Fishing The Fly Scotland

Home => Rod Building => Topic started by: stickleback on January 11, 2009, 09:11:33 AM

Title: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on January 11, 2009, 09:11:33 AM
For a while Iíve had a hankering to build my own rod.  Iím attracted to the idea of catching fish on a rod Iíve built with flies Iíve tied Ė Iíve got a feeling that it will add something extra to the experience.  Time will tell if Iím deluded or not.

I decided to make a trout rod, learning as I went along so that ultimately I could buy decent salmon rod blanks and have a reasonable chance of making something that isnít an expensive dogs breakfast.  

I took some photos as I went along so that anyone whoís interested in trying it for the first time can hopefully learn from my experience.  

I opted for a Temple Fork Outfitters 9í, 4 piece #5 Lefty Kreh Professional rod kit from mudhole.com in the USA.  I also got thread colour preserver from them as itís pretty difficult to find in the UK.  The kit comprised the blanks, ready made handle, guides, winding check, and ready made reel seat and at the time I ordered it cost approx £90 inclusive of postage and customs  Ė around the same as what it would have cost to buy fully manufactured from the cheapest UK supplier I could find.  Unfortunately I couldnít find anywhere in the UK that did just the blanks / kits.  Since then the exchange rate has got worse and itís now cheaper to buy it fully assembled in the UK.  But as I say, one of the reasons I got it was to practice and learn.  

I had to buy other stuff to get going.  From guidesnblanks.com in the UK (it worked out cheaper than getting it all from the USA) I got
- epoxy glue for the handle,
- thread for wrapping the guides
- FlexCoat finishing for the wrappings (24cc Lite kit with mixing cups, stirrers & brushes)
- white chinagraph pencil for marking the blanks
- razor blade
- hot melt glue for the rod tip
- reaming wand for the handle
- masking tape

I also got
- a pack of disposable vinyl gloves from Asda, and
- a wee bottle of isopropyl alcohol from the local chemist to clean up any spilled epoxy (on American websites they call it rubbing alcohol)

I reckon all these extras cost around £30 but Iíll be able to use most of them again on any future rod build.

Having done a fair bit of research on the internet I felt that I had a rough idea of how to go about it.  

My first step was to make a rod cradle / wrapper from bits of wood and plastic fixing blocks so that it could support 4 sections of rod.  Basically from a bit of wood I had lying in my garage I cut four uprights to the same length, then cut a couple of Vís in each of them, glued felt strips into the Vís, then screwed the uprights onto bases.  

The kit ready to start:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2469.jpg)

Version 1 wrapping cradle:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2492.jpg)

(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2480.jpg)


The next stage was finding the spine in the blanks.  Iíd read that in lightweight rods itís not very important, but in heavier and longer rods (eg salmon rods) it becomes increasingly important due to the amount of leverage / torque experienced during casting.  Who knows.  Anyway, and just in case, I decided to try and find the spine.  I felt that the blanks for the handle and the next section up were too short and thick to comfortably try and find the spine so I only did the two finer more flexible sections.  If I understood the demos on the internet correctly you place the blank vertically with the Ďbottomí end on something hard (but which wonít damage your blank), then put your finger on the Ďtopí end, then gently press down so that the blank begins to bend and it will naturally flop/spin/bend to one side.  Try it again and it should go the same way.  Iím not sure if the inside of the curve or the outside of the curve is the spine but I marked the outside on both my blanks.  

Finding the spine:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2475.jpg)


Next I turned my attention to the handle.  It came ready assembled, but the hole through itís centre was too narrow for the blank and the reaming wand.  Rather than do the sensible thing and go out and buy a thin rat tail file to widen the hole, I decided to stick the handle in my workmate bench, then use an electric drill with a drill bit slightly narrower than the blank to widen the hole in the handle.  It would have been very easy to accidentally drill through the side of the handle, but I got away with it.  I wonít do it this way again and donít recommend anyone else does it either.  With a wee bit of reaming the handle fit the blank perfectly at the desired spot with about a half millimetre of play.  I took the handle off the blank, then as a dry run placed the real seat assembly onto itís desired position, lightly marked the place with the chinagraph pencil, then slipped the handle on too, and similarly lightly marked itís position.  These light markings allowed me to see where to build up a couple of rings of masking tape to make bushings for the real seat to sit on, and also the limits for when I applied the epoxy glue.  I was surprised to find that I only needed a couple of wraps of masking tape to build up the bushings to the desired circumference.  

