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Fishing/shakespeare casting rod 6 ft 3 piece


rod is 3 piece - 1st is the handle - 2nd is 18" piece with no eyelets - 3rd has 5 eyelets.  Pat. no. on handle is 2260204.  the rod appears to have some kind of clear coating that has yellowed/worn away over the years.  what type of clear coating can i use to protect the rod itself, the thread eyelet wrappings, and the decal? (only the "shakespeare wonderod" decal remains - the other decal has worn away-i can just make out the - 6' 0") my dad used to treat the eyelet wrappings with clear nail polish but i don't ever remember him coating an entire rod. thank you for your help.

Hello Tom! Thanks for the question.

The Wonderod! Man, I have worked on a bunch of those bad boys! But you have a Travel Rod...the 3 piece rods were not as common as the two piece versions. I wish you had sent along a nice jpeg image or two.

Chances are good that the thread color, produced by Gudebrod (now out of business)is still available at a good tackle shop. They also produced the rod varnish that was likely used by Shakespeare to finish the thread.

The products used now are far superior to the old days but I still use the old stuff for restorations. Problem is, it's getting hard to find.

As for the thread...match the color...there are two types and multiple sizes of thread.

Use Size "A" for the best result on most freshwater and fly rods (size C and D are thicker and the strands are more visible when you are done with the finish).

Then there are two types of thread...standard and NCP or "no color preserver". Standard thread will turn darker and translucent as the finish is applied... (you'll see color, other thread colors, details and mistakes as the finish causes the thread to become nearly transparent). NCP remains opaque and changes very little in color...typically does not allow you to see color underneath and it also resists fading. I use color preserver on both types as a thread sealer before applying the top coat on both types of thread. Just remember on standard thread, color preserver will not completely prevent the thread from becoming a bit translucent.

Now for the finish on the thread...the new types like Flex-Coat are high build polymers that are two-part and require application with the rod on a rotisserie because they are self leveling and are best left turning over night...more than one coat will give the best result with two thinner coats being better than one thick. Use thread sealer or color preserver and allow this to dry before you add any other finish. For the most traditional look (if you cannot find Gudebrod varnish) try LumiSeal or Rod Dancer from Jann's Netcraft... these will be easier to use and can be applied in multiple thin coats so you can avoid buying or MacGyvering a rotisserie. Again, use a sealer or color preserver on the new wraps first. It makes a world of difference in the finished product.

As for refinishing the rod itself, ON AN OLD JUNK ROD, try thinning Flex Coat with a volatile (therefore flammable and dangerous)thinner like acetone or MEK and testing the finish may get a very good result. The previous product by Gudebrod...442 was pretty good but now unavailable. I've had good success thinning the Flex-Coat with MEK (this stuff causes cancer...BE CAREFUL and use gloves in a VERY well ventilated area). NetCraft has the Lumiseal and that would be my next choice to try. I have not yet done so. Again, try it on a junk rod first.

A couple of tips: Use 600 or 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove the old varnish on the rod shaft. Then, before you apply any finish, put on some gloves, get in a well ventilated area, grab a clean cloth and clean the shaft with acetone to assure adhesion and no "birds-eyes" or spots where the finish would not adhere.

If you choose to do a complete re-wrap, be certain to remove all of the thread and old varnish from the rod. use a sharp single edge razor blade to shave the thread off the guide feet and then peel it off by hand...being VERY careful not to nick the fiberglass rod...a nick will cause the shaft to break as soon as you flex the rod again...most likely just after you hook the biggest fish of your life!

Tom, there are a host of books and how-to's if you elect to do a complete refinish and wrap and Janns has a few good ones. (There are other companies out there selling all of this stuff but Janns has been at it forever and have good customer service...) But if you need any additional help, ask me all the questions you'd like...I'd be happy to coach you through it!

Hope this helps you get a start!

Le'me know how it goes!

Thanks again for the question!

- Mark


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Mark Rimmer


I have been actively fishing for forty-five years! For nearly 15 of those years I was able to fish nearly 200 days per year. Those wonderful days have left me with a plethora of knowledge to share. I have fished from the Marianas of the Pacific to the quiet tidewaters of Virginia and North Carolina, Antigua the gulf coast of Texas and many places in between. My home waters are those of the west. I am passionate about bass fishing, tournament as well as recreational. In addition, I am well versed in fishing for most other species...(Okay, although interesting, I'm not an expert on British or European style competitive carp fishing...chumming with a slingshot anyone?). I am intimately acquainted with the San Diego County Lakes, Diamond Valley reservoir in Riverside County California and numerous other exciting fishing waters from Texas (Travis County) to the Pacific Coast and south to Cabo San Lucas. I have many years of experience in blue-water as well as inshore angling of all types in Southern California with both artificial and live baits; high country fishing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of my beloved Golden State with nothing but a backpack and a fly-rod. There are still a lifetime of adventures to undertake, together with my lovely wife, Christine. I am an expert rod smith and have vast experience with both the construction and repair all types of rods including split bamboo (new or vintage) and hickory as well as graphite, boron composites and all types of fiberglass. I spent 20 years in the retail business of which 6 were spent owning and operating a successful tackle shop, specializing in custom rod making, rod and reel repairs and a full scale tackle selection. Uncommon topics I love to discuss: Fisheries Management; Tackle Shop/ retail management; Ethics and responsibilities of anglers; Repair and maintenance of rods/reels; "How to"...any topic in fishing.


I took a few years off,(5 to be exact) from answering questions for but I'm back now! My experience? Forty-Five years of bio-observation, fishing numerous types of waters with virtually every type of tackle: Casting, Fly, Spinning, Offshore/blue-water, Coastal, Surf, Tournaments: ( Bass, Local Saltwater), Alpine lakes/streams, ditches, canals, sloughs, marshes, creeks and swamps; if there is water, I usually throw a cast or two. Tackle Shop ownership and management, Expert Custom Rod Construction and repair (Big-game, Long-range stand-up, Live bait, jig sticks, Casting, Spinning and fly- including split-cane). I have personally constructed over 700 custom rods of all types...nearly half of the rods the shop turned out. I also have performed hundreds of reel repairs of all types- antique to modern. I do not typically offer valuation of tackle. This is very difficult without inspecting the tackle first hand and leaving valuation far to subjective. I will be happy to offer other experts for placing a value on your tackle.

NRA forever...(Gun rights...Guns and fishing rods belong together right?), belonged to BASS for most of my life but keep forgetting to renew. I like Trout Unlimited but again, keep forgetting to renew...gotta more tank of gas and some fresh line...or memberships? Hmmm.

None yet...why aren't they chasing me?

"Roads" Scholar. Life-long independent study of fisheries biology, ichthyology, aquatic/marine biology, ecosystems, angling techniques and observations of animals, fish and humans: both smart guys and knuckleheads.

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Self-Proclaimed tackleshop of the year! The California Tackle Box- Oceanside, Ca.

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