Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

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Chess Fisher
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Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by Chess Fisher »

Hello Everyone. I've been looking in from the other side of the fence for a while now and thought it was about time that I logged on and stepped on in.

Whilst some of my fishing sees some earlier reels in use a can't say I have any fishing rods that would be considered old or indeed of interest to you guys and girls on here.

All that has changed just recently when I decided I would like a nice cane rod to go with some earlier 300 reels I have dating back to the very early 50's and 60's
Soooo what did I get I hear you asking !?
Well I brought myself a very nice honest conditioned Chapmen 500. Apart from a little varnish peeling off here and there and all but the tip ring fit for the bin its in very good condition considering how old it actually is.
The rod is beautifully straight with very little set evident.
Now I've taken the plunge I would now like to bring it back to it's former glory. So far I have removed all the rings with the exception of the tip. Honestly the tip is as good today as the day it was when it was first put on the rod so this will stay as is for the moment.
Because the varnish was peeling in parts I decided it best just to remove it all leaving just the little bit over the Chapmen decal to keep authenticity.
Now the varnish has been removed I have by enlarge a lovely honey coloured cane remaining with just a few areas taking on a little staining from the corroded rings I removed earlier. Not to much a problem because this is toward the top of the rod.
New rings have been sourced along with a nice red whipping thread very similar to the original red colour used. My thoughts are to rebuild this 500 rod to the 500 Delux spec by adding that extra ring on the top section.

Now for a few questions if I may.

Not having refurbished a cane rod before I'd like to know what my next steps should be and what products should I be looking at to protect the rod and the threads.

1/So now the rod is in a clean bill of health would you now recommended I varnish the cane at this stage prior to whipping on the rings ?
or would you recommend whipping on the rings first and then treat the cane with a suitable product followed by protecting the whipping threads again with something suitable those ?

2/ Cane protection. Firstly what would you suggest for the cane itself ?
I have seen Danish Oil mentioned here a number of times before. Is this something I should still be considering or is there a varnish of sorts I should be looking at instead ?

3/ Whipping thread. I'd like to keep as near as I can the lovely red coloured whip I have on this here cotton reel.
What colour preserver do you guys use on your threads ?
What varnish or top coat should I then use for final thread protection ?

With all the rods I have built, refurbished and modified over the years I just used a basic yacht varnish for the whipping threads. This worked well enough for those rods however with this fine Chapmen 500, I feel it deserves a little more respect and care :Wink:

Long post I guess and I thank you all for reading through and hopefully now you'll be kind enough to share a few thoughts and recommendations with me.

Thanks All,

Gordon.

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Danesman
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Re: Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by Danesman »

John Chapman at Hoddesdon now sells Fuji ultra poly. I purchsed a reel of Garnet code 007 grade D for ring whippings. H can also advise you on the guides you might want and the varnish. He reccomended Flag yacht when I refurbed a 550. Ultimately it is what you might choose for yourself, so many options

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BoltonBullfinch
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Re: Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by BoltonBullfinch »

You sir have got yourself a wonderful fishing rod, a perfect match for your mitchell 300's. A phone call to John should help in sourcing anything you might need, and the extra ring is a good idea whilst the rod is already stripped.

Thanks
BB
'We fish a lot' Forrest Gump.

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Wallys-Cast
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Re: Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by Wallys-Cast »

Hi Gordon and welcome to the forum.

Your Chapman 500 is a really good rod to start with and well worth the extra effort.
The extra ring is of benefit in use but it does mean altering the original ring spacings and this will mean some staining showing from the originals. Not a problem in use of course but worth considering before you start rebuilding.

I think varnishing is better left until the rings are all on and the thread has been sealed. Pva glue is very good for sealing the thread prior to varnishing, one or two thinned coats at first then a neat coat to fully seal it should stop any varnish bleeding into the thread and darkening it. This is more important with bright colours.

Varnish is a personal choice and your yacht varnish will do the job if you thin it a little and give the rod a lot of thin coats. Some members use rod turners and really pour varnish on. This can give a glass like finish in a short time but I think it will probably take a long time to actually dry right through. I am sure you have your own method if you have worked on glass and carbon rods.

Hope this helps a little Gordon and good luck with the rebuild.
Wal.

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Mick
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Re: Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by Mick »

Hi Gordon and welcome aboard. You have chosen a brilliant rod! There are many disciples of the Chapman 500 on the forum, me included. I wish you luck with the refurb and look forward to some pics of the completed transformation.

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Chess Fisher
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Re: Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by Chess Fisher »

Gentlemen thank you all for your thoughts and advice.

Since my initial post I've done a bit more digging around the forum and felt I'd like to give the Danish Oil a go as protection on the 500 cane.
I have to agree with some of the findings by other guys on this subject that yacht varnish does take an age to dry. This was and probably still is more than suitable for any modern rod I care to do be it carbon or indeed fiberglass. Worked for me way back so I see no reason to change my ways now.

So having had a look at a couple of threads dating back 2014 & 2018 Danish Oil it is. Seems it drys well and is said to penetrate well into the cane.

Danesman, You mention the Fuji Ultra Poly thread, yes thats exactly what I have here in the grade D. The one thing that passed me by was the fact they suggest you don't need a colour preserver on the thread. I think for my piece of mind I'll whip a short test length up and apply my varnish and see what happens. I'd hate to put all the rings on the rod apply the varnish to the whips only to find that the original colour has been lost some what.

Well thats it for a while. Think I best get some Danish Oil in and see how I get on with that.

Thanks All.

Gordon.

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Daltons
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Re: Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by Daltons »

BoltonBullfinch wrote: Sat Nov 14, 2020 5:58 pm You sir have got yourself a wonderful fishing rod, a perfect match for your mitchell 300's. A phone call to John should help in sourcing anything you might need, and the extra ring is a good idea whilst the rod is already stripped.

Thanks
BB
Completely agree BB - I carried out my first refurb on a 500 I bought at the beginning of Lockdown Mk1. As recommended on here, I phoned John Chapman and found him to be an absolute gent of the first order. Very patient with a tyro whose last foray into rod building was on a fibreglass blank when Slade were still in the charts. I subsequently aquired and refurbished a few more tired old split cane numbers and bought a fair few bits and bobs off John through Spring and Summer, speaking to him on the phone a number of times. His service was simply outstanding.

I only mention this because I've rung and left voice mail - and emailed him - in the last couple of weeks and have had no reply which I've found to be most unlike him. I sincerely hope he's OK given the current situation and that he's not exactly going to be winning any Spring Chicken awards (as aren't we all!). Is anyone who reads this in touch with him/heard from him recently? I'd just like to know he's in good health.

Chess Fisher - as a very new convert to cane myself I can only agree with the previous far more learned comments about the 500; you may well have just bought your new favourite rod! I hope so. Enjoy!
Mike
"One thing we truly fish for is the occasion for self-congratulation" John Gierach - (The View From Rat Lake)

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Daltons
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Re: Chapmen 500.....Rebuilding thoughts and considerations

Post by Daltons »

....Just to answer my own question (not for the first time) - John Chapman returned my call this morning and he's fine, thank goodness... :Thumb:
"One thing we truly fish for is the occasion for self-congratulation" John Gierach - (The View From Rat Lake)

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