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As DVT said. Cork rings turn easy with a drill. The burl blocks are another story.

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I just wanted to say that I am in absolute awe of the ability of many of the members on this forum. Holy crap those grips were gorgeous. I probably should try to make a custom rod for myself some day, but that won't be any time soon. I'm actually fairly lousy at manual labor.... my wife puts me to shame in this department. She's into wood working. Hmmm, maybe I should convince her to make me a custom rod!! :eyebrows:

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As DVT said. Cork rings turn easy with a drill. The burl blocks are another story.

Yup, and working with a blend of the two is even worse as one is so much harder. I just purchased a new lathe, should have it by mid-week. The accessories are almost more than the lathe!

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I bought an Alps power wrapper last year, and built an 8' bench into my cabin just for it. Got all the tools I need, and have been building a few rods. At this point, what I've accomplished is to work out my procedures for thread wrapping and finishing. Also trim bands and holo wraps. That's the extent of my thread work. I don't think I have the patience for weaving, but maybe down the road we'll see.

The rods I've built so far have used pre-made cork or EVA grips and butt caps. That has been fine for now, but seeing some of Scott's work has inspired me to go to the next level.

I have a mini lathe on order, with a pair of Nova chucks, some mandrels and some turning tools. Got a grab bag assortment of cork rings, and some checkboard and slicing jigs so it's almost time to start experimenting. I'll likely do the same thing with cork I did with thread and finish. Screw up a bunch of it before I get my procedures worked out. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get a finished grip that I won't be ashamed to put on a rod.

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Hopefully it won't be too long before I get a finished grip that I won't be ashamed to put on a rod.

I have a bin of grips that I'm not too proud of. they end up getting cut apart and I salvage pieces that are acceptable.

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The blanks I've used so far have been St Croix SCIII, MHX and Rainshadow Immortal. All in the same price range. Not top of the line, but not el cheapos either. The jury is still out, but if I had to pick one right this instant I'd go with the Immortal.

I have a K2 and an SCV waiting in the wings for time to build. These two will be for me, and it will be interesting to compare the two on the water. I'm thinking of adding a Rainshadow Eternity to the list, just to get their top of the line offering into the mix.

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The accessories are almost more than the lathe!

after my little fiasco last week, I need to spend about $300 to get my lathe back in the condition it was prior.

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I have a bin of grips that I'm not too proud of. they end up getting cut apart and I salvage pieces that are acceptable.

Thanks for the advice Scott, on the lathe and chucks. You probably saved me some time, cash and aggravation. I'm hoping to put up pics of my work that you will like as well as I have liked yours. May be a while, but I'll get there eventually.

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after my little fiasco last week, I need to spend about $300 to get my lathe back in the condition it was prior.

UH OH, what did you do, amigo?

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UH OH, what did you do, amigo?

I removed my Nova G3 to replace it with the Supernova2 to bore the elliptical foregrip. Spun it on by hand, like always and locked the set screw. When I went to take it of, it was stuck on the adapter. I took the assembly off of the lathe, put my 1/2"x18" mandrel between the jaws for leverage and put a 15" crescent wrench on the adapter. Had to lean on it to get it to back out. Half the threads are gone on the adapter, half the threads are gone in the chuck and it now wobbles. Also, the jaws no longer align properly when I install them on the G3.

Supernova2 + 35mm jaws + threaded adapter + mandrel = $300+/-

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Wow, you screwed it together by hand and stripped the threads on both the chuck and adapter? If and when we ever meet, remind me to NOT shake hands with you.

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I bought an Alps power wrapper last year, and built an 8' bench into my cabin just for it. Got all the tools I need, and have been building a few rods. At this point, what I've accomplished is to work out my procedures for thread wrapping and finishing. Also trim bands and holo wraps. That's the extent of my thread work. I don't think I have the patience for weaving, but maybe down the road we'll see.

The rods I've built so far have used pre-made cork or EVA grips and butt caps. That has been fine for now, but seeing some of Scott's work has inspired me to go to the next level.

I have a mini lathe on order, with a pair of Nova chucks, some mandrels and some turning tools. Got a grab bag assortment of cork rings, and some checkboard and slicing jigs so it's almost time to start experimenting. I'll likely do the same thing with cork I did with thread and finish. Screw up a bunch of it before I get my procedures worked out. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get a finished grip that I won't be ashamed to put on a rod.

 

A lot of time spent just figuring out the process and equipment. I wonder if I really wanted to be able to custom build a rod if I wouldn't take some time and move to SW WA/ NE OR and see if I can't convince some rod builders to train me for free labor and room/board or see if Loomis/Lamiglas/Sage/etc... has an apprenticeship program. 

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Building rods for a hobby is fun and I have made a few. However building a high end custom rod from expensive blank and hardware without being highly skilled is wasting time, effort and money. Have a skilled reputable rod builder make the rod the way you want it, mistakes are avoided with a garantee and a 30 day trail period. A rod builder does this professionally everyday.

Tom

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Can't convince everyone.  

