Absolute Beginner my first build..

GEK79

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Hi Gary, I put up a series of blogs when I first started building, you might find it useful to have a look through them. They show the good and bad experiences and a couple of tips I learned along the way.
TC
Thank you so kindly.. I'll ponder the thread and thank you again..
 

jaybeegee

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Having read the thread I now have huge amounts of doubt..
Go for it Gary. When I was thirteen I broke the greenheart top section of my hand-me-down rod and rebuilt it over the winter. I found an old book on rod making and pestered the lives out of Messrs Kendall and Watson the owners of a Leeds tackle shop for information and materials including a new split came top section. My dad was ex RN and showed me how to tie a shipshape whipping and varnish nicely. The result was not half bad and what had been a dreadful old thing became a much smarter, slightly more practical..dreadful old thing of which I was very proud. The key to the whole process was the information I got from experienced folk. Wish I still had that rod.
B
 

GEK79

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Go for it Gary. When I was thirteen I broke the greenheart top section of my hand-me-down rod and rebuilt it over the winter. I found an old book on rod making and pestered the lives out of Messrs Kendall and Watson the owners of a Leeds tackle shop for information and materials including a new split came top section. My dad was ex RN and showed me how to tie a shipshape whipping and varnish nicely. The result was not half bad and what had been a dreadful old thing became a much smarter, slightly more practical..dreadful old thing of which I was very proud. The key to the whole process was the information I got from experienced folk. Wish I still had that rod.
B
Thanks Jayb.. Will do some more studying or watching on YouTube.. 🤔🤔
 
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Lewis Chessman

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Having read the thread I now have huge amounts of doubt..
Gary, I first started building rods in 2017 and the vast majority of what I've learned has come from this forum. You've nothing to worry about. At any and every stage there's a wealth of experience available to you so at any point, if you're unsure, just fire up a question here. Probability is you'll have your answer before you've downed a cuppa.
When practical, post a pic of the prob but, honestly, the task involves nothing you can't do nicely.
Be Realistic.
Strive For The Impossible!
J.
;)
 

GEK79

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Gary, I first started building rods in 2017 and the vast majority of what I've learned has come from this forum. You've nothing to worry about. At any and every stage there's a wealth of experience available to you so at any point, if you're unsure, just fire up a question here. Probability is you'll have your answer before you've downed a cuppa.
When practical, post a pic of the prob but, honestly, the task involves nothing you can't do nicely.
Be Realistic.
Strive For The Impossible!
J.
;)
Thanks fella as always may have been an overwhelming moment.. Thanks as always..
 

Whinging pom

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The first full build I did was my first carbon fly rod after starting on an old split cane ( About 30 years after other people stopped using split cane😁).
I was on a budget and got Carbo tech blanks which were fine, my wraps were functional and neat except one that I fudged and it use to catch my eye every time I threaded line through it!
My reel seat was a budget black composite thing which was entirely functional. Every time I saw it I was unhappy about it…. It looked cheap and budget and ugly! And thus the rod was always a disappointment.
I was almost joyous when I lost the tip section in a freaky accident down the river so I could finally get a new rod!

My bit of advice is make sure your happy with all your components and they’re what you want. And if you make a mistake back track and put it right.
Don’t make do ! This is YOUR rod!
( I bought my latest blanks yesterday, so I’m another one out there spending my winter sanding cork, sniffing glue and whip finishing threads).
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, Gary, I said I'd post some photos of my set up in the hope it helps you get ready for your build. Fingers crossed I'm not too late?

As has been said, you can start off with very little if you wish - there are vids on YT showing cardboard boxes with 'Vs' cut into them, the thread spool in a dish and the thread run through a book. I've tried it and it's fine, but a home made rig can offer more rigidity, versitility and generally make the job - and life - easier. Almost all my gear is homemade from scraps and I'm no great handiman - as you'll see. The thing is that it's functional and fit for purpose even if it's not pretty.
Also, take nothing I say as gospel, Gary, there are many ways to do the job. The following is simply how I've evolved into it and I'm sure others have better ways to build.

So, I'll start with a couple of pics of my basic 'touring rig'. This is collapsable, so easy to take when I'm working from home:

P1040250.JPG

P1040252.JPG

It's just a piece of old kitchen cabinet with holes drilled in it. :)

On the left you see two bolts with washers and nuts next to one upright. The holes in the board allow me to alter the distance between the rests if I need to.
On the right is the other rest with two bits of dowling glued into the base. These sit in the two holes to the right.

(It would have been far more sensible to have drilled multiple siting holes for the right rest rather than the left as the dowling is far easier to move than the nuts and bolts! Dur.)

