Thursday, 8 April 2010

Building a Fly Rod - Part 6 Wrapping the Guides

The blank is marked at each guide location. Now the interesting part of the build begins.

I start by placing the stripping guide and fixing it into place with a little bit of masking tape. Just to make sure that everything will line up I mount a reel to the blank and sight along it to the stripping guide. When it is exactly where it should be the reel is removed and the wrapping begins.

My set-up for this is a homemade set of rod stands and a couple of thread tensioners mounted on a piece of wood. It is a little bit crude compared to some rigs but it works fine.

Power winders are available and while they are pretty slick I really enjoy the hand winding process.

To start a wrap I cross the first two thread wraps and pushing them tightly together with my thumbnail, keep turning the blank until the tension of the wraps evens out and the thread turns are laying neatly side by side.

Tension is important , too tight and you'll create a dead spot where the blank is compressed and liable to damage in the future. Too loose and the wraps are messy and won't lay right. It is another one of those things that is done by feel. When it is right, it feels right and looks right.

If the feet of the guides have been filed to a nice taper the winding thread will just follow up and over to cover the guide foot. About ten rotations from the end of the wrapping, a loop of thread is laid on the blank and the wrapping continued over it. To finish, clip your thread free from the spool, slip the tag-end through the loop and pull it under the wraps. Clip it off where it emerges and use a quick flash of flame from a lighter to remove any fuzz.

Sometimes you will want to leave the tag end long until you are ready to apply the finish epoxy. The reason is that each guide needs to be straight in line from the reel seat to the tip top. With all of the winding and handling they can creep out of line. They can be nudged back into place and the wrap tightened using the tag you've left.

I clip them. It makes a neater looking job while building and the worst that can happen is that an occasional wrap will loosen up and need to be redone.

Once the basic wrap is complete it is nice to add a little bit of contrasting trim. This is started and stopped exactly like the main wrap. the trim is for vanity. It looks nice but doesn't really do anything except please the builder and hopefully the eventual owner of the rod.

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