I started on Thursday making my insert and shaping the cork, I finished up Sunday Morning and am fairly happy.
I am most proud of getting the ferrule wraps marked with the piece that it is. I did this with some veevus iridescent tying thread.
I ended up using:
Sage ESN 3110 blank
Alps/Forecast "High End" RA7 Skeleton
Alps .384 Winding Check
Alps sz 16 TRS Trim Ring
Turned by me insert
Recoil guides; RSF 1 (3), RSF 2 (2), RSF 3 (3), RSF 4 (1), RSF 5 (2), RTT Large sz4 (tip top), RSPG-12 (Stripper)
Medium Brown Burl, Light Mix Burl, and Burnt Burl cork Rings
Fuji Blue Dun sz A NOCP
Fishhawk Variegated Caribe sz A
Thread Master Lite (about 3/4oz from each bottle)
Flex Coat 5min Rod Builders glue (about 1oz from each bottle)-this came with the rod kit.
Some shims from Alps/Forecast through the entire reel seat and cork
I had wanted a "fighting" butt on this rod to lay under my forearm when euro nymphing and originally ordered an RA8 reel seat, but was told my a local professional/custom builder that it would be to big and not look right so I also ordered the smaller RA7 seat. I also did not want silver, and this was a black/titanium chrome. It did not come with a trim ring so I had to use a dremel on the seat to take out a little material from the threaded barrel to get the trim ring to fit.
My biggest worry with having never done this before was getting the cork butt the same diameter as the trim ring. I did this by gluing the cork together, and then sliding it onto the butt with the barrel in place and tracing the trim ring diameter onto the cork. The drill press was next.
The insert was turned on a lathe with the help of my grandpa. This was my first time using the lathe and it was pretty neat. I had wanted to make my own insert out of a piece of Ziricote. After I graduated college I bought myself a custom recurve bow made of Ziricote and Olive wood. It was the first "nice" thing I have ever bought.
I guided a guy from Kansas on an elk hunt that fall, and called a bull into ten yards for him 3hrs into opening day and he connected with his recurve. This gentleman is a custom knife maker and got in touch with the bowyer and got the left over wood from my recurve. All that was left was a small piece of the Ziricote, and he made a knife for me from scratch as a surprise thank you. He sent out the now smaller piece of Ziricote as well, and it has been sitting in a box waiting for a project. I also make knife handles by fitting together some pieces of wood, but I have plenty of knives so I haven't put the Ziricote to use. This was the only project I could think of to use it for, and I still have enough left for maybe three more inserts.
The knife with Ziricote.
Some of my handle work, the three most recent.
I glued the cork rings up with some of the "foam" shims since I figured they would be easier to get sanded out to fit the blank. To glue the cork pieces together I just put things on a piece of all thread and squeezed them together with nuts and washers.
Everything went great and the insert looked wonderful. Here it is with some super glue for a finish before polishing out with 000 steel wool.
LESSON ONE: Don't glue things together without all their parts.
I was cruising along and excited with how things were fitting together. I ended up cutting about 3/4" of the threaded barrel down because I didn't like the length, I wanted more of the wood than the thread, and then glued it up. Whoops I forgot the sliding band and the nut!
This was a huge problem because things has cured with the 5min epoxy. I tried heat but no luck in freeing the bond. I ended up sanding down through the finish and into the wood just a bit to get the nut and band over the length of the insert and onto the threads. I then built back up the diameter of the insert with a lot of coats of super glue. In the process I messed up the finish on the threads near the insert, and ended up covering it with some of the veevus thread and coating that with super glue. This ate up a whole day and took what could have been a perfect build into something less perfect.
Wrapping the guides was pretty easy and I only had to do a few over.
LESSON TWO: Finish in a well lit area.
I ended up getting two coats of the threadmaster and it came out smooth and flaw free. I didn't get the straightest lines because of the lighting, and also didn't see that I missed cleaning off one line of china marker and some of it got covered with the finish. I may go back at some point and take the finish off to get to the white mark, but who knows.
What I would do different...
I don't think I would turn my own insert again, and wasn't really planning on doing it here, but wanted to use that wood. Half of my build time was taken up with the insert. I would also order a decal to put by the blank name, and probably still will.
Things I liked:
I would shape my own cork every time, I liked the colors I came up with and it was pretty easy. I also really liked the variegated thread and would use it again. I didn't use a color protect on it as I thought the colors would darken, as they did, and blend with the blank color underneath to transition the blue Fuji with the fores green blank. I also like the single foot guides as they cut my wrapping and finish time in half. I thought they would be a bit of an issue keeping on the blank while wrapping, but they weren't.
Angler's Habitat ended up sending my the full build "kit" to make up for their three week delay in shipping, so I have an extra seat, economy guides, and premade cork. I also have the RA8 reel seat with detachable fighting butt plug. I will be making another rod or two with these, and think I might go with black guides and just use the variegated thread. I didn't use it to cover the guides this go around because I don't like silver guides showing through.