: Building a Flyrod This Winter?
JimW - I see you are building a flyrod this winter. I am considering it as well.
Would you mind being a case study for the rest of us? I would like to capture the whole process end-to-end and start up a rod building section. We could just do it as a journal of your experience. I'd like to capture each rod style over time, fresh, salt, Spey, etc.
What do you think? Anyone else building a rod this winter?
I think we could also get expert advice from our sponsors along the way as well.
The project will need a leader. You won't have to worry about the web design and development, I'll do that part (unless you are interested in that part of it yourself).
For each rod building participant - just take notes and pictures in a journal style. The project leader will coordinate and I will do the webpages.
It will go into a new section for rod building. I am certain that our sponsors in the rod building business will answer even our trickiest questions.
Let's go for it!
12-01-2001, 09:19 AM
I'm in. Just getting ready to take a trip to Smitty's, then Bear's Den to check out rod building materials and, perhaps, some fly tying stuff.
What are you building?
Are you our new project leader or a case study?
JimW has agreed to take the helm on this project. KUDOS to Jim! If we end up digging up a blank out of this effort, he will be first in line to receive it.
With Tod D, Jim, myself, and anyone else who is going for it this winter - it should make for an interesting journey. I've obviously never built a rod before although sometimes I feel like I've explored most of what FF has to offer, I draw a big blank on this one (pun intended).
By capturing what we find along the way, and through the assistance of our sponsors, I hope the next group who builds their own rod will benefit from what we discover this time around.
I will provide web development support and ask Sean to help out as needed (when he is not busy keeping everything else in top shape around here!). We will also be using the EMEDIA software package that allows those who participate in the project publish webpages form their own computers using a private channel into the rod builders page. More to come on that.
Anyway, if you haven't built a rod this is a good time to work together with novices and experts alike to experience it and carry forward the knowledge to those who might follow suite after us.
12-02-2001, 07:53 AM
Well, my wife would suggest I'm a case study, but not necessarily with regards to fly rod building...
Juro. count me in as a case study. I'm thinking of doing a 10# w/ a moderate-range blank (e.g. St. Croix). Originally thought about a fresh water 3 or 4, but thought I'd use the 10 more and should start there. Assuming I can pull it off, next winter I'll do a 3/4.
I'm planning to join up w/ Smitty's rod building course in January.
12-02-2001, 01:05 PM
For some of the members who may not be lucky enough to have A class to attend or a buddy to work with on this project I offer this.
started building rods I had now knowledge at all of what was entailed short of re-wraping a few guides, repacing a few tips etc.
I went on a search for a good instructional guide and came up with this. THE CUSTOM GRAPHITE FLY ROD Design And Construction By Skip Morris Published by Nick LyonsBooks.
There is wealth of information in this small book[100 pages]with good diagrams and photos and instuction on how to build such things as thread tensioning devices.
I have looked at a no. of other manuals and they all come up short in comparison.
My >02 saltRon
Thanks Ron! Sounds like a sure thing, I'll go look for it on Amazon.com
BTW - I hope we can include you in the list of 'experienced' information sources as we enter into this new obsession.
12-02-2001, 04:26 PM
BUILDING THE BEST LINE SHOOTING ROD IN YOUR ARSENAL
Most factrory produced rods have a built in fault that is there pureley from an esthetic point of view. This is the sizing of the guides from stripping to tip. You will enhance your ability to shoot line with no other changes to your style by increasing the size of the snakes and tip up one size from Mfg. suggestion. Increase the size of the stripping guide by at least one or two sizes. It may look a little odd at first but we are producing a tool not an art piece.
The reasoning behind this is that the line on the shoot is coming at odd angles and starts to whip as it enters the guides and starts to straighten out. The larger Dia. will reduce the whipping and allow the line to flow with less energey loss.
I post this as a suggestion as I know that when we start into these projects We will some times purchase the least expensive components first.
It works for me and lord only knows I need all the help I can get
My .02 saltRon
I have a bunch of blanks in my closet that I'd be interesting in building. For variety, I've got some short, light trout rods (6'6" 3wt). I also have a spey I'd like to build, but I'm thinking I'm dreaming on that one. We'll see how keen I get.
