Something for the Darkening Days.

Lewis Chessman

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Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,231
Location
Isle of Lewis
Winter is upon us in Lewis so, with a seemingly endless succession of dim-lit days, horizontal rain and gales ahead, I took the plunge on a big order yesterday.
First up, after hours of planning, a bundle from Tackle24.de:

Tac FireNeedle Switch 11 ft #6-7 4 pc. I confess, I just like the patterning on the sanded blank. :)
That's getting dressed with their Switch cork grip (Supreme grade) and this black satin reel seat with woven graphite insert. I'm hoping the insert will compliment the blank's carbon weave. ''Black satin'' should keep flash to a minimum and will match the black guides. They are PacBay SIC N strippers and PacBay Black Chrome snakes. I've bought the same eyes for a RFT Gear Diesel 11 fter., more of that later.

In Tackle24's 'Specials Rodbuilding' section I found another 11 ft #6-7 blank, a TAC Switch 4 piece. It's a nice dull green blank described as "intermediate modulus ... with moderate action" and, at E48 worth a gamble. It might just have the particular action I'm looking for for Heb-style drifting.
I'm going to make this into a single-handed grilse/sea trout loch boat rod with a full wells handle, medium-sized fighting butt and black aluminium reel seat from RFT Gear (handle kit currently on sale at E29). It's getting SeaGuide Light Wire snakes and PB SIC T strippers (all black). They're a bit more expensive that the PacBay set but I want to keep weight down where I can on this long single-hander. I'm hoping for a forgiving tip action with some strength in the butt section. We'll see.

Peripheries include:
A full wells grip and fighting butt with black Duplon base plus a black RFT aluminium reel seat with wooden spacer. This is to replace the seat and corkage on a Sage Graphite III GFL 6113-B RPL I have (11' 3", #6, 2 pc. s-h), a rod from the mid-'80s. The 'B' indicates 'Blank' and this rod will benefit from a complete overhaul. The homemade fighting butt is far from a uniform shape and the handle is pretty irregular also. Too thin, I think, and with a few gouges in uncomfortable places. The epoxy on the rings is starting to lift and the snake ring feet aren't well wrapped with the toe often protruding, uncovered. I intend to completely strip this rod and then rebuild. This grip and seat are as close as I could find to Sage's factory models. Not yet sure if I'll try a total mimic. Sage used a brown thread with another lighter thread, almost 'tan', as a secondary whipping on the butt and ferules. I have the correct brown thread but don't know what the second thread is?
The brown blank varnish has nicks and scratches commensurate with its age which I'll try to polish out then give up on and live with as is. (It's not as ratty as my 9126-3B GFL though!)

Also, I ordered a chrome snake to repair my old, short-tipped, 1984 T&T Graphite 9' 2" #7 (was 9' 6") which has lost a ring. How it will fish minus 4 inches I don't know - but I'll get to find out once it's fixed. :)
Accessories include a bag and metal tube for the FireNeedle. Cordura tubes for the green switch and one for the Sage 9126-3B, and some 'FlexCoat Hell or High Water' gel epoxy for the handles.

Finally, I've ordered a Diesel 11 ft #6-7 Switch Kit from RFT. Both the blank and the kit are currently on offer and I thought E157 for the blank, seat and handles a tempting prospect. The blank alone is E112, down from E179.
This gets the same guides as the FireNeedle bar the tip ring. PB-L for this, SeaGuide for t'other due to shop shortages on sizes.

RFT (Finland) charged E25 flat rate for shipping and I've already received details. Tackle.24 (Germany) charged a remarkable E12.80. The race is on!

Oh, and I bought some 'Rod Building Components' guide epoxy from eBay last night, too. Thought I'd give it a go. Has anyone here tried it?

Why two 11 ft #6-7 Switch rods? Well, right now I haven't even got one! ;) And building two near-identically will allow me to compare each side by side next season. A wee fun exercise and education.
And I'll also have an 11' 3" #6 and an 11' #6/7 to compare as boat rods, one old-tech rod, one modern-old-tech rod. What's the odds the Sage will be the lighter? :)

How come the big splurge? Well, 11 years ago I put some money on a FairFX Euro debit card when I went travelling and I've never touched the remaining balance since I returned in 2010. Recently FairFX sent me a new card and I was reminded to check the balance - a little over E450 sat there doing nothing for a decade! Well, I can't see myself visiting Europe in the foreseeable so I thought I'd spend it now. And I have. :)

So, I'd best get busy stripping down that Sage!
 
