Heddon restoration project tips...

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by 100daysayear, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. 100daysayear One more victim of the never ending journey.

    Posts: 62
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I am looking to get an old rod back in the rotation and could use a heads up on some standard practices for working on bamboo rods. This is my first rod building/repair/restoration project so be gentle. Here's my initial list of questions:

    1. Can anyone give me an I.D. on the rod? I'm interested in casting it, not selling it, but I do worry that I might be about to do more harm than good to what may be something of value.
    2. I am interested in learning about rod building (not exclusively bamboo) and hope that this will be an opportunity to cut my teeth. However, I am a bit worried that the cost would be prohibitive and I should just save the money for gas to the O.P. Looking at the pictures, what would the projected cost be to replace the missing guides(2) and redo the wraps?
    3. Should I just have someone else do the work? if so, who?

    Finally, if there's someone out there who knows a bit about this stuff and would be willing to help me out, beer's are on me.:beer2:

    Thanks all,


    Attached Files:

  2. Northlake27 Member

    Posts: 102
    Twisp wa, us.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hard to ID from the pictures, can you find a model # or name?

    Heddon's were at the high end of production rods back in the day, they are noted for having excellant performance. If you can repair the wraps you may have a nice rod to fish with.
    There are lots of web sites and books at the library on rod building. They should help you with rewrapping guides. You should be able to find some Persalls silk thread at a fly shop that you can come pretty close to matching the color.

    Other concerns are rod length, under 9 ft is more valuable, are all the sections the same length? Even if you have a short tip the rod could still fish well, just less valuable. Condition of the cane, any repairs or splits? Any chips or gouges should be touched up with varnish before fishing it. If the cork and reel seat are still functional don't mess with them. They are part of the rods Karma. Check the ferrules for tightness, if they are loose on the cane don't fish it, eventually they will break off.

    Fix the loose parts and fish it, you may have a new favorite rod.
  3. 100daysayear One more victim of the never ending journey.

    Posts: 62
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    The rod is a 9' 3 piece w/ an extra tip. I'll be taking it to a shop this week to see about repairs and getting a few new guides.

    Still not too sure I should undertake this project on my own.
  4. Tom Bowden Active Member

    Posts: 450
    Black Diamond, WA
    Ratings: +74 / 3
    The tricky aspects of refinishing a rod like this are straightening the blank and replacing ferrules. If these steps aren't necessary, it's an easy process. Replacing guides on a bamboo rod is actually easier than graphite or fiberglass, since you have a flat surface to work on and don't have to worry about scratching the rod blank. It's a fun project and you can end up with a nice, functional rod.

    Based on the metal reel seat and agate or agatine stripping guide, this looks like an older pre-WWII Heddon that's been re-wrapped and varnished at least once. For identification purposes, you need to find a model number. Heddon used a numbering system for their rods - the higher, the better. Models 10,13 and 14 were lower priced rods sold in hardware stores. The #17 Black Beauty and #20 Stanley Favorite were good quality fly rods, as functional as any on the market at the time. If you run across a Heddon with a model # over 20 (e.g. a model 50 President) you've found a collector's item that should be restored by a professional.

    Let me know if I can help.

  5. ewp313 New Member

    Posts: 3
    williamsburg, kansas
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Ryan, Looks like a very early(1920's) Heddon #20, based on the reel seat, the spiral script, ferrules, what remains of the signature wraps (maroon/yellow tips #20, maroon/jasper #10), #10 wasn't made till 1934, I have one and the NS reel seat is DL, screw and cap, but hard to tell from the pics. The #1 flat on the butt section right below the 2 dd's in Heddon script and above and to the left of the hook keep should have a number. Do all the ferrules fit snugly? The reason I ask is that the mid section from what I could see was either wrapped improperly or it is from another rod. The cane didn't look the same color to me, maybe the light in the photo and I didn't see the ferrules on that section. The main thing is if all the parts are there, no missing parts, tips etc. Go and get a copy of Michael Sinclair's "Bamboo Rod Restoration Handbook", you will learn everything you need to know about how to approach a restoration and learn the right questions to ask from an expert, soon you'll be one. If all the parts are there, you could have an expert clean it up almost like new for $100 or so. If that is a #20 Heddon, cleaning it up would make it worth $350-550. As a fishing tool it would be priceless, once you fish bamboo you're hooked. It is an experience like no other. If you want to learn everything about Heddon rods and their history read Sinclair's book "The rod with the fighting heart". Bamboo rod making is an art and a science that can be approached from many directions, with some surprising results. My best advice is have an expert work on this one, enjoy it. Then buy a low cost Horrocks-Ibbotson, learn and experiment on it . If this is a Heddon it would cost you $100's if you made a mistake or poor restoration decision. Ed
  6. caneangler New Member

    Posts: 2
    Los Angeles
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    If the wraps are maroon and gold, it is likely a #20, but I would like to see the female ferrules and better pics of some undamaged wraps. Unfortunately all the rod restoration books are expensive such as the Fine Bamboo Rod by Stuart Kirkfield and the Bamboo Rod Restoration Handbook by Michael Sinclair, each selling for over $100. So if you just want to restore this one rod, it might not be worth the money buy the books and attempt the restoration yourself.
  7. buffaloman New Member

    Posts: 3
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    What did you do & How did it turn out?
  8. NewTyer1 Banned or Parked

    Posts: 560
    Shenandoah Valley, Virginia
    Ratings: +29 / 1
    Check out Clarks Classic Bamboo Forum and ask questions there also.