Wooden Fly Rod Tube




Introduction: Wooden Fly Rod Tube

About: Retired Lockheed Martin Electrical Engineer (BSEE Texas A&M University 1982). Love to design and build things. Craftsman, hunter, angler, pretty darn good cook, prolific consumer of beer and barbeque, aspiring…

My brother and I are avid fly fishermen. I love all kinds of fishing but fly fishing is my favorite. The other day he texted me a picture of a wooden fly rod tube that Orvis sells. Really fancy with some nice inlay work. The text read: I bet you could make one of these. Hmmmm….. challenge accepted, except for the fancy inlay work. The main challenge was to figure out how to make a round cylinder out of wood. I looked at the picture he sent me and I could see that the inside of the tube was octagonal. So I need to make an octagonal blank and turn it down to where it is cylindrical. My first thought was to use my jack plane…. plane down the edges to go from 8 sided to 16 sided and then from 16 to 32….etc. Afterwards sand it all smooth. But that would take a lot of work and it would require careful attention to maintain a constant diameter across the length of the tube. I wanted to make a bunch of these rod tubes so I needed a better method.

I thought about a jig that I had made a few years ago that allowed me to use my router table to make large wooden dowels in the range of an inch and a quarter to an inch and a half in diameter. The difference here was that the fly rod tube is hollow, has an outside diameter of 3 inches, and is over two and a half feet long. I had an idea but first I needed to design the octagonal blank to determine various critical dimensions for the jig.

Jigs are great in that they can make the job so much easier as they provide a reliable and repeatable process for building/shaping things. Variability is reduced such that much less skill is required to fabricate pieces. And if you are making several copies of the item then it is especially well worth the time and effort of designing and fabricating a jig. I’m calling the device I came up with for this project the Cylinder Jig.


Supplies: I have access to a large supply of old oak barnwood from our family farm in West Virginia. This wood is probably in the range of 150 years old and started growing over 200 years ago. It has been in my family's posession for many generations and is quite special to me. The fifth picture shows the piece of wood that I used for this project. It looks pretty rough and most people would probably relegate it to the burn pile but run it through a surface planer and it is actually amazing material. I used the oak to make the tube as well as walnut (picture 6) for the end caps.

A leather strap holds the top cap in place and I used snaps to secure it to the tube. I've had these leather scraps for decades… leftover from a simple project I made when I was in high school. It's pretty thick... in the 3 to 4 mm range. Sometimes it pays to be a pack rat. I ordered the snaps off of Amazon. Though as it turns out that the rivet on these was too short for the thickness of leather that I was using. So I bought some other snaps from Tandy Leather and used the top piece from that package with the rest of the snap pieces that I already had. You can get these snaps from Amazon as well.

I used Titebond 3 wood glue and I had a can of wipe-on polyureathane finish left over from another project. I like the satin finish version. The other glue that comes in handy is a can of spray adhesive. I used Elmer's CraftBOND to glue paper templates in place.

Half inch MDF is used to build the cylinder jig along with #8 screws, wing nuts, and a small section of a 3 inch diameter pool noodle. Also a 1 inch diameter hardwood dowel is required. All of these materials are available at most of your average hardware stores. Though I got the pool noodle at Target and it was left over from my Catfish Noodle/Jugline project (another one of my Instructables).

Tools: I have a good assortment of power tools that help make the job so much easier. Table saw, miter saw, router table, drill press, surface planer, disc sander, random orbital sander, and hand drill. Obligatory word of warning: Power tools can be dangerous if used improperly. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear the appropriate safety gear. I always have on my safety glasses and hearing protection when using power tools. Along with an assortment of basic hand tools like screw drivers, hammers, Xacto knife, rulers, clamps, etc. I also purchased a leather stitching kit from Amazon but found I needed a couple of additional leather tools and I bought those from my local Tandy Leather. The surface planer and table saw are essential if you are repurposing old lumber like I am. And a router table is required to use the jig that we are featuring in this tutorial.

