Monday, December 23, 2013

Most Valuable Rod Building Tool

The most indispensable tool in our shop is the dial calipers. I use it to measure winding checks, tip tops, butt diameters, reel seats, wood inserts, etc. It is the one tool that makes any rod build or repair go smoothly. Just think if you didn't have some way to measure different points on a rod blank; you would be guessing and collecting parts that may or may not work. We'll you wouldn't be alone. There are rod builders that have collected parts over the years just because they had to guess or let the vendor guess for them. By having an accurate measurement, you will take the guessing out of the project. Don't get me wrong, I have a collection of parts too, but imagine if we just guessed at the tip top size or guessed at the winding check. At CFRC we always take the time to check with the customer to see if they want us to 'fit' their parts and more often than not, we get a message asking us to make sure the parts fit.

I prefer the dial caliper over the vernier calipers only because it's what I'm used to. Digital is the easiest way to go, and either style will do the job if read properly.
Dial Calipers
Digital Vernier Calipers

Caution! When using the steel calipers,
be careful not to scratch your blank.
Carefully close the ends onto the blank
and don't run the calipers down to the
blank to find your measurement.

If the calipers are not your thing, I would highly recommend at least the tried-n-true 'Tip Top Gauge'. This is an easy, inexpensive tool that do 90% of your rod building work.

The Tip Top gauge will also measure inside dimensions such as winding checks and hosels. This is basically a 'Go-NoGo' gauge and we have one of these by our order processing area. It's quick and if you drop it, it won't get tweaked like the dial calipers. Good quality dial calipers will range from $30 to $100. The Tip Top gauge is less the $5.

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