Several years ago on one of the rod building boards someone ask what was the least favorite part of building the rod. The answers that came back were overwhelming "guide foot preparation" ... almost everyone agreed that this, while not fun, is one of the most important steps in making a good looking rod. It is what allows a smooth transition of the thread from the blank to the guide foot. Most guides, just out of the box, are going to need some prep work.
When I started building rods, I used a small tooth-file but soon moved to a Dremel tool with a fine grinding stone attachment. It went much faster and gave me better and smoother results. Be careful when doing this because you can take off a lot of material in a short time. Go slow and easy! I strive to get a "U" shape on the end of the guide and extend the length of the ramp up the guide foot. If the guides are large I will take off the shoulders so as not to create a tunnel between the thread and the guides. This makes the thread finish application easier and look better.
After you finish the top of the guide foot be sure to check for any burrs on the edges and on the bottom of the guide. These can scratch or damage the blank and must be removed. 600 grit wet/dry sand paper is good for this but it can be done with the Dremel if you are very, very careful.
The photos below are before and after shots of Fuji BLAG #6 single foot and a BLNAG # 12 stripper.
After the guide feet have been dressed, I use a black sharpie to color the feet. This hides the ground area under the thread after the flex coat has been applied. Good guide foot preparation is not something you see on a finished rod, but lack of it will be very obvious.
Hope this has been helpful, please comment, and let me know if there are any topics you would like to see addressed. Thanks for taking the time to read this
Posted by Harper Fly Rods - Dennis at 7/3/2009 6:11 AM
Categories: tips and techniques