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bigfishcatcher 04-16-2013 11:19 PM

Rod Building?
I've been thinking about building a bamboo rod for a while, but it just seems to complicated. I thought I might start out with graphite rod first. I don't know much about it, just that it is a lot cheaper than buying a rod. What do I need to know?

badfish creek 04-17-2013 05:40 AM

Re: Rod Building?
First and formost welcome to the addiction....second....I would rethink the thought that building your own is cheaper than buying a built rod. I just finished my first's a Batson Rainshadow 7wt switch....

Reel seat=$30
Cork for handle=$60
Snake Brand guides=$35

Total just for basic parts $270.00

That does not include shipping cost or building supplies i.e. rod wrapper/turner or materials to build your own, mixing cups, reamers, drill bits, sandpaper, inlay tools, etc etc......another easy $150.00. If you make your own handles then you are looking at turning supplies and tools as well. I admit I did somethings on my rod that other would not do i.e. anodized my own Lemke reel seat, turned my own cork and seat insert, feather inlay and this all added to the cost. Gas to the local hardware store, nuts bolts, cost cost cost...Though I didn't keep track of every penny I spent I know I have $600 into my rod.

Sure if you plan on building more than one rod it does get "cheaper" but I think you will find yourself buying more expensive components as you get better at it. In the end the reason I built and many others build their own rods is to have something custom that you can't buy from a can't put a price tag on that.

As for what you need to know...hummm...well you need to start out knowing what your budget is for this and what you want to rod, spinning , casting rod? Next you need to figure out how deep you want to get into this. Do you want to build a custom handle or rather buy a premade one? Reel seat...a million options from $10 to $70, same for rod guides everything from $1.00 guides to those costing several bucks each. It all adds up when you have 10 guides to wrap on a rod. As for tools you will need a rod can do a basic cardboard box with notches cut into it or you can make a nice wooden one yourself for $40 or buy a premade one. Take a look around the forums here and at other places on then net and see what others are doing with their builds, it will help you get your head around what you need and where to start.

petee 04-17-2013 07:01 AM

Re: Rod Building?
Cheaper? In some cases yes, but if you are only going to build one rod and call it quits then it might be an expensive rod after you tool up. Then again you can cut "vee" notches in a cardboard box to use as a wrapping station. Put the thread in a tea cup and run it through the pages in a book to use as a tensioner.

What do you need to know? Depending on where you live know your local fly fishing club :thmbup:. Many clubs offer rod building classes at a very low cost. I teach rod building in our club and we charge approximately $150.00 to members. That includes an entire rod kit, wrapping station, drying motor and stands and everything necessary to build a complete rod from the ground up.

Bamboo? Yep, I build them also. Plan on 60-80 hours total from splitting the cane to buffing out the final coat of varnish. Tooling cost? If you make everything yourself a few hundred $$$ in materials and many hours of labor in making your planing forms. I had 25 hours in making my forms. As one builder wrote: If you don't have the patience to build your forms, you probably don't have the patience to build a Bamboo rod ;).

As badfish creek mentioned you can go with low $$$ components or high $$$$ it all depends on what you want. Same with tooling cost such as wrapping stations etc...

Sorry for being so long winded, but I am passionate about custom rod building.


baitwaister 04-18-2013 04:10 PM

Re: Rod Building?
I teach rod building to a few of my students most years and like Petee,
provide all of the tools to do so. For most this is the one and only rod they will ever build. I do not know if the adult classes are like that, but buying all of the gear a person might need to see if this is something you want to do more of can be expensive. A simple wrapping jig is easy to make, and the cardboard box method will work also. For finishing the card board box and rotate every 15 min for a few hours works well and according to some even better than a finishing moter assembly. If you are someone who enjoys working with your hands and using what you make you will probably continue with rod building. I make my own rods, furled leaders, tie my own flies, hex wood rod case and landing nets. I also handload my own ammo and make my own duck and grunt calls.

bigfishcatcher 04-18-2013 05:52 PM

Re: Rod Building?
Thanks guys. I'll look at any local clubs first.

robert_nguyen 04-19-2013 02:33 PM

Re: Rod Building?
Just like the posters above. Find a rod building class. Get your hands wet on THEIR equipment. If its for you than spend the money.

I've seen money people "get" into rod building. They build a couple rods and than call it quits. BUT there is a big satisfaction that goes into a rod when you catch your first fish. Its kinda like tying flies. There is a huge accomplishment once you catch a fish on something you built.

dean_mt 04-19-2013 04:10 PM

Re: Rod Building?
It's a heckuva fun "hobby" and I would recommend starting simple i.e. a cheaper blank and moderate components. You don't really need a lot of special tools, but some sort of stand is helpful. Again, I'd say start cheap with this as well and go for the cardboard box with "V" notches because like most hobbies, you will not know what you want with your wrapping stand, etc until you've tried it. I've built a couple different stands now, both on the cheap, but since I just finished my second rod on this latest stand I made I know now how I want it I guess I'll have to make another one!

Sidetrack: Pete, there is a bamboo builder in town that offers a class from start to finish for I think $1500, all materials included. Does that sound reasonable? I don't have the money for that but how much of that would be the actual cost of building a bamboo rod? Thanks.

petee 04-19-2013 04:50 PM

Re: Rod Building?
dean mt,

I'll shoot you a PM in a bit.


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