The reel seat was the last to go, but when it did it meant the rod was unusable. No way of fixing the rod seat, other than taking the whole lot off and putting a new handle on. If I was going to do this, I figured I might as well do up the whole rod. That way I could put some decent EVA handles on the rod (sea kayak fishing is just too rough on cork), some better rings and polish up my whipping skills. I can whip a ring on fine, but I have always fancied doing something a bit more interesting than a straightforward single colour wrap.
First job is to get rid of the old handle and reel seat. In my previous blog posting, you'll remember how damaged the reel seat was:
|If you click on these images to look closely, you can see how the lining of the hood on the reel seat has dropped out, the cork is full of holes and the rings are in a poor state with salt clearly getting in at the top.|
|The brass knob was added to stop the bare blank catching on my jacket and developing cracks. The 20lb braid whipping then prevented the blank wall from cracking further.|
First task was to remove that handle. I set to work with an old knife, cutting away the cork to reveal a truly horrible mess of old epoxy resin underneath. True to rumours, the reel seat arbour was just a single ring of masking tape. Expected a little better from Orvis but there you go. Can't say the arbour failed, it was more the quality of the Fuji reel seat itself. Anyhow, modern epoxy sets like concrete. I had to literally cut and rip the real seat from the blank using both the knife and a set of pliers.
But once you've got it off, you're then left with thick ridges of impregnable epoxy, mixed with some filler (sawdust? metal filings?). This stuff took some getting off the blank, even with a strong sharp knife. Where it didn't bond properly, and you could get under it, it would lift off the blank quite easily. Where the bond was good, it was hell to get off. Very easy to damage the blank at this point.
rodbuilder.org that you can apply a hair dryer (you own one?!) to this stuff and it will soften sufficiently to be peeled off with a thumbnail. Mmmm. Well, after much careful scraping and so on, I got as close to the bare blank as I was prepared to go with the knife. From this point on, it was fine grade wet-and-dry.
|Damage to varnish should make this pretty easy.|
|Just knick the thread under the reel foot and then peel it back.|
|The wrap will pop off quite easily, but you're still left with some high build to remove.|
|8lb mono, used to whip a broken tip eye while sat on my kayak. Ok, the kayak itself was sat on the beach, but still...|
You're finished blank will be nice and smooth, probably pale grey, with no traces of the original varnish left. This might expose some rather obvious, even worrying joins in the carbon fibre cloth used to make the blank. Although there are unsightly (not the sort of thing I'd expect on an Orvis blank) I don't think any of them affect the blanks strength.
However, given what they look like, I'm tempted to cover them up using paint or perhaps something similar to the heavily tinted green varnish that was used on the original blank. But no sooner do I start thinking about possible colours, than I realise that could be a serious time waster!! Maybe best to stick plain black plus highlights. Even that has so many options. Metallic thread or traditional, skeleton seat or pipe, pipe with insert, trim rings, etc. etc.
Maybe this is something to do over Christmas in front of the fire!
Tight lines to those still fishing.