Step 1: Designing and Building the Octagonal Blank

I checked the details for the rod tube that Orvis sells and it was 3 inches in diameter and 34 inches long. This length includes the end caps and it was also specified that the tube would accomodate a 10 foot 4 piece fly rod. My rods are 9 feet long so I will end up with a little shorter tube. I also measured the inside diameter of one of my existing metal tubes and found that it was 2 inches. Finally I measured the length of the individual rod pieces of my nine foot rod and they were about 29 inches. So I need to make sure that I have at least that much room in the wooden tube plus additional space to accomodate the top cap and end cap.

I pulled up AutoCAD and constructed an octagon that would fit around a 3 inch diameter circle as well as another octagon that would fit over a 2 inch diameter circle. Then I connected the vertices of the octagons and ended up with a cross section of the rod tube. The attached PDF file is the full sized drawing of the cross section and is included simply as a reference. Once I had completed the diagram it was a simple matter of measuring the dimensions for what would be the individual staves of the rod tube. As it turns out each stave would start as a 1.25 inch wide by 0.5 inch thick by 36 inch long piece of wood. These were ripped using the table saw. The additional length would allow me to work around some of the imperfections (cracks, knots, checks) in the wood. I ended up with pieces that were about 31.5 inches long once I evaluated each stave and trimmed off the imperfections as best as I could (first picture). What little knots and cracks that were left over I made sure that these would be on the inside of the tube and I ran the staves across the router table using a 22.5 degree chamfer bit (picture 2).

At this point I'm starting to get excited. The staves looked really good and were nice and straight. I lined up the staves and put a few strips of masking tape across them. Then I rolled them together (picture 3). Ha! Really cool! So far I'm on the right track. I set a metal rod tube next to the blank for comparison.

Glue ups always seem to be a dang fire drill and I was especially anxious on this one. There was a lot of surface area to cover and a number of clamps to install. I got the hose clamps from the local hardware store. They were adjustable across a pretty wide range… something like 2 inches to 4 inches in diameter so perfect for this application. I set my drill on the slowest speed and lightest torque setting and installed a socket that fit the screw head on the clamps. Definitely the way to go. I applied masking tape on the inside face of the staves to help keep the mess down. I wasn’t concerned about getting glue all over the outside since all of that surface would get machined away.

I set all of the staves back side down on a single piece of masking tape running across the center and left a little tag at the top (4th picture). Glue is slathered over all the mating surfaces, the whole mess is rolled up while trying to keep the ends as even as possible and then I wrapped tape up and down the length of the assembly. Next the clamps were installed and lightly tightened with the cordless drill. The last step was to snug the clamps down to where they were just hand tight (picture 5). There was a lot of squeeze out (which was good) but it was a pretty big mess. I grabbed a huge wad of dampened paper towels to clean up the inside and used a long dowel as a ram rod to push it through. Worked pretty well. I gave it about an hour then I peeled off the tape on the inside. That was a bit tricky and I end up using the dowel again to help peel off the tape as I slowly worked it down the length of the tube. The glue was allowed to set for 24 hours before removing the clamps and rest of the tape (last two pictures).

Looking back this was the hardest part of the project. So once you’re past this point you can relax a bit.

Step 2: Designing and Building the Cylinder Jig

Now that I completed building the octagonal blank I had something tangible to help me design and build the jig. I just wanted to make sure everything was in the ballpark before I got too far along. As it turned out I was pretty close when I measured the dimensions of the blank. On to the jig…

The jig is constructed with half inch MDF from the local big box hardware store. They had 2 foot by 4 foot pieces already cut so I didn’t have to buy a big 4 by 8 sheet. You’ll also need four #8 screws and wing nuts. I had some 3 inch screws left over from another project and I cut the heads off them so I had two inches worth of all thread. Titebond 3 glue holds everything together.

Start by ripping the MDF lengthwise to a width of three and three quarters (3-3/4) inches. Repeat 2 more times. Now you have three 4 foot pieces that are 3-3/4 inches wide. Everything is made from these 3 pieces. Cut two of those down to a length of 34 inches. These are the side pieces. Take the last 4 foot section and cut 6 pieces that are 3-3/4 inches wide and 2 that are 4-3/4 inches wide. And finally 2 pieces that are 1 inch wide. Save the scrap for later. We’ll be using it to build a holding fixture.

One thing to keep in mind is the more accurate you are in building the jig the better results you’ll get when you use it.

