03 Installing the Rod Handle

What do I need for this lesson?

Components Checklist:
  • Rod Blank
  • Butt Cap
  • EVA grips
    • Bottom Grip 9” (180mm)
    • Fore Grip 4” (100mm)
  • Reel Seat
Materials Checklist:
  • Tape
  • Chino graph Pencil
  • Handle Kit Epoxy with Epoxy Filler
  • Mixing Cup, Measuring Syringes and Mixing Sticks
  • Methylated Spirits
  • Rags
  • Sand Paper

Installing the Butt Cap, Rod Handle and Reel Seat

Different fisherman prefer different handles on their rods. Fishing Rod builders have to determine the correct type of grips for the rod they are building and what their clients require. There are many different types of grips, some longer, shorter, split grips or even out of different materials like cork.

Notes on Epoxy:
We will be using UBR Handle Kit Epoxy Paste a high quality slow cure epoxy that creates a very strong bond flexible between the blank and components. The bond will is completely waterproof and flexible giving the user a responsive feel through the handle.


  1. Build Rod Map
    1. From the bottom end of the rod, the thickest end of the blank, line up the butt end, rear grip, reel seat and fore grip in that order and make a mark at the top end of the fore grip. This is the total length of the handle assembly.
    2. Using 100 grit sand paper, sand the blank the length of the handle assembly. Sand the blank on a 45 degree angle backwards and forwards to create a diamond pattern. Don’t sand too roughly just enough to score the surface. Sanding increases the surface area of the blank and provides a better key for the epoxy.
    3. Clean surface with a rag and Methylated Spirits to remove any sanding dust.
  2. Fitting the Butt Cap to the blank.
    1. Try and push the butt cap onto the bottom end of the blank. If it is a nice snug fit you can proceed with step 3.
    2. If the butt cap is loose on the end of the rod blank we need to build up the thickness by adding an arbor using 18mm arbor tape. This involves wrapping the tape around the rod blank until the but cap fits snugly but not so much that it’s hard to push it on. Once you have a snug fit leave the butt cap on the blank and proceed with the next step.
  3. Fitting the Bottom Grip or Rear Grip. (The Longer Grip)
    1. Check the rear grip on the blank. If there is movement between the grip and the blank and you can slide it on and off easily without any resistance we need to build up the thickness of the rod blank using arbors. (Like step 2.2).
    2. Leave about a 5mm gap from the butt cap and wrap enough arbor tape around the rod blank so that there is resistance when you try and slide the grip back over it. (Not so much that it is hard to push it over.)
    3. Pull the grip back off and start your next arbor about 10mm up the blank from the last one. The gaps between the arbors are where the epoxy bonds the blank and the grip.
    4. Repeat this process until the arbors support the full length of the grip. See figure 3-2 below.
  4. Mixing UBR Handle Kit Epoxy Paste
    1. Add 2 parts of A (4 millilitres) with 1 part of B (2 millilitres) to a mixing cup. This should be enough to complete the rear handle and butt cap.
    2. Add approximately 1 heaped teaspoon of fumed silica powder to the mix.
    3. Stir thoroughly for 5 minutes with a stirring stick.
    4. Working time is approximately 30mins at 25°C
    5. Check the mix. If it is stiff enough to stick to the stirring stick without dripping it is good. If it is a bit runny add a small amount of fumed silica until it is the right consistency.
  5. Please refer to the UBR Ultra Clear Safety Data Sheet for complete safety guidelines when using UBR Ultra Clear Epoxies.
    Please wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

  6. Glue Rear Grip and Butt Cap

    We glue the rear grip and butt cap before proceeding because the reel seat arbors are larger than the rear grips hollow and it cannot be fitted after the reel seat arbors are on the blank.

    1. Apply the mixed handle kit epoxy paste to the end of the rod blank up to the first arbor for the rear grip and the inside of the butt cap.
    2. Push the butt cap into place and clean off any excess glue with methylated spirits.
    3. Apply the mixed handle kit epoxy paste to the gaps between the tape arbors for the rear grip. Don’t forget the area above the top arbor.
    4. Make sure the gaps are completely filled with epoxy.

      Epoxy on top of the tape will not provide any adhesion between the handle and the blank only the epoxy in the gaps between arbors achieves adhesion. The arbors are only there to centre the component.

    5. Once the gaps are filled, coat the inside of the grip with some Methylated Spirits.
    6. While blocking one end of the grip with one hand pour some methylated spirits in the other. Block both ends of the grip and shake the grip for a few seconds. Discard any excess meths from inside the grip. This helps the EVA grips to slide over the arbors.

    7. Now slide the grip in a smooth motion without stopping down the blank until it butts up against the butt cap.
    8. Clean off any excess glue from the blank/grip with methylated spirits.
  7. Fitting the Reel Seat. The reel seat sits above and butts into the rear grip. The threaded hood should point down the rod.
    1. Fitting the reel seat is the same as the rear grip. Build up your arbors for the length of the reel seat. Usually the reel seat arbors are much larger than the handle so just keep wrapping until you get a snug fit.
  8. Fitting the Fore Grip or Front Grip
    1. Fitting the fore grip is the same as the rear grip. Build up your arbors for the length of the fore grip.
  9. Glue Reel Seat and Fore Grip
    1. Tape each end of the reel seat to protect the thread and hoods from epoxy and making clean up easier.
    2. Repeat step 4 and mix up some more handle epoxy.
    3. The gluing process is the same as for the rear grip. Repeat this process for the reel seat and fore grip. The reel seat does not need its hollow coated with methylated spirits before sliding on. This is only necessary for the EVA material.
    4. Remove tape and Clean off any excess glue from the blank, grip and reel seat with methylated spirits.
  10. IMPORTANT! – Before the Epoxy Hardens

  11. Align Reel Seat to the Spine.
    1. Turn the reel seat until the centre of the hoods aligns with the mark we made when finding the spine.
  12. Remember – on a spin rod the hoods will be the inside of the natural curve of the blank or the opposite side of the spine (which should be where you made the mark when finding the spine). On casting rods with overhead reels the reel seat hoods will be on spine or on the outside of the natural curve of the blank.
    The threaded hood on the reel seat will usually point down towards the butt of the rod.

    Wait until the handle kit epoxy paste has completely dried (24 hours) before proceeding with the rod build.