Stiffen up a rod's action with creative wrapping?

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by Greg Holt, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. Greg Holt

    Greg Holt Active Member

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    A general inquiry to anyone with experience or insight into how wrapping can effect the action of a fly rod.
    I recently built a Lamiglas 7 foot 6 piece 3 weight fiberglas fly rod (FL843-6), and while it will handle lines in DT from 3 through 5 weight (3 best for 20 to 30 foot casts, 5 weight loads quickly for launching into breeze, but lands harder), I am less than thrilled with what I perceive to be excess flexibilty in the section immediately above the cork. Just for fun, I taped a 1/4 by 1/4 piece of cedar to the "back" of the rod on that 13 inch section, and it did tighten up the action considerably. Without it, it is not possible to apply any significant forward kick to the cast without creating tailing loops, or collapsing the loop entirely.
    QUESTION: Will wrapping the lower section criss-cross style with six to ten passes of thread followed by epoxy to lock in the wraps stiffen the action noticeably? Right now the rod flexes clear into the lower cork, and I would like it to begin serious defelction 1/4 way up the rod.
    I have already run the gamut of lines in DT and WF from 2 through 5, and the rod handles 5DT best unaltered, 3DT with the aforementioned cedar spine attached. HELP! I need some line veloctiy here, in addition to soft presentation...
     
  2. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Bamboo rod makers have compensated for actions for years by using so-called 'intermediate' wraps between the guides. Not sure whether this would work on a plastic rod, but given the relatively cheap price of graphite blanks, it might be worth a try.

    K
     
  3. Drag-Free Drift

    Drag-Free Drift Member

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    At my wife's urging I once put a three and one-half inch multi-colored decorative chevron wrap over a solid foundation of thread right above and abutting the cork grip of a 6wt 8' 6" fiberglass pack/travel rod.

    I can't honestly say that I noticed any change in the action of the rod, but it certainly has been a stream-side conversation starter.

    I've never done it again--too much work--although the wife still oohs and aahs when she sees it.

    --Roy
     
  4. Scott Behn

    Scott Behn Active Member

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    I would say before you alter the rod with wraps and epoxy, I would try altering my casting stroke. It sounds like your trying to get graphite performance from a slow action glass rod.

    The fact that your 5wt line is loading the rod quickly, but landing hard could be you putting to much power in your stroke itself and not letting the rod perform the stroke. Slow your stroke down and see how that rod performs. With that said you might be surprised at what the lighter lines perform like on that blank.

    :cool:
     
  5. Drag-Free Drift

    Drag-Free Drift Member

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    I agree with Scott. One material is very different from the other. Anytime I go from graphite to glass, I go through a period of transition. Initially things don't work too well until I force myself to be patient and to slow down. I have to wait much longer, for example, for that slight tug that tells me the line has straightened out behind and is ready for the forward cast. Once I've rediscovered the right rhythm, the casting goes pretty darned well, both in terms of distance and presentation. It's a more relaxing, measured pace, and, if I'm in the right mood, it's more enjoyable.

    On the other hand, it's refreshing to experience the increased feel and responsiveness when I switch back to graphite, not to mention the fact that it's sure a lot easier on my arm.

    Try adjusting your casting to the rod instead of the other way round. It might just work.

    --Roy
     
  6. Greg Holt

    Greg Holt Active Member

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    Thanks to all of you for the thoughtfull adice. In my 40+ years of casting fly rods, I have developed the ability to alter my casting stroke to suit everyting from my softest cane rod, all the way to my fastest graphite, and everything in between. Still, point taken--you MUST let the rod tell you how it wants to be cast, and not stray too far from that tempo or style.
    This one behaves like an old Bean Double L bamboo--very soft, very slow. I'm just trying to tweak it about 20% up the scale. At the worst, I have a fine slow action creek rod for 10 inchers at 30 feet. I think the rod can do more. The folks at Lamiglas suggested a DT3 SYLK, and it does pretty good on that as well as a 3WF--it just doesn't develop any speed or significant loading on the back cast, so there's not much one can add to the forward stroke without collapsing the loop. More thought required here. If I eventually choose to spiral cross wrap it and epoxy it, I will post the result herein for either glory or embarassment.
     
