flyangler

SME build - Blingish vanity project, skills learning experience or both?

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As I have said here before, I am about one level above newbie in building even though I wrapped my first rod back in the 1970s. I have wrapped two rods over the past three years and in both cases I had someone else spin the grips/handles (our own @RedGreen and Bob Meiser's shop). Generally, I prefer using basic black guide wraps and an all stealth look so no problem. Anything more sophisticated, well, it's all new to me. So this thread is going to be an adventure in building a rod with more decoration that I nominally prefer but also a skills enhancement exercise.

 

Warning, I can be verbose so my apologies in advance as this gets lengthy. Also, anyone whose rod building philosophy is minimal weight on rods and eschews bling and ornamentation, this is likely not a build of which you will approve. That said, I am going to try to weight every element and part to determine what the addition of the bling actually adds to overall weight. 

 

Recently some of you may have read that I was starting this build on a Century Surf Machine Elite which I bought from @AFMike. The blank is awesome looking though the Xtreme wrap takes a little getting accustomed to after my using factory sanded or clear-coated rods for several years. I understand the functionality gains, it was the texture that was different but is no longer an issue after handling it for a while. In fact, the X weave of the Textreme just might make some of the decoration easier to layout. 

 

If you have been reading, you may recall my questions on using an ALPS ergonomic reel seat on this build. I really like ALPS both for function and appearance and I could not get my mind around putting an unadorned $9 Fuji DNPS, even the deluxe model, on a blank at the price point of the 11' 1-6oz SME. It just seemed "wrong" and yet, when I received both seats, I have to admit that I liked the feel of the Fuji better than that ALPS. Several of you said that would be the case and you were correct. There was a discussion of these seats that started several years back on the question of ALPS seats on surf rods if you missed them. That dates back to the point where I was ordering the Stealth 1326; it got bumped by a question and morphed into a discussion related to this build. 

 

So once I decided on a Fuji DNPS, I had to find one that was painted gloss black to complete yet another all-black build, except, no so easy. Billy has used hundreds of Matagi painted seats and he thinks they are the best, good enough for me. Except, Billy didn't have any in size 20 and black and ordering would take a while, but he had shipped some seats to Grumpy's who I rang up. They had two in size 20, one a black "shark skin" and one in gloss Andromeda, and I ended up with the latter. 

 

And that is where this little all-black stealth project hit the wall and became something quite different. Now it is about me learning some new techniques, new tricks and how to work with different materials. That was all discussed in yet another thread which some of you have read. I have since consumed more video than I care to think about with Bill Falconers being the most helpful for his work with Jim Trelikes' dragonscale process. 

 

 

So the new materials are metallic thread, abalone, nail polish and, for this build, Gen 4 epoxy, both the regular and lite formulations.

 

Modern day abalone veneer is really cool stuff, much thinner than the older, thicker version, where people had to "break" the veneer to get it around the rod. I will be using the heat gun application method. I called MudHole and had them hand-pick abalone that would be match the purple, blue, green colors of the Andromeda seat and the did quite well (sheets at bottom). 

 

C0C74CF5-1A29-4298-BF3B-A805A57E88AC_1_105_c.jpeg.5eb5a5e39a5f43944fd0b06922d20c90.jpeg

 

CDDCFE4A-6A65-42AD-A46F-0A4B08F5C16C.jpeg.c585f2a755ff28c8085bec7dd5b1b851.jpeg

 

[ To be continued ]

Edited by flyangler

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Something about how I position my hand on a reel seat has me loosening the lower lock ring on uplocking reel seats. I do it on the ALPS on my 1326 as well as other rods with standard Fuji seats. So, while Billy says he does not see a need for the Fuji Back Stop Lock Nut, I decided to use one.

 

But therein rose the first bling issue: using the standard Fuji color lock nut on the Andromeda seat. But how to do that? 

 

3F0E9145-1955-43CC-A358-B262E350A35B_1_105_c.jpeg.e51b7fe04ff55417bd2a17dd40725c00.jpeg

 

I thought rattle can paint in the Andromeda which is available from Rustoleum but then I found a nail polish that seemed the better route. 

 

CF80F3BD-C12A-4773-A282-7D129AE849D7_1_105_c.jpeg.979a7fa1b8704fc5f969cec2a0c67d76.jpeg

 

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70A0AEDB-04A8-425A-A762-5E231F32968B_1_105_c.jpeg.0c702b35ca508a5b225f9669ccc722a8.jpeg

 

Here is the finished look with a standard lock nut for comparison. I think the color came out quite good but I am not satisfied with three light coats of that clear auto enamel (it is not real clearcoat). The finish is dry and reasonable hard, but I could deform it with a fingernail if I tried. Thus, when I use some epoxy, I am going to put a coat on the lock nut as well. But overall, quite pleased with the outcome here. 