In the middle is the base of the bobbin holer for this rig, again with dowling pegs which marry with the holes at the top of the board, again allowing me to position the bobbin as I wish.
Above that is the bobbin holder from my 'main rig'. Ignore the chassis, the upright bit unscrews and attaches to this rig's bobbin holder when required.
Then there are a few screw hooks which can be positioned as needed by screwing into the front holes as above. These allow the thread to run back towards the blank from the front rather than from behind it.

It all fits together rather like this.
P1040254.JPG


My main rig is built on a bigger bit of scrap wood and, rather than holes and pegs, I use sledges as they've very easy to make!

From the left:
1-P1030762.JPG

This rest is fixed. The bobbin sled is in its track on the right with a screw hook to tighten and fix it in place. The further rest is similar and can be positioned wherever I like or the guide spacings dictate.

Close up of the moveable right rest and then shot from the right showing the rear of the right rest:
1-P1030763.JPG
1-P1030761.JPG


Now, this isn't essential, but I can also adjust the height of the right rest using the bolt in the slot. I find this helps keep things level during epoxying, esp. if the cork handle is resting on the left rest, creating a slope down which the epoxy will run.

The sections are held on with elasticated hair bands and I've put hooks into one side of both uprights. If I need to really clamp down I can slide the hair bands over the hooks or I can just use them for tool holders.

Running along the front of the table is a length of electrical cable trunking with an adhesive base. I've cut a wee dolly from the covering and screwed a screw hook into it for the 'returner'. It's cheap but it works perfectly, allowing infinite adjustment for the thread placement whilst being a cinch to move accurately and it stays where it's put, too.

Then the bobbin holder:
1-P1030760.JPG


Basically, a gallows. There's a bolt fixed into the wooden upright, then a spring, a small washer then a big washer, then the bobbin, then two more washers and two nuts. Running the thread off the bottom of the reel spins the bobbin against the nuts, locking one nut against the other, so keeping the tension constant.

The whole thing is clamped onto a folding workbench so can be put away pretty quickly and easily.

Next, tools .....
 
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Lewis Chessman

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My main tools:
P1040255.JPG

Top right to left:
Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA): Used for cleaning everything from the blank to your hands, from dust on thread wraps to excess epoxy when applying the stuff.
Masking tape: Loads of uses, from building up the butt to accommodate the cork or reel seat to holding on a snake leg when whipping, A must have.
Kiddies' Nylon Brushes: For applying the epoxy. Once used I cut them back and use the stem as epoxy mixing sticks. Cheap enough on eBay.
Cotton Buds: I wet with IPA for some precise cleaning jobs.
Scissors: Just useful to have about.
Thread Burnisher: A shaped nylon stick used for flattening and burnishing thread when whipping.
China Pencil: Used for making a removeable mark on the blank, e.g. guide placement markings.
Rod Building Epoxy: For fixing the seat and grips. That's 'Hell and High Water' rod builder's epoxy there which is less runny than many epoxies. However, most two-part epoxy glues will do. Be careful with Gorilla Glue as it expands as it cures ......
Rod Wrapping Epoxy: The epoxy one uses on the thread wraps. In shot is 'Rod Building Components' epoxy which is the best I've found. If not available in the UK I saw it for sale direct from China the other day for very little money compared to what I paid in the UK. If you've time before you need it, I'd order some now.
Graduated Disposable Pipette: By no means essential but these babies have made my life so much easier than before as I can now acccurately mix small amounts of epoxy. I get both the perfect 50/50 mix and minimal wastage.
Aluminium foil and a milk bottle top/Epoxy Mixing Dish: A cheap and easy way to mix the epoxy. I make a wee handle so that it's easy to hold over an electrical convection heater when I need to warm and thin the glue.
Razor Blades: I snap them in half whilst still in the wrapper, then use for all fine cutting jobs.

Well, that's about all the essentials I can think of.

Next, not so vital but useful to have:

P1040256.JPG


The files are for filing down guide feet to avoid big thread 'step ups' when whipping.
A Mini-Dremmel-Type-Tool: These cost around £20 and are really useful for a multitude of jobs around the house, not just rod building. I've used mine for cutting blanks and grinding guide feet.
A paint pen for any details/signing. Buy as fine a point as you can find.

Many of the things you'll need can be found in the local Poundland if you have such a thing, or on line for very little if not.
I hope that helps. Let me know if anything is unclear.
Cheers,
James.
 