Blank marked up and with bushings for real seat and handle:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/glue-guide-marks.jpg)

Not much tape required for the bushings:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2471.jpg)


Then I dry assembled the real seat and handle again.  Everything looked reasonable so I took the plunge, mixed the epoxy glue (I used plastic medicine spoons to ensure accurate measurement of resin and hardener) then slathered it on the widest end of the blank with the masking tape bushings up to the first chinagraph mark, and slipped the assembled real seat down from the narrow end of the blank until it went over the glue and bushings to the desired place.  The end of the real seat overhung the end of the blank by approx 1cm.  I then slathered on more epoxy on the section of the blank up to the next chinagraph mark, put a very light covering of epoxy on the real seat where it would recess into the handle, then slipped the handle onto the thin end of the blank and down and onto the epoxy, snugging it onto the real seat.  Then I slipped the winding check over the thin end of the blank and worked it down to the handle and glued it in place with a tiny wee bit of epoxy.  Finally I stuck the end cap on the real seat with a wee bit of epoxy and held it in position with a couple of bits of masking tape to allow it to dry.

I didnít take any photos whilst gluing as I needed both hands for the process.  Initially un-noticed, a wee bit of glue had got on one of my gloves which had then accidentally smeared onto the blank.  The isopropyl alcohol worked a treat in removing the epoxy glue smears whilst they were still wet.

Whilst the epoxy on the handle and real seat were drying I measured out the positions for the guides (there were none on the handle section).  The manufacturer had supplied the measurements and I marked the guide positions with very slim pieces of masking tape.  

Blanks marked with guide positions:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2474.jpg)


To make sure the guide feet were flat and their tips tapered to a fairly sharp edge which would lie flat on top of the blank and allow the thread wrapping to easily climb up the guide foot, I gently sanded them on a small fine grade sharpening stone.

I then fitted one guide at a time.  To do so I placed a guide on the blank with itís top over the centre of the position marker, then held it in place with a very slim piece of masking tape, then indicated the starting point for the thread wrappings with another piece of masking tape.

Guide held in position and ready to wrap:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2482.jpg)


The photo makes the bits of masking tape look huge but in reality the bit holding the guide onto the blank is only about 1 or 2mm wide.

To wrap the thread I used a normal fly tying bobbin holder, with the thread being tensioned by it passing between two heavy books, then onto the blank where I wrapped it suspended in the wrapping cradle.  Itís difficult to put in words how to do the wrap, particularly the start, so hereís a link to a demo that shows it better than I could ever explain:

http://www.mudhole.com/Rod-Building-101/Videos/Artie-Hebert-Wrapping-A-Guide

The bloke doing the demo used a burnishing tool to get the wraps to snug up to each other, but I used my thumbnail.  He also shows how to finish the wrap.  I never quite managed to correctly judge where to cut the thread and as a result had wee tag ends sticking out.  I found it extremely difficult if not impossible to trim these tag ends down further.  He starts his wraps right at the bottom of the guide foot but I started mine about 5mm further down the blank.

Impossible to remove tag end ?:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2476.jpg)


I did the guides starting with the largest first.  I found it easier starting with the large ones and by the time I got to the small ones at the thinnest end I was reasonably adept at it.

A point for first timers to consider Ė in hindsight I should probably have used thread a slightly different colour to the blank to make it easier to see what I was doing whilst wrapping.  I used black thread on matt black blanks and even with good lighting found it difficult to see what was going on.

I made sure as I went along that the guides were properly in line by sighting down the blank and through the guide centres.  On the blanks that I had spined, I put the blanks on the sides I had marked, ie the outside of the curve.

I found doing the wraps at the female ends of a blank pretty difficult to do as the blank wasnít fully supported in the cradle and you therefore couldnít put any weight on it because doing so would tilt it out the cradle.  I solved this by sticking a pen or paint brush in the female end of the blank and then resting the pen / brush in the cradle.

Supporting the female ends for wrapping:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2486.jpg)


I finished the guides by sticking the rod tip guide in place with the hot melt glue, and scraped the excessive off just before it hardened with a wooden ice lolly stick.

Iíd read somewhere that wrapping thread on guides can sometimes become transparent when coated with epoxy finish, so before coating them I painted them with the colour preserver and let it dry for a day.

The final stage was applying two coats of epoxy finish onto the guide wrappings.  I got the FlexCoat Lite kit out and saw that it recommended slightly warming the syringes so that the resin and hardener become runnier and therefore easier to dispense accurately.  Rather than dunking mine in warm water I stuck the syringes on the radiator for a couple of minutes which seemed to do the trick.  I accurately measured out 2cc of each into a wee mixing cup and stirred them together as per the instructions.  Iím afraid I didnít notice any of the predicted changes taking place Ė itís supposed to go from clear to cloudy then again to clear to cloudy to clear - so I just kept stirring for about 5 minutes (perhaps these changes are only more noticeable in larger amounts ?), then poured it onto a piece of tin foil to help get rid of the wee bubbles created during the stirring/mixing process.  I think the instructions said you have approx 20 minutes working time with FlexCoat Lite Ė I reckoned it was probably more like 10 minutes but that might have been because of my possibly over-exuberant stirring.  

