I have been a little slow at getting things posted and done here. Have a lot going on right now, but here's where I'm at right now;
As I said I got the seat and the grips on. I started with the rear grip first. I turned it on a 1/4" mandrel. The butt of the blank was exactly 11/16ths of an inch in diameter. For the length of the rear grip it was almost without taper. My plan was to drill the entire length of the grip to 11/16ths with a pilot bit. They don't make an 11/16ths pilot bit so I machined a piece to turn any paddle bit into a pilot bit. I used hot melt glue to put it on the bit. That way I can melt it off and use it on any paddle bit. You just have to remember not to let the bit get so hot it melts the glue. I drilled the grip out and stopped at 3/8ths of an inch from going through. That way I can plug the 1/4 inch hole with a matching plug and a little sandpaper and viola! the hole is gone.
The amount of taper on the blank where the top of it ends was about two turns of masking tape, but I hate using masking tape. I use Pro Mesh, self-adhesive glass (fiberglass) mesh patch/joint tape. When I apply the glue, 1 hour rod builders epoxy, I make more than you think you will need and make sure that there are no voids left to create problems some day down the road. I clean the grip out of any left over dust, then lightly sand the blank and clean it with alcohol. I mix the epoxy so that there is no doubt it is fully mixed and them mix it some more. If you have good clean surfaces, mix the epoxy 1:1 really well, you will not have problems. I have had some people say they like to mix extra hardner into it thinking it will be stronger. They are wrong wrong wrong. Epoxy is a chemical bond and anything you get off of 1:1 will end up as unbonded weak spot.
Once I had the bottom grip on and the excess glue cleaned off with alcohol, I let it set up and then got ready to put the seat on. I try and use graphite arbors to make up the difference in the outside diameter of the blank, and the inside diameter of the reel seat. I clean the heck out of the inside of the seat also. There can be any number of bad things left from manufacturing. Mold break, oil, dust, dirt and who knows what. Just because it's brand new does not mean it's clean enough to glue on. Back to the arbor thing. I drifted for a second. In the case of my seat, the inside diameter and the blank were not very far apart. Graphite is a poor option for that.
I could have used masking tape, and that's not a horrible idea. If you do it, start the first arbor at the end towards the butt, about 3/8's to 1/2 inch from where the end of the seat will be. Make them in order heading toward the tip where they are spaced about the same as the gap you left at the butt end. When you get to the tip end arbor, put it so it will be at least 1/4 inch inside the end of the seat. When you glue it up make sure you cover the tape and fill the spaces between the arbors. I shove it on slowly over paper or a paper plate I mix the epoxy on. I use a lot more than needed to make sure there are no gaps. I hate gaps. I did the same thing here but used the fiber glass Pro Mesh. I did not photograph that before I shoved it on however. I did take a photo of another rod I'm doing at the same time. My R.L. Winston 10' 7 wt. I'm making for Smallies and my float tube. Yipee!
When I turned the top grip I had made all the holes in the cork and the end pieces, which I turned seperate, to 3/8ths of an inch. I did that so I could turn it on a 3/8ths inch mandrel so it would be stiffer and I could use an actual lathe. The top grip is 14 1/2" long so it makes using a pilot bit a bit tough. They don't make a 3/8" pilot bit, or one 14 1/2" long either. Go back to the first photo and look at the 3/8ths inch short metal rod with a notch throug the end. That's my converter I machined. I can take any pilot bit and convert it to a 3/8ths inch pilot with it. It's on the bit in this photo. With the bit extender I drilled the top grip out to just under the diameter of the blank at the top of the grip.
I then used a cork reamer to make the hole in the grip match the taper of the blank. If you start getting close and you have a tight spot, you can find where it is by putting a grease pencil line down the blank, slide the grip on till it hits the tight spot, rotate the grip and the pull it back off. It will erase the line where it's tight. Go in and work the spot out with a rat tail file. I then glued on the grip and again, made more and used more epoxy than you really need. Clean everything up with alcohol.
This is it glued up and next to the new reel for it. I got the best cork I could get my hands on, and unfortunately, it's not as good as some I have had in the past. I hate using fill and I hate making it even more. I discovered the best fill ever. Elmer's Carpenter Golden Oak wood filler. It matches cork better than cork. Best stuff ever. I filled all the holes and sanded the grip with 320 grit paper and it made a 300% improvement over what is in the photo above. I'm going to seal the whole handle with U40 Cork Sealer.
I had mentioned I was leaning towards a green/black classic twist for thread. I took the blank outside in the sunlight and it is a deep blue which you can see in indoor light. But in sunlight it turns a deep green where the sun reflects. It's the neatest thing I have seen a blank do in quite a while. That clinched it for me and the green was it. I decided to do a deep blue metallic trim. I don't like going overly thick on the trim with fly rods. So left them pretty thin. Three turns on the end and two in the center of the wraps on the first stripper guide. I also decided to use the Pac Bay N style stripper guides becase the look like big ringed snake guides. They also come in the same TiCH that I got the snake guides in and they will all match the Titanium seat.
I have all the guides on so now I can start doing the weave. Before I can figure out where the weave needs to be centered though, I have to work out what the feather inlay is going to be. When I have the length of the feather inlay figured out I will know where the center of the weave will go. I am thinking that the base feather is going to be this big two eyed Palawan Peacock Pheasant feather in this next photo.
I had some Impeyan Monal feathers ordered but when I got them was so ticked off it was not funny. I hate buying things and what you get is not what was pictured. It put a serious dent in my inlay plans so I am refiguring. The next post will be the planned inlay and the start of the weave. I will also post how to do the thin trim bands and inlays. I still have them to do in front of the grip. and the weave and inlay area.