Take one 3-3/4 wide piece and glue that in the dead center of one of the 4-3/4 inch pieces. Repeat. When the glue is set (24 hours later) drill a 1 inch diameter hole in the middle. I just drew 2 diagonal lines across the back from corner to corner to mark the center. These are the two end pieces of the jig.

Next print out the template. Make sure you print it actual size. The diameter of the smaller circle should be 3 inches. Cut out the 4 templates and glue them to the remaining four 3-3/4 inch wide pieces using the spray adhesive. This stuff sets pretty fast so you don’t have to wait long. Now drill a 1 inch diameter hole in center of the template for each piece. You should end up with something like picture 1.

I used a scroll saw with a fairly fine blade to cut out the pieces shown in picture 2. When cutting out the circular pieces make sure you are using the inner (3 inch diameter) circle on the template as your guide.

In picture 3 I have marked points 1 inch away on either side of the vertical centerline. Draw a line from each of these points to where they connect tangentially to the circle. Cut along those lines and save the pieces that are removed but make sure you keep the pieces togther since they are a matched set. Take a look at picture 4 to get an idea of what you end up with (but we haven't drilled the holes yet).

In retrospect I did the next step the hard way but ended up getting lucky and everything fit. Let's jump a little ahead and take a look at the end result we're shooting for. Take a look at pictures 5 and 6. That’s what we want. I measured all of the hole positions separately, drilled them on the drill press, and then glued. It would probably be easier to mark and drill the one inch wide pieces and then glue on the little wedge. Once that dried set the glued piece in place on the matching end piece and then match drill with the cordless drill. That would give you a more fool proof method to having everything fit well. For reference… I drilled the holes 1/2 inch in from the outside edges of the 1 inch wide piece along the centerline. I used a drill bit that was just barely larger than the #8 screw thread diameter. Mark your drill bit with a piece of tape so that you drill to the correct depth. You want to end up with about 3/4 of in inch of threads sticking out of the jig. Once end piece has been match drilled apply glue to the lower half of the all thread and place it in the hole. Keep the part vertical and let the glue set for a while before handling.

Picture 7 shows the little clamping wedges (top) and the cylinder end caps (bottom) once they have been glued. I used one end of the 1 inch dowel as an alignment guide when I glued the end cap pieces together. Just make sure to remove them from the dowel before the glue sets!

In picture 8 we have the side and end pieces being glued together. Use light clamping pressure… just enough to pull everything together. I used masking tape to make squeeze out clean up easier. One key element is to make sure that you glue up the assembly on a dead flat surface. I used my granite counter top in the kitchen. You want the jig to be as level and even as possible.

24 hours later in picture 9 the glue is set and the clamps are off. I’ve also installed the octagonal blank for the first test fit. I noticed a couple of minor issues that were easily corrected. One of the cylinder end caps wasn’t as snug as I wanted it and it bothered me that there was nothing to keep the end caps against the octagonal blank. So in picture 10 I added a small piece of 3 inch diameter pool noodle over the end of the dowel and I added a layer of tape on the cap that was a little loose. A second test fit was good.

Step 3: Loading the Octagonal Blank Into the Jig

If you are paying especially close attention you will notice a couple differences in the next two sections. I was really excited when I loaded up the jig with the oak blank that I couldn't wait to take it to the router table and start cutting chips. In doing so I totally forgot about taking pictures of the process. Duh!!!! (Smacks self in forehead). I devoted 100 percent of my attention to evaluating the performance of the jig and didn't take any pictures while I was cutting the blank. I also didn't show how to load the blank into the jig. I first attempted to write this section of the instructable without those pictures and it just wasn't working for me. The whole point behind this instructable was to feature the jig! Therefore... I built another blank out of some cedar that I had on hand and repeated everything with more picture taking and a video. So if you are looking at the pictures and thinking something looks different... well, that's why.

On with the show...

In picture 1 we have our newly constructed cedar blank sitting next to the cylinder jig. I cut the blank longer this time which removed the need for the small slice of pool noodle as a gap filler. The length of the blank is just a smidge under 32 inches to keep it from binding in the jig. You want it snug but still able to freely rotate.

