View Full Version : Where to start for a beginner?
02-11-06, 09:09 PM
I edited my original post. It was hardly fair with all the questions I was asking, anyhow :
I would like an action similiar to the older Sage LL rod. Does anyone make a blank similiar to the old Sage LL blanks? Can you purchase a wood insert similiar to what they used in the LL?
02-13-06, 04:15 PM
Oh well :)
The Ole Man
02-13-06, 04:47 PM
Jeff--I built my first about 5 years ago. First place I went was VFS (flyfisherman.com) and went to their rodbuilding forum. There I read the Rod Build article by Bob Widgren. Then I bought an inexpensive book put out by Flex Coat--and a rod build video from Cabelas. I went to Bob Widgrens website and bought a kit he had for sale. When it arrived, I dove in. Granted, I had a career in mechanical engineering and already knew a lot about sizes and fits and how things go together. I did email Bob with one question as I proceeded. He was very helpful and quick to respond. My first rod was a 9', 4 wt. 2 pc with a "Cairnton" blank made by Talon Graphite. Talon supplies graphite to rod mfrs and they make blanks and rods. My first turned out so well, I then ordered a Sage LL kit from Bob--a 9', 5 wt. 3 piece with Stuble seat and grip-- and Hopkins & Holloway guides and strippers just like the Sage factory rods. So--read a little, view a little and then get your hands into it--it is not really hard to do.
Re similar blanks to LL blanks. The just discontinued Sage VPS rods were suppose to be built on the old LL blanks. You might look around and find some VPS blanks at a discontinued/discounted price. As for the wood insert on LL --the original LL has a Struble U8 uplock nicklesilver seat with the Struble cocobolo wood insert. Hook & Hackle sells them--about $50 I think. Struble grip is about $25.
rodbuilding.org is also a good place for some articles and info--and they have a message board. I think faol (flyanglersonline.com) has a rodbuild primer on their site also.
02-13-06, 06:24 PM
I just looked at Ebay, no vps blanks but a few Xps. They were over $300. That seat and grip are not cheap either.
Thanks again for all the info
The Ole Man
02-13-06, 07:49 PM
Jeff -- I'm sure you can substitute and come up with something you like. I'm not sure what other blank wud be a comp action to the LL. Maybe some of these other builders will weigh in. I know Danny (Guthooked) had a rod he built on a Rogue blank that I cast and it was a very pleasing action. He said the blanks were very reasonable in price. I'm sure "Runner", "Gone to Seed" & others could make some recommendations. Some guys here say they like the Forecast blanks in the lighter line weights and they are very inexpensive at Hook & Hackle. H&H also sells them as a kit (entire kit in smaller line weights for a 4 pc about $50). The Struble nick/sil reel seats are expensive as are the corks. You do get 20% off at H&H for internet orders tho. I think they have some Pac Bay nik/sil seats for around $35---and a matching cork for about $20---and you can go with anodized aluminum seats for less that will do the job and look good. If you don't have it--call Cabelas and ask them to send you their TackleCraft catalog. They print it separate from the flyfish catalog. It has a lot of kits and blanks (also see online at cabelas.com, flyfishing, rodbuilding).
02-14-06, 09:29 AM
Jeff - I'm sorry that I missed your first post. I hope you will ask your questions again.
You have already recieved great advise from T.O.M. on getting started. I also used Bob Widgen's tutorial as a reference. I would only add that you consider picking up one of the books that is available. I think Tom Kirkman's Rod Building Guide is a good compliment to the more "how-to" on-line tutorials. He gives a lot of information about the why. I think this is important because there are many techniques for each step of assembly and if you know what you are trying to accomplish it helps you pick out one that you will be most comfortable. Another suggestion is to before each step - for example mount the reel seat - that you visit rodbuilding.org and do a search on that step. You will find lot of helpful hints on things to do as well as cautions for things not to do.
Regarding a blank similiar to the LL/VPS-Light, what line weight & length are you thinking about? The reason I ask, is this will help find a comparable (not exact) blank. It's been my experience that each model within a series will have its own action and "feel" based on what the designer had in mind for the rod.
T.O.M. has already provided some good options. In shorter/lighter line weights I'm one that likes the Forecasts, especially the new ones. They are mod/fast, the blanks are straight and the ferrules fit. I've also built on light weight Tiger Eye blanks. They are a tad slower than the Forecast, but still in the mod/fast range. They are even a Sage like brown color.
In the 4-6 line weights, the Rainshadow RX7s are hard to beat in my opinion. Also, mod/fast and excellent fit and finish quality. The H&H IM6 kits are built around the RX7 blanks.
