Spline on top or bottom...and other questions

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
SuperDave said:
If the "spine" consideration is academic, what's to say others aren't also? When investing in a "build-up", I give myself ZERO tolerance for laxity; what I produce is the very best that I'm capable of producing.

To be indifferent to such considerations as "spline" is NOT my practice. Others may disagree but that's MY policy and practice.

I wouldn't say that building on straightest axis is lax in any way shape or form. You still need to sight each portion, then put it together and make sure that you're marks make a rod that straight and true. To do it right is just as involved as spining a rod :) With that said, building a rod on the spine is just fine, it doesn't hurt anything, but in general I feel that the cosemtics of a rod being straight outweigh the benefits of spining... :)

Finally, in no way shape or form and I suggesting that you shouldn't put your best work forward. When I build rods I too really try to put the screws down and make sure it's the best. You can't imagine how many wraps have been done and then redone just because they didn't look "just right"... With that said, I've got the distinct feeling you do the same too :) ptyd

mike doughty

Honorary Member
you will like the cabelas ft. i have built several of them and it is one of my favorite rods to fish. as far as the spine, there are 2, one is smaller then the other. you can put the guides on either spine, one will give the rod a faster action and the other a little softer action, i can't remember which. i always put my guides on the bigger spine, i think this is the one that gives it a faster action. i assume that you know how to find the spines.
IMO, action is a function of rod design compsition rather than the placement of the spine and guides. A "fast" rod will be "fast" no matter where the spine and guides are placed.

I go opposite the spine/spline and am meticulous about finding it. In other words I place the guides on the side the blank flexes most. Some blanks have 2 spines that flex about equally...in which case i don't think it matters. I figure (maybe wrongly) that this will help with good tracking and tippet protection and limit the flex on backcast. Check out winston's website, they have a video on how they make their rods, and this is how they do it.

Doing it on its spline/spine has its proponents too......more backbone when fighting a fish and stiffer hookset. This is the theory, anyway. Depends on what you want.

Whatever you do, take pride in your work!
Thanks for all your advice guys. As I mentioned earlier I was lucky enough to have the straightest axis line up with the spine...or about 10 degrees from it. This means that I am facing the dominant spine to the fish with the slight sag in the tip of the rod facing down.

I jumped in last night and epoxied the seat together, put on the fighting butt and attached the reel seat. Unfortunately, that was the extent of the epoxy and I am left having to buy more for the handle and winding check. I probably could have made it on the two packets, but the stuff set up faster than I thought and I had a panic moment and had to peel some from the blank that set up before I could get the reel seat on. When they said 3-5 minutes they ment it. I swear it was closer to the 3 minute side.

Ideally I would have had three packets one for the seat components and butt, one for the reel seat and one for the handle/check. But, this being said, next time I will get a bigger lot of epoxy that I can mix on an as needed basis.

Soon I get to start wrapping which I am pretty excited about. I did wrap about five guides to the blank before I attached the handle for practice and cut them off. Next time it will be for keeps :thumb: Planning on a simple trim wrap and going to try a simple feather inlay.

Wish me luck. I will post pics.

Thanks again,
Finding spines for the spineless...I was absolutely unable to feeeel a spine on the blank that I am currently working with.. ? I was able by looking at the cross section of each section to see where the wall thickness was greater on one side. I assumed I hope correctly that that was the spine? If not, any body want to purchase a half built rod?

There has never been a clear winner in the spine debate. Usually I get pretty straight blanks, but straight axis is what a lot of people do.

As for the the spine, I have heard too many people state that you can soften or stiffen a rods' action (to a small degree) by how the spine is aligned. So if you have a fast action 4 wt that you want to have a softer tip, then put the spines on either side, if you have a 6 wt that will be used for streamer fishing, put the spines on top and bottom for example.

I'm not necessarily saying this is completely correct, its just one side of the story. Also, this is another of many great reasons to build your own rods. You can live by your own philosophies and have a rod that is an original. Its all your choice! :)
I think that the biggest issue would be the tendency for a blank to rotate the rod where not built lined up with the spine. It seems to me that the action of the rod is still going to be a sum of both sides of the spine either being flexed or stretched when loaded. I wouldn't think that this would be a huge issue unless for example a forword facing spine would be more easily loaded on either a fore or back cast. I guess an analogy would be that if two trees of different thicknesses were standing parallel to eachother were tied together at their tops, wouldn't the flex be unaffected by which side the thicker tree where on? I could be way off here.

Well anyway, you could forget all this crap and build a spiral wrapped rod. Speaking of which, I wonder how spiral wrapped flyrod would function.