Anyone do bamboo re-wrap/refinish?

Discussion in 'Classifieds' started by Ed Call, Jun 1, 2009.

  1. I have collected two older bamboo rods. Neither is mint and both can use some rewrapping and refinishing. Do any of our members here do such work? I thought I would do it myself, but my motivation and life has this pair of rods low on my list of priorities. I do hope to get them into a fishable condition to see what all the hub-bub about bamboo is all about. (Next step find some fiberglass too). Thanks for replies here or via PM.
  2. I have done it once. It's not terribly difficult. Especially if all the hardware is intact, then it's pretty quick. From your description, all you'd need is some outdoor/marine spar varnish, silk tread, and new guides; if you are inclined to replace the guides. You build rods, so I bet you could DIY it. Getting a pro job can be pricey.

    Do you know the make/model of the rods?
  3. Ed,

    I've built, refinished, and finished several bamboo rods. Wrapping guides and varnishing is pretty easy.

    What make of bamboo rods are you talking about? Unless these are expensive rods, you might want to consider doing it yourself when you decide you have the time. If the rods are Horrocks-Ibbotson, Montegue, or similar cheap production rods, it will cost you more to have the work done than the rods are worth.

  4. Ethan and Salmo, one rod is a Horrocks-Ibboston and the other is a South Bend. Neither likely is an expensive rod. I sure did not pay much for them, but even if they are not super rods I think that refinishing them and fishing them is something that appeals to me. You are both right, I should put aside some time and just do it myself. I have built a handful of rods for friends and family and know how to do it. I should just sit down and get it done.
  5. Maybe at the next Kitsap meet-up we can take a look at them.

    The H-I is probably a dog, unless it's a Tonka Queen or Tonka Prince. There are some nice South Bend's floating around, but the majority were pretty much on par with the H-I's. What's the length on them? Something that can be done to improve the action of the less desirable rods (usually 9' 3pc.) is to drop the butt section and build it up as a shorter rod, called a 'banty.' Often these turn out to be pretty sweet little sticks.

    Bamboo restoration is crazy fun, in my opinion. It's just a great experience to give an old rod new life and even better to fish with a quality cane rod that you rebuilt!

    I'd get a positive ID on them before you do much to them, though.

    Here's a thread I started when I was restoring my H-I Governor.
  6. there is a rod making section on here ed, just scroll a little bit past the classifieds
  7. Good point Colton.
  8. Mumbles, do it yourself man. Don't wuss out. Go onto youtube and watch a couple of videos.
    And don't forget to show us some pics.
  9. Cheeze and rice, now I'm taking advice from a naked dude standing in the middle of the river. Just finished my flies for a swap, maybe I'll skip a swap to save the time and put that time onto the rods.
  10. Tom Phillips and Pete Hanson
    These holks are in North carolina but have done beautiful work for me. Tom cut down a
    9' 3 wt to 6' and refinished and you couldn't but this rod. Tell the Brock sent you.

    Good Luck

  11. Thanks to all for the posted and PM help. You've all rekindled my intereste in these two bamboo rods sitting in my quiver.
  12. I took some time to check out these two rods again. The H-I is fully intact and only a part of one decal is missing. It is an Ike Walton 8'6" 3pc (plus spare tip) labelled with no information other that that and "Genuine Tonkin Cane". Downlocking reel seat and check this out, plastic still on the handle. This is a mid flexing rod that is begging to be fished. Based on the decal on this rod one site dates it to be between 1939 and 1950, pretty cool whether nice or crap.

    The South Bend is a 323-9' 3pc (also with extra tip) further labelled HDH or D. This one has the lower two of the four middle section snake guides missing. Uplocking reel seat. This one has more of a low tip flex and feels much stiffer.

    I also have a JC Higgins 311-3115 reel with some somewhat sticky medium brown fly line that appears to be some sort of braided material.

    All cool, no idea of any value, but it was cheap for me to pick up and I'll look further into what lines might cast decent with them and getting them repaired.
  13. The H-I is a rather cheap model, if I'm not mistaken. However, you might have something there with the South Bend 323. The HDH and D are old silk line ratings. So you've got a nice 6 wt. there. Pretty typical of the era; most rods were 6-7 wt. for all around fishing. The South Bend is definitely worthy of more inspection, I only have mediocre knowledge of bamboo.

    Try Clark's Classic Fly Rod Forum for more info, those guys know their stuff.
  14. It sounds like you might also have an old silk line on the reel. The sticky, gummy stuff is most likely the old line dressing to help it float. If it is silk and not damaged it can be reconditioned and fished again, and again...


    I love SB bamboo, a blue-collar grass stick. I have a #359-9 for a 6wt. These 300 series rods were designed as trout rods, I just have to get mine sent out to get straightened and re-ferruled.
  15. I have a 359, 8 1/2ft. Its a solid 5wt. Its a great rod. Don't draw any preconceived notions based on hearsay about that H-I either. It may also be a good fishing rod

    Here is an article on how to recondition that silk line. Its really easy.
    Also an article on silk lines in general.

    You really should do yourself a big favor and use that line. Your rods made for it.

  16. Thanks again all, and Tim, great resource links. I'm going to fish that H-I, maybe as soon as tomorrow with a conventional line. I'm not concerned with what it is worth but more want to know if it fishes well enough to make an outing more fun than sitting in the cubicle of confinement that has held me too long. I'm gonna start with a 4 or 5 wt line to see how they load, this rod seems to have a pretty smooth flex but is far less firm than the South Bend.

    When I can make some time I'll give refinishing that line a shot and gettign some snake guides replaced on the South Bend and trying it out.
  17. There was a guy in Edmonds that was building bamboo rods from scrach- and refinishing old rods-

    I believe his name is Ray Gould?

    However I may be mistaken.

    It was 10 years ago that I used him- He dose beautiful work- seems like I recall he fished BC alot. Had a very nice shop, in his basement.
  18. Ed, I looked up the South Bend 323 in Michael Sinclair's Bamboo Rod Restoration Handbook. It was one of their top-of-the line rods, and one that would definitely be worth refinishing or restoring as a fishing rod. If you need some help with ferrules or straightening sections, let me know. Just out of curiosity, does your rod have a "comficient grip" with grooves and a thumb rest? These are really cool.

    Like Scott and Tim, I've always admired South Bends. I have a 9' SB 359, probably like Scott's, that I picked up at a pawn shop a few years ago for $15 and refinished. It's a nice 6wt for casting middle distances. I once owned a 7-1/2' 290, which I think was one one of the best production rods ever made.

  19. Thanks Jasony, I'll do some searching.

    Tom, yes, this south bend does have the comficient grip with the groves around the handle and the thumb rest indentation. As I get more time to look into what that rod needs to get back in service I'll let you know. Maybe since it was one of their top of the line models I should consider having someone much more skilled than I work it back into shape. Thanks.

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