Jump to content


Building a wrapping jig for $15 or less.

3 replies to this topic

#1 OSD

  • Super Moderators
  • 6,003 posts

Posted 29 July 2005 - 10:13 PM

This step by step was submited By Steve (Steeldrifter)

When you first start off in the addiction of rod building, you are well off to simply use a cardboard box as your wrapping jig before you know if you really want to get deeply involved in this craft. As you progress from your first rod you will most likely out grow the cardboard box as a wrapping jig rather quickly and the need for a true wrapping jig will be found. Many wrapping jigs can be purchased from suppliers or even off Ebay for a decent amount of cash, but as craftsman we already have the small skill needed to build our own. Building your own is just another way to get satisfaction of making your own equipment, as well as saving a few bucks and being able to tailor make it to your very own specifications. As well as the fact that you may be surprised to see how little amount of cash out lay it actually takes.

The following is a step by step of a pair of jigs I build recently for myself and for a friend. The total cost of everything in one each jig was under fifteen dollars.

To start off with you will need a few things.

Materials list:

Wood (I used ¾ x 4” Oak)

Steel Dowel pins 4-pc’s (3/4” long)

Wood dowel rod ¼”

Thread tension device

Velcro strips

Step:1 (base)
The first thing you need to do is cut the base for the jig. I choose 20” long for mine so I could have a few adjustments for the one upright to change the size if needed (I will discuss this later on)…..After you cut you will now have a 4x20” long piece for your base.

Now you will cut your two uprights. I cut mine at 8” tall to have a comfortable height for my bench but yours may vary due to your surface you build on.

Step:3(Thread station)
Next you will cut a piece of wood 4” long for your thread station center as I call it (the place your thread spool and tension device will be mounted. This piece will be 4”x4” after it is cut.

Step:4(cutting the “V’s”
You will now cut a shallow “V” into the top of each upright. This is what will hold your blank in place. There is no need to cut these V’s to deep, simply cut them about 5/8” deep and that is sufficient for holding your blank firmly in place.

Step:5(thread guide)
Now you will cut your ¼ dowel rod at 21”. Then clamp your two uprights together so they are even with each other and drill a ¼” hold through both of them so that you have the hole located ¾” inward from the edge and about 3” high from the bottom of the upright. Your dowel rod will end up with each end supported in the hole of each upright you just drilled so make sure they are located in the same spot on both uprights.(see pic)
user posted image

Step:6(Locating pins)
Rather than using screws I use steel pins to hold my jig together so I can adjust the size quickly and store it compactly if I desire to take it on a trip with me. On one of the uprights you will dill two holes equally spaced apart in the bottom of the upright, and transfer two matching holes to the edge of the base. The best way to do this is drill the base first, then stick a marking pin or pencil through the hole with the upright over the hole and that will mark where to drill the upright easily. Drill these holes only
about 3/8”deep (half the length of the steel dowls)
user posted image

Now drill the other upright in the same manner, but center the hole in the base and upright since we will only be using one pin in this end(theres really no need for two pins in this upright)
user posted image

Step:7(thread station drilling)
Now locate a place where you want your thread tensioner on the small 4x4” piece we cut and drill a hole that fits the base of the tensioner, then epoxy the tensioner in place. Next drill a ¼ hole off to the side of the tensioner and epoxy a piece of the ¼ dowel rod (about 4” long in that hole to hold your thread spool. Now for the last step on the tension station drill a hole in the edge of the station that you will be able to press the 4th of our steel dowels into. You will then drill holes in the front edge of the base so you can easily move your thread station side to side on the jig to match where your working on the blank better (see pic)
user posted image

All that’s left now is to cut some strips of the “soft” side of some Velcro to cover the top of our uprights, press the dowels into place. For our “thread guide" I simply take a empty fly tying thread spool and screw a small eyelet into it then slide it over the ¼ wood dowel and slide the dowel into the uprights. This works very well for me.(see pic)
user posted image

This pic shows the holes I have drilled every 3” so I can vary the width of my uprights to suit whatever I am working on.
user posted image

I also put some small hooks at the tops of my uprights facing down to hold rubber bands in place to hole the blank down if I feel the need to.

You can add anything you would like to your own jig, as this is simply a suggested way to build one, but this one can be built in a couple hours with simple hand tools for less than fifteen dollars of outlay and will last you as long as you are a rod builder.

#2 mhackney


    Spare the rod, spoil the fish

  • Members
  • 779 posts

Posted 27 October 2005 - 01:06 PM

Thanks for the ideas OSD! I am curious about the thread guide setup - what is the purpose of it? It appears that you can move the spool/eyelet along the wooden dowel but why would you want to do that? Does friction keep it in one place or does it have a tendency to creep?

Reelsmith and author of The Reelsmith's Primer - the Art of Hand-crafting Fly Fishing Reels

Learn how to build your own fly reels at The Reelsmithing Forum!

#3 steeldrifter


    Administrator/River Rat

  • Members
  • 10,502 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 October 2005 - 10:07 PM

Michael I actually wrote this how to so I can awnser that for ya.

I built the thread guide to work as the other wrappers work where you can move the position of where the thread goes onto the blank at. The spool slides on the dowel rod so you can have the thread coming off where ever you need it to.

I also put a little screw in the back side of the guide spool so I can give it a turn tighter to make the spool stationary if so desired.

Hope that helps



“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you'll spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don't like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life, doing what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way." - Alan Watts




#4 phg

  • Members
  • 1,614 posts

Posted 27 November 2007 - 01:40 PM

Carlin's rod wrapping stand has already been posted. Here's another simple stand from Al Campbell:

I built this one out of pine:
My one mistake was making the channel a bit too open, so the 1/4" carriage bolt doesn't jam as it should. Other than that, it's a great jig, and an easy woodworking project. The thread tensioner could be better, but I've learned to manage.

The old Hatches Magazine has the mousetrap jig.

With the box, book and cup technique, you can also use a flytying bobbin instead of the book and cup. Just punch a small hole in the side of the box, and stick the nose of the bobbin through. You will want a bit more tension, though, that most of us use when fly tying. I've been looking for a good illustration of the box-book-and-cup setup, but don't have one. This link to a thread by OSD does show the box setup.

Reply to this topic


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users