You are here:

Fishing/Restoring Vintage Hardy Saltwater Rod



I am looking for advice on restoring a vintage Hardy saltwater rod. I have no idea what it costs to pay a professional to restore a rod, but I am guessing that unless the rod has some value, sentimental or otherwise, it probably doesn't pay. I have posted pictures of the rod at:

It appears to have been a custom rod presented to a member of the old Santa Monica Rod and Reel Club, back in 1936. It is difficult to make out the individual's name, but it is inscribed above the reel seat. The pictures I believe are clear enough to show the engraving on the butt cap, and on the reel seat. The number on the butt cap matches the number on the reel seat. When I found the rod, it was mated to a Pflueger Adams saltwater reel.
The rod must have been stored in a very hot environment, because the original finish has "cracked". The rod also has a nasty bend in it. All the guides and guide wraps are in good original condition. The rod is 7' long. Can you tell me the approximate value of the rod, and about how much it would cost to restore? Any guidance you can give me will be greatly appreciated.


Average charge is 30 per section, to up 200 per on your rod.
What has to be done is strip off old finish , rewrap the rod , straighten sets . polish & clean metal and apply new finish (dip or spray).
How do you know it is salt water ?
Your serial number is E9263?, is missing a digit can't read. If 1936 then E35278 to E38798. I have a DVD I bought from ebay and it used to be on the Canadian Hardy web site. I have confirmed it with experience and other rod owners. I have seen a lot of custom rods from Hardy - they probably offered a custom label for a little bit more.
Sets happen when rods are used. But you have a good point about storage. Make sure it is in a cool dry place stored horizontally.
It is not jumping out at me as worth thousands, because it is not a bamboo fly rod. Fly rods have books written, auctions etc. Salt water and spinning bamboo rods are hard to sell. I have gotten better money , leaving them unfinished and selling to restaurants as wall hangers.
If you contact others gibe them length , number of pieces , placement of reels and handle . I am assuming your rod has a handle first before reel seat or could be 2 handles both above and below the reel.  

Maybe $50 but you might check with Jeff “Gnome” Hatton of Gnomish Rod Works  Paonia, CO e-mail
He knows rods before 1930 a whole lot more than me.
He has written a great book "Rod Crafting A Full-Color Pictorial & Written History from 1843-1960 " which I own and has allot of wooden rods in it and he knows these really old rods pretty well.  If you contact him tell him Mac from Denver sent you.  


Please provide feedback, nominations are appreciated.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thank you very much for the detailed answer.  The serial number is definitely E9259, with no other digits.  It is engraved both on the buttcap and the reel seat.  I assumed it was a saltwater rod because it is heavy weight, had a saltwater reel on it, and the Santa Monica Rod and Reel Club, based on what little I could find out about them, were focused on big game saltwater fishing.  None of this probably makes much difference, if in deed, there isn't much value in the rod.  

I used to do a lot of furniture refinishing back in my younger days.  Once in awhile I would find a nice piece where the varnish had gotten old, but otherwise, the piece was in good shape.  I'd take a piece of fine steel wool and lightly go over it with the appropriate solvent.  This would take the cracks out of the finish.  Then I would let it dry, then oil it.  This method was much easier than stripping down to bare wood, and maintained the color, albeit a little lighter, of the original finish.  Do you think this method would work on a rod?


I would not do that or even consider it. I have done furniture too and know what you mean. I think you would not be able to remove finish from wraps and maintain the wraps. But if you try let me know how it went.
Use cotton sticks and try to maintain all lettering and decals.
I agree with you evaluation , it is probably a sea or boat rod.
check out how to dip a rod on my website:
specifically :

Please provide feedback, nominations are appreciated.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Rich Mac McGaughey


I can answer questions on graphite fly rod building and bamboo rod restoration and making. I can guide people to restorers . I can guide people to rod building components on the internet as well as catalog. I can help them identify and value their bamboo fly rods with a picture .

If you are asking for the id of an old rod

please give a complete description send pictures especially labels or logos with detailed thorough description** to me and a complete including as much the following as you can: Is it? fly or casting rod ? Reel seat is below or above the cork handle ? Check metal for id and patents ? What is it made of; bamboo ( flat sided) fiberglass or graphite ( round)? Weight in oz? What is the diameter of the rod above the cork? Where was it purchased ? What type of metal nickel-silver, tin, or chrome platted brass? A complete description of any logos or labels. Length of rod per section and number of sections. Total rod length.

Please read the following if the rod has either of the following two labels

Montague or H-I (Horrocks-Ibbotson).

They are looked down upon by the collecting community and often they are justified. They were mass produced , rather heavy and very slow. They are not going to resale for very much.

Two books are available at larger libraries to get history and or value:
Antique & Collectable Fishing Rods: Identification & Value Guide Homel, Dan. 1997
Bamboo Rod Restoration Handbook -Michael Sinclair

Commission Sales

Because of my knowledge I can help you sell and get a good price for your vintage bamboo fly rod. email email Mac


I have been restoring bamboo fly rods for 15 years and making graphite for 17 .

website = click home page

**example of a thorough description of a label: The Shakespeare decal is olive green ovals with gold foil banner bearing the word "Shakespeare" in script. The remainder of the of the lettering is block style reading on top Honor Built and on the bottom of oval , Made in USA. The writing is away from the grip.

©2017 All rights reserved.