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Post 25 Apr 2020, 13:41 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 04/20/20
Posts: 32
Location: Springfield (DELCO) PA
Okay. Long time-lurker, first time poster. I hope my first post doesn't amount to 'classic reel blasphemy' but here it goes . . .

I'm interested in reconditioning a number of Medalists and Ocean City reels That I want to pair with some of my vintage glass rods - Fennies mostly. There's plenty of really valuable info available here on how to properly clean and preserve vintage reels but I'm interested in restoring a few to a like new condition which would include re-surfacing the reel frames and bodies. Again, talking Medalists and Ocean City's with a factory black finish.

Breaking them down and polishing the brightwork is easy enough but before I go out, buy a spray can of Rustoleum flat black, and do something I'll really regret, any advice on how best to resurface/recoat these reels?

It's okay if you want to try to change my mind with this thread but I'm still after knowing if any of you are reconditioning bodies and what methods you're using for finishes.

Thanks!


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Post 25 Apr 2020, 15:16 • #2 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 7043
Location: Holly Springs, NC
jeffroey wrote:
Okay. Long time-lurker, first time poster.
Welcome to the Forum. I hope you enjoy posting here.

jeffroey wrote:
Breaking them down and polishing the brightwork is easy enough but before I go out, buy a spray can of Rustoleum flat black, and do something I'll really regret, any advice on how best to resurface/recoat these reels?
To start, it is your reel. You can do whatever you wish with it.

    In my view, a decision to repaint depends the desired outcome.
  • Do you want to retain the 'value' of the reel? Don't repaint it if it is an older Medalist. A newer, beat up reel? Sure, repaint.
  • Do you want it to fish better? Painting will not change the fishing function one bit.
  • Are you worried about corrosion due to the lack of paint? That's not a problem except in salt water.
  • Do you really hate looking at chipped paint? Then paint it for sure.
  • Do you want a 'brand new just like the factory' appearance? Prepare to put in lots of hand work. Or watch for a new-old-stock reel on eBay and pay the money.

If you are looking to repaint, Option One is to simply clean up the reel and repaint. But the original paint is still, partially, there. Unless you carefully fill the chipped spots, new paint over an old surface will be lipstick on a pig. You will still see the chips. And new paint often doesn't stick well on old paint without serious surface preparation.

Option Two is to remove the old paint (re-surfacing was your term). The big problem is the aluminum side plates and spools. You can't just throw them into a typical lye based paint stripper and expect to get anything back (I use ZEP Purple Concentrate on cast iron and steel). The lye will quickly eat aluminum. Non-lye based products, like Citrus Strip, are slow to remove factory paint. Sandblasting will abrade the exposed aluminum faster than the paint. Feathering the edges of the chipped paint is difficult for the same reasons. IF you can get the old paint off without damaging the aluminum, then you can prime and repaint with an expectation of a 'like new' finish. If you have a relatively easy and safe way to do this, I would love to know it. Most likely, the re-surfacing will take a lot of handwork and careful sanding/scraping.

Option Three is to clean up the reel and wax it. You don't make it pretty, but it will fish just fine. You don't change the reel or reduce the 'value'. In the short term, you can do this with your 'fishing grade' reels. Meanwhile experiment on old reel corpses to find a good way to resurface them (and post the results here!).


Tom


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Post 25 Apr 2020, 17:52 • #3 
Piscator
Joined: 08/10/05
Posts: 17116
Location: downtown Bulverde, Texas
Just say No


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Post 25 Apr 2020, 18:31 • #4 
Sport
Joined: 04/20/20
Posts: 32
Location: Springfield (DELCO) PA
Thanks for the feedback.

For the record jgestar, yes - I want to recondition the reels so they fish better - I can use all of the help I can get :)

Really, I guess it's just personal preference - I don't like to look of a mint vintage Fennie paired with a Medalist that's all chipped/worn but you bring up some really good points - I'll likely reconsider on most but there may still be one or two that are so bad, I'll consider them a bit of an experiment.

I'll be sure to feed back anything meaningful from my findings.


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Post 27 Apr 2020, 00:59 • #5 
Guide
Joined: 02/04/18
Posts: 208
Location: US-MN
As Tom mentioned lots of hand work, every time I am tempted to refinish a reel I just go look at the big auction site and find a like new Medalist for not a whole lot of money when considering time needed to make one look new. I at one time refinished vehicles for a living and still have every thing needed to do such work, unless you really enjoy the challenge you're working for pennies per hour of labor and materials cost to really do it right is more than reel worth using a modern paint system that is not out of a spray can. The other thing is most reels that I come across in need of a finish are generally worn out. I do have a couple of reels I would like to refinish but not to make them new, but to make them over to my liking, if I paid myself for labor and materials I have no doubt I could have bought a really top of line new reel and been money ahead.


