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Old 06-02-2013, 10:12 AM
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Default Rod Spine...up or down?

Ok, so I finally pulled the pin and bought my first (hopefully of many) rod components. Batson RX7 9', 5wt...etc. etc.

I have been reading and researching building techniques for a very long time (years even) before pulling the pin and here...standing on the precipice of making the plunge and starting to stick things together...I am a bit conflicted and I hope the group here can help.

In reading what many have called the Bible of Fly Rod Building, Art Sheck says...find the spine and mount your guides on that side....and proceeds to give his 'arguments' why.

In Garcia's book however, he states...find the spine and mount your guides OPPOSITE to that spine....and again, in more scientific manner (Sheck's argument is more folksy), lays out why you mount opposite to the spine.

One message is common....spine is up or down...to avoid twisting (if placed at 90 degrees to the spine).

I suppose, another common message seems that spine up or down for fly rods is less important than for casting rods.

So, what are 'your' thoughts on spine 'science' relative to guide placement?

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Old 06-02-2013, 12:57 PM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

Uh oh.................... now you've done it . Three things you will never get agreement on: religion. politics, and to build on the spine or off the spine.

Rumor has it on really big fish the rod will try to twist to its natural spine. I have never tested that theory as I can't seem to catch really big fish. Some say building directly on of off the spine will either help with your forward cast or the lift off the water. Sage says they build on the straightest axis. Don't want to buy a $700+ rod that looks crooked .

Personal opinion: 90% of fishermen can't tell the difference. Of the remaining 10%, probably 5% of them are lying. The majority of FFF certified casting instructors can probably tell.

Me? On a straight blank I build on the spine. Why tempt fate? Plus I do notice better tracking when I build on or 180 degrees off the spine. Better tracking = better accuracy on the cast.

When you realize that the spine is the weak side of the blank it makes sense that the rod will try to go to it when you are in a tug -o-war with a fish.

Pete
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Last edited by petee; 06-02-2013 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 06-03-2013, 06:08 PM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

It really doesn’t mater if the rod is straight or not place your guides on the spine. Major rod building companies build on how straight the rod looks not if it will be the strongest.

Rick
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

Saw this video for the first time tonight, perhaps some of you have seen it before. There were a couple of interesting points. One is that he builds blanks so the spine will be on the top when then rod is held out over the water. So for a casting rod the guides are on the spine and for spinning and fly rods they are opposite.

Secondly is the comment as they transition from finding the spine to assembling the handle he indicates that if you hold the blank so that the spine faces up you'll see a gentle up-curve, I'm wondering if others have found this to be true? I'll have to check it next time I have a blank on hand. But it seems to follow that, unless a blank has multiple curves in it, the straightest axis, when the curve goes up or down rather than to the sides, will give you guides on either the spine or opposite the spine.

Thoughts?


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Old 06-20-2013, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

I build fly and spinning rods 180* from the spine. Casting rod guides go on the spine. It's where the blank naturally likes to bend, I think it should be fished that way.

---------- Post added at 10:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:58 AM ----------

On a fly or light tackle rod I don't believe it makes too much difference. I started out building conventional tackle, on an 80-130lb class stand up rod it makes a huge difference. Every blank has a natural curve it prefers to follow, especially 1 piece blanks. When a 300+lb Yellowfin hits and runs you can be sure the rod will bend the way it wants to. I've seen poorly spined rods twist in an anglers hands when under a heavy load. Now it's just a habit so I do it on every rod.
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Old 08-27-2013, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

So if you build on the spine, then I assume that you are always going to be casting as well as fighting the fish directly straight on in line with the spine.
Your fish is never going to run to the side, or you are never going to cast except directly overhead. Remember the spine is also the weakest point of the blank in terms of dead lift. The reason it rolls to that spot, is because that is where the least material is causing it to go to that spot.
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Old 08-28-2013, 08:58 AM
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Wink Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

Really old memory here, and subject to a 'Nooooo, noooo, noooo.' Been years since I've built a rod (the comment about spine up/down depending on what your building still appears to hold) but "The reason it rolls to that spot, is because that is where the least material is causing it to go to that spot."

Actually I think that's where the 'wrap' ended.

Comment subject to major criticism.

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Old 08-28-2013, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

Quote:
Originally Posted by petee View Post
.............................................

When you realize that the spine is the weak side of the blank it makes sense that the rod will try to go to it when you are in a tug -o-war with a fish.

Pete
So is the spine the concave side or the convex side? Aren't both sides the same strength since each (convex or concave) is being bent the same amount? I agree that this is the direction the rod wants to bend easiest and it doesn't hurt to line this direction up with your guides. Just not sure what side is weaker.....
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:36 AM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

Quote:
Originally Posted by todvan View Post
So is the spine the concave side or the convex side? Aren't both sides the same strength since each (convex or concave) is being bent the same amount? I agree that this is the direction the rod wants to bend easiest and it doesn't hurt to line this direction up with your guides. Just not sure what side is weaker.....
So....would it be that the line goes through the blank itself, the blank then may turn to the spine away from the load. BUT, as shown in a couple of the rod books I mentioned...the "science" (and logic) on rods spinning relative to the spine...doesn't happen because of the guides. That said, guides on the spine or off....if the load is attached to the line...because the guides are off the rod and off the spine, that extra force will take the rod where the load wants to go.....basically, the line in the guides keeps the rod 'on track'.

It has also been said though, that my (not really mine, but mine gleaned from reading) comment does not hold true if the guides are not placed on the spine or 180 degrees away. If placed at 90 or so from the spine, apparently twist will be experienced as well as imapcts to casting accuracy.

All said, Art Schenk says...the majority of fly fishers wouldn't know the difference in casting or fighting relative to guides ON or off the spine. I think THAT is where the primary issue is.

Of course, and to be certain, I am not speaking from a place of experience....still working on my first build. I am speaking from the point of being well researched and as a scientist...which I am.

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Old 09-02-2013, 09:05 AM
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Default Re: Rod Spine...up or down?

Quote:
Originally Posted by king joe View Post
All said, Art Schenk says...the majority of fly fishers wouldn't know the difference in casting or fighting relative to guides ON or off the spine. I think THAT is where the primary issue is.

King Joe Outa Here!
That right there is the key. You have to realize that the practice of spinning a rod started way before graphite and carbon fiber. When I started building fiberglass was king and those blanks had VERY noticable spines. If you cut and ferruled a one piece blank (very common since you couldn't buy a multi piece blank) and didn't line up the sections after cutting it they would twist at the ferrules when you put a load on the rod. Heavy offshore rods would definately twist in your hands if the rod wasn't spined. Spining a rod would also impact the cast (not like you would actually try to cast a 5'5" 130lb class rod) but the power to raise and fight a fish was way more important. With todays materials and manufacturing processes spinning a rod probably wouldn't make a noticable difference, but I do it anyway
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