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.

CCS Database
Custom Rod Symbol
Common Cents Info
American Grips Piscari
American Tackle
Anglers Rsrc - Fuji
BackCreek Custom Rods
HNL Rod Blanks–CTS
Custom Fly Grips LLC
Decal Connection
Flex Coat Co.
Get Bit Outdoors
HFF Custom Rods
Janns Netcraft
Mudhole Custom Tackle
MHX Rod Blanks
North Fork Composites
Palmarius Rods
REC Components
RodBuilders Warehouse
RodHouse France
RodMaker Magazine
Schneiders Rod Shop
SeaGuide Corp.
Stryker Rods & Blanks
The Rod Room
The FlySpoke Shop
Utmost Enterprises
VooDoo Rods

Pages: 12Next
Current Page: 1 of 2
New to all of this.
Posted by: Joel Brunk (---.static.wiline.com)
Date: September 04, 2023 03:38PM

Hello from the Denver area. I'm brand new to this hobby and I have a gazillion questions. My back ground is in automotive, mostly painting. I have run body shops for a while now as working on the shop floor is not practical as I get older and more beat up. I already have 2 expensive and time consuming hobbies in hot rods and fishing. However, I saw a custom hand built rod at a fund raiser and naively said "how hard could it be??" Well, I'm totally overwhelmed at the information, supplies and possibilities out there. Paralyzingly so!

Am I better off starting with a kit?
What tools do I really need?
Should I start with a spinning rod, or fly rod? (I primarily fly fish, but do use a spinning rod often).

I know this will not be a cheap or easy endeavor. I'm certain my perfectionist eye will drive me to drink. But I love the idea of making my own equipment and making stuff for friends too.

As you can see, I have more questions than answers!
Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Les Cline (---.lightspeed.mssnks.sbcglobal.net)
Date: September 04, 2023 05:21PM


If you primarily fly fish, I would start there.

Pick a weight of fly rod you will fish the most. (4-weight, 8-weight? Streamer or Euro Nymph? Small stream or big river? All-rounder?)
Do a Search on this forum for, "Beginning Fly Rod Build".
Read the many responses and take notes on blanks, guide trains, reel seats, etc.

Watch some internet content under the same search title.
Watch several videos and take notes. (Not all of this info will be the best advice or best practice - it is just to get you "up on game" as it were.)

You will have a basic understanding and some information to bounce around here when you return.

That's what I would do if I never built a rod before. You are in the best place on the internet to get solid advice - even though it will vary to some degree.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Robert A. Guist (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: September 04, 2023 05:33PM

Hello Joel.

Les gave some good advice, I also would read some of the articles listed in the "Library" at the top of the page.

Oh, by the way welcome to the addiction.

This board is one of if not the best board for rod building information.

Tight Wraps & Tighter Lines.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Joel Brunk (---.static.wiline.com)
Date: September 04, 2023 05:35PM

Thanks for the warm welcome. I appreciate the info!

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Mark Hahn (---.30.18.98.static.ip.windstream.net)
Date: September 04, 2023 09:56PM


I'd suggest you get a kit from any of the reputable retailers. This will do a lot of the leg work for you as far as what goes with what. Personally, I think you could go either way with fly or spinning. Fly rods are much narrower and, being new, your fingers will befuddle you more than a spinning rod will. That said, the videos are all over the internet. Most of the retailers put out solid information and there is a lot to be learned. The other thing is: Don't be afraid to make mistakes. We all still make them. Good luck and feel free to email me if you have any questions.


Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Tom Harrigan (---)
Date: September 04, 2023 10:33PM

I agree with the kit suggestion.

It’s how I started (and I’m not all that experienced now).

It’s nice to have the components arrive all at once, and helped me research/ask questions about how it all fit together.

It’s a fun process, you can’t go wrong either way.

This board is fantastic-

All the best -

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: david taylor (---)
Date: September 04, 2023 11:41PM

Some good thoughts have already been suggested, but I will add or reiterate some commentary:

1) If you fly fish most of the time, build a fly rod, it is no harder than any other rod.
2) What rivers or streams do you primarily fish and for what size trout?
3) How much do you want to spend on your entire build? By the way, you can build a very nice fly rod for less than $200. As to the blank, do you want a fast action or medium action blank? What length and line weight?
4) Do you desire a 2-piece or 4-piece fly rod? A four piece has two extra ferrule wraps, so no big difference.
5) Everything you need to know is available on videos on YouTube, in tutorials on this forum, or by asking on this forum. There are no dumb questions, even if you are a first timer. There are only dumb mistakes due to not asking questions
6) If you think you will get serious about rod building, then you may want to invest in a basic rod wrapping station. If you are not sure, you can use a cardboard box and run the line through some books.
7) You will need at minimum some regular epoxy, guide wrap epoxy (very different), a box of razor blades, some masking tape (can buy pre cut from rod building sites), a burnishing tool, some mixing cups, and several cheap paint brushes for applying the thread epoxy.
8) Parts for the rod you will need will be: 1) the blank; 2) a reel seat; 3) a grip; 4) 8-11 guides; 5) a tip top) 6) at least one color of thread to wrap the guides with; a winding check; a hook keeper if you want one.

