SAGE TCX FLYROD BUILD

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SAGE TCX FLYROD BUILD

Postby fishnuts » Sat May 29, 2010 5:51 pm

I'm building myself a new Sage TCX 5wt blank and thought I'd put up the process I follow so some of the first time rodbuilders can have some pictures e.t.c. to follow and maybe this might help them along.
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First up if your blank comes with dots on it to show you where the backbone or belly of the rod is check them to make sure they are correct, on most flyrods these marks indicate the belly of the blank but not always. The two butt sections of most flyrods are a bit too stiff to check but you can still do this by putting the ferrule section onto a hard surface and put a slight bend into this section of blank whilst turning it and it will kind of rollover and kind of click into place. You will know it when you feel it, especially in the tip sectons. If you are pushing downwards this will be the belly of the blank and all you do is mark the top of the blank with a chinagraph pencil or texta mark a peice of tape you have wrapped around the rod. If you have trouble finding the belly or backbone refer to google, there are plenty of vids for you to follow.
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Next measure against the blank and mark where the top of your grip will be when you glue up the handle section. Easily done by just doing a dry assembly of the grip, reelseat and fighting butt if you are using one.
Mark where it ends and the do a light sanding from that mark down to give something for the glue to key too. Then wipe down with metho.
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Next using a rat tail file, GENTLY REMOVE material from the grip until it fits nicely down the blank into it's final fitting place. Take this very easy and do alot of dry fitting until it's right. File material from both ends of the grip unless you are using a special cork reamer.
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Once it fits properly and your happy with it your ready to start gluing it in.
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Next mix 24 hour epoxy and spread over the butt section ready to slide the grip into place. I always twist the grip into place as it gives you a good coverage of glue under the cork and you don't end up with a grip that squeaks when you cast because there's no glue where it should be.
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Once the grips in place and I've cleaned out the excess glue from the grip inlet I leave the grip to set up a while so the glue starts to go off. This I find helps when I come to attaching the reelseaet e.t.c.
Next I use masking tape to build up the space between the blank and the reelseat. This creates two arbors. Just roll the tape around the blank until you think you have enough then try the reelseat to see if it will fit snuggly over the tape. If not just remove a bit of tape at a time until it fits.
I make two or three arbors sometimes, depends what sort of rod I'm building.
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Next mix a fresh batch of 24 hour epoxy and put a liberal amount over the masking tape arbors, then just like the grips, twist the reelseat on over the arbors. I move the reelseat backwards and forwards while twisting it so as I get as much epoxy in there as I can. Make sure you get glue into the grip inlet so that it all bonds the lot together properly. It helps to have some clean rags , an old tooth brush and some Metho on hand when doing this stage as it helps to wipe it all down and keep everything clean.
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Once the reelseats in place and all the excess glue has been cleaned away. Nows the time to glue in your fighting butt exactly as you have done with everything else. My reelseat had a small cover ring for where the butt meets the reelseat, this makes for a nice transition from the reelseat to the fighting butt and finishes it nicely. Before we clamp it all together, check now that the middle of the reel foot clamp hole is in line with the marks you put on the blank to show you where the belly is. Everything should be inline as it's also on this side of the blank you will be binding the guides.

The next step I do is clamp the whole grip assembly together with a clamp I made from 2 peices of 1/4" threaded rod and 2 peices of cutting board and some nuts and wing nuts. As you can see there is a hole in the top peice for the blank to go through and a flat base. You don't have to clamp it really tightly but I do put just enough pressure onto it to make sure it is held securely.Next wipe off every bit of excess glue that's been squezzed out and make sure it's nice and clean because you won't get a chance to do this once the glue dries. I always look at the quality of a job by nice clean glue lines. I always recheck my reelseat again to make sure it has stayed in alignment when I've clamped this all up. If it's moved you can usually just twist it into place again. Then just put it aside for 24 hours to allow it all to dry STANDING IN AN UPRIGHT POSITION so the glue will settle right arond the blank.
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Once dry remove it from the clamps and your just about ready to move onto winding check install and the marking out of the guides and binding them on.
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Here's the rod with all the guide spacings and belly marks inplace so I have something to line my guides up with when I bind them on. I use small peices of tape to mark where the guides go so that way no marks can easily get rubbed off by mistake. I always measure my guides from the tip to the guide footend as this helps keep everything consistent.
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I don't install the winding check until I'm ready to do the trims and bindings on the butt section of the rod.
Over the next few days I'll add to this post on the futher construction of my rod and the binding on and finishing of the guides and trims.
Cheers Darren
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Re: SAGE TCX FLYROD BUILD

Postby fishnuts » Sun May 30, 2010 12:59 am

Ok guys here is some of the tools I use for my setup.
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Chinagraph pencil,hobby knife with a fine blade, ruler, file,scissors, burnishing tool and a very simple thread tensioner that I made from some 1/4" threaded rod, small spring and some washers and nuts. The eyelets are what you put the thread through so it gets guided onto the rod nice and straight.

