Where's everyone at?

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by Buck, May 5, 2009.

  1. As many fly guys we have in this state/forum I'm really suprised at the lack of activity here in the rod building forum. I know there are other sites, but they aren't specific to these waters and the rod we use to fish them. Plus, the river "the main S ones are still closed, so what are the people do, that do rod building....building?
    Personally, I am about to build my first rod. Last night after a 12 hour day I sat down and ordered a dryer, wrapper/finisher kit. It came with a lot of the things I needed/read about. I ordered it through customrodbuilder.com.
    The have a 100 percent positive feed back from flee-bay (ebay.com).
    Now I have to decide on a blank. I was thinking switch (rainshadow), but probably end up building a 4 wt.
    I know All about the fly was going to do a class if there was enough participants, anyone?
    Well, I'd like to know if anyone has a suggestion for a first rod. Maybe cheap, maybe a little more expensive, or prefer a kit?
  2. Funny, I was just thinking about trying to learn to build rods the other day. Then I remembered that I don't have any time in my life.
  3. I started wrapping a couple years ago. Went in halves with a friend on a Pac Bay wrapper. It's not a piece of equipment that is used a lot so we thought it could be shared. So far it hasn't been an issue. I've wrapped 14 fly rods since then. Pretty easy to pick up and lots of little tricks that make life easier and a better looking finished product. My first rod was a $60 Cabelas kit. It turned out well but the later ones look a lot nicer. I'd suggest the same for any beginner, an inexpensive kit that can be used for a loaner rod or gift to a novice fly fisherman. Let me know if you want me to share the little tips I've picked up over the past couple years. I just built a 10ft 7 wt and 10ft 5wt for the boat and each took a night for the seat and grip and a night for the wrapping. I spin my own cork so a kit would only take one night once you get some practice.
  4. I have wrapped 4 rods to date (3 wt forecast kit, 5wt rainshadow, 6wt dancraft FT, 8wt dancraft FT). Although I agree it gets easier as you go and each successive rod improves I still spend far more than 1-2 nights to wrap and epoxy a rod. Maybe I'm anal. maybe I've go no dexterity, or maybe I'm just plain slow. None-the-less I still enjoy building what I want, how I want it.
  5. ~Bullwhacker, Thanks for the info. Today, the place I bought the gear (customrodbuilers.com i think) told me to start inexpensive, but to build something I'd use. Like you said too, I'm new and don't really want to go balls out. Not yet anyway! ;)
    So, I did buy an inexpensive finish/wrapper/dryer kit. It also came with a bunch of miscellaneous stuff, brushes, cups, stir sticks.... In all, it was a hundred bucks. I'll kick myself later, when I see the stuff and then say,"I should have made that myself!" The wrapper and finisher are turned by hand and the dryer is by motor. I'd appreciate any tips that you might have.
    ~Robast, What do you think of the forcast rainshadow blanks. Which is better? And what about Dancraft, of the three, who is better? I wouldn't mind building a spare 5 wt. and then after I get better, maybe a Z-Axis 4 wt.

    Does anyone use their drill to turn there cork? What diameter does my threaded dowel need to be 1/4"-1/2"? And what products do you use to get those custom colors on your cork. Is it different kinds of cork to get the light and dark combination?
  6. A good drill works fine and some of the rod building sites will show you how to make a lathe. You will use 1/4 to 3/8 mandrels most of the time for fly grips. Take a look at the Lamar Products he has all the sizes of mandrels and cork rings. I think they are working on his site so heres a link to a site that has most of his stuff.

  7. My go to place for rod building is mudhole.com. They carry most everything and get it to you fast, IME. They carry various cork grades and colors for custom grips. I just finished a 10' 5wt Z-Axis and a 10' 7wt TCR. I built both with rubberized cork discs on both ends of the handle and a couple 1/4" accent discs in between. I'll try to get a picture to post. A drill would work but I always build up the end that goes into the chuck with masking tape to protect it. I also do that for the dryer as well. The rod can walk itself out of the dryer if not aligned exactly straight. Nothing will ruin your morning faster then spending all evening wrapping and epoxying a rod to find it walked out of the dryer in the middle of the night and your epoxy is all sagging. (trust me on that one) Stay away from color preserver and I prefer the Flex Coat Lite for epoxy. You can get by with one good coat if you have your thread tails trimmed tight. I found the best way to do this is to use 5X tippet to pull the tag through. It pulls easier then thread. Also, slip the tag end through the 5X loop and pull it tight enough to pinch the tag but not enough to start pulling it under the wraps. Use a sharp razor and cut the tag as tight to the rod as you can then pull the tag under. This will eliminate the tag end hanging out in the middle of your wraps that makes the ugly nipple you have to trim between epoxy coats. The other tip would be to buy 1/8" masking tape. Align and tape all your guides down with in one step then wrap them all in one step. They seem to line up better and your wraps match up better if you repeat one process over and over vs. changing it up every guide. Their are a few more little things I've picked up, but that is a good starting point. I'm sure all the builders on here can offer similar tips. Hope that helps. :beer1:

