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So I think I'm going to build a rod....

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I got the urge to build my own rod. So.... I go to the forum, start a couple of arguments over single foot vs. snake guides and how to place guides and finally make a decision about what I want to do.

I ordered a nice little 7'6", 4 pc, 4W Traditions II blank from Cabella's. It comes in and is a pretty iridescent olive green. I pick out some other parts from Jans Netcraft and J Stockard and forget to order the wrapping thread. In the mean time, I find some blanks and components on EBay and go crazy. Now I have an 8', 3pc, 4W blank, two 9' 7pc 3/4w blanks, an 8' 2pc, 3w blank, and a kit with a 9', 4pc, 4w blank, rosewood grip and TiCH hardware. I also have a 8' 3/2 bamboo rod that needs some TLC and the stuff to work it over.

I have justified all of this with the boss (also spelled w-i-f-e) by saying I want to make rods for the grandsons. Of course this means I need 4 more kits, but we won't get into that right now.

I decide to start with the 9', 4pc kit from EBay. I have found the spine and have decided to use a spacing chart for this first rod.

Finding the spine was remarkably easy. Using the method shown a bazillion places on the web and in Al Campbell's tutorial on this site,

The blank will fairly jump to the sweet spot. Mark both ends. Now mark them again about 3" in from the end so the marks are not covered up when you put the blank together.

I have the guides all laid out and am ready to start putting the guides in place and lining them up.

Elastic string. Do NOT try to hold the guide and tie it on with elastic string! I spent a lot of time finding guides that decided to go "ZING" across the floor, propelled by elastic string.

"Tie the string to the stick and then slip the end of the wire thingy under the string." says my wife. "It's a IM6 Graphite rod blank." I growl. Then I tie the string to the stick and slip the end of the wire thingy under the string. It works remarkably well but I can not violate the "Man Code" and tell her. I don't think I could take another second of that smirk of hers, anyway.

OK. All of the guides are located and aligned. Wait. that one moved. So did that one. Now I have fine line pinstripe masking tape on the stick along with elastic string and wire thingies. Things are staying put! Let's start wrapping!

I made a nice little wrapping station.

The end pieces and the thread carriage slide on nylon washers and there are pins in each sliding piece to keep things aligned. All washers are inset to the wood.

The wing nuts on the thread tensioning devices are nylocks to keep them from tightening up as the thread is pulled from the spool. The nylocks were a wee a bit tight and hard to turn to begin with so I ran a tap just through the nylon and back out. Now they hold nicely without being difficult to adjust against the tensioning springs. There are nylon washers for the spools to rotate against for smoothness.

As you can see, there is one outrigger to help with support. The mount for the drying motor is out in the garage with the polyurethane in drying mode. It will be ready to go by the time I get the rod wrapped.

The pool table makes a handy wrapping bench. Lots of room!

Good! The thread I forgot to order is here. Let's get this thing wrapped!

Wow! That thread is slick on the blank and it just wants to slip. There! Got it started. Now it won't go up the foot of the guide. The guy told me the guides were already ground. I can see that they are ground, but not much.

I pull all of the guides off and fire up the Dremel Tool with a diamond burr in it and smooth those suckers out. I actually sort of sharpened them so it was a nice smooth transition from blank to guide. I smooth not just the end of the guide foot, but also the top edges so they are not so angular.

I have all of the guides back on and aligned again. This is what? The 4th or 5th time? They are moving again. I swear the darn things are alive.

I dig into Al Campbell's series on building a graphite rod.

I read something in there about how he held things in place. SUPER GLUE! I align the guides once more and put a drop of CA on one foot, make sure it is still aligned, and move to the next guide. Each guide on each section now has one foot glued down. I let things dry and go back and glue the other foot of each guide down, checking the alignment several times for each guide as I move from guide to guide.

Now can we start wrapping?

I get the thread started again and start towards the guide. The thread gets to the guide and moves right on up and over the sharpened and glued foot just as smooth as can be. It appears that the glue actually aided this by filling in and smoothing the transition even more than the sharpening of the feet did.

So what have I learned so far?

First, don't believe the guy when he tells you the guides are ground. Get your file, Dremel, sandpaper, whatever out and make sure they are as smooth a transition as you can get. It makes wrapping SO much easier!

Second, tie the string to the stick then slide the wire thingy under the string. Tape the other foot down with fineline masking tape.

Third, once you get your guide spacing and alignment set, glue those puppies down! Glue one foot at a time, let the CA dry, then glue the other foot down. Assume the guides are alive and that they will move until the glue is dry. Check your alignment frequently.

That is all for this time around. When I get to the butt section and figure out new and improved ways to mess that up, I will add more!

Updated 11-09-2009 at 09:40 PM by kbproctor

Rod Building