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Guide Alignment
Posted by: Ryan R Klenke (104.128.35.---)
Date: April 20, 2017 01:39PM

I am having trouble aligning a baitcasting rod and I was wondering if there are any tips on how to align the guides.
Thanks, Ryan.

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: April 20, 2017 02:21PM

You'll get lots of ideas on this issue. I put a cut-off spinning reel foot into the casting reel seat, then install the tip top aligned with the reel foot. That creates a straight line on which all guides should be placed. I align them by eye, looking down the rod, as best possible, then wrap. Before putting on any CP or epoxy I realign all the guides by sight. If you cannot move them a little after wrapping you are using too much thread tension. After CP and epoxy it will be very hard to move the guides, especially after epoxy. So the last alignment before CP/epoxy is very important.

Mudhole has a laser tool for this, but I've not used one yet.

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Matthew Paul (---.lightspeed.milwwi.sbcglobal.net)
Date: April 20, 2017 02:43PM

Have to totally agree with Michael it is the easiest and cheapest alignment tool you can use and it always comes out perfect

The best day to be alive is always tomorrow !!
Think out side the box when all else fails !!!

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: April 20, 2017 04:28PM


Use your trigger on the reel seat to act as an alignment tool. In a bright room with a white or light wall, hold the rod up and sight down the guides on the guide side of the rod. Do what is needed so that they are lining up.

Also, do as Michael suggests and use a cut off spinning reel foot mounted in the reel seat as an additional sighting device.

Then, flip the rod over so that the guides are on the underside of the rod, and hold the rod out and sight against the wall, using the reel seat trigger as a sighting aid. Keep the trigger vertical. Then, as you sight down the rod, look for a guide that is sticking out on either side of the rod - or if a larger guide does stick out on one side, verify that you have the same amount of guide showing on the other side.

As you go down the running guides, you may have to rotate the rod a bit to see the guide. That is fine. But to check the alignment - twist the rod back in the opposite direction and then the same number of degrees in the opposite direction to see if you can see the guide on that side as well.

But, as long as you have a bright light and a light wall to sight against - sighting down the top side of the rod, and then double checking by sighting down the underside of the rod, lets you align the guides very quickly and easily and be spot on.

Be safe

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Roger Templon (---.aoo.pa.atlanticbb.net)
Date: April 20, 2017 04:46PM

I also do exactly as Michael and Roger do. I also just bought the CRB alignment tool and am going to give it a try next week.


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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Nick Lam (---.hsd1.ca.comcast.net)
Date: April 20, 2017 09:30PM

Agreed you're going to have a ton of different ways people do it. Everyone else has really good input, but I don't use any other tools personally. For me,
- I secure the reel seat first (according to the spine if you like).
- After that has bonded, I tape and wrap the guides and top in rough alignment.
- Then put a reel in the reel seat and adjust the stripper guide precisely to the reel.
- Take the reel off and match all the guides and top to the stripper guide (blank side up, guides facing down as the others have stated).
- Finish wrapping the top if you haven't already and apply finish to the rod

Good luck

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Capt. Michael Harmon (---.mycingular.net)
Date: April 21, 2017 07:09AM

Not a fan of the CRB tool. I bought one thinking it will be faster to align the guides...not so. They're made from thin plastic and the one I have has a bend in it that made it frustrating to use. I also don't like it because it's too short. It's the right height for casting guides and smaller spinning guides. The first rod I used it on was a 10' surf casting rod and that was the last rod I used it on. I like CRB products and I'm sure it will work for some builders. I prefer using methods described by the builders above. Keep it simple and do what works for you. MH

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Jay Lancaster (---.triad.rr.com)
Date: April 21, 2017 07:32AM

Method #3629...

Reel Seat
Tip Top
Tape on guides to rough position
Wrap guides
With rod upside down, sight down blank & align guides

With the rod upside down you are able to use the blank itself as your alignment tool. Just put the same amount of ring on each side of the blank.

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: April 21, 2017 11:09AM

After wrapping on the guides, I give the rod to my wife. She sights down the blank and tells me which way to move the guides to get them perfectly aligned. Works for me! Better than any alignment tool I have ever used.

