Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Just built or restored a cane rod or need some advise then let us know in here.
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Beresford
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Beresford » Tue Nov 13, 2018 10:20 pm

One of the most fascinating threads I've ever read. Thank you for presenting it in so much detail.
The Split Cane Splinter Group

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Barbulus
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Barbulus » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:04 pm

Why, oh why, do you have to post this late at night Neil as I just had to read it .....

Brilliant, inspiring and, frankly, compelling......a rod is born sums it up. Like a number of others there are elements that defeat me but I have enough knowledge here to recognise craftsmanship and brilliance.

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Duebel
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Duebel » Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:06 pm

:read: I'd like to read all that in a book, you should write!
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Liphook
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Liphook » Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:06 am

I'm in total agreement with the above replies Neil. Superb reading indeed :Hat:
As an aside, tonight I returned from a second meeting with a master luthier to further discuss an instrument I'm having made. When discussing woods we poured over his sample draws, veneer books and stock shelves again and I happened to mention bamboo. He just happened to mention the fly rods he used to build as a hobby. I nearly dropped an egg and blurted out my unending love for angling and the impact it has had on my life. Smiling broadly he gave me that knowing eye of his and quickly added 'but that's a separate conversation for another day and one we may never get round to having' and promptly brought the conversation back round to stringed instruments! I'll be working on finding out more next time I visit him. We live in a wonderful world of talented people :Hat:

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Crucian
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Crucian » Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:50 pm

Great Post Neil, it just gets better :Hat:

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Peter Wilde
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Peter Wilde » Mon Nov 19, 2018 6:50 pm

Really interesting, very challenging and I look forward to progress reports - good luck!

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Northern_Nomad
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Northern_Nomad » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:40 am

Thanks for all the positive feedback chaps :Thumb:

Designing and making 3 rods from scratch is quite a time consuming undertaking to say the least.

It’s encouraging during the long periods of building with sometimes not a lot to show for the effort put in that fellow enthusiast find it interesting.

:Hat:
"We knelt side by side looking at it. I knew it was big, and suddenly it dawned on me it was more than that. It was tremendous!" - Richard Walker

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Northern_Nomad
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Northern_Nomad » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:19 pm

It’s been quite a few weeks since the last instalment. This was due to ongoing work to try and get my son in his new house for Christmas with Dad’s DIY and also due to the fact I managed to put a ¼ inch flat head screwdriver deep into my thumb, via the thumbnail which led to a fair bit of nerve damage which made rod building problematic. Also the work that I had already carried out was time consuming to say the least.

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I had given a lot of thought to the handle, indeed the whole rod generally. I was going to pick my favourite design bits from other rods and combine them into this set. I also had done research on the specific reel that these rods were going to be paired with and one of our TFF members had helped me with selection of type and the purchase of a couple of them. This meant that as part of my handle build I could test the reels on the rods for a good point of balance. As these were carp rods it will come as no surprise that the handles are based on the MKIV. An Avocet type bulbous handle wouldn’t look quite correct on these so I looked at my favourite B James MKIV design which was the onion shaped handle and wanted to replicate that. There was one fly in the ointment though, and that was I had decided that due to the requirements that this rod was hopefully going to cover , I wanted a screw winch fitting.

Now to my eye the onion handle doesn’t quite suit a screw winch fitting. I’m not keen on the doughnut shape handle so that left the flared handle. I did a mock up of this and thought it a good compromise. Being as the rod was 2 foot longer than the MKIV the handle was to be bigger than the MKIV’s 28 inches, and at 33 inches looked well balanced and also gave me a good hand spread between top and bottom of the handle. We all cast differently and I have quite a wide hand stance. On a set of very expensive modern rods I once purchased I found casting with it a bit difficult until I realised that the abbreviated twin handle design on these was far too close together for me and for a really good hand position for casting I ended up gripping the blank above the handle which gave an odd feeling. So with this in mind I started the handle build.


I was at the stage where the ferrule stations needed preparing and the handle and components also made and fitted. Once the ferrule stations were readied the first rod had the first few corks shives for the forward part of the handle fitted. Once in place the ferrule was fitted as the last 30inches of the handle were parallel so the handle could be built from the bottom.

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At this stage I made a set of collars or winding checks if you prefer. These were very plain and straightforward with no fancy bits. The corks shives were glued in place, the collars fitted and glued and the first part of the handle was finished off by sanding it to shape and “ going through the grades” of sandpaper. I made a template of the flair so I could replicate it on rods 2 and 3. Once this was done I turned my attention to the ferrule.

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I was originally going to make my own ferrules as I have done previously. They do however take quite a bit of work and are time consuming so on finding a matched set of 3 NOS ferrules in my bits box. I decided to go with these. These were cleaned up and blued to the colour I wanted and glued in place prior to whipping them on. This was my first mistake of the build. These ferrules were from a supplier I had used extensively, but to date I had only used them in this size on the butt sections of whole cane rods where they looked fine. On a two piece split cane rod the looked a bit bulbous and out of place. I knew if I went with them I would never be happy with the rods so I went online and managed to obtain some reinforced MKIV style ferrules which were much slimmer in design so set about removing the ferrules I had already glued on, thanking the rod building gods that I had gone ahead with rod number one in advance of rods two and three to avoid this sort of situation. I have removed countless ferrules over the years and I reckon that my way of doing it is as good as any out there, and normally I can remove a ferrule with damaging either the rod or ferrule, but this is usually on rods where the glue is about 40+ years old. Anyway it had to be done so with a great deal of trepidation the ferrule was heated up to soften the glue and to my immense relief it slid off easily. The ferrules I had bought had been blued but not to a good standard so I stripped them off and redid them then bonded them to the rod. Now it looked much better and I don’t know if it was just my imagination but the rod seemed to respond better.