To install the octagonal blank in the jig remove the clamping blocks from both ends of the jig and take out the dowel/cap assembly (picture 2). Slide one of the end caps off of the dowel (picture 3). This will allow you to run the dowel through your blank (picture 4). Replace the end cap back on the dowel (picture 5). Now slide both end caps towards the ends of the blank and insert the octagonal parts of the end caps into the blank... they should be snug (picture 6). It will sort of look like a giant (albiet octagonal) rolling pin (picture 7). Now place this assembly back into the base of the cylinder jig (pictures 8 and 9). Replace the clamping blocks and secure with the wing nuts (pictures 10 thru 13).

Pictures 14 and 15 show the snug fit of the blank in the jig.

The completed setup is depicted in picture 16 and is ready to go to the router table.

Step 4: Using the Cylinder Jig

I will say that the first time I used the jig to turn down the oak octagonal blank it was a time consuming process as it took probably 2 or 3 hours to complete. But I was going extremely slow and assessing my progress very carefully along the way. Turning down the cedar blank went much faster... about half the time. Note: All of the still photos in this section were taken with the router table off to make it easier. So if you don't see any chips flying in the pictures that's why. I have included a video demo of the first rotation where I knock off the high points on the octagonal blank. That way you can see the cylinder jig in use. Oh... The router is loud so turn your sound down.

The first step is to set up the router table fence. This doesn't have to be precise... you can just eyeball it. Or since the width of the jig is 4 and 3/4 inches you can measure over 2 and 3/8 inches from the fence to the center of the bit. However you want to do it... set the fence such that the bit is under the center of the jig (picture 1). I used an empty jig for this picture so you get a better view of how everything lines up.

I used a 1/4 inch up-cut spiral router bit and it will need to be raised just a tiny amount such that it barely contacts one of the edges of the octagonal blank. On my setup that turned out to be about a quarter inch. The first several passes that you make will only be taking off the high points on the wooden blank. Theoretically you could just set the router bit to the final height and make one rotation of the blank but I think it’s better to slowly creep up on it by making very shallow cuts over multiple passes. I just believe it’s a safer approach and gives you the opportunity to make any corrections along the way if there are any issues with the setup. It will also give you a smoother surface requiring less sanding.

A couple of notes before we proceed further… The circular part of the end caps are 3 inches in diameter. This is the diameter that you will be shooting for as you are turning down the octagonal blank. The idea here is to be able to use these as a reference during the process and let you know that everything is being cut symmetrically. Also, if you look at the end cap in picture 2 you can see a pencil mark on top of the circular part of the end cap. This is a witness mark that will let you know when you have made a full rotation of the octagonal blank. And finally, you will be starting the cut with the router bit underneath one of the end caps and then ending your cut when you complete the pass and the bit is under the other end cap. You need to have a sense of where the router bit is so you might want to make some pencil marks on your router fence and the jig for reference. I pushed the fence together and where the ends meet there in the middle was my indicator for where the bit was positioned (picture 3).

With the router switched off set the jig on the table and against the router fence. I made sure that the octagonal blank was rotated such that one of the flat faces of the blank was parallel to the table top so that the router bit would not touch (pictures 4 and 5). Slide the jig to the right until the router bit is under the left end cap (picture 6). At this point a pretty good part of the jig is now cantilevered off the right side of the table so keep one hand on the jig at all times to keep it from tipping off the table. Turn on the router and with both hands on the jig ensure that it is firmly against the table top and against the fence. Rotate the octagonal blank so one of the edges is pointed up (picture 7). This will ensure that the opposite edge is pointed straight down and will be contacted by the router bit when you start your cut. Now slowly and smoothly slide the jig to the left and continue the cut until the bit clears the blank and is under the end cap (picture 8). You should be able to tell when you’ve completed the cut by listening to the sound level change. Remember to keep your hands on the jig and pushed against the table. Now that you have completed the first pass use your fingertips to barely rotate the blank away from you. Maybe an eighth of an inch or so. Then start your next cut by slowly and smoothly moving the jig to the right and continue until you have once again cleared the blank. So you are cutting in both directions and the process is cut… rotate slightly … cut… rotate slightly… cut... etc. until you have made one full rotation of the blank. Keeping an eye on the witness mark will let you know when you have made a full rotation. Switch off the router after you have made a full rotation and let it come to a complete stop before proceeding. Remove the jig from the table and raise the router bit just a little… no more than a sixteenth of an inch… maybe even less. When you’ve got everything set then you repeat the cutting process and do this over and over until you have a 3 inch diameter cylinder. Now you have pretty darn close to a next to perfect cylinder (pictures 9, 10, and 11).