I know that some probably think that I beat a dead horse, but the blank line up that a lot of builders think have very similiar characteristics to many of the Sage models is Dan Craft. Here is a thread comparing the VPS to his Sig V. This is just one group of guys opinions. I'll let you draw your own conclusions: http://www.rodbuilding.org/read.php?2,125543,125817#msg-125817
As far as seat and grip, there is no question that Stuble makes some of the best on the market. But there are very good options from other manufacturers. I've had good luck with REC products, including their AL real seats ( http://www.rec.com/ . Recently, I've been using Batson Forecast components (http://www.batsonenterprises.com/seats.php ). I really like their BU5. I buy the skeleton and turn my own inserts. I'd be happy to turn you one in a wood of you choice btw.
Please don't hesitate to ask you questions again.
02-14-06, 07:13 PM
Thank Jack and GTS
I am leaning towards a 5 wgt 9 ft rod. I was surprised but was'nt the LL at fast action rod. I definitely want the Struble Nickel reel seat.
Is a 3-4 piece that much more work then a 2 piece?
Check this out btw, I found it while seaching
I don't plan on doing anything like this, but just thought it was really cool.
Did anyone notice the disclaimer by Dan Craft at the beginning of his catalog concerning the Common Sense System? The warranty is not valid if you break the rod testing it using the CSS. I would think he would like the CSS.
02-14-06, 08:58 PM
3-4pcs are not much more work at all. Just a couple or 3 more ferrule wraps.
I agree the LL was fast. They had an AA of 68-70. But I think what made them different, especially when they first came out, was how they got the fast action. The LLs (and later VPS) carried power way up the blank taper and then went quickly to a "soft" tip (big drop in power). I think this was different than other fast action rods that had more uniform stiffness all the way to the tip. The reason they bent in the upper 1/3 was because they were stiff in the upper 1/3 compared to the other 2/3. imo, these were (are) just stiff blanks (broom sticks).
The taper of the LL like other blanks with "soft tips" are pretty versatile. They can have a lot wider range of possible line weights to comfortably cast becuase if you get the feel for them and are a pretty good caster you can cast lighter lines than the rating by only using the upper two thirds. The action and high recovery speed can be used - its like a 7'6" mod fast 3 wt inside a 9' 5 wt. Or you go use the rated line and put whole lot of line in the air by using all the power in the blank. Or, you can overline and cast up way close and not overpower the rod.
btw, this one of the reasons Dan is not real high on the CCS. When the system first came out and his Sig V and later FT blanks were measured their AAs were in the range of mod to mod/fast. Anyone who had casted them new this wasn't right. Kirkman and others defended the system saying it can't be wrong because it is relative. Dan and others pointed out that his rods and rods like the TCR were giving misleading measurements. Dr Hanneman then came up with the Big Picture technique that measures AA & ERN at different distances on the blank (like the segments were rods) and rods like the Sig V and TCR had graphs of essentially 2 or 3 very different blanks all within the same blank (if that makes sense). Personally, I think that Hanneman set his basic measurements on characteristics of the "average" rods with which he was familiar in the market. This means that there is a distribution curve around average which means that there will be outliers. I think very fast to x-fast rods that are designed to have a dramatic drop in power near the tip are outliers - the "soft" tip rods. You may want to talk to Dan about his new FTL series.
Did you open the rest of Joe Emig's gallery. He does amazing things with casting resins. Take a look at his encapulated rattlesnake skin.
Struble NS are beautiful. And fucntional, they hold the reel.
02-15-06, 10:44 AM
Thanks GTS, alot just clicked about the CCS and why there would be outliers. Your discussion about Sage, and their taper , explained some of the reasons for all the different "feels" rods have. I thought Dan Craft could show his rods were the equivalent, but if it winds up as an outlier, people would be confused.
02-15-06, 12:35 PM
I'm a supporter of the CCS effort, particularly concerning ERN. I firmly believe that understanding the intrinsic power of the blank, helps understand why the designer rated the rod the way that he/she did and to help match another AFTMA line weight if the angler is fishing the rod at other distances.
"Action" is another matter. If discussing a rod using the technical definition of action as the bend under intial load, then AA is a reasonable helpful data point. But, "action" as conventionally used - bend and recovery/dampening speed (ie, "crispness") - is actually merging two inherent properties and AA alone is not quite as helpfull. That is why Dr Hannenman with the help of others is attempting to add a easy to excute measure for resonant frequency. imo, this will be helpful, but also be somewhat counter to one of the original goals of CCS - simplicity.
