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New at rod building
Posted by: Rob Hankamp (---)
Date: January 20, 2023 01:01AM

Hello all

The subject line pretty much speaks for itself. I’ve built one bass rod (in the process of building a 2nd). Having some trouble finding a buyer though.

What are some of the features that make a custom rod desirable/collectible? Any pointers would be appreciated. I have pictures of the rods I’ve been working on if anyone would like to critique/suggest anything (Not sure how to post pics here).

Thanks ????

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Kevin Fiant (---.oh.cpe.breezeline.net)
Date: January 20, 2023 08:00AM

Welcome to the forum and Rodbuilding. I am new myself (just built 2 thus far).

Regarding posting pictures the only thing that has worked for me is to post an image using the mobile app (iPhone or Android). I tried posting pics from computer into the pic side of the site and it said they downloaded successfully but I could not find them...

Regarding what makes a custom rod desirable: I think that is a pretty tough question to answer as it will be different for different people. Some people are going to be most interested in making rods as light weight as possible. Others might want a very specific blank/grip/handle/reel seat setup. Others may like them because the guide train size/position and all components are optimized to the reel and/or type of fishing they will use the rod for. Others may be most interested in the multitude of creative decorative features on a custom rod. To me that is what makes this hobby pretty cool. Lots of options. I'm doing it primarily to replace my arsenal of factory rods to get exactly what I want. But I am also interested in learning how to do some of the very cool decorative touches on rods to give them the custom look. Have fun.

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: El Bolinger (---)
Date: January 20, 2023 08:42AM

Hey Rob,welcome to the forum!

The best way to post pics is to download the app on either android or ios and post them directly in the thread.

I'm new myself but I'll say this from my research - depending on the intended purpose the market is different. I've seen custom tuna rods for $1400 and custom bass rods for $250 and everything in between.

What makes a custom rod desirable is different for each individual. If I were to purchase a custom rod (or make one myself which is the avenue I chose) I would want as little thread and epoxy as possible, the lightest components within practical cost/benefit ratio, and high quality blank/components.

Some people want a rod with beautiful thread art that makes it look wicked cool and obviously custom.

Nobody wants a rod from somebody who has only built one rod.

If I were looking into custom builds I would ask about experience and that would be a deterrent for me. Unless you can sell me on why you could still make me a better rod than a St. Croix legend for about the same price - why you design rods better, components are better, engineered better, etc. Or perhaps because you only built one rod you could build me a SCv quality rod for less money - that is always desirable to people.

You're not only competing with other custom builders trying to make a business, but tried and true mass manufactured rods, people rave about Shimano Expride and Poison Adrena - are your rods better for the same price?

A lot of this boils down to marketing, which is the same for absolutely everything we buy. Shimano claims the Poison Adrena has 140% increased sensitivity- great marketing, everybody wants that. But it's 140% more sensitive than what? How was it measured? In the end it doesn't really matter, they're allowed to say it and some people will believe it and buy it.

Here is an example of research and data that backs up a claim of increased sensitivity, and when they make reasonable claims in there marketing that are backed by data I'm inclined to trust them and purchase from them [www.rodbuilding.org]

At the end of the day there are people in mall kiosks selling rocks because they convince people that the vibrations resonate with the univers and into their existence affording them peace or strength or balance. And they do sell them... rocks... that are rocks- for money. So if you can market it, you can sell it. Look at bottled water - absolutely brilliant idea. Let's take that free water from the spring, put it in a cheap plastic bottle, and make astronomical profit - brilliant. You won't see on a bottle of water a claim to be regular water, but that's what it is. I think it's Avon that is actually filtered tap water - brilliant!

This goes for everything in life my man, this is why the same 100 garbage songs are on the charts and fantastic artists are never heard. It's why the shelves are filled with low quality products in every isle across the store. It's why some revolutionary ideas and products don't survive and we're left with well marketed junk.

Having a product and knowing how to sell it are 2 VERY different things, you need to find a way to market your builds to draw customers - but if the quality doesn't match or exceed the price your reputation will quickly become one among many that people will not buy from and that is a very difficult uphill battle to recover from. some products are released without enough testing, or with known flaws that aren't expected to be so bad, and then it turns into recalls and loss of trust from the consumers. So make sure you have a product that will build your reputation and not hurt it.

Good luck with your builds and your business my man! Stick around and ask more questions, I think you'll find a wealth of knowledge and experience from wonderful and kind and helpful people here.

Building rods in MA, daydreaming of fishing in CA



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2023 08:43AM by El Bolinger.

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Rob Hankamp (---)
Date: January 20, 2023 01:14PM


Any suggestions to improve?

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Rob Hankamp (---)
Date: January 20, 2023 01:14PM



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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Daryl Ferguson (---)
Date: January 20, 2023 09:07PM

I'm new too. I just finished my first "work horse" bass rod, as I would call it. It's a 7' medium heavy / fast action. I built a MHX kit as my first build just to make sure I even enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed it so much, my wallet is already 3 more custom builds lighter. Well, I haven't actually purchased the components yet but the funds are set aside. I'm retired and just want something enjoyable to do with my time when the weather doesn't cooperate with my fishing plans. I'm not looking to sell rods.

I wish you all the best with your business endeavor!

