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Re: How a graphite rod is made

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2008/1/31 17:19
From Pretty much everywhere at some point, Thorndale today.
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P.S.

As with all sporting goods (esp. golf), the industry takes huge margins. Though there are differences in raw material costs and effectiveness of the product, both factors play a very small role in the actual price tag. That's mostly determined by marketing.

Posted on: 2008/7/15 14:39


Re: How a graphite rod is made

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After watching the video, I would suspect that several of the prcesses could be more automated. Where the guy was measuring and cutting the strips could be reduced to a die that stamps them out. Plus, if the rods were cheaper then I would buy more.

Posted on: 2008/7/15 15:15
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Re: How a graphite rod is made

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A quick bit of searching,

I was slightly wrong about the different modulus. There is no difference in how the different modulus fibers are initially made. But the low modulus, low cost carbon fiber ends there. The stuff still has some junk on the outside thats basically useless, think of it like bark on a tree. In high modulus carbon fiber, the extra stuff is basically stripped off, leaving the higher strength core. With thinner fibers, more can be fit into an area, and you get higher strength.

As of the early 2000's, standard carbon fiber sheets went for around $10 per pound, the super high modulus stuff for under $30/pound. It's gone up recently because Boeing and Airbus are eating up the supply, and the supply isn't that great. Still, you're top of the line fly rod has no more than $15 dollars worth of carbon fiber in it, probably a lot less, for a rod thats upwards of $600.

Of course, add in the other features, like the cork, real seat, eyes, ferrules, etc., and you may have another $50 worth of materials there. Now add company execs, R&D, labor, shipping, customer service, marketing department, patent lawyers, etc., and the initial cost of a rod begins to take shape.

Posted on: 2008/7/15 16:57


Re: How a graphite rod is made
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Jack I appreciate your suggestions on finding a fast-action rod blank. One of the biggest disadvantages to me, when building your own rods, is that you don’t know what you have until you build it. As you know, I am a big fan of Sage and Loomis fast-action rods. What I try to do is compare the blanks and try to predict what type of action and how it will feel based on modulus of graphite used, and the taper and weight of the blank. It is an inexact science, but after studying the specs of many rod blanks, I have made some conclusions that seem to work for me. To me, rods tapered with a larger diameter tip and upper section with a thinner butt, make the rod feel tip heavy and dead. I believe that when using lower modulus graphite to make a fast-action rod, the rod tends to weigh more, and most of the material is in the upper section in order to make the action faster. These rods to me have a clunky feeling to it, and don’t feel light and responsive on the cast. I’ve come to that conclusion, based on studying the specs of rods that cast/feel good to me, and rods that don’t. I’ve even been known to carry a micrometer with me when I visit the fly shop!

Here is a comparison of the two rods you recommended (the first two) vs. high-end rod blanks and one lower price rod that I’ve cast:


(All rods are 9’ 5 wt / 4 piece for comparison)

Rainshadow RX8: Tip = 4.5 / Butt = .340 / Weight = 2.0 oz

Rainshadow RX8XF: Tip = 4.5 / Butt = .340 / Weight = 2.0 oz

Sage Z-Axis: Tip = 3.5 / Butt = 3.75 / Weight = 1.5 oz

Loomis GLX: Tip = 3.5 / Butt = 3.71 / Weight = n/a

TFO TiCr: Tip = 4.0 / Butt = 3.80 / Weight = 1.82 oz.


Both the Sage and Loomis rod blanks are in the $300 range and I use them as a benchmark. They are great rods, but very expensive. The other 3 blanks are in the $100 range. Based on the comparison, I would choose the TFO as my inexpensive fast-action blank. The Rainshadows are tip heavy, while the I would predict that TFO would feel a lot more light and responsive to me, and would suit my taste in rod feel and action. I’ve actually cast all the above rods, and the TFOs and they ARE decent, while Rainshadow blanks don’t do much for me at all.

Just some info to help others chose the blanks that may suit them the best. When you cast a rod you really like (or don't like), take note of as much as you can and try to find a blank to that works best for you. Good luck.

Posted on: 2008/7/16 8:31


Re: How a graphite rod is made
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TabascoJoe wrote: “Afishinado; when you align your guides based on blank curve are you checking the spline at all? Ever try both methods and see how well they correlate? I would think a blank with a strong spline and a curve that didn't correlate would have some complex torque during casting and be rather inconsistent casting.



Tabasco,

I look in on the rodbuilder.org forum. The site is frequented by many of the custom rod builders in the US and abroad. Here is a post from Tom Kirkman, one the moderators, and an expert rod builder.


