Old fishing rod handles

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Forum topic by John Harris posted 09-10-2013 01:40 AM 1229 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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John Harris

59 posts in 3069 days

09-10-2013 01:40 AM

I could use some good advice on a tough finish spec. I am rebuilding some old saltwater fishing rods. They have the old style long wooden handles. I am looking for the best way to finish. The rods will see salt water, get regular fresh water rinses, and a fair amount of the outdoors. A heavy poly? Maybe an annual soaking of oil? Any and all advice is VERY appreciated!

3 replies so far

View Benvolio's profile


148 posts in 1956 days

#1 posted 09-10-2013 01:59 AM

I’d go for an epoxy finish. completely seals the wood against sand, salt and water. Sand would abrade the wood, salt would dry out the wood, any splashes would leave standing water that causes splits and discolouration. Take no chances with any of that stuff.

Maybe cut it with CA glue to make it super resiliant?

if you don’t like the shiny finish, just grind some chalk into a bowl of soapy water and rub to a satin finish

-- Ben, England.

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2986 days

#2 posted 09-10-2013 10:08 AM

Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil. It is for finishing gunstocks. I used it for years for building fishing rods. Any gunshop or box store should have it.

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1777 days

#3 posted 09-10-2013 12:36 PM

Just use spar varnish, a couple of coats should work well. Spar varnish has UV inhibitors in it and is designed for outdoor use exactly like the fishing rod handles will see. Simple and works well.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

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