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Mounting Reel Seats

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(This section is still under construction)

There are several methods of mounting reel seats on rod blanks. The earliest methods involved wrapping a porous cotton cord around the rod blank until the diameter of the blank plus cord met the inside diameter of the reel seat and applying a glue to bond the seat to the cord and the blank. This is still a very acceptable method. The key is the use of a highly absorbent, open weave cotton twine which has not been mercerized. There are however, some drawbacks to the approach. The first is ensuring good adhesion of the cord to the blank and the cord to the inside of the reel seat. The advent of modern "expansion" glues such as polyurethanes certainly is an advance over the original animal hide glues or even the heat-melt glues which were popular in the era of solid rod blanks and chrome/brass reel seats. The second drawback for the builder is the lenght of time it takes for these glues to cure - and the need to continue to rotate the rod to make sure that the glue disperses evenely around the rod blank to reel seat.

//photo of rod with cord wrapped and reel seat positioned to slide down//

Another, more modern approach that was - and is popular still is to wrap thin strips of masking tape around the rod blank until a firm fit is achieved between the tape and the reel seat and filling the voide with a slow cure two part epoxy glue - available from several major distributors with the most popular being Flex Coat. This is also an acceptable method. It ensures that the reel seat is centered on the rod blank. The drawback is in filling the void between the strips of masking tape with sufficient epoxy to create a solid bond. This can be a messy process as loose two part epoxies will drip and run considerably. A newer approach is to use paste two part epoxies such as "super-poxy" from Dale Clemens or a "steel filler" paste epoxy such as is used to repair auto body panels or mufflers. This works much better as the epoxy does not drip and is a heat-cure vs air cure mixture. Read the labels to make sure you have a heat cure epoxy vs light cure (only cures in UV rays such as the newer body fillers) or air-cure which needs oxygen to "set up" and harden).

//photo of masking tape strips and reel seat in position //

   

Other rod builders use wooden strips or graphite 'plugs' to fill the gap between the reel seat and rod blank. This also works very well and provides a long-lasting bond especially if the wood is a superior hardwood or more rot-proof wood such as teak.

//photo of graphite "plugs" and teak strips//

A newer "cross-over" method is to wrap the rod blank with masking tape as above. Slide the reel seat about 3/4 of the way down to the second wrap of masking tape and fill the void with an expansion glue such as a good quality polyurethane glue - which is available at any good do-it-yourself outlet or hardware store.

//photo of polyurethane glue filling reel seat void//

The latest method that I was introduced to by Tom Shepard , a rod builder from La Plata Maryland that I've found easiest to manage, apply and provide a strong consistent bond is to wrap the the rod blank with masking tape near the ends of the reel seat. - but not at the very end to the inside diameter of the reel seat. Fill the void between the two (or three) bands of masking tape with a marine-grade two-part fiberglass boat repair epoxy with chopped fiberglass particles in it. These are FAST cure - 3-5 minute mixtures rated for below waterline application. Once the mixture has dried use a wood rasp to grind down the filler to slighly less than the diameter of the masking tape "markers". Score the inside of the reel seat - really put some grooves in in with a triangular or bastard file. Apply a quality two part epoxy to the rough finish of the fill material and slide the reel seat in place. This provides a continuous solid layer between the reel seat and the blank that is impervious to water intrusion and is the most sensitive "feel" through to the fisherman's hand.

//photo of masking tape bands, photo of various compounds & mixtures for below waterline application ... photo of masking tape bands and filler in place... photo griding off excess material //

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