The right thread
  |  First Published: May 2003

BEFORE we look into using threads when building a rod, I must first apologise for sending some of you on the hunt for Ian Miller’s Rod Building book. While there are still a few laying about, the book is out of production. Don’t despair, though, as it is available on video.

Ian Miller and Rod Harrison go through the basics of building a fishing rod, and you’ll find that watching it being done is a lot easier than trying to picture the words. MO Tackle advertise it in its catalogue, and it’s around $15-$20 including postage. If you still have no luck, drop me a line care of QFM with your details.

As we had such a good response in our last issue on how to get into building a few fishing rods of your own, I thought it worthwhile to have a look at one of the vital tools of the trade: rod binding thread.

There are quite a few brands around, some better than others. The one brand you will find that leading custom rod builders, and many large companies, use is Gudebrod. The manufacturer of this thread has been in the business since 1870, and in that time has gained market dominance in the quality and consistency of its thread.

While there are several sizes in thread diameter, the two you need to know about are ‘A’ thread and ‘C’ thread – ‘A’ being the thinner of the two. A grade thread is best used for more intricate and custom work or light rods. C, on the other hand, is more generally used for everyday rod building. Most shops are likely to carry a greater range of C thread.

On a lot of custom rods you will find that A is used as an underbind and either C as an overbind or double overbind in A.

There are also two types of thread – regular and NCP. The NCP means that no colour preserver is needed as the thread uses a pigment that resists the damaging effects of epoxies and varnish that can break down the colour. This is available in A and C. The C NCP thread is once again the most commonly used thread.

If you are looking for strong, brilliant colours, the regular thread is the one to use. We use this on nearly all of our custom work, and certainly on some of the more involved patterns. Colours such as blues, reds and greens, of which there are several tones, look very nice. You will have to use filler on them, at least two coats, which soak into the thread and not only fill it but preserve the colour. If you have seen a rod where the thread has gone semi-clear and you can see the guide foot below, there’s a fair chance that no filler, or very little filler, has been used.

To retain the best possible colour in the regular thread, make sure you use filler. I’ve used both the Erskine water-based filler and Gudebrod’s own thread filler, and they both work well.

There are over 30 colours in the range, from strong everyday colours to odd colours such as peach, spring green, chestnut and even charcoal. There is plenty of scope to mix and match colours.

Adding an extra touch of class to binding work are the trims that can be used. Sure – you can use any of the Gudebrod thread for trim, but the metallic range is very nice. Many of you would have seen the gold or silver metallic thread that is used in many rods. There is quite a good range of metallic colours – mainly in greens, reds and blues. You can do some very classy work with one or more of these colours combined with the regular thread, which will clearly distinguish your rod from the run-of-the-mill work that you see in most shops.

Gudebrod recently added a range of thread tape which is suitable for larger butt wraps on rods. It comes in most standard colours, as a metallic flat braid tape and Electra Metallic Hologram tape. You can create some wild patterns with this stuff which, when out in the sun, catches the light and throws back all sorts of colours.

In all, you will find that Gudebrod has the best range of rod binding threads. They are good quality and consistent in their colouring. In Australia, the Gudebrod range is distributed by Jeff Frogley Agencies.

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