February 27, 2012

What I learned from band

Yes, I was a band nerd -- in high school that is. I played the clarinet. Part of my daily routine, after playing the clarinet, was to clean it out so that it would not mold/mildew. I live in a pretty dry part of the country but mold can still be a problem.

When I started Tenkara I heard that the hollow telescoping rod segments can get mold/mildew in them and degrade carbon surface if they are not properly dried out. Airing out the segments can help reduce this damage, but in the microclimate of a tube the humidity can remain elevated retarding proper drying (no matter what the ambient humidity outside the tube is). I decided that I would help the process by doing what I did to my clarinet, that is, running a drying swab through.

I have made a drying swab (after the manner of a clarinet swab) for my Tenkara rods by using a triangular piece of silk cloth attached to a length of 25 lb monofilament. The triangle shape helps ensure better contact with the inner surface of the rod. A small, pinch-on lead weight is attached to the end of the mono. Silk is highly water absorbent, even more so than many newer synthetic materials like microfiber. Also, silk does not shed lint. The silk cost me $4.00 at JoAnn Fabrics. I have plenty left over for more swabs, if needed. BTW, my wife surged the edges for me -- I would have probably sewn my fingers together!

I can now accelerate the drying of my larger rod segments by dropping the weighted line through and then slowly pulling through the silk swab. This works great. Aided by my naturally dry environment I should be able to avoid mold/mildew damage to my rods with this little trick. I still take my rod apart to air dry the smallest segments.

BTW, I just gave my niece my 1956 Selmer Centered-tone B-flat clarinet. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did 40 years ago.

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