To apply the epoxy onto the wraps I put the blanks on the wrapping cradle and slowly turned the blank with an epoxy loaded brush gently touching the wrap and dispensing a light coating of epoxy.  I kept the pen/brushes in the female ends of the blanks to prevent any epoxy seeping inside the blanks by mistake.  After coating all the wrappings I turned the blanks180 degrees every 10 minutes for the first 2 hours, then every 20 minutes for the next 2 hours, then let them be.  This stopped the epoxy running/sagging in any particular direction whilst it firmed up.  

I did mine on the kitchen table, and left it there overnight - not a great idea as our dog sleeps in the kitchen and causes dust and hair to go everywhere, and the drying epoxy could be like a magnet for any particle of fluff / hair.  I allowed the first coat to dry for approx 24 hours, then did a second coat Ė I never saw any fluff / hair sticking to it at the time but after the second coat had dried I did notice that there were a few wee bits of micro fluff but nothing to that Iím overly bothered about.

Guilty as charged Ė the dust generator:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_2253.jpg)


Also, those little impossible to cut off tag ends of thread were still sticking up but were now epoxied in place.

Epoxied thread tag
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_0015.jpg)


Another slight problem I encountered was the blanks moved very slightly from side to side as I turned them whilst applying the epoxy onto the wrappings and this caused the outside edges of the epoxy to be slightly wiggly.  This is probably slightly more noticeable than normal because the epoxy is gloss against a matt blank.  

Slightly wiggly epoxy edge:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_0019.jpg)


In hindsight I might have been able to reduce this by gently holding the blanks in place with rubber bands, and secondly by having something to rest/brace my brush hand against whilst applying the epoxy.  With this in mind Iíve nailed in pins so I can string rubber bands over the blanks.

Version 2 wrapping cradle:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_0007.jpg)


Close examination also shows a few tiny bubbles in the epoxy that I hadnít noticed when I put it on.  Iím not sure how you could prevent this.  Iím not bothered by it, but some folk might not be too pleased.

The final rod looks as if it will do the business no problem, but I donít think it will win any rod building / beauty competitions.  

Finished rod  :z16:
(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_0022.jpg)

(http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a16/cammyk/IMG_0020.jpg)


The bottom line is very Iím pleased I took the plunge, and chuffed with the overall result.  It certainly gave me the experience and confidence to try my hand at a more expensive or complicated rod building project in the future.

Hereís some websites I found helpful:
http://www.flyforums.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=15
http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/board/forumdisplay.php?f=14
http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/
http://www.rodbuilding.org/list.php?2
http://www.mudhole.com/Rod-Building-101
http://www.flexcoat.com/prodex.html

Now, if only I can find some mega cheap R B Meiser or Sage Z Axis Spey blanks !!  :z4 :z4 :z4

All the best

Cammy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Mike Barrio on January 11, 2009, 09:28:46 AM
Awesome Cammy! :z16

I really enjoyed your step by step and all the photos, which I'm sure others are going to find useful.

Well done and thanks for posting it! ....... Have you caught your first fish on it yet?
Cheers
Mike
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on January 11, 2009, 11:18:52 AM
Thanks.  Unfortunately I haven't managed out with it yet - I just completed it on Wednesday night.  I had hoped to give it it's first airing at the Outcasts meeting yesterday but work commitments got in the way.  Weather and work etc permitting I hope to get out soon and see a fish put a bend in it.

Cammy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Goolager on January 11, 2009, 11:30:59 AM
Stickleback,

I'm not a rod builder but I found your post most interesting and wish you luck in fishing with it.

Iain
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Derek McLaren on January 11, 2009, 11:59:01 AM
Great step by step  :z16  :z16,rod turned out well,watch out sage and orvis  :wink  :wink
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 11, 2009, 12:14:32 PM
 :z16 :z16 :z16 :z16

It becomes addictive, just ask Sandy and myself :)

Once you start to get into custom corks etc then it really bites deep!

(http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q265/backs4more/DSCF1936.jpg)
Sorry..bit fuzzy but its a custom insert using rubber cork, drilled and filled then glued together and turned.

(http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q265/backs4more/DSCF1935.jpg)
From a different angle.

Quick tip regarding getting perfectly straight edges to your epoxy. About 2mm from the edge of your thread, put a turn of insulating tape. Epoxy as normal, just over coating the tape. Once finished, immediately remove the tape. Taadaa! A perfect edge!!

For neat finishes on your tag ends, pull through the tag end, then using a burnishing tool, seperate the threads slightly where the tag end comes out. Take a scalpel and cut the tag against the exposed blank. Dont worry, the thread will go long before the blank gets marked. Then, with the burnishing tool, push the threads back into position. No exposed tags :)

What are you building next??  :z18
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 11, 2009, 12:25:09 PM
I forgot to say...where you have the epoxied tag ends or dust, dont worry, these can be removed by the careful use of a scalple. The epoxy will just slice away along with the tag. Once removed you can use a polish to blend in the area.

