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Here's the problem. I have a rod with an 0.38" diameter butt. I ordered a reel seat from Rush River (Tony Larson) only to find out that his are normally 0.312" ID and he couldn't drill out his fillers without cracking them. So now I have the hardware and no filler. Here's what I need: a mortised wood filler, with an 0.38" ID hole and 0.685" OD to fit his hardware. Tony usually uses a nice maple burl and supplies them unfinished which I prefer since I would like to give all my rods a "family" look. My other option  (if you guys can't help out) is to return the hardware to Tony and get a similar one (CRN) from REC. Anyone out there able and willing to do a good turn so to speak?  (Larry Puckett)

    Use a file to knock the hex corners off until you get to the 3/8" diameter that will fit the reel seat. (Ted Knott)

      Wish I could Ted but this rod started out with a much bigger swelled butt that has already been turned down to 0.38" diameter and I don't really want to weaken it by turning it down any further, especially when I can get the larger reel seat from REC.  (Larry Puckett)

        You should do exactly as you please, of course.  I only wanted to assure you that you will not be weakening the rod by turning the cane under the reel seat down to fit Tony's wood spacer.  All my rods, regardless of size (or swelled butt) are turned down to 5/16" under the reel seat.  I have been doing this for over two decades, so I promise you there will be no difficulty.

        For one thing, a rod suffers almost negligible stress behind your hand, where the reel is mounted (well, unless you have also attached a fighting butt for leveraging steelhead or salmon).

        For another thing, when the reel seat spacer is glued onto the cane "core," you essentially form a single unit whose strength  now becomes a function of the total diameter, including the reel seat.

        Just a couple observations to be filed in the "for what it's worth" bin.  (Bill Harms)

    I'm full of suggestions tonight.  If you're unwilling to turn the rod blank down further (which I really think is the best idea) then keep Tony's reel seat hardware for your next rod.  You can go ahead and order the other hardware, or talk someone on this list into making a new filler for you.  (Harry Boyd)

    That might be a bit much, but you could turn the blank down to accept the filler.  (Bob Maulucci)

    If you have a lathe you could use a small boring bar to enlarge the hole through the reel seat to fit the 0.38 rod.  Might be a problem doing that if the reel seat is already morticed though.  (Kurt Clement)

      Good idea, Tony tried it and wiped out three in the process. Also the grip has already been glued on so chucking it up and turning it down a little more really isn't an option. Since no one on the list seems to be turning out any fillers with these dimensions I guess I'll just get online and order one from REC.  (Larry Puckett)

        I would be happy to turn an insert for you just let me know the size. (Bob Venneri)

    You could ream it out with a file or drill it out with a Forstner bit. (Marty DeSapio)

      "It's crude but it works", was how my method was described for enlarging the hole thru the reel seat. I chuck a rattail file into my drill and run it slow in reverse. you want to wear a leather work glove and wear a mask if the insert has been stabilized or impregnated. be careful to not run it out of round. It's fast.  (Timothy Troester)

    I don't see why the fillers cannot be drilled out. I would chuck the filler in the lathe and a drill bit in the end. if the speed is correct in the lathe you should have  little trouble changing the ID. helpful hint!!!  WAX the drill bit to allow you drill more easily this acts as a lubricant, lightly sand the inside of the filler to remove any residual wax material and there you have it. if you don't WAX THE BIT the filler WILL split. (hey that rhymes) go slow and wax often. wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off, wax on, wax off, breath! wery goud young grasshopper,   hope this helps, if so please send ten dollars to the JVRF, the John Vitella retirement fund, guaranteed to go crazy with your money.  (John Vitella)

      This will work on straight grained wood,  but will be a disaster on burls. What happens is that the edges of the drill bit grab the edges of the hole and any irregularities in the grain will cause the wood to blow out. There is also the problem of getting a good enough grip on morticed inserts, there is only a small bit of full round wood on the end of the insert for the chuck to grab, the mortice won't let the chuck grip evenly.  One other thing, getting wax on any surface that is going to be glued is not a good idea, the heat from drilling will make the wax soak into the wood and there is no way to get it out so the glue will bond. All in all, inserts don't cost enough to make fooling with them worthwhile, order one that fits what you have and use this one for another rod.  (John Channer)

        My 2 cents worth on cutting the ID on sticky material like burl wood.  If the following is just rehash of recent posts or on the T - Tips, please forgive.

