Preparing the Fly Rod for Finish – Step 12

At this point you can hold something that is really starting to look like a fly rod. All that remains is to look everything over, apply the finish and go fishing. Boy if it was that easy.
Prepping to finish is like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. After less than an hour of prep work you can start applying finish. Just like painting a wall in your house, spending a little time preparing pays big dividends. So look over every wrap and inspect for tight wraps and the dreaded fuzz.

Items you’ll need for this step:

• All the wrapped fly rod sections
• Lighter
• Wrapping equipment (you might need to re-wrap a guide)

Summary of the Steps

1. Inspect all the Fly Rod Wraps looking for quality
2. Double check guides are aligned
3. Burn off fuzz with a flame
4. Tighten the wraps with your finger nail

Inspect All the Fly Rod Wraps

This step has a direct impact on the quality of finish on the fly rod. Functionally as long and the guides are aligned and some finish/epoxy gets on the guide threads the rod will work just fine. If you can’t clean up the fuzz and tighten the wraps with the techniques provided you might want to cut the thread off and re-wrap the guide.
The quality of the wraps improved with every wrap Kaylin did. She was a little tired of wrapping by the end, but we got it done. (After she finished I cut to wraps off and re-wrapped them)

What are you looking for?

• Make sure the threads are lining flat and tight to each other.
• Look closely for fuzz, it will show through the finish.
• Put the rod together and align to guides – Are all the guides in alignment?

You can be as critical as you’d like, cutting off most of the wraps and re-wrapping. Kaylin’s rod is going to have a couple flaws, but those flaws aren’t going to stop the rod from catching fish. I know she can’t wait to complete the rod so leaving a flaw isn’t a big deal. Cutting a wrap off and having her re-wrap would make this project a real bummer.

Double Check that the Guides are Aligned

Put the fly rod together and align the guides. Look down the guides, is everything lined up? If not take a moment and move the guides into position. The wrap shouldn’t be so tight that a you can’t move the guides a little. If you can’t move the guide into position. Sorry but the only fix is to cut off the wrap and re-wrap.

Burn off Fuzz with Flame

Fuzz, the enemy of a nice fly rod finish! Fuzz can ruin the finish on a fly rod, it will cause a “pimple” or bump. The objective is to have a glossy smooth surface that you can brag to your friends.

If you find fuzz and its small the easiest solution is to burn it off.


Too much heat will burn the threads and could damage the rod blank.
Only a quick exposure of flame is needed. If you can’t burn of the fuzz with a quick flash as shown in the video, you have a choice. Cut it off and re-wrap or let it go. The fuzz will not affect the performance of the fly rod.

Tighten the Wraps with your Finger Nail

A gap between the threads can cause a small defect in the finish. Using your finger nail push the threads together. If this doesn’t work use the top flat of your finger nail to flatten the threads a little to fill in any gaps.

I’ve put together a quick video describing the process.

The fly rod is definitely starting to take shape. After the prep work is complete it’s time to move onto finishing the rod. Step 13