Also, the reason why you start the whipping at the very foot of the guide is because if you extend the wrap too far and epoxy it, with the blank being flexible and the foot being ridged, you can sometimes get a stress crack in the epoxy where the foot meets the extended whipping. Luckily it tends to happen on larger diameter blanks and big rings, such as spinning rods and beach casters etc. Yours should be fine...but if it does crack, by heating the epoxy with a hairdrier, you can peel the old stuff off and redo..so its not a disaster :)

These are all things you pick up on the way ...and the improving each build bit is all part of the fun :)  :z18
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on January 11, 2009, 13:59:47 PM

Quick tip regarding getting perfectly straight edges to your epoxy. About 2mm from the edge of your thread, put a turn of insulating tape. Epoxy as normal, just over coating the tape. Once finished, immediately remove the tape. Taadaa! A perfect edge!!

For neat finishes on your tag ends, pull through the tag end, then using a burnishing tool, seperate the threads slightly where the tag end comes out. Take a scalpel and cut the tag against the exposed blank. Dont worry, the thread will go long before the blank gets marked. Then, with the burnishing tool, push the threads back into position. No exposed tags :)

Excellent tips - I'll definitely try them when I do my salmon rod.  I'm really tempted by the Meiser 15' #10 Highlander as it gets good reviews on a salmon forum.  The blanks cost $385 from Meiser - I'd love to know if they're available anywhere else at a cheaper price.  Either way I'll have to start saving my pennies and pray for the exchange rate to improve. 

 :z18
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on January 11, 2009, 15:18:59 PM
Hi Cammy

Excellent step by step,  :z16 hopefully with your step by step & a lot of mentoring / advice from Sandy I will be starting my first rod building project very soon, have all the bits now.

Alex
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 11, 2009, 18:13:40 PM
Either way I'll have to start saving my pennies and pray for the exchange rate to improve. 

Tell me about it!!! Its kinda hit me hard when it comes to reel seats that I was getting brought back from the States. I tend to build on British blanks unless asked for something different so that side of things is not too bad.

As for the Meiser blanks, not familier with there stuff, but looking at there website they have some interesting rods. 12 foot double handed 4 weights...very interesting indeed!!! Do you think the 15 footer would cope for what you want it for??? I see its only designed for Salmon upto 40 pounds  :z4 :z4 :wink
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 11, 2009, 19:27:56 PM
Nice one cammy

the first step on a slippery slope :z4 :z4

I would echo Robs comments on the tag ends, if you slice the end flush with the scalpel after you have pulled it through, then i burnish the tag end in the direction of rotation it will slip under the next wrap up and dissappear, and you dont have to go near the blank with the scalpel, i also find i use a new scalpel blade for each rod as they get too blunt to make a clean cut very quickly.

If you do have dust or tags sticking up after the first coat of epoxy, check the whole blank and slice each one flush with the scalpel blade (do not use sandpaper) and then when you put on the second coat it will have gone never to be seen again.

I do like some of the wee tools you made :z16 i still use Shoe boxes with notches for letting blanks harden off :z4 although i have a 4 bank electric rod turner turner now which is fantastic, the first few rods i built were turned by hand, i then used the stonefly rod turners. If you decide to build another drop me a line and i can lend you some of the stonefly turners, i have three that are sitting as back ups now (they make a big difference to the finish , nice and even :z16)

Putting the rings on the outside of the curve or the inside is a case for much debate amongst builders :roll I find it depends on the specific action of the rod, ie a med action i'll put them on the inside and a fast action i'll pop them on the outside, its just a quirk :z6 But i have my reasons :wink

Still perhaps you will embarrass me into finally getting some photos done to go with the On-line instruction i wrote ages ago :shock they were supposed to go live when Mike started doing the kits, but i have never found the right moment to do it. :oops :oops :oops :oops :oops

Still well done, its great fun and i hope you keep us informed of any future projects :z16

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on January 11, 2009, 23:21:20 PM
the first step on a slippery slope :z4 :z4

Yes, i'll certainly be doing it again.  Thanks for the tips - I've no excuse now for not making the next a masterpiece  :z4.  Keep us updated with your bamboo project - it's fascinating stuff all these old crafts and techniques.  

I've now done my rod and flies - I don't suppose you know anyone with a horse so I can nick some of it's tail to pleat my our own horse hair fly line ..... or silkworms  :z4 :z4 :z4

Cheers

Cammy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 12, 2009, 05:57:41 AM
Cammy

i had a thought last night, thread colour preserver, i have used "Humbrol Modellers Dope" in the past , its perfect and can be picked up from any model shop.

Again its a personal thing, but i never usually use it as i like the thread to go translucent.

 :z18

Sandy

Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 12, 2009, 08:42:44 AM
Again its a personal thing, but i never usually use it as i like the thread to go translucent.


Arrrrrghhh!!!! One of my all time hates!! Take that ZG i just bought...you can see all the tag ends of the gold thread thats used as a highlight. It really spoils the finish of the rod...in my opinion.

