Home Recipes for Fly Rod Repair and Maintenance: How many times have you sat back during the height of cabin fever looking at your equipment only to find that a guide has worn out or the cork is pitted. Do not despair; there are remedies for all these unfortunate cares.
Take note however that all these little nicks and hidden imperfections also give your fly rod character, so sleep on it a night before you ruin the memory of your favorite fly fishing outing and commit to bringing your fly rod back to its original condition.
Loose guide or loose tip top:
It is important to mention that this repair is for a guide that is only loose not missing. Mix up some 5-minute epoxy and apply the epoxy to the thread wraps using a crowshea needle. After applying the epoxy add some heat to the epoxy using an alcohol burner. This type of burner does not leave any residue. Add some heat to the guide by passing it under the guide in short waves. You will see the bubbles come out of the epoxy and begin to drip off. Remove the excess epoxy with the needle and spin the section slowly to assure round curing. For a loose tip top. Heat up the top and pull it off if it is not already removed. Mix up some 5-minute epoxy and put some epoxy in the tip top with a small needle. Try to fill it half way. Push the tip top back on and hold it until it is cured.
This used to be more of a problem than it is today, simply because more and more people are using their hook keeper and most fly rod manufacturers are building rods with them as a standard. There are a few things you can do to repair those chips and scrapes. Filing cork is simply mixing up some 5-minute epoxy and cork dust. You can get cork dust from sanding the cork preliminary to filling the cracks and scrapes. I would recommend that you use a sand paper with 120 grit. Sand down the cork so that it cleans up, this will leave a good clean surface and remove any filler that would have fell out in the next outing. Next, mix the epoxy 1 to 1. After mixing the epoxy add some cork dust to the middle of the mixture, mix from the outside in, kind of like kneading doe. You should get to a consistency of play doe or to a point where the epoxy is one big ball. Fill in the scrapes and holes with something flat, like a small spatula. The one I use is about _ inch wide. Fill the cork and remove as much excess as possible and wipe the areas with a rag that got covered and didn't need to. It is important to be as neat as possible. After the epoxy has dried for about two hours, sand the areas with a foam sanding block used for sculptured nails, this works the best. Remember to sand the entire grip because the old 120 grit should have left the cork a little ruff. If you managed to get some epoxy on the blank, you can clean it with acetone.
Cork is a natural substance, so any potent chemicals can actually break down the cork and cause more problems than they are worth. Start with straight water, if anything add a little mild soap, but I do not think it is even necessary. Run the cork under the faucet and clean with your hand first, be careful not to scrape it or put too much pressure on the cork itself as you can remove the filler. Find the finest steel wool you have and lightly wash the cork. It is a good idea to cover the blank with masking tape so that if you slip, you do not mar the finish on the graphite. Remove the mask after you have finished cleaning the cork. If you do not have any steel wool try the foam sanding blocks used for sculptured nails, if you do not know what this is, just ask someone at the drug store. After cleaning the cork under the faucet, simply let it dry, it will look good as new. Note: a clean cork handle is softer and will not ware down as quickly as a dirty grip.
This is sometimes the hardest thing to fix. The easiest way is to find where the cork is loose and epoxy it the best you can. Remember, epoxy breaks down with heat so if you have a crack or gap near the winding check you can heat the epoxy slightly so it will get sucked into the crack via capillary action since the viscosity will be more like water. You will have to try to separate the winding check (the ring above the cork) in order to get a good bond, it is loose this is not a problem, otherwise there is no real easy way to do this other than to be very careful. Otherwise, find a good way to epoxy it without making a mess it. Be very careful with the heat, as it can soften the bonding agent in the graphite itself and ruin the rod.
Loose reel seat:
Heat the reel seat carefully, if it is all metal you do not need to worry, if it has wood in it be careful as you have to heat the wood a little but do not burn it. It is very important that you us an alcohol burner otherwise you will leave burn residue on the reel seat and ruin it. Heat up the seat and pull it off with a towel or oven mitt, as it will be very hot. You are trying to make the epoxy break down inside the reel seat. Pull off the seat and clean the blank. You may have to re-wrap the blank with masking tape to make up the gap from the old filler. Stagger the tape wraps so there is room for the epoxy to flow around the entire contact area of the reel seat. To put the seat back on, apply 5-minute epoxy inside the reel seat and push the seat back on spinning the seat as you push it on. Hold it until it tacks up, as you can get an air pocket that will attempt to push the seat back off. Dull finish on blank: The best way to shine up your dirty dull blank, clean the graphite and polish it up with furniture polish. Buff up the blank until you get a bright luster. Do not rub it too hard, as this will create heat and could soften the finish and or epoxy on the thread wraps.
Tacky rod wrappings:
Sticky rod wrappings are caused from epoxy that was mixed incorrectly or cured in humid conditions.
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