: Building a Rod
10-06-2007, 11:54 AM
I think I want to build a few rods this winter. Or at least one to start with. I have no equipment or materials. For that matter I have never even seen it done. But that is no obstacle for me. I can read and see what others have done. If I can assemble a Diesel engine form a box of parts I am sure I can build a rod and make it come out decent.
In any case I would like to know what some of you seasoned rod builders recommend for tools & equipment. I see Cabela's & others have kits and components etc... But if the kits are like any other kits I have purchased in the past, they are incomplete or lacking in some way. I find you are better off to buy what you need to get things done, even if it is more expensive to get started. Like any job, I can imagine having the proper tools and good materials is the key to success.
I also need a good how to book, once again there are numerous books I see advertised. But which one is good?
I would also like a good source of components.
I can get Sage blanks from my friends fly shop or another local shop handles T&T, Loomis and Scott. However they are not into rod building so other stuff may be hard to get from them.
In the mean time I will research some more on my own
10-06-2007, 10:04 PM
i'm not a rod builder, but smiitty at rod builder's workshop in kingston ma is probably the best in this area for the country!-and he's quite helpful albeit a bit crusty. give him a call. i think he is offerring classes this fall. 1-781-582-1015.
10-07-2007, 08:39 PM
I'd recomend any type of class or online reading you can find on the subject. I learned through a local builder, flex coat's little paper back black ang white book and Start to Finish Fly Fly Rod Building which is also by flex coat.
that being said....
Get yourself a rotary rod drier.
Its possible to hand turn a drying rod, but the results will be better with a motorized drying rack.
I do just fine without a comercially made rod tying rack. I don't do the most intricate rod designs, so I use a cardboard box with notches to hold the blank as a stand for the rod blank I'm wrapping.
I used a cabelas brand foregrip on one of my builds and wholeheartily regret it. I've used the rod quite a bit over the past two years and the cork grip has deteriotated considerably even though I rubberized it during the building process.
Rod building is fun and fairly easy. Any mistake that you make can be fixed pretty readily except for the actual rod finishing, which is fairly starightforward to the instructions of whatever finish you choose.
10-08-2007, 03:07 PM
I've just gotten back into building rods. Forgot how much fun it is. :)
I'd say: take your time, don't be afraid to take your wraps apart & redo. Practice with the epoxy finish on a test piece before the actual rod finishing. Try making your own cork grips out of cork rings. Lot's of cool looks to be acheived!!
A lot of valuable techniques at this site: rodbuildingforum.com
Have fun :D
Edited for non-sponsor link.
10-08-2007, 04:57 PM
The rodbuildingforum mentioned is a great source of information.
Tom Kirkman's book on rod building, the previously mentioned Flex Coat book, and Dale Clemens book on rod building are very good. There are also a few good videos in DVD format out on rod building that are worth a look.
Things like good quality pre-formed rod grips, reels seats, guides, glues, etc. are best gotten from one of the vaious rod building supply stores.
10-09-2007, 01:38 AM
I get my components from shoff tackle, an online store (shofftackle.com). They have pretty good stuff. You can either get full kits or buy individual components. I've built three rods with components from their shop.
For wrapping, I built a rod wrapper out of wood and some minor components that looks just like the Flex Coat Hand Rod Wrapper (look at one on Cabelas website for an idea). My components cost about $20 and building it was easy. Basic shop skills and a few tools the pretty much anyone would have on their workbench and you can build one in few hours.
For the finishing step though, I spent about $70 on a motorized rod turner. It works great and is well worth the money. Some rod turners are several hundred bucks.
Like was said by others earlier in this thread, don't hesitate to strip and re-wrap your threads if you don't like them before you put the finish on them. Also, I go to the Sage website and get their guide spacing chart for the rod size I'm working on to make sure I have them spaced correctly.
The hardest part of the project (for me, at least) is getting the guides all aligned perfectly pre-finishing. You don't want to assemble your rod when you're done and see your guides not in a nice straight line.
It's pretty dang fun, though. I look at mine closely and notice imperfections but I think it gives them character. Not to mention, I can build a $700 rod for about $380 depending on component choices.
10-09-2007, 06:47 AM
Thanks guys for getting me pointed in the right direction. Especially the rod building forum. I found another forum rodbuilders.org but it is not as good IMHO.
So far I have ordered from Flexcoat the aforementioned book plus one other and a DVD.
My friend Captain Carp told me he could get most materials via his fly shop distributors. And that I would probably be better off buying components from established suppliers to the rod building world.
So I have a start anyway. I will read the books & watch the vid. After the holidays I will probably start in on my first one.