I hope all of this made sense. Seems like it took a lot to describe but it really is very simple. The video should make everything clear if there is any confusion.

One more note: During the first few rotations the router bit will only be contacting the high points on the blank so you can cheat a little bit and rotate the blank more between cutting passes (like in the video). Otherwise if you just rotate it a tiny bit then you'll be sliding the jig back and forth several times before you rotate it enough to actually start cutting again.

And now we will be switching back to our regular programming using the oak cylinder starting with the last three pictures. LOL… well the upside is I do have the hard part of another rod tube done. I’ll update the instructable with a few pictures when I finish it. I’m really curious how the cedar will work out. It's about half the weight but nowhere near as strong and hard.

Step 5: Building the End Caps

Print out a couple more sheets of the template from step two. We'll be using them to fabricate our end caps.

I'll start with the top cap. I cut out three of the templates and trimmed one of them down to just an octagon. These are spray adhesive glued to a piece of walnut (picture 1).

Important Construction Note: When gluing down the templates make sure that one of them is oriented such that one of the octagon sides is parallel to the edge of the board (see picture 2 for reference). We will cut a channel in the bottom of this piece to accomodate the leather strap. This will ensure that when we install snaps on the wooden tube later on they will be in the middle of the staves... which is the thickest part of the stave.

I used the miter saw to cut the first piece from the rest of the board (picture 2). I need to cut a channel in the bottom of this part to accomodate the leather strap we'll make later. The channel is 3/16 inch deep and 7/8 inch wide. I made several passes on the router table (picture 3) using a quarter inch up-cut spiral bit. The 2-3/16 inch measurement is where I wanted the edge of the router bit for the first cut to ensure the channel would be centered on the finished part. Finished router cut in picture 4. Next the piece is cut out on the jig saw with a fine blade and going very slowly. This time we will be using the larger circle on the template as our guide. This will give us some extra material to work with so it can be sanded smooth and not be too small. Finished piece in picture 5. Picture 6 shows all of the pieces that are required for the rod tube end caps. You need two circular pieces and an octagonal piece for the top cap and 1 circular piece plus 1 octagonal piece for the bottom cap. All of the parts are 3/4 inch thick and are made from walnut except for the octagonal part for the bottom cap... it's a quarter inch thick and it can be either oak or walnut. I used oak since I had a scrap piece that was the correct thickness.

Two of the circular pieces will have an octagonal piece glued to the bottom of it. I used a pin to mark the points of the octagon to use as a guide when it's time to glue (pictures 7 and 8). Once everything is cut out and marked you can remove the templates from the parts. I used paint thinner and applied it with a rag. Let it set for several minutes and it will soak through such that the paper will peel right off. You'll still need to do some additional cleaning and some light sanding to get rid of the remaining spray adhesive.

Picture 9 shows all of the wooden parts required to make the rod tube. At this point I trimmed the ends of the rod tube with the miter saw to make them even. I'm using a finish blade on the saw and cutting very slowly to avoid any chipping.

In picture 10 I'm looking at the wood grain to determine which side I want showing.

Picture 11 shows the top and bottom caps after they have been glued.

Admiring the results in pictures 12, 13, and 14!

Step 6: Making the Leather Strap

I am a rank beginner when it comes to leatherwork. In fact, I spent a couple hours watching YouTube videos to figure out what I needed and how to make a simple strap. As it turns out it's not that hard and you only need a few inexpensive tools.

Start off with a piece of leather that is in the 3 to 4 mm thick range (picture 1).

Cut a 7/8 inch wide strip that is about 12 and 3/4 inches long. I used an Xacto knife... which I also used to tastefully round the ends. The edges are beveled with the beveling tool shown on the right of picture 2. And then I burnished the edges with that peg looking thing (burnishing tool). All that means is that you rub the heck out of the edges using the grooves in the tool.

The tool in picture 3 is a stitch groover. It cuts a shallow groove in the leather at a set distance from the edge.

