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New to Customs need some advice

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Need some advice from the experts. Looking into having a conventional rod built around an Avet sx 6/4 raptor. Right now all I know is I like the St Croix 3SW80HF blank (have the spinning version and its great for what I do). I know I want fuji titanium guides (SiC or Gold Cermet depending on the final cost), a good aluminum reel seat (feel free to give suggestions) and cork grips(not sure the extent of my options here). Thats about all I know. I need some advice on epoxies, crosswraps, to acid wrap or not and anything else pertinet to a novice trying to build a quality rod with a ton of performance. Artwork is not a huge deal to me as much as functionality and quality. I will add the artwork if I have any $ once the important stuff is figured out.


The acid wrap thing is tripping me up to. Do I really need them? The reel I want to use has 26lb drag. Are the acid wraps that big of a benefit in that case? I can see how they help for the long fights encountered in tuna jigging but this is a striper rod. I am 26 so a little hand fatigue from a rotational force is not really a concern of mine.


Also I have an idea of the corner cutting out there (using masking tape to build up blank for reel seat, flexcoat(yellows), etc). I want a quality rod. Help me out here. What stuff am I looking to avoid.


Feel free to give me any advice, learned lessons, guidance on new technology and components and anything else that you feel would help me have a quality rod built. Thanks




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Guys, I steered Karl here from another site where he was being solicited by 'custom' guys selling versitex rods.


Please expand on why a true custom is going to be a better rod...god knows you guys do it better than I ever can.

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by no means an expert here, but you dont need the acid wrap on a striper rod


i think that graphite reel seats are better for most inshore as they are lighter and pretty much indestructible, but you can browse the Al ones at mudhole


custom cork grips are pretty inexpensive and easy. you can make some pretty damn cool grips that have nice patterns and colors with burnt, burl etc. you can use

household hardware to avoid having to buy the jigs they sell online. 1/4 " threaded rod + washers and nuts.


I use the u40 line of epoxies and finishes and they seem good, few bubbles no yellowing (yet).


if you are building the rod yourself i recommend not using A+ components initially as you probably wont do a great job on your first try. I'm on my 4th one now

and it is easily 5 or 6 times better in every single way than the first one i made. wish i could get some of those $$$ components off that first rod i made!


as to why custom is better... mostly because you can get a level of customization that isnt available off the shelf. i didnt appreciate just how "meh" most factory

rods are until i started making my own. now i look at my factory st croixs and lamis and cant even think of using them. it's just so cool to be using something

you made yourself.

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Whoever is going to wrap your rod should be able to thoroughly answer your questions andgive you their own OPINIONS & advice based on their knowledge of the fishing you will be doing.


THere are a LOT of choices in blanks, it depends what you are doing, and what you like. Depending on how many rods youv'e fished and youve been exposed to, you can really nail down the perfect rod for you. YOu already have a rod you like fishing. so that's part of it - is there anythign you don't like about the rod? Too long, too stiff, too fast action, too slow, etc - basically you take a look at what you have, see what you like/dislike, adn go from there. I'm not trying to steer you off your chouce, I'm just generalizing my answer.


Guides - you do not need Titnaium guides, you REALLY don't need Cermets. YOu will be just fine going with any Fuji guide, I won't use anything less than Fuji Alconite. SIC, is also a waste of money as a $25 upgrade, and if anyone says otherwise ask them for verifiable proof what is worth $25 over the cost of Alconite. TItnaium is a worthwhile investment, as it never rusts. Yeah it is lighter, but on the rod and reel you are using that is not why you go Titanium. The regular Fuji guides will be just fine if you rinse them off, and even if no tthe minimal amount of rust that forms isn't that big of a deal unless it rusts around the guide ring and causes the ring to pop out. For Titnaium oyu hav e2 choices, Fuji, and Amtak. I prefer Amtak because they are priced "right" and do just as good of a job as Fuji imo.


