My experience has been that if straight spar is used, it's hard to tell silk from nylon.  However, if color preserver (even Varathane 900) is used, then the silk colors seem deeper and more vibrant.

Also, what is this about nylon being "easier to use."  I have experienced no difference in actual wrapping.  In terms of appearance, some brands of silk have more "fuzzies" than others.  But the better brands have little or no such things.  (Rich Margiotta)

I can see it better than the fine silk, and it lays flatter possibly. I don't know, but I get way less gaps in my wraps when using nylon. Maybe you are right about the color preserver, but I do not use it, so I do not know.  (Bob Maulucci)

Is nylon more colorfast than silk, or will the wraps still turn translucent without color preserver?  (Tim Preusch)

I think it all depends on how you finish the wraps.  The first time I didn't use color preserver, I was shocked at how translucent the red nylon became.  Even with a maroon nylon, it still turned somewhat translucent.   (Todd Talsma)

This leads me to the thought, that if one uses the white thread (which turns totally transparent), the occasional gap in the wraps or an overlap or two would be undetectable, right?  (Claude Freaner)

It still shows up like a sore thumb.  (Tony Spezio)

Gaps in clear threads will disappear.  Over wraps will haunt you to your grave.  They simply cannot be hidden.

"Totally transparent" wraps are one of the holy grails of rodmaking.  Many rod makers search an entire lifetime for those wraps that look poured on.  Some find it, some don't.  I won't say much more, because this subject got me in a rather heated debate over at Clark Davis' Bulletin Board.  (Harry Boyd)

I use scarlet red silk and chrome guides.  Before wrapping I color the guide feet with a red Sharpie marker and let it dry.  Helps hide any gaps, esp on the stripper and larger guides.

Also works on ferrule tabs.  A lot of makers seem to use heavy black wraps on the ferrule tabs. To me that looks like they are trying to hide something.  With light, semitransparent wraps anyone can look at my rod and see my mangled tabs and uneven wrapping  [:-)]

I like every step of making a rod except wrapping. I've got several 2-tip rods with the second tip completely finished but no guides.  (Frank Stetzer,  Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

I hate wrapping, too!  It's just a chore that has to be done in order to cast the rod.  (Brian Thoman)

Garrison, that old devil, knew that. It's a great crutch for us sloppy wrappers.  It works for silk. Am not sure about nylon.  (Bill Fink)

No one seems to complain about the gaps in Garrison's wraps.

Do the best you can do, but Garrison certainly got away with gaps.  (Chris Lucker)

I think the nylon size A threads are beautiful. However, I think that size A is a bit coarse for delicate tips. 00 nylon seems to have a different (albeit smaller in diameter) less compact braiding than A. If I felt that I could get decent results with 00 nylon on the tips, I'd use it. I cannot - so, I use silk in both sizes.

I have noticed  that as  the diameter  of the rod increases (about .150), winding 100 weight silk (000) becomes, if not a nightmare, then, at least, a pain in the neck. And, because of the ease of winding with A nylon, I certainly don't blame anyone for using it. But, in my opinion, 000 silk just looks nicer on the tip section of a delicate rod.

That being said, I cannot and never could tell the difference between nylon and silk of similar diameters when finished and on the rod. I'd be interested in knowing just what one could look for in order the tell the difference.  (John Zimny)

To my eyes, nylon has a much coarser weave that stands out when finished. It also has a different sparkle than silk does, whether finished with varnish alone or color preserved, I also find it tends to "shimmer" worse from air bubbles trapped  in the thread than silk does. So, cast my vote for silk, 3/0.  (John Channer)

The "coarse" description surprises me.  I know from fly tying that you can "unwind" the thread a bit and get a really smooth body on a fly.  Why couldn't you unwind the thread a bit and get a really smooth wrap over a guide?  (Claude Freaner)

Size A nylon is rope compared to fly tying thread of any diameter. I have a few spool of OO nylon, it's not quite as huge, but seems much bigger in diameter than 00 silk (when wrapped) to me.  (John Channer)

I admit I haven't tried unwinding it to see, when I'm allowed down in the basement again, I'll compare some A size to some 3/0 I have... I was mainly curious to see if anyone had tried it...   I also haven't tried wrapping with silk yet.  Guess I need to have my wife pick up some for me from the needlework shoppe and give it a try. (Claude Freaner)

When tying flies it is easy to spin the bobbin. Unless you are wrapping using a bobbin it is not practical at all trying to unravel the thread to flatten it out. In any case, doing that will not always unravel as much as the last time it was spun and the wraps would not be even.

In your other reply you mention you will check size A to 3/0. Size A will be like a rope compared to 3/0. Size A, 3/0, 6/0, Gossamer and the rest of the threads will all wrap a rod. It depends on what you are satisfied with.