RF is absolutely critical to "feel", but because it is the product of multiple characteristics of the blank, including the modulus of the material and the taper made possible by the modulus, it tends to be very unique to the blank and hard to accurately describe in one number, though maybe not impossible. Golfers can have the RF for golf club shafts measured at stores and clubs. However, even if it is measured, there is still the question of "best" feel for an individual angler which will always be subjective. But, if they have an idea of what they like, for example a Sage LL, then they could look for a blank with the same ERN, AA and RF, and be reasonable sure that the new blank would feel somewhat like the LL. But will probably never know for sure until they string it up and fish it. This is why builders who are also anglers vouch for Sage and Dan Craft blanks being comparable even though the basic CCS numbers wouldn't necessarily point this out.
btw, when it comes to "action", those of us that use plastic rods could learn a lot from our Boo friends who are obsessed with tapers. imo, what differentiates the truly better high-end rods from the less expensive ones is the R&D the manufactured invests in manufacturing techniques that turn the potential of the exotic materials they advertise into actual tapers that exploit that potential. Making a truly fast action (dramatic drops in power as you approach the tip) blank in longer lengths, using high-modulus materials that can keep the material weight low for a given (higher) power (ie, small diameters and thin walls) is not a trivial task, especially with consistent high quality (lack of curves) and minimun scrap. Some of the premium for brand name rods goes to advertising, but a lot is to cover the R&D and the discard rate for these blanks. This is why I will use less expensive blanks for short, light line weights, but will spend money on the premium blanks for longer heavier weight blanks.
You got me interested in the Dan Craft Sig V 4wt (FRSV8943) blank as opposed to the Sage SLT or XP. The Sig V blanks don't seem to be available. Rocky Mountain Rod Building Supply (http://www.rockymountainrodbuilding.com/Default.aspx?tabid=60) indicates they are "TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE FROM THE MANUFACTURER". I emailed Dan Craft from his web site last week and received no response. Do you know of a web source for the blanks or what the situation is with their availability? They seem to be a hot item from everything I've read from the sources you gave me in the "G Loomis Vs Sage Blanks" thread. The price is right for me with this blank.
02-16-06, 11:27 AM
Dan is a small independent businessman and has to rely on his manufacturer to keep his inventories up. On occasion he will be out of certain models. In December when I wanted to order some Tiger Eye blanks I called him. It took a couple of tries, but when he was on the phone he could directly check his inventory. Plus, he's a fun guy to talk to about blanks. His phone number is on the opening page of his catalog on his site.
Also, he is apparently getting in his new FTL series. If you talk to him I'd be interested in what he tells you about these blanks.
02-16-06, 12:02 PM
I ordered the Sig III 6'10 3pc 1wt from Dan Craft, He had told me to call to order or check stock awhile back, here is his number. 541-782-4404. I have the FT 9'5wt also, if you want to check it out before you buy. Josh
02-16-06, 01:42 PM
GTS - FTL?
Could that be FT Lite???
02-16-06, 02:14 PM
Yep - http://www.rodbuilding.org/read.php?2,170731,170737#msg-170737
02-16-06, 03:06 PM
Ah Ha! That thread must have been on page 2 of my search results! Thanks.
Since I haven't been eaten alive by a greater urgency, I guess I'll hold off until I see some specs & weights (and reviews!)
02-16-06, 03:29 PM
This project seems to have a long runway :) Still thinking of using the Hopkins stand-offs?
02-16-06, 04:09 PM
I don't think so. I have them for a new tip section for my 6' (er, 5' 9.5") 3wt. I'll try them there (sometime!), but I expect to use Alconites on the 9'.
I just received the following email from Dan Craft about the availability of Sig V blanks.
The FTLs are 6pc. I will have the Signature V blanks out in 4pc later in summer. I have attached lists and prices.
Dan Craft Enterprises is proud to present The Five Rivers Signature V Finesse blank line for 2006
Blanks are available in Matte sanded (M) or Matte Clear (MC) finish
** These blanks are 60 million modulus with medium fast action, High line speeds, Exploded Ferrule design with power scrim and balanced graphite
Model Length Pieces Line wt. Butt Tip Price
FRSV843 84 3 3/4wt .344 4.5 $105.54 out of stock
FRSV8943 89 3 4wt .358 4.5 $107.95 out of stock
FRSV9053 90 3 5wt .364 4.5 $109.15 out of stock
FRSV8963 89 3 6wt .360 5.0 $112.20
FRSV10073 100 3 7wt .420 5.0 $130.80
FRSV10083 100 3 8wt .428 5.0 $130.80
FRSV9093 90 3 9wt .440 5.5 $119.50
FRSV90103 90 3 10wt .460 5.5 $119.50
Dan Craft Enterprises presents their Five Rivers Signature III blanks for 2006
These blanks are 51 million modulus, medium fast action, tip over butt ferrules with a matte black finish
Model Length Pieces Line wt. Butt Tip Price
FRSIII61013 610 3 1wt .275 4.0 $83.95
FRSIII7012 70 2 1wt .270 4.0 $69.95
FRSIII8022 80 2 2wt .330 4.0 $71.95
FRSIII9032 90 2 3wt .377 4.0 $72.50
Dan Craft Enterprises proudly presents their new for 2006 Five Rivers FTL (light) series.
