*** This trim wrap tutorial was originally published on my old Northkill Tackle site. When we migrated to the site you see today, we lost all of our original photos. We’ll get replacement photos up soon, until then enjoy the text.”
Decorative wraps on fly rods are usually not very flashy. Fly fishermen seem to shun flashy butt wraps like chevrons, diamonds and weaves, preferring subtle touches instead like feather inlays and very narrow trim bands on guide wraps. There are several ways to create a very narrow trim bands but my favorite methods include the use of thread loops and toothpicks. We’ll look at the toothpick method in a future post and focus today on the thread loop method.
The act of wrapping a guide is really quite simple. Thread is placed in a carrier and the tag end is wrapped over the rod. The rod is then twisted away from the thread carrier and the tag end is wrapped under the new thread. This tag end can then be clipped and the wrap continues to the end. About five wraps from the end, a loop is placed under the wraps and used to pull & hide the thread end. Here is a good video that shows the process.
There’s really nothing tricky about a basic wrap guide. We use size A wrapping thread for most freshwater rods and use the larger diameter material for bigger saltwater applications. While the breaking strength of a single strand of size A thread is about 2.7 lbs, its strength is cumulative as the wrap goes forward. In reality, there are dozens of turns in each wrap making the overall strength for each guide foot incredibly strong.
A trim band doesn’t add anything other than color. I define a narrow band as anything 5 wraps or smaller. This number of wraps is too few to use the method described above, so we have to come up with different ways to start and end the wrap.
The method I prefer uses the main wrap to hold the trim thread in position and a thread loop to end the trim wrap. Setup is the hardest part of this method as a 6-8” length of trim thread and finish loop must be taped to the rod blank before the main wrap can begin.
The main wrap is started and finished in the usual way, but after the trim wraps thread loop is covered with 5-7 wraps the trailing ends are moved from the right to left side and the main wrap resumes. After the trailing end of the trim wrap thread is covered with another 10 wraps the extra material can be clipped.
After the main wrap is complete, all of the blank tape can be removed. The trim thread is then wrapped over the loops 1 – 5 times. In this example I did 5. The tag end is then pulled under the main wrap with the loop. A quick blast of flame will eliminate any stray fuzzies that remain.
Next time we’ll look at the toothpick method. It’s easier to set up but delivers a slightly less clean finish.