The smaller the size the more wraps it takes. It is also easier to over wrap. I used to use 6/0 silk. Can't see good enough any more to use it. Too many cutoffs. I use 00 silk and find it to be a lot heavier than 6/0. Takes more  varnish to fill than the 6/0 also. Again, it depends on what you want.

For someone that is just starting out or has never wrapped before I would strongly recommend starting with size A thread. This is just one persons opinion.  (Tony Spezio)

Interesting you should mention. Had been thinking along these lines myself.  Was thinking of rigging up some sort of spring tension device to keep thread taut when having to back up to correct something so the whole mess doesn't start unraveling.  But then, was rereading Darrell Martin's Micro patterns the other night and he was talking about "pre-burnishing" thread on tiny flies to obtain a tighter, flatter wrap.  It occurred to me that one could pass the thread through rollers or something to achieve this in wrapping rods as well....  Haven't thought it out completely yet.  (Darrol Groth)


Just started splitting today and did a bit of rough planing too. Both for the very first time. 

Boy, I thought splitting looked easy in the books I read, but I really had a hard time. Whatever I did (at first) the split kept walking to one side and I could not get it back. After a few splits I got the hang of it though

I ended up with 16 good tip pieces and 14 butt pieces. Not bad for a first try I guess. Planing went very well. I have the butt and one tip rough planed and ready to go in my oven.

I am excited

But anyway, I was reading about the thread colors and was wondering if white nylon thread also becomes transparent after varnishing. Or is it only possible to keep the white color when I use some sort of preserver?  (Danny Heus)

I don't know about white nylon, but white silk goes transparent with spar. Given your post and the recent questions about thread darkening, I would like to suggest a trick.

There is simply no way to predict what a thread will look like when varnished. It depends on the thread and your varnish. It is amazing how some silks that look pastel will darken to deep shades. The only sure way is have a scrap blank laying around, or a dowel, and to do test wraps on them before you take on the chore of wrapping. The trick is to remember to leave enough space between test wraps to write on the test blank the thread color or number, and the finish you used. One of those sticks will save you hours of redoing things, and they are especially useful when you are trying to repair a wrap on someone else's rod.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

Just a tip on splitting.

BEND THE FAT SIDE AWAY FROM THE SPLIT and the split will come back to the center.

This can be done by actually bending the strip away from the split, if splitting with a froe, use the back of the froe to put pressure on the fat side. The fat side being the side that the split is walking away from. For now, just try splitting half half and half. When you get the hang of doing this, it is easy to split in thirds like a 3/4" strip split into three 1/4" strips.   (Tony Spezio)

White nylon will become transparent just like white silk.  Keeping thread (any thread) white is one of the toughest jobs in wrapping rods.  Ask some of your graphite friends who do the chevrons and diamond wraps.  They hate using white thread.  (Harry Boyd)


Just completed my first silk wraps ever and started to coat with varnish. The light gold color silk wrap turned transparent. If I were to use nylon rather than silk will I have this same problem?  (Bill Gates)

Probably. If you don't want transparent wraps you need to use a color preserver. I have had good luck with Al's Color Rite ordered from Anglers Workshop. (Will Price)

I find transparent kind of interesting, but acknowledge it is a personal preference.

A friend of mine from years back, wrapped a huge number of plastic rods over the years, would run a test on any new thread material he received before using it on a rod.

All he did was dip a short piece of thread in the finish he was going to be using, and lay it on a sheet of white paper to dry, that would pretty much tell the story.

If it turned clear, or transparent he would apply color preserver before applying the finish.  (Greg Shockley)

If you wish to have a yellow silk show up on cane (despite being transparent) without using color preserver, you can try (from lightest to darkest) Pearsalls Gossamer Lemon Yellow, YLI 214, YLI 229, and Pearsalls Gossamer Amber.  The first two are almost the same color when transparent.  (Tim Anderson)

It's a problem ???

Some blokes on this list are old before their time from trying to get nice transparent wraps!  (Peter McKean)

In respect to nylon thread, there are two types: regular and what is usually called NCP, which stands for no color preserver.  The former will go transparent just as silk will, although I don't find it as bright; the latter will stay perfectly opaque and requires no further treatment, just wrap and varnish as per usual.  Pacific Bay call their thread "Stay True Thread," so you can expect different marketing approaches that way.  So far as keeping silk opaque, there are various ways (think Chris Carlin had an excellent piece on this).  You kind of have to find what works for you.  (Bob Brockett)


Site Design by: Talsma Web Creations

Tips Home - What's New - Tips - Articles - Tutorials - Contraptions - Contributors - Search Site - Contact Us - Taper Archives
Christmas Missives - Chat Room - Photo Galleries - Line Conversions - The Journey - Extreme Rodmaking - Rodmaker's Pictures - Donate - Store