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.

ICRBE 2020
CCS Database
Int. Custom Rod Symbol
Common Cents Info
American Tackle
Anglers Rsrc - Fuji
Anglers Workshop
BRC Rods
Bingham Enterprises
Cork Specialties LLC
HNL Rod Blanks–CTS
CTS New Zealand
Custom Fly Grips LLC
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
REC Components
Renzetti Inc.
Rod Builders Warehouse
RodHouse France
RodMaker Magazine
RodMaker Blog
Schneiders Rod Shop
SeaGuide Corp.
The Rod Room
Trondak U-40
Utmost Enterprises

Introduction and Shop Equipment - Lathes, Reamers?
Posted by: Dan Martin (---)
Date: February 27, 2020 07:48PM


I'm really getting into rodbuilding and repair, mostly for myself and building for friends and family. I think I've done around 15 or so I'm very happy with and the first 4 or so not so much early on but they are usable and structurally sound! I build mostly lighter, medium, and heavier inshore use rods, not trolling yet but mostly bottom fishing and plugging (and I really won't build a conventional unless it's spiral wrapped which I see is a big topic of discussion always). I've just got the magazine from Tom Kirkland that comes every other month. I've been very happy building on the Phenix blanks so far and am exploring their lines and have built as many as 3 of the same blank and have found at least that particular rod to be consistent and also I'm under the impression they make these blanks themselves in this country which it's nice to be able to buy a product made in USA or at least the 1st world. I've settled on Threadmaster high build and have good results. I could never get ProKote to cure hard. It was always soft no matter how long I waited and even after I got measuring syringes and built in the summer so the room wasn't cold. But I guess some people use it and like it. So I guess thanks for having me and go ahead and comment on anything above if needed.

So the questions:
1) Where should I be looking for a reasonable lathe for grip shaping or should I be? I'm currently using the cheapest Harbor Freight wood lathe I got for Christmas 2 years ago to get me by. Should I be looking for a certain type of lathe or should I just get a rod lathe and shape grips on the rod? Thoughts please. I'm still just handwrapping and don't really see a problem with this because even on a long section of thread for like a base wrap under a cross butt wrap really doesnt take to long considering I'm only building a rod every other month. So what equipment do you guys like? I guess my goal should be professional quality even if I'm not a pro or in a production environment in the realm of how grips marry to seats and gimbals and butt caps. What brands and lengths and is it a machinist lathe or what?

2) Also as I'm getting more particular about fit and finish and am having to ream multiple pieces of EVA (which is what I primarily have been working with) to get a good center especially on short pieces such as a little 2" piece that might go just above a butt cap for a split grip set up. I'm using the CRB set of 4 reamers that are bought together chucked into an electric drill. Any thoughts here for doing it better to make sure I'm getting on center more frequently and my piece will marry better to the seats or butt caps.

3) Does anyone have any hard and fast rules they follow for aesthetics such as how long should a decorative wrap be as it sits next to a forgrip that's say 5 inches long? Is there some ration between the total length of the guide and the overall threadwrap that it sits on? And so on questions such as these. Any rules or theories here to explain?

Thank you,

Dan Martin

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Introduction and Shop Equipment - Lathes, Reamers?
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: February 27, 2020 09:06PM

For shaping grips, the lathe that you have will work just fine.
If you want to spend more money and get a different lathe, perhaps one with a bed extension; you might find that works even better.

But, really, all that you need for shaping grips is a lathe that can spin a mandrel. A good chuck to hold the mandrel. A good tail stock to support the end of the mandrel.

I went from a short relative inexpensive lathe to a much longer with a larger chuck and a better tail stock for my current building. The one really significant think that I like about my current lathe is the bed extension that allows me to have 39 inches between the head stock and the tail stock. I don't make grips that are any where close to that distance. But, the advantage of the long bed, is that when both installing a mandrel, removing a mandrel, changing a grip, the long bed allows the tail stock to be quickly slid back as far as is needed to allow for grip changes, mandrel changes etc. and then restore the tail stock to its previous position.

If one is only doing one or two grips now and then - this is a none issue. But, if one is doing 10-50 grips a day, it becomes a very huge issue.

With respect to hand wrapping vs. power wrapping.
I was educated as an engineer. A friend introduced me to the vocation of rod building. I built my first rod doing it by hand, spinning the rod by hand. After successfully completing that one first rod, I made a vow that I would never ever ever ever build a rod by hand. I never have built another rod by turning it by hand.