Also here is the rollers that I use and they are just simple small nylon wheels bolted through some aluminium angle and screwed to some wooden blocks that can be moved along some more smaller angle on the rod rack base. I always put masking tape over my reelseat to protect it while I'm rolling up the rod as in the photo.
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Binding on the giudes, well the first thing I do is file down the feet of the guides nice and smooth and with a nice taper to them. This helps the thread easily go up the guide foot while you are wrapping. Make sure you don't leave any burrs on them as it will cut through the thread when you burnish it or even while you are wrapping the guide.
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Next you look down on top of the rod and in line with the belly marks you put on the tape earlier you stick down the guide with tape to hold it in place while you bind it on. You'll notice that I put the guide foot up against the tape that is marking my guide spacing measurement.
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Now I have the guide taped where I want it I measure how far out I want the thread from the foot and also tape down the thread I want to use for the trim on this binding. As this is a flyrod I try and keep everything to a minimum so as not to dampen the blank by having huge bindings and lots of epoxy over them. I have allowed 5mm including the trim on this guide as it is the stripping guide. Just measure from the foot end out and put a small dot with a sharpie pen.
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Now I start to turn the rod one rotation and put a nylon pull through under the first turn of thread. This is the loop you put the thread through so you can tie off the trim by pulling it under the over wrapped thread.
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Here I have done 4 turns of trim and I'm about to pull the thread back through the nylon loop to finish it off.
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Now just continue to wrap the binding thread up the guide foot and if you have filed the foot properly the thread will just ride up nice and easy. If it starts to bunch up and not go up the guide foot just wind a wrap over the top of the foot and move it into place from the top. Keep doing this and packing it down until the thread starts to follow the previous thread wrap easily.
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When you get to about 6 or 7 turns from where you want your wrap to finish, put in another mono loop so you can pull through the thread to finish this side of the guide. I measure these thread bindings and try and keep them both equal on each side of the guide. Pull the thread through with the loop.
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Once you have pulled the thread through it's time to cut it and finish the wrap. Grab the tag end and pull the thread sideways slightly and slide the hobby knife down along the thread until you touch the blank with the blade. Now just cut the thread against the blank but try not to mark or cut the blank. If your knife is sharp it will give you a clean cut. If you think this is scary then try taking a picture like I did while doing this. One slip and you will have to do it all again but I find this to be the tidiest way of finishing the wrap and not having little fuzzy bits of thread to deal with later. Just go easy and you'll be fine.
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Next you use the burnishing tool or the handle of an old knife or something smooth and firm and just rub over the thread. This moves the threads to fill in any gaps that you may have and smooths out any of the lumps left by the pulled through threads underneath the bindings.
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Ok that's one side of the guide done, now just do exactly the same on the other guide foot and you have just bound on your first guide.
See, how simple was that.
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Single foot guides are easy to bind onto a flyrod as I don't put trims on these and the bindings are made very short. I do bind these a little bit different to other people because I wind 5 locking wraps in front of the guide to finish it off but this is not needed always , it's just a habit with me.
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I would like to say that this is how I build a rod, it may be different to how others do it and there are alot of different ways to do it but I haven't had one fail me yet so I hope you can all follow what I'm trying to put across.

Ok so now just go ahead and bind all the guides on and I'll come back and finish this off with applying the butt trims and hook keeper and the dreaded epoxy finish.
Cheers Darren
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Re: SAGE TCX FLYROD BUILD

Postby fishnuts » Fri Jun 11, 2010 8:29 pm

After a hectic week I'm back on track and the rod is all rolled up and ready for the epoxy job tomorrow morning .

The winding check is just given a light sand and then with just a smidgen of glue it's stuck down on top of the cork grip, then it's just a matter of binding in your trims and then binding on the hook keeper over the top. This is also how you would attach a guide to a trolling rod e.t.c. after you have put all the trims into an underbind for that guide. The underbind acts as a cushion so that the guide feet don't harm the blank when making baitcasting and trolling rods e.t.c. Once the epoxy is put over the thread in front of the winding check it is not going anywhere .
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I'm keeping all the trims and bindings on this rod very minimal where I can to cut down on the epoxy and any extra weight. This is the end result for grip section.
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This is the ferrule trim done and it's also been kept as small as I can get away with.
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So that's it until tomorrow and the epoxy goes on and it will be all done.
Cheers Darren
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Re: SAGE TCX FLYROD BUILD

Postby fishnuts » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:10 pm

Today I did the epoxy and for the benefit of the newbies I'll try and explain this process as best I can with also maybe a tip or two.
Now the rods been bound up and ready to go for the epoxy finish. The first thing you want to do is MAKE SURE ALL THE GUIDES ARE IN ALIGNMENT and where you want them and they are all burnished with no gaps in the thread. They can be knocked out while you are binding on the other guides so I ALWAYS recheck them. With the rod all checked we are ready to start thinking about the epoxy finish.