  8. Pictures of the cork on the two rods I built last week.
  9. When I wrap my guides I find the spine (heres a video) wrap the first guide, put the guide top dead center, wrap the second guide and so on. When your done you just go back and line them up. Its easy to move them after they are wrapped. Using tape to hold you rod in the dryer is a must, I've had a couple fall out on me.

  10. ~Bullwhacker,
    Thanks for the tips. All of them. My rod building kit should arrive any day now. I am of course working on a rental house that is sucking the life out of me, so there is no rod building till that is done. But, when that gets done, i'll order up a rod and parts. I still think i'm going cheap, then more expensive. The problem I see is that everyone wants around a hundred dollars for a rod and it's parts. Well, I can get a VT2 for 200 bucks with all it's parts. So I am somewhere between getting something cheap, or just getting something I want and not putting the epoxy on till i'm sure it's done right. I'd like to get the vt2 and do a custom grip like the ones you did. Maybe a 490-4, or even a 390-4. Will keep you posted as to what I end up with and thanks for the pics. Nice rods, I think it's gonna take me more than a week to build two rods, just a guess!

    Thanks for the link i'll check them out.
  11. Buck,

    the Forecast is not great, slower than my liking, but fine for a 3wt. The rainshadow is actually a nice medium-fast rod, hard to beat for the price. You can also get them through the guys at Utmost Enterprises in Sequim for 25% off (they're the Batson outlet). The FTs are nice rods. The 6wt is a 9ft, rocket fast, great beach rod. Fairly sensitive tip for a rocket (better than some thing like a Sage TCR) but no dry fly presentation rod. The dancraft 8wt is a 10ft. Haven't fished it much, but seems noticably slower than the 9ft 6wt. This may be because I have it overlined with a 9wt line, but the FTs are known to be able to handle more line than they're rated for. if you want to cast any of them you're welcome to catch up with me somewhere and give them a test drive.

  12. Bullwkacker - very useful post.

    As a general rule, I would look to Dan Craft for blanks over Rainshadow/Forecast unless you either want to save a little money and are okay with slightly slower blank or you wanted a pretty fast action blank and cost was not that much of an issue (their RX8+ blanks are the top of their line but kind of spendy if you are cheap ass like me).

    I watched the spine finding video - useful but I always thought that you were not supposed to put the rod together without the ferrels wrapped and then bend it as it could crack the blank. I read that and have been always believed it but that guys rod building shop is a lot more equipped than mine and he looks like he knows what he is doing. Actually now that I think of it, I don't have a rod building shop.
  13. I spine all my rods peace by peace not together. I have test casted blanks that didn't have the ferrules wrapped and never have had one split. I also use real small wraps on them.
  14. ~DCR,
    Is that the Rainshadow switch kit? What ever it is, it's really nice.
  15. Yes its the Rainshadow IF1087-4. The same one is being sold on EBAY as a kit. Only I use the APLS stripping guides and TICH single foot snakes.
  16. Heres a few more pics.
  17. Thanks for the pics Don. I wanted to build this as a first rod but thought it might be too difficult as a first rod, what do you think?
    I like the blue.
  18. I think you would be fine with it, reaming the handle could be a problem because of the length of it. If you are near Tacoma I could give you a hand.
  19. Finding the spine on a multi piece rod when assembled makes no sence at all. IMO, testing and marking the top two pieces are the critical ones of a four piece rod. The third piece from the tip is questionable and the piece with the cork doesn't make much difference.

    I would avoid stressing any ferrules before wrapping and epoxying them. I also make small ferrule wraps towrards the tip and proggresivly increase the size as I move towards the handle to correspond to the increasing load on them.

    I also only wrap with single foot guides. You have half the weight in thread and epoxy and only have a 3/8" splint at every guide vs. an 1 inch. It makes for a lighter rod and less affect on the action.
  20. I also spine them one peace at a time, not like in the video. Its o.k. to do it the way in the video as long as you find the top spine first then do the top connected to the bottom. A lot of builders i know do fly rods this way.

    The ferrules on modern rod blanks are stronger then you would think. In ten years I have never seen one split and I know builders that don't wrap them on smaller rods.

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