Last edited:

shropshire_lad

Well-known member
Joined
May 31, 2017
Messages
2,795
Location
Too far away from the wild places!
Winter is upon us in Lewis so, with a seemingly endless succession of dim-lit days, horizontal rain and gales ahead, I took the plunge on a big order yesterday.
Have to say, I have got to know Lewis quite well virtually over the last year or so courtesy of the YouTube videos posted by caroach. I have become a bit obsessed with the place and wonder why, apart from it's windswept beauty of course. I think I may have worked it out though.

I live in the congested SE and this year have been wrestling with a whole load of family issues, made a lot more difficult with Covid. Lewis, sitting up there almost as far away as one can get in the UK for me, represents an escape. I'd love to get up there some day :)

Enjoy your winter rod building projects (y)
 
G

GEK79

Guest
Winter is upon us in Lewis so, with a seemingly endless succession of dim-lit days, horizontal rain and gales ahead, I took the plunge on a big order yesterday.
First up, after hours of planning, a bundle from Tackle24.de:

Tac FireNeedle Switch 11 ft #6-7 4 pc. I confess, I just like the patterning on the sanded blank. :)
That's getting dressed with their Switch cork grip (Supreme grade) and this black satin reel seat with woven graphite insert. I'm hoping the insert will compliment the blank's carbon weave. ''Black satin'' should keep flash to a minimum and will match the black guides. They are PacBay SIC N strippers and PacBay Black Chrome snakes. I've bought the same eyes for a RFT Gear Diesel 11 fter., more of that later.

In Tackle24's 'Specials Rodbuilding' section I found another 11 ft #6-7 blank, a TAC Switch 4 piece. It's a nice dull green blank described as "intermediate modulus ... with moderate action" and, at E48 worth a gamble. It might just have the particular action I'm looking for for Heb-style drifting.
I'm going to make this into a single-handed grilse/sea trout loch boat rod with a full wells handle, medium-sized fighting butt and black aluminium reel seat from RFT Gear (handle kit currently on sale at E29). It's getting SeaGuide Light Wire snakes and PB SIC T strippers (all black). They're a bit more expensive that the PacBay set but I want to keep weight down where I can on this long single-hander. I'm hoping for a forgiving tip action with some strength in the butt section. We'll see.

Peripheries include:
A full wells grip and fighting butt with black Duplon base plus a black RFT aluminium reel seat with wooden spacer. This is to replace the seat and corkage on a Sage Graphite III GFL 6113-B RPL I have (11' 3", #6, 2 pc. s-h), a rod from the mid-'80s. The 'B' indicates 'Blank' and this rod will benefit from a complete overhaul. The homemade fighting butt is far from a uniform shape and the handle is pretty irregular also. Too thin, I think, and with a few gouges in uncomfortable places. The epoxy on the rings is starting to lift and the snake ring feet aren't well wrapped with the toe often protruding, uncovered. I intend to completely strip this rod and then rebuild. This grip and seat are as close as I could find to Sage's factory models. Not yet sure if I'll try a total mimic. Sage used a brown thread with another lighter thread, almost 'tan', as a secondary whipping on the butt and ferules. I have the correct brown thread but don't know what the second thread is?
The brown blank varnish has nicks and scratches commensurate with its age which I'll try to polish out then give up on and live with as is. (It's not as ratty as my 9126-3B GFL though!)

Also, I ordered a chrome snake to repair my old, short-tipped, 1984 T&T Graphite 9' 2" #7 (was 9' 6") which has lost a ring. How it will fish minus 4 inches I don't know - but I'll get to find out once it's fixed. :)
Accessories include a bag and metal tube for the FireNeedle. Cordura tubes for the green switch and one for the Sage 9126-3B, and some 'FlexCoat Hell or High Water' gel epoxy for the handles.

Finally, I've ordered a Diesel 11 ft #6-7 Switch Kit from RFT. Both the blank and the kit are currently on offer and I thought E157 for the blank, seat and handles a tempting prospect. The blank alone is E112, down from E179.
This gets the same guides as the FireNeedle bar the tip ring. PB-L for this, SeaGuide for t'other due to shop shortages on sizes.

RFT (Finland) charged E25 flat rate for shipping and I've already received details. Tackle.24 (Germany) charged a remarkable E12.80. The race is on!

Oh, and I bought some 'Rod Building Components' guide epoxy from eBay last night, too. Thought I'd give it a go. Has anyone here tried it?

