Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Last Minute Christmas Gifts!

Did you forget your favorite rod building buddy?

For the late shopper we have our Gift Certificates available 24/7.

Even if it's for yourself. You could leave an obvious note that could be easily found if left out in the open. These can easily be put in your own stocking, although we would never advocate such slight of hand.

Check out our Gift Certificates and get yourself or someone you love off the hook!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

New For 2016! Sage 'Little' ONE Blanks


Affectionately nicknamed the "LITTLE" ONE by Sage's design team, the newest member of Sage's flagship rod family takes ultra-light fly fishing to a new level of performance. Konnetic Technology® allows for a smaller rod diameter and slimmer profile without sacrificing high line speed and smooth tracking for effortless and accurate casts.

For small rivers and streams where the quarry is light trout, the LITTLE ONE is your rod of choice.

As with all Sage fly blanks from Custom Fly Rod Crafters, you will receive a Free aluminum tube and custom embroidered Sage rod sock.
All 'Little' ONE blanks are 8'2" 4pc and are available from a 00wt to 4wt.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New for 2016! Sage MOD and Bolt Blanks

Custom Fly Rod Crafters is now receiving Sage MOD and Bolt blanks in inventory!
     Check them out:

Sage MOD Blank $425.00
Konnetic Technology, moderate action.


Just like you wouldn’t pull out your driver when you need your 7 iron, the MOD is optimized for the distances and scenarios most often encountered by the trout angler. Thoughtfully crafted with contemporary line designs, fly patterns, and angling styles in mind, the MOD is a modern interpretation of a moderate action specific for trout fisheries. Designed between the deep loading CIRCA and fast action ONE, the MOD excels at measured distances to the short game, delivering delicate presentations with pin-point accuracy.

Designed and handcrafted on Bainbridge Island, the MOD features all the lightweight, strength, responsiveness, and accuracy benefits of our proprietary Konnetic Technology®.


    All water type fly rod
    Moderate action
    Konnetic Technology
    Jade shaft color
    4pc blank configuration

Each Sage MOD blank comes with an Aluminum Rod Tube and a Sage Custom Embroidered rod bag. The tube is labeled with a Sage factory decal. 

Sage Bolt Blank $325.00
Generation 5, Ultra-Fast action.


Driving winds and long distances call for high line speed and quick recovery. Enter the BOLT, joining our Generation 5 technology family to compliment last year’s award-winning medium-fast action ACCEL. The ultra-fast action of the BOLT makes high line speeds and tight loops easier, giving you confidence in your cast in the most demanding conditions.


    All water type fly rod
    Ultra Fast action
    Generation 5 Technology
    Salmonfly shaft color
    4pc blank configuration

Each Sage Bolt blank comes with an Aluminum Rod Tube and a Sage Custom Embroidered rod bag. The tube is labeled with a Sage factory decal. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunset Red Fiberglass 3wt Back In Stock

Sunset Red Fiberglass 3wt 6'7" 4pc Back In Stock

Our super popular Sunset Red 6'7" 3wt 4pc fiberglass blank is back in stock after being sold out. We just received our new shipment of 367s and 478s blanks and are filling our wish lists. 

The popularity of the 3wt blanks surprised us a bit but it was a very good surprise and the 4wt blanks were not far behind.

We have had nothing but positive feedback from the custom builders; especially the price point at which these blanks are listed.

Check them out and see the specs.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Super Duper Super Grade Cork Grip Sale

Super Grade Cork Grips On Sale!

We are offering 5 different models of 'Super' grade fly rod grips. Super grade is also known as 'Flor Plus', some of the best cork grips we can find. These grips are regularly priced at $21.95 to $23.95.; that's over 30% savings!

Now is the time to stock up for future builds at this incredible price of $15.00 per grip; your choice of styles, from Ultra Light Western to Full Wells and the popular 'Snub Nose' style.

This sale is limited to the quantities listed, so don't hesitate and tell all of your rod building friends! Goto: Super Grade Cork Grip Sale!

Thursday, June 18, 2015



During my career in custom fly rod building, I have seen some of the strangest and ill conceived custom builds that will boggle the imagination. Heck, even some of them have been mine. I have to admit that I've made all of the mistakes that I will be discussing in this article; some only once, some more.

I organize rod building into three categories; Building The Rod, Wrapping The Rod and Finishing The Rod. I have selected one or more of the most common mistakes in each of these rod building areas. This article is to help you avoid this problems and therefore eliminating some of the mistakes I've made in the past. I have also provided some advice on how to fix and help you avoid these pesky annoyances.