Juro, great idea on the rodbuilding section for the site. I searched the net high and low for rodbuilding info prior to plunging into a project and I was thinking itís funny thereís not much info on the forum. Iím sure that there are quite a few members who can contribute to the knowledge base. I am currently a total novice. Iíve put together a wrapping jig from some scraps in the garage and I am full of enthusiasm. A 9í 5wt is going to be my 1st project, which Iíll build on an inexpensive blank with basic hardware. Next on the list (assuming I have not epoxied myself to anything) will be a 7wt to be used as an schoolie rod for my daughter. Iíll be taking pictures to document my progress and encourage others will do the same.
Tod, we should get together and compare notes sometime. Smitty does incredible thread work, I have a conventional rod he made for me a while back and I still canít believe that butt wrap is single thread work, just incredible.
Ron, thanks for the Great tips, weíll include book title in the reference section of the rodbuilding page.
I think there are probably a lot you guys who have been there done that . I sure would appreciate your input once we get things rolling.
12-02-2001, 05:20 PM
Jim ---- Check out this site http://www.globalflyfisher.com/index.html
Ahh, my friend Martin Joergensen's site! Packed with information. Martin's had a 6-7 year headstart over the Forum with his spectacular website and he's been able to recruit help effectively. Maybe he's paying them with his great fly patterns! ;)
I last fished with Martin when he visited Washington State several years ago, maybe 10 by now. I pulled together a mini-clave in honor of his visit. He liked my loop systems and posted them on his site. I still have some of his unique bullet-headed nutrina muddlers in my collection. Ask him about my Skykomish stonefly if you talk to him. We swapped flies in a smoky cafe in the middle of nowhere after floating the upper Satsop River on a cold rainy November day on Bubba's avon raft.
I hope you find our soon-to-be rod building section informative and personal in that it's just us members going through the experience with the assistance of the expert sponsors and other experienced rod builder members. Maybe our niche will be to offer a rod building section that seems really approachable, not something that someone else can do but something that we can do. We won't be doing hexagonal tonkin bamboo here anytime soon :p
Don't rule out the Spey rod though, we'll be announcing some new support from professional rod building people who can keep us on the right track no matter what style of rod.
I will be building a single-hander first, two-hander second.
12-02-2001, 06:00 PM
I'm signed up for a rod building class after the new year. Any recomendations on what to start with? I really like the way the 2 piece 9 wgt. Backwater cast and thought that might be good blank to start with. But better judgement suggests try building with a less expensive blank.
12-02-2001, 07:16 PM
My sugestion is build the rod that you really want. Nothing is reall going to go wrong before you put the epoxy to it so you do lots of dry fits. the most frustating part of the whole project is doing the thread wraps. Do all the wraps before you start to apply the finish to them. This way you learn as you go and if you see that after finishing the last wrap you could of done better on the first just cut them off and do it over again.
I did a lot of wraps on 1/4 inch dowls before going to the blank.
Lots of luck on your project. saltRon
12-02-2001, 09:26 PM
IMHO SaltRons advice on guide size is correct. I've built a 4 wt with oversized guides and it amazes me how easily it shoots line. That alone is almost enough reason for me to build my own rods. Given the time I will build a 3 & 10 wt this winter, taking notes and pictures along the way.
If you are not interested in fancy thread art building a rod is relatively simple. The problems I've had were of my own doing. On the 4 wt mentioned above I wrapped the guides too tight and ended up breaking the tip at a guide on the first day I used it :( . When I finished the replacement tip I took it off the turner too early and then managed to screw up the finish. It's perfectly fishable but is ugly and it might be worth a picture to show what not to do.
:D I am still alive, but having trouble with getting on the new board. It takes up to 30 seconds for it to load. The other site loads in 3 seconds. I am now in the process of building a new rod. It is a Cabela's 8 weight 10 foot SLi. It is to bad I didn't know that you were going to have rod building, I have built rods since about 1955, in fact I have an Orvis Batternkill that I built in the 1960's, it even had an extra tip, which I broke. To replace the tip today, is $1100, no thank you.
12-03-2001, 06:59 AM
I really never had the desire to build a rod as it looked like a pain in the ass and to be honest its cheaper just to buy them all ready to go from the factory.
