A reel seat arbor is a relatively simple construction, but its purpose is quite integral to mounting and maintaining the reel seat.
Working primarily to center the reel seat on the rod blank, arbors can be made of multiple different materials and looking further into each material helps decide which one will work for you.
Despite the simplicity of its job, reel seat arbors are often confusing to buy because of the vast number of options and opinions that exist in the rod building community. When purchasing materials for reel seat arbors, make sure you do the research and find the right option.
The Arbor's Real Purpose in Rod Building
Displacing the distance between the reel seat and rod blank, arbors work to position the reel seat at the centermost point on the rod blank. Since the reel seat is so influential to overall rod performance, arbors are just as important in mounting and maintaining the reel seat's position.
To begin, select an arbor material that will work for you. Although arbors usually just center the reel seat, some add functional benefits, such as simple installation, lighter weights, and even a porous composition that absorbs more glue.
Popular Choices for Reel Seat Arbors:
- Graphite—is an extremely light arbor, but often doesn't come pre-bored. This means you have to manually bore out the material to ensure the appropriate fit on the rod blank. Sold in small pieces as well as full length options, graphite arbors are measured in increments where the outside diameter of the arbor snugly slides into the inside diameter of the reel seat.
- Polyurethane—is a material that has a solid, yet semi-porous structure. Polyurethane's semi-porous construction creates an extra strong bond since epoxy can cure into the arbor's material. Sold in full length options, polyurethane is measured based on the outside diameter of the arbor and the inside diameter of the reel seat.
- Masking Tape—is a readily available arbor material that most rod builders use. Long-lasting and lightweight, masking tape arbors shouldn't be overlooked because they are easy to make and overall, work just as well.
Mud Hole Custom Tackle, the number one resource for DIY fishing, even teaches their rod building classes using masking tape.
- Mesh Drywall Tape—is a porous tape that makes great arbors for offshore saltwater rods and other heavy fishing applications. Similar to polyurethane, the porous structure creates a strong bond because the epoxy seeps into its cavities and cures accordingly.
Choose Your Arbor Type
While deciding on reel seat arbors, keep these proven materials in mind and choose the best fitting material for your rod.
Remember, masking tape arbors work as defaults, but don't be afraid to try another arbor material from Mud Hole.