Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rod Building 101- Part 5

This is the final instalment of the rod building tutorial by Michael Newby and Shaun Futter
You can find the other instalments by clicking on the links below
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Here you will need a 2-part rod finish (Like Flex Coat’s High Build or Lite formula), Colour-coded syringes, a mixing container (preferably glass…a tot glass works excellently), a paper clip, brushes, a saucer and some foil to cover the saucer with.
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Mix the two parts of finish together. Mix a full 3cc’s of each part, do not try and mix less…the mixture may not be consistent then. The key here is to mix SLOWLY. Count ten turns clockwise, and then ten turns counter-clockwise. Do this repeatedly until the mixture is completely clear. (It may take up to 7 or 8 minutes.) It’s essential to work slowly to minimise bubbles forming.
Nowpour the mixture over the tin foil in the recess created by the underside of the saucer. This will spread the finish nicely, help dissapate any bubbles that formed in the finish, and increase the “pot life” (using time) of the finish.

Assuming you are doing a 4 piece rod, do two sections at a time…not more. If you are doing a two piece rod, do one section at a time. I would not advise trying to do the entire rod at once in the beginning. The finish starts to become tacky and very difficult to work with.

Start with the butt section and second section. Apply finish over the hook keeper, decorative wrap and rod writing first. Over this big area, use long brush strokes from side to side. Continue until the finish is all over the area required, and fairly level. Move to the stripping guides, and apply finish to the wraps. Once you have finish applied to all the wraps, go back and neatly finish the ends of the wraps. You want to have the finish overlap onto the blank for about 1mm right around the blank.

NB: Do not “brush” the finish on, this will introduce bubbles in the finish. Hold the brush loaded with finish against the wrap, and turn the blank. It may help to rest your brush hand on top of the rod stand. Keep turning the blank, to ensure the finish does not sag to one side and possibly drip off.

Put the completed section in the rod-dryer, and turn it on. As the rod turns in the dryer, inspect the wraps and finish for bubbles. You can “pop” bubbles in two ways: Take a straw and lightly blow on the finish. This will raise the bubbles to the surface and pop them. Or, use a lighter, and hold the flame to the side of the finish as it turns. This will momentarily thin the finish, bring the bubbles to the surface and pop them.
Rod turning in rod-dryer.
Note the overlap of finish onto rod blank.
Then mix a fresh batch of finish and complete your top two sections. Put it in your rod dryer (now the entire rod is turning) and pop any bubbles you may find.
Turn the rod for at least 12 hours, to ensure the finish has cured enough to not sag anymore. You’re done! Now let the rod stand for at least 7 days for the finish to harden properly before you fish or cast a line with it. After this, take some furniture polish or Brasso and clean the rod up for a final shine.
Remember to put a little candle wax on your male ferrules before fishing it, to ensure good contact, prevent them from loosening while casting and to make disassembly at the end of the day easier.
Now pack your new rod it a suitable rod sock (bag) and a rod tube, and go fish!

There is little more satisfaction than when you catch a fish on a fly you tied yourself…except when that fish is caught with a rod you built yourself. Enjoy.

Other resources for finding Information/Assistance

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