But it seems with flyrods there is such a wide range of blanks out there...just really cool odds and ends such as those Tom White rods. Anyone familiar with those as in tried them?? He is the old Loomis rep and sells factory seconds on Ebay. He hes got a 10' #8 IMX that I wouldnt mind giving a try ($65) but I am just very skpetical of the integrity of the blanks.
Another thing that intrigues me about building rods is that you learn how to do some customizing...Sage makes a 11' #6 XP, now if I bought the blank, spun it up and put sort of an extra long fighting butt there is the possibilty of that rod being one killer Deer Creek/flybob rod. :D
Plus I have been very dissatisfied with the route that Loomis has taken as of late-since their buyout buy Shimano. Most of you know that I gear fish as well and Loomis makes the best blank there is but their quality control, workmanship and most of all the quality of components has gone down the crapper since Shimano became owners. So it would be nice to be able to buy the blank and spin up the rod with the quality that I demand.
Rod building could possibly though, just become another thing that I tried and decided was pain but I think it would be an excellent to learn just in case somewhere down the rod I come upon a excellent deal on a blank or blank in a very hard to find rod etc. Plus I will do whatever I can to become the most well-round fisherman/flyfisherman I can/want to be.
12-03-2001, 12:12 PM
I hope I'm not overstepping my bounds but, there's a new "lurking" member who has been building high-end rods for a long time...and I suspect he might be willing to help out with some expertise in a pinch.
Welcome new member and master-rod-builder "Lrods" (Lyle...forgive me...it must be the "medications" talking)
12-09-2001, 05:29 PM
Hellow to all the prospective builders And the TENDINITUS squad.
I came across this site http://www.flyanglersonline.com html that has some extremely good information on rod building,
cork and what caught my eye was the article on producing a handle that would fit your hand perfectly without inducing the death grip and associated stress into the upper arm and sholder.
My .02 saltRon
12-11-2001, 09:53 PM
Just got a copy of Skip Morris' book, "The Graphite Fly Rod: design & construction" via Barnes & Noble on line. Excl shipping, book was $19.96 - 20% off list and a better deal than Amazon (only offered at full price). Buy 3 books total and shipping is free to boot!
Saltron is right. It's a terrific book, packed with nice pics etc.
12-11-2001, 10:47 PM
Thought you would like it and check out that site i posted gives some very good info..
12-13-2001, 03:41 PM
OK Guys, Fill me in or slap me in the head, but, if I follow along with you on this, can I build a rod with NO previous experiance ?
Maybe I could be a case study, get it ? CASE study. Tell me what you think. After the holidays, I have some time on my hands, so, should I attempt this, or is it very difficult and more involved than it might appear? You know me, I'll jump into anything, sometimes a lack of knowledge or experiance works for me, Good thing !
With the many rods I've broken in my short career, It might be a good idea to try this out. Remember, no past experiance, no equipment...
12-13-2001, 08:08 PM
I made a 10 weight fly rod with nothing but a basic instruction book over one winter. Nothing else and a lot of patience. I was amazed it is really not that hard to do. Need to get the proper tools which is not really much. Check out the web sites referenced and go for it. That rod landed a lot of king salmon 20 pounds plus and with stood the punishment. If I had the time now I would do another one. Good luck sure more experienced members of the board can consult to you on this.
:) BCasey, If you send me your snail mail address I will send you a booklet, on rod building instructions by Cabela's. I twill give you a general idea on how it is done. It also gives guide spacings, how to locate the spline, cork handles, and guide types. Step by step pictures. I have several kicking around. I only use a small motor to turn the rod while the finish is drying. I have a little wooden stand I made to support the rod while winding the guides, believe me, nothing fancy. A bobbin to hold the thread, unlike most I wind mine by hand, turning the rod in one hand, and winding with the other.:)
12-13-2001, 10:05 PM
Yes the Cabelas rod building book is the one I used. I still have it some wheres I suppose. I also hand wound the guide ferrules onto the blank. Great fishing a rod you built yourself.
12-14-2001, 11:14 AM
Thanks for the offer, I'll e-mail you my address.
Case, I'm going to work on a 5wt this weekend. I have no previous experience so it should be interesting. I've read quite a bit on the subject and talked to Smitty over at Rod builders workshop. I feel confident that I know the steps and how to perform them but actually do it is another thing entirely. I'm sure I'll learn a few things the hard way. I've started a web page for the project, it should be posted it on this site in the next few weeks.