The medieval looking device in picture 4 marks the spacing for the stitching.

The awl in picture 5 pokes holes in the leather at the previously marked spots.

And then finally you can stitch everything up using waxed nylon thread (picture 6). I used a saddle stitch. Again, if you want to learn more about leatherwork then go watch a bunch of YouTube videos like I did. Finished strap in picture 7.

I started and ended the stitching in the middle of the strap so that the finishing overlap would be hidden once it was installed in the end cap (picture 8). This was just a fit check. It won't be installed for good until later.

Step 7: Rounding Off the End Caps and Attaching the Bottom Cap

As you recall we left the bottom and top caps a little on the wide side when we cut them on the jig saw. I ended up sanding the bottom cap flush with the tube but I left the top cap a little oversized. Just thought it looked nice that way. Afterwards both parts were run across the router table using a 3/8 inch roundover bit. Results are in picture 1. Pictures 2, 3, and 4 are fit checks. Looks nice!

In picture 5 I glued the end cap in place. Masking tape makes clean up of the squeeze out much easier.

Glue is dry and the part is given a light sanding (picture 6).

Holy cow! We're starting to get close!

Step 8: Finishing and Adding Snaps to the Tube

I started off by figuring out the spacing for the snaps in picture 1. The measurements are from the end of the cylinder. Some design parameters are driven by functionality others by esthetics. Here I’m mostly considering what looks nice but I was also thinking about spacing the first snap far enough away from the edge of the tube to keep the wood from cracking when the snap is installed.

In picture 2 I have numerous coats of the polyurethane finish on the tube. I wanted to do most of the finish work before I installed the snaps so they wouldn't be in the way when I was sanding the tube between coats.

The measurements are marked on the tube in picture 3. I used the scratch awl to poke small holes and then peeled off the tape. This was done on the opposite side as well.

So not only do we have a jig as our main feature of the instructable there is a holding fixture as well (picture 4). I made it out of the MDF we had left over from when we made the cylinder jig. It was custom made to fit my own drill press and is designed to hold the tube in place and keep it centered under the drill bit (picture 5). The MDF isn't stiff enough so I have a leg clamped to the fixture that you can see to the left to support the weight of the tube.

The point here is to make 1/2 inch diameter circular flat areas for the snaps to set on. Two flats are cut with a Forstner bit (picture 6). This is done on both sides of the tube. Keep your hand on the left end of the tube to keep it from tipping up when making the cut.

You can see one of the snaps in picture 7. The next step is to drill a hole to accomodate the wood screw on the snap. Here I put a piece of tape on the bit to mark the depth. The holes are drilled (again using the fixture) in picture 8. And the snaps are installed in the last shot.

We are almost home!

Step 9: Adding Snaps to the Strap and Installing It in the Top Cap

OK... back to leatherwork again. This time it's even more simple. Mostly we're beating the heck out of stuff with a hammer. Everyone can do that!

To mark the hole positions I installed the strap in the top cap and set it in place on the end of the tube. I folded down the straps to see where they met the snaps that we already mounted on the tube and marked it lightly with a pencil. The strap was removed from the top cap when all the marks were made and holes were cut using this slick little tool that I bought at Tandy Leather (picture 1). Place the tool with the cutting edge against the leather and whack the other end a few times with the hammer.

Now it's time to install the snaps on the strap (picture 2). There are two parts to the snap... a top and a bottom. The top is the decorative button and the bottom is the other. Not sure why I placed 2 bottom pieces on the board for the picture... you only need 1. The silver disc is the anvil and the long slender piece next to that is the swaging tool. And of course there's a hammer too.

Note: Picture 3 shows a couple of different top (button) pieces. You can see the difference in length between the two parts. Make sure you have the correct length for the leather that you are using. I’m using the one on the right. It is a size 24.

Picture 4. To install the snap place the top piece through the hole on the finished side of the leather. Flip the strap over install the bottom piece over the rivet that is poking through the strap. Place the top piece on the anvil and set the swaging tool in place on the rivet. It takes a pretty good strike with the hammer to swage the rivet so give it several good whacks.

