How do you inspect a classic rod?

This board is for discussing the collecting of bamboo fly rods, both classic and modern. Remember that respect and civility is the goal of this board.

Moderator: TheMontyMan

Post Reply
Ear4
Guide
Posts: 345
Joined: 02/09/13 20:15

How do you inspect a classic rod?

#1

Post by Ear4 »

Here is the scenario: you have a classic rod in front of you. Other than casting it, checking to see if the thread colors match each other, and to pictures of what known original rods, and the same for hardware, what do you look for?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

User avatar
andre49
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1627
Joined: 06/04/05 18:00
Location: Lambertville, NJ
Contact:

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#2

Post by andre49 »

I always check to see are all pieces same length and is rod length what it should be. I also run my fingers along all flats for length of rod looking for clear wraps dings etc. When not doing this I have found clear wraps years later. Check ferrules for fit and stability and look for fraying or loose wraps. I look for ghost markings on rod as well. I have seen rods advertised as “original” that clearly had ghost marking on rod.
Andre

User avatar
Hellmtflies
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 7321
Joined: 01/14/12 10:27
Location: Bozeman, Montana

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#3

Post by Hellmtflies »

Look down the rod sections towards a window to check for sets etc. Then I place both tips standing, male ferrules flat on the table, to see if the guides are in sequence and that both tips are the same length. I also look closely for over wraps , step down in varnish, glues lines, has the cork been cleaned etc. etc. etc. Way too much fraudulent activity out there.

Tommasini
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1009
Joined: 10/17/14 16:11

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#4

Post by Tommasini »

What's wrong with cleaning the cork?

User avatar
TSPEYFLY
Master Guide
Posts: 575
Joined: 12/07/05 19:00

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#5

Post by TSPEYFLY »

I usually inspect the rod closely for the details already mentioned above, and then I wait a day or two to re-inspect and it's surprised me that i would find things after the first inspection.
There's nothing wrong with cleaning the cork on the rods as long as it is noted if selling.
I use wet or dry 1500 grit sand paper with soap and water, and lose nothing of the original shape. And maybe take a few thousandths' off. I've used every other method in attempts to clean a grip and came up with this method, which I've found to be the most effective and efficient method.

Image

Image

Image

User avatar
Brian K. Shaffer
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2898
Joined: 03/03/06 19:00
Location: Branson, MO
Contact:

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#6

Post by Brian K. Shaffer »

That tip about running your hands down the length of the sections sounds like the best dead on way to tell if anything is amiss.
" There's no such thing as a fly fisherman wholly satisfied with his casting performance. " ~ Jim Green (1971)
" Just once I wish a trout would wink at me. " ~ Brian Shaffer

A good days casting is what you need. ;)

User avatar
archer829
Guide
Posts: 176
Joined: 07/31/19 12:35

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#7

Post by archer829 »

I like to look at the place where the original varnish overlaps the ferrules to make sure there isn't a different, second varnish line on the ferrule indicating an overcoat of varnish. Sometimes it can be very, very subtle....

Check to be sure the wrapping at each ferrule matches the color of the wrapping on the guides exactly.

Also make sure the wraps on both tips are in relatively the same place.

Make sure the condition of the rod, bag, and tube are all about the same. Although there are probably legitimate exceptions, I get suspicious when the rod is perfect shape but the tube and/or bag is in rough shape.

Also, it's kind of crazy how many "unfished" W&M Granger rods-even ones with wrappers still on the handle--have little hook holes on the reel seat end of the cork, if you look closely. (But these can be easy to confuse with natural imperfections in the cork.)

