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Thread: Tips for those looking into building their first rod

  1. #11
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    You are 100% correct on blank selection. You can make a cheap blank feel and look better but its original action will still remain. Inverse you can take a high end blank and put the wrong guides, Number of guides or incorrect guide placement and turn in into a wet noodle.

    The Guide selection is almost as important as the blank selection. I have several builds where the guides cost as much or more than the blank.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Carney/Parkville
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronaultmtd View Post
    I took a rod building class from the Virginia Beach 19th Street Tackle Shop through the Parks and Recreation- City of Virginia Beach taught by "Chief" back in the 70's- I mostly built the "Hatteras heaver" surf rods and stand up tuna rods....haven't built a rod in years but when I did I really enjoyed the attention to detail and quality components you choose when you build your rods- for a few bucks more you can significantly upgrade the quality of components used in building a rod- better guides, better reel seat, better blanks...the one thing you can't do is change the quality of the blank, so choosing the right raw blank used is the key-
    ....... and that's the problem ....... as a beginner you can't see or touch the components to evaluate them because there is no place close that stocks blanks or components. That's why the Rod Expo in NC is so good. You get to see and feel the components before you buy. It saves a ton of time and money trouble from buying the wrong thing ........... gives you a frame of reference for future builds

    If I can ever get my basement finished I'll hold some classes at my house ........... I litterally have everything ......... 3 power wrappers, 2 hand wrappers, dryers, library of books and magazines going back over 20 years, 3 looms for weaving, software for both weaving and crosswraps, about 50 blanks and tons of components, all kind of cork rings and ready made cork handles, regular lathe, flocking equipment, different epoxy and finishes, several hundred spools of thread in just about every color and shade ........ etc etc etc .......

    Also have everything to make almost any lure you want ........ including making molds for/of the lure ....... plastic, lead, wood ...... including all the components .........

    My goal is to have the perfect man cave for all us Yaker Fishermen ........... so I gotta get to it ....... goal for this year
    I need help with framing and wallboarding to fix damage I tore down because of termites that have been gone for a couple of years.

    Also need someone to install/replace a sink and toilet ....... plumbing is already there

    So ....... I'm Looking for someone to do this work or help me do it .......... so If you know someone that's good at this and/or looking for work let me know. I will pay cash or trade for custom rods and custom tackle.

    Sorry ....... didn't mean to hijack the thread ........ will start a new one saying the same thing ......
    Last edited by Memory Maker; 01-07-2012 at 02:49 PM.

  3. #13
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Memory Maker View Post
    ....... and that's the problem ....... as a beginner you can't see or touch the components to evaluate them because there is no place close that stocks blanks or components. That's why the Rod Expo in NC is so good. You get to see and feel the components before you buy. It saves a ton of time and money trouble from buying the wrong thing ........... gives you a frame of reference for future builds

    If I can ever get my basement finished I'll hold some classes at my house ........... I litterally have everything ......... 3 power wrappers, 2 hand wrappers, dryers, library of books and magazines going back over 20 years, 3 looms for weaving, software for both weaving and crosswraps, about 50 blanks and tons of components, all kind of cork rings and ready made cork handles, regular lathe, flocking equipment, different epoxy and finishes, several hundred spools of thread in just about every color and shade ........ etc etc etc .......

    Also have everything to make almost any lure you want ........ including making molds for/of the lure ....... plastic, lead, wood ...... including all the components .........

    My goal is to have the perfect man cave for all us Yaker Fishermen ........... so I gotta get to it ....... goal for this year
    I need help with framing and wallboarding to fix damage I tore down because of termites that have been gone for a couple of years.

    Also need someone to install/replace a sink and toilet ....... plumbing is already there

    So ....... I'm Looking for someone to do this work or help me do it .......... so If you know someone that's good at this and/or looking for work let me know. I will pay cash or trade for custom rods and custom tackle.

    Sorry ....... didn't mean to hijack the thread ........ will start a new one saying the same thing ......
    No Hijacking in these words. You are correct concerning feeling out things before purchasing. I did not have that option when i started and it resulted in wasted money and less than desirable results. Learning the hard way is good but it cost money and time better spent on quality and proper components. The expo in NC would be a perfect place for a first timer to jump way ahead of the learning curve.

    Your man cave must be finished. Its your destiny
    Last edited by mmanolis2001; 01-07-2012 at 10:55 PM.

  4. #14
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    Finding the Spine on a blank

    Lets talk about finding the spine on a rod blank. Every rod blank has one and some times two spines ruining down one or more axis's. This is due to the way graphite and fiberglass rod blanks are made. Sheets of carbon fiber or fiber glass are wrapped around a Mandrel and infused with resin. This is then placed under a vacuum and cured in a oven. The results of this are a uneven wall diameter in the blank. This is normally not a noticeable difference to the eye but it does effect the stiffness on one or more of the blanks axis's. This difference in wall stiffness is referred to as the spine or spines of a blank. This should be taken into consideration when building a rod.

