I was looking through the Oni Sight the other day and noted that Oni said that it is possible to wear out a much use rod in as little as 4 to 5 fishing seasons, which I found to be quite alarming. It is not the whole rod that wears out but the joints where the rod sections are joined together which can actually wear away and become chipped. So I thought that I would suggest a technique to prolong the rod’s life span.
Instead of 'wearing out the graphite rod blank material, coating the blank in the joint area with a thin coat of wax will allow the replaceable wax to wear away rather than the rod blank material. My preferred method is to desolve Paraffin Canning Wax in White Gasoline (Coleman Stove Fuel) until it becomes somewhat thickened. Then dip each Male section of each rod section in the mixture to coat it evenly with liquid wax and let it dry. If there is an excess build up in any area, a soft, clean dry cloth can be used to smooth things out and remove any excess.
In putting the rod back together, if any of the wax gets Shaved off, you need to polish more wax off of the male rod joint. The wax acts as a lubricant and a replaceable wear surface instead of the rod blank eventually wearing away. About the only word of caution is to use the wax sparingly enough that a wax buildup does not accumulate in the Female rod joint sections as those are much more difficult to remove the excess wax from.
I have been using this same wax application on all of my Western Fly Rods as a standard practice for close to 40 years now, and it helped to prevent casting off of the tip sections from the butt sections while fishing. If the chemical wax addition causes concern for the rod, the wax can be crayoned on the male blank sections and smoothed out by my hand with your body heat aiding in the process if you prefer to use that method.
Ferrule wax may collect dirt. Not a bad idea but i would not worry about it unless you fish a rod every day. I have had a rod i fish almost every outing for 6 years…it is fine. Its ok to wear out equipment. I think todoroki san noted having a rod for 20 years. Will rods wear…sure, but regular cleaning and drying them out might be better uses of time.
In 2012, I talked with Dr. Ishigaki at the Tenkara Summit in SLC about this very issue. He confessed that his frequently fished Shimano Mainstream ZE had developed loose joint segments, particularly the lower one when the rod was fully extended to it’s 450 cm length – all that leverage on the joint. No solution was given as I recall. If I recall correctly, Chris Stewart had mentioned something regarding loose joints in the Mainstream ZE way back then as well. I could be mistaken, however.
I doubt I fish enough to wear out a rod. But I’m going to give it a try!
I’ve only “worn out” one rod so far, my Tenryu TF39TA. Although worn out may be too strong, but it’s definitely showing signs of use and abuse. I try to remember to dry it out after each fishing session and be careful with it, but in the process of fishing the places I go it just gets banged around. I don’t worry about it too much since I want to enjoy fishing and not worry about the gear getting used. I plan to replace it since I really enjoy it. I’ve also used my TB 40 a ton and have broken a number of parts on it, but haven’t ever notice the parts not staying together. In fact I haven’t noticed any of my rods having trouble with the joints. That would be a bummer, luckily haven’t experienced it, knock on wood.
I have been using wax on the ferrules on Western rods since before graphite rods made their appearance and I have never had a ferrule wear to the point anything needed to be done. Spigot furled are not as forgiving as tip over butt furies are in this regard, though. I did a repair on a spigot ferrule rod that belonged to a friend, by applying enough coats of epoxy to build the diameter of the male ferrule to the point where there was space agin between the two separate rod blanks, smoothing out and slightly roughing the surface between each coat for evenness and adhesion, and finishing off the male spigot the same way with a final wax application. Food for thought for those who might experience loose joints in the future…Karl
We have people here, now in the USA that are super experienced with a wide range of tenkara rods. I would venture to say, more than some of the “masters” in Japan.
I say that with great respect to my Japanese friends and for the experts in Japan.
That being said, some cheap rods will take a beating far better than a expensive rod.
I’ve owned a bunch of quality rods for years. Advocated choosing just a couple of rods and progress your skills in using those rods.
That’s not what shoppers want or rod sellers…
I think taking care of a rod includes washing and cleaning regularly.
I don’t use it but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.
I’ve had rods that were better casting after a few seasons of use because the tip softened.