaned, inspected, polished (line guard), re-installed, and lubricated as needed. The spools were cleaned and the latch mechanisms removed, cleaned, inspected, reinstalled with new grease. So the result is a "hybrid" reel with a clear finish frame with original finish spools. It's been tested and is ready for use. Comes with a shearling lined, suede leather zippered pouch for the reel. Asking $185, shipping covered in the US.


I purchased this reel from an online dealer who described it having a bit of spotting in the finish from slight corrosion, but he'd claimed to have thoroughly inspected, cleaned and lubricated the reel and spools, and that mechanically, the reel was sound.

Once I had the reel and spools in hand, though, a close look told me that the "slight corrosion" was more widespread, and the cleaning and lubrication that was done was superficial at best. But it was apparent, though, that the reel could be rehabilitated. It had suffered from neglect and the main thing needed was address the corrosion issue.

I stripped the reel of all removable parts - reel foot, line guard, springs, pawls, drag adjustment assembly, plus all of the related screws. I also removed the latch assemblies from the spools so these could be inspected and rehabed if needed. These parts were all placed in a Marvel Mystery Oil bath and I turned my efforts to the frame.

The frame was thoroughly cleaned inside and out with a dose of mild, grease cutting detergent solution (Synthrapol), rinsed, dried, then wiped down with denatured alcohol. Some of the old finish on the frame's exterior came up with this deep cleaning, but I could see that the corrosion was basically superficial - it was apparent the frame's integrity was just fine, including the rivets and spring retainer posts inside. The old finish, though, had to go.

Hours of sanding with 400 grit, then 600 grit wet/dry metal sanding paper, then 00 steel wool, took the old finish off the reel's exterior. The interior finish was still intact so I left it alone. After wiping the frame with a lacquer thinner dampened cloth to remove all of the sanding residue, all the surfaces were again washed with the Synthropol solution, rinsed and thoroughly dried.

I then needed to make a decision - try to match the original finish (some form of baked enamel, I think), or go another direction. Much effort was expended to discover a paint-based re-coating process that could match the old finish, and I even considered powder coating and anodizing. All of the possible re-coating alternatives would have been pretty spendy, and anodizing would require removal and reinstallation of the steel spring retainer and pawl posts, both of which are riveted to the frame. Finally, it was real likely that re-coating or anodizing would end up obscuring the original engraving on the reel. I was not inclined to go that route.

On to Plan B - polish the reel frame using a good aluminum polish then coat the polished surfaces with clear coat. The results are what are shown in the photos. I also included a "before" shot of the frame's exterior which shows the extent to which the original finish had been compromised.

Before.jpg CFO VI Frame Side.jpg CFO VI Line Guard.jpg CFO VI Internal.jpg Before.jpg CFO VI Frame Side.jpg CFO VI Line Guard.jpg CFO VI Internal.jpg
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