New Project - Granger Aristocrat 8040


Active Member
I lucked across a perfect project for this winter, a Wright McGill Granger Aristocrat 8040. 8' 3-piece rod with two tips. This is one of those rods that I'm always on the hunt for. A classic, mid/good quality rod that is famous for its taper and casting abilities. And this is my favorite Granger grade with the beautiful Aristocrat style wraps.

The rod has the bones to be a great rod (full length and straight cane with no damages or repairs) but also has some things needing attention, including:

Replace an odd replacement reel seat with an original W&M Granger silver nickle uplocking seat. I've source one and am in the process of the replacement. The old seat came off nicely last night using a heat gun...the butt cap came off with a loud "POP!" and nearly put a dent in my car in the garage. The rest of the old aluminum seat slid off after another couple minutes' heating. The W&M Granger seat is fitted and ready for gluing.

Four wraps had been replaced. They had used the correct Rice's Tan thread, but the color match is very poor at this point and they stick out like a sore thumb. Aristocrat wraps are notoriously challenging to color match. They varied over time and many have a golden/orange/amber color, not the medium bronze that the Rice's thread shows under normal color preserving or other coverings. The trick is to color preserve the Rice's to keep it from darkening from the varnish, then give it the warm golden/orange/amber hue using amber shellac before finishing with the varnish. I'm worried about this part and hope I get at least a 98% match.

Lastly, the rod has a poor overcoat of varnish with a few glaring "globs" and streaks. There was also a non-original hookkeeper added which I've removed leaving two lowered rough areas in the varnish near the cork handle. The varnish overall needs to be carefully sanded smooth and re-dipped. This is going to be the most time consuming part. But with patience and reminders to myself to "do no damage" I'm hopeful it will come out well.

Here are some pics, BEFORE:

Greg Armstrong

Very nice rod. It's always nice to find one that's been on your radar. I found an 8040 for myself. It's a lowly "Victory" grade, but it still catches fish from time to time.
I have to wonder how/why someone would have replaced the original reel seat on that rod?
It's good you're taking it back to original. It deserves it!


Active Member

Very nice find. The 8040 is arguably the finest rod in Grangers line of very fine rods.

Thread color and patina is going to be challenging and I’m looking foreword to seeing how you proceed.



Active Member
So far I'm nailing the wraps color. Maybe 100% match to the originals. I'm very pleased. The seat worked out great. Dealing with the poor overcoat of varnish is a longer process and challenging to get right. And there is still risk of bleed in re-dipping when I reach that point.

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