GEK79

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Joined
May 10, 2021
Messages
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Location
Ireland
My main tools:
View attachment 46137
Top right to left:
Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA): Used for cleaning everything from the blank to your hands, from dust on thread wraps to excess epoxy when applying the stuff.
Masking tape: Loads of uses, from building up the butt to accommodate the cork or reel seat to holding on a snake leg when whipping, A must have.
Kiddies' Nylon Brushes: For applying the epoxy. Once used I cut them back and use the stem as epoxy mixing sticks. Cheap enough on eBay.
Cotton Buds: I wet with IPA for some precise cleaning jobs.
Scissors: Just useful to have about.
Thread Burnisher: A shaped nylon stick used for flattening and burnishing thread when whipping.
China Pencil: Used for making a removeable mark on the blank, e.g. guide placement markings.
Rod Building Epoxy: For fixing the seat and grips. That's 'Hell and High Water' rod builder's epoxy there which is less runny than many epoxies. However, most two-part epoxy glues will do. Be careful with Gorilla Glue as it expands as it cures ......
Rod Wrapping Epoxy: The epoxy one uses on the thread wraps. In shot is 'Rod Building Components' epoxy which is the best I've found. If not available in the UK I saw it for sale direct from China the other day for very little money compared to what I paid in the UK. If you've time before you need it, I'd order some now.
Graduated Disposable Pipette: By no means essential but these babies have made my life so much easier than before as I can now acccurately mix small amounts of epoxy. I get both the perfect 50/50 mix and minimal wastage.
Aluminium foil and a milk bottle top/Epoxy Mixing Dish: A cheap and easy way to mix the epoxy. I make a wee handle so that it's easy to hold over an electrical convection heater when I need to warm and thin the glue.
Razor Blades: I snap them in half whilst still in the wrapper, then use for all fine cutting jobs.

Well, that's about all the essentials I can think of.

Next, not so vital but useful to have:

View attachment 46139

The files are for filing down guide feet to avoid big thread 'step ups' when whipping.
A Mini-Dremmel-Type-Tool: These cost around £20 and are really useful for a multitude of jobs around the house, not just rod building. I've used mine for cutting blanks and grinding guide feet.
A paint pen for any details/signing. Buy as fine a point as you can find.

Many of the things you'll need can be found in the local Poundland if you have such a thing, or on line for very little if not.
I hope that helps. Let me know if anything is unclear.
Cheers,
James.
Many thanks as always James..
Will be delving start of January I'll surely look to you for some guidance. Many thanks all..
G.
 

JayP

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May 17, 2006
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St Neots, Cambs
My main tools:
View attachment 46137
Top right to left:
Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA): Used for cleaning everything from the blank to your hands, from dust on thread wraps to excess epoxy when applying the stuff.
Masking tape: Loads of uses, from building up the butt to accommodate the cork or reel seat to holding on a snake leg when whipping, A must have.
Kiddies' Nylon Brushes: For applying the epoxy. Once used I cut them back and use the stem as epoxy mixing sticks. Cheap enough on eBay.
Cotton Buds: I wet with IPA for some precise cleaning jobs.
Scissors: Just useful to have about.
Thread Burnisher: A shaped nylon stick used for flattening and burnishing thread when whipping.
China Pencil: Used for making a removeable mark on the blank, e.g. guide placement markings.
Rod Building Epoxy: For fixing the seat and grips. That's 'Hell and High Water' rod builder's epoxy there which is less runny than many epoxies. However, most two-part epoxy glues will do. Be careful with Gorilla Glue as it expands as it cures ......
Rod Wrapping Epoxy: The epoxy one uses on the thread wraps. In shot is 'Rod Building Components' epoxy which is the best I've found. If not available in the UK I saw it for sale direct from China the other day for very little money compared to what I paid in the UK. If you've time before you need it, I'd order some now.
Graduated Disposable Pipette: By no means essential but these babies have made my life so much easier than before as I can now acccurately mix small amounts of epoxy. I get both the perfect 50/50 mix and minimal wastage.
Aluminium foil and a milk bottle top/Epoxy Mixing Dish: A cheap and easy way to mix the epoxy. I make a wee handle so that it's easy to hold over an electrical convection heater when I need to warm and thin the glue.
Razor Blades: I snap them in half whilst still in the wrapper, then use for all fine cutting jobs.

Well, that's about all the essentials I can think of.

Next, not so vital but useful to have:

View attachment 46139

The files are for filing down guide feet to avoid big thread 'step ups' when whipping.
A Mini-Dremmel-Type-Tool: These cost around £20 and are really useful for a multitude of jobs around the house, not just rod building. I've used mine for cutting blanks and grinding guide feet.
A paint pen for any details/signing. Buy as fine a point as you can find.

Many of the things you'll need can be found in the local Poundland if you have such a thing, or on line for very little if not.
I hope that helps. Let me know if anything is unclear.
Cheers,
James.
Superb post James 👍
 

splinters

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Co. Armagh.
Superb indeed, I also keep a painter's tack rag on the bench. It's handy for making sure the wraps are dust free before finishing. Not essential, but handy.
S.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks, Simon. The tack cloths are new to me. I'll drop Santa a line, I think. :)

@Paul_B. That looks very good, Paul, and a bargain for a tenner! Where did you buy the rod-holding chuck and how long does a set of batteries last?

