I experimented with stripping and repainting a few rod blanks this winter. This is great option for those who want rods a particular difficult to find color or for those who buy blanks that come in colors they can't stand.
- citrus style paint stripper
- metal scraper
- razor blades
- scotchbrite pads
- paint or finish of choice
If the rod is a re-build or re-paint of an already built rod you will need to remove the guides (at minimum). A grip and seat in decent condition could be left in place but the guide must come off. To remove the guides cut the threads running the razor blade along the outside of the guide foot. Staying on the guide foot protects the blank from damage. Peel the thread off and remove the guide,
If you desire to remove the cork and seat you'll have more work on your hands. Cork can be sanded down nearly to the blank without cutting into the blank, take your time and keep it even so new cork can be easily mounted over it. Removing reel seats can be a PITA. You can try boiling them in water to break the epoxy bond without damaging blank. Alternately, you can cut across the seat with a dremel style cutting bit. Then pry the real off carefully with a screwdriver or chisel.
Blanks can be stripped without a citrus paint stripper but be careful. More harsh strippers might damage the blank, scraping without a stripper will require more force and increase the odds of damage.
If using a citrus stripper start by globbing the stripper on the blank. Don't be shy with it, seems to help if you put it on thick. Mine says it works up to 24 hours - from my experience the best use comes 12 to 20 hours after application. You'll probably want to wear gloves, the labels says chemical burns are a possibility.
After waiting scrape the blank with light pressure and a scraper held perpendicular to the blank
The number of applications of the stripper will vary - most blanks will be fine with one application but some really caked on paints (ugly stiks come to mind) may require multiple applications.
If certain spot refuse to come off using a razor blade as scraper (again perpendicular to the blank) can help
Final buffing can be done with scotch brite pad, I'd avoid sand paper though wet sanding extremely fine grits can work.
Many paints can work though automotive spray touchup paint is popular for a reason. Any paint used needs to be durable enough for outdoor use and needs to be formulated to be flexible after drying. Auto paint fits the bill, is fairly easy to find is a variety of colors - though people looking for more dramatic colors may need to look to other spray paints. For those just wanting a clear coat over the blank Spar Urethane is an excellent choice. Methods vary but hanging the rod vertically works well to minimize runs for most people. I'd also stick with multiple light coats rather than trying to rush it.