13 Tools Rod Builders Can’t Live Without

Check out this list of life-saving tools to see all the helpful upgrades available for your rod building system.

Life-Saving Tools for Your Rod Building System

Custom Rod Building can mean something different to every rod builder.

For some, rod building is a rewarding hobby for the weekend, but for others, it becomes a full-time business or even a way of life. No matter what rod building means to you, the name of the game is improvement and building the best rod for you and your fishing application.

Whether you build fishing rods for business or pleasure, every rod builder can benefit from this list of the most helpful tools.

1. Digital Calipers for Precise Measurements

All rod blanks are tapered from the butt to the tip. This tapered feature is awesome for action and performance, but it also makes measuring the blank more challenging.

For example, winding checks are very popular in rod building and require the exact size of the blank in a certain location to install it. Since these winding checks serve as decorative and professional accents, you want each one to fit on the rod blank with precision for a clean aesthetic appeal.

The Digital Caliper is the best tool to get pinpoint measurements on tapered rod blanks because it easily adjusts sizes to retrieve dimensions up to three decimal places from anywhere on the butt of the rod all the way up to the tip.

Not only does it accurately measure anywhere on the blank, but these digital calipers will also convert from millimeters to inches or vice versa in just seconds. The precision of digital calipers are a lifesaver because it allows rod builders to plan out rods with the ultimate accuracy and produce sleeker, sharper finished rods.

2. The Blank Extension Tool for Multi-Piece Rod Blanks

The CRB Blank Extension Tool is a must have for any rod builder who works on multi-piece rods because it solves the most common problems related to building a multi-section rod.

For example, ferrule wraps used to be a pain, but not with the CRB Blank Extension Tool. All you need to do is insert the tool into the rod segment you are working on, set it in your CRB stand, and use it as a sturdy wrapping aid for perfect ferrule wraps every time.

Need an easy and clean way to apply epoxy right to the ends of your ferrule wraps? No problem! The CRB Blank Extension Tool fits perfectly in any of the CRB RDS Drying systems, making it simple to dry individual sections of a multi-piece rod.

Use the Extension Tool for Easy Ferrule Wraps

Multi-piece fishing rods come in segments and each segment is designed to fit into the next. These connection points are ferrules.

When the ferrules are put under increasing stress, they may crack or split, which means the rod segments no longer fit together. It is therefore recommended that you wrap and epoxy these connection points to provide support and prevent these issues – similar to wrapping a guide – and this process is generally referred to as a ferrule wrap.

All you need to do is insert the extension tool into the rod segment you are working on, and rest the segment on your rod stands (usually centered over your CRB Hand Wrapper), and it provides a sturdy base upon which to wrap thread over the ferrule ends.

Chuck the Extension Tool into the Rod Dryer

Once you have completed the ferrule wraps, you will need to apply the epoxy.

To accomplish this, all you need to do is insert the extension tool into the rod segment end (that has the thread wrap) and chuck that end into the CRB RDS Drying System, and rest the other end on a rod stand.

Now you have a sturdy base that is level, so after you finish applying your epoxy, your ferrule wraps will come out perfect every time!

3. Guide Tubing Keeps Guides Ready to Wrap

Every builder has been there, you’re about to wrap thread from the blank up onto the guide foot and just like that, the guide pops off and your perfect wrap is still there waiting.

Sure, tape and other adhesives are popular to hold guides in place for wrapping, but rod builders who try guide tubing will tell you, it’s hard to go back. Guide Tubing is an incredible asset for rod builders, especially after the stripper guides are wrapped and all the smaller running guides are left.

Keep Guides in Place for Wrapping

Whether it’s stripper guides, smaller running guides, or even snake guides, guide tubing works to keep guides in place as you wrap up the guide foot.

Since the tubing comes in different inner diameters and has the ability to stretch, it will easily fit over any rod blank and guide foot. Then with the guide secured in place, you can wrap up onto the guide without worrying about the guide foot working free and falling off.

Plus, once your wrap is almost to the tubing and it has a firm hold of the guide, you can easily remove the guide tubing by just snipping it off. Easy to add and even easier to remove, guide tubing is an excellent resource to use in your rod building process.

Adjust Guides to Get Perfect Spacing

In addition to holding guides in place for wrapping, guide tubing also works great because you can adjust the guides and the tubing at the same time.

