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FKrow posted the following on another thread - I don't want to highjack that thread so I'm starting a new one here.

"Graphite rods do change with heavy usage,,, they will get softer over time......"

I believe I have experienced this with a couple single hand rods. The rod(s) I'm thinking of show no signs of cracking in the finish or any visible degradation of the graphite. And the ferrules seem to fit plenty tight. But I have thought for a few years now that it was indeed getting softer with age. Until FK mentioned this I had never heard anyone else with the same observation.

I am curious:
1 - have other people noticed this?
2 - does anybody know what is really happening to the rod - we can all speculate about the resin deteriorating, the bond of resin to graphite breaking down over time, wearing of the ferrules, etc. - but does anyone out there really know what is happening with these rods?
 

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I noticed the change in one of my rods over time. The observations were confirmed by a major rod manuf. in the US,,, their chief designer told me the epoxy to graphite bonds do weaken or break down over time with heavy use. This is a rather long time frame of many years. The rod will feel softer and often require a lighter weight line for optimum performance.

Regards,
FK
 

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I noticed the change in one of my rods over time. The observations were confirmed by a major rod manuf. in the US,,, their chief designer told me the epoxy to graphite bonds do weaken or break down over time with heavy use. This is a rather long time frame of many years. The rod will feel softer and often require a lighter weight line for optimum performance.

Regards,
FK

FK,

I somehow doubt that your singular anecdotal observation with a rod, confirmed by the unnamed chief designer of an unnamed major US rod manufacturer proves that graphite rods are all doomed to structural senescence if used heavily over a long period of time.

sixheads
 

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A very well known custom rod maker told me that the rod I had of his likely was "worn out." There's the second anecdote.
 

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Wearing out is not quite the term, but it will probably do....

Fatigue Failure in Fibre-Re-inforced Composite Materials

All fibres will eventually fail under repeated compression, tension, torsional and bending loads.

The lifespan of such fibres under such repeated or cyclical loading is determined by the mechanical properties of the material itself, the actual load, direction of loading, frequency, and number of cycles, as well as temperature perhaps.

Fibres held or ‘suspended’ within a polymerised matrix (or thermoplastic matrix) may be ‘protected’ for longer by that matrix, but will still eventually fail under repeated cyclical loading.

Living biological fibres (eg collagen) held within a biological matrix in the body have the facility to be repaired and/or replaced by the living biological system they are held in, but, eventually, with aging there may be sufficiently poor repair/maintenance mechanisms leading to cumulative failure, and progressive disruption of the whole structure.

Non-biological systems do not have this facility of internal repair and/or replacement of fatigue damaged fibres, and, even when held within initially good matrices, even one fibre failure will lead to less structural integrity at that point, and will eventually lead to a cascade of adjacent fibre failures, and then failure of the matrix, and catastrophic failure of the whole structure.

Between the original 100% structural integrity of the fibre-matrix construct, and notwithstanding whether the fibres are set longitudinally, hooped or spiral (or a mixture of all three orientations) for a tubular structure, and the cumulative structural failure of individual fibres within that construct, through to catastrophic failure, there will be a point that the user (in this case a fly fisherman casting a fly rod) will notice a difference in mechanical performance as the cumulative fibre failure (and matrix failure) gets worse.

This point of eventual (inevitable) catastrophic mechanical failure is not only illustrated in graphite fly rods, but more importantly in suspension bridges!


Mike
 
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I've been using an Orvis 7 foot 9 inch five weight Far & Fine for 35 years. Over that span of time I never have noticed any difference in how the rod preforms. The cork has gotten skinnier and has ridges but the rod seems to work as it did when new. One thing I must consider in this assessment is that over the past 35 years I have actually worn out more than I notice my rod being deficient. If the rod was as sore and tired as I and with a bad knee it would be retired at this time :)

I honestly believe that many of us over-think many aspects about our fishing. Until I read this thread I had never even gave a thought as to whether my trusty old rod was beyond its prime. I didn't post just to be disagreeable, but I don't think my 7'9" has suffered over the past 35 as much as I have.

Ard
 

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At 72 and change I didn't need to read this.

"Living biological fibres (eg collagen) held within a biological matrix in the body have the facility to be repaired and/or replaced by the living biological system they are held in, but, eventually, with aging there may be sufficiently poor repair/maintenance mechanisms leading to cumulative failure, and progressive disruption of the whole structure."

But it did answer a lot of questions. :( But the 'only long option' to age is a 'I don't want to go there .... :rolleyes: Humm, he's old, smokes good CeGars, drinks good whiskey (or whisky), has a young girl friend, drives a fast car, orders the 'biggest steak you got here,' etc., play's Poker until 0300 and up at 0500 to fish ........ and he'll live to 100.

Death will be a total surprise but he'll never ask 'Geeze, I wish I'd done that.'

Upon reflection ... I'm doing this all wrong.:tsk_tsk:

fae
 

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I've been using an Orvis 7 foot 9 inch five weight Far & Fine for 35 years. Over that span of time I never have noticed any difference in how the rod preforms. The cork has gotten skinnier and has ridges but the rod seems to work as it did when new. One thing I must consider in this assessment is that over the past 35 years I have actually worn out more than I notice my rod being deficient. If the rod was as sore and tired as I and with a bad knee it would be retired at this time :)

I honestly believe that many of us over-think many aspects about our fishing. Until I read this thread I had never even gave a thought as to whether my trusty old rod was beyond its prime. I didn't post just to be disagreeable, but I don't think my 7'9" has suffered over the past 35 as much as I have.

