nternet gathering place for custom rod builders
  • Custom Rod Builders - This message board is provided for your use by the sponsors listed on the left side of the page. Feel free to post any question, answers or topics related in any way to custom building. When purchasing products please remember those who sponsor this board.

  • Manufacturers and Vendors - Only board sponsors are permitted and encouraged to promote and advertise products on the board. You may become a sponsor for a nominal fee. It is the sponsor fees that pay for this message board.

  • Rules - Rod building is a decent and rewarding craft. Those who participate in it are assumed to be civilized individuals who are kind and considerate in their dealings with others. Please respond to others in the same fashion in which you would like to be responded to. Registration IS NOW required in order to post. You must include your actual First and Last name and a correct email address when registering or posting. Posts which are inflammatory, insulting, or that fail to include a proper name and email address will be removed and the persons responsible will be barred from further participation.

    Registration is now required in order to post. You must include your actual First and Last name and a correct email address when registering or posting.

2018 Expo
CCS Database
Int. Custom Rod Symbol
Common Cents Info
All American Guides
American Tackle
Angler’s Roost
Anglers Rsrc - Fuji
Anglers Workshop
Bingham Enterprises
Canada Rodbuildersupply
HNL Rod Blanks–CTS
CTS New Zealand
Custom Fly Grips LLC
DBlue Fishing
Decal Connection
Flex Coat Co.
Get Bit Outdoors
Hitena USA
Janns Netcraft
Mickels Custom Rods
Mudhole Custom Tackle
MHX Rod Blanks
North Fork Composites
Pacific Bay
Renzetti Inc.
Rod Components USA
RodMaker Magazine
RodMaker Magazine Blog
Schneiders Rod Shop
SeaGuide Corp.
The Rod Room
Trondak U-40
Utmost Enterprises

Posted by: Steven Corvin (---.lightspeed.brhmal.sbcglobal.net)
Date: June 07, 2018 10:45AM

My son and I are ready to step to our next level of rod building. We are going to attemp at making grips. What are your recommendations for an entry level lathe and what size do you recommend. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: Donald La Mar (---.lightspeed.lsvlky.sbcglobal.net)
Date: June 07, 2018 11:30AM

If you will be turning cork or foam, them the Flexcoat lathe at about $200 (plus the price of a drill) is a lower cost option. Lots of folks look at the Flexcoat lathe design and build their own. Not so expensive, can be assembled and disassembled quickly if storage space is an issue, and works very well for turning and reaming cork.

If you're able to stretch the budget and if you want or need a lathe for more than turning cork, a Sherline lathe at about $900 will do nearly everything you'll ever need to do building rods.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: June 07, 2018 11:44AM

To be happy and successful, do not go with the absolute least expensive lathe.

Make sure that your head stock and tail stock have Mt2 fittings. Then you have an excellent selection of accessories for your lathe that will allow you do do some nice setups:

Penn State Industries sell some excellent products at reasonable prices>

For example - a nice starter lathe:


One thing that I have enjoyed very much, that is not essential, but makes work a lot easier and that is the purchase and use of a bed extension. With a bed extension, you can work on pieces of many different lengths and when even working on shorter pieces, the use of the extension allows you to slide your tail stock out of the way quickly as you move from piece to piece.

However, remember, to use the full capability of the tool, you will likely need to buy an equal amount of accessories that is equal to the initial price of the lathe itself.
It is nice to have a couple of different chucks, to have a couple of different Jacobs chucks for both the heat stock and tail stock, to have a variety of live tail stocks to handle various work pieces.

For example, different head stock drives:

Different live tail stock pieces:

different jacobs chucks for nicely holding mandrels:

Or, perhaps a couple of different head stock chucks for different work pieces:

But, also don't over look the purchase of a used lathe. Now and then one can run across an excellent value on the used market:

From Craigs list in my area of Minneapolis:

There happens to be a nice Penn State lathe in this lot of used - nearly new equipment:

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: June 07, 2018 11:46AM

This lathe happens to be on sale right now - with $100 off the price:


If you decide to buy this lathe, spend the few extra $$ and buy the bed extension that is on sale also for 1/2 price:


Good luck

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2018 11:48AM by roger wilson.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net)
Date: June 07, 2018 05:39PM

I second the Penn State lathe's recommendation. You will find the "Midi" size will give you more flexibility, especially with the variable speed control. The bed extension is nice if you think you will be turning objects longer than 15", and it will require a longer supporting base. I have turned 100's of custom grips from many materials and have never needed the extension.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/11/2018 02:17PM by Phil Erickson.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: Jay Dubay (---.clv.wideopenwest.com)
Date: June 07, 2018 08:47PM

Lot's of Good reading here and plenty of good tip's. Don't be surprised if you or you son really enjoy wood turning, {wink} I can be a lot of fun turning fishing plugs - lures. As well as Rod handles, And whatnot. Just so you know. [rodbuilding.org]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/07/2018 08:49PM by Jay Dubay.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: Bill Hickey (---.nycap.res.rr.com)
Date: June 08, 2018 09:18AM

Lots of good advice above, one thing to keep in mind. You and your son stand the chance of getting bit by the bug of turning, grips might only be the start. Keep that in mind when you choose a lathe, some of the small ones and not so expensive ones are fine for turning grips and other small items. If you move into turning wood grips, reel seat inserts, ect, you are going to want something with a bit more horse power, mainly for boring. So if you have the notion that it could turn into more, spend the extra money and outfit yourself properly.

I own two lathes, both bought second hand, my first is a Penn State Turn Crafter, its a great lathe for turning cork and finishing wood inserts, but it does not have the horsepower to bore a .375 hole or larger in the insert. It is sold as a pen making lathe, MT1 with a variable speed drive on it. My other lathe is a Jet with a 1/2 hp motor, speed can be changed by moving belt around, MT2, and a bed extension. It will bore inserts just fine, even got into making some bowls and other wood crafts with it.

The second hand market is a great place to find a good used lathe, it may save you some cash, that you can use to buy good tools and accessories.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: Bert Dluhy (---.nwrknj.fios.verizon.net)
Date: June 10, 2018 11:29AM

if you have the room and the need for any other woodworking machines I would look at used shop smith 5 in 1 machines
long before I started rod building I purchased a shop smith 5 in one machine - the lathe was the last thing I thought I needed but it turned out to be the most enjoyable
now that I build rods the lathe handles all types of handle work with ease and the horizontal boring feature is perfect for centering a hole in the grip material
a quick web search and you'll find some used ones for sale - best thing is many are offered with various accessories - lathe tools and a live center are necesiites

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Lathe
Posted by: Raymond Faus (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: June 18, 2018 01:29PM

All of this is determined by how far down the rabbit hole you want to go. If you just wanna turn cork and EVA, then the FlexCoat or Grizzly drill type lathes will do just fine. However, if you wanna get into acrylic, stabilized hardwoods, etc...then getting a benchtop lathe with at least a 1/2 horse motor is a great place to start. I suggest keeping your eyeballs peeled at used listings. Many people buy lathes only for them to not get used. Just a few weeks ago, I saw a brand new Rikon 70-100 selling for $160. That’s a $450 dollar lathe. If you want a good starter lathe, then I suggest the Cebtral Machinery lathe or the Rockler Excelsior. A little tip- many of the these lathes are made by the same manufacturer in China or Taiwan. The only differences are minor things like reverse, variable speed, and other little gizmos. If you set yourself up correctly, you’ll be into the expanded world of turning. I wouldn’t be surprised if you wound up turning pens, duck calls, and razors.

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.