        I used to make 2 hand rods with wood filler Struble reel seats back 10 years ago.  The blanks were pretty thick for 15 and 16 foot rods so I bought one of the bigger size seats with rosewood filler.  The insert ID of course was not near the OD of the blank.

        I mounted the insert on the lathe with a collet.  If you don't have a collet system on your machine, maybe a piece copper or aluminum pipe might be near enough - saw a slit down the side so it can clamp down on the insert in a 3-jaw chuck.

        Anyway,  In order to get a good fit and avoid scarring the wood in a collet,  I would put masking tape on the insert.  The ID was bored out with a boring bar at around 500 rpm on the lathe.

        If I don't have the right boring bar, I cut one from a regular 3/8 square lathe tool - an abrasive cutoff wheel works great but wear a mask!

        By slowly feeding the boring bar, reversing the insert end for end, and resharpening the boring bar if I feel it is getting hot (not cutting very clean), I was able to trim away a very large ID and leave only 50 thousandths wall thickness - I would keep the tape on the insert so it wouldn't crack apart in handling and assembly onto the blank.  (Ted Godfrey)

      Like I said, Tony made these, he tried drilling out 3 of them and they self-destructed -- burl can do that. (Larry Puckett)

        Just my 2 cents worth, but has anyone tried using a spur bit to drill out/enlarge the hole? Or, for that matter, how about a Forstner style bit?  (Mike Shaffer)

          Anybody ever tried a very sharp two flute end mill bit running at about 300 rpm?  (Tony Young)

            Yep. Use them all the time. Work well.  (John Zimny)

              I was wondering if I was alone in this and possibly just lucky with burl so far but I've found it to work every time. Bind the burl with masking tape while milling it.  Actually a lot of metal working cutter do a good job when used on wood. You just need to use them a bit slower than cutting edges made for use with wood.  If you're into milling mortices end mill bits are the best you can use. Just slow the speeds down and clear the cutter often.  (Tony Young)

                This is an intriguing idea to me, one I've actually considered playing with a little.  My suspicion is that mills are both sharper and stiffer than drill bits (well, certainly stiffer) and that makes them less prone to vibrate.  Perhaps they also slice, rather than scrape like a drill bit.  Would you mind filling the rest of us in a little?  I've been studying an old textbook on machine shop operations and thinking about this a good bit lately.  What sizes and shapes might you recommend for starters?  (Harry Boyd)

                  Mill end bits have three things going for them over drill bits and router bits and that is:

                  (a) the shank is normally shorter and stiffer

                  (b) the bits are designed to mill to the bottom of whatever it is you're milling, they are designed to cut on the side or the end or both

                  (c) The last is the flutes are much more shallow than a drill bit. That is because it makes the mill bit stiffer and there is no advantage in deep flutes when you have to mill slowly and flood the work being cut with lube and keep it clear anyhow as is the case when milling metal.

                  The cutting is done differently as the end mill is square to the face it's cutting into so if you take it slow and steady it mills as it goes along rather than drilling and sort of displacing,  that's a bad way of describing it but the cutting action is different and seems to do the trick on difficult to deal with woods.

                  You need a small pilot hole as they wont just drill as such unless you get a drill mill cutter but I don't use them so can't comment on how they would work in this case. The hole doesn't need to be very large in diameter, it just has to be there as the end mill will bottom and not go deeper without one due to the fact it cuts square to the sides of the hole and not at an angle into it and the cutting edges don't meet in the center. If you look at one you'll see why you need a pilot hole right through the whole job.

