Was wondering about something. Those of you who design your own tapers, how do you try them out? You can do only so much with a computer and a pile of graph paper. There comes a time when you have to make shavings.
Once you get a new blank built, do you have a removable handle assembly of some sort? Do you tape guides on and build up a duct tape grip? Electric tape for a reel seat? What do you do to try out your rods before going to all the trouble of finishing them out?
I know I've finished out my share of rods that will never see the light of day. Stripped the components off and used them on different rods. Any better ideas? (Harry Boyd)
Here's my routine. I put the ferrules and tip top on with hot melt glue (the cheap stuff, so when the rod isn't like I want it, I can take them off easy for the next try) put the guides on with black electrical tape, have a couple of old stock grips around that I slip on and taped down with masking tape, electrical tape the reel in place and give it a try... then I usually end up throwing the first few attempts in the corner for the burn pile and use the same hardware to try until I get it right.
Now, with everything in place, I clamp it to my bench, run the line through the guides, find the best guide placement, and check to see if it's bending right (the way I think it should, at least). When I'm satisfied that it's close, I take it in the front yard and cast it. I test it for accuracy, delicacy and distance. If it performs like I wanted it to (usually on the third or fourth rod at the most), then I'll strip all the temp stuff off and start finishing it like a real rod. If not, then it goes in the burn pile for Mom's fireplace kindling! (Bob Nunley)
Tape the guides on, use hot melt glue for ferrules and tip top. I don't use a handle and reel seat just to see how it casts. I put the reel on the ground, or in a jacket pocket. Be careful about cleaning the rod when you are done though, some line cleaners have silicone in them - messes up your varnish if you decide to finish the rod. (Darryl Hayashida)
I have been tinkering with prototype rods for a while now. I picked up some Wells grips of eBay a while back that have a gigantic 5/8" bore. I take a few turns of duct tape (wide enough to support the handle) and slide the grip in place. For the reelseat, I have tried taping reels directly on, but it doesn't really feel nice when casting. What I am planing to do next is to drill a pilot hole in the butt end. I will make up a stop piece that will screw into the small hole and hold the reel seat floating in place. Between the grip and the end stop the reelseat should stay put. The small hole could double if you later use an eye hook to dip your rods with. I usually drill a small hole there anyway when I turn the grip so hat I can use the live center.
I finish out about half of rods because I don't find them to be all that bad. I do not take too many major chances on them. I finish them quick with nylon and the one thread technique. I give them to a buddy who fishes them with his dad. I make a cork filler for them and some simple bands. With ferrules, I might have only about $50 into them. That's okay with me. The unused half become parts for ferrule plugs and trying wrap colors. (Bob Maulucci)
How about using some hose clamps? An old grip, a clamp would hold it in place, also use them like slide ring bands and tighten them up enough to hold the reel in place. (Pete Van Schaack)
Just about all I do is make test tapers and stoke the fire, though in the past few years I have surprised myself and friends with some fine rods. I built a grip on a fine piece of clear poly tubing complete with a cork filler and cheap bands. I have several cork inserts for the top end (complements of Darryl that he sent extra with a order) made from composite
cork that fit in the top. The butt cap has a small pin which goes into a pilot hole drilled into the butt of the rod. For ferrules I have made one piece joints of most popular sizes by machining to diameter and boring in both ends mounted with “cheap hot glue” Tape the guides cast and strip through in the corner is about all there is to it. (Ron Rees)
Looks like I am the odd man. I am also the incredible optimist so I finish every rod. Since I am a non profit (very) establishment with only one customer (me), every rod is a prototype. The taper design falls in with all the rest. The taper may be pared with new varnish, a new reel seat design, porcelain stripper guides (coming up in a couple of months) or some other idiotic experiment I have concocted. Also I accumulate building experience with each rod. So far about half of the rods I've built have been my own taper. Some are good, some are not so good. Anyway the satisfaction of doing my own taper when it is good is worth the ones that are something less. (Onis Cogburn)