For example, if you are using static deflection to space your guides, guide tubing is perfect because you can move each guide as needed until you get the perfect guide spacing and alignment.

CRB Micro Guide Bands

Of all the guides, micro guides are the most difficult to keep in place because each one is so impossibly small. Although the size of micro guides is huge for performance, it also makes the guides harder to work with.

But now with micro guide bands, you can move the guides as necessary and then keep the micro guides in place once it’s time to get wrapping.

Pick up your micro guide bands here!

4. Self-Sealing Bottle Cap Syringe Inserts

Self-sealing bottle cap syringe inserts? Say that three times fast…

But seriously, when it comes to lifesaving tools in rod building, don’t overlook these little components.

From saving epoxy ingredients to simplifying epoxy measurements, the self-sealing inserts are an unbeatable resource in any rod building workshop.

CRB Syringes with Sealing Caps Kit

Plus, you can pair the sealing caps with syringes to create a seamless epoxy process that is easy and effective.

CRB syringes allow rod builders to extract exact measurements of epoxy resins and hardeners to ensure the best mix possible. Then, the sealing caps come in to close off the epoxy bottles and preserve the ingredients left inside.

5. Burnishing Tools for Tighter Thread Wraps

For instance, the burnishing tool is often overlooked, but this tool is actually very valuable to custom rod builders. Used to pack in thread wraps, the burnishing tool erases gaps to produce smooth, clean, and consistent thread wraps.

The burnishing tool also works great in combo with the blank extension tool for tighter thread wraps that go right up to the ferrule’s edge on multi-piece rod blanks.

Thread Tool Combo Package

For a great bundle that will actually save you money, check out the thread tool combo package.

This package features the most common tools used with thread wrapping: a burnishing tool, a thread pick, and a pair of clippers.

Whether packing thread wraps tighter, fixing an overlapping thread, or just cutting thread from the spool, this combo pack gives you all the tools you need to get the job done right.

6. Extreme Reamers for Sizing and Fitting Fishing Grips

In rod building, reamers are a must and the better quality reamers will help remove material quickly and efficiently to get your grips sized in no time.

But when rod blanks have various diameters , the Extreme Reamer Set answers the call with four different diameters to accurately and safely ream grips to fit. The extreme reamer is the greatest commercial reamer available and the complete set provides the perfect fit for virtually any rod diameter.

These versatile solid glass reamers are designed to work as a hand reamer for the delicate work or to be chucked up in your drill for jobs requiring a more heavy-duty approach.

All Reamers come standard with 50 Grit abrasive, but there is 32 grit abrasive tape available in 25 foot replacement rolls.

Extreme Reamer Set Includes:

Stock No. Length Tapered O.D.
EXR-S         14″          0.215″ – 0.360″
EXR-M       14″           0.340″ – 0.475″
EXR-L        14″           0.495″ – 0.575″
EXR-XL     14″           0.550″ – 0.700″

7. Three Roll Tape Dispenser for Easy Arbors and More

Make speedy tape arbors, secure guides, and more with the handy CRB 3 Roll Tape Dispenser!

Keep this dispenser nearby for quick work with any taping tasks in rod building.

This awesome workshop tool makes easy work of securing guides, making reel seat arbors, and so much more. It can hold up to three different rolls of tape with various widths at one time and also features a non-slip base that utilizes 4 strategically placed suction cup feet.

8. Deflection Tool Compares Blank Actions and Powers

Sturdy in design and construction, yet simple to install and operate, the CRB Deflection Tool is one of the best rod building resources around. Not only is the deflection tool incredibly user-friendly, it also brings serious benefits to the performance of your custom fishing rod.

Accurately Assess Rod Action and Power

Since the “power” of a rod refers to how much pressure it takes to flex the rod and the “action” of a rod is determined by where a rod flexes along the blank, the deflection tool and chart help you find both with expert accuracy.

Simply follow the installation instructions to mount the deflection tool and chart on a wall that is large enough to test rod blanks. Then, place your rod blank or blanks into the cam levers and adjust each lever to hold the tapered blank.

Next use fishing weights in gradual increments to load and flex the rod blank along the chart.

TIP: Make sure the weights you use are practical to the desired fishing application in order to appropriately test the rod blank.

With various weights applying pressure on the rod blank, you can use the Deflection Chart and its dry-erase, alpha-numeric grid system to locate reference points that measure the power and action of the blank.