                  Finding the right speed to mill is also important. Too fast is no good because things heat up and problems occur and you do need to clear the chips more than with a drill but too slow and things crumble. My lathe will go down to 300 rpm for screw cutting and that's a good speed for me.  (Tony Young)


I've had a couple rods where the nickel silver cap on the cap and ring reel seat came off.  Not right away but after a couple years. Both were glued with Accraglas Gel epoxy.  Is there a better glue for this job?  It looks like the glue adhered to the wood filler but pulled away from the cap.

Of course these are the rods I fish all the time  [:-)]   (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    I doubt there's a better glue available.  Gunsmiths use it regularly, so the stuff gets subjected to some pretty severe shock.  Possibly, the problem you're having is due to a faulty bond with the metal itself.  I think it's important, when bonding to metal, that the surface of the metal be roughened up with a file or sandpaper.  Thorough cleaning is also important, and the best stuff to use is MEK.  (Use this product ONLY with gloves and ONLY outside.)  A next-best choice would be lacquer thinner.  (Bill Harms)

      I agree that the problem is not the glue. A good cleaning followed by roughing up the inside of the cap with a rat tail file will give the glue some teeth to hold unto and should solve the problem.   (Joe Loverti)

    I've had the same thing happen while tightening a down lock.  I swore off epoxy and switched to Titebond Polyurethane where metal is involved.  Too early to tell; but I abuse rods badly.  I leave rods in the trunk quite often and get them wet a lot.  I thought maybe the poly has more give.  (Jim Utzerath)

    Might have been a little left over oil in the cap from the machining, maybe?  Might try Rod Bond by U40.  Was recommended to me by M-D, he's been using it for quite a while.  (Mark Wendt)

    Nobody's mentioned using already finished wood seat fillers. I run a triangular file around the bottom 1/4" of the filler as well as scraping the inside of the cap. I can't believe it's a good idea to glue to some of the "finishes" that may be on those woods! I just avoid the sector where the filler may show under the reel acceptor with the file.  (Art Port)

    Not to sound repetitive but you should try Pliobond. That stuff is tuff as nails.  (Adam Vigil)

    If you get varnish off reel seat and clean inside of cap with denatured alcohol and use a slow cure Epoxy Devcon or Flex Coat you should not have any problems. I use 5 minute epoxy on the nickel silver butt caps that are glued to a nickel silver threaded barrel.  I think the whole trick is cleaning with denatured alcohol, because I have tried heating and taking them off after I have glued them and it takes a lot of heat to get them off.  (Dave Henney)


I'm about to mount a reel seat on a rod  that has  a much  smaller (.100") diameter than the bore diameter of the reel seat.  What should I use to build up the reel seat station?  Masking tape?  (Joe West)

    I guess I'm a traditionalist. I used to build up with tape on graphite rods, but now I use a cork arbor if the reel seat filler has a large bore. If not too oversized, a spiral wrap of  thread or cord will do.  (Steve Weiss)

    There are at least three good solutions:

    1. plug the hole in the reel seat with a glued-in dowel, then redrill to the correct size.

    2. build up the flats on the rod, then turn down to the correct size.

    3. use a different reel seat.  (Ron Grantham)

    I space out masking tape rings if it is close or make arbors from small dowels if the gap is bigger. Make sure some glue sticks to the blank, masking tape is notorious for letting go under the slickness of epoxy or PU.  (Bob Maulucci)

    Like many others I have used masking tape to build up a blank under a reel seat, then a few years ago a rod came into the shop for a fix.   The reel seat had a wobble in it.   In this case the seat was mounted over masking tape which had completely deteriorated.   I stopped using tape after this and now use a turn of cotton string built up as needed which soaks up epoxy really well and I think will last much longer.     I also like the idea of a cork insert but have not personally tried that method.   (Bob Milardo)

    Use masking tape.  I usually use three sections with equally spaced gaps.  (Lee Orr)

      I use fiber glass tape that is used for dry wall.  Fiberglass has strength and it is a weave so the glue penetrates the tape very well.  I do use it in 1" strips leaving space between three of these.  Slather it up with an epoxy that has a filler.  (Dennis Aebersold)

