Assuming I have absolutely 0 tools for anything related to building rods- what is the cost?

LimerickShaw

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Hi all,

As I'm about to purchase my first home I'm looking for some additional hobbies to keep me at the house. I've dabbled every so slightly in fly tying and I'm contemplating looking into doing some rod building. It likely wouldn't be building a lot - maybe one or two over time. I'm sure the cost can vary based off of the blanks you're using but if I was looking to build a low/mid-tier 7'6" - 8'6" 3 WT - what would I be looking at roughly for cost to build it assuming that I have zero tools for the job. I plan to spend a bit more time looking through this section to get more info but hoping you can help me get a rough idea of how much $ it will put me in the hole.

Thanks!
 

osseous

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You can build a rod for the cost of the components- cut two notches in a cardboard box to hold the rod- run the thread between the pages of a heavy book for tension. Doesn't have to be an equipment intensive thing. If you want the fancy stuff, $150- to the moon. Up to you how crazy you want to get

Sent from my SM-N986U1 using Tapatalk
 

bonefish41

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LS: First tools...essentially nothing...the only tool you really need is a thread tension er and you can make one by running wrapping thread through a hard back dictionary and adjust the weight for tension with modern epoxy finish you do not need significant tension to hold the guides on...particularly a 3wt......as for cost of a rod just go to Mudhole's site and drift through...cost 150-600, former, all inexpensive Asian blank, seat, guides, cork..latter, top line Sage blank, expensive seat, guides and cork...
 

trev

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Kits with all needed components start at about $70 and go as high as you want to http://www.anglersworkshop.com/Fly-Rod-Building-Kits
Tools are as mentioned a card board box (I prefer two boxes for adjustable distance between supports) a tea cup to hold the thread spool, a heavy book or two for tension, a razor blade for cutting the thread, a hard round thing like a ball point pen or small spoon for burnishing the wraps, not much else

For a first experience you could find a $3 rod at the junk store or garage sale, strip it and replace the components and finish and come out somewhat cheaper.
 

silver creek

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Yes you can use a notched cardboard box and thread passed through a heavy book for tension but that is not the problem.

The problem for the beginning rod builder is how to keep the rod rotating after you coat the thread wraps on the guides and hook keeper. If you don't rotate the rod while the epoxy cures, the coatings will sag.

I used an old BBQ rotisserie motor hooked up to the end of crutch tip that the rod handle fits into. You have to rig up something that turns the rod at a slow RPM rate.
 

flav

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Yes you can use a notched cardboard box and thread passed through a heavy book for tension but that is not the problem.

The problem for the beginning rod builder is how to keep the rod rotating after you coat the thread wraps on the guides and hook keeper. If you don't rotate the rod while the epoxy cures, the coatings will sag.

I used an old BBQ rotisserie motor hooked up to the end of crutch tip that the rod handle fits into. You have to rig up something that turns the rod at a slow RPM rate.
Rod turners are nice, but you can get an extremely smooth and even epoxy finish by hand, all you need is some time. Apply your finish to the thread wraps, turning the rod as you do. Once you're done turn the rod a half a turn or so every minute so the epoxy flows around the thread. Eventually you can slow down how often you're turning the rod as the epoxy hardens and in 3 or 4 hours the epoxy should be set enough to leave it to dry overnight without any sagging. I usually sit down and watch a game on TV, that takes about the right amount of time, and set a timer so I don't forget to turn the rod.
 

trev

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I don't like the epoxy football look and finish my wraps with Helmsman Spar, finger applied and minimal/no turning, hang to cure
 

el jefe

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The tools can be really handy. I think Silver hit it with the rod turner being the most important tool, but as others have noted you can do it by hand. BTW, I prefer the rod turner.

The more expensive tools don't necessarily get you better results; what they get you is speed. The pricey wrapping jigs and rod turners are aimed more at production-level builders. Simple, inexpensive versions are fine for the hobby builder.
 

original cormorant

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Rod turners are nice, but you can get an extremely smooth and even epoxy finish by hand, all you need is some time. Apply your finish to the thread wraps, turning the rod as you do. Once you're done turn the rod a half a turn or so every minute so the epoxy flows around the thread. Eventually you can slow down how often you're turning the rod as the epoxy hardens and in 3 or 4 hours the epoxy should be set enough to leave it to dry overnight without any sagging. I usually sit down and watch a game on TV, that takes about the right amount of time, and set a timer so I don't forget to turn the rod.
Clip a laundry clothes peg on the rod to weight and hold it in each succeeding rotation.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Have a look on YT for 'microwave motor rod turner'. Should be easy enough to salvage from a recycling centre if you don't have a busted oven already and easy to make. Hand-turning is OK but mechanised is better if you're epoxying several sections at once and, for me, gives a better result.