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Post 27 Apr 2020, 09:44 • #6 
Master Guide
Joined: 09/29/08
Posts: 435
Location: US-NJ
I have painted old, non-collectible reels in colors to match outfits for fun and have been reasonably happy, but have never gotten even remotely close to making them look like new. First, removing the dings, scratches, etc never works out so they are never as smooth - they always look like a repaint. The second problem for me is cleaning out the stamped writing and logos. I never get the stampings nice and sharp like they were when new and the writing is always blurred after the repaint. Poor markings bug me if the object is to look like new.

For example, I just wanted to try dapping with basically only sweat equity invested. So I rebuilt a 14' Scottish bamboo dapping rod and I refurbished a junker Cortland reel which I repainted to match the rod. To me it is a cool outfit to play around with, although it holds no collector value.

However, I don't think it is possible to get an old Medalist to like look like new. Let it wear its scars with pride or if it's not worth much you can paint it candy apple red if you desire. IMHO, it will never look new again.


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Post 27 Apr 2020, 12:20 • #7 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 1883
Location: South of Joplin
I wouldn't do it, because a reel won't fish better or worse for paint or lack of it, and the scars will still show making it obvious as a repaint; but it seems to me that in a recent thread someone did strip and repaint an older Medalist, my memory didn't latch onto the details or methods and may have been on another forum.
I think if I did strip a Medalist, that I would then just rub it out and either wax it or clear finish with something like Penetrol.


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Post 27 Apr 2020, 13:14 • #8 
Master Guide
Joined: 05/16/10
Posts: 782
Location: South of Houston, TX
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=44214&hilit=medalist+paint&start=75#p364285
I think this is the post Trev is referring to.
It looks pretty sharp in the pictures shown, he mentions some of the steps he took.


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Post 27 Apr 2020, 13:52 • #9 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 1883
Location: South of Joplin
Yes, that is the post. I can't imagine sanding around all those rivets, or painting the trim ring on the spool; but it did turn out looking nice.


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Post 27 Apr 2020, 15:46 • #10 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/30/07
Posts: 2327
Location: Arlington, TX
I'm one of those who really likes the older Ocean City reels. I have repainted one or two just to learn and explore who it might look- with a new jet black finish. As well, I have chosen to remove the finish of some examples to produce a silver "spitfire" finish. I have one OC 36 which I want to try and give it an older patina rub down like you might see with an older Perfect reel.
In contrast to messing around with paint or refinishing, see below an example of an Ocean City 35 clicker which as a smaller reel works well in balance on shorter glass rods. I will only flitz polish and maybe wax the finish of this one.



My main focus is about cleaning the innards, the clickers springs etc. in a mild vinegar bath scrubbing down the parts, screws and all, and re-lubricating the moving parts and spindle and using Quantum Hot Sause grease on the clicker.


Les


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Post 09 May 2020, 14:48 • #11 
Master Guide
Joined: 02/19/08
Posts: 978
Location: Branson, Missouri
I refuse to repaint these days... so i try to soften what is already there.. down to a more managable level.

There is no substitue for elbow grease.

Cheers - Brian


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Post 13 Dec 2020, 08:58 • #12 
Guide
Joined: 12/11/20
Posts: 179
Location: Dallas, TX
I have an OC 35 that I like and use as a “beater” when creek fishing with my lighter fiberglass rods. It’s a right hand retriever and I’d love to switch it since I prefer to cast right handed and reel w my left (like most right handed people). Any idea if they can be switched?


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Post 13 Dec 2020, 10:29 • #13 
Guide
Joined: 08/19/16
Posts: 178
Location: Brazil
Dave S., Ron (bulldog) can probably tell you about the practicality or advisability of changing an OC reel over to left-hand wind. But there's a simpler solution. If you just rotate the rod grip 180° so the reel is on top as though it were a bait-casting reel, then you can wind (backwards) with your left hand. If you try it you might like it.


