MHX 9 ft #3 Home Build.

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Points
48
Location
Isle of Lewis
I saw a nice PacBay reel seat with ''boxwood'' insert on eBay in early Jan. and jumped on it for a tenner. Then I needed everything else! :rolleyes:

I did a quick search and opted for an MHX 9 ft #3, 2 pc. from Hi-level as it was on discount at £47 and they're a good 'one stop shop' to buy everything one needs without lots of extra p&p costs. From memory, this package took about 2 weeks in total, probably due to the blank length as I've had small packs from them faster in the past. That or the weather .....

The MHX blank is from Mudhole and I've read is based on the old G Loomis IMX. Like the IMX it is a sanded, unvarnished, slate grey. Unlike many original IMX, it's straight! :)
The total blank weighed 1 5/8 oz. I was surprised that the division was 1 1/8 oz in the butt sections, 1/2 oz in the tip - but the butt section does feel pretty beefy!

I wanted to try my hand at whipping single leg eyes so bought a set of PacBay black GLX rings, a black w/c and folding keeper ring.

I also bought a cork handle with recess - only to realise on arrival that the reel seat has a hood and isn't circular like the recess! Fortunately, I had just enough remnants of an old length of glued shives from a d-h handled I'd attempted last summer. The bore diameter was as wide as the winding check but not bigger so I made my second attempt at fashioning a handle (without a lathe). A wee Dremmel-type tool made forming the recess simple enough then I worked the outside into a sort of reverse half wells. It still needs a final honing but is comfy enough in the hand.

The eyes are whipped with a silver-grey silk from Taniwha and decorative black and silver thread from Stripers, finished with their co-polymer.

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I'm thinking that the insert is olive maple burl, not ''boxwood''. Any thoughts welcome.
In retrospect, whipping the black & silver under the stripping ring was a tad excessive. I rather like the thread as it flattened nicely, irregularly spreading the silver, on burnishing. It reminds me of the local Lewesian Gneiss bedrock which can glisten and shine in the sun after the rain has passed, but that's too glitzy for me, really, even thought most is near the butt I don't like the thought of being too flashy - literally and ...... I'll use again but not in long lengths.

I was hoping that the silk would disappear more. I don't think it bad but I'll probably use a black nylon with the metallic in future.
I am happy with the Stripers CoPolymer coating. This rod took three fine coats and very little corrective sanding. Compared to my experiences with Flex Coat Lite this has been much easier. Longer working life (about 1/2 an hour), not syrupy, good levelling and at room temp dry enough after 3-4 hours to return to for the next step.
My one niggle is the same as with FC, I have to mix far more than I need and hate the waste, but mixing smaller amounts risks getting the balance wrong (1.5 mls + 0.6 mls is rec. for the copolymer) so 'that's life', I guess.

I think that's my rod building over for the winter and pre-season fly tying looms. Two new rods and several repairs have prompted me to learn a lot of new tricks, it's been an education and stimulating way to spend the darker days. I didn't get the 11 ft #6 I want done but a plan is afoot - for two! :)

I'll be giving it a test cast if the wind ever drops to 20 or below.
 

