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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Littleton, CO

    Default Am I doing this right? (Completed)

    I fished with Alex the other day and he told me that he was having an ESN built for him, and the total price is a bit lower than getting it from Sage. So I have been looking into this, hypothetically, and want to know if I have gotten together what I would need as far as supplies go, AND in the right sizes...

    Sage European Nymph Series Fly Blanks 10 or 11' 3wt, let's assume the 11'
    RTTULB-S Black Pearl Recoil Tip Tops [Small Loop] | size 3.5, I wish I could find this in a larger loop?
    XRSGB Black Pearl RECOIL Double Foot Casting Guides | two #6s, I am not sure if I NEED two stripping guides?
    RSFXB Black Pearl RECOIL Single Foot Snake Guides | eight total (I think? two stripper, 8 guides, one tip top makes 11, though I'm sure the rod comes with a spacing guide), I am thinking one 3, three 2s, and four 1s?
    Dimpled Aluminum Winding Checks | I am sure I can have them send me the right size. I would be fine with a rubber one if there is no downside?
    Dropshot Hook Keeper | I would put this up by my stripping guide like my St Croix
    AUS Aluminum Uplocking Fly Seat, Black [Amboyna Burl] | Reel seats seem to vary a lot in price. I want something that is a matte black, prefer two threaded rings, and that I can put a removable fighting butt on. I really like the look of a cork insert instead of wood (i.e. like what one can select on the Scott custom rod web site) but can't seem to find one, don't know what the disadvantages are, and looks like I would have to buy a skeleton and fabricate the cork insert myself?
    I also can't really tell which reel seats will work with a removeable butt, but I would imagine any of them would by just replacing the plug with a threaded insert that I assume comes with the removable butt?
    REC 1-inch Removable Fighting Butt 1.0FCR | This would be an example of the size butt I would want. I am wondering if the hardware can be purchased for this, and the cork portion made from rings?
    Burnt Cork Rings (1/2") | I like the looks of the burl, burnt, and rubber cork rings. I would prefer to go this route if there is no loss in durability or feel? I would be looking for the firmest grip I can find. I would make one from wood, but think that would cause blisters or aches over time, and maybe slip. So the firmest cork grip I can make is what I am wanting, but having never handled a burnt/burl/rubber cork, don't know how that compares to some sort of "super" or "flor" grade western or cigar pre made grip. I would still prefer to make my own though and have access to a lathe and drill press.
    Fuji Ultra Poly Rod Building Thread | I think I would think with 100m of thread you could do a whole rod? I cannot decide if I want to be plain jane and just do all the wraps with a blank matching color in a blended translucent fashion, or get some sort of Rockies or Broncos theme. How much thread does it take to wrap a whole rod?
    I know I would need an epoxy or finish to coat the threads, but can't figure out what would be best?
    I also know that I would need brushes, cups, tape, etc., as well as an epoxy to set the reel seat and blank, but am assuming that doesn't need to be special stuff and that the hardware store would suffice for those things. I think I would use my arrow turner, which is basically a roller bearing cradle, for wrapping by hand. Are there any tools that I am missing?
    Making a functional rod doesn't seem too hard? Unless I am missing something, one just needs to wrap the parts that need wrapping, and glue the parts that need gluing. The biggest conundrums I can think of in doing this would be keeping the guides in line, and aligned a long the spine? What am I missing?
    Any suggestions on where to cut cost? I do like the flexy guides, and half of that reason is because of their weight. If there's another super light weight option that is significantly lower in cost, I would be happy to hear about it. For the reel seat, durability is the priority, but the all seem to look the same to me as far as construction. A down locking seat might be cooler to get another few inches of center of balance shift. If it can be pretty, AND tough that would be cool.
    I have looked at anglers workshop, hook and hackle, mudhole, and they all seem to carry the same stuff?
    I am also assuming that the blank is the blank and will perform the same regardless of who finishes it off?
    Any thoughts that you care to share would be welcome, as this is something that I am considering for now. I have read through most all of the threads on here, and a bunch on a different forum, and think this is something that I could do pretty easily. It seems that the skill comes in the art form of making things look pretty and clean, and that one can't really screw up too bad other than aesthetically?
    Last edited by sndmn11; 10-05-2015 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Title

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Eden, Utah

    Default Re: Am I doing this right?

    Post pictures as you build. Someday I would love to build my own rod but for now can't help much but a couple of links to at. To check prices
    Your source for flyfishing and flycraft resources since 1975 - Hook & Hackle

    Custom Fly Rod Crafters

    Wow one can only imagine tying flies and catching fish but to build a rod and catch fish. Machine your own reel would be sweet :

    I was just thinking when I aligned machine line shafts I used a lazer for rough alignment if you could make a jig mount to get your guides straight. Might work probably a simpler way some one will chime in.
    Can one learn everything about fly fishing a lifetime?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Am I doing this right?

    Here's a link that might help: :: rodboard

    For the reel seat use slow cure epoxy. Don't use the fast cure stuff. You'll want to let your rod set for about 24 hours to make sure the epoxy sets up good on the reel seat. I used to spine the blank before attaching the reel seat and guides. Not sure if you need to do that anymore. I'd check that on the link above.

    Also check the above site for epoxying the thread wraps. There's a right and wrong way to do it. More is not better from my previous experience.

    It's been years since I built rods...can't remember lots of it. A good book to get is Dale Clemens Advanced Custom Rod Building. I would look on Amazon to see if you can pick up a used copy for less than a new one.

    Looks like you're building a really nice fly rod. Have fun, take your time and don't rush the process. You'll have an excellent fly rod when you are done.

    And yes, please post some pictures when you are done. Best of luck to you.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Am I doing this right?

    another link that I use for info

    Rod Building

    this is where I get my cork from.


    take a look at the snake brand guides, that's all I use.

    good luck

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Littleton, CO

    Default Re: Am I doing this right?

    thanks guys!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Am I doing this right?

    If you go for the fancy guides, handle, reel seat,etc. it might cost you more than a Sage built rod. I will have similar quality components as Sage uses, except I picked them to my liking. And I do my darnest not to pay retail prices...
    It might be finished by this weekend, if no, definitely by next weekend. I'll keep you posted and let you fish it. We could do another Deckers...


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Littleton, CO

    Default Re: Am I doing this right?

    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.

    It worked.

    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.

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