    I will refer to the Axis of the blank in future posts. The axis is the circumferences of the blank broken up into degrees. 0 degree axis would be the top of the blank and 180 degrees would be the bottom. For clarification on a spinning rod the 0 degree axis would be what you see while holding the rod normally. The 180 degree axis would be the side of the blank the guides are on. Basically the 0 degree is the top and the 180 degree axis is the bottom.

    Placing the guides on the spine or 180 degrees away from the spine has two different effects on the action of the blank.

    For example if you are building a spinning rod and want a stiffer more responsive blank you would place the spine on the top (0 degree axis) and arrange the guides on the bottom (180 degree axis). This will result in the stiffest action for that particular blank. Guide size and weight will also play a role in determining stiffness but we will talk about that in another post.

    Now if we want to have a softer action with the same blank we would put the spine and guides on the bottom (180 degree axis). This will place the spine on the bottom of the blank and result in a softer action.

    Casting rods are handled differently in regards to guide and spine placement. If you wanted a stiffer action on a casting rod you would place the spine on the bottom (180 degree axis) and guides on the top (0 degree axis). For a softer action we would place the spine and guides on the Top (0 degree axis).

    I mentioned some blanks have multiple spines. Even if the blank has two spines there will always be a more pronounced spine. Use this spine to base your builds on.

    Ok How do you determine the spine of a blank? There are several devices to help you find the spin. I have never used any of these tools and I will probably add one to my collection later down the road. In the Mean time I have used the manual method and it works well enough for me. You will need a flat surface, Tile floor, Hard wood floor, Basement slab, basically any flat smooth surface. If you have carpeting you could throw a large hard cover book on the floor and receive the same results.

    To find the spine place the rod butt on the floor at an angle. With the palm of one hand place lite pressure about 2/3 up from the bottom of the blank. Support the tip of the blank with your other hand.



    Now with your palm at the 2/3 area of the blank apply more pressure to the blank while rolling it. You will feel a distinctive jump when the spine axis moves in and out of the area of pressure. Some heaver blanks might require more downward force with your palm to get the proper deflection. Just make your your supporting the tip and not over stressing the blank.



    When you find the area of jump (spine on the blank) roll it in your palm slower to find the center point. This is the center of the spin and stiffest axis of the blank. On blanks with two spines work on the more pronounced spine. When you find the center point mark it with a china marker. Make sure to mark it on the same side your palm was touching while rotating the blank.



    You now have the spine marked on the blank and you can then use this mark to layout the rest of the build depending on what action you prefer.
    Last edited by mmanolis2001; 01-08-2012 at 01:31 AM.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND
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    What's in that drink. The right ingredients in a glass will make your spine alittle softer and act differently.

  6. #16
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    Nothing but nectar of the gods and frozen spring water in nicely shaped cubes. It goes well with building fishing rods.

  7. #17
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    Preparing and Installing Grips and reel seat.

    Now that we have our spine marked and determined how we are going to layout the rod lets install the grips and reel seat. In this instance we are going to make a split grip casting rod. This is one of the Budget kayak rods I made and used last year. I wanted a cheap functional build so I went with pre formed EVA grips, A Fuji reel seat, Mudhole budget blank and a set of low end Fuji casting guides. This whole build (Blank, Grips, Real seat and guides) came in at $45. This price did not include the epoxy, color preserver and thread which I already had.



    Items Needed
    Reaming tools
    Masking Tape
    China marker
    Drill
    Mandrel (18” section of ¼ threaded rod will work)
    Sand Paper
    Epoxy
    Measuring Tape
    Tinfoil
    Spatula

    When you buy grips they usually come in several inner diameters with 1/4”, 3/8” and 1/2” being the most common. If at all possible try to match the inner diameters with the diameter of the blank you are installing them on. To get a rough idea you will need to determine the approximate position of the finished grip and take measurements on the blank above the grip location and the butt diameter for the rear grip.

    Its always better to go with a slightly smaller grip inner diameter relative to the blank diameter. You can always take material out of the grip but you cant put it back in there.

    Example: Your blanks butt diameter is .500 (1/2”) you would not want to buy grips with an inner diameter of 1/2”. If you did the grip would only be snug on the rear of the blank. The rest would be loose and require you to shim up the blank and possibly cause failure points in the future. Always go smaller and ream the grips to size.

    Onto the reaming process. Since the blank is not a perfect cylinder you will need to ream the inside of the grips to match the taper of the blank. Companies make reaming tools to assist you with this. They can be cheap or expensive depending on the product. Mudhole sells razor wands which are basically scrap blank pieces coated with abrasive. This works well and they are relatively cheap. Other products such as the set below that I use cost more. The advantage of the set below is the ability to place it in a drill and speed up the reaming process. You can also make your own with a old rod sections, glue and some abrasive grit.



