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Teach me about rod building plz

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38 replies to this topic

#31 SilverCreek


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Posted 11 August 2019 - 05:27 PM

They look nice, Joe



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#32 xvigauge


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Posted 11 August 2019 - 05:49 PM

They look nice, Joe


Thanks SilverCreek.



#33 tjm


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Posted 12 August 2019 - 07:01 AM

Yes, they do look fine; and no lathe used. Thanks for posting Joe. The ones I did were of a Wells shape, but same process.

#34 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:10 PM

Finally finished the rod I was building so back to basics...


A lot of years ago I built a short section of blank into a demo for folks considering having a custom fly rod built for them... Haven't built rods for anyone in quite a few years but here's that stick (bottom of photo...).



The demo blank is at bottom -the top butt section is a hard used 12wt on a Thomas & Thomas blank to show how the finished rod looked... Note that I always glued up the reelseat a bit above the end of the blank - that foam section you can see is turned down separately and only friction fit onto the butt to give a very nice cushion for anyone fighting a big fish for a long period of time.... that butt section extends about 1/8 to 1/4" past the end of the blank...



Here's that demo blank with the reelseat removed to show how you build up tape bushings to center the reelseat before epoxying it into position- then it was hard clampedt to the cork for a really solid bond... All of my fly rods were built for the salt where they were going to get much harder use than most freshwater rods ever receive... You can see that the cork grip was already glued up - then turned down into shape before the reelseat was added.  This is the way I did them - others might do it differently.  The end result I was striving for was a very solid grip and reelseat assembly that would provide long service in hard use -without the slightest creak or give in hand...




Just past the grips I did a series of short thread wraps in different colors to show prospective customers the thread possibilities that they could choose from - and how they'd look after finish was applied.  All of my rodbuilding for many years was always finished using FlexCoat, a two part polymer finish that requires a rotating fixture for two hours after a coat of finish... Doing a few sample wraps on a scrap piece of rod blank then finishing them is a great way to decide exactly what thread color you'll want for your builds... 


I long ago quit building rods for anyone other than myself - the old sample above is probably more than 30 years old now... These days I only build for my own needs (but if you're a fishing guide you will be making new rods almost every year....).


This was my current project - just a spinning rod but will provide a bit different perspective.  A few weeks back one of my anglers broke a medium rod on a small 30lb tarpon (high sticking will do it every time...) so I needed a replacement... Whenever I need a rod - I always start by building two of them - at least through finishing the handles, since it hardly takes a bit more time... I then store one of the matched pair without wrapping any guides on it and finish the other one.  That way my next replacement will only take a day or so to complete since the handle is already finished.... 



a matched pair of seven foot medium action spinning rods the grips are EVA foam - about ten times more durable than cork grips, and very easy to maintain.  They don't have the "feel" of cork though so no one uses foam to build up production fly rods...



first coat of finish applied and cured - logo added (I free-hand the logo using water soluble ink and a quill pen, allow it to dry, then coat over it with finish in the second and final coat of FlexCoat...



finish cured, reel mounted -rod is ready for service



Here's a pic showing some of my "arsenal"... I built all of the standing rods and a few of the fly rods in the foreground.  I long ago quit building fly rods for my charters since I simply can't build a replacement quickly enough (the way I can with a spinner or plug casting rod...).  Find the right fly rod maker and with a good warranty and you'll have a replacement in hand - usually in less than ten days for me... High end fly rods, though are a completely different proposition regarding warranty repair or replacement.  Not very convenient at all (either in time or money) so quite a few guides look elsewhere...


Hope this helps, please remember that I'm mostly self taught - but had a lot of advice over many years from other rodcrafters...

Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666

#35 mikechell



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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:49 PM

"... grips are EVA foam - about ten times more durable than cork grips, and very easy to maintain.  They don't have the "feel" of cork though so no one uses foam to build up production fly rods."


One of the things liked about the "White River Cricket" rods when I bought mine ... the foam grips.  I see that they now have cork.  That's too bad, the foam grips feel great, to me.

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#36 steeldrifter


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:59 PM

Burl cork is just as durable as foam for grips, that's one of the reasons I use all burl corks on all my rods I build for myself as well as my customers. Natural cork is not as dense as burl corks, and factory natural cork has a ton of filler in the pits that falls out after about 6 months of fishing. Burls don't use/need any fillers at all. Never cared for the feel of eva foam for grips myself.

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#37 Poopdeck


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:22 PM

Now thats a nice tidbit of info on rod building SD. I didn't realize burl cork was really much different then any other cork. That's experience at work right there. Thanks for sharing!

#38 Bill_729


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Posted 13 August 2019 - 07:37 PM

"They don't have the "feel" of cork though so no one uses foam to build up production fly rods..."


My Daiwa rod from the late 70's (Model vip-46) has foam grip. But, as you suggest, it must not have been a popular feature.

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#39 Bill_729


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Posted 14 August 2019 - 03:59 PM

Having pursued the idea myself, I think, consistent with Mikechell's thoughts, that "rejuvenating" the cork handle on a well-used rod would make a good first project related to rod building for the OP. I like that it might be completed in a day or two if you count "sealing" the cork. If  he can get his hands on a few older rods, so much the better.




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