Casting Rod Build Details, Part 2

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You can make this as easy or as difficult as you like

You can make this as easy or as difficult as you like

I dislike pre-formed cork handles, and every rod on the rack has them, even the more expensive rods. However, I wouldn’t get on any rod builder’s case for using them. I keep a few around for repairs and real inexpensive jobs. Cork rings are what I learned how to build rod handles with and these extra steps to build a rod make it even more unique. Cork rings and composite rings are available anywhere you buy rod building components. Looking at my catalog I count at least ten different types of material rings come in. Just don’t be that guy that thinks he needs all ten types in the same rod handle.

The parts above are some examples of what I call cookies. When individual cork rings are epoxied with others of different material rings and then trimmed down close the original size of one ring (11/34″ O.D. , 1/2″thick), I call it a cookie. The two cookies on the right are two-piece cookies, half rubberized and half burnt burl. The cookie in the middle is a poker chip cookie (Very difficult and time consuming to make without a special jig; I don’t have that special jig).

When epoxying the cork rings and cookies to the rod, you put a dab of epoxy on the rod blank and then slide the ring in place. Repeat a dozen times, and then clamp tight. We’ll see this step later on. My point now is to explain why I make the flat cookies like the two on the right side of the photo. Why not just treat the two thin rings as a full cork ring in the handle epoxying step, dab and slide? Because these little guys are fragile. Four-piece cookies more so, and 19 pieces cookies even more. If you don’t make the cookie first you could have the little pieces pressed unevenly and turn out wobbled. Imagine that the thin cork rings are pancakes and the epoxy is syrup. Now stack twenty pancakes and push down. Get the picture? Again, making the cookies first prevents even the slightest wobble between thin rings, assuming your cookies are made correctly.