Okay, honestly, how hard is it to build up a rod?

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by Josh, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

    I've never built a rod. I have a general sense of the idea. But I've never tried to do it myself.

    Is this a reasonable outline of the process:


    Is it easier than he makes it sound? Harder?
  2. Rob Ast

    Rob Ast Active Member


    The actual wrapping is not difficult, especially if you are not trying to do multi-color wraps or small trim bands. Making sure all the guides are aligned just tale patience and an eye for detail. The hardest part is getting smooth even epoxy without big footballs. This part takes practice.
    Ron McNeal likes this.
  3. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

    While of course I'd like it to look pretty, on a rod I built myself I could live with a lumpy epoxy job as long as it was just a cosmetic thing. I worry more about performance stuff like aligning guides and finding the 'spline" or whatever that is called.
  4. atomic dog

    atomic dog Jive Turkey

    It's totally not difficult. There are tons of online resources, but I also picked up a book, though I can't recall the name of it at the moment.

    The biggest thing is to just go slow, take your time. My first couple rods weren't so pretty (football-shaped epoxy as noted above), but they are all functional. My first build was a 6'6" 2wt kit that is still in use, probably my most used rod.

    One tip I might suggest is to not start with a lightweight rod. I did have a hard time wrapping the tip section because it's so thin and flexy. Heavier rods are a lot easier.
    Rob Ast likes this.
  5. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

    Good deal. Thanks.

    I would probably start with a 6-8 wt switch if I was going to build one. So a reasonable size for sure.
  6. gbeeman

    gbeeman Active Member

    It's really a straight forward process. Some blanks come with the spline marked but if they don't it's easy to find. Fitting the grip may require a bit of work and lining up the guides just takes the time to do it right. You don't need a high end rod wrapper, the small ones work just fine. One thing you should consider would be to buy, rent, or make a rod turner. This really helps when you put the finish on the wraps.

  7. jwg

    jwg Active Member

    Nothing beats seeing someone else doing it

    So while it is not that hard, you can pick it up easier by doing your first one in a rod building class, which some flyfishing clubs do annually, or with someone else who is experienced.

    If no resources are available, then by all means go for it on your own.

    You can order complete kits with all the parts you need selected to fit and work together.

    Selecting all the components each by yourself without experience could be a problem, e.g. Reel seat may or may not recess into the cork grip, so the cork grip needs to be selected accordingly

    I don't know if there are good demos on YouTube

    Mike Ediger likes this.
  8. Mike Ediger

    Mike Ediger Active Member

    Agree with others...not hard at all. I think it can be hard to make it look nice sometimes, or to do fancy trims etc...but from a functional standpoint. Not hard at all.
  9. jwg

    jwg Active Member

    There may also be tremendous savings buying as a kit

  10. Dave Evans

    Dave Evans Active Member

    Kits take a lot of the hassle out of the process and are a great way to start. There are a couple of shops in WA that offer great kits. The last one I did was a 5wt z-axis kit from a shop in WA and the components were top notch. There are some very good resources on the internet to help you out if you are stumped about something or need to get out of trouble. I really enjoy it.
  11. Steve Ufer

    Steve Ufer New Member

    On You Tube the "Flyrod Fanatic" leads you through the process step by step. I am finishing my second rod and his videos helped more than anything else I have found on the web.
  12. Dave Evans

    Dave Evans Active Member

    Flex coat also has some very good videos.
  13. Matthew LeBret

    Matthew LeBret Active Member

    flex coat, mudhole and youtube all have great how to's. Between all 3 of them they could show you from start to fishing. A kit is a great way to start until you get the hang of it and most will to be sucked into the rod building black hole costing lots of $$$$$$$
  14. Rob Ast

    Rob Ast Active Member

    Hook and hackle (www.hookhack.com) usually has kits at 25-30% off, typically a different product each week. Wait until the forecast kits go on sale and you'll build a very usable rod for under $100
  15. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

    It's really easy and enjoyable. I've built a half dozen rods - gave a couple to my sons. Check out Rodbuilding.org which has links to on-line retailers that sell all kinds of kits - from the very inexpensive to Orvis and Sage blanks.
  16. Richard Torres

    Richard Torres Active Member


    I've been curious about building my own stick and also browsed through this site before.

    I'm not sure how far North you live, but Gregs custom fishing rods in Lake Stevens has beginner kits and classes for those wanting to build thier own.
  17. Yellowhumpy

    Yellowhumpy New Member

    Definitely recommend taking a class....and make your first one with inexpensive blank and components
  18. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

    Well a class is out of the question. Any shop giving classes is going to be over an hour away (and more likely two). So it's pretty much "choose your own adventure" for me. But I do have some buddies up here I can lean on for help if I get confused or stuck. So that will be good.
  19. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

    Well a Caveman most likely couldn't do it. But I managed to build my first when I was around 12.
  20. csilve

    csilve New Member

    I don't post much, but I just wanted to say I did it. videos all over, check mudhole