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I asked the list for advise on glue for reel seat caps.  I've had a couple come off after a a few years of use.  I received several replies, on and off list.

Recommended glues:

  • Brownell's Acraglas Gel (what I had been using)
  • Golf shafting epoxy
  • JB Weld epoxy
  • Polyurethane woodworking glue
  • Pliobond
  • Weldwood contact cement (flammable variety)

Surface preparation:

  • degrease the cap (I have been doing this)
  • remove varnish from filler (I have been doing this)
  • roughen inside of cap (I have not been doing this.  I've heard both ways, that glue (epoxy in particular) adhears better to a smooth surface or to a rough surface.  A web search for "epoxy surface preparation" convinced me that the epoxy manufacturers recommend a rough surface, so that is what I'll use from now on.)

I did an experiment with all the glues above, except golf shafting epoxy which I could not obtain at the corner hardware store.  I quartered a 5/8 inch hardwood dowel and glued pieces into nickel silver caps.  The caps were degreased with Xylene, roughened with a rattail file, degreased again, and glued.  Clamps were rigged to hold the dowel tight to the cap.  Glues were left to cure for 1 week, then the cap and dowel were twisted back and forth until the glue gave way.

JB Weld was the strongest.  The wood broke before the bond.  The remaining glue inside the cap was difficult to remove without heat.

Polyurethane (Elmer's Probond)  and AcraGlas were about tied for second. Acraglas pulled from the cap, leaving just a few wood fibers behind. Poly separated in the glue itself, leaving a glue layer on the wood and on the cap.  I was surprised how strong the poly glue was.

Pliobond and Weldwood Contact were much weaker in this application.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    Just curious, what type of glue were you using before to glue on the reel seat caps?  (Mark Wendt)

    Thanks for the info Frank.  I think that about everybody has had at least one cap come off unless they are pinned.  I haven't had any come off on bamboo (using the golf shafting epoxy), but did in the past on graphite rods I built using other glues.

    Is the JB Weld product just called "epoxy" or is the name more descriptive than that?  (Jerry Madigan)

      JB weld is a relatively high temp epoxy that has a filler of metal filings, thickening the soup.  Makes it a real bear to sand, but gives the cured epoxy some distinct qualities, like being able to drill and tap well, and take quite a bit of stress.  I know of guys that have JB welded mounting lugs back on the their model airplane engines, and are still flying the same engines years later.  (Mark Wendt)

    Thanks for your input.  This is the sort of information I want to see on the rod list.  Even though it is like finding a grain of salt in the sugar bowl, it is what makes it all worth while.  (Ralph Moon)

    Well done!!  How many reel seat caps did you destroy in the process? <g>  Because of experiences similar to what you describe, I've begun to pin all my reel seats.  Even when I put together a graphite rod for a friend, I pin the reel seat to the filler.    I  also  pin  all  my  ferrules.  Why  take  chances?  (Harry Boyd)

    No one has mentioned Devcon or Flex Coat epoxies.  Both are fairly easy to find, and Devcon is pretty cheap (any hardware store has it).  I may be ignorant, but I can't imagine any but cap actually going through the strain that would cause two part epoxy to fail.  However, maybe someone would want an adhesive that could come apart with a judicious application of heat.  I know I screwed up a beautiful ($75) Bellinger seat once because the seat hardware twisted when I set it down to cure.  Managed to smoke the wood pretty badly trying to take it apart, not to mention the blank.  I never did get the NS trim ring off.  (Jason Swan)

      Devcon has done nothing but fail for me, both in ferrules and real seats. I reapplied all my failures with golf club shafting epoxy. That has held up well so far.  (Bill Bixler)

        I noted in a previous response to this thread that after about 4 or 5 failures with Devcon I went to the golf club epoxy. I must also add that I did this all this winter and I have only fished one rod that was done with this epoxy. In conclusion, I cannot say it has been tested through the rigors of fishing yet to see how well it holds up. I can say that in the past it was highly recommended by other list members.  (Bill Bixler)

    With the Pliobond did you flame it? Increase strength quite a bit. JB weld is very strong. Works good for ferrules to.  (Adam Vigil)

      No I did not flame it.  I put a coat on each surface, let that try for an hour, then recoated and put the pieces together and clamped. I know you have to give it a week to cure, which I did.  I'll try the flame method when I have a chance.

      I used to use Pliobond for all sorts of stuff (before I tried cane rod building).  It fixed a leaky gas tank on an old Volvo, that had resisted 3 professional repairs.  But 10 years or so ago they seemed to change the formula and I don't like it so much any more.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    OK, Frank; so what have you decided to use in the future?  (Jim Utzerath)

    I'm a beginner at this, but I was thinking after reading these notes, what if we make a beautiful rod that lasts a long time, a lot longer than us, and then sometime in the future someone has to replace the grip or the reel seat.  Can you get a reel seat glued with epoxy off without destroying the rod?  (Bill Freiman)

      You can if you use 5 minute epoxy. 5 minute epoxy softens at a much lower temp. then slow cure epoxy.  (Marty DeSapio)

      Directed heat from a heat gun will work, as long as you make sure you don't burn the wood of the reel seat.  (Mark Wendt)

      That would then be someone else's problem. I'll be very dead wont care. On the bright side, enough people will be interested in the restoration of these rods that they'll start their own Listserv so as to exchange ideas, rambling meanderings, completely off-topic posts, and general mirth and mayhem. Imagine all the ill will, all the camaraderie and cajoling that will ensue. We will have done them a service by making our rods as difficult to restore as is possible.