I know others are planning on keeping a record of their projects as well.
Thanks to all the veteran rod builders for the advise. The custom fly rod sounds like a good reference, I'll have to pick up a copy.
12-15-2001, 04:46 AM
Check out the VFS auction.There are some Sage blanks there that someone may be interested in.
If this link doesn't work,click on auctions,and look under rod building.I have bought blanks from the guy selling the sage blanks, and can tell you he is reputable.
I was thinking of starting with the 10wt 9ft 2pc Sage DS2 for a first rod... but found out the blanks aren't available!
So I guess it will be the 1090-4 VPS (formerly RPL) blank for the first rod.
Then I plan to build a Spey rod 2nd.
12-17-2001, 09:58 AM
Found this site yesterday for those interested in building their own rod or having a custom rod builder do it.
Rod Guild (http://www.rodguild.com)
Best of luck for those which have the time and patience. I did one which turned out pretty good. No instructions, just bought the cabelas book and a few other articles from magazines and spent a winter doing it very patiently. Really not that hard in my opinion.
Would do another one but I am scared of destroying a $ 300+ fly rod blank which is what I would want to do. A spey fly rod.
12-17-2001, 12:17 PM
I plan to look for an inexpensive blank and hardware at the Marlboro show for a 7' 3/4wt for those tight little brookie streams. Something real noodley and slow.
12-17-2001, 07:17 PM
To all the prospective builders I would say build the rod that you really want rather than the cheap blank to experiment on.
It will take the same legnth of time to assemble and finish either rod so you might as well produce a rod that you want and you will be proud of it. If you follow the steps and the procedures as outlined in the books or class room you wont screw up.
As mentioned before the only time that a real disaster could take place is with the final finish to the wraps. Experiment on some dowls if you feel that this a big problem for you.
Good luck with winter project saltRon:smokin:
12-18-2001, 08:05 AM
The manual you sent me arrived yesterday, after some review it's does not look to be as intimidating as I first thought. So I'm gonna give it a go. I'll be looking for some materials at the Marlboro show, and in the meantime I plan on making up a bench system for building it.
I'll let you know how it goes, and most likely be looking for advice.
:) Case, It is not as hard as some seem to want one to think. I furmly believe that one can get a very good rod for much less than a factory built one. I haven't been, nor do I know all the flyshops in the area. I have been to, and have seen soom very good blanks at the Bear's Den, and I am sure many of the area shops also have them. The hardest thing in building a rod, in my opinion is, making the handle, if you use cork rings it is easier to open them up to the butt diameter, but harder to shape the grip. Buy a preformed grip, and it is harder to open it up to the butt size. One does need a couple of rat- tailed files, or a lathe, or drill. Cork is extremely hard to drill correctly. I wish I could compress a file to be able to post a couple of pictures of the rod I have under construction. I usually take two days, this one has taken two months, only have the handle installed. Will get it done by next year. :D
12-19-2001, 05:30 AM
I have built a number of rods. I am not an expert,
but I have learned a lot from my mistakes.I get an old rod,or wooden dowels of different sizes,and
glue strips of sandpaper in a spiral down the
dowel,or old rod.[leave a little space between the
sandpaper as you spiral a 3/8''strip down ]This makes a great cork reamer.For a wrapper you can
use a cardboard box ,and cut a "v" on each end
to rest the blank.Put the thread in a peanut butter size jar,and run the thread through a book for tension.This method is a no frills cheapo setup,but it works.I use a Flexcoat hand wrapper
now,and it works well for me.Epoxey is a little tricky.I heat both parts up with warm water[this makes it mix better, and have less bubbles].
Thin coats are better.I have a drying motor ,but prefer to turn the rod by hand,1/4 turn every few minutes for about an hour works well.Like I said ,I am no expert.
Check out http://www.flyshop.com/Centers/RodBuilding/
for more info.
:) Seeing I was able to finally post a picture, I thought I would try another. This is of a rod that I have underconstruction. It shows my simple rod finisher, and it shows the rod which has the handle, and the reel seat attached. It also has a winding check installed, ready for the windings. I wish I had shown it just before the handle was installed, and it was ready for the epoxy. The rod is a 10 foot 8 weight.