Also, at the Scone Game Fair I had a look on the Hardy stand at £999 worth of Angel and you could see the feet of each ring. Every one had been badly ground back with the ends being different angles and widths. again, it just ruined the finish of the rod. For the sake of 80p a snake ring it just looked crap.

I don't use it on dark threads but certainly on lighter threads for me its a must...except green!  ??? Coz the Gudebrod Dark green looks bloody awful if CP is used. It just goes "flat" and has no life about it. I use a very watered down Flexcote epoxy as a sealer coat and then epoxy as normal. That way the green thread sparkles under the final coat, does not go so translucent meaning tag ends are hidden but it darkens down to match the blank perfectly. :)

Having said that, some of the bamboo, sorry, cane rods on Rodbuilders.org with the totally clear wraps are stunning! BUT, the attention to detail on the feet is amazing with them all ground down to match perfectly. Thats nice!
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 12, 2009, 10:08:38 AM
This is the beauty of building your own :z7

I never have a problem with tag ends of gold, because i hate tipping the whippings, i think its a lot of unnecessary work that spoils the overall look of the rod. Plus i spend a bit of time grinding the feet as there is nothing worse than catching the the thread when you almost complete :z10.

Magic, i guess this why we should all build our own :z16 And perhaps why people buy things from different places.
very cool this world we live in :cool:

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 13, 2009, 00:16:57 AM

I never have a problem with tag ends of gold, because i hate tipping the whippings,

But sometimes the customer wants.....  :z6

Rods for myself....plain as plain can be...totally understated!!!!  :grin :grin just very high quality fittings...all be it plain :)
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: bigtroot on January 26, 2009, 22:42:16 PM
From start to finish if you had all the kit , how long does it take to make a good job of a rod?
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 27, 2009, 09:02:57 AM
From start to finish if you had all the kit , how long does it take to make a good job of a rod?

Thats a hard question to answer as there are so many variables...but..I will try...

If I get a clear run at things, it takes me around an hour to build the Handle up from an already turned handle...so thats fitting the reel seat, then the handle. Normally there is some boring out to do, taping of the blank to build it up to accept the reel seat etc.

I leave this to dry over night (I use normal araldite, not rapid)

Next day I would do the rings. If you are not bothering with tippings or fancy stuff it takes a couple of hours to whip everything, a bit more if using snakes. If using a light thread I would then give them 3 coats of colour preserver and leave 24 hours to dry.

I use the Sage/Loomis style of building which is to align the blank for straightness rather than along the spine. There is a lot of debate regarding this but on the blanks i build on the spine is not noticable except in the very tip section (4 piece) and there appears to be no detrimental affects to the rod.

The next day I do the epoxy. This takes about 2 hours for me to do a 9 footer.

I then leave this turning overnight and the next morning its ready.

However, I then leave a further 2 days in a warm room to properly cure before using.

Sooooo, start on the Monday, you have a rod for the weekend :)

However, if its your first build, you may take longer with the whipping, especially if you want to add tippings or spirals etc. It actually takes me about 2 hours to get the writing correct on the blank!!..Very fussy!!..lol

Hope that helps a little..
Rob
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 27, 2009, 16:22:52 PM
From start to finish if you had all the kit , how long does it take to make a good job of a rod?

The same length of time it takes to make a bad one :z4

Seriously though

This is where different people have different techniques.If you have a Kit with all the correct componants to start with.

I would say it will take 1/2 hour to prepare the blank properly, another 1/2 hour to grind the feet on the rings. It will take about 1/2 hour to bore the cork grip and prep it to take the reel seat.
1/2 hour to spine the blank and mark off all the points where the rings are to go.
I would say about 1/2 hour to get the wooden insert to the right diameter, so it is a snug fit, or if you are using a larger diameter reel seat then i would sleeve the butt where the reel seat will go with carbon to take up the gap, this takes longer but is well worth it :z16
To Assemble the cork and reel seat allow 1/2 hour to get it all aligned properly and leave to dry. I use Araldite rapid for seats only, if its good enough for rotor blades its good enough for me :z16 I use an expanding epoxy for the cork, which fills in any gaps as it cures and gives a great cushioned grip which is very strong.
Whipping the rings will probably take about an hour or 2 depending on how good you are at whipping :z8.
Once the rod is complete and ready to epoxy, de-fuzz all the whippings, another 1/2 hour.
Apply the first thin coat of epoxy and turn whilst drying, the application takes about 1/2 hour and 8hrs min to cure at room temp. I leave it for 24hrs from the first coat, and then apply a second thin coat, this one i leave for 48 hrs before handling the rod.
Then i wipe it down with a baby wipe and give it a polish with a dry clean cloth. About 1/2 hour

So i suppose you are going to spend at least 6 hours making it, probably 8 and then three days before its usable once you have started the Epoxy. As Rob says, start on Monday and have the rod ready for Saturday :z16 This is assuming you have rod turners available, otherwise you have to do the epoxy during the day and then turn by hand every 15-20mins for the first few hours. Ok if you are not going anywhere else:roll

