Intro: Make a Free/Inexpensive Fishing Rod Wrapping Jig Out of a Cardboard Box
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The idea of making a fishing rod wrapping jig out of a cardboard box isn't a new one, but I think I have a better version than the others I have seen so I wanted to share it with others. I haven't seen a box jig that uses adjustable height blank supports or an adjustable height stand alone blank support to be used in conjunction with the box jig. While you don't need a blank to sit level for wrapping a guide onto a blank, it is nice to have a level blank when you do your epoxy finish on your wraps because it helps achieve a more level finish.
You can actually build a rod using this jig or you can use it to repair a rod that needs a guide replaced.
I have also embedded my YouTube video that describes the process of making this DIY fishing rod wrapping jig in this Instructable if you would like to watch it.
If you enjoy building fishing rods, you may want to check out my other videos where I have made other rod building equipment on my YouTube channel HERE.
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Step 1: The Box
The box used in this project is an Amazon shipping box #1A7 which is approximately 14.5"L x 8.5"W x 7.5"H. What box you use isn't critical, but this is a size that works well for this project. Other similar sized boxes should work equally as well. If the box bottom isn't already assembled, you will want to do so at this time. I used shipping tape to put this box bottom back together because it had been broken down for easier storage.
Step 2: Making the Main Body of the Wrapping Jig
Now we are ready to make the body of the jig.
First you will need to cut down the fold lines of the two ends of the longer side of the box on one side. This will allow one of the longer sides of the box to lay down flat against your work surface.
Next, you will need to glue down the two loose bottom flaps to the bottom of the box. This will provide some rigidity to the wrapping jig. I used hot melt glue and a glue gun to do this, but wood glue would also be a good choice. If you use wood glue, make sure to use some weight to hold the flaps down while the glue dries.
After your glue has dried, you will now need to trim off the two shorter and two longer top flaps of the box. These will be used to make the remaining parts of the wrapping jig.
Step 3: Making the Main Adjustable Rod Blank Supports
Use the two shorter top flaps to make your rod blank supports for the main body of the rod wrapping jig.
To make these supports you will need to find and mark the centerline of the longer dimension of the shorter flaps.
Now that you have your centerline, you will need to measure out your v-shape that will support your rod blank. I made my v-shape 4 cm wide at the top and 4 cm tall from the top of the flap to the point of the v-shape. You can make this whatever size you need to make, but the size I used will work well for most rods.
Now cut out your v-shaped notches using scissors and you are finished making your rod blank supports.
Step 4: Attaching and Adjusting Your Blank Supports
Now we will need to attach the supports to the main body of the wrapping jig.
To do this and make the supports adjustable, you will want to use some clips to clamp the supports onto the wrapping jig. I used some plastic clips I had on hand. Spring type clothespins or small spring clamps would also work well. You will want to use clips/clamps that are strong enough to keep the supports in place while you are using the jig.
To adjust the rod supports you will need to move one side up or down until your rod blank is level across the top. An easy way to check for level is to measure from your work surface to the top of the blank at each side of wrapping jig. You can also use a small bubble level on top of the rod blank to determine when the blank is level across the top.
While it isn't necessary to have the blank level while wrapping your fishing rod, it is helpful if you are applying your epoxy finish to the rod while the blank is on the wrapping jig. By keeping the top of the rod level, it helps keep your epoxy wrap finish from pooling up on one side of the completed wraps which will make for a more even/nicer looking finish.
Step 5: Making the Standalone Adjustable Rod Blank Support
Here is another nice feature of this cardboard box jig...an adjustable height standalone rod blank support!
To make this support, find and mark your centerline (on the longest length of the flaps) on both of the remaining longer top box flaps that were cut off earlier. After you mark your centerline, cut the two longer pieces in half. Now you have 4 pieces that will be used to make the standalone blank support.
Take one of the pieces and mark it 4 cm from the edge on each end and fold the two ends on these marks. This will make the base of the standalone support stand. Take two of the remaining half sections of the longer flaps and mark them on one end 3 cm from the edge. Fold each the these pieces on those marks. These will make up the sides of the support stand.
Now take these these 3 pieces (base and two sides) and glue them together as seen in the picture, making a triangular shaped stand.
To make the adjustable part of the blank support, find and mark the center of the short side of the remaining half piece from the longer top flaps and then lay out another notch/v-shape. I used the 4 cm wide across the top and 4 cm long from the top edge to the point size again here just as I did earlier when making the supports for the main body of the jig. Now cut out the v-shape you drew on this piece with some scissors.
To attach the adjustable support/notched section to the triangular shaped stand, I used some plastic clips again. The height can be adjusted by moving the support up and down the side of the stand and clamping it in place with the clips.
You can use this same process to make additional standalone supports if needed using another box.
Step 6: Thread Tensioning
When wrapping a rod blank, it is necessary to have some tension on the thread you are using.
A simple way to tension the thread is to run the thread through a book. You can adjust the tension by changing where you run the line through the book. More pages on top of the line will give you more tension and less pages will give you less tension. I was able to get the right amount of tension by running the thread through the middle of the book I decided to use. Thread tensioning is something you will have to experiment with and it will depend on the book you are using and the amount of tension you need to do a proper wrapping job.
After you run the line through the book, place the spool of thread near the back of the box/wrapping jig. Next, put the book near the back of the box as well but don't pin the spool to the back of the box with the book. This would keep the spool from turning which won't allow you to pull more line from the spool. Leave a little space between the spool and the book so it can spin as you pull more line while wrapping your rod but close enough that the spool doesn't jump around all over the place. Again, this is something that you will just have to experiment with to get the proper placement of the book in relation to the spool and the back of the box.
Step 7: Finished...Now Try It Out!!!
Here are a few pictures of a test wrap I started using the wrapping jig. It actually works quite well. In fact, I was a little surprised at how good of a job it does! I have built much more complicated wrapping jigs out of wood using more complicated thread tensioning devices that, while sturdy and perhaps a little faster to wrap with, don't necessarily produce higher quality wraps.
Step 8: Final Thoughts
My intention here was to make an easy to duplicate and functional fishing rod wrapping jig. I think more people would enjoy building or repairing their own fishing rods if they could quickly and inexpensively make a wrapping jig themselves. This will allow someone to try rod building/repair without investing a lot of time, research or money without knowing if this is something they would even enjoy doing themselves. I think this jig accomplishes that and is very much capable of handling the task of rod building and or repair.
If anyone has any ideas for improvements on the design or any questions/thoughts, please comment below!
Thanks for checking out my Instructable and tight lines!