User avatar
beach caster
Guide
Posts: 266
Joined: 02/05/10 19:00
Location: Vancouver Island BC

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#8

Post by beach caster »

andre49 wrote:
11/14/21 12:01
I always check to see are all pieces same length and is rod length what it should be. I also run my fingers along all flats for length of rod looking for clear wraps dings etc. When not doing this I have found clear wraps years later. Check ferrules for fit and stability and look for fraying or loose wraps. I look for ghost markings on rod as well. I have seen rods advertised as “original” that clearly had ghost marking on rod.
Andre
Hardy tips are shorter than the mids, and butt section. Made that way…

User avatar
carl otto
Master Guide
Posts: 595
Joined: 01/31/10 19:00

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#9

Post by carl otto »

The first question I would ask you is, Towards what purpose are you inspecting the rod for. Are you collecting? Serious collector or not? Are you collecting and fishing or, are you looking for just a good fishing rod? All of these would narrow the scope of what to look for. Then I would ask, at what level is your expertise/knowledge, because there are things some people find on a rod that annoy them to a point they would not even consider purchasing it, where many other people would shrug there shoulders and say, this rod has lived a good life, sell it to me so I can continue its adventures.

As an eaxmple without getting into minutia; You find a Heddon Model 17 Black Beauty, 8'6", 2F: If you are serious collector you would probably want it to be from their best period of manufacture, original period specific labeled tube with functional cap, undamaged in any way. Original period specific bag with legible intact hang tag fully filled out. Bright shiny varnished rod, all sections full length, no marks on it anywhere, wraps bright and unstained, ferrules perfectly blacked, cane straight. A lay collector would want the above, but the rod could show some use and maybe the tag lettering is a little faded or worn and the tube showing some honest finish wear. If it is to just go fishing with, the tube can be banged up and finish worn, label missing, the bag may have lost its tag, the rod has a discolored grip and the wraps show a little water penetration, while the ferrule enamel would be chipped and maybe the components are not all period specific.

Of course in all cases knowing the fraudulent things to smoke out a fake is important.

A faked over Heddon, might be some one took a Model 14 or lesser, rewrapped it to look like a #17, but not change the reel seat, or number of guides, tube not the correct length, the tag overwritten (the original ink can fade to a point one could write their own fake information on it). etc.

So what are inspecting the rod for?

Carl

Ear4
Guide
Posts: 345
Joined: 02/09/13 20:15

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#10

Post by Ear4 »

Thanks everyone for their thoughts.

To answer the question of what I am looking for, I would say I am in the fishing / mild collector camp. I think there is something special about an original vs a clone and I am totally fine with some honest wear but want to avoid surprises. Hence my question of what people look for.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

User avatar
Flyman615
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 6087
Joined: 12/21/04 19:00
Location: Black Hills, South Dakota
Contact:

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#11

Post by Flyman615 »

Brian K. Shaffer wrote:
11/14/21 18:50
That tip about running your hands down the length of the sections sounds like the best dead on way to tell if anything is amiss.
Right on, Brian!

Scott
Flyman615

"An undisturbed river is as perfect as we will ever know, every refractive slide of cold water a glimpse of eternity" - Thomas McGuane

PYochim
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 5609
Joined: 12/23/07 19:00
Location: Sheridan, Wyoming

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#12

Post by PYochim »

Tommasini wrote:
11/14/21 14:15
What's wrong with cleaning the cork?
I wondered that, too.

User avatar
Seabowisha Salmo T
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1008
Joined: 01/15/07 19:00

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#13

Post by Seabowisha Salmo T »

PYochim wrote:
11/16/21 14:59
Tommasini wrote:
11/14/21 14:15
What's wrong with cleaning the cork?
I wondered that, too.
hello pyochim;

nothing except washing the karma down the drain. not cleaning the cork seems a little too obsessive. overcleaning in my opinion is bad cess.

regards, jim w

Santafecino
Guide
Posts: 219
Joined: 07/11/12 15:04

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#14

Post by Santafecino »

Good discussion.

How do you tell whether wraps have been redone? Revarnished?

--Santafecino

User avatar
Flykuni3
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 2765
Joined: 12/21/11 14:11
Location: California

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#15

Post by Flykuni3 »

I may be a little different than most, because I put the rod together and flex it. Even before a thorough exam. It's mostly about the feel for me.