For newcomers the epoxy finishing of a rod can look daunting when you realise this stuff runs with just about the same viscocity of water. Don't be affraid just plan the process. If you aren't sure whether you can keep straight lines with the brush while applying the epoxy, the easiest way I found as a learner was to masking tape off where you DON'T want the epoxy to go. Here's a pic to explain how I did it for one of the guides. This is the guide and ferrule bind so you can see I also ran a bit of tape around the lower section of the rod just to make sure I didn't get epoxy on there as that would glue the two sections together if I did. I don't use this process with the tape now but It's really good when you are learning as when the epoxy goes on the tape due to you being a bit shakey, all you do is take it off when you have finished epoxying the whole rod. Simple!

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Next get all the epoxy ready and it's advisable to have a seperate bag to put your syringes in as you don't want to mix them up and use them in the wrong bottle. Mark them clearly and you'll be fine.
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For the whole rod I usually use 1.5ml of the resin and 1.5ml of hardener. DON'T ADD EXTRA HARDENER thinking it will make it easier to go off, this stuff doesn't work like that. Draw up the right amounts from each bottle using the correct syringe and squirt it into a small mixing cup. Then with a stirrer, mix the epoxy together. You will notice that the epoxy goes kind of cloudy when mixing. This is just the two chemicals doing their thing and it will go clear again once it's thouroghly mixed. Try not to stir it too fast as that creates bubbles and although they aren't hard to remove it's better if there is less of them. I now just put the epoxy aside for a couple of minutes so the bubbles release from the mix. You can use a drinking straw to blow into the epoxy as your warm breath can help them come to the surface and help the bubbles disappate easier. Don't be to fussy about it though.
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I have my rod all setup on my rotater and rollers but when I'm applying the epoxy I rotate the blank by hand to apply the finish. I've seen videos where they have the rod rotating all the time but I just feel I have more control turning it by hand. If I have to stop for some reason I just turn on the rotater and the rod finish I have already applied just rolls around.
Here is a pic of me applying the epoxy . I find that if you just get it on there and flow it out with the brush that's the best way to go. Once you have the epoxy on the binding and it looks like you might have a bit too much, Just wipe off the brush then use it to remove the excess epoxy. You can also push the epoxy onto the tape as you wil be removing it very soon. Sorry about the bad picture but it's very hard to take photos while doing this process.
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Now go ahead and do all the guides and trim bindings taking care you don't brush too many air bubbles into the epoxy you are applying. Once this is all done I use a hot air gun to just blow over and around each bit of epoxy, take care to have a look around the base of all the guide feet as that is usually where an air bubble will come out. You can have your rod rotating at this time as it makes it easier to do. Always have a good light over the job so you can see where the bubbles are and get them out.
I sometimes have very small bubbles in the finish and depending on how fussy you are they don't take too long to get out of the epoxy using some warm air or even blowing them out with a straw.
When you are happy with the finish, now is the time to remove the masking tape you put around near the guides. You may have a bit of epoxy bleed under the tape if you use cheap tape so all I do is use some metho on a rag or a cotton bud dipped in metho and twisted tight to just wipe it away.
Once the tape is removed your bindings should look like this. If you are confident to apply the finish by hand with no tape, by all means do it, this is just for those who want a neat finish on their first try until they gain their confidence.
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When you put epoxy on the guides on the tip section of a light blank like this one, always use a minimum of finish, just enough to give you a good cover over the thread.
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Just one more tip, after it's set and before the epoxy totally dries , pull the rod sections apart and check there is no epoxy gluing the sections together that you may have missed. If there is clean down the male section with metho to remove the excess epoxy. If you are tidy and keep and eye on the job this shouldn't happen but sometimes it can.
Well that's about it until I add the pictures of the fully finished and dry rod, it's on the rotater now and it looks sweeeeeeeeet. I'm very happy with how it's turned out.
There may be little points I may have missed but I'm pretty sure I have covered the basics enough for most to get through their first rod build.
Hope you enjoyed this post and good luck with your build up.
Chers Darren
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Re: SAGE TCX FLYROD BUILD

Postby fishnuts » Sun Jun 13, 2010 6:43 pm

Here she is all dry and after a test cast in the park she's ready for a fish or two tomorrow. She throws a nice line, well as good as my skills go anyway and I'm happy with the way the whole rod turned out.
Cheers Darren

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