Guide Effect On Stiffening

By Tom Kirkman, (RodMaker Magazine)

Here's a question from the July/August 2000 issue of RodMaker magazine:

"I enjoy the magazine very much and recently sent for all the available back issues. In one of them, you said that wrapping double footed guides on a rod would make the rod softer, not stiffer. This goes against everything I've ever heard about using double footed guides. All the better rod builders I know say that double footed guides make the rod stiffer, because the guides are stiff themselves. How can you explain your statement which goes against what everybody else says?. . .Barry, Flora, IN

RodMaker Magazine

"You and your building friends have missed the boat on this one. All guides, whether single or double footed, will soften a rod to some degree as the weight they add has a greater effect on rod efficiency than does any stiffening that may occur between the guide feet.

Let's put this into perspective. Let's say you're building a simple 6 foot spinning rod. I'd guess you're going to use about 6 guides or so to make things interesting let's assume they are of ultra-stiff frame construction. What is the total area between the guide feet? Measure and add the sum of that space on each guide that lies between the guide feet and I'll bet you'll come up with a combined total of something less than 3 inches. So on a total rod length of 72 inches you're going to stiffen less than 3 inches! In other words, the total amount of stiffening going on is pretty much immaterial - you'll never notice it. But you will notice the reduction in rod efficiency caused by the overall weight increase made when you added those guides. Double footed guides, usually much heavier than their single foot cousins will exacerbate the softening caused by the addition of extra weight to the rod. This is why, contrary to common belief, using double footed guides will usually result in a softer rod than if single footed guides had been used on the same blank.

The bottom line is that the reduction in efficiency caused by the weight of the guides will have an overall greater effect than any few inches of stiffening will. ~ Tom Kirkman

Publishers note:

If you have any tips or techniques, send them along! Help out your fellow rodmakers! ~ Publisher, FAOL

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