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Sanding Ice Rod Blanks
Posted by: David Sytsma (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 19, 2021 01:02PM

This is probably a revisitation on an old topic, but I have several ice rod blanks I want to sand down before I build the rods. The problem with nearly all the blanks I've been able to access is the lack of a consistent bend. The "ultralight" 1# - 4# rated blanks all have a good limber tip, but when you get about 25% down from the tip they get really stiff. Most of the guys I talk to on the ice, myself included, greatly prefer a blank action that's more parabolic when using 1 or 2# test. I'd like to sand the center of the blanks enough to eliminate some of the stiffness and I know that many of the guys have sanded their blanks to accomplish this. One guy I talked to said he used an electric drill with plumber's sanding tape, but that sounds pretty extreme to me.

So assuming that I can accomplish what I want to do, how should I proceed? Thanks!

Dave Sytsma

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Re: Sanding Ice Rod Blanks
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: January 19, 2021 04:01PM

Chuck the blank in a variable speed cordless or corded drill. Take a piece of 100 grit sand paper, and with the blank spinning, sand as you wish.

It is a good thing that the glass blanks are inexpensive. It only take a 5 seconds of extra sanding in a particular spot and you will have destroyed the blank. So, just go slowly and only have the blank spinning at a speed that you can easily control.

If you don't have a bench mounted source of variable power, it works well to have someone work with you to hold the drill and control the speed as you would hold the sand paper and do the sanding.

You do have a slight bit of a conundrum. Normally, it is not a good idea to wear gloves when working with rotating objects because of the danger to catch a glove in the rotating object and cause issues for your hands, wrists and arms. But, if you have somewhat thicker leather gloves that fit well, you should be all right. Especially, when sanding fiberglass you are generating bits of glass and on a bare hand you will drive the glass into your hand. So, when doing this sanding wear leather gloves, and safety glasses and also wear a good mask to avoid inhaling any glass if it is a fiberglass blank, or graphite if sanding on a graphite blank.

I assume that we are speaking of only solid blanks. Don't try sanding on a hollow blank, because you will surely fail and simply destroy the blank.

The optimum arrangement would be to have a lathe with a variable speed drive so that you could get the rpm down to 100 rpm or so when sanding.

Best wishes.

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Re: Sanding Ice Rod Blanks
Posted by: Dan Ertz (---)
Date: January 19, 2021 04:36PM

Rather than a "power noodle" look for a finesse noodle, or a dead stick glass blank to have the parabolic action you are looking for and they'll need little to no sanding - certainly much less than sanding down an extra fast power noodle.

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Re: Sanding Ice Rod Blanks
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: January 19, 2021 09:49PM

Remember that the profound benefit of FRP (Fiber Reinforced Plastic) is based on distributing the applied stress over the entire length of each fiber from end to end; severing ANY of those fibers (even tiny nicks [stress-risers]) dramatically reduces the integrity of the entire piece. I propose it would be much better to find the appropriate blank, even if cutting 2ft from the butt of a 7ft blank.

Mark Talmo

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Re: Sanding Ice Rod Blanks
Posted by: Scott Appley (---.ccgov.net)
Date: January 20, 2021 11:01AM

There is a large discussion about this subject on the "IceShanty" a ice fishing web sight. Half way down the list is a rob building page. One of the members has a list of ice blanks and how to sand down to a desired affect.

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Re: Sanding Ice Rod Blanks
Posted by: David Sytsma (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 20, 2021 01:15PM


Thanks so very much for all the great advice. I was especially pleased to see Roger weigh in because I believe he's in a state populated with ice nuts like me. I feel comfortable mentioning manufacturers because they contribute to this site. The rod I'll be finishing up this week for a guy is using a Netcraft Micro Ice 31" blank. So far, it's the best I've found that meets my criteria without having to sand. I ordered two more of those in 36", but might have to sand them slightly. What I really like about them is that apparently they are a glass/graphite composite, so if they are anything like the Calstar Grafighter blanks I build on for salt water, they're very tough and forgiving. I hear that having to sand is relatively routine, but all the solid carbon MHX ice blanks (including the Quiverstik which should be softer) and fiberglass Brim Busters from Mudhole seem afflicted with the problem mentioned; limber tip, broomstick bottom half. I need some stuff from Get Bit, so I might try one of their ice blanks. The good thing is that if I accidentally destroy a fiberglass blank during the learning curve, it's about the same price as a latte'.

Another question. Obviously I'll be removing whatever finish is on the blanks if I sand. I'm inclined to use Perma Gloss to refinish the blanks. Can anyone suggest a better finishing material? I'm not really convinced that epoxy is the best choice for this.

I do some minor lathing on my power wrapper, but it makes a mess. I've been taping the nozzle from my shop vac next to the work and it helps a lot. I would LOVE to get a small lathe for cork, EVA, and some small wood handles, but the price is harsh. If any of you know where I can get a decent one for maybe $200 or less, I might bite. I can do some creative thinking, but Roger Wilson and Joe Vanfossen are way ahead of me.

Again, I sincerely appreciate all the help, and I'll certainly check that "IceShanty" website.

Dave Sytsma

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