 

It's my opinion that custom blank offerings are easily on par or better than a lot of the higher end options out there.  However, they don't have the reputation or name factor. No matter how amazing a rod is, unless it says G. Loomis (Shimano) customs will never be as good.

I've been slowly selling off all my off the shelf rods to get cash to build more customs.  The amount of rod you can get for a fraction of the cost is pretty amazing.

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Building rods for a hobby is fun and I have made a few. However building a high end custom rod from expensive blank and hardware without being highly skilled is wasting time, effort and money. Have a skilled reputable rod builder make the rod the way you want it, mistakes are avoided with a garantee and a 30 day trail period. A rod builder does this professionally everyday.

Tom

No knock against the guys that do it for a living but where would doing it yourself lead to an inferior fishing tool?

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No knock against the guys that do it for a living but where would doing it yourself lead to an inferior fishing tool?

How many rods will a novice make before he/she becomes skilled....? A professional has already paid there dues and made hundreds of custom rods. You and I buy rod blanks, guides, reel seats and handles materials at retail and not always up to date with current technology, the rod builder is and buys wholesale.

The difference between a notice and a good professional is skill, craftsmanship and know how. You pay very very little for those skills and gain a lot.

The big difference between a off the self name brand like at. Loomis NRX rod and a custome rod with NRX equal components is in resale. If you made the rod it has no value, a well known rod builder the rod has value but not equal to the name brand.

Tom

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How many rods will a novice make before he/she becomes skilled....? A professional has already paid there dues and made hundreds of custom rods. You and I buy rod blanks, guides, reel seats and handles materials at retail and not always up to date with current technology, the rod builder is and buys wholesale.

The difference between a notice and a good professional is skill, craftsmanship and know how. You pay very very little for those skills.

Tom

Tom,

I appreciate and agree with all your statements. I have thought all these things as well. I think you are in California? I'll tell you when it's -20 you need something to do. I like to build my own rods because when I have a complaint about them I only have myself to look to.

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Tom,

I appreciate and agree with all your statements. I have thought all these things as well. I think you are in California? I'll tell you when it's -20 you need something to do. I like to build my own rods because when I have a complaint about them I only have myself to look to.

In the middle of winter in the midwest, you really need something to do. I build rods for myself, friends and family. I do not solicit any outside business. Yet. I'm retiring at the end of this year; leaving my full-time teaching job, and keeping, for now, my part-time consulting gig.

I'll have a lot more time next year to spend doing something. I'm in the process of making mistakes, learning new procedures, and generally getting better at this craft. Am I a "professional" at this point in time? No, I most certainly am not. But, I'm getting better. Every new project is an adventure, and a learning process. My friends and family like the rods I've built, and the ones I've built for myself fish well. The fit and finish is not up to professional standards, but will be soon. I haven't used any high end blanks; more mid-level stuff so far. I have some high end blanks, still in the shipping tubes, waiting until I think I can do them justice.

Some time in the future I will likely hang out my shingle, and start looking for customers. I have several regular customers for whom I service and tune reels. I will be expanding that next year as well. Adding the rod business should keep me well occupied. I won't make a living at it, but I don't need to make a living at it.

I've seen too many guys retire, plant their butts in a recliner, and die soon thereafter. I do not intend to do that.

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Roadwarrior's post on cutting down his arsenal has made me put on my thinking cap. He will be trimming down for 20+ combos the 8 customs sticks with top shelf reels. I like this idea a lot. I also have better thn 20 combos; 28 reels and 22 rods.

After some thought, I don't think I can get it down to 8. I'm shooting for a dozen. Three spinning and nine casting rods. That means I will need to build a few rods for myself. I have a pair of Steez spinning rods. I don't think I can build a spinning rod better than these. I have some casting rods that will be difficult to top as well. Still in the planning process at this point, and I will not be building any top shelf sticks until I get a lot better than I am now.

This is going to be fun, and I'm quite sure what I end up with won't be quite what I have in mind at this point in time.

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People that build their own rods or buy customs don't do it with the intent of resale.  They get customs because the major manufacturers don't offer what they want.  and speaking of inferior workmanship, have you ever looked at an off the shelf NRX of St. Croix?  gaps in wraps, bubbles in finish, misaligned guides, wavy finish, too much finish, too many guides.

 

in many instances, custom builders have the newest technology before it makes it to mass produced rods.  many of the ideas implemented in today's factory built rods were ripped off of custom builders.

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People that build their own rods or buy customs don't do it with the intent of resale.  They get customs because the major manufacturers don't offer what they want.  and speaking of inferior workmanship, have you ever looked at an off the shelf NRX of St. Croix?  gaps in wraps, bubbles in finish, misaligned guides, wavy finish, too much finish, too many guides.

 

in many instances, custom builders have the newest technology before it makes it to mass produced rods.  many of the ideas implemented in today's factory built rods were ripped off of custom builders.

My thoughts exactly. I'm not in this to save money. I'm in this to build rods better for myself, and friends and family, than what I can buy off the shelf. I haven't done the calculation, but, off the top of my head, I'd have to build a lot more rods than I currently have to recoup what I've spent so far outfitting my rod building shop.

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