Sunday, March 16, 2008
What have I gotten myself into?
For the last 3 years I have been talking about taking on a rod build project. Each year I would muster up the ambition to make the announcement that "this would be the year". Then a distraction would surface and my build ambition would quickly dwindle into nothingness. This year was almost no different. I made the proclamation and then did indeed get distracted. Distracted for the entire winter until the last month or so when on a whim I ordered my build components. I actually begun to get excited about the whole concept and process. After an unexpected delay in shipping I finally received my order. While laying all the components on the bench I begin to wonder what I had gotten myself into. Not one to give up I dug deep and mustered up the ambition to start. I thought it would be a good idea to journal the entire build here.
Initial thoughts were to keep the build fairly low key. For this build I ordered a Batson Rainshadow 1562F. For the handle I ordered a St Croix sliding ring handle kit with the idea that I would have enough cork in the two sections to pretty much lay out any configuration I landed on. I ordered a smoke grey finish aluminum A8 Skeleton reel seat also for simplicity sake.
Prior to starting I thought it would be nice to have a darker cork butt cap. After a generous donation from a friend I had enough burnt, and burl rings to put something interesting together.
I started the build by laminating the cork ring sections. Some lamination's were for handle accents and another for the butt cap. This process proved to be a little messy. For this I used C-clamps to put compression on the rings to achieve nice tight joint lines. Next I laid out the handle configuration and decided where I needed to cut the St Croix handle sections. The cutting process was done using the drill press and a razor blade.
Next the burnt cork handle accents needed to be laminated to the main handle sections. For this process I made some jigs out of 1/4" threaded rod, stainless washers and nuts. After drying overnight the handle sections and butt cap were ready to be shaped. For this process the drill press and abrasives were utilized. After the sections were shaped it was time to ream out the handle sections. In order to speed up the reaming process the bulk of the cork was removed carefully using my cordless drill and aircraft drills progressively increasing in size until the hand reamer was used for the finish bore. Once reamed the handle section was dry fit and any adjustments were made. The butt cap was then fit to the handle. The handle was now ready to be epoxied to the blank. Prior to permanently affixing the handle and seat assembly the blank needed to be spined and identified with a china marker so the seat was permanently affixed in the proper orientation. The handle sections were also marked with a china marker for ease of alignment once the epoxying process commenced. The aft handle section was epoxied first then the reel seat. The reel seat section needed to be built up as the ID of the aluminum reel seat is not tapered and much larger than the OD of the blank. To do this I used masking tape and built up 4 separated spots that would support the seat while the epoxy set. Then the foregrip was epoxied and tension put on the sections so the joint lines were tight and uniform. The winding check I had ordered was not the proper ID so I am in the process of getting the Machinists at work to turn me a copper one to match the copper thread wraps I have chosen. The guides where laid out and identified with a white china marker on the blank.
Once I get the winding check I will be able to proceed with the build. Please stay tuned as I will be updating the Blog as it progresses.