If you have the patience and ability to do meticulous car body work and paint a car, you can certainly build a fly rod. It is much easier.

Buying a kit is a bit easier as it is an all included package. On the other hand, part of the fun of building one's own rod is the ability to customize it with parts that meet your taste and budget.

Where in the Denver area do you live?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Joel Brunk (---.hlrn.qwest.net)
Date: September 05, 2023 12:18AM

Thanks again for all the responses and warm welcome.
David, I generally fish smaller water. Streams, beaver ponds and small lakes. I really enjoy fishing from my float tube as well. While I like to say I fish for 22-24" trout I seem catch a lot in the 8-14" range. Brookies are my favorite.
$200 or less was my goal, but I'm realistic too. I'd probably start by building a 3wt 4 piece in the 7 foot range. Fast action.
Sounds like I should start with a kit and get a taste of this. If it's anything like building hot rods I'll be hooked soon.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Norman Miller (Moderator)
Date: September 05, 2023 10:40AM

In my opinion, building a fly rod is the easiest type of rod to build for a beginner. The short rod sections allows you to use a very minimal rod wrapper set up, just a couple of rod supports and a thread tension device. I don’t even use rod supports, just a thread tension device, which can be a few heavy books. In addition, because the butt diameters of most light fly rods are quite small, you will probably only need one or two of the smallest cork reamers sizes to ream your grips. Thus, the cost of the equipment needed to build a fly rod is quite minimal. However, if you get hooked and want to turn your own grips and reel seat inserts the cost of equipment can rise in a hurry.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Rob Carey (---)
Date: September 05, 2023 12:39PM


You can build a fly rod with a cardboard box. As Norm said, the small sections are super easy.

If I could do it all over again I would but more Flex Coat products. For a fly rod, the CRB hand wrapper would be a great choice. It is what I still use in a modified way.

The build kits are okay. If you like high end things, you are going to want to build a full custom. I built an NFC with carbon grips and recoil guides for under 200. It fishes and looks like a $400+ rod.

Good luck. It's fun and once you invest in minimal supplies, you can build some sweet rods for 130-225 that fish with the best of them.

If you buy your supplies right you can put a pretty good starting kit together for 200-300 bucks. Here is a bare minimum list from a new novice builder.
- reamers
- wrapper
- blades
- tape (1/8 and 1/2)
- burnishing tool
- handle epoxy
- guide epoxy
- guide rubber bands (multiple sizes for static load and wrapping)
- pencil / china marker
- yard of #15 braid for pull loop
- tip top glue
- drying motor (CRB is effective and cheap / flex coat variable with slip clutch could be a one time buy to future proof)
- heat gun
- Dremel (cuting and grinding)
- sand paper (100 roughing up for glue / 320 smoothing hot spots)
- static load tester (optional but kinda the whole point of custom for me. Use a box with a hole low on one side and a v notch cut in the top on the other. Put a dumbbell in there to prevent tipping...or watch YouTube and make one with scrap wood and pvc.)
- thread ( buy some B and C to start. A can be a bit of a challenge)

Like I said, if I was starting over I would ask myself how serious and how many rods.

If just a couple, I'd go with the list above and the CRB wrapper.

If many and years of building, I'd look at the Flex Coat system.

I've spent close to what the flex coat system cost getting to something that is not nearly as functional but I'm committed and funds are tight.

Just my thoughts as a diy home builder not for selling.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: September 05, 2023 04:41PM

As Robert said, “welcome to the addiction”. And congratulations on finding the best rod building forum on the internet. It contains a good mix of veteran builders, those new to the craft and everything in between, all willing to help if you simply ask.
You stated, “I know this will not be a cheap or easy endeavor”. It is as cheap or expensive, easy or difficult as you make it!!! Go at it to suit yourself. As has been mentioned, a cardboard box with V notches to hold the blank and putting the thread spool in a cup while running the thread through a book for a little tension will certainly work and certainly save some money. That said, a formal HAND rod wrapper makes the build process much easier, enjoyable and precise. I don’t know how Norman can wrap guides on his lap, but he builds ~200 rods per year and has been doing so for more than 40 years! I fabricated my own power rod lathe but hand wrap 85% of the time.
If you primarily fly fish, then build a fly rod!
There are pros and cons regarding building a kit versus sourcing all the individual components separately. The only real con is that one is assembling parts which someone else chose albeit probably a lower grade. BUT, for a “get your feet wet” first build, it is certainly not a bad idea = all the required components will be there and probably less expensive than purchasing separately. A kit is a great way to learn the ins-and-outs and also learn from your mistakes; trust me, there will be mistakes but what better way to learn?!?!
Above replies have already suggested a pretty good list of tools and material so I won’t elaborate much. Rob mentioned thread; size A and D are the most common. While size D is larger in diameter and therefore generally easier to wrap (especially for a beginner), if you are building a fly rod, you may want to bite-the-bullet and go with size A = never seen a lower weight fly rod with size D. If you purchase a kit, ask the salesman if the grip will be in need of reaming to properly fit the blank. While a set of good reamers is essential eventually, you may be able to save a little money right now.
GOOD LUCK and keep us posted on your first rod and new addiction.

