Rod Building vs buying for beginners on a budget

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by Krystoff, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. Krystoff

    Krystoff Member

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    I am planning on getting a 2wt or a 1wt rod by the end of the year and I am trying to do so on a budget. Since 2 and 1wt rods are non-standard, they are usually more expensive than the 4 and 5wt rods that are out there.

    I have found several rods at Cabellas that fit the bill in their Clear Creek product line and better yet, they can be bought as a combo with reel and line and I think they even come with a case.

    Here is the one I am looking at:
    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...&rid=&parentType=&indexId=cat20457&hasJS=true

    They have a 7' 1, 2, and 3wt for $150 which isn't bad at all or I can get the CSR reel on them for $25 dollars more which appears to have more line on it.

    The question I have is could I build a rod and buy the reel, line and backing for approximately the same price?

    I have a fair amount of regular tools like mitre saws, clamps, etc but I don't know if I have all the tools that you need to build a rod so that would be a consideration as well.

    Between this site and several others I am sure I can find enough instruction to get me through building a rod and I am fairly handy so I am assuming I won't end up with a piece of crap at the end of the process. I do know what happens when people assume so please let me know if my assumption is off when its a person's first time building a rod.

    Any help is truly appreciated and any advice is welcomed!

    Thanks

    Chris
     
  2. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

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    Chris, if you want an ultra-light outfit on the cheap, that Cabela's special is probably your best bet. But for the normal range of line sizes, rod building is a big money saver: approx. half the cost of the factory rod. Rod building can be as interesting as fly-tying. Considering the tools you already have, you probably have some skills. There's less tooling needed than you might think: A rod roller device is nice, but you can run the thread through a book for proper tension while you hold the blank in your hands, or use a cardboard box with little notches cut in the top. With a pre-shaped grip, you need a few rattail files to enlarge the hole. If using individual 1/2" rings, you need them too, plus a coarse flat file or two, sandpaper in several grades. Fast-melt glue is a great help for temporarily attaching guides to the blank before wrapping them in place. I use Devon 2 Ton epoxy, slow setting, all purpose, from any hardware store, for reel seat, grips and tip-top.

    I just got back from a weekend on the Methow where I broke in a new 8 1/2' 5-weight that I built on a IM-6 graphite blank (from eBay for $15), total less than $40. I build one or two a year.
     
  3. Mike S

    Mike S New Member

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    hey Chris,

    I think we fished the slough together a while back, remember me?

    I have all the things needed to build a rod (wrapper, cork files, epoxy, tape, thread, drying motor etc). I would be happy to help you through the process, or loan you some of the items. For a first rod I bet we could cut through it in an evening or two. If you buy single foot guides it is even half the work! a preformed cork grip is highly recommended.

    I have been thinking of a lightweight rod, maybe we can build a couple of them at the same time.

    Drop me a note or give me a call, still got my number?

    Mike
     
  4. LG Mix

    LG Mix New Member

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    Chris – I agree with Mac: you are unlikely to find a lower price than on the Cabela’s combo.

    My experience – which of course is highly colored by my own idiosyncrasies – is that I have not saved a lot of money – if any – in building rods.

    My advice if you choose to build a rod is to put not just your time into it, but invest most of that Cabela’s combo money in a good blank and components and build a rod you’ll use for years.
    -- Larry
     
  5. Krystoff

    Krystoff Member

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    Of course I remember Mike, it was one of our conversations while heading up to Rattlesnake that got me to thinking about building versus buying.

    I really want to get an ultralight fly rod since I do most of my outings on small water for trout. I love the thought of being able to customize the rod to my particular likes/dislikes but I don't want to spend a lot of time trying to build a rod when it is more economical to buy. Unfortunately, I really am on a fairly tight budget.

    Your offer is amazing and I would love to have the help of an experienced rod builder with all the tools! If you don't mind, can we do a quick cost analysis of building a rod? If you don't want to publicize prices from your favorite spots you could also PM me or something.

    I don't know anything about what is needed so if I forget something, let me know.

    2wt Rod Blank
    ferrules
    Preformed Cork grip
    Reel seat
    Thread for wrapping Ferrules
    Glue

    LG and Mac,

    Appreciate the good info! Building a great rod is something that I will eventually do and will enjoy every minute of it. For right now, monetary considerations force me to either build inexpensively or buy cheap. Something as simple as buying a decent blank off of Ebay like Mac did could help me get where I want to be!
     
  6. Mike S

    Mike S New Member

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    Chris,

    I think you got it on the shopping list. Blank (should come with ferules or have them built in), cork grip, reel seat, guides of your choice, tip top, hook keeper if you like and thread, unless I already have the color you want.... I have brown, green, blue (you only use a little bit of a spool). I am low on flex coat, so if you can pick up a flex coat light kit that is fine. I have the epoxy for the reel seat and grip, and I have tape to build up the blank to hold the reel seat. Check for single foot guides, I think for a light weight rod they would be a good choice.

