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silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Bob Scacheri (---.dol.net)
Date: June 27, 2001 08:22PM

Which is better, silk or nylon thread? On the one hand, I read in all the catalogs the praise for silk - more brilliant color and smaller diameter which leads to nicer wraps. On the other hand, as best I can tell, it seems to be only used on cane rods. Why don't builders using synthetic blanks use silk? I assume there is a good reason. They seem to cost about the same. I build mainly freshwater casting and spinning gear so I don't think strength should be an issue.

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Re: silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Pete (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: June 27, 2001 08:31PM

I can only take a stab at this. For starters silk is only available in smaller diameter sizes so its not going to work for anyone building larger rods like saltwater types. I would also think that nylon is stronger diameter for diameter.

Why do they use it on bamboo? I don't know. Maybe because that's what they've always used or maybe because the translucency is superior to nylon. I can't see any reason why you couldn't use it for your rods but I am sure that one of the knowledgable builders here will let you know if there is anything wrong with doing so.

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Re: silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Bob Petti (---.stny.rr.com)
Date: June 27, 2001 08:50PM

I used silk on a gloss coat graphite blank once and really strugged. I'm sure my inexperience with the material contributed greatly to my problems, but I remember the silk being very slippery, meaning I had trouble getting the thread started, and getting good durable tie-offs. I remember many wraps coming loose as I worked on other guides. It seemed that if I looked at it funny, the wrap would just fall apart. I'm sure that's technique related, but I never had that problem with nylon thread prior to that experience, or since.

Once hit with epoxy (no-cp) and it just melted into the blank. A perfect color match for what I was doing, but it really wasn't worth the bother.

Since that time, I haven't felt the desire to use silk on graphite blanks.

Bob Petti

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Re: silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Andy (---.umacs.net)
Date: June 27, 2001 09:41PM

I only use silk on fly rods. Use a good color preserver (Al's form Angler's Workshop) and there is nothing like it. Yes the dia. is small but once you get used to it its easy to work and makes a lovey wrap.


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Re: silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Rich Garbowski (---.voyageur.ca)
Date: June 28, 2001 08:18AM

Silk thread in size A has some very nice tone selections and we use it on light freshwater rods. It is strong and easy to work with in the brand of 'kanagawa' available from Angler's Workshop.

The metallic silks are beautiful to work with, we find stronger and easier to manage in wrapping. It is expensive, but for a high end rod is something nice to consider.

The use of the special color preserver, as instructed on the bottle (Al's) will develop the finished wrap into rich tones that are not available in regular nylon threads.

Something different perhaps for the graphites, but not without mention.Silk is supposed to be one of the stronges fibers around, and has been used for years in fly rod building. Why not for some of the nicer graphite spinning or casting blanks? We tried it and like it, continue to use it more often. Try a decorative butt wrap with it and see the difference. I'll be glad to email you a pic. of the wrap we did lately that shows some of the nice silk metallics showing through.


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Re: silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Jim U (---.12.67.207.in-addr.arpa)
Date: June 28, 2001 12:32PM

IMHO silk looks good under varnish (especially on bamboo) because it is nice and thin and looks almost painted on. It's harder to use 'cause it has very little stretch and it frays if you try to burnish it much. I doublt if it is nearly as durable as nylon.

If you are going to encapsulate the winding under epoxy, use nylon.

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Re: silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (---.dialinx.net)
Date: June 28, 2001 12:39PM

This won't help you immediately, but in the next issue of RodMaker there will be an article from Russ Gooding, of Golden Witch, on how to work with and finish silk thread.


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Re: silk vs. nylon
Posted by: Russ Gooding (---.dejazzd.com)
Date: June 28, 2001 03:51PM

Hi Bob,

If you search through our web site at www.goldenwitch.com , you'll see numerous pictures of graphite as well as cane rods - all are wrapped with silk. On graphite rods, I use color preserver primarily because the dark colored blanks can muddy the colors of silk if the silks are allowed to go translucent. On cane, I prefer translucent wraps and fine silks excell.

I've had great success, both functionally and aesthetically, with using silks on light synthetic rods of all sorts: fly, spin, & casting. My clients are happy - nothing more a craftsman can ask for. Much of the fun of rodmaking is in experimentation. Give the silks a try.

Best regards,


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