Extremely important note: Install two rivets on one side of the strap first. Then insert the strap into the top cap BEFORE installing the final two snaps. Also make sure you have the strap oriented correctly when you are installing it in the end cap. Once you pound those last two snaps home there ain't no removing the strap from the top cap no more! If you do get it wrong you'll have to drill out the rivets and take off the snaps. This will destroy the top part of the snap and you'll need to replace it. LOL… no, I did not learn this the hard way!

Finished top cap complete with strap and snaps in picture 5.

One last step in the process... take your favorite fly rod and place it into its new home and button up the top!

WOOOO HOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! That's it! We're done!!!

Step 10: Go Fishing and Show Off Your New Rod Tube!

Here I am with a nice Hawaiian bonefish that I caught with one of my own hand tied flies. Hey... that could be another instructable... How to Tie a Peterson's Spawning Shrimp. LOL.

I hope that this instructable was helpful. I welcome any comments and questions. If you end up building your own rod tube I'd love to see a picture and let me know how it went. I've cut two tubes using the Cylinder Jig so far and I am very confident that it produces a repeatable process. Honestly, these rod tubes are not that difficult to make.

I’ve looked at a lot of wooden fly rod tubes on the internet… seems like most people leave the tube octagonal or even hexagonal. I think the cylindrical tube has a more refined look and I prefer it over the others. Just my opinion... to each his own. And I am very happy with my cylinder jig. Take your time, use good materials, do a good job, finish it carefully, and you’ll have a rod tube that is worth $250 to $300. Even more if you do some fancy inlay work!

Good luck and keep a tight line!


Step 11: GALLERY - Coming Soon

I have several more rod tubes in work right now that I'll add to this section when they are complete. One particular tube that I'm interested in seeing how it turns out is made from a dead limb from an old pecan tree from my buddy's farm. The wood has a lot of worm holes in it that I'm inlaying with powdered turquoise. So far it looks really cool. So stay tuned!

Step 12: Monogram Oak and Walnut Rod Tube

34 inches long and 3 inches in diameter. The oak for the tube came from my family farm in West Virginia. The wood for the walnut end cap and the walnut/oak top came from my cousin's farm in West Virginia. This was a 2022 Christmas gift I made for my brother.

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    1 year ago

    Amazing! And even more amazing then making the rod holder was all the writing/typing you put into it!
    So if someone is inclined to make this project theirs an enormous amount of I'll call it data to help along the way.
    ** Lol, this coming from a woodworker who always prefers pictures with a tiny amount of words accompanying the plan.....

    Great Job!
    I really have to get on board with Cad. I'm treating that issue like I did when I started making hand cut dove tails, scared stiff!

    Just a sample of furniture pieces one in process as well as a memory boxs people love to purchase from me...

    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, thank you for noticing the amount of effort that I put into this tutorial, I definitely wanted to make it helpful to other woodworkers. Wow, your work looks amazing! Thank you for leaving a comment and posting those pictures.



    1 year ago

    Very nice job indeed. As a self-taught woodworker with model aircraft at 7 years old who now owns & operates a small custom wood shop 48 years later, things like these have a way of looking deceptively simple, yet they are not, it just means you did a good job!

    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    Yes... it is the numerous little details that you pay attention to that make all the difference.


    1 year ago

    Beautiful job. You could continue the leather strap on the fixed side all the way down to the bottom cap giving you a shoulder strap for carrying the rods as well. Just a thought.

    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Absolutely. A leather carry strap is definitely on my to do list. Thanks!


    1 year ago

    Lovely job! I'm constantly amazed by the amount of gear anglers lug about, are these not heavy?
    Not a criticism, but could you not have cut your staves at the required angle on the table saw and saved a bit of time (and wood).

    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Ha... yes, it is quite heavy. About 4 pounds. It would not be my first choice to take on a backpacking trip for sure.

    You don't have to be off by much when you are cutting the angles on the staves for it to make a difference. The error compounds with each stave when you roll up the octagonal blank and the joints won't match very well. The router bit is kind of the no-brainer approach. It's pretty much automatic. I'll sacrifice a little material to guarantee I get good results. As far as saving time is concerned... I'm retired! Go check out my Tessellated Backyard Grill instructable and you'll see that I'll do crazy stuff even though it means it will take a long time.


    1 year ago

    Gorgeous and so interesting to see it made :D

    Sawdust Willy
    Sawdust Willy

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!