12-20-2001, 09:48 AM
Picture looks good Art,
Seems strange to see a 10' 8wt. , also with the tapered handle, but, I guess with building you get less conventional and more of the details you want.
Keep the pictures coming, I'll be starting my project after the holidays, and I need all the help I can get.
:D What no one building a rod yet:confused: I guess the holidays put a crimp in rod building. I worked for the last two afternoons finishing up the rod I have been building, as soon as the finish dries completely, it is not 24 hours yet. I will try and post a picture of it, at least of a guide. The point I want to make, is that it is after all the rods I have built I have noticed that snake guides when mounted on a rod, the loop looks perpendicular of the rod. When it is dried completely, I will add a picture of it. Another point, in my opinion, is do not use single foot guides. I have tried them, and have found they easily bend, at least Fugi, and I have even have had them pull out. I know some manufacturers use them. I question why, except for easier to install as half as many windings are used. They also say lighter, how much added weight does thread and the foot of the guides weigh. They also seem to have a way of catching on anything that sticks out, like tree limbs. The double foot guides firmly attaches to the rod in two places which means if restricted in either dirrection, will not easily bend out of shape. Just an old man's observation. Lets get with it, build a rod.:smokin:
:chuckle: tried to change above, but couldn't add picture. Tried with flash, without flash, and background flash, not perfect, but here it is.:rolleyes:
Art, I like the tip about the snake guide alignment. When the guide is viewed from above the top of the loop should be appear perpendicular to the blank, Cool!
I had planned on using single foot guides for all but the stripper guides on my 5wt. You've got me thinking now. I find that they are harder to align than the double foot but I still want to experiment with them. I think maybe I'll get a set of snakes so I can tape both on and do some test casting. I'm about half done with my 1st rod. Check your email when you get a chance.
12-29-2001, 01:42 PM
Whenever I've decided to build a rod, I've started by looking at reputable makers' blanks, reading the descriptions (which aren't always that descriptive ó one man's slow might be another man's moderate), if I'm lucky using a rod made by the manufacturer and then, I've pretty much chucked and chanced it. I've only really been burned once ó an Orvis fiberglass that I built 25 years ago for which I've yet to find a line that makes it work right ó but I sure have had to adjust my casting stroke to a good many rods I've built.
Is there a more surefire method for selecting a blank?
Before anybody goes roaring off to the building bench, this would be a good point to nail down.
12-29-2001, 01:56 PM
I've built two 7' 3/4 wt St. Croix Imperials for small streams. I think they'd fill the bill for you although compared to bamboo or glass thet aren't "noodley".
:) Most of you probably have received Cabela's Tackle Craft Catalog, just received mine today. I am not saying Cabela's is the best, as there is a lot of good Flyfishing shops around, but their catalog is an excellent reference for rod building supplies, etc. Call this number to order one, if you don't already get it, 1-800-237-4444. Also ask about their Flyfishing Catalog, I don't think it has been shipped yet.:)
12-29-2001, 10:27 PM
Tonights rod building lesson was that making a fighting butt out of a stack of glued up cork rings makes a Lot of dust.
12-30-2001, 12:26 PM
Although I am not building a rod this winter I thought that I might be able to help you all with your efforts. I came across this excellent website this morning (while looking for info on spinning deer hair) and noticed that they have a decent rod building section on the site.
Here it is: http://globalflyfisher.com/
Go here for more on rod building within the same site:
:) Happy New Year! Being old, and forgetful, I forgot to mention, that in my opinion, that one should use oversize guides on saltwater flyrods. Most saltwater rods are from about size 8 to size 12, and are used with weight forward lines, which have large diameters, therefore the need for guides with larger openings. I found this out myself. I just for the heck of it, dragged out several saltwater flyfishing books, including "Fly Fishing Saltwater" by Lefty Kreh, on page 26, Quote" Large snake guides offer less friction and are recommended." I buy my guides by the half dozen per size. and use the larger sizes. Most rod kit guides, in my opinion, are too small. I average about 3 guides for each size. Striper guides I don't use smaller than 12mm. I have used up to about 20mm, but sometimes 20mm is too large for the rod cases. just my 59 years of observation. :D
Thanks for the url; that's my old friend Martin Joergenson's site. He got started several years before the Forum and has put together a strong contributing staff so I don't doubt their rod building section is a good reference.