kingf000

Well-known member
Points
28
Here you go, kingf000, he's on eBay. You can buy just the c/p & ipa or a kit with that plus sealant, trays, blades, stirrers, brushes, A/B thread and most useful, the pipettes. He's has always sent really swiftly so is great for little bits. It's just a shame his inventory is so small.
Many thanks. I'm going to do one more build as I'm obsessed with producing a 10ft nymphing rod that weighs less than 70g and costs as little as possible. So I've bought a Next 10ft 2wt blank at 44g plus the cork grip for £43.50 including postage. I've heard their blanks are a bit top heavy but I'll just have to see. They do claim it was specifically designed for ESN. For the reel seat I'm going retro. My first split can rod 60 years ago had a cork reel seat with metal collars and worked fine, held the reel on all day. So I'll do this but with lighter plastic collars like I have on some of my coarse rods and a light plastic end cap. I may increase the durability of the cork by impregnating it with a resin. I should be able to produce a handle plus reel seat that weighs only about 20g. Some people think that weight down at the handle isn't important, when you are holding the rod out at arms length all day I'm sure it is. I'll use my nitinol rings that should add only ~ 1g to the weight so I should have about ~5g to play with for the weight of the whipping, though I am tempted by the Rec rings sold by Chapman for £1.89 each. I've also become obsessed about reducing the rigidity caused by the guides so I'll be making the rings without twisting the wire at the bottom, like a compressed snake ring, so that there is more flexibility. I will also give stormsure a go for varnishing the whippings as you don't need to get an accurate mixing of two components, it is flexible, can be diluted as much as you like with toluene, is claimed to bind to most plastics and should be strong enough. I reckon the total cost of the rod should come to about £50, or £70 if I buy the Rec rings! Coupled with a small Wychwood R&S reel at 50g, I hope this will give me a set-up that feels as light and as sensitive as my Tenkara rod but with the benefit of a reel if you happen to hook a monster.
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Points
48
Location
Isle of Lewis
Morning, kingf000. Yours sounds like an interesting project, do keep us informed right through to the field trials.
The only place I can see further saving is if you have bought a regular sized cork handle rather than a smaller one, e.g. Cigar- Ultrafine.
If you're making your own reel seat & rings then you would have the leeway to position the shorter handle 'just right' for balance & comfort on the blank then build up behind with the (lighter) smaller dia. cork seat as you're not restricted by a metal/wood reel seat's fixed length.
The longer that seat's barrel the greater the balancing options as you will move the fulcrum as you move the reel, of course. The rings are a good choice in that respect, as I'm sure you've thought already.

When you say, " I'll be making the rings without twisting the wire at the bottom, like a compressed snake ring" I envisage a hoop with two legs, at 90 degrees to the hoop, 180 degrees to each other. Is that right? If so, won't the double whipping cost more weight? Perhaps the top section would benefit most from single legs?

Regarding the REC rings v Your Own only you can choose. I can see the satisfaction and economy in using your own. If you have time maybe start by taping them on* for a practice cast before committing. I worry that unless the hoop's circle is near perfect there may be a pinch-point where the legs meet but if not, crack on!
* If you do, tape the female ferule for added support, too.

I have a River & Stream reel, the #3/4 and like its steampunk aesthetic but it's too light for my #3 rods, making them feel tip-heavy - but I don't Euro-nymph as you do. Nice reel, though, I've yet to try it on this MHX.

I'll be interested to read what you think of the Next blank. They say it is 'IM6, 30T'.
I'll chance my arm and say I don't expect it to be a 'fast medium-fast' but in the lower spectrum of 'medium-fast' - but I'm guessing. 'IM6' doesn't really mean anything, it's an arbitrary designation of modulus first coined by G. Loomis back in the '80s. The 30T is, I think, the same Toray cloth Loomis used but of course the resin will be different as will the rolling process, no doubt making yours much lighter than the original and with a thinner wall.
I look forward to your appraisal when it arrives. Best of luck with the build!
 

kingf000

Well-known member
Points
28
When you say, " I'll be making the rings without twisting the wire at the bottom, like a compressed snake ring" I envisage a hoop with two legs, at 90 degrees to the hoop, 180 degrees to each other. Is that right? If so, won't the double whipping cost more weight? Perhaps the top section would benefit most from single legs?

Many thanks for the thoughts on the handle. It is a standard cork handle, though I could always rub it down a bit. I have small hands and the thinner the diameter, the less dampening effect on the feel through the rod. I was thinking of extending the smaller diameter cork, maybe by cutting back the handle a bit and, of course, with that set up you can have the reel at the very end of the seat, just like a screw down seat.

You have described exactly what I was thinking of in terms of the rings. However, I was also thinking of cutting down the feet to about 4mm each side, a total of 8mm for the ring and using a single whipping for both sides. Yes, a bit more whipping but not that much. Thank you for reminding me about the single legs for the top section.

I've just finished building a Bloke fibreglass 6'6" 2wt rod for my grandson to learn on. It came out light at 62g but had a swing weight of 150g. This compares with my 7' streamflex 3wt which weighed more at 68g, but has a swing weight of only 100g! The main difference is that the top half of the bloke rod weighs 10g, whereas for the streamflex it is only 7g. Just shows how important it is to get a light tip section.
 
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