 

6614A8F7-F277-4DF8-8137-2A8059FBAB76_1_105_c.jpeg.66a26cc04ce8129b71f28d1d4ab5a21f.jpeg

 

 

37CCFD94-F49B-42BD-838F-C8B2471A7AFD_1_105_c.jpeg.3760bfc56f8d7516100615bd72de6cba.jpeg

 

 

To be continued, next up, adventures with Dragonscale and why listening to experts is better than improvisation.....

 

 

 

Edited by flyangler

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OK, being the obsessive type, I have been trying to find the right thread colors to work with the color-shifting reel seat. Both an easy and not so easy proposition, depending on the light, angle, and level of obsession in getting it "just right".

 

I posted these in the other thread but will repeat here. I decided on the Hitena Vivid metallics for accents, though I am decreasingly likely to use much of that, just a few accents I think. Threads will mostly be black and Hitena Gold Vivid. 
 

 

 

 

However, I am going to use Hitena Aurora Black for the dragonscale finish, while more blue that purple/green, it provides enough color-shift itself to make a good contrast and complement the Andromeda. I might actually use a combination of the underlying dragonscale pattern with a swirl over that wrapped in Aurora as shown below. 

 

58104_Aurora_Black_3-1__48799.1617041568.jpg?c=2

 

 

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BTW, anyone unfamiliar with the dragonscale process, this is an excellent tutorial from Bill Falconer. FWIW, I did exchange messages with Jim Trelikes on his work and he makes that point that he considers the dragonscale a process or technique, and not a wrap per say. The cross-hatch pattern laid out below is the standard people think of, but he's done swirls and vortices under the overwrap and he considers all of those looks as part of the same process. 

 

 

For example, the image in the comment above is a swirl wrapped over the crosshatch but under the Aurora. That's a cool combination effect. 

 

Below is a vortex which has no crosshatch and is more of a barber pole. If you look carefully, you will note that two of those under threads are single strand and two are two twisted together. I confirmed that with Trelikes who likes the variability the double thread introduces. 

 

890CEE58-910B-4E23-AAA5-CDFCB9950F00_1_105_c.jpeg.6e0213ae8a494598959c96c10bc3ba33.jpeg

 

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Let me note, compared to the pros and near-pro hobbyists out there, I am a piker and fully acknowledge so. That I am watching videos about single and double trim wraps is an indication. 

 

Regarding dragonscale and the comment I made above about improvising, here is an example. Both Trelikes and Falconcer suggest using size D or E thread as the underwrap, never smaller (not enough "stand off" and never larger (excepting for swirls and vortices)).

 

So what do I do, thinking "bigger is better", I figure a more pronounced look could come from a thicker thread used in the crosshatch. As practice I layed out the markings for an 8-axis pattern and tie it up using 200# PowerPro to see what the effect might be. Not a smart move as the thicker braid made the squares small, very dense and actually "taller" than would be with traditional thread. With this standoff or "height" being what it is, I am not sure the wraps down against the blank would actually show in the overwrap. The other issue with PP is that cutting is complicated enough and when trimmed, might leave a mess to cover with trim wraps, but that is really a secondary issue. 

 

PowerPro might work on a 4-axis cross-hatch but not an 8-axis like this. Could work well in swirl and vortex wraps which I might try as practice. 

 

Note the white marks under the wrap, this was the layout per the Falconer video linked above. The MudHole layout jig, or the homemade version of same, was invaluable in making laying down the markings so much easier. 

 

IMG_3790.jpeg.9d010a891b1dd49abcff4df464715ca8.jpeg

 

IMG_3791.jpeg.b8624e0d7e2d40c5c3c9ed9b7a5dbd16.jpeg

 

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IMG_3793.jpeg.8ba18c343c0d43176d99bb664c46a58f.jpeg

 

IMG_3794.jpeg.b381f044717157248e3023141aa35671.jpeg

Edited by flyangler

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not sure if you are planning on keeping that but it doesnt look like the thread will be able to get down to the blank. seems its to thick for the spacing

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59 mins ago, SurffisherMike said:

not sure if you are planning on keeping that but it doesnt look like the thread will be able to get down to the blank. seems its to thick for the spacing

That is a test piece of blank I picked up at the local shop.* I am using it to experiment/practice and yes, you are likely right, I don't think the PowerPro will work.

 

I am going to tie down a 2" length of that wrap, trim off the balance and then wrap over it just so see how it turns out. I am going to use some of the released PP to create a swirl for a couple of inches. And then will lay down a new base using something equivalent to E thread, or slightly larger. 

 

* BTW, if your local shop offers custom rods, they could be a source of busted rods which can be used for experimentation or gaffs or anything where 4-7' of graphite blank is useful. 