      I've found that repeated heating/cooling cycles work better than just an application of too much heat.  (Martin-Darrell)


I have a couple of uplocking reel seats to put together and was wondering what types of glues people use to attach the threaded metal barrel to the wooden filler.  (Callum Ross)

    Glues for reel seats U40 Rod Bond. Clean things thoroughly with denatured alcohol, then scuff completely the surfaces with an ultra-fine Scotch-Brite pad, so that there are no shiny spots left. DO NOT wipe off any residue from the sanding. DO NOT clean again with any solvent. Apply the Rod Bond, and you'll play hell ever   getting   things   apart  again  --  even  with  heat.  (Martin-Darrell)

    The advice that you received on glue is solid, but before you install uplocking reel seats, you might consider my recent experience.  I used an uplocking reel seat on an eight-foot six weight with a modified Dickerson 8014 taper.  (The modification was to make it a three piece rod.)  I like to have my rods "balance" somewhere near the top or front of the cork handle.  By this I mean that if I use my finger as a fulcrum, the rod, reel, and line combination will balance on my finger or the center of gravity of the total assembly is near the front of the handle.  With the REI uplocking reel seat that I used, the reel was located about an inch and a quarter further up the rod than my normal downlocking seats which completely changed the balance of the rod.  The balance point is several inches above the handle and feels heavy to my hand.  My reel is just too light.  I toyed with the idea of adding a weight to my reel, but experiments showed too much weight would be required.

    My point is that seemingly small changes (like using an uplocking instead of a downlocking reel seat) can result in unexpected subjective differences.  You might want to experiment by taping the handle in place before final gluing.  (John Sabina)

    I use 5 minute epoxy. It is plenty strong enough to hold on a reel seat, and if you ever want to get it off, a couple heating and cooling cycles and the epoxy lets go. I know at the time you put it on you think you will never need to take it off, but you never know....

    I don't use 5 minute epoxy for ferrules.  (Darryl Hayashida)

      I would not recommend 5 minute epoxy for gluing on a NS end cap in a cap/sliding band setup, had a failure with my only try.  (Ed Riddle)

        Out of the 100 or so caps glued with 5 minute epoxy I have only had 1 failure. Pretty good odds. If you pin, no failures. Main thing is to clean the inside of the cap with solvent prior to gluing.  (Marty DeSapio)


I don't remember seeing any discussion about the best glues for attaching butt caps to the reel seat, especially when using a down sliding ring setup. Also how many of you pin them? Any special tricks for flattening the pin heads without dinging the butt cap?  (Larry Puckett)

    I don't pin, I get a close fit of the cap to the filler, rough both surfaces, and glue with slow-setting epoxy. Try to keep the glue out of the pocket or you may have to fish with the reel in your coat pocket.  (Steve Weiss)


I am building a spey rod for my own use and I am worried the weight of this rod may be too much to cast all day for a week at a time.  I am buying a nice reel seat and cork grip and would like to use an adhesive that would allow disassembly.  My first thought is hide glue?  Does anyone have opinions on this?  Is their a better choice of adhesive?  I have read the threads on hide glue and I fear it may be impossible to get this adhesive to release without destroying the cork?  (Bob McElvain)

    You may have a problem getting the cork off in one piece, but you can get another grip.  It's a lot stronger than you may first think when this sets up. The way we get it apart in the furniture trade is to steam it open. Have you made the rod hollow built?  (Gary Nicholson)

    I would suggest that rather than try to make the rod  disposable, you build it as nicely as you can. If you don't like it,  you should certainly be able to sell it for more than the price of  the components, and that way, you won't have to spend the time it  would take to disassemble it.

    It's hard to say if the rod will be comfortable for you to cast, some  of that depends on the rod, and some of it has to do with technique.  It's possible to beat the snot out of yourself with any two hander,  and it's also possible to fish them with minimal effort. If you have  chosen a good taper, and balance it properly, there's a good chance   you will be OK.  (Tom Smithwick)

    Hide glue is pretty strong stuff, and has been around for centuries. (think Stradivarius)  It is very susceptible to moisture. I haven't witnessed it, but imagine a bunch of classical musicians bolting for cover at the first raindrop.  I wouldn't consider it for cork. 

    I'm not sure of your application, but if you are thinking about an arbor for the reel seat, I would personally use cork rings glued individually to the sections, and turned down to fit the interior of the reel seat snugly.  I suppose you could space them, but the weight of cork in such small diameters is about nil. I've only held a spey once, and to my mind, the perceived weight of the handle was inconsequential in my opinion.  (Leonard Baker)


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