    I was looking at some blanks that get a lot of good reviews on the board, Rainshadow, cabela's carries them.

    I would say like others, put the bulk of the money in the blank and line, and get a very simple reel (you will not need a fancy drag system on a 2 wt.) I like the older System 1 reels, but I think a medalist or pfulger would probably do just fine.

    Cabela's offers kits, or do a quick search in this forum as others told me where to buy the rainshadow blanks. Let me know which one you decide on, I may get one also,

    I think we can knock it all out in one night, or I can do the reel seat and grip, and show you how to do a guide, then you could wrap the remaining guides on your own, then you can decide if you want help with the flex coat.

    Mike
     
  7. SpeySpaz

    SpeySpaz still an authority on nothing

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    Don't want to jump in all over your string, but I have some input from experience
    I've bought and broke a 3 wt Clear Creek,
    bought, built and broke a 3 wt FT,
    built another 7' 3wt FT that I love and still have,
    and built a 7'6" 4 wt Rainshadow.
    the Rainshadow needs a 5wt WF, that's a stiff stick.

    I'd recommend checking to see what an FT+ or LST blank would cost you in 3 wt, and go from there. I'll bet they're more durable than the older FT- sweet action though
     
  8. Krystoff

    Krystoff Member

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    Thanks again Mike! When I get ready to buy I will drop you a PM. I did do a few searches and surprisingly found little to no 2 wt's out there. The only one I can consistently find is a 6'6" 2wt from Batson. There was a 7'3" 2wt that was $90 that was more what I was looking for. Can't remember who had that one but it wasn't at Cabelas.

    Spey,
    Any advice is good advice don't worry about jumping in! How did you like the Clear Creek? Did it handle well? Any negatives besides the breakage?

    The FT+ has a 7' 3wt blank for $85 and a PT+ 7' 3wt for $60. I didn't see an LST on Cabelas website.

    The premium kits for those two go for $180 and $110 respectively. Kinda curious to see the kit go for $100 on the FT+ and only $50 for the PT+.

    For some reason, Cabela's doesn't offer the 2 wt in the size that I would like (7'+). but they do offer them fully built.
     
  9. steelydan

    steelydan Newb seeking wisdom

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    New poster here, but I'm considering the same thing.
    Buying a kit and looking for help, as I can work on cars and guns but no experience rod building.
    Any ideas appreciated.
    Don't blanks have ferrules already?
    If not, how much work is that?
    Thanks and I'm learning alot.
    SD
     
  10. LG Mix

    LG Mix New Member

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    Steely – Welcome. Yes graphite blanks come with ferrules – usually butt over tip. I believe the original post confused “ferrules” with guides.

    Rod building is not hard – a little like building a model airplane. If you enjoy building things it can be real satisfying. Finding someone to help you or taking a class at a local fly shop is a good idea. I just used books – I especially like Art Scheck’s “Fly Rod Building Made Easy: A Complete Step-By-Step Guide to Making a High-Quality Fly Rod on a Budget”

    There is also a Rob Builders Forum out there is cyberspace: www.rodbuildingforum.com/
    Hope this helps.
    -- Larry
     
  11. FlyShopKristin

    FlyShopKristin Going Online

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    Hey - SD, Chris - you guys both are local, so I'd suggest you take a trip to AATF. We carry a full line of rod building blanks, components, etc... That way you can pick exactly the components that you want. We have many varieties, so you can find a blank and components in your price range.

    BTW - we also offer a beginner's rod building class.
     
  12. Mike S

    Mike S New Member

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    Hey Chris,

    I just picked up a Forecast 2pc, 3wt for $49 ( blank and component kit) and an Ultra 4 floating line for another $20. I have a reel so this worked out for me. I can give you the shop info, it is no tax and free shipping!

    If you still want to build that rod let me know, also, if you want to come over by North Bend I have some good fishing spots on the forks,

    Mike
     
  13. FLGator

    FLGator Member

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    Guys I think you'll get a better value for your dollar if you talk with Dan Craft (dancraftent.com) his rod building packages. His blanks are top notch and don't think you will find anything but good things written about him, his service and his products.

    Well worth it to build vs. buy.
     
  14. sean_k

    sean_k Active Member

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    Just thought I might be able to send you a link to very resonably priced hardware or anything else you need. I am new to rod building but have lookd at alot of retailers and dan seems to have the best prices and he also carries almost every Batson product. Here is the link http://www.dancraftent.com/ good luck with your build I have found it to be quite rewarding to build my own rods and will never buy a factory rod again.
     

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