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  • By Larry Thomas
(Reprinted from the volume 6 #5 issue of RodMaker Magazine)

A common sight in a rod builder's shop is a stack of reamers. Much like fishing lures, you never seem to have the one you need so you just add another one to the collection. Next time you need to make up a few, try this easy, no mess method.

You will need:
  • Piece of scrap rod blank
  • 1/2" or 3/4" wide sanding belt for hobby sanders. (80 to 100 grit is good.)
  • Slow set epoxy glue
  • 2 heavy rubber bands
  • Old cork grip (or similar material).
Begin by cleaning the scrap piece of rod blank, and then scour it with fine sandpaper or Scotchbrite. Next, cut the sanding band where it is joined together. Hold the top of the strip on the blank and spiral around the blank a couple of times to form it to the contour of the blank.

Mix up a small amount of slow cure epoxy. Cover about 1 inch of the upper end of the abrasives strip with the slow cure epoxy. Glue this end to the blank beginning about an inch and a half from the top (photo 1). This blank space provides a non-cutting area that serves as a pilot that keeps the reamer running true during the reaming process. Secure the glued end of the strip with one of the rubber bands around the blank and set aside to dry.

After the top end has dried, mix up a bit more epoxy and coat the remainder of the abrasive strip. Tightly wind the strip down the blank leaving about 1/4" space between the wraps (photo 2). This provides a pocket to carry out the debris. Wind the strip in the direction you will be twisting the reamer when using it. Secure the bottom end of the wrap with a rubber band. Go back over the reamer and be sure the strip is twisted as tightly as possible. You can do this by grasping the strip at various places and twisting.

To make the reamer easier to use, add a handle from some old cork or similar material (photo 3). This feature makes for less arm fatigue in the reaming process. Another neat feature of using the sanding belt is when the grit becomes clogged, it can easily be cleaned with a wire brush. You don't wind up with bare spots like you get with the glued on grit. -

~Larry Thomas