MISTAKE #1: Improper rod blank preparation and layout.

Improper blank preparation covers a lot of different operations and steps. First, you must make sure that the sections are the proper length. Some manufacturers trim the blank sections to accommodate the tip top and reel seat assembly; some do not. If the tip section with the tip top in place, (but not glued) is longer than the butt sections, you will have to trim the tip down with a cut off disc such as a Dremel type tool or something similar. Do not use a toothed saw blade of any type as it will tear out carbon or glass fibers and you will not be a happy rod builder. I use a high speed cut off disc and by rotating the blank during the cut, I don’t have to worry about ruining the blank. This applies to any number of sections, whether it is 2pc, 3pc or 4pc or more. If the tip section is longer that the other sections, and if you ever drop the rod in the case, the weight of the entire rod will most likely break the tip top off. Or worse, you can even shatter the tip section further down the shaft.

Another blank prep mishap is not reaming your cork grip to the proper taper and therefore you won’t get a good fit of your preformed grip. Depending on the type of reel seat you are planning on using, whether it is up-locking or down-locking you will have to plan on the proper layout for the reel seat. Measuring up from the butt section if it is the same length of the mid or tip section, mark the blank where the grip with be glued. If the butt section is shorter than the mid section or tip section, allow for the discrepancy and mark the blank accordingly. This will insure that your sections are all the same length and that you will decrease the risk of the mysterious broken tip section.


The final part of blank prep is making sure that your guides are placed in the proper guide size alignment. Too many times I have seen larger guides are placed ahead of the smaller sized guides. Double check to make sure you have the right sizes by laying the guides on a flat surface at eye level and you will be able to see the different guide sizes. Rule of thumb; smaller guides go toward the skinny end of the blank. This one will sneak up on you and you won’t notice until your buddy or your customer points out the very obvious goof.

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