Ard
Ard,

That's probably because you yourself have done more cyclical loading than any of your rods could compare to! ;)


Mike
 

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"Living biological fibres (eg collagen) held within a biological matrix in the body have the facility to be repaired and/or replaced by the living biological system they are held in, but, eventually, with aging there may be sufficiently poor repair/maintenance mechanisms leading to cumulative failure, and progressive disruption of the whole structure."

But it did answer a lot of questions. :( But the 'only long option' to age is a 'I don't want to go there .... :rolleyes: Humm, he's old, smokes good CeGars, drinks good whiskey (or whisky), has a young girl friend, drives a fast car, orders the 'biggest steak you got here,' etc., play's Poker until 0300 and up at 0500 to fish ........ and he'll live to 100.

Death will be a total surprise but he'll never ask 'Geeze, I wish I'd done that.'

Upon reflection ... I'm doing this all wrong.:tsk_tsk:

fae
Rapidly catching you up, Fred!

Perhaps you missed that now highlighted.....;);)


Mike
 
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Carbon fiber does break down!

In fishing rods it can take quite a long time to feel the changes. In rods that get hammered hard on a regular basis such as competition rods the breakdown occurs much faster and you can actually feel the action start to change after a year or so. With my current comp rod the break in period has actually helped.
 

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Following on Speyducer's informative post with some specific names. I recall Jimmy Green - who designed fiberglass and graphite rods for Fenwick and then consulted informally with Sage rod company - comparing graphite fiber technology with its predecessors. While the flexing forces of compression and tension do cause wear and tear to fibers, it's worth noting that many good quality bamboo fly rods last a lifetime of heavy use or more. Jimmy explained that fiberglass is to bamboo as graphite is to fiberglass, and that graphite rods will last many millions of compression and tension cycles. My impression is that one might reasonably expect a graphite fly rod to outlast a human lifetime of fishing. It would be interesting to see a rod that doesn't and try to analyze why it didn't.

Sg
 

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I have heard of this via mate with a baitcasting rod (loomis imx) that the dynamics of the rod changed over heavy use (casting heavy swim baits etc) over xyz years.
Its plausible.
The statement Ard made about having a rod for some 35 years and it casting like new is an interesting one, is it not possible that the rod may of changed over the years and one simply (without noticing) adjusts to the rods action in minor increments without any ill effect? If you used the rod on a regular basis it would go un noticed, if however it was not your go to rod for 99% of your fishing and one day your picked it up and it felt like a noodle from what was a crisp rod when brand spanking new then something would be askew.
 
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I Believe Ard is right . Also .older carbon fibre rods are inherently softer and the older they are they'll feel that way as you back in time through manufacturing dates .
Those rod manufacturers that you talked to had better get on the phone to the design and structural engineers (especially the experts in composite) at Lockheed Martin , Northrop Grumman, Bombardier , Boeing , and dare I mention , Lockheed Advanced Development Program Co.? and let them know of their analysis .;)
 

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I only wish I could fish enough to

wear out my rods. But, I think they will outlast me. On the other hand, I've seen some of the rods a couple of guide friends fish, and I would say they are showing their age. They are scratched, dirty, have a bent guide or two, and have been banged around in boats doing what they were designed to do--present the fly to wily trout. Those rods will eventually break and be replaced, but I don't class that wearing them out, they just died.
 

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The question would be, is the rod be used within it's structural limits, or beyond?

The Boeing 787 is 50% composite, and sees quite a bit of stress (502,000 lbs takeoff weight, .85 mach max speed). But flown within it's structural limits, I'm sure it will last a few decades.


I guess what I'm saying is, using a 6wt rod to salmon fish with, will probably wear the rod out faster than an 9wt. But stick to trout and small steelies, the 6wt will last alot longer.

But lets face facts, we all own a number of rods that most of us don't get to fish nearly enough. (I might fish 20-30 days in a year.) The average Joe isn't going to even come close to wearing out a rod. Many years of hard use by a guide, maybe..

Plus, alot of us get that "itch" for a new rod way too often. :)

just my .02
 

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yes they do, I ounce had a 3wt I absolutely killed. it felt almost like a full flex till I retired it. too many carp I believe. wrong tool for the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
FWIW my title with the words "wear out" is really a stronger statement than I intended. In my case, the rod got slower/softer over time. Heavy use over 10 years or so. The rod us not truly "worn out" and I continue to use it. But I do believe the rod has softened over time and so my post.

I'd rather not mention the specifics about my rod because - well, that rod has been awfully good to me. It doesn't owe me anything at this point. :) I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of it. Consequently I don't want to give anyone the wrong idea about the manufacturer.

Thanks for the interesting replies.
 

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my solution to the problem is an even dozen rods and rotation, so none of the girls feel neglected or abused.
each season has its rods, and more than one. My sticks will last, despite my inexpert hammering.
 

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Many things can cause your rod to change over a number of years. Such as
being in the trunk of the car during real hot weather for an extended period of time, prolonged UV exposure. Little bruises that you don't even notice that have fractured a few of the graphite threads. etc, etc.
 
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