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I have been reading a lot about how custom built rods often have a better performance than off the shelf rods for the price. I also want a custom, and figured why not try it myself? As a beginner, where should I start? Is it better to start with a kit or to just buy cheap blanks and components? How can I access a list of everything needed, and last, are the hand-wrappers that come with kits good, or are they usually replaced when one wants to make better quality rods? 

 

Thanks

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Your equipment doesn't have anything to do with rod quality. It's on you alone, fit and finish is all in the hands of the builder. Used to be with high end fly components, you could make out. Using the components the average builder buys for bass fishing you'll be lucky if you break even.

You do best when you have a need that's hard to come by in a factory rod, or if you want to think outside the box and think you can get ahead of the game.

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I have never used a power wrapper, used a cobbled setup for many years.  Finally a couple years ago I got the track and rollers but not the motor.  Until you decide that you want to stick with rod building, I would not invest in an expensive setup.  Try one of the kits from Mudhole or Getbitoutdoors for starters.

 

There are some very good factory rods out there, have caught a bazillion fish, shop the sales this fall for a good factory rod.  

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Nunz,

 

You have some good advice so far.

 

As a beginner, buy a copy of Tom Kirkman's Rod Building Guide.  It's a short read, but explains all of the basics that you need to know to be successful in your first attempt.  At this point some of the components shown in the images of the book are a bit dated, but that is immaterial, as Tom takes an approach that teaches your how to think about the process and it should be straightforward to see how smaller lighter guides can be utilized.  When it comes to thinking about implementations of split grip/no fore grip designs, if you can look at your design and say, "What is needed is there, and what is there is needed," then you have a solid design.

 

That book was one of the most helpful reads I had when I started, and it can be finished in a couple of days easily.

 

When it comes to equipment, I built a hand wrapper from some cheap lumber and hardware, and it served me well.  I had kicked around making a new wrapper out of 80/20 aluminum extrusion, but could never pull the trigger on buying all of the components I would need, as it was going to be pretty pricy.  So, this spring I picked up the CRB hand wrapper from MudHole with the aluminum track, and I have to say that I am quite satisfied.  Even without the track it's a great unit.  The best part is that it will be a unit that can grow with you.  You can get the hand wrapper now.  Add the track later.  Bolt on a drying motor or sewing machine motor onto a support to add power features.

 

A nice set of reamers makes grip fitting much easier.  I found I wasn't as handy with rat tail files as I thought I could be, so when I got a set of Dream Reamers, it was a major improvement to my work.

 

Turning rods by hand during drying works well, but it requires a good couple of hours of commitment.  So, a drying motor is a great investment, but not one that is mandatory right away.

 

Buying at full retail makes it tough to save money by building rods, especially with the initial startup costs, but it's a fun hobby, and if you are looking to build on really high end blanks, you can definitely save a bit over their off the shelf counterparts.

 

Good luck and enjoy the craft!

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2 hours ago, grub_man said:

Nunz,

 

You have some good advice so far.

 

As a beginner, buy a copy of Tom Kirkman's Rod Building Guide.  It's a short read, but explains all of the basics that you need to know to be successful in your first attempt.  At this point some of the components shown in the images of the book are a bit dated, but that is immaterial, as Tom takes an approach that teaches your how to think about the process and it should be straightforward to see how smaller lighter guides can be utilized.  When it comes to thinking about implementations of split grip/no fore grip designs, if you can look at your design and say, "What is needed is there, and what is there is needed," then you have a solid design.

 

That book was one of the most helpful reads I had when I started, and it can be finished in a couple of days easily.

 

When it comes to equipment, I built a hand wrapper from some cheap lumber and hardware, and it served me well.  I had kicked around making a new wrapper out of 80/20 aluminum extrusion, but could never pull the trigger on buying all of the components I would need, as it was going to be pretty pricy.  So, this spring I picked up the CRB hand wrapper from MudHole with the aluminum track, and I have to say that I am quite satisfied.  Even without the track it's a great unit.  The best part is that it will be a unit that can grow with you.  You can get the hand wrapper now.  Add the track later.  Bolt on a drying motor or sewing machine motor onto a support to add power features.

 

A nice set of reamers makes grip fitting much easier.  I found I wasn't as handy with rat tail files as I thought I could be, so when I got a set of Dream Reamers, it was a major improvement to my work.

 

Turning rods by hand during drying works well, but it requires a good couple of hours of commitment.  So, a drying motor is a great investment, but not one that is mandatory right away.

 

Buying at full retail makes it tough to save money by building rods, especially with the initial startup costs, but it's a fun hobby, and if you are looking to build on really high end blanks, you can definitely save a bit over their off the shelf counterparts.

 

Good luck and enjoy the craft!

Thanks, I will definitely read that book. I know everyone says you dont save money, but i have to disagree. I know i will have to dish out cash for the initial setup. However, since I already spend lots of money on my fishing hobby, I think of it this way:  Instead of spending $250 for a high quality (not the best quality, keep in mind) factory rod, i can spend around $150-200 on a rod with better components, quality checked by my own eyes, designed to my exact liking, with my custom design. My point is yes its still hundreds on a fishing rod but if im going to buy rods anyways being able to build my own give me the best quality possible for the price of a "decent-good" quality factory rod. 