These blanks are 57 million modulus with softer tapers than the FTs, a medium fast action and a light, crisp feel.
Finish will be a light satin gray.
Model Length Pieces Line wt Butt Tip Price
FTL803-5 80 5 3 .345 3.5 $99.00
FTL803-6 80 6 3 .345 3.5 $102.00
FTL904-6 90 6 4 .370 4.0 $105.00
FTL905-6 90 6 5 .373 4.5 $107.00
FTL906-6 90 6 6 .376 4.5 $111.00
02-18-06, 12:22 AM
Thanks for posting that info JRGB.
I am going to do this, take my time and read some.
And, GTS, I was following your thread on GRF, and can not find it. Help :)
I also thought I would print out some of the other threads you have posted and read them before I start.
02-18-06, 11:52 AM
I found the thread, I kept seeing Yak at the beginning of the thread and thought it was about something else. Its a great thread for those of you who have not followed it.
I think I'm going with the Dan Craft FTL 9', 4wt, 6 piece. I can buy two Dan Craft blanks for the price of the Sage SLT. Maybe it won't be my last rod after all - as in Signature V series. Dan emailed me back with his telephone number for placing my order - 541-782-4404.
Question on size of nickel-silver winding checks. If the butt of the blank has an outside diameter of 0.370", what size winding check do you order for the best fit with the least tweaking, .368, 360, 350? I didn't know if there's some rule of thumb for that or do you just wait for the blank to arrive and measure.
GonetoSeed, I think you indicated you turn your own wooden reel seat inserts or spacers. What size drill bit do you use for the hole. I assume you drill the hole first in the block, then turn it. Do you use a special adapter for your lathe to hold the block with a hole in the middle? What lathe speed do you use? Is one type of wood better for this than the other for someone trying this for the first time? I found this link on this subject - http://globalflyfisher.com/rodbuilding/venneri/
02-20-06, 09:32 AM
I'll be very interested in your assessment of the FTL series.
I don't know of a rule-of-thumb for winding checks. When you call Dan with the order, ask him if he would measure the OD of the blank about where you think the winding check will be (depending on what you are thinking about for the seat and grip). Then order the closest size and one smaller and one bigger. Keep the ones that don't fit for the next project(s) :). The other sizing you will need too is the tip size. If you are not going to order the guides and tip tops from Dan, the ask him to recommend a tip top tube size.
I do use my lathe - a Jet Mini - to bore and turn the seat inserts and grips. I mount the wood stock blank using a normal spindle headstock and tailstock and turn it using a skew to knock off the edges to round the wood blank. Then I remount it for boring. I have a 4 jaw chuck for the lathe head stock that allows center boring and a jacobson to hold the drill bit for the tailstock. I use brad pilot drill bits to bore the hole in a size that is just slightly smaller than the OD of the blank in the mounting area. (After turning, but before final finishing, I ream the insert to final fit so that I avoid shimming.)
Once the stock is bored, I mount on the appropriate sixed mandrel that I purchased from Andy Dear (http://www.lamarfishing.com/tools.html . I turn seats and grips on these mandrels. By doing it this way you are assured that the turned seat/grip will be concentric. I turn down the seat (or wood section of a grip) using normal turning techniques and tools. I turn most wood at a pretty high speed. My lathe speed is changed by changing the belt. I can't remember which pulley I have it on. I think its the next to highest speed.
imo, the easiest wood to turn when you first start is wood that has been stabalized wood. I think this is especially true if you want to use a burl. The stabalized wood is less likely to blow out if you get a check. It also has the added advantage of being more durable when exposed to the elements without a lot of special finishing. Cocobolo is also a nice wood to start on (and keep using). Check Andy Dear's site. He has a lot of stock choices in sizes for seats. He also has a DVD that has great instructions.
I almost exclusively use Casey's Tru-oil for finishing woods that accept finish (Rosewoods like Cocobollo don't). I like the look and think if it's good enought for high-end gunstocks, it works for seats.
btw, I turn all my seat inserts to fit seat skeletons that accept round inserts - no mortising required. I do this for a simple reason, until recently I didn't have a router. I just go one, so I'm going to get a special router bit from Bob Vernelli. I can only hope to do as nice of work as he does.
I really appreciate your thorough response and advice on this matter. It was very helpful and informative, as usual. I will let you know my assessment of the FTL. It will be a while.
"This is my last rod" John :D
I just got off the phone with Dan Craft. He was very helpful as you mentioned. He said he would send the right size winding check with the FTL-904-6 blank.
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