Without explaining Kaylin understood where the tip top goes – you got it. The Tip Top. The key items to be concerned about are alignment to the blank and correct fit. In later steps the tip top becomes a critical tool for sighting down the rod blank to double check guide alignment.
I have installed the tip top with hot glue in the past, the results have been mixed. Once I had a tip come off. It was probably my fault, but since then I’ve glued it in place with epoxy.
Tip Tops are sized first by the ring size then the tube size. Example an 8(5) tip top has an 8 millimeter guide ring and a 5/64” tube. I’ve attached a helpful reference document from the good folks at FLEX COAT. Please credit
Items you’ll need for this step:
- Tip section of rod
- Tip Top
- Steel wool
- Dull Needle
- Sand paper 120 grit
- Paper towel and alcohol for clean up
Summary of the Steps
- Test fit the tip top.
- Prep the blank with steel wool.
- Align and attach tip top with epoxy.
Testing the fit of the rod tip
How I described the fit to Kaylin – Loose but not sloppy. Her rod tip top was actually tighter than I’d like, but after doing a little prep it fit just right. The tip to should easily slide all the way on, but not have a sloppy feel. If the tip top is to tight or to loose, unfortunately you’ll need to get another. Eventually I’m going to publish a buyers checklist, I’ll include a note that talks about testing the fit on the tip top.
Preparing the rod tip for tip top
I like to rub the first ½ to ¾ inch of the rod tip with fine steel wool. By removing the gloss you increase the adhesion strength of the epoxy.
Align and attach tip top with epoxy
The tip top becomes a sight line for all the line guides so alignment is important. Kaylin and I double checked the spine on the tip section again to make sure we had everything marked correctly. I remarked the spine with red ink so it would be easier to photograph. To make it easy I put some masking tape on the tip top and marked the center as well.
With the blank prepped and marked Kaylin is ready to mix up some epoxy and install the tip top. I like using a dull needle to spread the epoxy inside the tip top. Transfer the epoxy into the tip top 4 or 5 times. When sliding the tip top into position twist it a little to spread the epoxy around evenly. Putting the epoxy inside the tip top verse on the blank keeps everything “clean”.
I made the above tool by pushing a needle into a small dowel and clipping off the end. Next line up your marks and set the tip section in a safe place until the epoxy sets up. I like using my wrapping stand to hold the rod section while the curing takes place.
As always please contact me if you see something that others should know. I’m not an expert, but I want to get this information out there so folks can enjoy this sport. I’ll be happy to correct and update this information.