IMX SJR844 Strip Down
The Danube Delta was a revelation for my friend Razvan, at least in what his new rodbuilding project should be. After 3 days of fishing with his G.Loomis SJR 844, a gift from his wife, he decided that in order for him to fish with this rod again he’d have to convert it to a baitcaster. This baby had the backbone and the sensitivity needed for the task. One problem… who would strip his rod to a virgin blank?
Unfortunately for me, he was fishing with his favorite rodbuilder… ME! when his light bulb lit up. I just couldn’t refuse him. A unique project. I haven’t stripped down any rod from top to bottom, so I finally got my chance to do so.
From past topics on Rodbuilding.org and Tackletour I remembered that IMX and GLX rods didn’t have any topcoat whatsoever. I wish this would be right, but it wasn’t. They are protected by the thinnest coating I’ve seen so far. Luckily a light sanding does the trick in getting to the bare blank.
Ok! Let’s trace back our steps to see how do you strip a blank of all of its components. To start with, if you wish you could rinse the rod of any larger debris.
1. Do you speak Guide language?
The Fuji Alconite were wrapped with what I believe was a C size thread, of unknown origin. Before getting your blade in the wrapping try warming the area with a hair dryer in order to make the epoxy finish more malleable. Then plunge into the base of the guide with an exacto blade. Try stripping to the left as you look at the guide. Fortunately I got the direction of the wrap straight on, and after cutting at the base of the guide I started unwrapping the thread. Unlike Megabass rods, the thread wrapping is single threaded. This means easy unwrapping, uninterrupted by other thread inlays.
The first guide is the toughest to take of, the rest will be a piece of cake.
Bulky epoxy remains
Ok. We have removed all the guides. But what about the epoxy residue that’s left after removing the guides? This is where the delicate work starts.
I use whatever metallic blade I have at hand, that’s not that sharp, to do the removing operation. You’ll probably think I’m nuts, but until now I haven’t been able to find a better solution for this. Plastic did not cut the mustard in this case. It work up to a point. If you get the angle of the blade right you’ll see that when you get to the blank it won’t scrape of any more material. What I love about this method is that you feel and control the entire operation. After you get the hang of it, it’s pretty straight forward.
I recommend warming the epoxy residue with the hair dryer first, for perfect results. After removing the residue from all of the guides I’ve removed I started sanding the blank on all it’s length with a 1000 grit sandpaper. After this operation you won’t see any difference in where the guides once were.
2. Can we keep the G.Loomis logo?
Who would have believed that Loomis stamped their rods, instead of applying decals like all the others do? This is just my fortune, as Razvan asked me to try to keep the original writing on the blank. I told him that only a miracle would do that, if he wants a Matagi lipstick on the rod.
Well… I got my miracle. You just have to be patient during this operation. I really can’t illustrate it with pictures, but a good set of nails will do the trick. Warm up the area with the hair dryer as best as you can, in order to soften the finish as much as possible. Unwrap thread above and under the sticker (or at least from under the sticker to have a point to start with), and after that try peeling the epoxy of the sticker by using your nails. It’s easier said than done actually. This operation took almost as much as removing all the residue epoxy from where all the guides used to be.
After removing the finish that was covering the original writing, you can remove the rest with a knife, or whatever blade you have at hand (don’t use the sharpest you find). I used a kitchen knife and the back of an exacto knife to finish it off.
3. Removing of the cork.
This is probably the easiest task so far. After removing the vinyl winding check and the vinyl butt cap you get right into it. The one where you don’t have to be that gentle. Just stick that knife in. The blank will have a thick enough layer of epoxy over it to be able to protect it from any harm. Roughly remove the cork, until you get to the bare epoxy on the blank. Here you go through the same stages as above. Hair dryer to soften up the epoxy and blade to remove it from the blank.
4. Super Sticker reel seat… hard to get, hard to remove
This is where the Dremelcomes in. No other tool will do the job better than a dremel. The Super Sticker reel seat is a pretty tough one to crack, if you haven’t used one before. Do a cross cut on the back of the reel seat, and one on the other. Be really careful with the dremel, because it gets pretty close to the blank. You don’t want to damage it, so be patient. After this operation I find myself using a wide screwdriver to spread the reel seat. You can figure this one out without further explanation. After this the same hair dryer, blade/knife operation to clean up the epoxy residue.
After you remove all the residue epoxy, try finding a 800 grit sandpaper, to scrape the blank of whatever finish there’s left. A 1000, or a 1200 should finish the job, so there is no visible scratch.
After the sanding process wipe the blank clean with alcohol. It’ll need multiple wipes, until you have no residue on whatever you use to clean the blank with. And now it’s ready for the Matagi parts… just waiting for them to get here.
Until next time!… I’m going to have a blast building this one.