Rod building is usually not a high priority during early season mayfly fishing here in PA. However, recent receipt of an 804-3 McFarland “Classic” blank caused me to fit the build in between multi-day fishing excursions. I had chosen this blank because of how much I’ve been enjoying the “Classic” 835-3 over the last couple years.
During a few disjointed sessions I selected cork rings for the grip, matched a reel seat insert with a Lemke LC-7 dark nickel skeleton, and ordered in some guides. A stent was installed to get the butt diameter into the range of my reel seat insert ID. Following grip turning I mocked up the bottom end, taped guides in place, and did some lawn casting. Not many progress photos were taken as I was hustling this one and didn’t spend much time with photo documentation.
As a little aside, reel seat (up or down locking) hardware has changed quite a bit since I began building. Hardware is mostly aluminum now versus weighty nickel silver. So unlike an original U20 skeleton weighing about an ounce, modern equivalents weigh about 0.4 ounces. This difference requires attention when trying to achieve a nice balance. For this rod I felt added butt weight would help, so I incorporated a 6 gram (.212 oz) lead golf club shaft weight into the butt of the stent.
Over the last few weeks I performed the assembly, doing the epoxy applications last weekend before departing for a couple day fishing trip. I was anxious to return home to cast the finished rod, which I did today. While out on the lawn I shot a few finished rod pictures - I’ll post some of them over in the Rod Photos forum.
- Quarter inch cork rings
- Lemke LC-7 dark nickel skeleton
- Snake Brand snakes and tip top
- Mildrum stripping guide darkened with Birchwood Casey aluminum black
- Gudebrod gold/black jasper thread and light yellow thread, tipped with black silk. First epoxy mix had denatured alcohol added to aid transparency
Bottom end components
Stent notes for a fellow builder
Stent in place
Stent shortened and reel seat fit into place over stent
Grip and reel seat fit
First epoxy application turning
Foam fly tying cylinder used to close off male ferrule