Friday, March 14, 2014

Ask Flyrodcrafters - Grip/Reel Seat Layout

Jim a custom fly rod builder asks:
Any tips on the sequence and glue placement for the assembly of the reel seat handle and insert?

When I do the 'layout' on a particular blank, I will measure up where the reel seat is going to be mounted, measure for the length of the grip and place a piece of masking tape to show where the end of the grip will slide down to.
Then I will scratch the blank to ensure a good glue bond. The tape acts as a visual indicator because when you put glue on the blank all the scratches will disappear.

Make sure you measure properly as some butt sections are intentionally shorter than the mid sections. If, for example a Sage blank, the butt section is usually about 1/4" short, then you take that into account when measuring on the blank.

For example; if my uplocking reel seat measures 3-3/8" (not including the insert portion that is inside the cork retainer) then I will measure 3-1/8" from the end of the blank to where the end of my grip will be mounted and you will have that 1/4" small void inside your reel seat. Nothing to worry about, the reason is that some reel seats have solid end butts and if you don't compensate for the difference, you reel seat will not fit unless you trim the blank.
The only time I glue on the reel seat first is when I'm building a saltwater or spey rod with a fighting butt or rear grip. Then I will glue on the grip and sill have a small piece of butt section to clamp to during the drying process.

If you have any rod building questions, send them to us and we will try our best to help you out. Email me at

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