Here are a few shots of my homemade bodge job. The motor came out of my mum's dead microwave, the cap from a spray can but I had to pay for the nuts and bolts.
A solid metal can top would be better than mine. I dream of finding one one day. ;)

1-P1030766.JPG


1-P1030767.JPG


Not being a qualified electrician I was a bit wary at first but it's worked perfectly for a few years now and doesn't get overly hot even when left on for a few hours.
I rescued another motor this summer so soon I'll have two!
(I know these motors are cheap as chips on eBay but I like the reclamation aspect. It's the miser/hunter in me rather than the ecowarrior.) ;)

I generally set it up on a side table but if I'm working on a very long section it can be set up on a plank on a chair and levelled off.

1-P1030768.JPG


I stuck a strip of the soft side of some Velcro tape on the V to protect the blanks, which works fine.
Cheers all,
J.
 

GEK79

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After reading various threads and seeing some of the workmanship produced on here I've decided once Christmas has been and gone I'm going to try my first build..
Thanks to JayP I have sourced a 9ft 5w blank and all needed to start..
What advice would you fellow builders give to an absolute apprentice..
Splinters who I also think is a master builder said I should seek some genuine friendly knowledge from the guys on here.Also a big thank you to Lewis Chessman who's rod builders list helped me source my starting point..
Thanks for any help what so ever..
Gary
A lot more too this than my first thoughts.. 🤔🤔🤪
 

bonito

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Dec 30, 2011
Messages
162
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Uddingston
A lot more too this than my first thoughts.. 🤔🤔🤪

Not really, only as complicated as folk make it. I can simplify it even more for you, pics below of a holder for the rod, other end is in my hand and also a thread spool holder. No tensioners or other such stuff as I have 10, 5 on each hand. This set up has built possibly 1000 fly rods. Couple of dods of wood and some knicker elastic for the rod stand and a bit of blank glued into another dod of wood.

All I "really" need after that is single edge razor blade, curved nail scissors and an old bone chopstick for burnishing. Can build you anything from a 2# nymph rod to a marlin chair rod using that stuff, (in practice I have a lot more and the marlin rods are done on a lathe) but every fly rod is hand built using the above.

I`ve got dryers in a sealed box but I know one quality builder who simply turns the rod by hand on supports whilst watching TV or reading. 1/4 turn every few minutes.

P1140619.JPG
P1010046.JPG
 

Vintage Badger

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Blimey, it seems things have got a lot more high-tech than when I last built or rewhipped a cane fly rod. I did that (as I expect did many others) free-hand, holding the reel of silk in one hand and turning the rod in the other.

Once done, a very sparing coat of model glider dope was then added to keep things in place, before moving on to the next whipping. Once completed, a couple of careful coats of yacht varnish were applied to the rod and whippings. After each coat, the rod section was leant as upright as possible against a wall in a dust free environment to allow it to dry without marking the wet varnish.

It seems these days rod finishing has more in common with prestige car production. I wonder if that effort makes a noticeable difference after a couple of seasons use?

Having wondered that, and regardless of that purely practical question, I think there are few things better than the sense of achievement and satisfaction when it comes to successfully striving for perfection, and all credit to those who take the time and care to do so. (y)
 

GEK79

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Blimey, it seems things have got a lot more high-tech than when I last built or rewhipped a cane fly rod. I did that (as I expect did many others) free-hand, holding the reel of silk in one hand and turning the rod in the other.

Once done, a very sparing coat of model glider dope was then added to keep things in place, before moving on to the next whipping. Once completed, a couple of careful coats of yacht varnish were applied to the rod and whippings. After each coat, the rod section was leant as upright as possible against a wall in a dust free environment to allow it to dry without marking the wet varnish.

It seems these days rod finishing has more in common with prestige car production. I wonder if that effort makes a noticeable difference after a couple of seasons use?

Having wondered that, and regardless of that purely practical question, I think there are few things better than the sense of achievement and satisfaction when it comes to successfully striving for perfection, and all credit to those who take the time and care to do so. (y)
I'm not sure my first try will be perfect but it will be something I've made and will fish with.
January not far away.. 👍👍
 

Whinging pom

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Northants
Do you have a hand wrapper sorted out yet?
I’ve knocked one for me and one for a mate whose making his first rod too. I had enough materials to cut a third one, it’s going spare.

I’ve cut the mortises for the uprights to sit in, I can send it flat and you can glue it up. There’s spare felts for the top also if you want to glue them on. And spare bands for holding the blanks down.

Its a bit rough and raw but with a sanding and a lick of varnish you could make it a bit more respectable.
This is what mine looks like at the moment
226EF7B0-75FB-464D-ADF8-193645383123.jpeg

If Gek79 doesn’t need it , anyone else is welcome or it’ll become tinder.
All best
Pom
 

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