Cardboard box & book - time to graduate to better wrapping equip?


Active Member
I've built graphite rods on occasion for the last 30 years and have leaped into refinishing bamboo rods this last year (someone please cure me of this new addiction). I'm still using the old cardboard box with the front cut out and deep V's on the sides with padding to hold the rod pieces for wrapping. The thread is placed through the pages of a book. The larger the book, the greater the tension. Or I'll put something on the book to add more tension.

So, what do you all like to use? How will it help me (I'm sure many ways!). And where can I get one used or otherwise cheap for a tightwad cardboard box man like me?


I do have a motor to dry my epoxy, but for wrapping I take a tying bobbin, turn it upside down and stick the point in the base of my tying vice, put the tread in the bobbin just like tying flies, and roll the blank in my fingers. I have built 20+ rods and have never used anything to hold my rod.


Active Member
a few cup hooks in the side of a scrap piece of two by four hold my rod for wrapping

I've done various things with the thread
1. mounted the thread on a sewing machine and run it through the tensioner before bringing it down to my rod
2. home made tensioner with nuts and springs on a piece of threaded rod, the whole thing mounted in a former lamp base
3. fly tying bobbin as mentioned above.

I like your book idea.

Hey Ron,

I've been using the same set up now for 26 years. I've done fiber glass, graphite and now re-do on bamboo rods. My wrapper is a 3' piece of 2X6 with two 2X4 uprights with V's notched into them. One side is adjustable for different length rod sections. My thread holder is a piece of particle board with some small wood scraps with a wood screw to hold the spool, tighten the screw for more tension. I use a cardboard box with notches for curing the wraps, turning the rod 180 degrees every 15-20 minutes. How's that for low tech? ---Steve
I'm no pro and you've been at it way longer than I have and probably have more rods under your belt as well, so I say this with limited experience. If you've gotten this far with the box why stop now? Unless you're going for production. The only place where you'll probably see a huge difference is with a drying motor. I bought the PacBay "wooden" set up with tensioners and drying motor, the only real difference I see between your set up and mine other than looks is the drying motor. I would have made one out of wood myself but my garage is out of control and I can't bring myself around to cleaning it up to do any "wood work". (not like it's a big job, but my tools are all over the place and I lack space)


Well-Known Member
Been rolling rods since 1972 and always hold the rod section freehand when wrapping guides. Only when wrapping next to the tip has it occurred to me that it would be handy to have some support on the far end.

I still use a cardboard box with V notch cutouts for drying. I just turn the rod sections 90 degrees every 10 minutes for the first hour and then 15 minutes for the second hour.

Primitive, but I've put together a lot of rods over the years.



Not to be confused with Freestone
Why? I have wrapped well over 50 rods in the last 20 years using a homemade (copycat) version of a thread wrapping bench and a Xerox box much like that in the picture for a drying station... worked great. I came close on several occasions buying a high end rod wrapping bench, but never did. No doubt having a motorized turner would have been very convenient, but is certainly not needed. In some ways, completing a nice rod using old school equipment makes the end product seem all that more enjoyable.

Kris Kerr

The Breaker of Tippets and Arrows
I made my thread tension/wrapper with about $10 in supplies from Home Depot. I bought my dryer as a kit off of ebay for $30. I found the rod jig at an estate sale, sans thread tensioner for $5. Got lucky there.


Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
Nothing wrong with a cardboard box but you really should be putting tension on the thread spool, not the thread itself. Running the thread through a book can create fuzzy thread.


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