Fly Rod Building Tools Checklist – Get a free checklist Below

Ever wondered what you need to build a fly rod?  The list isn’t long and if you ever tied a wooly bugger you’ve got most of the skills required.  I always tell folks, this is a project you can take your time on.  Sure I can bust out a full rod in about 7 hours, but you can take your time.  When it comes to wrapping guides, it’s easy to cut off the wrap and do it again.

A great tip is whenever you’re about to mix up some epoxy.  Pre-assembly everything a couple times.  Pretend you applying adhesive with a dry brush so you get the sequence down.

In the BELOW LINK I provide a FREE checklist of the tools you should assemble before building a fly rod.  I keep all the tools in a seperate box right on the table that I’m building the rod on.

Another tip – make sure you have GOOD LIGHTING.  Seeing how smooth your wraps are and if you have any “fuzzies” as your building makes all the difference.

LAST rod building tip – Keep everything CLEAN.  You are going to spill something or have thread clippings.  Clean them as you build.  Before I started to keep it clean.  I really struggled with contamination in the wrap finish.


LINK ->Fly Rod Tools Checklist



Have you ever returned over and over to the same book?  I personally LOVE and recommend the book Handcrafting a Graphite Fly Rod <- (LINK to Amazon to check the price and read reviews) , by L A Garcia.

Handcrafting a Graphite Fly Rod by LA Garcia

Handcrafting a Graphite Fly Rod by LA Garcia

This book has 80 pages of detailed step by step instructions for building a fly rod.  The close up pictures are amazing and help describe the steps.  This book doesn’t complicate anything for the beginner, it really focuses in on the basics of rod building with an emphasis on wrapping and finishing.  The pages describing the terms and labels for fly rod building are spot on.  When your starting out building, it’s nice to understand what those silly terms like ferrule and half-wells grip mean.  Lots of pictures and clear writing.  My copy is smeared with epoxy and the binding is slightly broken from years of opening.  Again I Highly Recommended HANDCRAFTING A GRAPHITE FLY ROD (link to check the price its cheap)!

Another book that is on my shelf is Advanced Custom Rod Building (Link to Amazon).  This book HAS IT ALL when it comes to building any fishing rod.  It starts literally from the beginning on how a rod blank is manufactured and finishes with the tools, conversion charts and an extensive INDEX.  With a page count of 368 pages this book is a value and the prefect reference for taking you to the next level of rod building.  You notice I say rod building and not FLY ROD BUILDING.  Even though we’re passionate about fly fishing, there are a lot more fishermen casting heavy terminal tackle.  Don’t worry though Advanced Custom Rod Building contains information that is either directly or indirectly related to fly rods.

Advanced Custom Rod Building by Dale P. Clemens

Advanced Custom Rod Building by Dale P. Clemens

Again as a reference for all things ROD BUILDING, I highly Recommend – Advanced Custom Rod Building (Link to Amazon to check out the great reviews)

Tools and Equipment

For a long time I recommended building you wrapping stand and drying motor.  I’ve changed my ways once I purchased the Flex Coat Rod Building Kit.  This kit is like getting a rod building BUSINESS in a box.  I really believe that with the tools and instructions you could place an ad on Craiglist and start rebuilding and repairing rods.  The folks at Flex Coat have been in the rod building business since 1977.  You can read all about the amazing Seiders on their website  This family lives in the outdoors, have you heard of YETI?  Well the kids of the founder of Flex Coat founded YETI Coolers.

So with saying the above and analysizing how much time it takes to build a wrapping stand and drying motor I would seriously RECOMMEND the FLEX COAT ROD BUILDING START-UP KIT. (Link to AMAZON for a PRICE CHECK)



Just check out this list of contents:

  • 1-Flex Coat Professional Rod Wrapper
  • 1-Flex Coat Professional Drying/Finishing Motor
  • 1-Flex Coat Step By Step Rod Building Book
  • 1–Flex Coat “How We Do It” DVD
  • 1–Flex Coat 2oz. High Build Finish
  • 1–Flex Coat 40z. Epoxy Glue kit
  • 1–Flex Coat Tip Top Adhesive
  • 1-Flex Coat Guide Foot Adhesive
  • 1-Flex Coat Utility knife w/Six Blades
  • 1-Flex Coat Reamer Abrasive 12’ Roll
  • 1-Flex Coat Thread Clipper
  • 10-Flex Coat Finishing Brushes
  • 10-Flex Coat Mixing Cups
  • 10-Flex Coat Mixing Sticks

Other Items to Consider

  • A work table with good lighting
  • Rat tail file
  • Disposable brushes or blunt tool for applying finish **
  • Single edge razor or Exacto ™ knife
  • Lighter
  • 5 minute epoxy

The Best Fly Rod Wrapping Finish

After a while you’ll need to get some more wrapping finish.  You must have syringes, I’ve tried all kinds of ways to mix finish.  Measuring and mixing the two part epoxy with Syringers is the best way.  I recommend the HIGH BUILD Flex Coat FS2 Wrap Finish Kit (Amazon Link for more info) I wouldn’t stray from the stuff that works.   Here are some mixing instructions:

  • Mixing cups
  • Masking tape
  • Wax pencil or crayon
  • Tape measure

American Tackle Rod Dryer

If you don’t get the drying motor with the Flex Coat Start-Up Kit, you might want to consider the American Tackle Rod Dryer.  I have one of these and really like the rod chuck.  It allows you to clamp down on multiple size diameters plus you can “wrap” rubber bands around the chuck to insure the fly rod blank doesn’t fall out while the epoxy is setting in the middle of the night.   Again you won’t go wrong with my recommended ROD DRYER – American Tackle Rod Dryer (Link to AMAZON for more information)

  • Sandpaper med grit 120 to 220
  • Paper towels
  • Acetone
  • Scissors
  • Craft pen or gel pen to mark the rod blank

The Best Power Rod Wrapper for Building a Fishing Rod

So if your considering going big time into rod building, the next peice of equipment is a POWER WRAPPER.  American Tackle has a machine a long list of features:

  1.  A long base – 8 feet with the ability to expand even longer.
  2. A variable speed foot pedal to control the motor speed.  This feature is the key to wrapping guides fast.
  3. The thread carriage has TWO seperate thread holders with “set it and forget it” tension.
  4. Alignment marks are already on the fly wheel for making decrrative wraps.
  5. Two seperate motors; 1.  for wrapping and 2. for drying at a constant rotation speed.

Check out the AMAZON reviews with this link – American Tackle Rod Building Machines – Rod Wrapper APW and APW-Kit with Rod Dryer ARD

With variable speed from 0 to 4,000 rpms you can crank out guide wraps at record time.  Two things happen when you use a power wrapper; the first is accuracy.  Think about all the wrist action that goes into wrapping a rod by hand.  With a fly rod having 12 to 17 guides to wrap twisting the rod over and over doesn’t make a smooth wrap.

The American Tackle also has a 3-Jaw Chuck.  It’s based on the same chuck used on the stand alone dryer, but just a little more heavy duty.  Plus like I mentioned you have the option of adding a couple rubber bands to insure the blank stays put.

The rod stans lock into place and the wheels have ball bearings.  Capable of spinning at 4,00 rpms the ball bearings are essential.  The support  stands slide on the base and are always in alignment with the power chuck center.

If you have built cork handles or want to, this wrapper can also turn cork! The motor is 110 volt, not some cheap battery model.  The motor is similar to what you’d find on a power drill.  That’s why it has two motors, one for power and the other for continuous 11 rpm drying.