If you have ever heard that practice makes perfect, then you must be familiar with custom rod building. Rod building is a fun hobby not to mention a cool craft, but knowing the right tips and tricks will help you become a more efficient rod builder.
Here is a list of the top 5 mistakes many rod builders encounter.
1. Forget to Prep Your Guides
Prepping your guides is a must when it comes to building a fishing rod. Taking the time to file down the guide foot before applying it to the blank will ensure a smooth transition when wrapping thread from the blank up onto the guide.
Properly prepping your guides means using a small file to grind the foot of the guide to a point. Once the point is complete, run the bottom of the guide foot over your finger nail. Finger nails mimic the surface of a rod blank so this test will determine if the bottom needs to be sanded down.
If it scratches your nail, it will scratch your rod blank. A simple fix, just take some light sand paper and buff out any burrs or points created underneath the guide foot. A minor task to save a major headache, filing down the guide foot and smoothing out the bottom of the foot will help you wrap the guides securely and avoid scratching your rod blank.
2. Adding Finger Prints to Your Decal
Applying a decal seems simple, but nothing is more frustrating than sealing a decal on a blank with a finger print or hair between the decal and blank. There is a trick to avoid this pesky problem and it applies to all custom, monochrome and black decals.
The first step is to trim any excess material around the decal. This makes the decal less bulky and easier to handle, which will allow you to be more accurate when applying the decal.
Next, place the decal face up and secure some clear tape over the entire length of the decal. Make sure to extend the tape roughly half an inch past where the decal ends in order to create small tape handles for the decal.
Then, flip the decal over and place another piece of tape on the decal's backing. It is important that the tape adheres completely to the backing film before you begin to slowly remove both the tape and the decal's backing film.
Once the backing is removed, grab the tape handles so that no finger prints or foreign objects can reach the decal's adhesive, and carefully place it on your desired location.
Finally, gently run your finger (or use a burnishing tool) over the decal to smooth out any bubbles then slowly pull off the clear tape by the handles and your decal is finished.
3. Wrong Epoxy Mixture
Your rod is built, the epoxy is applied, and you left it to dry in the spinning rod dryer. Returning after the suggested curing time, you notice the epoxy has failed to dry. This is actually a common mistake. Basically, most brands of epoxy sell a 50/50 blend of resin and hardener, but if mixed incorrectly, the epoxy will not dry.
Another frequent mistake that will harm the curing process is the mixing technique. Whether it is excitement or just common misconception, new rod builders have a tendency to whip the epoxy mixture like scrambled eggs. This technique will not speed up the process and rather, it will increase the number of bubbles in the epoxy.
Avoiding these bubbles is easy, simply stir slowly and rotate every few strokes from clockwise to counterclockwise. Once mixed thoroughly and evenly, pour the mixture into an aluminum dish with a flat bottom.
The aluminum dish will help reduce air bubbles even further and preserve the epoxy mixture for extended use. When mixed accurately and correctly, the 50/50 blend epoxy will cure in the suggested time and leave you with a new sleek custom rod.
4. Right Application, Wrong Thread
Besides finding the spine of your rod, wrapping guides on your rod blank is one of the most crucial steps in custom rod building.
If wrapped incorrectly or with the wrong thread, guides can come loose tarnishing the stability and overall performance of your custom rod. Most threads are made stronger specifically for wrapping guides while others like metallic thread are intended for aesthetics only.
For example, ProProducts offer ProWrap Nylon and Color Fast thread with stronger tensile strength to ensure your guides are secure, and ProWrap Metallic, Metallic VersaBlend, and Metallic Braid to give decoration to your wraps, trim bands, and overwraps.
When it comes time to wrap your guides or add some decoration, just double check to make sure you are using the right thread for the job.
5. Sawing Your Excess Thread
Once you have wrapped a guide, you will need to remove the remaining thread tag. Many rod builders try to saw this thread off, but this back and forth motion could potentially damage your wrap.
Although it may not be the end of the world, it will often make you to restart the wrap and cost even more time. In order to save time and thread, simply place a razor blade flat against the wrap with the blade facing that excess thread or tag end.
Next, pull that tag end over the razor's blade to cut the thread flush with the wrap itself. Now you are ready to seal that wrap with epoxy without ever having to worry about a faulty guide wrap.
Heed these warnings about the top 5 common rod building mistakes, and make your next custom fishing rod project error free!