Building and custom-wrapping a fishing rod

Mark Griffiths Mark Griffiths

This is a guide on building and custom-wrapping a fishing rod for the average joe. Begin by selecting a rod blank.

Building and custom-wrapping a fishing rod

Considerations are category ( freshwater or saltwater ), type ( conventional{baitcaster} or spinner ), size ( long or short, slender or thick), and material (solid fiberglass, wrapped glass, graphite, etc.).

Color is not really a factor as the blank can be painted any color. The next step is to select the handle, grip, and reel seat. All three of these choices will be dictated by the type of rod and it's purpose. Freshwater rods fall into 2 catergories handle and grip-wise, pistol-grips(usually made of molded hard rubber) and wood, cork, or foam rubber handles, and wood, cork, or foam rubber grips.

Saltwater rods can not only have wood, cork, or foam rubber handles and grips, but also aluminum butts (or handles). Having selected the afore-mentioned items the next step is application. After applying epoxy glue to the area at the base of the blank where the handle will be, slide the handle down the rod to the bottom of the rod. Assuming the handle opening in respect to the diameter of the blank is close, resulting in a tight fit (if it's too loose wrap 1/2" masking tape spaced 1/4" apart under the handle first till a tight fit is aquired before applying epoxy), then the next step is installing the reel seat.

This procedure is a repeat of the handle installation, checking for tightness of fit first, then applying epoxy. When applying the epoxy on the blank, be sure to fill the areas between tape up to ensure proper adhesian of the handle or reel seat. The next step is installing the grip. First check for tightness to determine if the hole in the grip needs to be reamed out or not. For foam rubber, reaming is not necessary as after applying epoxy (from the point where the grip easily slides down to) down the rod to the reel seat, the foam rubber will (with a little force) slide down to the reel seat. Wipe off immediately any excess epoxy! For wooden or cork grips, wrap some sandpaper around a rod (smaller than the hole diameter being reamed out) and insert in a drill and work this back and forth until the desired size is attained. Then apply epoxy and slide into place. Next the guides should be selected.

Again this will be dictated by the type and purpose of the rod. Spinning rods guides usually are descinding in size ( with the first guide ranging in size from 2'' in diameter, to 3/4" in diameter (and in a descinding order towards the tip of the pole) to the smallest guide (next to the tip) 1/2" in diameter, to 1/4"in diameter. There are many types of guides ( steel Hardeloy[I recommend], stainless steel, metal with various inserts, and roller guides.

As a general rule of thumb guide placement goes as follows: the first and largest(as the case may be) is placed 18"-21" from the middle of the reel seat. Then measure the rest of the rod length and divide the amount of guides left into that amount and place them in a descinding spacing pattern of each following space being 1" less apart than the last space was.Mark these placements on the rod with chalk. The next step is the underwraps. Wrap in a tight wrap (no spaces) the first 4"-8" of the rod above the grip. this is called the butt wrap.

Then where previously marked, (for the guide positions) wrap another tight wrap at least 1" longer than each guide on their respective marked areas. At this time select and install the tip with epoxy like the other components (only difference is thread is used to furr out the rod tip in the event of that necessity). The tip should face up on the same side as the reel sits. Wrap a tight wrap 1" at the tip. The next step is to wrap the guides. Place the guide in the center of the underwrap, and tape 1 side of the guide tightly.

Cut a piece of thread 7" long and fold in half. This will serve as your loop thread that is used to pull the ends of your wrap back under the thread upon completion. The thread colors are at the descretion of the creator or owner. Begin by wrapping the thread over itself to catch itself leaving 2"in the direction of the guide.After 4 wraps cut the excess 2" of beginning thread off and continue wrapping even up over the guide foot until 1/4" from the back of the foot. Then place the loop 1" extending beyond the wrap and continue wrapping to the back of the foot. Holding the thread wrap down with you finger, cut the thread leaving 2"-3" and pull through the loop. While still holding the wrap tight, pull the loop (with the end of the thread through it) until the end of the thread is tucked under the last 1/4" of wrap and out the other side where it is then trimmed off with an exacto knife.

This same procedure is repeated on the other side of the guide and all the rest of the other guides and tip. The band wrap can involve many different configurations. The basic premise goes like this; on the same side of the rod as the reel will sit, starting at the grip end, in a straight line, make marks consecutively 1" apart with chalk. Tape one end of the thread down and begin wrapping up the rod spiraling in the proper spacing so the thread lands on each marked spot consecutively to the top of the band and again as it descinds back down.

Upon reaching the base, wrap twice around where the start of the tape was originally taped and begin back up laying the thread directly beside (and tight as possible) the first upward spiral wrap and back down again. The next trip will layed on the other side of the beginning upward spiral wrap and back down. This procedure is repeated intil the dsired design is reached and the end is taped off at the base. Begin wrapping a regular tight wrap 1/4" out from the tape at the base until the tape is reached. Tape over that 1/4" of wrap and cut the thread that began the butt wrap originally and all of the wraps that are beyond the taped up 1/4" wrap(not the underwrap). Holding the wrap tight remove the tape holding the 1/4" of wrap off and finish wrapping up to the grip remembering to use the loop to pull the end back through and trimming the excess.

Apply thread perservative with a paint brush and wipe off excess. Wait 4 hrs till the thread preservative dries. Using a low rpm motor (6-7rpms) spin rod while applying rod finish with a paint brush. Saturate entire rod (from where the thread begins at the butt wrap to the tip) coating the blank and the thread wrappings(not the guides). While still spinning, use a torch (set real low) to pop the bubbles and smooth out the rod finish.This part requires some prior experience ( in regards as to how close to hold the flame and how long and will come with practice) to do it right! Wait 24 hrs. Trim any projections and recoat the guides only using the same procedure as before. Wait 24hrs.

Congratulations, you've built your first rod! Enjoy!

Fishing Guides