    The first piece of the puzzle in the handle assembly is the rear grip. In this build I went with a split rear grip so we will have two pieces to fit and install. This image shows the butt cap before fitting. The diameter of the blank is a tad larger than the inner diameter of the cap so we will need to ream it out before installing it.



    Make sure to take your time when removing material from the in side of the grips and continually check the fit. It should require a little force to slide it on. If its to loose you might not get a good glue bond or require arbors to take up the extra space. Go slow and check often.



    Once we have the butt cap reamed to the proper size push it on for a dry fit. Do not glue anything up at this time. Its best to mix up a larger batch of epoxy and glue the whole handle up at once. It is harder to get a good ratio of resin to hardener when mixing up small batches of epoxy. Its better to mix a little more than you need and waste some. Nothing is more frustrating than picking up the rod the next day to find the epoxy has still not cured.



    Now that we have the butt cap fitted its time to move on to the rear grip. Before we ream out the grip we will need to determine the distance between the front of the butt cap and the back of the rear grip. This will also determine the location of the reel seat. This procedure is entirely up to the builder and is what makes custom rods unique. You can make a longer grip or shorter grip. It all depends on you, your build plans and what feels comfortable to you. In this build we went with a shorter rear grip seeing it was a kayak rod and my belly gets in the way of longer rear grips.

    When you determine the gap between the grips mark the location where the rear grip will end on the blank with a china marker. This will give you a reference point when reaming the grip and ensure you take just enough material out for a tight fit.

    As you see in the pic the inner diameter of the rear grip is smaller that the diameter at the final grip location. Time to ream.

    Last edited by mmanolis2001; 01-08-2012 at 01:37 AM.

  8. #18
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    Continued

    Continue to remove material and check the fit until you get a snug fit at the proper location.





    Once the rear grip has been dry fitted and is sitting it its final location you can slide the reel seat and front grip into place. If the front grip needs reaming follow the same steps as the rear grip to get a tight fit.





    We now have the whole handle sized and dry fitted but we need some fine tuning to the edges of the grips to knock down the corners. This serves an aesthetic and functional purpose. It gives the grips a finished look and takes off any sharp edges that tend to chunk and rip over time.



    You can do this by hand with a piece of sandpaper or if you have a rod lathe you can shape the grip after it has been glued up on the blank. In this case we are going to use a mandrel, drill and sandpaper.


  9. #19
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    Continued

    You can use a 1/4” threaded rod as the Mandrel and build up the outside diameter of the mandrel with masking tape to provide a snug fit when pushing the grip over the mandrel. You want a snug fit to avoid the grip from spinning when sanding. I drilled a hole in the side of the work bench to insert the rod into to steady it while shaping.







    Finished grip shaped and ready for epoxy.



    I use Rod bond for all my grip assemblies. Its a paste based epoxy and is very forgiving if you don’t get the exact ratio when mixing. A piece of tinfoil provides a good mixing sheet and makes clean up a non issue. Just mix up a batch, Slob it on the rod and throw away the tinfoil. Easy stuff.

    I also use a small spatula to measure, mix and apply the epoxy. The spatula allows me to mix and fold the epoxy better and cleans up with a wipe of a paper towel.



    Measure out equal parts or hardener and resin and fold and mix them together for a good 2 to 3 mins. When you think your done mixing fold it around for another min. Complete mixing is key.


  10. #20
    mmanolis2001 Guest

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    Continued



    Once the batch is mixed up you will have around 30 to 40 mins working time before it starts to setup. Its now time to prep the blank.

    Dry fit the butt cap and rear grip again. Now make a wrap or two of masking tape against the front of the butt cap and behind the rear grip. This tape servers two purposes. It helps with cleanup after installing the grip. Seeing the grip is a tight fit most of the epoxy is pushed out of the grip when you slide it into place. The tape will protect the blank and when the grip is in place removing the tape will take most of this over glue away. It also serves as placement marker when sliding the grip into position. Its also a good idea to mark the front of the rear grip (the side that will mate to the reel seat) with a china marker. Now the area between the mark and tape will be where you apply epoxy for the rear grip. We want to make sure there is no epoxy on the section of the blank where the reel seat sits. I will explain the reason for this later.





    Once the tape and marker are in place remove the grips and apply the epoxy with the spatula. You can use a brush if you prefer. Make sure to coat the entire surface within the marks with epoxy.



    Push the butt cap into place rotating it while sliding it up. Rotating will ensure the entire inner surface of the grip is well coated. The process of pushing the grip on will force epoxy out the end. Use the spatula to gather this excess. After the butt cap is in position remove the tape and clean the blank of any epoxy residue.




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