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: bigtroot on January 27, 2009, 16:27:10 PM
All sounds good  :z4
Do you buy your rod turners or just make some buckshee contraption  :z17
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 27, 2009, 16:29:51 PM
All sounds good  :z4
Do you buy your rod turners or just make some buckshee contraption  :z17

I used the stonefly ones for years, very good :z16 But I have a proper quad dryer running off mains these days, It was costing me a fortune in batteries :shock
However they are ideal for someone doing one or two rods :z16

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: bigtroot on January 27, 2009, 16:40:29 PM
Think this could be a project for me next winter :wink. I have so much to get already this year and iam sure you all now how hard it is to hide all the new toys from the other half :z4!. A float tube is not the easiest thing to hide in a cupboard  :z6
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 27, 2009, 17:16:19 PM
I can lend you some turners if you need, when the need arises :z16
I have 3 spares, which i keep as back-ups.

Alex has them at the moment, thinking of which, hows the rod coming on Catman :z8

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: bigtroot on January 27, 2009, 17:34:50 PM
Alex is off to Stavanger for a jolly i believe  :wink  :z18 :z18 :z18 :z18 :z18 :z18 :z18 :z18 :z18
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on January 27, 2009, 22:29:03 PM
I can lend you some turners if you need, when the need arises :z16
I have 3 spares, which i keep as back-ups.

Alex has them at the moment, thinking of which, hows the rod coming on Catman :z8

Sandy

Hi Sandy

Baz is right I am in Stavanger for a couple of days (High Level Risk Assessment meeting for an up coming Rig Shipyard).
Rod wise so far have got the Handle & Reel seat all set up & ready to fit & have fitted the Tip Ring & whipped the other Rings onto the top section. Unfortunately I do not work & the same production level as Rob so it will be a few weeks yet before it is finished, problem is early mornings into work & late nights home through the week.

Alex
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 28, 2009, 08:46:16 AM
Think this could be a project for me next winter :wink.

One VERY important thing to remember...temperature plays a very important part in the quality of the epoxy finish.

This is why I have not been able to finish any rods recently, I just cannot get my spare room warm enough (+20 degrees) for the epoxy to flow nicely. Basically, if the temp is too low you can get "fogging" in the epoxy which is water condensation or the epoxy does not flow and level because it becomes thicker at lower temps.

One trick is to microwave the epoxy before mixing, then keep it on a radiator or similar when applying, this gives a really runny consistancy, and if you ahve a rod turner, it levels beautifully...but..if the air is cold it will sonn start to thicken and if you need to go back and touch up what your have done, it can leave bumps.

Just a thought :)
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on January 28, 2009, 21:16:10 PM
One VERY important thing to remember...temperature plays a very important part in the quality of the epoxy finish.

This is why I have not been able to finish any rods recently, I just cannot get my spare room warm enough (+20 degrees) for the epoxy to flow nicely. Basically, if the temp is too low you can get "fogging" in the epoxy which is water condensation or the epoxy does not flow and level because it becomes thicker at lower temps.

One trick is to microwave the epoxy before mixing, then keep it on a radiator or similar when applying, this gives a really runny consistancy, and if you ahve a rod turner, it levels beautifully...but..if the air is cold it will sonn start to thicken and if you need to go back and touch up what your have done, it can leave bumps.

Just a thought :)

Hi Rob

Thanks for that, my plan is to try to get all the rings whipped on ready for epoxy then do 2 lots of 3 sections which will take me a bit of time yet.

Alex
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 28, 2009, 22:04:12 PM
"fogging" in the epoxy which is water condensation


Do you reckon this comes off the blank or from the wraps?

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 29, 2009, 08:47:40 AM
I was talking to Cass who is a chemist working with polymers etc so I asked her....since I had heard differing comments on the rod building forums.

Her take on it is that cold air can be damp and as the epoxy "reacts" and starts to go off it draws in moisture from the atmosphere. This ties in with a post on a US forum where a chap in Florida had always epoxied his rods in his air conditioned garage (about 20 degrees) but decided to get a quicker cure time by openning the garage door to let the heat in. Every wrap went misty. Of course, the warm air in Florida has a high humidity.

A warm room in a house should be relativly damp free.

Whats your opinion on the issue?
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on January 29, 2009, 09:06:02 AM
This is where it gets interesting.

Only time i've had problems with misting was a few years ago when i built a couple of rods, and epoxied them in the attic.
I had taken the rods from the relatively warm room in the house where i had wrapped them into the cooler attic.
I attributed the misting to the fact that on the temperature change from room to room the blank had been subject to condensation.
Although it was not apparent, i had figured that the wraps had actually remained slightly affected when the epoxy had been applied, hence the misting.
I stripped the rods and re-did them in the room afterwards :z6 Bloody pain.
A bigger problem for me was always micro bubbles :mad For me this is caused by cooler temps where the epoxy is slightly thicker not allowing the bubbles to get to the surface to pop in time to let the epoxy self level. Since moving to the new house and now having a proper room in the house to build in (lucky me :z12) it became less of a problem as the temperature is much more easily maintained. However i noticed a MASSIVE improvement using the quad rod turner, i'm attributing this to the fact that it turns very slowly so giving the bubbles much more chance to pop. I'm extremely happy with the finish i'm getting now.

