So I have been looking around and have gotten the itch to build my own rod, from a kit. I was wondering if any of you with a wealth of knowledge would be able to point me in the right direction as to what materials I need to get started and where to get said materials. I will plan to build a cheaper rod for my first couple attempts, but ultimately I want to build a 9' 5wt BIIIX. It is amazing how much less expensive the kits are than the rods! Thanks in advance for all your help.
We like to have 'all inclusive' kits ready to go for our customers. Some people say that each rod should be individualized, but the fact is, most 'newbies' need a good place to start when they wish to begin.
We suggest starting with an inexpensive kit which comes complete with glues, epoxies, brushes, instructions (our are online for free), tip top cement and all the rods components like guides, hookkeeper, tip top, cork grip and reel seat. We think that as you build this first one, you'll begin to discern about the different aspects of rod building. And if you don't like it, you didn't spend too much so you don't have to worry about that. But fact is, we know for certain, that no matter what you first build, it will instantly become your new favorite rod upon completion. And that's the fun of it.
And the other nice thing about a kit is you know that we spent time selecting a blank and components that we know will work together nicely. No guessing on your part. And in our case, the kits are priced at a discount to prices you'd pay if purchasing all the components separately.
Many new customers was their first rod to be perfect. While its a good idea conceptually, we don't won't research/details/obsessiveness to prevent you from making one at all. We see this happen too often.
I've never used a kit, but trust the advice of Rip Tide and Auntie Em. If you have a fly shop that sells rob building stuff then you can look it and pick it up and all that good stuff. There are plenty of good blanks available for cheap. The last rod I made this winter was a TFO Pro, it was like $150 total. And it's a really nice rod. Actually, the TFO website will sell the blank and parts separately as a kit. Check it out, nice rod. Lefty Kreh Professional
And keep us up to date...there are a lot experienced people here that will jump in to help.
There is a book I think will help you, Fly Rod Building Made Easy by Art Scheck. You can find it at Welcome to The Countryman Press! and its fairly cheap.
Another good place for blanks and parts is Anglers Workshop. Good luck and have a blast.
You don't really need any special tools to do your first project.
A stand for wrapping can be made from a cardboard box and there's a number of ways to create thread tension. A fly tying bobbin stuck through a hole in the cardboard works fine
I have a dryer, but I usually turn my rods by hand , sitting on the backs of 2 straight chairs
You'll need an exacto knife or razor blade, few cheap paint brushes, plus a burnishing tool, and for that I use a popsicle stick
.... couple other things I forgot... measuring tape, rattail file, dental floss
The one item in that kit that I think is a must have is the flex coat dryer, but you can make all that stuff from junk. My dryer was made from the motor from a old color wheel from a christmas tree light, a pvc end cap and thumb screws, my rod supports were made from wheels from discarded kids toys just to give you some ideas (yes I'm cheap). Auntie Em has very good advice on using materials from around the house for rod building in her posts, and Rip Tide is right "You don't really need any special tools to do your first project".
Forrest, I would follow Rip Tide's advice. You could end up spending more on the tools and kit than you do on the rod! Part of the fun of building your own is all the money you save, don't blow it on a bunch of stuff you may not need.
After you make one, then you'll have an idea of any special tools that you might want to help with specific tasks. And you can usually find those "specialty" rod building tools at place like JoAnns fabrics for cheap, and do a little fashioning to make it just right.
On top of the box, bobbin, etc that RT mentions all you need is patience. And a good light.