Classic Rod Restoration

by Paul Fischer



I have learned from some of the greats like Tom Maxwell, who was a dear friend of mine, Bob Taylor, and others from the original Leonard shop (see photos). Tom Bailey, who worked for both Jim Payne and Leonard, can be seen working on his lathe. I was fortunate enough to develop a friendship with Sam Carlson over the eleven year time period (yes, 11 years) in which he refinished an Edwards Quad rod for my personal collection. Mr. Hoagy B. Carmichael, author of A Masters Guide to Building a Bamboo Fly Rod, is a friend that has greatly influenced my work which has led many to refer to his book as "the bible". My passion is bamboo.

My finish work reflects close to 40 years of experience in my restoration career. Rods don't leave here until they're perfect.

I use Belding Corticelli silk that was purchased years ago and the silk is in perfect shape. I have over 100 spools and also have the color sticks I made up to make the silk match easier. Depending on your needs I will use either shellac as a color preserver that gives the wraps a more "antique" look after varnishing, or color preserver, that holds the silk true to color. I can also, which shows up in most of my photos, use straight varnish that holds true to the color but gives it a more translucent look. That to me is my favorite. Just let me know what you want.

The Edwards rod in the photo has the "antique finish" that makes the wraps look older. The Heddon and Leonard have the straight varnish look, along with the Driggs. I am able to keep the original writing on the shaft in most cases, if not, copy it in my own hand. That is shown on the Driggs rod photo.

My varnish work is superb. Like Thomas and Thomas I varnish the blanks first and then do the wraps. My varnish work on the wraps is so good you won't be able to discern where the varnish starts or ends on the blank. Just like T&T. You have to have a very careful hand to achieve that look. I also never rush the drying time of the varnish and that will be strictly adhered to. It might take a little longer but it's worth it.

Due to the complexity of the work, my original estimates are only based on the information provided. Once I have the rod in hand I can provide a more detailed breakdown. I am happy to estimate per wrap; or a complete refinish or restoration. What's the difference between a refinish or restoration? A refinish is a major touch up and a restoration involves a complete stripping of the rod blank. The price I will decide after I see the work that needs to be done. I'm sure you'll be satisfied with what I do.

Paul Fischer


Bethlehem, PA


Tom Maxwell and I soon after he took over at the Leonard factory.

Tom Bailey at work in the Leonard shop.
A true craftsman that worked for both Jim Payne and Leonard.

Rod maker Bob Taylor looking over a custom rod I ordered.

Me at the node presser in the Payne factory.

What Clients say

See what some of our prestigious clients say about us
Steve Blake
World Renown Master Restorationist

Paul does great work, equal to Carpenter and Schroeder, wraps tight on blank and tight varnished edges.

Carmine Lisella
Classic and Vintage Tackle

Your work is as good as I've seen.

Gary Siemer
Vintage Tackle Dealer

Your varnish work is superb.

Contact Me Now

For additional information contact me by submitting the form below or call 610-349-1153.