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The Journey of a Custom Built
Fly Rod - Part 2 of 3
Click here for Part 1
Click here for part 3
(This page is
LONG...please spare a moment while all the pictures load).
gluing the cork grip to the reelseat, it's checked that it fits
completely flush against the cork grip, and that it is exactly
winding check is affixed to the front of the grip, and the tip-top is
also glued to the blank's tip section. The tip top is aligned with the
blank's natural curve
(or "spine"), to ensure the blank retains it's
natural curve when casting and fighting a fish. There are more
technical details about the spine, and which side of
the spine to
align the guides with, which I will not go into now. You can however
build the rod to give you more power in the forward casting stroke, or
lighter tippets while fighting a fish. I opted for the latter in this build.
up I mark out the spacings on the rod blank, to indicate where the
guides will be placed. Great care is taken with this step...as badly
spaced guides can
really ruin a rod's casting action and curve while
fighting a fish. Most rod and blank manufacturers provide a spacing
guide for their blanks, but I opt to
manually calculate the spacings, and test the spacings before attaching the guides, to ensure optimal performance.
The guides are prepared next. (We
settled on single foot hard chrome guides, and Hard Chrome stripping
guides (two of them) with Hialoy ring
inserts for this rod). As you can
see from these pics, the guides are pre-ground but not filed totally
uniform, so I like to further file them down to have
a uniform shape, and for ease of wrapping.
Here's a picture of all the guides
including the tip-top chosen and marked out prior to beginning the
build. Although I opted for a #2 guide
just before the tip-top...I changed
my mind and substituted it for another #3 guide. The #2 guide was just
marginally smaller than the
tip-top's loop...which I didn't
want. Two stripping guides are being put on this rod, not the standard
one, as with most factory rods.
Now the wrapping starts. First up,
was the hook keeper. The thread I chose for this build was a dark blue
colour. No colour preserver will be applied
to these wraps...which means the
wraps will darken considerably when finish is applied, making them
blend into the blanks' colour perfectly.
On the left the wrap is in progress, on the right it is complete. The
wraps will still be "rolled and packed" to flatten the thread slightly
and to fill in any gaps between the threads.
Next up is the decorative wrap just
in front of the hook keeper, to "encase" the writing which will be
added later (the owners' name,
the rod specs, etc). I chose an Electric Blue metallic trim wrap on each end to make the rod more appealing.
Then I wrap the Stripping Guides. Care is taken to ensure that each wrap on each side is exactly the same length.
The guides are up next. Note the
security wrap used on these single foot guides, just before the loop.
This ensures that the guides are totally
secure. Also, note the tiny gaps
in between some of the threads...this will be eliminated when the thread
wraps are packed and rolled.
a Security wrap is added to the female ferrules of each section, as well as a security wrap next to the tip-top.
Here, trim wraps were also added.
Lastly...the owners name and rod specifications are added to the blank.
It is written on with special paint that will not smear once the finish
is applied over it. One side was used for the rod specs, the other for the owners' name and the date of his birthday.
The threads are now rolled and
packed, all dust is removed from the rod and the wraps, and the rod is
prepared for the final step, the finish.
Once finish is applied to all the
wraps, the rod is placed in a rotary drier, that dries at a slow
constant speed. This is left for 24 hours to
ensure there are no sags or runs in
the finish. a Further 24 hours is allowed for the finish to completely
harden, before packing the rod into
a rod bag and tube. This way I
ensure that no fibres can adhere to the rod's finish. The client is
advised not to fish the rod for at least 7 days,
to allow the finish to completely
cure throughout. The rod is then handed over to the client, packed in a
rod bag and rod tube. It is supplied with
documentation on Rod Care and Maintenance, the rod's specs, and so forth.