Why two 11 ft #6-7 Switch rods? Well, right now I haven't even got one! ;) And building two near-identically will allow me to compare each side by side next season. A wee fun exercise and education.
And I'll also have an 11' 3" #6 and an 11' #6/7 to compare as boat rods, one old-tech rod, one modern-old-tech rod. What's the odds the Sage will be the lighter? :)

How come the big splurge? Well, 11 years ago I put some money on a FairFX Euro debit card when I went travelling and I've never touched the remaining balance since I returned in 2010. Recently FairFX sent me a new card and I was reminded to check the balance - a little over E450 sat there doing nothing for a decade! Well, I can't see myself visiting Europe in the foreseeable so I thought I'd spend it now. And I have. :)

So, I'd best get busy stripping down that Sage!
Looking forward to the winter days updates.
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,231
Location
Isle of Lewis
Thanks, guys. I've now stripped down the Sage 6113 RPL and marked it up following Sage's spacing guide. As with the 12' 6" GFL, the old eyes were occupying 'incorrect' places so I've done my best to completely clean the whipping areas. Tbh, the varnish on this rod hasn't suffered too much over the years though the butt is worse than the tip section.

One issue I have is that the epoxy over the Sage details has suffered a knock and shattered, removing a small area. I'm severely tempted to take the heat gun to it and remove it all - about 3" in length. However, are the Sage details a transfer decal, which could melt, or are they printed onto the blank over the varnish? I'll find out tomorrow! There are two-turn whippings either side of the details both of which have broken, so all the more reason to strip right back.

I then spined both sections and found that, most likely, Sage had done so too - the logo and details sit at precisely 9 o' clock when the eyes are at 6, placed on the stiffer side. This puts the softer, more flexible side on top which, luckily perhaps, is what I wanted in the hope it produces the more forgiving action in what will primarily be, for me anyway, a sea trout/grilse rod.
Next, I marked the new guide points and went to replace the tip ring, checking it for wear first. Man! It was almost worn through. I checked the snakes and they're shot, too. The old stripers, similarly, were too corroded in places to use. They're Seymo H&H cradles with ceramic insert ..... and Guides and Blanks are out of Size 16!
I've ordered a set from a German company, Rudi Heger, who offer full sets of Sage factory spec guides for old Sage rods. They can't come soon enough. :)

I'll post before and after pics as we go along.

shropshire_lad, summer's the best time to visit but these days I'm working on the Mainland for the season. Let me know if you do head this way though and I'll recommend a few places to cast a line. Cheers.
 

petevicar

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 6, 2006
Messages
1,551
Location
Right bank of the river Rhine.
Hi James
It's good to see that you are keeping busy. I am sure you will keep us posted on your progress.

I have one rod to build a 13ft 8wt 6 piece rod on an Epic Carbon blank.
I am currently taking a break from rod building and am trying to tie salmon flies. I am pretty crap at it to be honest but I am trying to improve.

I have 4 rods that I have built and have not yet used.
This pandemic is a pain but so far neither I or my familly have come into contact with the virus.

Stay safe.

Pete
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,231
Location
Isle of Lewis
Hi, Pete, good to hear from you! I've heard very good things about Epic carbon d-h blanks from someone in the biz so I hope it exceeds your expectations. Are you doing 'trad' salmon flies or contemporary? Regardless, let the fish decide how bad your flies really are. That's what I do. ;)
Like you, I have a backlog of built and bought rods to try. I'm honestly a bit ashamed when I think of how many! And I'm still considering more purchases each day, too. But, "Hell," I say to myself, "It's my driving passion in life" and I hope to learn something from each build I do or rod I buy. There. That's my self-justification process. And you lot - you're just enablers! 🤣
I say it in jest but I know myself that, knowing I'll be posting my progress here does make me strive harder to obtain better results that I might if left to my own devises. And for that I thank you all.

I'll start a new thread just for the Sage 6113 RPL once I've edited the pics. No post today I'm sad to say.
 

Rob Edmunds

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Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,493
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
Hi James

The TAC Fireneedle blank looked stunning, how do you think it feels in the hand ??....

Thinking of a little project myself over the winter months..

Cheers Rob
 

Lewis Chessman

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Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,231
Location
Isle of Lewis
Thank you, Rob. I think so too! :)
I'll let you know my impressions once it arrives. It'll be the first time I've had three different 11 ft #6/7 blanks in hand to compare with one another in their raw state so hopefully I can elicit some meaningful comparisons between them. Well, I say 'meaningful' .....
;)
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,231
Location
Isle of Lewis
Dammit!
The Tackle24 order arrived today (as did the RBC epoxy via eBay) and I've made a major mistake! Apparently I mis-clicked on my (massive) order and bought a 10 ft 6" #6 Fireneedle! It was one below the 11' switch I wanted.
Buggeration! I've just checked the order and the mistake is utterly mine. What a numpty.
It isn't out of the plastic bag yet but the weave pattern is just as it is in the shop photo. Rather striking, I think. However, I'll now need to reorder components to suit a s-hander and, I'm afraid, an 11 ft Fireneedle blank, too.
The bairns 'll get nothing in their stockings this year an' I'll have to halve their gruts ration, I fear. But it's worth their suffering for my art.
;)

Tomorrow I'll take a closer look at the medium fast Tac Switch 11' #6-7 which also arrived. Frankly, I'm too miffed with myself to do that now.
I will say that the metal tube and Cordura tubes look fine for the money, esp. the latter. The larger, 146 cm, was E20.60. With postage at E12.50 it's as cheap if not cheaper than many UK suppliers - and fast, too.

