Guide Prep

By Tom Kirkman

Here is a question from Volume 5 - Issue #4 of RodMaker Magazine.

RodMaker Magazine

I just received your book on rod building and want to compliment on your efforts to produce such an outstanding treatise on the art of rodbuilding. I have a question in reference to guide prep. I saw in your book where you use a rat trail file on the underside of the guide foot. I have always used a file and made the bottom of the guide flat and smooth.

Is this not the correct approach or have I been doing it wrong all these years? Let me know what you think. ~ Pat...Victoria, TX

Thanks for the comments on the book. Much of the credit should go to Amato Books since it was their idea to produce such a thing to begin with.

If you look carefully at the photo in question, you'll see that it's not a rat tail file at all. It's a chainsaw file (this was mentioned in the text and the photo caption) Which has very fine cutting teeth. These files are also non-tapered, but they are round. I find that the closer you can get to having the undersides of the feet match the shape of the blank the more stable the guide will be over the long haul. I am not going going to tell you that a foot which is flat across its width is a problem - it isn't likely to be at all. But if the foot bottom from side to side matches the curvature of the blank then more of the surfaces involved will be in contact. This makes the guide more stable and also helps to spread out and distribute more of the pressure the guide may put on the blank.

Are you doing it wrong? Not at all, and we all can agree that the foot underside from the front to the back needs to be absolutely flat in order to make sure that we are not putting dangerous pressure points on the blank. Can you do even better? Sure! Conforming the foot underside to conform to the cylindrical shape of the blank only makes everything better. But not doing so is not likely to ruin your rod or cause problems with loose guides. It's just one more function we as custom builders can perform to get the very best guide to blank connection possible. ~ Tom Kirkman

Publishers note:

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along! Help out your fellow rodmakers! ~ Publisher, FAOL

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