        Judicious use of Gorilla glue might work well as it oozes into spaces. (Darrol Groth)

    Masking tape for me, too.  Three installments, lots of rod bond.  (Patrick Mullen)

    Has anyone used the mesh patterned light weight dry wall tape?  The benefit I though might be gained is that the epoxy (or what ever your adhesive joy is) would penetrate through the mesh in the gaps between the tape as well as within the tape.  Maybe this is just overkill. Downside:  masking tape is thinner so a better fit might be had.  I reapplied a reel seat to an older 8 wt. production bamboo rod using this technique.  I use it to chase Steelhead (note the use of the word 'chase').  (Scott Turner)

      I use three tape wraps, but fill the spaces between with flexible epoxy, and have had great results.  (Greg Kuntz)

      Graphite builders have been using it for years, it works.  (John Channer)


When I read that the grip and reel seat is glued on before the guides are wrapped I just charring. I have seen a number of reel seats that don't line up with the guides. It don't take much to be out of alignment. The reel seat is one of the last things I do on a rod. After the rod is varnished and dry, I put a reel in the seat , apply the glue to the rod and in the reel seat opening. As The seat is pushed on the rod end, the excess glue is wiped off  as I go along as not to have a big surplus when the seat is seated in the grip. Look through the reel opening to align the seat with the guides. The rod is then placed with the guides and reel facing down in a setup with "V" notches cut out and left there to set up. I have not had a reel out of alignment yet. That includes bamboo and the other kind of rods that I used to make.

I should mention, the reel seat is fitted up to the grip and what ever else has to be done for the final fit before the cork grip is glued on.  (Tony Spezio)

    Another variation of your system. 

    With bamboo I set the reel seat on the rod then place the bottom flat on the work bench with the reel and reel seat hanging over the edge of the workbench.  I put enough weight on the other end of  rod to hold it down.   I let gravity do the rest.

    Wouldn't work with a "round" rod.   I'd have copy your system completely.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)


Last night I installed a basic Struble DL reel seat with a Walnut spacer on my current project.  This morning I went to install the grip check and noticed that the seat was off center about 1/32" at the front.  I had shimmed the cane under the seat with strips of 1/16" basswood glued to the blank and then turned round on my lathe using a file and sandpaper (center in the tailstock supporting end of blank).  I'm pretty sure that the blank is round and true under the seat.  Also, I had to twist a drill bit by hand through the hole in the spacer to get rid of all the varnished crud.  But I doubt that pushed the hole off.  So I'm thinking that the hole was drilled off center.  Anyone out there had problems with Struble's seats (assuming everyone isn't making there own or using the high end stuff).  I've always been able to count on Struble providing decent quality in the past.

Also, anyone have any ideas how to mitigate the problem when I turn the grip (the grip's going to look off  compared to  the seat)?  I'd have to cut the seat off to start over, which I'm not interested in doing, so looks like I'll have to live with it.  (Bill Benham)

    If the hole is off center, glue a dowel in it and put it in your lathe and redrill the hole concentric with the outside of the filler.  (Steve Weiss)


I just made my biggest mistake to date. Finishing up rod #6 and was testing to make sure that reel fit was right before putting on the sliding band and gluing on the cap when I noticed that the mortised reel seat was about 1/4" to 3/8" out of alignment with the flat the guides are mounted on. Hey, missing some measurements here and there by .002 - .004, occasionally a very small glue line, having to rewrap the occasional guide because of shimmers. That's part of the learning curve, but this was something that shouldn't have happened. I'm sure that it was straight when I put it on but I must have bumped when setting it back on the bench. It was put on with super glue. Is there anyway to remove this or do I just have to bite the bullet and cut it off. Thereby losing one of my clear coated really nice looking Cocobollo reel seats.  (Will Price)

    I have removed one or two back in the old days of graphite rods. One was to soak the seat in white vinegar, this took a couple of days. The second way was to put the seat in a plastic bag, bind it so no water will get in the bag. Soak the bag with the seat in boiling water. Reused the seats.  (Tony Spezio)


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