Saturday, May 10, 2008

Building a Fly Rod: Part 6 – Finishing the Guide Wrap, Special Wraps, and Tip

With the guide wrapped you are now holding a blank and thread that you do not dare let go of, as all your hard work will unravel. We need to finish the wrap.

Finishing the Guide

When you have about 5-7 wraps left to go stop rotating the blank. We are going to do a whip finish to hold the thread in place until we put the finish on the rod.

Select a piece of thread about 3-5 inches long. Loop the thread and place it on top of your wrap. The loop should be on the side of the guide, and the tag ends facing the start of your wrap. Look at the picture below for clarification.

Thread Loop Next to the Wrap

Now finish your wrap. When finished place your finger on the thread. Pull the blank towards you and cut the thread from the spool with your razor. If your finger is not on the thread at this point your entire wrap will come unraveled and you will need to start over.

While Holding the Thread, Cut From the Spool

Put the razor down and grab the end of the thread you just cut. Put the thread in the loop you created. Pull on the tag ends, bringing your thread back under itself.

Pull the Thread Back Under Itself

This sounds much more complicated than it is. If you are uncomfortable practice a few wraps on the blank before you start on the guides.

With the wrap tied off, carefully trim the tag end close to the wrap. At this point I like to do the accent wraps. I simply remove the tape and repeat the process with the metallic threads. Your accents can be very thin or thick. I typically use about 7-10 wraps, and keep all my accent wraps the same size on each guide.

Complete Guide Wrap

Repeat this process for each guide. After each guide is wrapped carefully sight down the spline and perform slight position adjustments if required.

If you are unhappy with any wraps simply cut the thread with a razor and start over. It is better to start over now then to be unhappy with the finished product later.

Special Wraps

In addition to the guides you may have other wraps on the rod. Here are a few additional wraps to consider.

Ferrule Wrap – The ferrules should be wrapped to add strength to that portion of the rod. If you look at most your rods they will have a wrap where they break apart. If there is a guide close to the ferrule you can extend that guide wrap to the end. If there is not a guide close then do a small, decorative wrap on the ferrule end.

Wrap Extended to Include Ferrule

Hook Keeper / Winding Check – If you have a hook keeper you will need a wrap on that. On this rod I put a wrap on the blank under the winding check. I did this by wrapping the blank against the front of the handle, then sliding the winding check over the wrap. I then finished the wrap, including the hook keeper. Adding a couple metallic wraps gives a nice accent to the rod.

Hook Keeper and Winding Check

Decorative Wraps – I have added some decorative wraps around the Sage logo. I will use the space in between these wraps to write my name when the rod is complete. As the wraps are on the butt section of the rod it will not have an impact on the rod's action.

Decorative Wraps

Tip Installation

With the guides on I am now ready to do the tip. Sometimes I do the tip before I start the guide wraps. On this rod I waited until after the guides were complete. Either order works fine.

To install the tip heat the end of the rod tip glue stick. The adhesive will soften. Cover the end of the rod blank with adhesive and slide the tip into place. As you slide the tip into place make sure it is aligned with the spline and/or other guides. If the adhesive sets before you have the tip in place, don't worry. Simply heat the tip and adjust. I recommend using an alcohol burner as is will not leave carbon marks as a match will.

Tip Installed

After the adhesive cools down you can scrape the excess glue off the blank with your fingernail.

With the tip installed you can do a wrap. I like to butt the wrap up against the tip, but I do not put any thread on top of the tip itself. This is personal preference. If you want to put some thread on the tip go right ahead.

Tip Installed and Wrapped

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