First up is the design phase, this is a fairly complex procedure and will involve many calculations to determine taper rate/flex/strength/energy transfer etc. There are no hard and fast rules here, a lot comes down to the intuition of the designer and a process of trialing and tweaking each and every prototype produced.
Having total in-house control is massively beneficial in this respect, as we can be designing in the morning and casting the prototype in the afternoon.
Once we are happy and the design is confirmed, it's onto production.
Your finished carbon fibre fly rod starts its life with us in raw sheet form, pre-impregnated with a resin system. We use a number of different prepreg types throughout the rod blank which differ in fibre orientation, resin content, modulus etc. The prepreg is cut to precise measurements, to form a flag pattern for each individual section of the rod blank.
Once we have our flag patterns cut, it's time to tack and roll these onto the selected steel mandrels which will form the taper of the completed rod.
Next it's onto the tape wrapping procedure. The tape is rolled at a controlled pressure to bind the prepreg tight to the mandrel and control the resin flow during cure.
The tape wrapped parts are then placed in a controlled temperature cycle for a number of hours, which activates the resin and cures the part to form a stress free, high performance rod blank.
Once the baking cycle has finished it's time to extract the mandrel pneumatically from the rod blank.
The tape is removed and you are left with the blank in its most natural unground state. All our blanks stay this way and are not subjected to any sanding flat spots or action slowing paint jobs. The finish is hard wearing and we believe aesthetically very pleasing to the eye.
Last up in the blank production is the ferrule fitting, this is done by hand to tight tolerances. We retain a carbon-carbon contact at each ferrule for better energy transfer, and maximum friction to limit twisting.