Monday, January 18, 2016

Cleaning Classic Fly Reels With The "Bulldog Treatment"

Yesterday morning I was going through the mail stack after being gone for a few days and noticed a small parcel from a good friend in Asheville.  Carefully packed inside was a J.W. Young made Milward Flymaster Junior that he graciously gifted from his collection to mine.  This fly reel has some years of use and wear on it but I've found that a through cleaning and polish can really bring these classic fly reels back to life.

I have been collecting J.W. Young fly reels for quite a few years now and Ron McAlpin, a.k.a. bulldog1935, has been a mentor who's not only versed me in what to look for in these fly reels but also has provided invaluable information on cleaning and maintaining them as well.  More than a couple of my J.W Young fly reels have gone to Ron's workshop in the Hill Country of Texas to have the springs tweaked or to have work done that I'd only trust his hands to do.

Ron is a longtime member of the Fiberglass Flyrodders forum (among others) and as a career metallurgist his expertise has invaluable application to vintage fly reels.  Over the years he's developed a side business of cleaning and repairing fly reels and his work is impressive. 

A few years ago I (along with many others) asked Ron to outline his process for cleaning classic fly reels and he graciously published a post on Fiberglass Flyrodders with a step by step tutorial on his deep cleaning method.  The post has sparked a five page conversation that is well worth reading as well.

As with most classic fly reels that are added to my collection, the Milward Flymaster Junior was given the "Bulldog Treatment" before anything else was done with it.  It was first taken apart carefully (watch out for the spool release spring) and then given a lukewarm vinegar bath and scrub down which was followed by reassembly.  I flipped the pawl in the process to change it from left hand wind to right hand wind.  I then applied just a small amount of Quantum Hot Sauce grease and lube here and there with final a wipe down with the silicone cloth to make it shine.

I snapped a few images yesterday to show off the end results of this fly reel cleaning.  I can't wait to line this fly reel and get it on the water.  It has a wonderful click.

Have a classic fly reel that is in need of a good cleaning?  Use the tutorial on the "Bulldog Treatment" on the Fiberglass Flyrodders website.  Ron McAlpin can be contacted through the forum if you have any questions or need to send a fly reel for repair.


Arizona Wanderings said...

I had him do a little bit of work on one of my reels. Couldn't have been happier. Ron really knows what he's doing.


Cameron Mortenson said...

AW...he certainly does. I think he does it just to get more J.W. Young fly reel geeks into the fold.