I Wanna Get in on the Action...
But for some reason, building up a rod on my own as has always seemed like a very intimidating task.
Do I need any special tools or can I get by on the very basics? :confused:
Although, building a rod may seem sort of fun right now as it would give me an excuse to pick out yet another rod... :devil: :devil:
I can't believe that with all the zeal I've pursued our sport with over the years, I am yet to build a rod myself! That's going to end shortly.
I now have in my hands a 4pc Sage VPS 10wt SW flyrod for stripers, baby tarpon, pacific salmon, etc. I've wrapped guides before, although not with the kind of finesse I want to achieve this time 'round. I've never built a handle before... but that's part of the excitement.
We have professional guidance on both US coasts - Smitty of the Rod Builder's Workshop in Kingston MA on the east coast, and Lyle Floyd of LRODS in Oregon on the west coast. Members in other regions of the world should recommend your favorite regional rod builders to us as well.
Location doesn't matter all that much I guess, Lyle is building a rod for Luis in Montreal and Pete Gray here in striper country; Smitty of Rod Builder's is building rods for people all over the country as well. I was referring to the ability to pop in and ask questions, get hands on assistance with something, etc.
Anyway, I will get this new weapon put together before the first striper fins up the coast. I've thrown the gaunlet down at my own feet! Today is the tying shindig and I have some vip family obligations after but I want to make some progress Sunday/Monday on it... will posts what happens.
You're not the type to give up on a challenge very easily... JUST DO IT!
You have nothing to fear about rod-building. As to difficulty: here's something that you'll relate to as a fly-tyer: As you know, bigger flies, other things being equal, are easier to do than little ones. If Size 22 midges had as many parts as an Atlantic salmon fly, no one would attempt them. Well, building a rod is like tying a four-foot-long fly. It's big enough so that you can see all the components and steps, but not physically demanding, like building a wooden boat.
It's economical: building your own rod saves roughly half the cost of a factory version. And you can personalize it through your choice of guides, thread color, grip contour, etc.
I built my first few rods with no tools. Just run thread through a stack of books to give it just the right tension. But some kind of rack, or holder adds greatly to the convenience, since you can stop working whenever you want. Just a short board, with a pair of notch-top vertical supports at each end, is all you need.
The only problem with rod-building is trying to stop after the first one. But when you get to that point, I can provide you with a set of plausable excuses.
Rolling your own is easy. especially If you already tie flys.
Like Nooksack Mac I used the stack of books method. If you do this, make sure to run the thread through a sheet of clean white paper or the ink from the book could stain the thread. I've tried the wrapping devices and have always gone back to the stack of books. Hold the blank right in me hands that way and feel I have better control.
Only need some single edge razor blades and a few brushes for applying your finish. If you make your own handle from cork rings you'll need some way to clamp them togeher while the glue sets.
Give it a try!
The important first step in rod building is to find the spine and mark it. Talk with an expert or find a written description on this.
Make a few mono or thread loops, with bright yarn mini-handles, for pulling through the thread end when completing a wrap. Use little masking tape strips or hot gluestick for positioning guides on the blank. Take a little time to dress the underside and edges of guides with file and emory paper.
Generally, I prefer to use individual corks. Save time by boring the center hole larger with a power drill. You'll need a few round files/rasps. I use a big, coarse wood file for shaping handles, working freehand with the rod turning in my lap. Finish with several finer sheets of sandpaper wrapped around a paperback. Clamp the drying cork with several large rubber bands, doubled from the grip front to the rod butt. Or, I slip two spools of lead wire down on the handle, and prop the rod in a corner overnight.
Applying finish consistently, so as to have no gaps or bulges, is what gives me the most problem. At a minimum, turn the rod in a horizontal rack every 15 minutes or so for the first few hours.
As with fly tying, mastering a few tricks and techniques takes one from beginner to expert status.
Mac's a 100% on finding the rod's "spine" as the
major 'trick.' Get this wrong and you've got hell to pay. Some blanks come with a "dot" marked on the ferrels to show where they're to mate. If not you may want to ask a 'pro' to find the spine and mark it properly for you.
The wrapping board/stand is as simple as you can get, BUT get your self a bit of felt material and glue it to the "V" into which the rod section will rotate. This will keep you from scratching up the blank. Also makes a firmer base (non-slip) for spinning on the winding thread.
Been awhile since I've built a rod and the only part that's a pain in the butt is the "butt" section. Here, for your first rod you may want to round up a friend with a small laith (sp?) so the butt is slowly spinning when you take off the excess cork with sand paper. Or 'con' a professional builder to build the butt for you.
The guide wrapping part couldn't be easier ..... after you've done one or two guides. Piece of cake.
Thanks for the all the advice!!!
It sounds like fun, now I just need to come up with the cash for the blank I want (896-3 RPLXi) and the componets and such. :devil:
I built my first fly rod. The guy who got me into flyfishing built a number of rods. Jim kept on taking about how easy it was, well I found a deal on a blank and attempted to make a liar out of Jim. It didn't work. I try to fish that rod every year or so, 6wt g1 loomis.
Still works great
give it a go!
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