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Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Doug Schreiber (---.lightspeed.oshkwi.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 06, 2017 10:40AM

The way my brain works, I like to make everything mathematical. But, the more I get into building rods, the more it "feels" like art. I am not talking about decorative wraps, inlays and alike, that is no doubt art. I am talking about picking out the right blank for the right application or fisherman.
Ratings of power depend often on saltwater or freshwater. Action is usually consistent. But, "high modules" is bearing less distinction in rod performance. In my opinion the mandrel that the rod is rolled on and the configuration and quality of materials is what talks. Consistency blank to blank, that is what I see and feel to distinguish blanks from run of the mill to high performance blanks.
I build mainly for walleye, bass, panfish, Great Lakes, spinning, bait casting and trolling.

I am finding it is about finding the right blank.

The more I build and experiment with different manufacturers the more I realize the relativity of what some consider high quality and high performance is not the same builder to builder, fisherman to fisherman.

Building for saltwater and freshwater are completely different. Try building an ice fishing rod. Guide wrapping is quite challenging.

Guys building fly rods are talking a completely different language it seems.

I also wonder how many builder actually fish. I know a number of custom manufacturers of tackle that don't fish at all. Some not by choice, too busy.

I build rods because I want them the way I want them, not how the marketing department determines how they are to be built. I build strictly on functionality and performance. I don't sacrifice performance for aesthetics. I can get the same performance using different components, that's where I can create and distinguish a unique rod for each customer.

How do you determine what blank you are going to use?
I have found that there are a lot of run of the mill blanks. There are only a few high quality manufacturers. I am not saying the run of the mills are junk. I haven't found any real junk, just not as good as some. I am also getting to the point where the high quality builders different levels are become harder to distinguish. And I am talking about the end product performance. I buy a blank for an application, if it meets my expectations, I will buy it again. If not, I keep looking. None of them suck, just not as good as I was hoping.

I only experiment for myself, when recommending for a customer, I rely on what I know.

So the search continues. Still looking for the perfect blank for fishing light weight hair jigs.

Thanks for any feedback and wisdom. It seems like we have lost a lot of our ground breakers lately.

Take care everyone, Doug

See you on the water, Doug
Captain Paddlefoot

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Matthew Paul (---.lightspeed.milwwi.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 06, 2017 01:17PM

hey Doug I live in MIL. would give you a call and chat with you about rods for eyes and all the others if you would like just send me an e mail with your # and a time that is good for you and I will call

I figure your fishing bago and the river systems

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

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Donald La Mar (---.lightspeed.lsvlky.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 06, 2017 01:24PM

Years ago, Bob Brister wrote a book, Shotgunning: The Art and the Science. One of the points Brister made was there was a lot of physics in shotgunning and there was something else as well - an art - that could not be quantified. His book is still a recognized authoritative reference.

We've got a similar situation, where despite all the science and quantifications something almost magical can and does happen.

Fly rod builders don't speak a different language; we just babble on and on with the hope that it will impress someone. It frequently works.

If rod building were totally deterministic it would not be nearly so much fun.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.97.252.156.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: May 06, 2017 01:33PM

Doug, how much does price influence your blank selection? Can you love a $70 blank, or does it have to cost double that or more to get your attention?

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: May 06, 2017 06:15PM

How do you define "art?" From the title I thought you were talking about "aesthetics," but now I think you are talking about art as being "that which we cannot understand", or "that which science cannot explain.". If it's the former, I argue that it depends on one's own priorities. If the aesthetics of the rod mean a lot to you or your customer, then art has a lot to do with it. If function and function alone is your priority, then art has nothing to do with it.

If on the other hand, "art" means that which science cannot explain, then I would say that rodbuilding is about 50-50. Substitute the words "objective" for science and "subjective" for art and think about it. We can objectively define much about rodbuilding, but not everything. And a builder's judgment is a very large part of the equation. I agree that some blanks defy our ability to objectively define everything about what makes them great.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Ken Ford (---.sub-75-253-35.myvzw.com)
Date: May 06, 2017 08:20PM

I build strictly for art. I live in the Florida Keys where everyone fishes and people tell me they get tired of spending all day looking at an ugly black stick.

I try to make a rod as colorful as possible, lots of bright yellows, reds, hot pink, etc.

I make basic black rods but sell them mostly on line to northerners.

