Poor mans quad project… Part 3- Practice

The rod I hope to get by the end of this project is a shortish 4/5 weight, for fishing tight overgrown streams. I envisage mainly using it as a dry fly weapon, but I want a little versatility from it. Something that throws a size 18 adams nicely, but will be happy enough throwing bigger dries, like hoppers, cicadas and larger beetle patterns. While I will mainly use the rod for trout, I’d also like to be able to chase Bass, Bream and the like if I have the desire to… That was and still is the dream…

However, once it came down to the actual building a rod and I realised how out of my depth I was, I decided to make a practice blank to start with. To go through the whole process not taking anything too seriously. I generally learn best by jumping straight in and just doing things… Thus I embarked on making a a one piece 4ft 4 inch “banty” just for fun. Its unlikely to be fished much (who knows, maybe I will love it), I just wanted to go through the process, see where I could make mistakes, areas to watch out for and the rest of it… I got the taper by turning a thramer banty hex taper into a quad using the rod DNA program. It was time to start building…First I prepped the strips. Flaming them with the creme brullee blow torch, straitening them with a heat run, taking off the enamel etc. Then I started planing. Planing each piece isn’t particularly hard, it just takes a lot of care and patience. I aimed to plan the rod to within 0.02mm. On the first piece I made a few mistakes and took a little bit too much material off in some places. The great thing about a PMQ though, is you can “fix” those when planing the second piece. So after planing the first piece of the rod, I measured all the stations and adjusted them for the second piece, so despite my mistakes, the taper would still be completed pretty much how it was meant to be… Planning the second piece went a little more smoothly, I am starting to get the hang of it. A sharp plane is an absolute must, so make sure that before you start you can shave with it. It makes the whole process a load easier…

Building the banty begins with a beer to celebrate...
Building the banty begins with a beer to celebrate…
Planing- ideally the two pieces should probably be more uniform in size- but for this I used two of my worst pieces- given it was likely to end in disaster anyway...
Planing- ideally the two pieces should probably be more uniform in size- but for this I used two of my worst pieces- given it was likely to end in disaster anyway…

Next step was gluing. This was fine, make sure you have a load of clips or clamps. I scrounged around the house and ended up finding enough once I took all the alligator clips off the packets of rice and the like in the pantry.

Glue time- the hound diligently "helped" me through the whole process
Glue time- the hound diligently “helped” me through the whole process

It was then time to plane again, take your time and this planing isn’t too hard. Like most building measure twice cut once is always a good maxim. At the end of it, I ended up with a cute little blank. Its not great, but it will do, I’ll get some cheap components and get it fishable. I was pretty happy with my accuarcy, its planned to within 0.04mm at each station and apart from a few areas where it isn’t quite square (more on that later), it should work OK. Building it provided me with a load of experience that I couldn’t really have got any other way. I am now set to get stuck into building a real rod. Something a little less “niche”. In the next post, I will take you through the whole process in detail. This time documenting each step diligently.

Finished blank
Finished blank
Mmmmm power fibers...
Mmmmm power fibers…

So, stay tuned for the step by step guide, the hurdles and little tricky bits you should be aware of and a little review of how the banty cast in later posts.

Till next time

Cheers

Hamish

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