MISTAKE #1: Improper rod blank preparation and layout.
Improper blank preparation covers a lot of different operations and steps. First, you must make sure that the sections are the proper length. Some manufacturers trim the blank sections to accommodate the tip top and reel seat assembly; some do not.  If the tip section with the tip top in place, (but not glued) is longer than the butt sections, you will have to trim the tip down with a cut off disc such as a Dremel type tool or something similar. Do not use a toothed saw blade of any type as it will tear out carbon or glass fibers and you will not be a happy rod builder.  I use a high speed cut off disc and by rotating the blank during the cut, I don't have to worry about ruining the blank. This applies to any number of sections, whether it is 2pc, 3pc or 4pc or more. If the tip section is longer that the other sections, and if you ever drop the rod in the case, the weight of the entire rod will most likely break the tip top off.  Or worse, you can even shatter the tip section further down the shaft.
Another blank prep mishap is not reaming your cork grip to the proper taper and therefore you won't get a good fit of your preformed grip. Depending on the type of reel seat you are planning on using, whether it is up-locking or down-locking you will have to plan on the proper layout for the reel seat. Measuring up from the butt section if it is the same length of the mid or tip section, mark the blank where the grip with be glued. If the butt section is shorter than the mid section or tip section, allow for the discrepancy and mark the blank accordingly. This will insure that your sections are all the same length and that you will decrease the risk of the mysterious broken tip section.

The final part of blank prep is making sure that your guides are placed in the proper guide size alignment. Too many times I have seen larger guides are placed ahead of the smaller sized guides. Double check to make sure you have the right sizes by laying the guides on a flat surface at eye level and you will be able to see the different guide sizes. Rule of thumb; smaller guides go toward the skinny end of the blank. This one will sneak up on you and you won't notice until your buddy or your customer points out the very obvious goof.

MISTAKE #2: Thread wrapping goofs.
There are too many wrapping mistakes to list here but one of the most common mistakes are 'Gaps'. Thread gaps occur when you don't have the right angle during wrapping and you will create gaps or spaces between the thread. Be careful when wrapping to lay each successive thread wrap tight to one another without crossing over the thread itself. When you burnish or tighten the wraps you will find that your thread wrap is not the length you want. As a result of tightening the thread you have decreased the overall  length of the wrap.

That brings me to the second most common problem in wrapping is what we call an 'Overwrap'. The overwrap is where the wrapping thread wraps back over itself and creates a double layer of thread. No big deal unless that giant hump in your wrap is okay. Just be careful when rotating the blank during the wrapping process.
Another wrapping annoyance is improper singeing of the thread. Nylon and silk thread have tiny fibers that need to be singed with an alcohol lamp or some clean flame lighter. If the wraps are not singed then all those little fibers become hard spikes and if that happens, you can always carefully trim off the spikes of thread fiber and varnish or epoxy finish. Although these goofs  will not impair the function of the thread wrap they certainly are unsightly.

MISTAKE #3: Finishing problems.
Finishing mistakes are a bit tougher to conceal than wrapping goofs. Just as the name implies, the finish is the final step and what you or your customer will have to stare at for the rest of the rod's life. The most common error is improper mixing. I have witnessed some extraordinary bungled finishing jobs because the rod builder did not take the time to properly dispense the right amount or did not mix the finish properly. Varnish finish type rod builders can ignore this part as it mostly applies to the two part epoxy finishes. I have a particular sequence of steps that will eliminate the risk of the epoxy finish not curing properly. First, make sure you dispense the right amount of part A and part B into an approved mixing vessel, cup or whatever as long as it is approved for the epoxy you are using. Second, I allow the finish to 'rest' and come to room temperature before the actual stirring starts. After a couple of minutes, I will mix for a full 3 minutes making sure that I get all the part A and part B mixed together. After the 3 minutes, I allow the mix to rest again for a couple of minutes to allow the air bubbles to percolate to the top and dissipate. No reason the apply air bubbles in your mix to your thread wraps. Everybody knows that thread wraps will turn dark and somewhat translucent when the epoxy is applied unless you have treated the thread with a color preserver of some sort. The problem with applying the epoxy directly to 'untreated' thread is that the epoxy is continuously curing as you are applying the  finish. By the time you get to either the butt section or the tip section, depending on where you start the epoxy finish has started to cure and will not saturate the thread wraps evenly and you will have a different thread tone from one end of the rod to the other. To eliminate this problem, I take the time to 'Pre-Treat' my thread wraps. Not using a color preserver but using spar varnish to get the same color tone as if I applied the epoxy directly to the threads. By using this spar pre-treatment, I accomplish three things; first, the spar is very viscous and penetrates through the thread wraps to the blank itself. Second, the color tone is now even on all my wraps and third, the dried spar varnish is a harder surface for the epoxy to easily flow and level out on the wraps. By following this pre-treatment you will be amazed how easy the epoxy finish flows over the wraps and your finish will be professional grade. You most likely will still have apply two coats of epoxy to get the glass like finish we all admire.
Another finishing mistake that I would like to cover is not rotating the rod during the drying phase. You will need to rotate the rod for at least 2-3 hours so the epoxy finish will not sag and has a chance to level out. Even when I did a complete varnish finish I rotated the rod after about the 3rd or 4th coat of varnish just to help dry and level.

