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Rod building for Alvey reels


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Hi all

I’m wanting some information regarding rod building. I have no experience but I’d like to start building my own rods. I’m only interested in building low mount rods for Alvey reels. Could the learned members point me in the direction of a teacher that may be willing to help out a newbie (payed lessons of course) or perhaps recommend any good books on the subject. I’m located in Moss Vale, NSW. 




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Good on you for having a go! Building your own rods is very satisfying! It’s a bit old school and basic but see if you can find a copy of Understanding Fishing Tackle by Dick Lewers. You might find it in your local library. It has a section on rod building and covers the basics, e.g. finding the backbone of the blank, reel seat and runner placement, under binding/overbinding, sealing, lacquering etc. With a book like this and some pointers from a quality tackle store, you’ll soon be on your way.

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Hi Waza

I’m really starting from scratch. At this stage I’d like to build myself a nice light beach rod chasing whiting etc. Something simple to start with. Perhaps some of the more Decorative stuff once I’ve learned the basics. 


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Many years ago while at uni I worked in a tackle shop and built a number of rods. In the nearly 50 years I've been fishing since then I've made and repaired nearly all my own rods plus rods for mates.

Hold the rod tip against a ceiling and flex the rod. Turn the rod in your hands while flexing it and it will will usually feel most comfortable or "right" in a certain position and this will guide you to the axis along which you place your runners.

On sidecast reels:  reel mount down low on the rod. The winch or reel mount should be close in its interior diameter to the external diameter of the rod blank. Just the same, a few spaces along the section of the blank where you intend to fix the mount may need to be built up with a few turns of masking tape to get a snug fit before you glue it on.

For a sidecast rod, the first runner is a stripper and should be a reasonable way up the rod. It needs a large ring to avoid too much resistance as the line comes off your reel in big loops when casting. I reference a book below by Frank Marshall with shows a "scientific" method of figuring out where to place the runners. Not sure that it matters that much as long as they are spaced well, in evenly decreasing increments as you go up the rod towards the tip.

Underbinding looks good but is only worth it if you have plenty of time and are looking to create a flash rod (I do it to some of my rods cause I like the look of it.)

Colours of the bindings are up to you. I've got quite a few spools of different colour threads and most look pretty ordinary. A black blank with yellow underbindings and red binding over the feet of the runners looks really good IMO.

When purchasing binding threads, try to find ones with a wide diameter as they require far fewer turns to wind onto your rod that the really fine threads need.

As you turn the rod to wind on the thread to bind the runnners, reverse wind a couple of turns every now and again with a bit of pressure pulling back on the thread and this will ensure the thread you have wound on, is nice and tight and evenly wound with no gaps.

I'm assuming that you have an idea of how to finish the thread and tie it off. Hard to explain but I'll have a go. About a half to one cm before you intend to finish the binding, place a loop of thread along the rod with the loop extending a little past your desired end point, and at least 3 to 4 cm of the tag ends of the loop left outside the binding at the other end. Use a small bit of masking tape to hold it in place. Continue binding over it. When you get to the end of the bind, cut the winding thread leaving about 2 to 3 cm of thread, (use one finger to press down on the binding to stop it unravelling) thread it through the loop you have bound on, and grab the two loose ends of the loop. Pull it all through and cut the excess thread with a very sharp blade.

I recently bought an expensive line filler that's water soluble. It is not worth getting in my opinion. It does not dry hard and goes cloudy when wet and rubs off too easily. I recommend superflex filler, rub in with your fingertip at least 5 coats allowing time for each application to dry before adding another. Add a coat or two of superflex rod varnish to the bindings, again allowing time to dry well between applications.

A handy tip: you often find rods discarded by fishermen, at least I do up here at The Entrance. Often there's a broken tip or whatever. I grab them and remove the runners/tips and reel mounts to use as replacements  when I need to do a repair. Runners and other hardware are expensive to buy and having a range of parts lying around at home means I can do a repair quickly without having to charge off and buy stuff.

I have a book that I won as a school prize: Let's Go Surf Fishing by Frank Marshall and he had a chapter on rod building that I found helpful. However, some of the rod building references provided in the posts above may be more up to date and easier to find.

Hope this helps,


Edited by Koalaboi
grammar and syntax
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