  7. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    So it may end up stiffening the rod a bit, but realize that the goop you put over wraps doesn't significantly add any stiffness, nor does the thread. Both of those mediums were chosen specifically because they are flexible and can handle being bent.

    Here's some info on this:

    Youngs modulus:

    Epoxy - - - - - - - - - - 200,000
    E-glass(typical) - - - - - 11,000,000

    That is a ratio of 55 to 1!

    So all in all you *may* end up stiffening the rod up, but more than likely the measured change may end up being relatively minor.

    With that said, there is nothing wrong with doing what you are doing though! If it makes it look better and you like how it fishes, then go to it! :)

    But now my personal opinion on the whole thing :) If you really want to stiffen up the action of the rod, you'll need to do something more drastic, like remove a section of the tip and put a bit of stiffer material (graphite) in the butt section. But more than likely you are looking for a more graphite like action out of fibreglass. If that is the case, there are a number of inexpesive blanks that would suit your needs better than trying to alter what you already got.
     
  8. Greg Holt

    Greg Holt Active Member

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    Thanks, James. I appreciate the line of thinking in your response. I was thinking (if one could so name the process) that the criss crosssed thread wraps embedded in the epoxy resin would behave like another thin layer of rod section. It had occured to me to place a graphite or fiberglas insert in the lower section, but that would no doubt puke the warranty. If I could have found a 6 piece 3 weight blank in GRAPHITE, I probably would have purchased it. All the ones I was able to locate were 4 piece units, and I definitely want the package around 13 or 14 inches finished. Warranty or not, the insert is probably the way to go.
    Regards, Greg
     
  9. Banzai

    Banzai FFing and VWs...Bugs & Bugs

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    I believe Utmost Enterprises in Sequim may have the graphite blank you want. I was up there Monday and saw a 6pc 3/4 wt blank. It had a price tag of $35 I think. It was the last of a privately labeled order, the butts had been crushed durung shipping so Utmost was selling what was salvageable. BTW I have also experimented with an insert in a butt section to alter the casting action. While it did stiffen it up, it also added a fair bit of weight, and, i didn't like the way the insert "clacked" against the inside of the original butt section. All in all, it was unsatisfactory IMO.
     
  10. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Depending on cost, you may be able to pick up a Dan Craft FT light. He has a new series of rod that includes a 6 piece 3 weight. I got a chance to hold one, and upon first glance, it really looks like a winner. If you need the web URL it is: www.dancraftent.com. The new blank is not in the catalog, but you should be able to call and get a hold of him.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  11. Nooksack Mac

    Nooksack Mac Active Member

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    Cabela's has 5-piece and 7-piece graphite fly rods, and offers the 5-section, at any rate, as blanks, for around $39.95. Ask for their Rodcrafter's catalog.
     
  12. Greg Holt

    Greg Holt Active Member

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    To all who contributed thoughts and suggestions, Thank you kindly. Here are the results:
    As an experiment, I took a cork reaming tool, removed the abrasive (leaving the tapered graphite shaft), built it up to match the inside diameters of the section above the cork, and press fit it in. PRESTO!! Removeable stiffener!!
    As a bonus, the lower end of the stiffener was turned down to match the inside diameter of the male spigot part of the butt section ferrule, thus spreading stress even better. The upper end of stiffener was left protruding one inch out of the rod section and turned down to assist in removal ( it does not touch walls of section it penetrates). Now I can insert the stiffener for windy conditions, longer casts, tighter loops, or remove it for super soft action on shorter casts where I only need to carry 30 feet of line. The rod tip will not require shortening, as it does not collapse with the increased line speed and load, thankfully.
    If anybody wants more details on the technique I would be happy to pass on what I learned.
     

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