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Tried almost the opposite of that dragon scale recently with very small pattern.  Picture is not great.  Burgundy metallic thread over wire bundling sleeve.

Small DS Pattern.jpg

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28 mins ago, Mangomania said:

Tried almost the opposite of that dragon scale recently with very small pattern.  Picture is not great.  Burgundy metallic thread over wire bundling sleeve.

Small DS Pattern.jpg

I like it. What is the blue treatment/trims on the ends of that run? 

 

Out of curiosity, did you hand-wrap the burgundy thread or did you use a power wrapper? My hands get cramped after 20-30 consecutive twists so the thought of 150+ turns, well, has me thinking power is better. 

 

ETA: when you say wire bundling sleeve, are you talking a split loom type sleeve or one of the Flex weave type products? 

Edited by flyangler

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At the end a little of the sleeve shows and on the left end you can see part of the cable tie I held it down with.

 

Material is Techflex Heavy Duty Braided Expandable Sleeving, 3/8"

 

Wrapping was done by hand in a Renzetti wrapper.  The wrap is positioned to be in the split grip area behind the reel seat so I was right next to the chuck and just spun it with my palm.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mangomania said:

At the end a little of the sleeve shows and on the left end you can see part of the cable tie I held it down with.

 

Material is Techflex Heavy Duty Braided Expandable Sleeving, 3/8"

 

Wrapping was done by hand in a Renzetti wrapper.  The wrap is positioned to be in the split grip area behind the reel seat so I was right next to the chuck and just spun it with my palm.

Ah, I see now. I actually have some Techflex in the garage from when I once made my own custom audio cables. Red, black, red/black. That and lots of shrink tube in similar colors. Back in the days before HDMI....

 

Looks good and relatively easy. How do you trim off the excess or do you leave it under shrink wrap?

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8 hours ago, SurffisherMike said:

not sure if you are planning on keeping that but it doesnt look like the thread will be able to get down to the blank. seems its to thick for the spacing

Mike, 

 

So partially disassembled the PowerPro wrap and discovered a few things. First, when I was wrapping some Size D thread on it to tack down one end, I learned that the slick surface of PP is NOT a good base to get thread to lay over it. With the slickness and a lack of surface texture, very difficult for the thread to bite and stay in place. It would be a nightmare to wrap over 6-7” of that as an under wrap. 
 

Second, PP cuts much more easily and cleanly than I thought it would. A new razor blade cut through it easily and left clean ends, one of my concerns voiced above. But a moot point given the slick surface and next item.

 

Third, and most importantly, we are correct and the height of that wrap would not make for a good look. Size A thread would bridge the highest points and never make contact with the wraps down against the blank. 
 

I don't have any size E thread so will resort to D for the under wrap. I have some other material that is textured and thicker than D but too close to the PP in diameter. 
 

One thing I did do was leave four PP threads intact on one end and wrapped those in a swirl. I wrapped an inch of the Aurora over these threads and I really like the effect.
 

As of now, either going to do that over the crosshatch under wrap as discussed above or just use a swirl/vortex for the whole length. Need to experiment a little more. 
 

 

 

Edited by flyangler

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" I don't have any size E thread so will resort to D for the under wrap. I have some other material that is textured and thicker than D but too close to the PP in diameter. "

 

Gudebrod size D NCP will generally be larger than size D in other brands.

Edited by Don B

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3 hours ago, Don B said:

" I don't have any size E thread so will resort to D for the under wrap. I have some other material that is textured and thicker than D but too close to the PP in diameter. "

 

Gudebrod size D NCP will generally be larger than size D in other brands.

Don, 


I have heard similar. Hitena goes as far as to assure users that the Hitena NCP is a “true size” and not a size larger than others. 

 

In his videos on dragonscale (he has several), Falcolner suggests not using NCP thread to create the cross hatch. He claims that when used as underwrap, NCP and metallic threads produce many more air bubbles when the first coat of epoxy is applied. I can understand the point on metallic as air can exist between the foil and the nylon carrier core and it takes time for the epoxy to penetrate and displace the air. 
 

But I don’t get the similar point for NCP. 
 

Any thoughts? 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Small sections of Aurora black over the improvised swirl/vortex and the PowerPro cross-hatch.
 

I like the vortex quite a bit and it seems to present as much color variation as the cross-hatch. 
 

The PP does not look so bad but it is a bitch to wrap and keeping threads together will be a chore. 
 

Note that the Aurora thread will present more blue under broader spectrum sunlight. 
 

1E6CA07F-3455-4EBF-B1E1-5705B687DF53.gif.b24f004a6f782120a0ca6f8fe3ccba46.gif
 

 

 

Edited by flyangler

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