Grips - IMO the biggest reason to go custom other than getting the right blank, is setting up the handle porperl.y Lengths, diameter, and materials. I prety much require all my customers o come to my shop so I can explain and teach them the difference between each of hte materials and let you decide based on your newfound knowledge which is best for you. IMO, if a builder charges you top dollar the grips better be shaped and sanded. There is nothing worse than seeing a top dollar rod 9or a low dollar rod) with square grips. It's amatuerish and shows a lack of care towards fit and finish.


epoxy, each builder has his own oponions, I have samples I can show you so you cna see for yourself why I choose the finish I do.

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Thanks for the response.


Those samples you are talking about. I am in PA so that may be hard to see them in person. Can you post pictures of them? I want to get the epoxy choice right and I know nothing about them.

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I use kardohl or Flexcoat rodbuilders epoxy to ,ount the reel seats. i have also used west System epoxy.


For rod finish I like Aftcote but there are very many brands and if you search here you will find hundreds of posts about epoxy thread finishes.


Using masking tape to build arbors for mounting the reel seats is not cutting corners. About 99 percent of striper rods will be built that way.


i prefer coark tape to real cork on striper rods as they take a beating and its nice to be able to replace the handle every now and then.


I prefer grafite reel seats as the aluminum is very cold in your hand in the early spring and like now in the late fall.


I think you best bang for the buck in guides right now are Fuji SS framed Alconite guides.


You do not need to acid wrap a striper rod but you can if you want.


I cannot justify the cost of Ti frames on my own rods. I have some over 25 years old that are Fuji SS frames and they still work fine and show very little rust if any.


All my own rods have SiC guide rings but now that Alconite has hit the scene I think I'll go that route on my new rods. I think hardloy works fine if you really need to pinch pennies as many must.


I have a different opinion than some about using top components on your first rod. i believe you should use the best components you can comfortably afford and just take your time and make that first rod perfect. if you get into something you are not sure of , ask for help. While mail order or internet shopping for components is nice , buyiung at a local shop will enable you to ask for help from them when it comes time to build it.


Most important thing for a new builder to remember is that the rod could last several decades so take your time building it right and do not 'settle' for less than perfect.

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Hi Karl


In terms of making a rod with ultimate performance and for the rod you want to build, then I believe the blank choice is going to be most critical.


This is mainly due to the fact that a heavier salt water blank is not going to see increased performance from the weight difference between an aluminium and graphite reel seat. You wont see any performance difference with titanium and SS guides either.  All these choices will more than do the job though.


Now, dont get me wrong, if you want titanium guides and an Al reel seat then go for it! That is what custom building is all about. I use titanium guides exclusively, and I use both aluminium and graphite reel seats. I have used both Fuji and Am Tac titanium guides. I have found that I always go with the Am Tac guides for the price.


One thing you didn't mention about guides, and I feel in more important than material is single or double footed. I would suggest double footed guides as they are more durable. If you are using anything over 12lb drag then you are moving into double footed guide teritory.


In relation to acid wrap or not, the choice is about using a gimbal or not. If wrapping a convential rod then you will want a gimbal (and a belt to holster it). The issue that you may not need this on every cast and putting a gimbal into your hip/groin when not using a belt can get pretty uncomfortable.


Grips - I find EVA better and more durable than cork. Once again, this is a custom rod and the beauty is you can choose what you like.


I think it is a bit of myth regarding the tape and arbours. I use fibreglass tape and masking tape. With either material, I still have to cut off reel seats with a dremel, so both are super strong. Masking tape is heaps easier to use in my opinion.


I use flex coat for my epoxy. Out of all the ones that I have used, I like this the best in terms of handling. For the reel seet I like ProKote. Once again, just my personal choice.


My style of fishing is deep sea. That is around 300 feet of water and chasing fish between 10 - 50lbs.


I think the most exciting part of the rod build is choosing the components, the colour scheme (to match the reel or the like) and the planning you put into it.


All components out there will do the job you are looking for, it really comes down to a personal choice of what you like. If you are satisfied with what you have choosen than that rod will be "better" than anything you can buy off the shelf.


Wait until you pull in your first fish on your newly built rod, it is addictive and gurantee you wont just build one rod.


Regards Adam










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