How to Refinish a Bamboo Fly Rod

How to Refinish a Bamboo Fly Rod
Whether it is a vintage bamboo fishing rod or your regular, overly used fly rod, sometimes they require refinishing. Maintaining your bamboo fly rod will keep it in working condition for years to come. The process of refinishing is timely. Unless your rod needs a light touch-up, don't expect it to be done in a night. Once finished, you will be fishing with a rod you can be proud of because you did the work yourself.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Razor blade Pencil Masking tape Vice Planer blade 220 grit sandpaper 400-600 grit sandpaper Tru-Oil Jeweler's rouge
  • Razor blade
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Vice
  • Planer blade
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • 400-600 grit sandpaper
  • Tru-Oil
  • Jeweler's rouge
Step 1
Inspect your rod by looking at it closely and running your hand up and down it. Check for any areas where the finish is cracked, chipped or has peeled. You can then decide if a touch-up or complete refinishing to the rod is required.
Step 2
Choose a work area that is free of dust. Make sure your work area has space, is clean and you will not mind if Tru-Oil drips on the area.
Step 3
Measure where each guide is placed on the rod and write it down. Remove the guides with a razor blade. Using a pencil, make a mark on the side of the rod where the guides were attached.
Step 4
Tape the portion of the rod that will be inside of the vice with masking tape. Insert the rod into the vice and tighten to hold the rod in place while you work on it.
Step 5
Remove old varnish by lightly scraping it off with the blade of a plane. Two passes should be enough. Be careful not to cut into the bamboo's fiber. Finish by lightly sanding with 220 grit sandpaper and then 400-600 grit. Do all the above steps starting from the larger end of the rod, working down toward the tip.
Step 6
Dip your fingers into the Tru-Oil and rub into the bamboo. Start at the larger end and work toward the tip. Allow the rod to dry for three hours in a dust-free area. Repeat this step four times and always allow the rod to completely dry before applying a new coat.
Step 7
Rub rubbing compound that is very fine, mixed with water, across the rod after each application of Tru-Oil. Make sure the rod has dried before applying.
Step 8
Finish by using jeweler's rouge to polish the bamboo rod. This will give the rod a glass-like look. Reattach the guides and the bamboo rod is refinished and ready to go fishing.

Article Written By Joyce Starr

Joyce Starr is a professional writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawn care and gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.

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