ROD BUILDING TIPS
Guide Foot Finish Cracking

By Tom Kirkman

Here's a question from the Volume 4 - Issue #5 issue of RodMaker magazine:

RodMaker Magazine

"Your last magazine dealt with guide feet quite a bit. One of the problems I face is cracking epoxy at the foot of the guides after 3-6 months of use. This doesn't really bother me a lot on my rods, as I realize that is doesn't really reflect on the guides' strength or stability (i.e. they aren't going to come loose). However, as I try to refine my rodbuilding technique, I was wondering if there is a way to completely eliminate this cracking? The magazine article seemed to indicate that a guide foot that was filed a bit more narrowly might help. What about increasing thread tension? I would like to eventually sell my rods, but I don't want cracking guide feet on a customer's rod, if I can help it. Thanks so much for all your help." Andrew . . .Siloam Springs, AR

This cracking you mention is an ongoing problem for most rod builders. We have covered the cause and some possible solutions in previous issues.

In a nutshell, there is only so much you can do to reduce or eliminate the problem. Making the guide foot more flexible by grinding to a shallower angle seems to be one of the best ways to reduce the problem. Many rod builders also report that by applying epoxy directly to the thread and avoiding the use of color preserver seems to reduce the problem to some extent as well.

More tension does help, as it keeps the guide foot from moving as much when the blank is fully flexed. But you must be careful here - too much thread tension can damage a blank, particularly on today's thinner walled models. The same rule of thumb continues to apply - if you can't move the guide with slight sideways pressure after it is wrapped, it's too tight. Obviously, a heavy walled offshore trolling blank can withstand more guide wrap tension than can a 3-weight high-modulus graphite fly rod. Use your best judgment here. ~ 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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