A bright colorful rod also has a safety advantage. If you lose a black rod over-board it is extremely hard to retrieve because you can't see it,
You can locate a bright colored easily and if the water is not too deep, you might be able to snag it with treble hook rig.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Doug Schreiber (---.lightspeed.oshkwi.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 06, 2017 10:04PM

Lynn,
One of my favorites and what I think is the best all-around freshwater blanks is the S369MLXF by St. Croix, about $90.

Ken,
I like color in builds too. Hard for me to build without a neon thread.

I am enjoying the responses.

See you on the water, Doug
Captain Paddlefoot

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Matthew Paul (---.lightspeed.milwwi.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 07, 2017 01:55AM

Rod building is both art and science here is why
first the science
#1 you select your blank and all the components,grips, guides seat
#2 you spine the blank, do the lay out for the grips and seat then the guides either by the available charts,GPS or the best way load testing for guide placement IMHO.
# 3 you start the assembly process handle and tip top then load test again to check against the raw load test and tape the guides in place ready to wrap.
here is where the art comes in
#1 you decide what color threads you will use
#2 you decide to do either a plain Jane wrap with accent wraps or you opt for more decorative wraps on the guides with thread inlays to other inlays like the feathers decals and the intensive (weave wraps 50 % art &50 % science) then the application of finish either the no mix or the 2 part and low, medium, or high build.
#3 when your all done and the rod has been finished to be able to sit back and gaze at the finished piece of art you created with you hands.
some have been doing it for a long time and some not and YES they have questions that some times seem like extreme but that is all part of the learning curve with rod building.
Don't know why said it but it is oh so true.
The man that asks questions continues to learn.

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/07/2017 01:57AM by Matthew Paul.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.97.252.156.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: May 07, 2017 02:20PM

Take a look at Elliot blanks from Get Rod Blanks. I can't say how they hold up at this point, (early days yet) but I sure like them from a price standpoint. You might be able to view them in person. Not sure of your proximity, but you're a lot closer than I am. Lynn

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.res.bhn.net)
Date: May 07, 2017 08:49PM

The art in rod building is matching the rod to the abilities and expectations of the user. This is the most valuable service the custom rod builder supplies, and one that an off-the shelf retailer does not provide. I'm quite sure a programable robot loom could produce pretty much any thread pattern a person could desire, but electronic mechanization can not replace thoughtful communication between rod builder and customer. I guess that makes custom rod building an art.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Ken Brown 2 (---.115.230.21.res-cmts.mtp2.ptd.net)
Date: May 08, 2017 08:45AM

I agree with Matt on this one. There is a definite art AND science to rod building. When choosing the correct components for your build, you are working with the science of rod building. Once you get all the components chosen and in place then the art takes over. To play devils advocate, the art still has a science to it. If you dont measure your projected wraps (like I have done), then you can have uneven wrap lengths from guide to guide. This can look quite odd and takes away from the art of rod building. The science is still needed to ensure that the art actually comes in to play.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Nuno Paulino (---.cpe.netcabo.pt)
Date: May 08, 2017 05:54PM

Custom rod building it’s a form of art that uses science to achieve its goals.
Personally i try to use science in small doses in my builds. I just use it on the technical issues that implies with the performance and in what the client needs.
The decorative part i just let my inspiration and imagination do all the work.
If you rationalize it to much will be no place for art and you will be just a rod builder.
This is the way i see it.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Russell Brunt (---.lightspeed.miamfl.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 08, 2017 08:54PM

I think you will find two schools of thoughts....and many shades of grey.

One might say the art aspect is about "looks". Another might say anything that detracts from performance is "lost art". One might prize an aesthetically pleasing rod while one might prefer a minimalist approach.

Some people want the best looking and most comfortable car and some want the best performing car. These things tend to be mutally exclusive. And this isn't even mentioning the inherent differences between a road, track, or off road car.

Only you can decide what is right for you. I think there are customers on both sides of the alley.

Regardless, I don't think anyone could find fault with starting with the best blank for the intended purpose. Identifying it is part of the "art" IMHO as sometimes the "best" is marketed for a very different application.

I think fishing for the same fish, in the same way, as your clinet base, is very important.

Russ in Hollywood, FL.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Mike Ballard (167.114.170.---)
Date: May 09, 2017 11:18AM

Science can be artfully used.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.97.252.156.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: May 09, 2017 09:22PM

I try to make the mot efficient instrument with which to achieve the end purpose, the rest is just eyewash.

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Re: Art or science, the rod build?
Posted by: John Cates (---.sub-70-195-201.myvzw.com)
Date: May 10, 2017 12:01PM

performance, performance, performance.

Flex Coat Company
Professional Rod Building Supplies
www.flexcoat.com

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