The Impregnated cane rods are all hand built by the craftsman of Farlow Sharpes in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Harold Sharpe, MD of Farlow’s acquired the original J S Sharpes Fishing Tackle Ltd business in 1960.
Impregnation is simply a process that fills the tube-like fibres of cane and the minute gaps between those fibres with a special resin.
This is achieved by a series of immersions at varying temperatures in resin baths. The process gives the rod more power flexing in one solid structure. The cane becomes 100% waterproof and impervious to climatic extremes. It requires no varnishing with the cane being buffed to a low satin finish, eliminating flash.
Further, because of the solid structure, the spliced joints are waterproof eliminating the flat spot a ferrule creates.
Pre-war Sharpe’s rod were varnished with a shiny finish. If the varnish chipped, water ingress caused damp to attack the water-soluble adhesives and the rods sprung or warped.
Wartime technical advances brought non-soluble adhesives but the damp problem still remained if the varnish chipped and the rod swelled and eventually split.
Impregnation resolved all the aforementioned problems.
The hand-making process of a rod is complex. From cane choice splitting, removing the inner core, shaping, belt sanding etc.
Post-war tapering machines removed any human error in the gluing process which was extremely difficult to achieve uniformly on all 6 sections. The only varnish on a Sharpes Impregnated rod is applied at the end of the process to the silk whippings and ferrules.
A story is recorded where an angler lost his rod overboard whilst lake fishing. One year later a scuba diver recovered the same rod. The cork handle had perished but the rod cane remained 100% intact, still waterproof and arrow straight.
Sharpes cannot give the life expectancy of the Impregnated rods as the original post-war rods are still functioning as sweetly as the day they were made.
Now that’s a rod for life.