I learned care of cane rods as a kid. (I built 'em back then, too!)
That was before steelie fishing, and pre-fiberglass and graphite.
This will sound harsh, but here is what we would do.
Clean with mild soap and water, and quickly dry with a soft cloth. (spar varnish doesn't hold up to water too well.) Then closely inspect ALL wrappings (good cane gets LOTS of fancy wraps). Closely inspect the varnish for chips, cracks, etc., and check ferrules to make sure all is sound. Check all guides for telltale signs of wear. Cork is polished with baking soda moistened with water as a "polishing paste", and rinsed and quickly dried. If all is OK, then rod gets several coats of good paste wax (old Simonize
If anything is found out of order, then guides are removed, wraps are removed, and rod is sanded down and refinished. The tip guide is reversed and guides on the tip section will be rewrapped on the opposite flat to counter the "set" that all bamboo gets from use. You would use your own judgement on reversing midsections, if they needed it. You might also reset or replace ferrules, as needed. (In those days, every trout fisherman worth his salt had ferrule cement on hand - I still do, and it has a myriad of uses.)
Then you would carefully apply several thin coats of good spar varnish, drying thoroughly and rubbing down with rottenstone or pumice between coats, and finish with a couple of coats of paste wax. As far as waxing the ferrules during use, we just used to rub the male ferrules aside of our nose before using. It works well.
Today, this treatment sounds harsh, as we are more worried about "losing the manufacturer's markings". Heaven forbid! Well, sorry 'bout that, but in those days a fly rod was a tool for catching fish, and you maintained it in good working order - brand name or not!
Last edited by BobK; 02-25-2003 at 08:39 AM.