Mark Talmo

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Kendall Cikanek (---)
Date: September 05, 2023 10:20PM

There are just a few things you actually learn by building from a kit. The most difficult of these are mixing two part epoxies and finishes, wrapping guides, and applying the rod finish. While these are important skills, I would be surprised if an advanced body shop/paint person would be challenged by any except for the guide wrapping. With a kit, you will barely climb the learning curve while building a rod that isn’t much more special than the economy models in the super stores. They are a better choice for someone with less pertinent skills than yours, in my opinion.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: September 06, 2023 03:47PM

With all due respect, although Kendall states very valid points, this will be your first build while learning a lot and most likely making a few mistakes. Building a kit does have merit as well. Sure, you could spend $500.00+ on all the top-notch components but if it isn’t assembled properly or visually appealing, you’ve spent a lot of money to be disappointed. I’m confident that most builders will admit that their first build is/was inferior to what they build now. My first build was not a kit because I thought that I knew enough to do better. While very proud of it at the time and it catches fish, today it looks kind of dumpy; size 16 rather than 17 seat, funky no-name guides (COF nonetheless), don’t really care for the shape of the cork grips, threadwork (size D rather than A) nothing like what I can do today. Needless to say, I can’t remember the last time I fished that rod in favor of enjoying what I can now build today. So although a kit may not look or perform any better than a generic store-bought rod, you just might save a little money and disappointment as well while learning the craft.

Mark Talmo

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Harry Sandoval (---.hsd1.ut.comcast.net)
Date: September 06, 2023 05:20PM

Very timely thread as I am about to find out the results of my approach to getting started building my own rods. That is as soon as my Mudhole order arrives with all of my supplies...

Here is my approach so far:

I have been wanting to wrap my own rods since going down a worm hole casting to inshore Stripers and wanting a kr concept rod built specifically to fish 10lbs braid six years ago. Every year or so I would research rod building, add a bunch of stuff to the mud hold shopping cart until I would get overwhelmed. Then I would buy a few factory rods and forget about rod building for a year...

After talking to a friend who builds rods professionally, I realized this was too big of a project to do all at once. I decided I would start off ordering blanks, then equipment and components over a year or two. Much like everything else I get into, I can't seem to go part way or test the waters...

About that time North Fork had their birthday sale and I decided to order ten blanks (3fly,7bass/UL trout); that was three months ago. I received a couple of blanks within two weeks and that motivated me to make a list of components for the first three rods I wanted to build. I decided on the 11' 2weight Euro rod, an UL trout jerk bait rod, and a 110jr rod. But, I didn't receive the jerkbait blanks and the G2 wrapper was out of stock, so I procrastinated.
From that point it took me almost six weeks of researching in my spare time to get a list of what I needed for the rods/equipment and receive the blanks I needed. The list is pretty close to what I came up with on day one, with the exception of the Power wrapper.

I really like the look of the RBS G2 power wrapper, but lack of availability and disdain for dust in my epoxy finishes had me almost sold on the latest Flexcoat wrapper and drill lathe... But, in my first life I was machinist and I would love to have even a sloppy little wood lathe just for fun...

So, I compromised and ordered the RBS tracks, inexpensive rod supports, variable speed dryer and slip clutch along with the 4 thread carriage. I figure I will want a separate dryer, so no matter what power wrapper I get in the end, the dryer and stands will still be useful and not in the junk pile.

I decided to skip turning my own grips until I can research the lathe part more. The flex coat drill lathe seems like good option for someone only building rods for themselves, but again, I kinda want a real lathe. The G2 looks like a great compromise, but turning wood on a finish machine goes against my sensibilities...

To be honest, the Labor Day sale is what pushed me over the edge. I even went ahead and ordered stuff for my first six rods since it was on sale. I ordered four different brands of Kr style guide trains to see which I like best for my style. I did the same thing with reel seats and grips, ordering four different styles to see which I like best. I do run the risk of having a guide train or grip that don't fit my taste enough to not use, but with the Labor Day discount, this seemed like the easiest way to quickly gather data.