Along with the grid, there are also pre-printed action overlays that provide functional examples of different blank action styles for visual reference.

The Deflection Tool and Chart gives you the ability to easily find the exact power and action of your rod blanks to ultimately build qualified rods for your fishing application.

Determine Guide Spacing in No Time

Besides giving power and action the ultimate test, the Deflection Tool also provides an excellent resource for static deflections to customize guide layouts.

Regardless of the application, custom guide spacing is simple and efficient when you use the deflection tool. Just use some guide tubing to secure your guides onto the rod blank and then mount your reel with line running through each guide.

Next, tie a weight onto the end of the fishing line and use this weight to load the rod. With the rod under pressure, you can assess the guide layout and shift guides as needed to create the most efficient setup for your rod blank.

Creating a custom guide layout is not only easy with the deflection tool, it also reduces the amount of friction as line travels through each guide. This reduction in friction makes for a more efficient rod because it increases casting distance, distributes stress more equally along the blank, and reduces rod failure tremendously.

CRB Deflection Tool & Chart Combo Kit

One of the greatest benefits of the CRB Deflection Tool and Chart is the opportunity for builders to conduct expert “side by side” comparison of rod blanks to locate even the most subtle differences in power or action.

Whether you are trying to match a new build to your favorite old rod or trying to fine tune the perfect rod for your next build, the deflection tool and chart offers what builders need to compare multiple blanks for even the most acute differences.

For example, if you have an old favorite that simply can’t make it anymore but haven’t been able to find a blank qualified to replace it, this deflection tool allows you to match blank specifications with exact precision.

Replicating the performance of your retired rod, you can bring back those old memories on the water while you’re creating new ones!

There is also no better way to confirm rod blank specifications than the deflection tool and chart. Let’s say you buy an ultra-light rod with a fast or extra fast action and you want to trust in the performance that you paid for, the deflection tool and chart is the best way to insure your purchase.

The CRB Deflection Tool and Chart is the ultimate lie detector tool when it comes to determining a blank’s true specifications. Getting beyond the wording and testing out a blank’s real potential, you will be surprised how many factory built rods aren’t built to the specs you desired in the first place.

9. Epoxy Mixer for Perfectly Mixed, Bubble-Free Epoxy

Mistakes can be made often during the epoxy process.

For example, the wrong mixing technique can have negative consequences on the curing process of the epoxy. Whether causing an extended drying time, failing to dry at all, or adding bothersome bubbles, save yourself the migraine by using CRB’s Epoxy Mixing System.

The Epoxy Mixing System or EM1, features an 18 RPM motor that churns at a constant rate to guarantee a bubble-free epoxy mix each time. Not only eliminating troublesome bubbles, the EM1 also extends the life of an epoxy mixture by keeping it fresh and perfectly mixed for longer periods of time. Saving time and money, CRB’s Epoxy Mixing System will improve your productivity and preserve your resources.

10. RDS Rod Dryer to Finish and Cure Guide Wraps

In addition to CRB’s popular Rod Building System, the RDS Rod Dryer adds another option to complete the rod building process.

The RDS Rod Drying System was developed with two things in mind: quality and value.

This Rod Drying System employs a drying unit that is durable, yet user-friendly to create a dependable rod dryer for novice and professional builders alike.

As affordable as it is helpful, the RDS Rod Drying System features a price point that’s unheard of without sacrificing functionality. Plus it’s available in a 9 or 18 RPM drying motor with a 6′ cord, form fitting chuck, and one dryer support stand.

RDS Rod Dryer with Dryer Clutch

To improve upon the initial RDS Rod Drying System, CRB engineered the helpful Rod Dryer with Clutch model. This dryer features a clutch that gives users the ability to quickly grab onto the rod, halting the rod’s rotation, to accurately apply epoxy around guide feet or other precise places.

For touch-ups and pinpoint accuracy when applying epoxy, this CRB Rod Dryer with Clutch brings the ultimate precision to your rod building system.

Or, if you are have the rod dryer, just grab the RDS Dryer Clutch for an easy and affordable upgrade!

DCRDS Variable Speed Rod Dryer

While some need to stop the rod for precise epoxy application, others prefer controlling the speed of the rod dryer to create sharper epoxy edges. CRB developed the new Variable speed RDS Rod Drying System to offer this speed control and flexibility to rod builders of all skill levels.