That vow also initiated my search for the perfect design to build for a power wrapper. Over the years I have built many different designs and variations of the basic power wrapper. I am now content with my current design and it simply works and works very well.

But, if one does hand wrapping well and enjoys doing it, by all means continue using that method. If not, then use some version of a remotely powered power wrapper.

Enjoy the vocation of rod building. It is your custom rod. Make it special for you and or your client.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Introduction and Shop Equipment - Lathes, Reamers?
Posted by: Dan Martin (---)
Date: February 27, 2020 09:39PM

Oh yes I can see that the power wrapper is probably much superior. But I'm just weighing cost vs. benefit at this point. I think I would like to cut my finish epoxy lines a little faster than a few rps for a nice distinctive stright line. Do you do that on your power wrapper? Im probably also just in need of a more consistent thread tension device whether it's powered or not. I'm sure the power wrapper would make underwraps and long sections MUCH quicker and I do tend to do them on most of what I've built so far. It's not that I enjoy the hand cramps and tedium but I guess I'm too poor to justify a power wrapper yet with the amount I'm doing.

But not being able to build one myself like you due to your background have you ever seen the wrappers that have the "Upgraded Chuck" and what do you think of them? Or what does your setup consist of or do for you? I have the idea in my head that if I can glue stock grips and shape them on the blank It'll be better than constantly checking with calipers and take the reaming of thin stuff I've already lathed down out of the picture. Is that a feasible idea to you? Thanks for talking and sharing with me.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Introduction and Shop Equipment - Lathes, Reamers?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 27, 2020 10:26PM

As usual, Roger has offered sound advice. Consider not straying too far from it!
As for the Phenix rods; it is my understanding they are manufactured in China, yet their quality is among the best in the industry. I have built on them and they are very, very nice blanks and fish extremely well.
If you like Thread Master finish, then use it! I recently tried TM Light after using ProKote for 4 years and do not notice a huge difference. All the common, present-day thread finishes are very good and pretty much variations on the same theme.
As for your numbered questions;
1.) Almost any wood lathe will be acceptable for accomplishing rod building requirements as long as it has a 3 or 4 jaw chuck and a tailstock with a live center. While Harbor Freight offerings are generally on the lower end of the quality scale, you’ve got it so use it. It may be better to presently spend your money on things required rather than desired.
2.) Chuck your reamers in the jaws of your wood lathe, changing where you grip/hold the piece frequently while turning will help keep the ID concentric. Check often and adjust if needed.
3.) “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Dimensions of wraps is a personal thing = I can’t help you there. If you like it, then it is good.

Mark Talmo

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Introduction and Shop Equipment - Lathes, Reamers?
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: February 28, 2020 09:43AM

If reaming; consider the use of circular files chucked into a drill. It is simple, the files do not wear out and you can do an excellent job.

The one thing that really makes the job go well is to use cloth gloves on your hands.
I buy the brown jersey gloves and the white knit gloves by the dozen. When they get dirty or worn out, I chuck them.

In particular, I use a glove on the hand that I use to hold the grip that I am reaming. I hold the grip in my non favored hand and hold the drill in my favored hand. i.e. if right handed, I hold the drill in the right hand and hold the grip in the left hand.

When using circular file in the drill, I have chopped off the handle end of the file and have reduced the end of the file to fit nicely into the end of the variable speed drill to run true. Then, when using the file, I run the drill in reverse so that the drill wants to back out of the hole in the grip. If you run the drill in normal forward rotation, the file will grab the inside of the grip, screw itself into the grip and if you can hold it will split the grip into multiple pieces. So, don't do it.

Rather, with the drill running in reverse, force the drill and file into the hole in the grip you are reaming. This is where the cloth glove comes into play. As you are reaming, you let the grip slip a bit more or less continuously in your hand. This means that the grip is revolving slowly in your gloved hand. The glove lets the grip slip a bit without hurting your hand and the glove protects your hand that will be generated as the grip slips a bit in your hand. But, by doing it this way, the slow rotations of the grip in your hand as you are reaming keep the hole very well centered in the grip.

A picture of the file collection that I have collected over the years and the mods to the handle area of the file and the sharpened tips on the files to expedite reaming with the files:

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: Introduction and Shop Equipment - Lathes, Reamers?
Posted by: John Cates (---.austin.res.rr.com)
Date: February 28, 2020 03:21PM

Build your own reamers. Here is how:




And while we are at it check out our new variable speed DC motors that we are barely able to keep in stock:


Build better rods than you can buy and keep it simple.

Flex Coat Company
Professional Rod Building Supplies

Options: ReplyQuote

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.