SUMMARY: Easy to avoid.
All of these 'Mistakes' if you will are relatively easy to avoid if you take the time to properly layout your grip, reel seat and tip length, wrap with patience and take the time to mix and apply your finish. Have patience and you will have a professional looking custom build.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Repairing A Split Ferrule

How To Repair A Split Female Ferrule

Sometimes because of age or misuse or an improper fit, a female ferrule may become split and if not repaired quickly, the split will increase through the length of the section or even completely break the section at the ferrule. It is good practice to inspect your ferrules periodically and especially if the section feels funny or the fit isn't normal.

The sleeve ferrule (tip over butt type) is more difficult to see, whereas the spigot (separate fiberglass or graphite internal type) will show more readily as the wear gap between the sections will decrease or even disappear.

These simple steps go through the process of repairing a split ferrule:

Step 1: Carefully cut off and remove the ferrule wrap or guide wrap that covers the split. The wrapped area around the split will show cracking or some discoloration in the finish.

Step 2: Clean the area around the ferrule to remove any old varnish, epoxy, etc.

Step 3: Inspect the split to see if it can be repaired or if the section needs to be replaced.

Step 4: Carefully insert a dowel or tapered file to slightly open the split. The image below shows how I open the split by using a ring sizer, which also comes in very handy for other jobs.

Step 5: Insert 'Super Glue' or epoxy adhesive into the split making sure that the glue you use completely coats all the edges.

Step 6: Remove your dowel or ring sizer and let the split close together. Make sure that the edges of the split line up with one another and completely close.

Step 7: Clean any excess glue from the outside and the inside of the section and put aside to dry for at least overnight.

Step 8: Reinsert your dowel or tapered tool to double check that the split is repaired and that there are no other splits. Sometimes when a female ferrule starts to split, there may be more than one.

Step 9: Test the fit of the sections to make sure that they are fitting together properly. You may have to do a bit of light sanding inside and out to make sure the repair is smooth.

Step 10: Re-wrap the ferrule (and or guide) and apply your rod finish.

These repair steps apply to both fiberglass or graphite rods. Take your time and let the glue do it's job and if you are faced with multiple splits or even a missing piece of glass or carbon, I recommend that you contact the manufacturer to get a replacement section or find a local rod shop that can do this kind of repair.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travel Tip Top Repair Kit

How To Avoid The Broken Fly Top Blues

It always seems to happen on a fishing trip that is in a far away isolated place.

Yikes, my tip top is broken! Hey, did I remember to put my spare rod in my case? Is your buddy using your spare rod because his favorite rod is now a distant memory along with the ceiling fan that he tore off and threw out the back door? Did the car door or the very friendly Labrador eat your rod tip?
These are some of my favorite things that happen to rod tips on any trip.

Most of the time the tip top will get dinged enough that just the tip top itself is missing. The broken tip top accounts for maybe 90% of damage done to 'Favorite' rods. Even if the section is broken down to the first guide, you will still be able to 'Fix' your rod with our Travel Tip Top Repair Kit.

The kit contains four of the most common sizes for either freshwater or saltwater fly rods. Also included in the kit is the Flex Coat thermal tip top cement, so all you have to do is provide the lighter. Heat of bit of the thermal cement, coat the tip section (after dry fitting the right tip top) and slide onto the blank.

Voila! You most likely will never be able to feel any casting difference, until you start to get near the first running guide. This fix will get you up and running right away and you won't miss a beat or in our case, a cast.

Check them out at Custom Fly Rod Crafters Freshwater Fly Tip Top Travel Repair Kit. The cost of the kit in only $7.95 with Free Ground shipping in US.