Guide epoxy isn't cheap and must be mixed to the correct proportions. I bought some disposable, marked pipettes which allow me to mix 0.5 ml x 2 batches with precision. The wastage is them minimal and the pipettes pay for themselves (one pipette for resin, one for hardener).

I wrap milk bottle tops in tin foil to mix in. Screw any excess up to form a handle. Suck up the epoxy component and squeeze into the mixing tray then hold the pipette over a convection heater to liquify and squeeze all the remaining resin/hardener out. I use the handles from used nylon brushes as a mixing stick. When the epoxy begins to go gloopy in the mixing tray, hold over the heater and gently stir with the brush to re-liquify. It should extend the working life by several minutes. Stop when it doesn't thin well or else the result will be uneven and ugly.

I've used a wire wine rack as a rod turner for completed, drying sections. Good as it keeps the blanks reasonable level and I could work 4 sections at one time. As already mentioned, clothes pegs are a good call (I use sprung clamps, much the same only heavier) and starting the hobby by re-ringing and old, unloved rod is sensible before investing fully.

I like using a purpose made nylon burnisher. They're only a few dollars. You'll need masking tape and razor blades too, plus a standard epoxy for gluing the handle and seat. Also, cheap kid's nylon art brushes are fine for applying the epoxy and cost pennies.
Isopropyl alcohol isn't that cheap but is useful for thinning epoxy and cleaning up any errors.
Avoid finger grease on the wraps and avoid dust during drying at all costs.

Enjoy. I've found it a wonderful diversion during our UK lockdowns. It's great to be arty and crafty again and, later, you get to fish with it! It's great to catch a fish on your own fly .... but your own fly on your own rod? Far better still! :)
 

Hayden Creek

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I'm going to upgrade my kit from Mudhole and donate it to a local school. They have fly tying but no rod building.
If you are going to only build a couple of rods that's a great option. But be warned it can be addicting.
 

bonefish41

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Thanks for the info everyone! Appreciate it, as always.
Let me add... check out Madison River Flyfishing Company site...they have a rod building section...the problem is most mfg do not sell blanks so you must guess when you buy the blank which is an Asian blank without a fly rod to feel the action...exception Sage and to a lesser extent Winston and TFO...T&T used to and Orvis used to...I wrap Sage because I can test the blank with their mfg rod and I also wrap to save money on high end Sage rod... Madison site e.g. low end 8' 3wt TFO BVK 125.00 High End 8'9" 3wt Sage Trout LL 425.00...high middle 7'6" 3wt Dart 375.00 OR this is the rod for those 4 to 6 feet wide Brook T streams on paper company Maine land...6'6" Sage Dart 3wt 375...who shows up with a 6' rod other than Lee Wulff for Salmon :)
 

unsandedsuperfine

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Essential tools/tips for a decent finish:


- rod turner; whether it’s salvaged from a microwave etc. or purchased, make sure that where it holds the rod does not come loose when turning. By hand is obviously an option, too. Assuming it would be a challenge for a first timer to make a nice finish job by hand turning. Minimal finish looks and performs best.

— syringes to measure finish; very important! The finish should be warm (allows it to flow/measure better with less bubbles for a more accurate measure). Also, the less you mix together for a batch, the less room for error you have. “Close enough...” with finish measurement is NOT good enough, IMHO.

- create or buy something to hold rod while wrapping it, which also applies tension to thread.

- small section of thin braided line; this is to fold in half and use for pulling tag end of thread through when wrapping thead. You can use a piece of thread, but braid will not break while pulling through.

- alcohol, foil, little plastic cups, brushes, and paper towels. I also like disposable nitrile gloves for when I mix/handle finish.

- masking tape to build up arbors for reel seat and possibly for cork grip. Importantly, the grip needs to be inletted to fit reel seat hood (some come this way, but check to see compatibility) and the inner diameter of cork needs to be reamed to fit blank. Batson/Rainshadow makes a set or you can ask the shop you buy your material from to do this for you, potentially.

*Note: The room you apply finish in should be 75/80 degrees. A smaller room with a space heater or thermostat controlled room is easier to keep consistent.

**Note: I would advise you do NOT use 5 minute epoxy mixes to epoxy reel seat and grip. It has too short of pot life and you may run into problems.

Good luck and enjoy it!
 
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