How to Add Abalone to Custom Fishing Rod

Catch these 5 steps to add custom abalone to your fishing rod for an awesome finished appearance. Don’t miss the video tutorial at the bottom!

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Rod Building’s 5 Steps for Custom Abalone

Adding abalone to any custom fishing rod instantly upgrades its final look with a sharp and professional decoration. When installed and finished correctly, abalone is easy to work with and brings an incredible look on the water.

First gather your tools and supplies, then follow our 5 steps to installing decorative abalone.

1. Mark Rod Blank and Abalone

Start by looking at the Abalone and identifying what portion will look best as decoration on the rod blank. For example, rod builders often find hiding the seam along bottom of the rod ends up looking better.

After you’ve identified the most desirable section for decoration, determine it’s location on the rod blank and trim the length of the abalone with scissors to fit this section.

Lay this piece over the blank in the location you choose and use a china marker to mark where the abalone begins and ends against the blank.

2. Measure the Blank for Abalone

Remove the abalone from the blank and apply masking tape around the blank at the two marked locations.

With the tape in place, use a razor blade to lightly cut through and remove only the tape strips.

Now, pick off the tape and lay it down on a flat surface. Using calipers, measure the length of the tape strips that was closest to the blank’s mark and record that measurement for each strip.

This measurement represents the exact circumference of the rod blank where the abalone will be installed. Once these measurements are recorded, measure and mark the center of each tape strip.

3. Use Straight Edge and Trim Abalone

Apply the tape to the back of the abalone, making sure you apply one piece of tape to each side of the abalone.

Mark the top and bottom on the abalone according to location on the rod blank to keep from flipping the abalone upside down during application.

Next, take a straight edge ruler and line it up from one tape edge to the other over the abalone.

Mark a line to connect these two points and then use scissors  to cut the perfect size piece for your rod blank.

4. Apply Abalone with Heat Gun

Now it’s time to apply the abalone to the rod blank, but you’ll notice there’s an adhesive backing and the abalone doesn’t exactly bend to fit the blank. First take off the backing to reveal adhesive and stick the abalone where you marked the rod blank.

Smooth out the first part of the abalone on the blank with your thumb and once its firmly in place, break out the heat gun.

Since abalone won’t bend naturally without cracking, begin applying heat to the abalone in sections and installing each section as it’s heated. Make sure you thoroughly heat the abalone and work slowly for the best finished results.

Use a burnishing tool to flatten out the abalone along the rod blank as you install it. This method allows the abalone to slowly form around the rod blank without any cracks, damage, or gaps.

5. Finish Abalone with Two-Part Epoxy

With the abalone in place, it’s time to wrap it in thread before the abalone has to cool down. The thread helps to force out any remaining air bubbles trapped under the abalone.

ProWrap features incredible tensile strength and is known to be a great thread option for any rod building application.

When abalone has cooled for about an hour, take off the thread and begin preparing a professional grade two-part epoxy like ProKöte.

Epoxying abalone is mostly about preference. Whether you do one coat, two light coats, or apply as needed, that part comes down to your personal comfort.

Don’t forget to stock up on all your Custom Abalone and Finishing Supplies at Mud Hole!

Watch the Step by Step Abalone Tutorial









The finished abalone makes any custom rod stand out with a final look that’s truly awesome on the water!

Abalone is available at Mud Hole in Large Strips, Decals, or even a complete Abalone Kitso pick some for your next rod build!