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I bought an old Gateway (South Bend) "Ike Walton Deluxe" 5500 9' rod at an antique store in Louisville about 8-9 years ago for $30. Missing some guides, most of the wraps were loose, ferrules loose as well, handle and seat pretty done for. Blank darkened with dirt and age, South Bend label was gone. Not sure why I bought it when I did, except we were shopping and it was bamboo, and it might hang on the wall someday. Left it in the closet for years, and mostly forgot it.

Similar ike walton.jpg

Then last summer, Paul Schlote and I started talking about building an 10'6" 8-wt switch rod, for salmon and carp and such things. Paul wanted me to build it myself, or at least contribute to the construction. I had no experience with doing any of this stuff so convinced him to do the build. Gave him the H&H blanks at Barking Dog Clave this year, and picked out threads, grip, etc. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

Meanwhile that got me thinking about the bamboo rod in the closet and COULD I learn how to do this stuff and would it look like anything. So I decided "what the hell, I can't ruin it anymore than it already has been" so made restoring that rod my winter project.

Talked to Jim Tefft for some good advice, read some books, watched some youtube vids, and proceeded. Recorded the position of the guides and wraps, but did not take any "before" pictures - too anxious to start I guess. Removed the grip and seat which just crumbled under the heat gun and pressure. Saved the guides, and a bit of the thread so I could match what had been on there when I got it. Stripped the rod down to the wood. Wood was in excellent condition, and there are slight sets in the tips, but aside from that no cracks or separation.

Too be continued.....