About to delve into the world of building...

Jason Chadick

A Fish, A Fish, A Fishy, Oh...
Hey Gang,

So I'm about to start building my own rods. I do not have any of the tools. Not really sure what I need vs. what is nice to have. I got a Cabela's gift card and am a student so I will need to do this on a shoestring budget. I cannot afford to take a class. If you guys could help me out with a little advice on what I will absolutely need to build a rod I would greatly appreciate it. I was looking in the Cabela's catalogue and noticed they have a wrapper for 40 clams, a dryer for 80 duckets, and a tool kit for around 30 bones...

Is it worth it to just go with these starter kits, or can I find most of the tools at the hardware store? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


you can make alot of the tools for half the cost. I started with "Fly Rod Building Made Easy: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Making a High-Quality Fly Rod on a Budget" It will walk you through everything that you need and will give you a step by step way to go about doing it. Like alot of people will tell you, try not to start with a Matte blank go with a gloss. You can get kits with epoxies, brushes and cups and some even have thread. I went with PRO KOTE only because it has a longer woking time.
Rod bond
rod blank
small brushs
reel seat
There is a whole lot more that you COULD use but that list would get you a rod.
Hey Jason,

I started 20 years ago with a Cabela's rod building kit. Everything you need. Then I took a 3' piece of 2x6, added two 2x6x6" uprights, cut a "V" and lined it with felt. Then I took a small piece of particle board, screwed a couple of pieces of wood onto it and it holds the thread with a wood screw tightened for thread tension. When using a one coat epoxy for the wraps, I just turn the rod by hand every 15 minutes. I've built over 40 rods (glass, graphite) and now am re-doing bamboo rods. Where in Seattle are you? I live in Burien, could show you my low-buck set up. Any other questions-glad to help!---Steve

Jason Chadick

A Fish, A Fish, A Fishy, Oh...
Thanks for the help guys!

Steve, I would love to check out your set up. I live in Columbia City (South Seattle) and would totally come down to Burien to learn a thing or two at a time that is convenient for you. Perhaps we should use the "PM" function to arrange such a meeting. Do you have a beer preference?



Rick Sharp

Active Member
I have an old rod wrapper that might be the cabelas one that you've been looking at, I ended up making my own and can send it to you if you pay postage. I no longer use it and if you can get some use out of it have at it, also check Utmost Enterprises often, they closeout blanks quite a bit as wells as reel seats, grips and such, great deals and it changes alot.

look on ebay for rod drying motors, sometimes a good deal can be had there.

A must visit is the rod building forum, tons of info.


Jason Chadick

A Fish, A Fish, A Fishy, Oh...
Hey Rick,

Thanks for the generous offer! I would totally pay postage for a wrapper. I have an old rotisserie motor that I was going to retrofit into a dryer, it turns pretty slow so I think it will work well (~8rpm). Is there a way to find out how much postage is going to be that wouldn't be a ridiculous inconvenience for you? Or maybe we could meet up on a river or lake or something like that, I fish the Yak quite a bit and judging by your avatar you may as well. I'm open to other suggestions as well. I really do appreciate the generousity.


if it helps, Iused mousetraps for thread tension. cut half of the metal "arm" off and slide a spool on. take the trigger device off of the trap and you have an ey to keep things centered. I scrtewed 4 down side by side, then put a small eye bolt in and run all of my threads through, so you can wrap multiple colors and not have to keep moviong the blank back and forth. only problem i have found is that after a bunch of builds, no maatter the guide spacing, a guide will rub on one of my v-blocks, and it makes it a pain with the mouse traps mounted permanently. will try to post pics of the set-up. think i have 10 bucks into the whole thing
I invested in the DVD The Graphite Fly Rod, How to Build a Modern Classic when I
first got started. I also got a lot of info online, but that DVD is great. It takes you
step by step, and you can pause as you go. The only thing better is a class.