I have a question about looking after greenheart rods (that I fish with rather than just display) and hope for some thoughts and/or advice.
I have several greenheart rods well over 100 years old.
I live in Australia in a climate that is not greenhearts friendly.
Conventional wisdom in Scotland was to put the rods outside in the damp air to keep the moisture content in the wood high. Such an approach would not be effective in my neck of the woods.
I am returning to the idea of storing my rods in an humidor comprising a PVC pipe closed at either end and with the rods held on an intermediate shelf above a few inches of water at the bottom of the pipe.
The water would have an anti fungicide added to discourage mould formation. And be recycled regularly.
The whole would be kept vertical.
I had dreamed this idea up a while ago but was discouraged by some from doing so but with no explanation as to why.
If anyone could advise on the wisdom or otherwise of my approach and suggest why or why I shouldn't carry this plan out I would be most grateful. Cheers
By no means am I wooden rod afficionado, however I do have a pretty solid knowledge of wood properties.
One of the issues with wood is it tends to always move as it acclimates to change in humidity levels....ie doors stick in the wet weather and are loose in dry. Ideally you want wood to maintain a humidity level consistant with the environment it is being used. This is probably why Scots hung their rods in the open air. They used them in that environment. Bringing them into a dry, wood heated home after a day of fishing would cause big swings in the humidity level of the wood rod. I suspect the biggest failure from this treatment would be the ferrules from constant contraction and expansion.
I'd be interested to hear other oppinions, but I believe your proposed storage system would be a mistake. Especially since you still use them.
Location: Lower Grand River, Saugeen and everything else wet.
Not sure how this would affect the rod's value or integrity but I think rather than water to humidify the wood I think a good application of an oil would be effective. Something like a mineral oil or danish oil. It should stabilize the wood and would not readily evaporate. Oil could be easily reapplied occasionally.
humidipaks. google them and chuck one in its case.
I keep cigars at 69 but look, I live in perth where it's very dry and if I were in your position, worry little. a dry storage is perfect, it need not be damp or humid by any stretch.
indoors and stored properly, ie. perhaps hanging... let that magical math keep it straight.
Don’t know anything about greenheart as a species but did spend my working years in the Canadian forest industry managing sawmills, logging and lumber sales. Generally speaking manufactured wood will dry to the moisture content of its surroundings and will shrink in size until it reaches about 19% moisture content. At 15 % it will shrink no more and this moisture content is usually only achieved in a dry kiln or desert-like conditions. I assume greenheart rods would have been made from dry wood at 15-19% moisture content and had ferrules installed at that content. In Scotland those rods would have absorbed some moisture in use which would have expanded the wood slightly making the ferrules, handles and windings tighter. Left outside they would have retained that moisture and remained tight. In your case I assume the rod is at a lower moisture content perhaps closer to its original state. Are the ferrules loose? Are there splits showing in the wood? If it’s all tight at your normal Australian humidity hang it vertically and let it be. If it has loose ferrules etc then you can store it in a higher moisture content environment and it will tighten up. However it will loosen up again in use. So back to the main point are the ferrules loose or the wood splitting?
Thank you for your reply and interesting comments. I actually dress with boiled linseed from time to time. No splits in the wood at all but I had to replace rustry guides so the wrappings are quite new. Interestingly greenheart was used submerged in lock gates and maintained integrity for decades and retained oil content rendering it ok for building fly rods! An amazing timber. As for ferrules, there are none! These are spliced rods each section (3 sections over 18 feet) being taped along a roughly 6 inch diagonal splice. BTW I took my rods with me to BC a while back and fished along the sunshine coast. Unfortunately the seals were around and the salmon were staying shy of running the gauntlet up the rivers and streams...thanks again
No ferrules is a big plus. If there are no splits (seasoning checks in lumber speak) then the rod has not shrunk and is stable as is. The linseed oil helps fill pores and seal the wood which all helps. Were it me I would hang the rod in its sock and oil it up from time to time when the rod looks lonely. I have two cane rods which are subject concerns about moisture as well. I know the rods were made with bone dry (<15%) cane and sealed with a coating or impregnated so they won’t pick up moisture. Cane absorbing moisture is the fear rather than drying out. Good luck with your greenheart. I don’t think I could lift one never mind cast with it.
I have a small collection of spliced greenheart rods too. I sorta reworked a 10'6" rod and broke the tip section within 15 minutes of it's first river experience in many years, think it was dry and the DT7 shoulda started with a DT5. I soaked in Teak oil for not long enough apparently. Greenheart is similar to a number of very dense hardwoods that grow in South America. It will definitely get brittle if it lives in a low humidity environment. It's benefits include extreme strength (density) and extremely straight and tight grain. Straight grain works good for fly rods. They are heavy but when the rods upper sections engage they do deliver a long cast.
Its a bit of a fallacy this weight thing about greenheart. Yos, it is heavy, there is no denying that but this weight is countered by its ease and efficiency when casting: this soakes up a lot less energy than false casting when overheading and the self loading properties of greenheart and slow casting strokes involve less effort than carbon. 'Boo is somewhere in between I think. But a greenheart must be balanced with a suitably weighted reel especially in rods longer than 14 feet. My 18 footer is a dog unless I have a reel that seems half a ton, but with it, casting is far from tiring. Cheers Roger
Location: S Ontario rivers plus various lakes for warm water species.
Quote. 'I have two cane rods which are subject concerns about moisture as well. I know the rods were made with bone dry (<15%) cane and sealed with a coating or impregnated so they won’t pick up moisture. Cane absorbing moisture is the fear rather than drying out.'
A note on bamboo/ cane rods. All non- impregnated rods (under the varnish/ finish used) will also expand and contract with the ambient humidity, regardless of humidity conditions when they were made. No need to fear re-entry of moisture from any source as bamboo rods, which have been heat treated when they were made, will retain their 'spring' even in humid conditions or after immersion in water. Bamboo rods are not prone to rot (or be affected by water) unless left in a wet rod bag inside a sealed tube for a period of time.