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first set of ferrules going through the blueing process. I then discovered I didn't like the look

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New ferrules next to the old ones. They suit the rod more so I replaced the first ones with these.The Blueing wasn't too good as they came so I redid them

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The next thing to produce was the screw winch fitting. I made these out of aluminium bar stock and put a 7/8BSF thread on them to take the screw fitting. I couldn’t make up my mind on what sort of reel fitment to go with and experimented with Hardy hexagon types as well as the more usual round ones with a foot recess in them. As I couldn’t seem to make up my mind I put then to one side and concentrated on the next stage of making the reel fittings. At this stage I was chatting via PM with Watermole+ and Leszec reccommeded that the screw thread on a winch fitting was better if it was a finer “knuckle” type thread so I made a reel seat like this and compared both of them and was in agreement so went with these and discarded the 7/8 BSF ones.


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I had decided that this set of rods was going to have 3 or 4 unique cosmetic features and I had decided that the reel seats would be anodised in a very deep green colour. I have never attempted anodising before so I did some research and started to collect the components. There are many youtube type videos out there but if anyone else is mad enough to try this I would say to them to take utmost care. A great many of the posters out there are idiots. As a rule of thumb, if anyone is doing an instructional video on anodising, wearing shorts, flip flops and tee shirt then they are worth ignoring. The process is fairly straightforward but does require some scary components. A lot of the online videos by the flip flop and shorts brigade will advocate using easy to obtain components like drain cleaner and clothes dye. This is bad advice as at best it will give a very matt finish and at worse will end up going white and rubbing off very quickly. I managed to obtain some industrial strength 98% sulphuric acid and some industrial specialised anodising dye in dark green. Since various imbeciles in the cities have taken to throwing acid at each other it isn’t easy to obtain and does require the user to register him/herself and sign an End User Certificate which is usually a requirement for exporting/importing military grade weapons. There is also a part of the form where you state you are not making chemical weapons of any description !! You also have to take as a given that your name will probably pop up on a security analysts screen as a person of interest initially

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I think it is worth mentioning that if you are possibly flagged up as buying industrial grade acid and as a person of interest, then displaying your anodising kit near a window like I have done is not probably the best idea ever. You could end up with a visit from these nice chaps.

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The acid was mixed with an amount of deionised eater to get the correct constituency and placed in a suitable container. Two lead plates act as diodes. There is a requirement to calculate the surface area of the piece being immersed in the bath then the amperage is worked out and a DC electrical source passed through it – neg through the lead plates which become the diode and positive through the piece being anodised which now becomes the anode. It is a very strange moment when you flick the mains switch to your DC converter which is in turn connected to a bath of powerful acid but everything went well and the bubbles coming off the job indicated the process was underway without any cataclysmic explosions occurring.

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Once the reels seat was anodised it was then dropped in the dye bath. The length of time in the bath will dictate the finished colour. I wanted mine to be dark green so it wouldn’t be too blingy so went for a soak of about 20 minutes. After this the reel seat was removed and heated up to seal in the colour and it was job done.

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Once these were anodised they were offered up to the rod and bonded into place. The reel band issue was sorted. I had noticed that the modern style winch fittings have plastic inserts which are very snug fitting and very kind to the reels so I bought a set of three modern reel fittings in plastic with alloy reel bands from China for pennies. When they eventually arrived I butchered the cheap plastic reel seats and threw them away after I had removed the alloy bands and fitted them to my reel seat tubes. They look the part as a vintage style fitting but have the advantage of not taking paint off the reels and are very snug.

Once the reel seats were on then the remaining cork shives were glued on and shaped to size.


I then made the alloy butt caps. Rather than go with the usual tapered butt caps I again borrowed a style which I like from another rod manufacturer, this time the J S Sharpe style cap. 3 of these were made and then sent off for engaving with the makers name and individual serial number of the rod. This consists of the date the culm was first split and the subsequent number rod in the building process 01, 02 or 03.

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The last bit planned for the handle was to make three green rubber buttons for the butt caps. I had obtained latex rubber, coagulant and colouring to make these as well as plaster of Paris to make a mould. The first attempt wasn’t too good and the second produced a rubber button of the correct dimensions but I wasn’t happy with it. So for the present I will buy in and fit a set of black rubber ones and maybe revisit this idea at a later date when more time is available.

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So here we are now with the rod blanks built and fitted with ferrules and handles ready less a bit of cleaning up around the butt cap area of the handle. Once done I'll be ready for the cosmetic touches to come.

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Thanks for looking

Rgds

Neil
Last edited by Northern_Nomad on Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"We knelt side by side looking at it. I knew it was big, and suddenly it dawned on me it was more than that. It was tremendous!" - Richard Walker

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MGs
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by MGs » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:31 pm

Brilliant work and an excellent description, thanks for sharing
Old car owners never die....they just rust away

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Watermole+
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Re: Designing and Building a Fishing Rod

Post by Watermole+ » Fri Dec 28, 2018 7:52 pm

Really excellent work Neil..

Your anodising has turned wonderfully..Well done indeed!
I always find that if you put some lanolin in the final seal, it gives it that nice, silky touch.

..and you are doing well with that Myford of yours as well!!! :Hat:

Absolutely First Class work..You should be proud of that.

wm+

....But lay up for yourselves treasure in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also
..Jesus of Nazareth, King James AV

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