Vintage Restorations

If you’re looking for high-quality, vintage rod and reel restorations, you’ve come to the right place! We get great satisfaction from restoring old, antique vintage fishing rods and reels. Unless otherwise requested, we seek to restore the vintage rod and/or reel back to the original factory design, as close as possible. Some components and threads are no longer available, but in most cases, we can replicate the original look and feel.


We completely disassemble the reel, remove all the old grease and oils by first soaking in a degreaser and then placing in an ultra-sonic cleaner. We will then buff the metal components to a slick, high shine and regrease with recommended reel grease and lubricating oils. Any non-metal pieces are washed and scrubbed by hand.

We then clean or replace drag washers and bearings, returning the reel to tip-top shape, like the day it was manufactured.

Externally, we inspect the reel to see if any rust can be removed with chemicals and/or sanding or buffering. If so, we will take that route first, using a Dremel tool and a buffering or polishing wheel and chrome polish to a highly reflective shine on chrome and metal pieces.  If rust is too severe, we will try to obtain like-new replacements for those pieces.

For vintage and antique reels, if requested, we can sand and strip the remaining paint and repaint it as closely as possible to the original color. In some cases, we may be able to obtain new labels and graphics. If that’s not possible, we’ll mask over the existing label in order not to lose the identifying marks.

Goose Creek Rod & Reel has two options to choose from for vintage fishing rod restorations. We can do “light” rod restoration or a “complete” rod restoration.



“light” restoration involves cleaning your existing rod blank without repainting the blank. This would involve lightly wet sanding with ultra-fine sandpaper to remove most of the ground-in dirt, grease, and marks and then coming over it with a clear rod varnish to protect the blank. We would remove and then clean and polish all guides and rewrap the guides using the original color and style of the rod. Optionally, we can also wrap the guides using any color and style of your choosing.

During a light restoration, we do a deep clean of the cork or wooden grips. The cost of a light restoration is significantly less due to the time and materials involved.


In doing a complete fishing rod restoration, we strip the rod of all guides and wrappings. We remove the old varnish and wet-sand the blank. We will then repaint the blank matching as close as possible to the original color of the blank, or the color of the customer’s choosing. We will clean the existing guides if they can be cleaned. If not, we will replace the guides with period guides of the same style, if available.


If the rod has cork handles, we will try cleaning them first. If this isn’t sufficient, we will cut off the existing cork grips and replace them with new cork. If the rod has wooden handles, we will sand down the handles and re-stain with a stain that coordinates well with the rod’s blank color. Once stained, we will apply a marine-grade clear varnish to protect the wood. All chrome and metal pieces, reel seats, etc., are polished to a bright shine. Costs will be determined only after close inspection of the rod.