Friday, April 10, 2015

Super Light Carbon Fiber Rod Tube

2" Diameter - Carbon Fiber Rod Tube

This carbon fiber (graphite) rod tube is incredibly strong, in fact stronger that steel by the same weight factor. Carbon fiber is lighter than any metal tubing including titanium which would cost about the same as a new Cadillac Escalade.

Luckily we have found these carbon rod cases at a very reasonable price; starting at $47.00! The 9'0" 4pc case weighs less that 11 oz! The end set is made from aircraft grade aluminum and are brass color anodized. The carbon tube is a light gray olive color.

We offer lengths from 7'6" to 10'0"; all 2" diameter. Check them out!
We also offer a matching rod sock at a reduced price when purchasing a carbon fiber rod tube.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Rainforest Blanks Now Available

CFRC is now offering the Rainforest II IM7 fly blanks that had been reserved only for our Fly Rod Kits. Very affordable and available in 2 or 4pc models. Moderate/fast and very smooth. Deep forest green color.

4pc Rainforest II

Each Rainforest blank comes with a cloth rod sock. Starting price at $41.95 for the 2pc model and $57.95 for the 4pc models. Lifetime warranty through Pacific Bay.

Monday, March 16, 2015

X-Acto vs Surgical Scalpel

Xacto Blade versus Surgical Blade

Although both the X-Acto knife and the #10 Scalpel blade do the job of trimming thread ends, I prefer the surgical blade as the thinner blade makes the scalpel a bit more flexible than the X-Acto which results in a cleaner cut and less likely to damage surrounding thread wraps. My experience so far has shown the scalpel to be easier to use when making tight and detailed cuts. They also seem to last longer than X-Actos in similar applications.The classic #2 X-Acto blade has a thickness of 0.02” whereas the comparable #10 scalpel has a thickness of 0.015” making it easier to move though the material it has to cut. Which makes it even more dangerous than the utility knife as both are very good at removing your finger tips. Although the thickness difference is not really noticeable when trimming size A nylon or even silk, the scalpel does seem to work better with finer silks than either the X-Acto or the single sided razor blade which some rod builders advocate.

Shown below is about a 50 power microscope image of new and used blades:

New X-Acto Knife
New #10 Scalpel
Used X-Acto Knife
Used #10 Scalpel

You make the call. The X-Acto Utility knife is less expensive than the scalpel but under normal applications (less dropping on the floor), the scalpel blade will typically hold the edge longer than the utility knife. 

The knife shown above is the most common type, fitted with a "Number 1 or 2" blade. It is about 5-3⁄4 inches (146 mm) overall. The knurled collar loosens and tightens an aluminium collet, which holds the replaceable blade. There are numerous other knives on the market with very similar designs, and blades are typically interchangeable between different brands.

Whereas a scalpel, or lancet, is a small and extremely sharp bladed instrument used for surgery, anatomical dissection, and various arts and crafts. Scalpels may be single-use disposable or re-usable. Re-usable scalpels can have attached, resharpen-able blades or, more commonly, non-attached, replaceable blades. Disposable scalpels usually have a plastic handle with an extensible blade (like a utility knife) and are used once, then the entire instrument discarded. Individual scalpel blades are usually individually packed in sterile pouches but are also offered non-sterile.

The original knife was invented in the 1930s by Sundel Doniger, a Polish immigrant to the United States. He had planned to sell it to surgeons as a scalpel but it was not acceptable, because it could not be cleaned. His brother-in-law, Daniel Glück (father of poet Louise Glück), suggested that it might be a good craft tool.

And there you are! The perfect rod wrapping thread trim tool!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Plugging Fiberglass Blanks

Plugging Fiberglass Blanks

Whether you decide that plugging a glass blank is right for you and you think that it doesn't matter, or that you've heard all sorts of things about fiberglass wall thickness integrity or moisture prevention. Me, I think it does all of those things plus it gives my rods a finished look. It's one of those details that I make sure we do on our custom builds.

Plugging a graphite blank is no big deal as the blank is not as transparent as fiberglass. We typically will use a dense rubber plug on our Sage builds but the rubber plugs show through glass blanks and just plain looks hideous. We had to come up with a solution that works and looks good.

We use epoxy adhesive to plug our glass builds. Here are the simple steps for making a very clear and transparent ferrule plug:

1. Make sure the ferrule is square and not cracked or jagged. Use a Q-tip with lacquer thinner to clean the inside of the ferrule. Blanks will typically have a waxy residue from the mandrel during the manufacturing process.

Glass blank ready for plugging
 2. Mix your epoxy adhesive and place into the ferrule, put about enough glue to fill        approximately 3/8" to 1/2". This really depends on the diameter and your particular likes.

