Was wondering if anyone would be interested in doing a rod swap of refinished ?blue collar? cane rods? I have never participated in a rod swap before, so bare with me here, and I will try to lay out all of the rules that I think are important. If there is something that anyone thinks I missed that should be added, please speak up. If there is enough interest in doing this, we will give it a green light and proceed.

Here is the idea: I am finishing up my second bamboo rod refinishing project and am really enjoying it. I know a number of people on the board have mentioned that they have refinished rods before, and a number of others who have said that they would like to try it. This rod swap is for both groups. Get lots of questions flying back and forth and build some camaraderie. The idea is to find an old production rod in need of restoration and/or refinishing and give it a good overhaul. By production rods I am thinking the older American or European companies (South Bend, HI, Montague, Shakespeare, Heddon, etc.). Blue collar stuff, nothing super fancy or expensive, just an old rod that still has some fishing life left in it and needs to see the light of day and tug of a line again.

Here are the draft rules (again, let me know if I am forgetting anything important):

1) Production company rods only, with a refinished/restored value in the range of $100 - $250. If you do not know the value of the finished rod, you can refer to Fishnbanjo?s website for a good value guide. Preference is given to American and European manufacturers, but if someone finds an Asian rod that would make a really neat project, I guess I could be persuaded to allow it to be included. Use your judgment here and ask the group if you are not sure. You will likely spend in the range of $50 - $150 dollars for such a rod in project/restorable condition, though it is very possible that you could find one for less.

2) Any length and weight of rod is okay, though the price limit will probably limit length options to some extent.. All sections of the rods must be in the original full length (no short tips, long mid sections, etc.). The number of sections is a little tricky, since often times rods that originally came with an extra tip are now missing one. As a general rule, if the rod is 9 foot or more and was originally a 3/2, then it should include both tips, but if the rod is shorter (and presumably more valuable) then an extra tip is probably less important.

3) Select a rod that is an appropriate challenge for your level of experience. Don?t just pick a rod that needs one guide rewrapped and a little polish. Actually give it a go. If this is your first rod refinishing project, perhaps find a rod that can be stripped and revarnished, and focus your energy on collecting and building the equipment you need to refinish rods (build a dip tube, extraction motor, drying chamber, etc.). If you have experience in refinishing rods, select a project that is fun or challenging. Build a banty rod, reglue some sections, replace a grip and reel seat, etc. Do something that we can all learn from (see rule #6 below).

4) You may restore the rod to original condition, or completely upgrade the rod with new hardware, new color wraps, etc. It is your choice, so have fun with it. But the refinished rod MUST be in fishable condition (sections straight and sound, ferrules snug, no bumping when you swing the rod, etc.). Make every attempt to save any original markings and logos (not possible in some cases, especially if you make a banty rod). Also try to use good judgment and good techniques in refinishing the rods. If you don?t know how to do something, ask the group, or check out Sinclair?s or Kirkfield?s books on refinishing rods. Log the rods in, and develop a game plan. Rod must include a rod bag (new bag is okay). Rod tube is optional.

5) At the end of the rod swap, everyone will be given a name and address for someone else in the swap. The names will be assigned at random. You will send your rod to that person in a sturdy shipping tube (cardboard or PVC). Since these projects take a while to do, I am giving you plenty of time (hopefully). Rods are due by April 30, in time for next season. Insure the package for the full refinished value of the rod.

6) Now here is the part that I really get excited about! Half of the fun of restoring old rods is in the stories that develop throughout the process of finding and restoring them. The people you meet along the way and the experiences you have make the rod worth much more. So, everyone will be required to provide a write-up on the rod you refinish - where you found it, who might have owned it previously, photographs and a description of the original condition of the rod, a description of the means and methods that you used in refinishing the rod, the tools and equipment and techniques that were required, any good or funny stories about the people you come in contact with or the places you go in order to complete the project, photos of the refinished rod, and your thoughts at the end of the process. I am not looking for a novel here, but I want everyone to share the stories and techniques, and forward them to me. I will compile all of the stories together into one booklet, and everyone will receive a copy of the booklet when the rod swap is done. This will make for some good reading and should be chock full of good techniques, ideas and advice for all of us to use in future restoration projects.

Well that is the long version of it. Anyone interested? Please respond to this post or by PM is you are confident that you would like to participate.