Guide Foot Prep Ideas

By Tom Kirkman

From Volume 5 - Issue #1 issue of RodMaker magazine:

RodMaker Magazine

Guide feet come in many shapes. Many guides now feature feet which are much wider than what was common many years ago. The idea is that a wider foot puts more surface on the blank and helps to reduce any tendency of the guide to move or shift under pressure. This is fine, but some rod builders have found that in many cases and depending upon the blank being used, the edges of the guide feet are wider than the blank! If you find this to be the case in your particular usage, feel free to remove material from the edges of the guide feet, reducing the width to a point where it is as narrow, or narrower, than the blank width where it will reside.

Some builders will taper the foot shape so that the end culminates in a near point. Others will leave the end fairly rounded, much as the guide came from the factory. Either way is fine, although you are likely to find that the more area you have at the end of the guide foot, the greater the tendency for finish cracking at that area may be. The most important part of the shaping procedure, however, is the tapering of the foot end from top to bottom. You actually want this taper, or slope, to approximate a "ramp" starting with the top of the foot and tapering to an almost knife edge. The steeper you "ramp" the more difficult thread wrapping and finish edge cracking will be.

A more shallow angled "ramp" will allow the thread to climb onto the foot easier during the wrapping process and also allow for some amount of flexibility at the foot end, hopefully reducing the tendency to crack the finish at that edge.

How do you know if your taper or "ramp" is correct? It's pretty easy to judge once you start wrapping. If the thread just doesn't want to climb up and onto the foot without a good deal of manipulation on your part, the foot edge has not been reduced to a fine enough edge. You can fight it, or go back to the file, grinder or sandpaper disc and try again. After awhile you will know what is required and get things right on the first go 'round. ~ 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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