This new RDS unit both durable and user-friendly, while also featuring speed control when rod builders need it most. Each unit features a DC motor with a built-in converter that handles either 110v or 240v, so there is no use for any separate units that international builders previously needed.

You can turn up the dial on this dryer to go from a virtual standstill all the way to 45 RPM as you work. It also comes with a 3′ cord, form fitting chuck and one Dryer Support Stand, to give you a great upgrade to your rod drying system.

Triple Drying Machine

If you’ve got the rod building fever and need to build multiple rods at once, CRB developed the Triple Drying Machine to help.

As CRB’s latest addition to its best-selling RDS Rod Drying Systems, this RDS3 Triple Rod Dryer is great for rod building businesses and avid builders alike. Each unit features an Aluminum Dryer Stand and Support Stand, as well as three form fitting chucks to finish and cure three rods simultaneously.

The drying motors are mounted at an angle to keep each rod in reach while finishing, yet adequately spaced to avoid any accidents or mistakes.

Conveniently rotating three rods at once, this dryer dramatically increases your productivity and organization so you can spend less time finishing rods and more time growing your business and even fishing!

Vertical Wall Mount 4-Rod Dryer

Looking to increase your rod production and customer satisfaction?

The Professional CRB Vertical 4 Rod Drying System not only opens up space in your shop, but also allows you to drastically boost your production levels while cutting down the input time.

Perfect for repair operations, tackle shops, or even mass producing custom fishing rods, this drying system provides everything you need to finish more rods faster than ever.

This unit comes completely assembled, so all you have to do is mount the brackets and you are ready to maximize your productivity.

Note: Holds 4 rods, has 4 male plugs, wall mounting required.

The VRDS4 comes in continuous 9RPM or 18RPM, as well as both 110V and 220V for international builders. Each drying unit also has individual on/off controls.

This system includes an adjustable mounting bracket to make installation simple and your rod production more sturdy and effective than ever before.

11. HWS-1 Hand Wrapper for Easy Guide Wraps

Revolutionizing the hand-wrapper, CRB introduced the Hand Wrapper System or HWS-1 to exclusively fit on Aluminum Base Station, making any wrapping task or technique simpler than ever before. The HWS-1 hand wrapping unit has a dual spool tensioner as well as a tension rod so rod builders can effortlessly reverse to change thread color or fix any wrapping mistakes.

Before the HWS-1, changing thread color was often a hassle since you had to maintain the existing tension while selecting and installing that additional color thread. But after the HWS-1 and its dual spool tensioners were introduced, changing thread color mid-wrap is now faster and much more efficient.

For new rod builders and experienced rod builders wanting to brush up on their wrapping skills, the HWS-1 was designed to fit interchangeable instruction cards that give rod builders accessible advice to reference while they are wrapping.

Note: Although the HWS-1 comes with instruction cards for basic step by step wrapping, more advanced instruction cards for doing decorative wraps, inlays, and trim bands are also readily available.

12. Butt Wrap Alignment Tool for Amazing Threadwork

The Butt Wrap Alignment Tool streamlines the process of laying out and aligning even the most complex decorative wraps. The V-notch base cradles and centers the blank perfectly while the attached aluminum straight edge allows builders to line up the crosses of a butt-wraps on any axis.

Whether you are an expert doing intricate wraps or a novice trying your first diamond wrap the CRB-BWAT will help take your decorative work to the next level.

Butt Wrap Starter Kit

This kit is specifically designed to get builders started with one of the more popular decorative techniques used in rod building. Butt wraps!

The Butt Wrap Starter Kit includes all the tools, supplies, thread, braid, and even the CRB Butt Wrap Alignment Tool.

13. Alcohol Burner to Remove Epoxy Bubbles

Once you have applied epoxy to your thread wraps, the epoxy finish is now in its earliest and most important curing stages. Therefore, double-checking the finish is one of the most pivotal parts of the epoxy’s curing process.

Since this is the most crucial stage of curing, monitoring your finish is essential to make sure there’s adequate coverage over your thread wraps and that each wrap’s epoxy is curing correctly. For example, if there are any remaining bubbles in the finish on your thread wraps, you can use a flamed finish technique with an alcohol burner to heat and remove the bubbles from the epoxy.

TIP: Make sure you use denatured alcohol in the burner to avoid adding soot and other contaminants into your epoxy.

Shop More Rod Building Tools