have to give credit to Len Codella for most of this, so thank him by doing business with him!
Restoring old lines
It is possible to fix an old silk line up as long as it hasn't rotted.
Carefully separate all the coils and soak the line for at least a day in soapy water (washing up liquid will do). Remove the line and rinse it out as well as you can.
Lay the line out between layers of newspaper for as long as it takes to dry - up to four days if you don't live in California - changing the newspaper as often as you need to prevent it getting soaked.
After the line has dried, polish it down with talcum powder and a soft cloth, unless the finish is very rough, in which case, polish it with pumice first, before using the talc.
Repairing worn lines.
If the finish has worn off your line, and the braiding is exposed, you can still restore it, but it takes a bit more effort.
Boil up some linseed oil, and when it has cooled, add about 25% spar varnish, then warm the mixture up again, before working it into the line with your fingers, laying each coil of line out on newspaper as soon as it is coated. One or two coats like this is usually enough, but you must allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. If you don't let it dry, the line will stay sticky forever, or possibly longer. Lines left in this state attract more lint than you would imagine existed on this planet.
Once the braid is covered completely, polish the line down with pumice and a soft cloth, and then refinish using talcum powder.
I plan to restore the lines in the shot - one day.
If all else fails, you can still buy new silk lines.
In the US, contact Len Codella, Heritage Sporting Collectibles, 2201 South Carnegie Drive, Inverness, Florida 34450 Tel: 1 (352) 637-5454 Fax: 1 (352) 637-5420.
Otherwise a good start is with Phoenix lines who make the best silk lines in the business.
If you know of any other suppliers around the world, send me an e-mail and I will add them to the list.