6 hours ago, MickD said:

I have never used a power wrapper, used a cobbled setup for many years.  Finally a couple years ago I got the track and rollers but not the motor.  Until you decide that you want to stick with rod building, I would not invest in an expensive setup.  Try one of the kits from Mudhole or Getbitoutdoors for starters.

 

There are some very good factory rods out there, have caught a bazillion fish, shop the sales this fall for a good factory rod.  

I already own some factory rods, and they are great for what i do. I only want to get into custom rod building because i can build rods of much greater quality for cheaper than what i usually spend on factory rods ($150-$250), coupled with the satisfaction of building my own rod, having my own designs, and my own exact specifications. I plan to build a couple inshore rods( one for fluke and one for stripers/blues/albies) , and have already a rough estimate of the price. both rods will have better quality (once im good at building) and lesser price than factory rods i like. 

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You seem to have a good understanding of what you're getting into, so go for it.  It is a very rewarding hobby, and I, like you will, truly enjoy using the top quality rods we build.  Please send me an email or personal message.

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Nunz,

 

You are definitely doing it for the right reasons.  I greatly prefer rods built to my specs than a factory rod, and every one of my builds fishes better than any factory rod I've ever used.  Welcome to the craft, and let me know if there is anything I can help out with.

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3 hours ago, grub_man said:

Nunz,

 

You are definitely doing it for the right reasons.  I greatly prefer rods built to my specs than a factory rod, and every one of my builds fishes better than any factory rod I've ever used.  Welcome to the craft, and let me know if there is anything I can help out with.

Thanks a lot, I appreciate the help. 

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Hey Nunz, I was in your shoes and asked the same questions not too long ago. Since then, I took the plunge and bought the starter kit from Mudhole for around $140. If you're patient, you can wait until they have a sale. I got 15% off on fathers day. I took some time with it and set all of my items up and I'm happy with the purchase. The only thing that the kit didn't come with is a good reamer. The gitbit kit comes with the dream reamers but I didn't like their hand wrapper as much so I went with the mudhole kit. I came to the conclusion that I'll just make my own reamers out of some wooden dowels or old rods that I can cut down. 

 

I just ordered my first blank (Seeker SBS756) for deep cranking and all of the components. I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival. I spent about $200 on that picking up extra supplies and multiple sizes of handle material and some extras that I wanted. You can do it much cheaper on a different rod. Grub actually steered me to that one and after some research I think it's a perfect fit for my needs. Due to the butt diameter of 0.9", which is huge compared to the majority of rods, I had to make some educated guesses on the components I would need and I ordered multiples of many components and 2 different sized reel seats just in case. That's what drove the cost up. 

 

I could have taken that $350 and bought a really nice rod or two but now I'm setup to build anything that I want to. You can find pretty good deals on blanks under $100 and wind up with some killer rods for cheap. 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, SloppyJ said:

Hey Nunz, I was in your shoes and asked the same questions not too long ago. Since then, I took the plunge and bought the starter kit from Mudhole for around $140. If you're patient, you can wait until they have a sale. I got 15% off on fathers day. I took some time with it and set all of my items up and I'm happy with the purchase. The only thing that the kit didn't come with is a good reamer. The gitbit kit comes with the dream reamers but I didn't like their hand wrapper as much so I went with the mudhole kit. I came to the conclusion that I'll just make my own reamers out of some wooden dowels or old rods that I can cut down. 

 

I just ordered my first blank (Seeker SBS756) for deep cranking and all of the components. I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival. I spent about $200 on that picking up extra supplies and multiple sizes of handle material and some extras that I wanted. You can do it much cheaper on a different rod. Grub actually steered me to that one and after some research I think it's a perfect fit for my needs. Due to the butt diameter of 0.9", which is huge compared to the majority of rods, I had to make some educated guesses on the components I would need and I ordered multiples of many components and 2 different sized reel seats just in case. That's what drove the cost up. 

 

I could have taken that $350 and bought a really nice rod or two but now I'm setup to build anything that I want to. You can find pretty good deals on blanks under $100 and wind up with some killer rods for cheap. 

 

 

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback. 

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I started building about 15 yrs ago with 2 homemade V blocks and a rod turner built with a $10 motor to rotate the rod while epoxy cures.  I’ve built 20 or so rods by hand since then and never felt the need to buy a professional wrapper/turner.  I’m sure it’s somewhat slower wrapping by hand but the result is exactly the same.  Jmho, you only really save money on higher cost blanks and guides. For me, if a rod costs less than $125, I’m ahead buying it retail than buying the components and building it myself.  Of course, there are some inexpensive blanks, such as Seeker S glass, for specialized applications that can’t be bought in a retail rod.

 

V blocks with felt pads

lure turner with low 3-6 rpm motor, 1 1/2” pvc pipe threaded with thumb screws to hold rod handle

a tea cup or small bowl to hold thread

a phone book to tension thread

elastic thread to position guides

cork reamer or round file

1/4” flat paint brush to apply epoxy

rod guide epoxy and epoxy paste for handles, 5 min epoxy for tip top

guide thread 

 

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