How To Choose Your Rod Building Thread

Rod building threads are quite diverse. From sizes and colors to treatments, choosing the right rod building thread naturally comes with many questions. Answering these questions is easy once you can define the difference in thread diameters, colors, and treatments.


About Wrapping Thread

In the world of rod building, choosing the right thread can be challenging considering how many different threads choices are possible. Varying from regular nylon, metallic, polyester and even color treated, a thread pretreated with color preserver, the options seem infinite without more information.

Color treated thread is a huge benefit on nylon and polyester because it helps the color outlast the epoxy process. Although some threads, like metallic for instance, do not require color preserver, it never hurts to use a color preserver just in case.


It is important to remember that metallic thread is not as strong as regular nylon, making it more suitable for decorative inlays, trim bands, and butt wraps.

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Types of Rod Building Thread

There are several different types of rod building thread to choose from, and in this section we go over the most common types of thread on the market.

Nylon Thread


Nylon wrapping thread comes in many color choices that have been pressure dyed for color consistency, however, color preserver is recommended with when using nylon thread if you want the color to stay true to how it looks before applying epoxy.

When you apply epoxy to the nylon thread without color preserver, the thread will take on a completely different color. Functionally, the thread is fine. Aesthetically, you may not like the unpredictable color outcome.

For example, if you are working on a gray rod blank and choose a spool of "Red" ProWrap Rod Building Thread to match an inlay or decal, without the color preserver, the color will probably come out looking more like a brown or merlot color.

Sometimes this is a good thing. For example, if you want the guide wrap to match the same gray rod blank, just pick a nylon gray color closest to the rod blank color, and after applying epoxy, the outcome of the guide wrap will be the same (or near same) color as the rod blank.

If you want the thread color to remain after applying epoxy, consider using a color treated thread.

Color Treated Thread

Color treated nylon thread features the same strong tensile strength as the regular nylon, but it is pre-treated with color preserver so the color remains after you apply epoxy. It will also withstand the sun's damaging UV rays, all without the need for adding a color preserver. A good choice for this thread is ProWrap ColorFast by ProProducts.

Color treated thread has inherently less bleed through, so it is also a preferred choice for lighter color wraps that will go over a darker rod blank. If you are doing a white thread over a white rod blank, for example, it may not matter as much. Conversely, if you are doing a white thread over a dark blank, color treated nylon is probably going to give you the look you expect.

Metallic Thread

Metallic threads are typically used for trim bands, butt wraps, and under wraps, and come in a wide range of eye-popping metallic colors! Metallic thread features strong tensile strength, but usually not strong enough to use as your primary guide wrapping thread.

To make sure your guides perform well, we recommend you stick with a nylon thread (color treated or not) for your primary guide wraps, and use metallic threads for decorative accents.

Keep in mind that metallic threads do not need a color preserver!

Metallic Braid

Metallic braids are highly reflective and are much larger in diameter, which make metallic braids ideal for decorative butt wraps. With a flat and wide profile, it certainly eliminates the time consuming task of wrapping the entire butt section with a single thread.

As with metallic thread, metallic braids do not need a color preserver, and are for decorative purposes only—do not use as your primary guide wrapping thread.

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Color Options

Rod building thread comes in a wide variety of colors, so you should have no problem finding one to match any design or pattern you can dream up.

Rod Building Thread Sizes

In this section we highlight the most common sizes of rod building thread on the market, and what applications they are commonly used for.

Size A Thread

Size A thread has the smallest diameter, and generally a great choice for freshwater rods, under wraps, and all decorative accent applications. It can also be used for saltwater rods, but some rod builders prefer to use size D thread for many offshore applications, while inshore and nearshore rods can easily use size A thread.

Size B Thread

Size B thread is ideal for any fishing application. It is easier to wrap like a size D thread, but resembling size A's finished product. It can really do it all, be the primary wrap for your guides, and serve as your decorative thread for trim bands and butt wraps.

Size D Thread

Often used on heavy offshore rods, Size D is actually the easiest to wrap with, which in turn makes it the leading thread among those new to rod building. Because it has a larger diameter than size A thread, it is easier to work with and easier to actually see when wrapping your custom rod - especially when the thread color is close to that of the rod blank!

Try an Under Wrap

Under wraps are usually found on heavier rods that have double foot guides, and can really make your custom rod unique.

When it comes time to wrap a guide like one with a double foot, an easy way to succeed is using size A with its smaller diameter for the under wrap and then size D with its larger diameter for the overwrap on top. First wrap the size A thread directly onto the rod blank, then set your guide on top and secure it with a size D thread wrap.

In some cases, rod builders will epoxy over the initial size A under wrap before moving on to the size D overwrap. This makes the overwrap much smoother so that when you epoxy the final time, you are left with a clean finished product.

What Thread Is Right For You?

One thing to keep in mind is that building a custom rod is just that - custom. Hopefully this article covered all the basics on rod building thread, now the fun part is experimenting with what you want to use from all the many choices out there, visit our friends at Mud Hole Custom Tackle to see just how many options there are.

Just consider what you want your finished custom fishing rod to look like, and make a list of the thread you will need. Then go build a custom rod just the way you want it!

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