rookie needs advise

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by turkish4211, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. turkish4211

    turkish4211 New Member

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    I am a complete newbie to rod building but would really love to get into it. I need all the help I can get. Do you guys have any advise as to where to start. What tools do I need? Any good sources to buy blanks and components? Any advise on an easy beginner project? Thanks

    Derrick
     
  2. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    There are some threads on this very thing in the archives. Tons of info can be gleaned from it. The Cliff notes of this will read:

    1) Take a class if you can afford it: AATF and Greg's Custom rods offer great classes here in the Seattle area.

    2) Several books exist, the one from Tom Kirkman is an excellent place to start

    3) Don't bite off more than you can chew. You'll have enough problems dealing with wraps and epoxy, so try to avoid doing your own grips and other things right out of the box.

    Other than that, feel free to PM me if you want. In general, I'd suggest you spend the dough on the classes. If you can't afford it, or you like roughing it, get a good book...
     
  3. Islander

    Islander Steve

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    I'm no expert, I've only built 2 rods, but I do know James gives some excellent advice. If the classes are to pricey, check into any local FF Clubs. The club on the Island I belong to has classes for very little money or free. Also I got some good info off the web. One site that has a lot of beginner info is the Fly Fisherman Magazine website. They have a great series on rod building by Bob Widgren. Just Google rod building.
     
  4. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    BTW, I'm a complete tool, as I forgot to notice you were in Spokane... I can't vouch for good classes out there, so I'd opt for the book route.

    Tools you'll need:

    Cardboardbox
    Phonebook
    Good scissors
    Razor blade
    Knitting needle

    You use the cardboard box with 'V's cut into it for your rod holding jig. Use the phone book as your thread tensioner. The scissors are useful, but you'll really want high quality double or single blade razor blades. The knitting needle will work just fine as a burnisher/ packer. You can take a file and some *fine* sandpaper to one part of it to make it flat. This will be used for packing.

    As for good places to start for online help, hit up www.rodbuilding.org.

    Some online articles can also be found at:

    http://www.anglersworkshop.com/cgi/aw/articles.html?id=3X4EyNyP
    http://shop.mudhole.com/Rod-Building-101

    Finally, try to not worry about being perfect. Spine your rod, or build on the straightest axis. Do trim bands or don't. The difference is for those who are fastidious enough and have time enough to do so. For the beginner, don't fret the details and just have fun.
     
  5. SuperDave

    SuperDave New Member

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    And I'd advise starting with a COMPLETE inexpensive rod KIT rather than a high-end graphite blank and then picking your own components. Look at building your first rod as a learning experience rather than a potential masterpiece. You'll learn a great deal as you work through the various stages of building a rod.

    Check out the rod building sites here on the web for excellent building references. Working with a mentor will be very helpful even IF you do take a class.

    SuperDave
     
  6. turkish4211

    turkish4211 New Member

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    Thank you guys for all the help. Do you guys have any kits are inexpensive blanks that would be a good first project? I dont have the cash to take a class so I will be looking for a good book. again, any recommendations?

    Derrick
     
  7. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Online sources include:

    Hook and Hackle
    Anglersworkshop
    Mudhole

    There is of course site a sponser (All About the Fly) that could prolly put together a reasonable package for a good price. Either Ron or Kristin would be the folks to ask there.

    As for the Gregs guys, I don't have personal contact, by I do believe they have kits available also.
     
  8. Salmon fisher

    Salmon fisher Member

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    I understand you can't take a class, but you might want to look for kind of a "mentorish" person who would be willing to help you build a rod. That way, you can use their equipment and get instruction for free. I think Batson Enterprises has some pretty cheap blanks.
     
  9. Ned Wright

    Ned Wright New Member

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    I am in the final stretch of my first rod, so I may be able to offer some advise about what I learned that is fresh in my brain.

    I found it to be kindof like fixing your first car. I was a bit nervous to "take the plunge" but when I did it wasn't very hard and definately fun. I did however read a few different online rod building articles (the one mentioned before and the "Al Campbell" articles on www.flyangersonline.com) before I started. No class or book as I am poor and the kit was a gift. When I had questions I found people on this board to be very helpful.

    I did the cardboard box thing for a stand, which I found pretty useful. I used a fly bobbin stuck through the front of the box as a tensioner and was really happy with the performance. I could wrap tight and fast and worried very little about the bobbin "letting go of the tension" as the spools of rod winding thread are bigger than you traditional fly tying thread. One problem with the box was when existing guides and/or handle was placed poorly for the width of the box, but it was far from insurmountable (sp?).

    If you get a kit and it includes packets of epoxy. Do yourself a favor and go out and get a larger quantity. Either something like U-40 Rod Bond or the 5 minute dual syringe stuff from lowes or home depot (waterproof of course, about $3). This way you can mix what you need on your own timeline. I found it pretty stressful to rush through the epoxy part. I also decided to do the same with the rod finish as it only cost about $5 for the U-40 stuff.

    Buy a razor blade, I tried a well sharpened knife, carpet knife with new blade and fly tying scissors, and found all of them to be less than ideal. I have little bits of thread sticking out most of the wraps. I put on color preserver and most of this disappeared now I am hoping the rod finish will hide the rest. Regardless of the outcome I am a bit picky about aesthetics so I would have been happier as I went along to not see this at all.

    Price thing is a tough call, it may not be pretty, but it is your first and you will want to keep it for a long time. Might as well cast good. I think it would be pretty hard to "ruin" your first one thereby wasting money.

    Hope this helps,
    Good Luck,
    Ned
     
  10. Ned Wright

    Ned Wright New Member

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    PS I used a kit and it helped. But, it wouldn't be impossible to pick out your own "set" of guides, tip top, blank, thread color and handle kit. I would probably shy away from buying handle components. And the winding check would be a real pain to get right. That being said if you had help of someone knowlegable they could probably get this right for you.

    Ned
     
  11. SuperDave

    SuperDave New Member

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    Being from Spokane, you might check with the Inland Empire Fly Fly Fishing
    Club (IEFFC) for advise/assistance. You may even want join their club or at least check out their web-site.

    SuperDave
     
  12. Islander

    Islander Steve

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    Hook & Hackle has many entry level (low price) kits available. They usually run specials all the time on various sizes. You can call them and talk to them also. They are very helpful with all aspects of rod building. As the others have said, it would be good to find someone close to help you along. Just take your time and don't be in a rush. It is very rewarding. It's a neat feeling catching fish on a rod you built with a fly you have tied. This is a great place for help, lot's of experience on this board.:ray1:
     
  13. turkish4211

    turkish4211 New Member

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    Again, thanks for all the responses. For my first rod I am going to go with a kit. Should I go with a kit that already has the reel seat and handle attached? Also, is one weight or length of a blank more difficult to build than another?

    Derrick
     
  14. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    I'd get the reel seat unattached. One of the biggest things to learn in rod building is proper application of glue and the surface prep required.

    Also, the longer the rod, the more guides you'll have to do. In general it isn't *harder* but it will take longer to file the guides, line them up, wrap them down, and then epoxy them.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  15. SuperDave

    SuperDave New Member

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    Be sure to use a rotissarie to rotate the rod while the expoy is drying on the wraps. If you don't have one, you'll find it worthwhile borrow one. (Again another reason to belong to a club)

    If left on it's own, epoxy will dry with very noticeable "sags". :beathead:

    SuperDave