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Step 1 inspecting the Blank

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#1 OSD

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 06:32 PM

No doubt most of you are ordering your rod blanks from a catalog or from an online dealer but maybe some of you are getting one from a Local Fly shop.
At any rate itís a good idea to check the blank for defects and other imperfections also make sure you got the exact Rod blank you ordered.
Here are some things to check for before you start your building process.

Check the length of the rod Blank
(You donít want to have the handle assembly completed and find out that you have a rod thatís 8 foot 6 inches and not 9 foot like you wanted)
Find the model number thatís usually inside the plastic bag that the blank came in as a sticker or is marked clearly on the blank from the manufacturer.
Match this against what you ordered.
Look the blank over for nicks or imperfections
(Do not except any blank that has a nick that breaks the finish of the rod blank)
If the graphite fibers in the blank are damaged this rod could explode in a full bend.
Check the feruled ends of the rod for cracks and make sure they fit together perfectly
Make sure the butt end of the blank is cut even at a 90 degree angle to the blank.

In my opinion a person pays too much for these graphite sticks to except anything less than a perfect blank.


#2 OSD

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 05:25 PM

My favorite way of locating the spline of a rod blank is to find yourself a hard surface like a counter top or some other hard smooth surface and hold your rod blank at about a 45 deg angle to the table with the base resting on the table surface.
Support the rod blank with your right hand near the top of the blank section with your hand open.
Then place your left hand palm down on the blank section at about a mid point between your right hand and the base of the rod blank section pressing down slightly to give the blank a slight bend.
Now roll the blank on the table surface using your left hand.
As you do this you will find a point where the blank seems to want to give you some resistance and then jump quickly past a certain point on the blank.
That spot on the blank section diameter is the spline.
(Directly the place on the diameter of the blank thatís rolling against the table.)
(The spot between most resistance and the jump)
Mark this spot on all the blank sections by wrapping a piece of masking tap around the blank sections near the base and about a mid point of the section of the blank.
Repeat the process and mark the spline location on the taped areas with a fine point felt pen. (Remember its will need to be marked on the outside of the bend)
I always recheck a couple times.

This will be an important location when assembling the handling and placing the guides.
as I will explain in the next step.

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#3 OSD

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 09:13 PM

Now that we have located the spline and have it marked on both sections let me explain why we needed to find it.
The spline must be in line with the movement of the rod through the casting stroke
And on a fly rod the fly fisherman holds the rod so that the guides are on the underside of the blank as it goes through the casting stroke so the guides must be mounted on the spline - or - 180 degrees from the spline
(Exactly on the other side of the blank from the spline)
I will be placing my guides on the spline scene I am building a rod for strong fighting fish
If you are building a light rod for pan fish or small trout you may want to mount your guides on the soft side of the rod (180 degrees from the spline)
Now that I have explained the importance of having the spline marked (donít take that tape off and lose them marks)
In the next step we will mount the reel seat

#4 OSD

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 08:47 PM

First thing youíre going to need to do is mark with a piece of tape how far you reel seat and grip is going to extend up the blank from the base of butt section.
The reel seat I have chosen for this rod is a Pacific Bay graphite skeleton with an insert and butt made of stag horn made by Les Freiborg
With the reel seat there is a butt section built into the reel seat so there is no need for a cork fighting butt.
If I wasnít using this type of reel seat I would need to add a cork butt section for a rod this size
I also have chouse a 7 Ĺ inch Full wells cork grip.
The reason I had to mark the area that the grip will be mounted is because I will need to take the shine off the blank in this area as to make the epoxy stick better.
I used a fine grit emery paper to ruff up this area.
(Just scuff up the finish DO NOT brake the fibers of the graphite blank.)

user posted image

I might add that with a skeleton type reel seat you may have to epoxy the insert and skeleton together before mounting it on the blank.
When ordering a skeleton reel seat from any manufacturer or rod building supply make sure the ID. of the insert will be big enough to go over the OD. of the butt of the blank.
But most of the time the ID. of the reel seat will be larger than OD. Of the blank and the use of arbors becomes necessary to smugly fit the reel seat on the blank.
Some reel seats provide graphite arbors that you need to drill out to size but with most skeleton and insert reel seats the insertís ID. is just slightly larger than the blank and will only need some thin masking tape arbors wrapped on the blank to make up the difference in sizes.
When making arbors with masking tape 3 bands on the blank to allow the epoxy to fill the spaces in-between the arbors.
Also when mounting the reel seat remember that the reel seats hoods needs to also be lined up with the spline or 180 Deg. from the spline.
On the side you have chosen to mount the guides.
On this Rod the reel seat hoods will be aliened with the spline
To glue the reel seat on the blank I will be using Flex Coat two part Rod builders Epoxy.
Make sure to read and follow the directions for the epoxy you are using.

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#5 OSD

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 07:44 PM

Once the reel seat is mounted and the epoxy has cured its time to fit the cork handle to the blank.
Cork reamers are one tool I wouldnít do without when building a rod they can be made or purchase (I bought mine)
Start by finding the reamer that has nearly as big the out side diameter of your rod blank at the spot were the handle will be mounted.
Carefully ream out the inside of your cork handle so that it snugly fits over the blank in the location were it will be mounted.
Now prepare an ample amount epoxy and apply it with a Popsicle stick to the blank in the location that the cork handle will be mounted.
Always be prepared with a paper towel and some fingernail polish remover just in case some epoxy comes in contact with other parts of the blank or reel seat when mounting the cork.
Now slowly slide the handle down the blank until it is in location.

I have heard it said that winding check was put on a handle to cover up reaming mistakes.
Let me assure this is not the case (at least not with my rods)
A good rod builder will always have a nice tight fitting handle with no gaps.
I could have omitted the winding check and you may decide that itís not need on your rod.
But to me a handle never looks finished unless it has a winding check.
So I am installing a small black winding check to match the black hardware on the reel seat.
Put a small amount of Epoxy at the end of your cork handle and slide the winding check in place wipe any excess epoxy off cork if some is displaced with a paper towel and fingernail polish remover.

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The finished handle

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check back in a couple days for the next step


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