Im super excited to build out my first rod; the workbench is cleared and ready for the supplies to arrive...
I will report back next week with the results

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.44.66.72.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: September 06, 2023 06:58PM

Watch all the Flex-Coat videos. Great starting point. [flexcoat.com]

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: September 08, 2023 01:32PM

Start with a Fly Rod. Buy a CTS blank from Herb and get the guides, grips, thread and reel seat from one of the vendors on the left. Make a hand wrapping rack, plenty of you tube videos to show you how. Just start doing it, you sound like you are a perfectionist and will get it pretty fast. When you come to a road block, ask the forum. Good luck, it is really not that expensive compared to what you would pay for a top end fly rod.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.alma.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: September 09, 2023 09:11AM

I personally would not start with the intent of getting a top end fly rod. With every build one gets better, and with the first build, most make errors in learning how best to build. Better to make those errors on an inexpensive build (yes, kit) that will fish just fine. I've seen first builds that were very good, and I've seen many that really were not that good. My first is included in the latter group. There is no absolute right or wrong answer here, simply opinions for you to consider.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Kendall Cikanek (---)
Date: September 09, 2023 04:36PM

Nearly the entire range of fly rod blanks lies between the economy kits and a CTS. I would aim for value in the middle of this. There are many well-priced and performing options in Rod Geeks, Rainshadow, and NFC lines. The Aurora line at Rodbuilders Warehouse looks very interesting, too.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Harry Sandoval (---.hsd1.ut.comcast.net)
Date: September 20, 2023 08:57AM

I don't want to count my chickens before they have fully hatched, but with the second coat of Gen 4 hi-build tacked up and drying, it feels like we are very close to catching fish on the new jerk bait rod I just wrapped. Thank you to everyone for providing so much valuable information for new rod builders. I feel confident that my first rod will meet my fairly high expectations performance wise. I have a slight wave in the epoxy over the label which @#$%& me off, but in hindsight, I was brushing to fast on my first coat. I can also see that a higher speed finishing motor might be useful for fast movers like myself.

As usual, FedEx delayed my equipment and supplies by a week for no good reason. I was quick to get everything setup after receiving last Tuesday, but quickly realized I didn't have enough light. About halfway thru the first rod, I gave up and went to Home Depot for more lighting. It took me a couple of days to make time to hang new lights. I should have moved the tracks instead of dumping drywall dust onto them as I hung lights overhead...

Once I got the lighting dialed in, I wrapped my first rod no less than three times. The first was a victim of the bad lighting and new fingers. The second had good wraps, but I wasn't smart enough to put my pull string in before the locking wraps. Functionally, the second wraps worked and were smooth, but I couldn't live with that much wrap above the size 3 micro runners on an ultralight rod. So, the third set of wraps finally got me what I needed. I had better results with more thread tension; I struggled to get the thread started at first which seemed to be cured by increasing and holding more tension.

The finish went on pretty good, but like I mentioned, the label has slight waves or spirals in the finish. I was clearly moving my brush to fast and not making sure the epoxy was level enough to start, I mistakenly assumed it would level itself before tacking,

I was worried about guide alignment away too much. I see why it isn't as big of a deal as I imagined; I went thru a lot of trouble getting the guides perfect before wrapping only to move them all a bit in the wrapping process. Next time I will get everything close, but skip perfection until wrapped. I also found a video that recommended a line taped to center of reel seat, strung through all of the guides to a bead caught in the tip top. This method helped give a visual reference against the black micro guides and black blank which helped in final alignment...

Other than the above, everything went pretty much to plan. It was a major pain to order six sets of components at once. It took me the better part of my free time for a day or two to get everything organized and sort of findable. With that said, I wish I had ordered an even larger selection of reel seats just to make sure I have the feel I like the best. The same goes for grips...

I really enjoyed this first build and am already glueing the grip/seats onto that 11' 2 weight NFC Euro blank for my next build. If the second build goes as planned, I think I may need to order a really nice Euro blank and try for something closer to perfection...

thanks again for all of the great help on this site

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: New to all of this.
Posted by: Chris Catignani (---)
Date: September 20, 2023 09:25AM

Harry Sandoval Wrote:
> I went thru a lot of trouble getting the guides
> perfect before wrapping only to move them all a
> bit in the wrapping process. Next time I will get
> everything close, but skip perfection until
> wrapped.

(And this may just be me)....but I will use a pen (white Sakura Gelly Roll 08) to mark where the guides will go.
Then I will wrap them on one guide at a time...aligning each one to the previous.

There is nothing like catch fish on a rod you make...unless you make your own lures too.

Options: ReplyQuote
Pages: 12Next
Current Page: 1 of 2

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.