We're starting such a section ourselves with Jim Whalen leading the way. Our unique approach is to do it as "us" building rods, learning as we go with the advice of the pros and experienced fellow members in the community helping us along. Kind of a grass-rootsy, help each other approach like the Forum always seems to do well.
The rod building page is almost ready to go, look for it in the next day or two. Great work JimW!
Originally posted by doogue
Although I am not building a rod this winter I thought that I might be able to help you all with your efforts. I came across this excellent website this morning (while looking for info on spinning deer hair) and noticed that they have a decent rod building section on the site.
Given the cumulative knowledge of the forum membership I think we can come up with some great content. Understand that I am a novice, I am relying on the seasoned rodbuilders to contribute their expertise to the section. Art Burton has agreed to share some tips with us. Scott Wessels from the Bears den will probably chime in once a message board is up and running. Smitty at The Rod builders workshop has helped me a lot, he would rather deal with people face to face than on the net I would highly recommend a visit to his shop. Just reviewing this thread I get the feeling quite a few members have some experience building fly rods. This thread has been very helpful but I would like to get some tips organized on the new section. If you think you can contribute with a tip or two, please shoot me an email.
01-02-2002, 08:11 PM
Jim - I'm gearing up. Are you planning on attending Smitty's session(s)? Any recommendations on a rod-turning device?
01-02-2002, 08:56 PM
Hi Tom D
The answer to your question lies in what step in building are you refering to? I prefer to create the grip on a piece of redy rod of the initial Dia. of your cork and I improvise a 1/4 in drill with an improvised steady on the dead end. I never liked the idea of spinning my precious blank with the cork attached. If you do screw up there is no worry about removing the previously glued corks from the blank. On the minus side of this approach it is a more tedious job fitting the finished handle to the blank to achieve the taper on the handle if there is any of consequence.
I have found in doing the thread wraps you have far greater control over the windings when you hold the blank in your hand and do the turning your self. If you get ventursome and want to add contrasting thread rings on the wrap it is much eaiser to control in your hand and not all that difficult.
To apply finish you do need a turning device. I put together a barbcue rotisory motor and a little woodwork to turn the blank sections during the application and drying cycle.
Hope this helps and you do not have to buy a lot of specialized gear to produce results that will amaze you and why did i not do this before.
---------Good Building saltRon
Tod, glad to hear it, take lots of pictures. I got going on my 5wt and didn't document the reel seat or handle very well. Once I mixed that epoxy I didnít want to handle the camera. I didn't turn my own grip this time so I can't offer any 1st hand advice but I tend to agree with SaltRon. Turning the handle on the blank is a bit unnerving to me, although reaming the grip was no walk in the park the worst that could happen is to break the cork. I would like to turn my own handle on the 7wt I build next.
Tip: If you use a reamer be sure to check the inside of the grip for pieces of the abrasive material because it could scratch the blank.
I think Smitty turns the cork on the blank so with the right tools and knowledge Iím sure itís perfectly safe. I was not planning on taking the rod building class because Iím really not interested in the custom thread work at this point, but I may take it next year. I made up a jig for wrapping the guides by hand. I also put together a drying set up using a 40rpm motor that I got for a couple bucks online, which the jury is still out on. Iíve seen the rotisserie motor versions at the bearís den. The Cabelas tackle craft catalog has some nice ones with the self-centering rubber boots. Iíve finished wrapping the whole rod now but want to do some test casts before putting on the finish. I hope to put the finish on within a week; Iíll let you know how that rod turner works out.
This has been a great thread, but itís getting on the large side. Thereís a rod building discussion board on the horizon but for now maybe we should start some other threads on this board that can be moved later.
01-03-2002, 08:22 PM
Thanks guys. Promise this is my last post on this thread. I was referring to a drying motor. Got the Morris book as a Christmas/Birthday gift and have been reading it at night. Built up a hand jig for doing thread wraps, etc. and was thinking about building up a make shift rod turner for drying. Got a 3 rpm disco-ball motor at U-Do-It Electronics in Needham. Works ok for drying epoxy flies, but don't think it will cut the mustard for a rod. JimW - I'll send you an email directly re where you located your motor, plans, etc.