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: bill boettcher (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 21, 2017 11:56AM

Yep Michael here also What I do is glue the top on aliening it with the reel or a home made reel guide Then when wrapping I alien from the tip to the but Then take the rod outside Re alien The bright sun is your friend

Bill - willierods.com

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Gib Portwood (208.88.204.---)
Date: April 21, 2017 01:04PM

Our method:

We bought the CRB Guide Alignment & Reel Seat Spacer Tool. [www.mudhole.com] and it is handy.

First thing we do is to determine the straightest axis that we will align everything on. Once found, we use a china marker to draw a line down most of the blank to easily identify this axis (I made a little jig that is a v-notch routed out of a small 1" x "2" x 3" piece of wood and drilled a 1/4" hole down the v-notch to hold the china marker. This makes it easier to draw a straight line where you need it).

We mount the grips and seat.

Third is to install the tip top. The line we draw normally doesn't reach the end of the blank. What we do is position the rod so that when the tip top is installed, the ring is facing down. We look directly over the top and use the braces on the guide to help center the tube (the spacing of the two braces is the same on either side of the tube). We also sight the top to see if it looks like it is centered on the line we have drawn.

Next is to put the CRB spacer & alignment tool in the reel seat. We get some thread and tie it to the post of the alignment tool, thread all the guides along the thread, and then through the tip top. We tie a very light weight onto the end of the thread to keep it taut. The thread should be aligned with the line we drew earlier. If it is, the we feel very good about the guides being aligned.

From there, it is just a simple task of marking the blank where the ring of each guide should be along the blank, temporarily securing the guides in place with rubber tubing, and wrapping them in place. Of course, we are always checking and re-checking the alignment before putting finish on, but fell confident that things are as they should be.


Father to William (15 yrs), who I hope has found his passion in custom rod building!

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: bill boettcher (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 21, 2017 04:51PM

If you have an old reel just cut the feet off and some of the stem File a slot in the top of the stem Tape a colored fly line over into the V and down to the tip Thought the guides Like said after the top in on Just align buy eye - Easy

Bill - willierods.com

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Glenn McMurrian (---.bvtn.or.frontiernet.net)
Date: April 21, 2017 05:52PM

I did kind of like Bill did only instead of using a groove and line I used a old broken spinning reel and cut the top off and I simply glued a lazar pointer on top and you can pretty much just Eye it from there do to the blank being perfect or not.

Glenn McMurrian

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: David Baylor (---.neo.res.rr.com)
Date: April 22, 2017 05:30AM

To position the rod, I use a tip I read on this site a couple of years ago. I took the foot off an old bait casting reel I had laying around, and glued a line level across the top of it. (it looks like a + symbol) I put it in the reel seat and then take the rod and put it in my hand wrapper, securing the rod so that it cannot rotate, and the line level is showing the reel seat is level side to side.

Now is when I install the tip top, which I for me is the toughest part of the process. It usually takes me a couple of minor adjustments before I get it right. Now that I have the top of the blank facing up, I position and secure the butt guide. Since I don't take the guides off the blank from this point on, this is when I set up for the static load test. After getting the guides in their proper place, I take the rod out and sight down it to check for alignment prior to wrapping. I put a mark on the mold line of the reel seat with a white China marker as an aid in seeing the top center of the reel seat.

Once I have them where I want them, I start wrapping. After wrapping I check their alignment by sight again before putting on the finish. As Bill said, bright sunlight is your friend. I usually use a window as the back ground when checking alignment.

On a non related note ....... Bill, it's nice to see you back posting. Hadn't seen anything from you for a while. Welcome back.

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: bill boettcher (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 22, 2017 10:41AM

Thanks David
Just looking for any new technology

Bill - willierods.com

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Re: Guide Alignment
Posted by: Capt. Michael Harmon (---.dyn.optonline.net)
Date: April 22, 2017 01:40PM

I bought the CRB tool thinking it will help and if not it's cheap... no loss. I like all the ideas people are posting. The one I use the most is my shop light. I squared my lathe to the lights and when I stand over it the lights project a thin reflection down the blank. Makes attaching guides easy. They end up pretty close to perfect. After wrapping I take outside to do final alignment like other people have said. I wish I could use Normans method but my wife can't read a menu without glasses. I'd end up realigning them.

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