Inverted ferrule on plastic while drying
3. Stand the glue filled ferrule upside down to let the epoxy level inside the ferrule. Place on a piece of plastic as not to glue the ferrule to your workbench. 

Cured epoxy waiting for sanding
 4. Let the epoxy cure completely before sanding and trimming. If you use 5-Minute glues, wait at least 60 minutes before working on the ferrule. Obviously, if you use slow set glue wait at least 8-12 hours. You want the glue to be hard, so don't rush it.

Sanding the ferrule
 5. Using an abrasive sanding disc or just a piece of sandpaper on your workbench, sand the end of the ferrule and don't forge to bevel the edge slightly. We don't want any glue to prohibit the proper fitting of the blank sections.

Voila! The clean transparent glass ferrule plug
We've been very pleased with this process and it's very simple to do with a little bit of preparation and patience. I like that it gives the ferrule a professional finished look.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Luggage for Traveling Fishermen

Luggage for Traveling Fishermen

Custom Fly Rod Crafters is now offering travel luggage for fishermen;
including the Temple Fork Outfitters Signature Series Luggage to bring
a great line of fishing luggage, designed by anglers, for anglers. These
functional gear bags from TFO feature innovative designs for the traveling
angler. The TFO luggage is manufactured with the highest quality material,
including 1000D rip-stop material, lockable oversize zippers, internal rod tubes,
visual ID storage and much more.
Large Rolling Cargo Bag
Rolling Carry On Bag

Rod/Reel Travel Case

We also offer the Sage Aluminum Multi-Rod Carrying Cases and the Sage Ballistic Cases.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Stacked Bamboo Reel Seat Inserts

Stacked Bamboo Reel Seat Inserts

CFRC now has received material to turn stacked bamboo inserts for reel seats. The bamboo is cut, glued and then turned to specific sizes for different reel seat hardware. Right now we have been turning specifically for the Lemke seats but we will begin to turn for other skeleton hardware as well.  As the bamboo is made of pieces and not a whole burl as the custom inserts are made, we can keep the cost moderate; $9.95

 We make two inserts as of this post, for the Lemke LC1 and the LC14.

These inserts will send your custom build over the top! If you have a specific reel seat skeleton that you would like us to make a stacked bamboo insert, drop us a line or give us a call.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Epic Bandit Blanks!

Epic Bandit Blanks!

Custom Fly Rod Crafters has just received an Epic fiberglass blank order which include the Bandit Blanks. We are working our way down our notification list and have just a couple of blanks left.

If you're thinking about one of the new Bandit blanks, don't think too long or hard. They are just plain awesome! 
These rods will pull an old Chevy out of the river!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Repairing A Cracked Cork Grip

Repairing A Cracked Cork Grip

Sometimes whether it's your fault or simply a minor defect in the cork itself, you end up with a crack in your grip. If the grip is not properly reamed to fit the blank, the pressure from forcing the cork down onto the blank may crack the cork. Most of time this crack follows a natural defect in the cork. Here is a simple fix for a grip that is cracked but not entirely broken.

As you can see this is a crack along the front of this full wells grip.

Step One: Using some kind of arbor (we use a tapered ring sizer); spread the crack just enough to get some epoxy adhesive inside the crack.

Step Two: Force some epoxy into the crack by using a thread pick or bodkin or something similar.

Step Three: Squeeze the excess glue from the crack and clean with a clean wipe. We use denatured alcohol to clean any type of epoxy adhesive before it sets.

Step Four: Using tape to keep the crack closed, place aside until the epoxy has cured completely. Even if you use 5-minute, let it set for at least 1 hour. Obviously, slow set will take 8 to 12 hours.

Step Five: Check to make sure your crack is closed and the glue is completely cured.

Step Six: Sand the repaired area and there you go; a repaired cork grip. You just saved yourself at least $20!

Follow these same steps if your grip has a broken or cracked hood where the reel seat fits into the cork grip. If your grip is broken, then it most likely a ring needs to be replaced or the entire grip needs to be replaced.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Custom Fly Rod Crafters WYSIWYG Inserts

Happy New Year!

Introducing Custom Fly Rod Crafters' new exotic 'WYSIWYG' reel seat inserts.

Our 'WYSIWYG' Inserts (What You See Is What You Get) are the exact piece of exotic wood that you will receive.

We have provided a 360 degree view for each piece by taking 6 individual photos and creating an small animation.

No more guessing on what the 'backside' of the cool insert looks like and nor more surprises when you receive your fabulous exotic insert that you saw on someone's website and it turns out to be something less than fabulous.