Al Campbell, Field Editor

April 14th, 2003

Do-It-Yourself Rod Stand
By Al Campbell

A few people have recently asked me how to build a rod stand for making your own fly rod. I show a few factory models and a homemade model built from a cardboard box in my rod building series, but I didn't show how to build your own stand from wood.

I'm a firm believer in the idea of making things that work for me, and keeping the plans flexible enough to fit my needs exactly. However, my needs may not be your needs, so what I would build for myself might not be what you would need or want. I also use a power lathe from Anglers Workshop in my regular rod building, so I don't really need to build a wood rod stand.

That said, I decided to rebuild the old rod stand I loan out on occasion, just so you can see how I would build one on a budget. I have plenty of wood scraps in my garage (remnants of the endless honey-do list), so I just whipped this thing out from scraps I had and a few gadgets from my old stand. If you had to buy everything I show here new, it might cost you about 25 bucks, but most of that price would be the thread tensioners you would have to buy at a sewing center unless you can find a junker at a second hand place. I didn't do any finish work on this project, but instead whipped out a functional stand that is long on function and short on looks.

First I cut two 8" pieces of 1X4 pine to use as uprights. I cut a notch in the top of each one to cradle my rod. I'll cover the wood with felt later when I get near a fabric store.

Next, I cut a couple of 10" long pieces of 1X4, cut some slots in them with a Rotozip tool, and attached them to my uprights with glue and screws. The grooves will allow me to slide the uprights in or out to accommodate different guide spacing. I'm using a scrap piece of white shelving for the base.

Then I zipped a slot in a scrap chunk of 1X8 that will serve as a thread carriage. A few more scraps of wood, some carriage bolts, some washers and nuts finished out my basic stand.

Thread routing and tensioning took a little more work. I used another carriage bolt as a thread spindle to hold my spools of thread. Then I added a basic thread tensioner I salvaged from an old sewing machine many years ago, and an adjustable tensioner I think I may have bought at a yard sale about two decades ago. I glued a spinning rod tip-top to a spring steel wire and bent the wire to the right shape to guide my thread to a place just above middle between the rod stands.

This is a view of the stand with a rod blank in the cradles to show how it would look from the side you would be working from.

And, this is a view from the side.

The whole project took a little more than an hour to build. I used some scrap wood and a minimum of hardware. I made everything adjustable so I could fit the stand to any rod blank I would be using. It isn't pretty, nor was it intended to be, but it is functional.

I hope this helps a few people to see how easy it is to make your own rod stand for rod building. Yours can be smaller or bigger as needed. You may not see a need to make the uprights or thread carriage adjustable. You might decide to just use one thread tensioner, maybe the $2 non-adjustable type. This is just one idea. You can create one that fits your needs and size requirements easy. It only takes a few pieces of scrap wood and a few bits of hardware. Don't forget the felt to protect the rod blank from the wood. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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