Incidentally in my experience Heating the epoxy will reduce the pot-life substantially , it will make it slightly less viscous for a short time, but will reduce your time for completing the job. Too much of a compromise for me.

As i say, the biggest improvement i have seen was by slowing the turning speed   :z16 and for that i need a longer potlife :z8 swings and roundabouts i suppose :z18

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on January 29, 2009, 23:31:20 PM
From start to finish if you had all the kit , how long does it take to make a good job of a rod?

My build took an hour or two each night for the guts of a week (that included making my wrapping cradle).  The longest bit for me was doing the wrappings.

Re slow blank turning gadgets.  I've read on the internet that the turntable motor from a microwave oven has the perfect turning speed - approx 6 - 8 RPM.  Needless to say, in preparation for my next project, I've managed to cadge an old microwave and hope to strip the motor out with the help of a mate who's an electrician - wouldn't want to get zapped by mistake  :shock  Hopefully I'll succeed in building a Heath Robinson turner and will post pictures.  If not I'll have to take you up on your kind offer Sandy.

Re my earlier comment about my desire for cheap Meiser salmon rod blanks.  After a fair bit of digging around on the internet I've found that it's a New Zealand company called CTS that supplies them.  I've spoken to them and confirmed it and ordered the blanks up tonight   :z12.  For anyone buying blanks from abroad - beware of the exchange rates and do your homework - the blanks I identified varied hugely in price depending where they could be sourced from.  CTS firstly quoted in US dollars (I presume because most of their sales are to the US ?), then when I asked they also quoted in NZ dollars. This one questio has saved me approx 30% of the price - buying them in New Zealand dollars is saving me approx £90 compared to buying them in US dollars.  I think this must be down to the crazy volatility of the exchange rates between the 3 currencies  :z8.  I could also have sourced the blanks in Europe but price was frankly outrageously.

Does anyone know where I can source reasonably priced good quality cork rings (including burl) in half inch, quarter inch, and eighth inch thicknesses to make a fancy handle ?
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 30, 2009, 12:03:28 PM
Incidentally in my experience Heating the epoxy will reduce the pot-life substantially , it will make it slightly less viscous for a short time, but will reduce your time for completing the job. Too much of a compromise for me.

Totally agree..hencd the reason I am stuck with 5 rods to epoxy!!!! Bring on the warmer weather!!!!
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on January 30, 2009, 12:05:26 PM
Stickleback...

did you know you can get CTS blanks in the UK? H and H bring them in.

Also, for cork, try David Norwich or Steve Parton..infact, steve is cheaper and the quality is spot on.

Hope that helps
Rob
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on January 31, 2009, 09:00:24 AM
No - I ordered the blanks direct from CTS in New Zealand.  I'll check out your suggested cork suppliers.  Cheers

Cammy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on August 28, 2009, 22:11:48 PM
First Rod Build Project - Finished at last!!!

Well I finally found the time to get some more work done on my first rod building Project, an IM6 10ft 5/6wt 7pc travel rod.

After reading Cammyís post a couple of times, getting some advice from Spiderman & borrowing a rod turner from Mike B I set to it.

It wasnít all plain sailing, luckily I managed to get a replacement reel seat & wooden insert from Mike.
(http://i30.tinypic.com/smzhgi.jpg)

The finished product looks OK to me, plan to take it to Haddo on Sunday to let Mike see it & see what he thinks.
(http://i26.tinypic.com/11qpedd.jpg)(http://i28.tinypic.com/2945pno.jpg)(http://i26.tinypic.com/2d0l4wz.jpg)

Alex
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on August 28, 2009, 22:28:50 PM
 :z16 :z16 :z16 Nice build!

I did a 7 peice for a friend a good few years ago..nightmare to do..lol..far too many whippings ;)

You are not the only one to do that to a reel seat...  :oops :oops
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Barry Robertson on August 28, 2009, 22:29:09 PM
Looks very techno Alex, love the whipping colour.
Well done anyway on completing your first rod  :z18
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Mike Barrio on August 28, 2009, 22:37:04 PM
Hi Alex

Great to see the photos, I'm really looking forward to seeing the rod ....... Well done! :z16

You have embarked on a slippery slope ..... What's your next project then? :z4  :z4  :z4

Cheers
Mike
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on August 28, 2009, 22:44:16 PM
Hi Guys Thanks for the kind comments. :z16

Rob

Yes now realise the 7pc was not the wisest move for a first Project. :oops

Mike

Don't know , will wait & see what you think when you see the Rod on Sunday, :wink
Been asked to build a 10 1/2" 8wt for a guy I work with but don't think I am up to building
rods for someone else, but if he insists I will try to convince him to try something lighter. :z8

Alex
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on August 28, 2009, 22:51:16 PM
Nice one Alex - looks like you've made a cracking job  :z16.  You don't do things by halves - whipping 7 sections on your first build  :shock :z4  Well done.