“Spine or not to spine?? Does it matter?

There has never been any evidence given that offers proof or good reason for mounting guides on the spine or opposite the spine. The whole idea that it was a good idea came from a book written in the early 1970's and which other authors then picked up on. None offered any reason for doing this other than that if you flexed a naked blank by hand (which never happens while fishing - our rods have guides on them which act as small lever arms and overcome "spine") the blank would roll to a certain location. The authors stated that utilizing the spine in the manner they recommended would prevent rod twist while fishing and create a more accurate fishing rod. Both statements have been very much disproven in actual mechanical tests over the years. For the most part, everything written about the importantance of rod spine in the various texts out there has always been based on opinion, not tests or facts. But if you repeat something often enough and long enough, it tends to become "fact." It's a hard myth for many to let go of, but it will die in the next few years. At least one publication actually somewhat recanted on their 20+ year stance on the importance of spine after our test results were printed in a very early issue of RodMaker. They too, then decided that spine has nothing to do with preventing rod twist.

Guide location has everything to do with rod twist, spine has nothing to do with it. For best accuracy, you need the straightest axis in line with your casting plane, only problem being that most of us don't always cast on the exact same plane each time. But you don't want any natural curvature being so far off line from the normal casting plane that the rod tip will travel in an arc (twist around a central axis is fine).

If you do choose to build on the spine, however, you won't hurt a thing. If it makes you feel good - go ahead and do it. That's precisely because it just doesn't matter. The one thing you never want a new builder to worry over is rod spine. Far too many shy away from building a rod because they're afraid or have been told that if they don't get this spine thing correct, their rods will twist, explode, cast to the left, etc. But none of that is the actual case. Try not to worry over it too much - it really doesn't matter.”




Tabasco, I know that Sage and Loomis build on the straightest axis, so after reading all the info, that’s what I try to do.

Here is the forum address if you want to check it out. Most of these guys really know their stuff. If you ever have a question about rod building or a problem, they should have the answer. Good luck.

http://www.rodbuilding.org/list.php?2

Posted on: 2008/7/16 9:51


Re: How a graphite rod is made
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Interesting info about the spline. I guess I fell for the 40 year-old wives tale. Guess what I'm going to do on my next rod? I'll tell you: find and align on the spline. I'm superstitious. But I may investigate that axis notion you discussed. Maybe I'll do the spline on the butt and the axis on the tip and see how it works out.

Posted on: 2008/7/16 10:46
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Re: How a graphite rod is made
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Jack,

I would venture to say that no matter where or how you align the guides on the rod will make a difference that you, I, or anyone else can notice when we are casting and fishing.

What rod will you be building? A Sage? Loomis? or Gatti? Which one? I suppose your using a Bellinger nickel silver reel seat, with flour grade Portuguese cork, and titanium carbide single foot guides - right? Also, I’m sure your buying an Abel or Hardy reel for the rod? - spooled with sharkskin line I’m sure.

In all seriousness, I’ve found that PacBay components to be of decent quality for the price. Rod blanks are totally dependent on what you like. I don’t think you care much about Lefty Kreh and his views, so take a look at the TFO blanks, and don’t forget St. Croix. Both make blanks are roughly the same price as Baston/Forecast and PacBay, and some are really decent.

Check this out, a Gatti G4 for $78. I've never tried one, but it may be a great rod to build.

http://www.gatti-usa.com/g4series.htm

Posted on: 2008/7/16 11:58


Re: How a graphite rod is made
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I would like to build a rod for steelhead fishing, perhaps a 9'6" #7 with a fighting butt that can double as a large bass, or pike/musky rod.

One thing I would like advice on, though, is what you have found to be the most durable guides and tip tops? I have a tendency to let my line get pretty dirty and it acts like sandpaper, cutting grooves into the inexpensive guides I have on my couple rods I built and use regularly. I prefer two footed standard guides.

Posted on: 2008/7/16 12:23
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I don't like scrambled eggs, and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked them, I'd eat them, and I just hate them. --Hank


Re: How a graphite rod is made

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2006/9/11 11:41
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Quote:

JackM wrote:
Interesting info about the spline. I guess I fell for the 40 year-old wives tale. Guess what I'm going to do on my next rod? I'll tell you: find and align on the spline. I'm superstitious. But I may investigate that axis notion you discussed. Maybe I'll do the spline on the butt and the axis on the tip and see how it works out.