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Post 13 Dec 2020, 20:15 • #14 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 8086
Location: US-ME
DaveS, just so you know--there's no reason to change your preference for LHW since either way works--at the time your OC reel was made and until about 1990 or so, most right handed flyfishers also reeled right handed. Most fly reels, if reversible at all, were delivered RHW as the default. Your OC is a symmetrical fixed click if I remember mine right, so it can be mounted for LHW and used that way. The ring line guard, mounted for RHW, would be superfluous. A line guard is not really necessary on a light duty reel like that, but you could get as simple or meticulous as you liked in fabricating and installing one. JB Weld or a similar product would probably be sufficient to hold one made, for instance, from a large ceramic insert spinning guide ring or the orginal one cut from the frame and repositioned. Those are just makeshifts, but if you wanted a high grade line guard and installation, that could be done as well.

The OC spool is retained by a coin-slot screw, but since it's unlikely you'll be changing spools, it's a good idea to put a little mild formula threadlocker on it, or just some nail polish on the threads before snugging it down. Or the "field grade" nylock, a few shreds of plastic wrap or tippet material.


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Post 16 Dec 2020, 18:18 • #15 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 09/18/09
Posts: 4989
Location: Washington DC Region
Is your OC35 the one with the Chrome ring? I don't recall an easy way to flip that ring. It's either brazed or riveted in.

However if you don't mind not using the ring (or having a line guard) you can flip the reel around. the line guard will be on the back, I don't think there is any difference in the spring. If there is a bias in the drag, you can tune it using advise from one of the other topics in this forum.


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Post 21 Dec 2020, 23:26 • #16 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/30/07
Posts: 2327
Location: Arlington, TX
Dave
You can easily change to left hand wind without using the chrome ring- if you so choose, back the line out and reel it back in on the left hand bias. This should work fine for you since the clicker works either way. I fish all my vintage reels as they were designed and set up RHW. You can get used to it since rarely will you put a creek fish to the reel.


Les
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Post 05 Jan 2021, 13:46 • #17 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/25/16
Posts: 915
Location: Rocky Mountains - Colorado
When I first got interested in fly fishing I wanted to do a matched reel with an old Phillipson S86. I found a very distressed Medalist and disassembled and sanded and scrapped and got frustrated and took the quick way with a wire wheel on my Dremel. It scarred the aluminum and I had to sand and polish and then I painted and the paint didn't adhere to places and I had to strip it off and try again...I finally got it painted and I use it, but it doesn't fish better than my other medalists and it is starting to chip and the paint is starting to flake off.

I enjoyed refinishing it and fishing it...but I find myself taking out the reels that still have origional finish, worn though they may be...I have a new appreciation for "well seasoned" gear...and the refinish idea has left me for the most part...

Good luck with your project


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Post 07 Jan 2021, 23:24 • #18 
Guide
Joined: 12/11/20
Posts: 179
Location: Dallas, TX
Thanks for all the great feedback everyone. I didn’t get to try them all yet but plan to fool around with the OC 35 a lot more this year.

Also I realize I changed the subject on this thread. Newbie error. My apologies!


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Post 08 Jan 2021, 15:44 • #19 
Master Guide
Joined: 05/16/10
Posts: 782
Location: South of Houston, TX
Just grab some gold spray paint ;)
Image

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=42656&p=159366


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Post 09 Jan 2021, 09:06 • #20 
Guide
Joined: 12/11/20
Posts: 179
Location: Dallas, TX
Les, thanks yes this is how I have been fishing it. I find it good practice to work with a RH reel. Plus as you say it’s rare to actually use the reel to reel line when picking up small fish with the 3wt.


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Post 21 Feb 2021, 13:14 • #21 
Sport
Joined: 06/23/20
Posts: 31
I'm not going to offer up an opinion on refinishing fly reels because I'm still just learning how to use them. I tear into saltwater reels, and recently my first spinning reel, but these simple machines still have me a bit reluctant.

Anyway, I have a friend / neighbor that is a retired body shop guy. He recently showed me how to refinish the black body molding (metal not rubber) on my 2004 Toyota Sequoia. He does masterful work quickly and accurately. It made my truck appear newish again.

All that said, my pal used a scotch scuff pad to thoroughly rough the existing finish. Then we cleaned the pieces with some dirt and wax remover (removes fingerprints, but wear gloves anyway). Then he told me we are going to paint with a spray can. After a pro tape job, he produced a can of semi-gloss black acrylic lacquer. I can't remember if we primed, but 3 coats later I have a tough durable finish shiney as a new penny. He told me to wait a week and then clean it with soap and water before waxing it. It's been months and it looks good.

Since learning of the miracle lacquer I have redone my boat motor, too. It has an amazing finish now. All this off topic ramble has been to say, if you decide to do it, find a good acrylic lacquer and use a metal etching primer if there is any metal exposed.

And welcome to the site.


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