Cammy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Alex Thain on August 29, 2009, 19:03:05 PM
hi stickleback.    solway custom components  is the best site i have used for cork   great service   hope this helps? 
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: stickleback on August 30, 2009, 10:04:46 AM
hi stickleback.    solway custom components  is the best site i have used for cork   great service   hope this helps? 

I was going to use Solway Custom Components but discovered that Mudhole.com are based on the outskirts of Orlando and as I was going there on holiday in July I decided to visit them (much to the disgust of my wife and kids  :z4 :z4) and get my stuff at American prices with no postage/customs charges.  I was like a kid in a sweetie shop - a truly incredible aray of rod building goodies.  They have a relatively small front shop but when I turned up all the way from Scotland they took me through to a humungous rear store room and workshop and helped me choose all my bits and pieces (and more worringly gave advice on what I'd need for future projects that I've got in mind  :shock).   My only word of caution to anyone who fancies visiting them is don't try and find them without a SatNav - they're tucked away down a quiet lane that's not very well sign posted.

If anyone's going over to Disney this year in October, Mudhole are having an open day on the 10th with demos etc.  Shame I was 3 months early.  Definitely worth a visit IMHO, but please don't blame me for your ensuing divorce  :z4

 
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on August 30, 2009, 10:51:28 AM
I have used Mudhole a few times too, but get the stuff sent to my partners office in Houston, and then she brings it back with her:)

She is back there in 2 weeks time so have a couple of reels on order from BassPro :)
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Mike Barrio on August 30, 2009, 22:16:56 PM
Hi folks :cool:
Had a cast with Alex's rod today ...... excellent for a first build ..... and I'm sure it will fish very well :z16

Best wishes
Mike
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on September 02, 2009, 17:06:07 PM
Hi Alex

You have embarked on a slippery slope ..... What's your next project then? :z4  :z4  :z4

Cheers
Mike

Hi Mike  - Next Project  :shock  Oh Okay, yes there is going to be a next project. I am planning on building an IM6 graphite 4PC, 5WT, 9FT, fast action rod, blank weighs 1.8 ounces & is a Dull Matt Black in colour.  Titanium Carbide plated over Stainless Steel Snake Rings and they are Gunmetal Grey in colour, AAA grade Half Wells cork handle & hopefully a reel seat that is a little bit special!!! :wink :wink.

Alex

Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on September 03, 2009, 11:44:58 AM
Alex,
what blank are you going for?
Special reelseat..has to be an ALPS then ;)..mmmmmmmmmmmmm

I use the Ti coated snakes...very nice looking...They look good with a titanium tipping to the whipping and a Ti reel seat..all very classy indeed :)

I will be using them on the blank I bought from Mike the other day :)
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on September 03, 2009, 16:39:33 PM
Hi Rob

Temple Fork TiCr series Blank.. Reel Seat is not ALPS as it happens, will either be one of these:

(http://i27.tinypic.com/mcg4y9.jpg)

or one of these

(http://i30.tinypic.com/flwsjs.jpg)

Alex
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on September 03, 2009, 22:28:27 PM
Owwwwwwwww...fast blank that :) I thought it was considerably higher modulous tham IM6 though? Is it not the Titanium reinforced one? Fulling Mill used to use this blank for there top of the range rod. A couple of the Pike lads use the 9 weight from Temple Fork...sold under the Lefty Kreh name.  Good choice coz its a darn good blank for the money.

Love the reel seat!!!

Thats going to be one very nice outfit :)

Keep us posted :)
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on September 03, 2009, 22:58:32 PM
Hi Rob

No it is just the TiCr I went for (TF B05 90 4 T) as it is only 1.82oz as against the 1.93oz of the (TF B05 90 4 TX) Titanium Chromium Coated version, want to try one of Sandy tips on it :wink :wink

Hopefully it will turn out OK.

Alex
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Rob Brownfield on September 03, 2009, 23:20:19 PM
Hopefully it will turn out OK.


I am sure it will!! Whose reel seat is that..its lovely!
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Sandy Nelson on September 07, 2009, 03:14:36 AM
I am sure it will!! Whose reel seat is that..its lovely!

Good question, i love the top one.

Which tip? i'm intrigued.
Nice job on the first rod Alex :z16 Glad you gave it another go.
No looking back now :wink

Sandy
Title: Re: FIRST TIME ROD BUILD PROJECT
Post by: Catman on September 07, 2009, 07:03:24 AM

Which tip? i'm intrigued.


Hi Sandy

The one about placement of Rings on fast action rods! :wink :wink

Alex