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Mark Talmo (71.147.59.---)
Date: January 21, 2023 12:14AM

Rob,
Extremely simplified, there are 2 approaches to building a custom rod = FORM or FUNCTION. How that is perceived by the builder or the ultimate customer is what makes a custom rod just that = CUSTOM. FORM may be flashy, extravagant thread wraps while FUNCTION may be the lightest possible build. There is a HUGE gray area in between to be exploited!!! Arguably, neither the FORM nor FUNCTION extremes truly represent what a custom rod is all about. A rod builder’s job is to differentiate between the two and decide which approach to take, whether across-the-board with all their builds or for a particular customer. The more versatile / compliant a builder might be may prove to be the difference between gained sales or lost sales. While admittedly vague, I have yet to discover the absolute solution myself. But, I’m here to learn.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!! BUILDING YOUR OWN SIMPLY ENHANCES THE EXPERIENCE.

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Daryl Ferguson (---)
Date: January 21, 2023 11:51AM

Mark Talmo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Rob,
> Extremely simplified, there are 2 approaches to
> building a custom rod = FORM or FUNCTION. How that
> is perceived by the builder or the ultimate
> customer is what makes a custom rod just that =
> CUSTOM. FORM may be flashy, extravagant thread
> wraps while FUNCTION may be the lightest possible
> build. There is a HUGE gray area in between to be
> exploited!!! Arguably, neither the FORM nor
> FUNCTION extremes truly represent what a custom
> rod is all about. A rod builder’s job is to
> differentiate between the two and decide which
> approach to take, whether across-the-board with
> all their builds or for a particular customer. The
> more versatile / compliant a builder might be may
> prove to be the difference between gained sales or
> lost sales. While admittedly vague, I have yet to
> discover the absolute solution myself. But, I’m
> here to learn.


This is one area where me and Roger Seider (I think that's his name, the gentleman at Flex Coat) see eye to eye. He builds fast, light weight, no frills rods. That's what I'm about with mine. BUT, I'm not going to be selling mine. I'm building for myself and, perhaps, a few of my friends and family. And, as rough as I am on rods, I'm guessing I'll keep plenty busy with my own. lol

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---)
Date: January 21, 2023 04:06PM

I build what my customer wants! I only build fly rods and have a reputation for building very good rods for the specific type of fishing the client is to pursue..

To do this, I conduct a pretty thorough interview for new customers, Repeat customers, usually know what they want. I build only "to order" no inventory. Often my new customers are someone I encounter fishing, and they observe the rods I and my fiends are using. I have lots of repeat customers, one has bought 24 fly rods from me another a dozen. All of them have at one time or another purchased factory rods, but now prefer a rod made to better fit their purpose.

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Mark Hahn (---.26.18.98.static.ip.windstream.net)
Date: January 22, 2023 08:55AM

One of the most telling statements I’ve ever read here shed light on the difference between a ‘homemade’ rod and a custom rod. I still have my first two rods I built over 40 years ago and love fishing with them. They are monstrosities to look at with many workmanship flaws that I would never let pass today but I love fishing with them. Now I have better equipment and a lot more experience that reflects in my work. In light of this experience I can piggyback on the two trends identified her; substance and style. The vast majority of people want performance, at least the serious fishermen do. Fancier rods tend to catch the eye but sell less frequently. Most people are not willing to pay the extra for this feature, especially if it sacrifices performance. This is not a hard and fast rule but in my experience it is the highest percentage of my customers.

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Kevin B Wright (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net)
Date: January 22, 2023 10:46AM

I'm definitely still a novice as well, but a few years in, learning more every build

You'll need to find your market. Not many people are going to want to pay $value for your first builds. Keep building, and keep sharing your work with people who fish. The biggest thing is to prove why your rod is better at "X" price point vs a rod off the shelf. So far, the rods people have asked me to build/paid for, are the ones you can't get off the shelf. Super bright/unique Cobia sight casting rods. Something that they can hop onto a buddy's boat and everything says "What rod is that?". Others are for unique situations, built several pairs of "Sailboat Rods" which are four-foot trolling rods for heavy trolling weight on the bay, but keep the rods out of the sailing equipment.

You could see if anyone wants a rod build at cost, it's a way to practice your building, without a $ out of pocket the same way building for yourself is.

Enjoy the builds!

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Michael Tarr (---)
Date: January 22, 2023 01:04PM

A custom rod is one that is built for a person according to what they require same for tailored suites, golf clubs, cars etc.

I would say if you assemble a rod to your liking it’s custom to you not anyone else. Assembling a rod without a request from somebody is no different than a “factory”rod company offering a rod for sale. So if you post a rod on a social media account saying custom rod for sale… it’s not really unless you took an already existing rod tweaked it in some way to make it custom.

To improve on the pictured handle, I’d cut down the threads on the reel seat as much as possible. I prefer to have my index finger rest on the smooth blank and not the threads. Add a hook keeper, I don’t see it if has one.

It’s all about marketing your rods if your trying to start a rod building company. If want to start off small build 20 rods and follow around the angling tournament circuits. Pay a angler for an add in their truck or boat, put stickers on your vehicle, make business cards, advertise on social media, make a youtube video (its free), talk to local anglers as much as possible.

Or get a LLC, create a business model (show how you’d be profitable) go to a bank and see how much money you can get from them for a startup. If it doesn’t pan out, file bankruptcy and walk away without paying dime just ruined your credit for 7 years.

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Re: New at rod building
Posted by: Michael Tarr (---)
Date: January 22, 2023 01:30PM

Also notice the epoxy on the logo looks kinda wavy and there’s a slight gap where the rear grip meets the reel seat. Another coat of epoxy will help level out the wave and lightly sanding the grip until the joint is completely flush would look better. Not sure how to fix the gap after it’s all glued but for your next build pay more attention to the details.

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