Mounting the reel seat is pretty straight forward. Kaylin did it so quickly I missed taking still pictures of her doing it. So I’ll be showing both her fly rod and mine. I did get some video which we’ll put onto YouTube and a link to the video HERE. Taking video is definitely a learning experience. Hopefully it will be entertaining and informative.
Kaylin and my rod both have “Uplocking” reel seats. There are a variety of reel seats, uplocking, downlocking, slip ring and heavy duty milled. The uplocking is typical to 1 weight all the way up to 10 weight rods. You will see them with fighting butts and beautiful wood inserts.
Items you’ll need for this step:
- Masking Tape – You’ll love this stuff before the rod is done.
- Pen or Pencil and a grease pencil or crayon
- Epoxy, cup and stir stick (I use glue and epoxy interchangeable)
- Paper towel and isopropyl alcohol for clean up. (Acetone/finger nail polish remover will work as well)
A summary of the steps:
- If your reel seat has a groove for the reel foot, apply masking tape, then locate and mark the center of the reel seat insert.
- Create a bushing on the rod blank using masking tape or use a manufactured bushing.
- Dry fit reel seat and mark position on rod blank.
- Mix up epoxy and glue into position.
I described to Kaylin all the parts, so I’ll do the same with you.
- An important item to remember is aligning the reel seat and hood with the spline of the rod. If the reel seat insert has a groove for the reel foot wrap some tape around the insert and mark the centerline.
- Wrap masking tape on rod blank to build a bushing. Make sure the tape is at least a ¼ inch inside the wood insert. The insert should loosely slide over the blank. A loose fit insures good adhesion of the insert onto the rod blank. Epoxy should never be clamped tight, reduced strength will result.
Make sure the insert is loose, but not falling off the rod blank.
- Before gluing, I had Kaylin “dry” assemble the pieces of my Sage rod to understand how everything went together. This gives both of us a chance to see how everything goes together. Kaylin and you also get to see what happens next.
Now disassemble everything and lay the hardware to the side. All you’ll need is the insert and rod blank. I also like to mark the blank at the forward end of the wood insert so you know where to stop applying epoxy adhesive. I mark the blank with a greasy pencil or a crayon.
- Gluing the seat in place. Just like with my daughter you get to be taken back to the beginning. Besides my love of fly fishing, I’m actually a Degreed Plastics Engineer. So I can get a little technical. Epoxy is what is called a thermoset polymer, meaning that the resin will not soften when heat is applied. Mixing the two parts starts a chemical reaction causing the materials to “cross link”. Typically two resins are mixed in a specific ratio to cause the cross linking reaction. If this ratio isn’t followed the reaction won’t occur. For adhering the reel seat insert to the blank I recommend using 5 minute epoxy that can be purchased in a nifty dual syringe. These glue kits greatly reduce the errors associated with mixing the wrong amount of resins.
Some of the tips for mixing.
- Use a small plastic cup. I like small pudding cups and Kaylin likes eating the pudding. The sides and bottom are smooth and after the epoxy cures I can pop the epoxy out. Glass and metal cups transfer heat. I’ve dropped a metal can filled with epoxy in the past because it got HOT in my hand. I was mixing a lot of epoxy (building a canoe).
- Mix up a bigger batch than you need. This helps two ways; 1. Extra resin reduces the chance that you’ll have the incorrect ratio of resins. 2. It’s better to throw away a little epoxy vs not having enough to complete the task.
- Watch to make sure the equal amounts of both resins are flowing into the mix cup. If the ratio isn’t correct the resin will not react.
- Mixing – I use the 2 plus 1 rule. Mix really well for 2 minutes, thoroughly scrapping the sides and bottom. Then mix for another minute. Don’t rush this step.
- Read the instructions on the epoxy. This is one of those deals that a little knowledge goes along way.
With the epoxy THOROUGHLY mixed liberally apply it to the rod blank and masking tape below the mark you made at the forward edge of the reel seat insert. I just “goop” it on using the mixing stick. With a nice layer on the tape and blank slide the reel seat up onto the blank. It should easily slide up to the mark you made. Double check to make sure the insert aligns with the spline mark.
Clean up any epoxy that may have spread onto the insert or the rod blank. With the everything lined up set the blank somewhere so it won’t get bumped and let the epoxy cure for a day.
After a day the blank is ready to be handled. The next step will be to assemble the reel seat components. Stationary hood, sliding hood, nut and end cap.