Got my blank, spine question now

Willie Bodger

Still, nothing clever to say...
I"m not sure if this still applies with the way blanks are made nowadays, but when I made my first few 2-piece rods, I was told to place each piece one end on the ground, hold the other end in your hand and then roll it to find where the spine of the rod is and then place the guides exactly opposite that spine. I am building a St. Croix SCIV 9' 6wt 4 piece rod, do I still need to do this?

i think so. doesn't really matter if it is opposite the spine or on top of it as long as it is the same for all the sections. a smooth table top always worked for me. its usually obvious.
As someone new to rod building, I found the whole spine thing confusing. Especially because if you look at different sources, you will find that some have opposite definitions of which side the spine is on (the soft/up side or the stiff/down side when bent). Flexcoat, a big name in the business, actually has a different view than than most sources (they say the up side is the spine when you bend as discussed above). I use the opposite definition because it matches where my spine is located. If you bent me, I would bend easier with my spine down.

As to which side you place the guides, it is a matter of preference. I decided on my own criteria: on small, low weight rods, I put them on the soft side (opposite the spine) because this (supposedly) gives additional accuracy in casting because the strength of the blank is used on the forward cast. For large rods, I'll do the opposite as it puts the strong side towards all those huge fish I will hook. ;)

For a middle weight rod like yours, it probably doesn't matter that much.

I believe it benefits the performance of the rod to build with guides on or opposite the spine. This is from extensive reading as I haven't cast my rods into water yet. I think it is interesting that some big name rod makers ignore the spine altogether.

Hope this helps.

Jim F.

Scott Behn

Active Member
Hey there wb you should of asked Greg to help you locate the spine...we'll do that for you if you want.

But yes you'll need to do that for each piece. As for what side of the spine to put the guides on, I don't think it really matters I have built them both ways and I'm not seeing a difference. You do want to make sure that your guides are placed either on the spine or directly opposite of it, if you don't you'll end up not liking your rod very much.

Stop by if you need help I'll be there tomorrow afternoon and all day Saturday.


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