Then I'll look for sets as it's together, then take it apart and examine closely. All aspects. I do this because if I like the rod then I can say to myself, okay, needs this or that, quick estimate on cost of repair clicking in my brain, can it be rescued or rejected, kept or returned, how far am I willing to go if I like the stick's action, feel, vibe and history. But, there are always variances, quick story: I bought a Divine Fairy from a site that needed major work, and instead of looking at it, I had it sent straight to Mike Sinclair. (I had seen but one Fairy before, and I must have been so impressed).) I was glad to have snagged it, despite the work it needed. It came to me after a few months and it is absolutely a stunner. And it fishes a DT3 beautifully.

I think if you have bought a rod with issues, then you will probably open the case and look immediately for the issue. Seems to me that a lot of rods are very well described, either by description or by phone call. It's the internet stranger-seller you have to be wary of.

NewUtahCaneAngler
Bamboo Fanatic
Posts: 1812
Joined: 01/22/17 17:05
Location: Utah

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#16

Post by NewUtahCaneAngler »

Like Darrel, I assemble the rod after cleaning out the females with just a clean Q-tip and the males with a cotton cloth. Then waggle it to feel for hinges, which indicate that a ferrule needs to be reset. I also give each guide a bit of a wiggle to see if any are loose. Then, I move on to visual inspections. I don't see any reason to state that the cork has been cleaned or not as this will be fairly obvious to anyone who has handled a new rod and one that has been fished. The bag and tube should match the condition of the rod. I also measure the sections. Twice I've purchased and returned rods which were advertised to be 6" shorter than the rod as delivered.

User avatar
Sal Fontinalis
Master Guide
Posts: 875
Joined: 11/26/06 19:00
Location: Boise, ID

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#17

Post by Sal Fontinalis »

I do all of the above but also use a desktop magnifying lamp to check each section for scarfs, open seams and node cracks.

Like Kuni, I wiggle first to determine how vested I am going to be in the rod.

User avatar
CMcDowell
Guide
Posts: 122
Joined: 12/21/11 14:58
Location: Oregon

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#18

Post by CMcDowell »

In addition to what has alread been said:

If I'm evaluating the quality of an unmarked rod, I look for nickel silver ferrules and a higher number of line guides: 9+ guides on an 8' rod etc. (including tiptop and stripper). It's also good to be educated in the unique features of certain rods in cases where the script is gone, or a defining component, such as a real seat, has been replaced. For example, I consider 3x3 node spacing as a defining characteristic where applicable: rods made by Granger, Phillipson, Leonard, and Hardy. Also, if the butt and mid are 3x3, yet one or both of the tip section have a random node pattern, then I would not consider the tips as original. Variation in bamboo tone/color between the various sections is also a tell in determining originally mated sections.

In terms of condition, I'd look for cracks in the bamboo (sometimes difficult to see on dirty or taped-up rods). Even if the wraps and finish are sound, if the guides are corroded, you'll likely need to replace them. Resilient bamboo is also a sign of quality and/or modest use. Testing that the bamboo fiber's memory, when reasonably flexed, returns to it's original plane.

bob2935
Master Guide
Posts: 944
Joined: 12/21/04 19:00

Re: How do you inspect a classic rod?

#19

Post by bob2935 »

What I find most common with sellers of classic cane is claiming that the cane is totally original which often is not true. The first thing I ask is "is all the cane original". For years some of the top rod restorers used a blank company in England (forgot the name but they just went out of business) that could match all the classic Payne and Leonard tapers down to the specs and their work was really nice. Some of the other top builders just built the replacement tips to specs and could match the shade to perfection. The problem is that new cane is always stronger than the original cane and when cast I can always identify the newer tips. I'm all for new replacement tips but you should state that. For example one of my favorite all time Catskill builder made a new tip for an older Leonard from the 40's and there is no way could see the difference in the new tip. However when you cast it the new tip was stronger. I sold the rod with that information disclosed. Wish I had it back. I would be especially careful with Payne's as I have seen many with new post manufactured tips that were claimed to be all original cane. There is a great deal of deception with the older classics and especially with Payne's. Would rather give my money to the current group of builders for that reason plus most of the current builders are not that busy.

Bohemian Bob

Post Reply

Return to “Collecting Bamboo Fly Rods”