So, Rob, I won't be able to handle the 11 fter for a while but will report on the 10' 6" anon.
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,231
Location
Isle of Lewis
Hi James

The TAC Fireneedle blank looked stunning, how do you think it feels in the hand ??....

Thinking of a little project myself over the winter months..

Cheers Rob

Hi, Rob,
I've now got the 11 ft #6/7 Tac Fireneedle (as well as the 10' 6" :rolleyes: ). I've been preoccupied with the Sage RPL-B rebuild so haven't focused on this one yet but took a few photos for your consideration:

Below you can see the first joint. The patterning appears only to be on the blank's surface, hence the remnants one sees where it has been sanded for the male ferule.
I intend to put a wrap here to cover as there's plenty of gap for wear and tear in the future.

1-1-P1030709.JPG

And here's the tip section where the sanding has gone beyond the pattern. The top 13 1/2" is plain graphite. Aesthetically, a tad disappointing, I think.

1-P1030728.JPG

While I was waiting for bits for the Sage I reamed the corks and the butt is now ready for gluing. I've only briefly put the whole together and first impressions are that this will indeed be a pretty fast blank.
I don't have and can't find guide spacings for this chap so will do a static test on it and pass on my findings once happy.

I will add that the taper on the top section looks almost like an scalene triangle as opposed to isosceles (to use 2D terms). I do like to spine my rods and it'll be interesting to see whether/how this shape influences that aspect. Again, I'll pass on anything I learn. I'll give this rod its own thread once work gets underway.
Cheers,
J.
 
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Rob Edmunds

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Joined
May 8, 2008
Messages
3,493
Location
Midlands Reservoirs
I'm not quite sure what it is about that blank, but I just love it.....maybe because it's got a subtle hint of the old Daiwa Whisker Kevlar look about it, another rod I yearned for in my youth but could never afford.

Maybe because its different to the plain boring blanks I'm used too..

Either way I will enjoy seeing the finished rod....
 
G

GEK79

Guest
Hi, Rob,
I've now got the 11 ft #6/7 Tac Fireneedle (as well as the 10' 6" :rolleyes: ). I've been preoccupied with the Sage RPL-B rebuild so haven't focused on this one yet but took a few photos for your consideration:

Below you can see the first joint. The patterning appears only to be on the blank's surface, hence the remnants one sees where it has been sanded for the male ferule.
I intend to put a wrap here to cover as there's plenty of gap for wear and tear in the future.

View attachment 33499

And here's the tip section where the sanding has gone beyond the pattern. The top 13 1/2" is plain graphite. Aesthetically, a tad disappointing, I think.

View attachment 33500

While I was waiting for bits for the Sage I reamed the corks and the butt is now ready for gluing. I've only briefly put the whole together and first impressions are that this will indeed be a pretty fast blank.
I don't have and can't find guide spacings for this chap so will do a static test on it and pass on my findings once happy.

I will add that the taper on the top section looks almost like an isosceles triangle as opposed to equilateral (to use 2D terms). I do like to spine my rods and it'll be interesting to see whether/how this shape influences that aspect. Again, I'll pass on anything I learn. I'll give this rod its own thread once work gets underway.
Cheers,
J.
Looks amazing mate.. Looking forward to the updates.
 

Lewis Chessman

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 16, 2008
Messages
2,231
Location
Isle of Lewis
Three photos of the butt prior to being glued:

1-P1030746.JPG

1-P1030748.JPG

1-P1030747.JPG

When plotting this build I had hoped that the weave of the carbon insert would mirror the pattern on the blank. It doesn't, but it looks fine enough for my tastes.

I have ordered two of these Tac Switch grip sets from Tackle24.de, one 'Supreme Grade'(circa E33), one 'AAA' (c. E20):

1-P1030745.JPG
1-P1030744.JPG

Tbh, I didn't notice the colour difference on the rubberised top of the upper of the two lower grips until now. Might just be the lighting. I'll look again tomorrow.

Anyway .... Which is which? and would one be worth 13 Euros more than the other to you?
 

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