Six Thumbs, Two Left hands and a Perfectly Proportioned Wrap
When I started wrapping rods, I had a very difficult time. It was like I had two left hands with six thumbs. I could probably tie a dozen Adams quicker than I could wrap one guide. I don't know how long it took to get good at wrapping guides, but something finally clicked.
I'm going to share with you the processes of wrapping a perfectly proportioned wrap.
These instructions are important because proportions make the rod look nice.
As a rod maker, you want your rod to be aesthetic pleasing to the eye. Wraps are the most scrutinized part of the rod. When you are showing off your rod, other anglers are going to be instantly drawn to the wraps.
I was recently at a fly shop on the Henrys Fork. I will call this work related, but truthfully my wife wanted to go for a walk around Harriman State Park. As I was walking around the fly shop, I was drawn to the rods. Anglers love rods! I saw all the sought after rods Sage, Winston, and Clutch. I noticed Gaps! (I know what is a rod maker to do?) The rod was a well-known high end rod. I seriously believe my next statement.
"The difference in time it takes to make a good rod great is only a couple of minutes." ~ Matt Albaugh~
You're going to mess up wrapping the rod the first couple of times you do it. I suggest it is quicker to cut it off and start over than it is to fix it. You're not going to ruin the rod (Well, unless you gouge the shit out of it when you remove it. Pro Tip: Don't gouge the shit out of it.)!
This process requires a basic knowledge of wrapping a rod.
To make a great rod your step by step process is below.
Step 1: Attach the guide. I use masking tape.
Step 2: Start your wrap. I prefer silk over nylon as it lays flatter and gives a very thin profile. Instead of messing around with thread tensioners and fancy wrappers, I use a bobbin. Simpler is better!
Step 3: Lay down four wraps in front of the guide. Don't worry about placement.
Step 4: Snug up your four wraps to the edge of the guide. A burnishing tool helps but fingernails work as well. Pull on the tag end to help tighten.
Step 5: Lay down another 5 or 6 wraps. No need to worry about those gaps right now.
Step 6: Snug up the wraps.
Step 7: Trim the tag and finish wrapping the guide. Pack the wraps every five or six turns ensuring to gaps between wraps. If you notice any crossed wraps back up. They will haunt you. Don't forget the pull loop!
Step 8: Time for the tipping.
Step 9: Tape down the pull loop.
Step 10: Instead of a bobbin I use a pair of hackle pliers attached to eight inches of silk.
Step 11: Wrap over your tag end three times. No need to trim it.
Step 12: Pull your tag through. The wrap will be loose. This will help when we snug it up to the guide wrap.
Step 13: Slide the tipping up.
Step 14: Use the two tag ends and tighten the wrap like your tightening shoe laces.
I like to apply the first coat of varnish to the wraps prior to trimming the tag ends. This saves a lot of frustration from unraveling wraps. In a future post I will explain how to apply the varnish to wraps.