Farlow Sharpes of Aberdeen rod builders

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.

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