Rod Building during the off season. Handle building in-depth.

People ask me what I do during the off season.  Well the answer is, I build custom fishing rods. I build all the fishing rods for C.J. Victoria. The rods are all very high end to maximize the experience for our customers. Here are a few that will be used on board the boat.

Custom Fishing rods used onboard C.J. Victoria
Custom Fishing rods used onboard C.J. Victoria

 

 

TYhis rod has the MicroWave guides and a carbon fiber handle I made for it.
This rod has the MicroWave guides and a carbon fiber handle I made for it. It casts smoothly. You can try it this season.

Here are a series of photos that shows how I make the custom handles for our fishing rods.

I use EVA foam for the handle cut it and glue it back with colored lines.
I use EVA foam for the handle. Cut it and glue it back with colored lines.

I used two coats of contact cement to glue the pieces together. The top handle is the raw material. The bottom is the finished handle.

Here I make a center hole in the square block.  This allows me to spin the handle on a mandrel.
Here I make a center hole in the square block. This allows me to spin the handle on a mandrel.

Drilling a hole in the center can be tricky. I make sure that I clamp the piece on the table of the drill press that I am using horizontally. With the handle the hole doesn’t have to be exactly perfect. I actually took off a couple of clamps to get a better picture. You can never have enough clamps.

Cutting the edges off the square.
Cutting the edges off the square. To speed up rounding the handle.

I like to cut off the edges of the square to make the lathe work easier when I have to round the square. This is also a good trick to do when you round wood on a lathe.  I then set up the handle with the mandrel onto the lathe.

Here is the handle set up with the mandrel and put on my lathe.
Here is the handle set up with the mandrel and put on my lathe.

 

I like to use the left skew to get the handle round.
I like to use the left skew to get the handle round.

I like to use the left skew chisel to get the handle round.  Taking off small pieces at a time and slowly working my way to get the square shape round.

After I get the handle round with the left skew, I like to use 60 grit sand paper to get the handle to the diameter I want.
After I get the handle round with the left skew, I like to use 60 grit sand paper to get the handle to the diameter I want.

I like to hold my vacuum hose along with the sand paper under the piece. This way all the dust get vacuumed instantly making clean up easier.  Remember to always work slowly.  A slow speed on the lathe during this step.

I used 220 Grit sand paper to shape the handle and get the surface smoother.
I used 220 Grit sand paper to shape the handle and get the surface smoother.

I like to go from the 60 grit sandpaper up to the 220 grit. This starts to give me a nice smooth finish on the lathe. Now is when I speed up the rpms on the lathe. The faster the handle spins the gentler I have to be with the sandpaper. Note to self….Caution… Don’t hit the vacuum nozzle on the handle it will make a gouge that may be too deep.  I like to work slowly and stop frequently as I am sanding to see if you like the shape and the diameter. I can always take more material off, but I can’t add it back on. I work the sandpaper up to 660 grit. Always increasing the lathe speed.

I use a piece of thread to trim the handle to size.
I use a piece of thread to trim the handle to size.

I use a piece of “D” or “E” size thread to cut the handle to size. Notice how I am holding the thread just in between my fingers. I do not wrap the thread around my fingers. If the thread get caught it could cut my fingers.

Wet blue jean material for the final polishing.
Wet blue jean material for the final polishing.

A NERB ( Northeast Rod Builder) that I know Billy Vivona gave me this trick for polishing the handle on the final stage. I use a wet piece of blue jean material with the lathe on a high speed. This will give the handle a nice finish.I have to be careful here I don’t want the handle getting too hot. It will soften up the contact cement in the handle.

Finish set of handles ready to be glue to the rod blank.
Finish set of handles ready to be glue to the rod blank.

Here is the finished set of handles that I will glue onto the fishing rod blank. I will post some finished picture of this fishing rod when it’s complete.

You can use all these custom fishing rods onboard C.J. Victoria in the 2014 season. Enjoy the winter and I will see you on the boat in the spring. Our online booking is taking reservations for the 2014 season. http://cjvictoria.com/book-now/

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