10-09-2007, 07:40 AM
I learned a lot from "Advanced Custom Rod Building" by Dale P. Clemens published by Winchester Press.
11-04-2007, 09:32 AM
The most difficult part is the finish. You'll need a dust free environment . Get a good set of brushes to work with . Another vote for Rodbuilding.org. A great site with lots of helpful information. PS some guys like to use a pallet knife to apply the finish with. Once you build a rod there is no going back. My next project is going to be a T&T two hander. FishHawk
11-06-2007, 02:19 PM
I've tried rod wrappings tools and never liked them as well as simply wrapping by hand. Place your spool of thread in a coffee mug and run the thread through a book with several books placed on top to create a stack to provide weight and thereby tension your thread. Hold the blank in your hand and roll the thread on. This has resulted in much better results than the rod wrapping tools I've used and results in a flawless wrap. It's a good idea to place a folded sheet of plain white paper in your book where your thread runs through to keep the print from discoloring your thread.
Get a gap in your windings? Just unroll it by moving the rod back towards you maintaining tension on the thread. Most wrappers don't do that very well at alll.
Of course the commercial rod wrapping machines will work better, but at a big price!
I agree with the recommendation to get a drying motor. I bought one many years ago from Angler's Workshop that runs on a single D battery. I've had it for over twenty years now and it still works fine. It also works well for making the Aquaseal coating that I coat my flyline loops with to be perfectly distributed.
11-07-2007, 05:02 AM
Here is an update on the Rod building project.
I have ordered a drying motor. I will build a wooden V block thingy to wrap the guides. I will also build a cork lathe, I just happen to have a surplus electric drills around here.
I have ordered a Gatti 609-3 blank, a sage Xi-2 8 wt for wifey and a Sage TXL 00 wt blank. I'll get the rest of the stuff coming soon and after the holiday chaos I will probably get started. Maybe before then if things go well.
Although all the nifty expensive tools look impressive, and are probably useful for more advanced higher production guy, I am in no particular hurry (for once) to get things done. I just want to build a few rods for fun. After all I don't want this to become work:tsk_tsk:
Pescaphile any particular book you recommend for tensioning the thread? War & peace? or should I use Moby Dick :D :D
11-07-2007, 08:06 AM
I was at the same point last year at this time. I wanted to build some rods again. Although the KISS principal is a good one, I was able to build a wrapping/drying jig & lath for about a $100 bucks. I did have some stuff around the house that I put into service.... starboard, aluminum angles, a track from a old drafting parrallel bar etc. I bought some lath components (fly wheel & jaws) and a thread tensioning module from a online store. I bought a sewing machine motor on EBay. Electric junction box w/ rheostat and 3 way switch for foot pedal/rheostat/off.
Works pretty well for me. ;) One thing I may improve upon is to obtain a slower rpm drying motor. Even geared down, the sewing machine motor just doesn't go slow enough for drying the epoxy.
Here are some photo's:
Feel free to contact me if I can offer any help. Good Luck! :)
11-07-2007, 01:18 PM
Keep in mind that when wrapping guides you only want to use enough thread tension to hold the guide in place, but still be able to move it by putting pressure against the guide feet with your thumbnail and forefinger nail in order to get the guides aligned after they are wrapped. Guide wraps need a lot less tension than most folks think. Keep in mind that it is the number of thread wraps and the guide wrap finish that provides strength and durability to them.
11-07-2007, 05:16 PM
C'mon Jim your pullin, our legs, you bought that!:hihi:
Seriously, That is some nice work, well done. I was thinking of something along those lines if I could find an old sewing machine. I was also thinking of using the thread tensioner from said sewing machine. But for now I was just going to build the V-block part.
Flytyer, thanks for the tips on wrapping. I should have some goodies to work with in the next few weeks. Now I just have to find the time to build all my tools.
11-14-2007, 05:15 PM
While War and Peace will certainly work, I think Moby Dick is much more apropo given what you'll be building. Additionally, even though Hemingway was rather economical with words, you might also want to throw a copy of The Old Man and the Sea on the stack as well.
11-14-2007, 06:23 PM
All of the above is good info even Moby Dick
One thing I would renforce is the important of the finish I personally use flex coat lite on my fly rods and feel 2 or 3 thin coats are better than 1 thick although there is a lot of other stuff on the market.
A trick I have used is mix the 2 parts on a peice of aluminum foil then heat foil under a lamp. The idea is to keep it warm especially in the winter months. I sometimes keep the lamp over the foil the whole time I'm coating the treads and if the wraps are being fussy I'll position the lamp over he threads as they turn until they level out. This also helps get rid of unwanted bubles in the finish. an old drafting type lamp w/ a 100 watt bulb works great . Have fun