My engineering background tells me if you can feel a difference in flex at one orientation vs. another (the spline) than it's something that should be accounted for and controlled by positioning guides at 0 or 180 degrees to the spline. It's not an old wives tale. It's at least based on theory. I haven't built enough rods to prove this and I do respect the opinions of those with the experience so I won't say they are wrong. Just that I'm skeptical.

This would make a good graduate student project for a mechanical or materials engineer. Shouldn't be too hard to model and prove one way or another.

Posted on: 2008/7/16 15:32


Re: How a graphite rod is made
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Well, I have no engineering background, but I studied philosophy and my rationality tells me the same thing as you. However, I haven't built that many rods and I always located and attempted to line up on the spline and so I assumed every curveball I cast was the result of user error.

Posted on: 2008/7/16 15:46
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I don't like scrambled eggs, and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked them, I'd eat them, and I just hate them. --Hank


Re: How a graphite rod is made
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I’m also no engineer, but logic also tells me that it may make a difference. But logic also tells me that the amount of torque generated by the spine being 90* off is infinitesimal, when compared to the force generated to load the rod during the cast. In addtion, the weight of the guides should be more than enough to conteract the torque. To believe that enough torque is generated to cause the fly line to cast a curve would be like believing a pebble in the tread of your tire would make your wheel out of balance. Tell me you guys don'tcheck your tires for pebbles before you drive!?!

Furthermore, building on the straight axis and spining a rod may, in practice, be one in the same, since the curvature may be caused by the deviation of wall thickness in the blank. I’ve never spined and rolled the same blank to see if the mark ends up in the same place. All conjecture – but you’re mountain is my mole hill.

Jack, why don’t you build two identical rods (one for you and one for Gino) and build them both ways. God knows, the kid deserves some decent tackle anyway. If the one that’s not built with the spine lined up casts around corners….I’ll pay for it!

BTW, TiCH (titanium carbide) guides are some of the most durable. They cost 4-5 times what a chrome plated set would, but are a good investment on a decent rod that you plan to use for a long time. Buy a matching tiptop. Here is a set to give you an idea on the price. Good luck.

http://www.flyrodcrafters.com/servlet/Detail?no=142

Posted on: 2008/7/17 8:02


Re: How a graphite rod is made

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2007/7/26 7:29
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Very interesting topic which has got me even more curios into building my own fly rod. This is something I've wanted to do for quite sometime but have shied away due to inexperience(as in never). Can you guys recommend any good books to pickup on this subject or perhaps some other places on the web? I have an idea of what goes into it but thats probably about as far as it goes. Thanks in advance.

Posted on: 2008/7/17 8:48
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Re: How a graphite rod is made
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Student,

Here are an on-line rod building instructions to get you started. Click on each segment to take you through the entire process, and look in the side bars, some steps include video instructions. You may want to start with an inexpensive rod kit and make most of your own tools. I will include several supplier links to also get you started. Good luck.

http://www.flyfisherman.com/rodbuilding/index.html

http://www.mudhole.com/

http://www.fishsticks4u.com/?src=overture

http://www.jsflyfishing.com/

Cabela's rod building kits

Posted on: 2008/7/17 10:16


Re: How a graphite rod is made

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Thanks for the tips. I'm thinking of starting with a rod in the $100 range, most likely a kit and if all goes well work my way up. Thanks for the links. Any suggestions on good, quick and easy (not necessarily all 3) ways to build my own tools is much appreciated. I'm sure I'll figure it out as I go along but I'm open to all constructive ideas/criticisms.

Posted on: 2008/7/17 15:09
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Re: How a graphite rod is made
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Quote:

StudentofTheStream wrote:
Any suggestions on good, quick and easy (not necessarily all 3) ways to build my own tools....


Here are some I improvised:

Cork Reamer: sandpaper wrapped tightly around a screwdriver.

Guide wrapping: thick hard-cover book and a small coffee mug-- sit on Lazy-boy with legs extended; put cup at knees and drop thread spool inside; pull thread (in between the pages) through center of book for tension, book on lap; rest the blank on arms of Lazy-boy and spin blank to wrap.

Wrap drying: any two stable objects with a groove. Many people use a cardboard box with grooves cut in opposite sides. Turn rod 180 degrees every few minutes for about a half hour, then start lengthening the period between turns as the finish starts thickening.

Posted on: 2008/7/17 16:32
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I don't like scrambled eggs, and I'm glad I don't, because if I liked them, I'd eat them, and I just hate them. --Hank



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