DIY Rod Tubes|
They're not pretty,
but they sure do work!
By Steven B. Schweitzer
time-to-time, somewhere down the line, you'll need a rod
tube because of that one rogue rod without a sock and
without a tube. But you've stalled on buying a rod tube
becuase they are so darned expensive. The solution is
to make your own! In under a half hour, you can fabricate
a dozen or so tubes if you need that many. It's that easy!
And the price is right too.
materials required are minimal and the investment
is small. You'll need:
- A china marker
- A rag
- A fine-toothed, small kerfed pipe or hand saw
- PVC Primer and Cement
- PVC piping, schedule 40 works fine
- 1 closed endcap
- 1 open female-threaded endcap
- 1 male-threaded end plug
A simple cost breakdown reveals an appealing price to this Do-It-Yourself project. For a 3-foot rod tube, my costs were:
- PVC pipe: $0.238 per foot: $0.71
- 3'x1' flannel cloth for rod sock: $0.25
- Closed end cap: $1.49
- Threaded end cap: $0.98
- Threaded end plug: $0.57
- glue and tools: negligable cost
TOTAL COST FOR A 3-FOOT TUBE and sock cloth:
The upfront material costs are minimal, and the material itself is easy to find. (L to R middle row: open female-threaded endcap, male-threaded end plug, closed endcap.
the PVC on a flat surface and measure your rod(s)
against the PVC. Mark the cut point with a china
marker. You can cut the PVC to the exact length
of the rod as the end cap and threaded cap add about
a 1/2" to the length, giving you an extra inch
to play with.
the PVC sections are cut to length, line them up
and arrange all the required end pieces behind the
tube in the order in which you will assemble: closed
end cap, then the threaded end cap. You'll be glad
you organized the parts because PVC cement dries
very quickly, leaving you little time to shuffle
around looking for the parts.
Lay out the pre-cut PVC and all parts prior to assembling. Be sure to work in a well ventilated areas such as a garage, as shown here.
to assembling the parts, wipe them with a damp cloth
to remove dust and shipping debris. This will aide
in the priming and glueing steps. Also, be considerate
of yourself and perform this step in a well ventilated
area such as the back patio or your garage.
PVC needs some priming to 'scuff' up the surface.
This is done with a chemical PVC primer. Be careful
as PVC primer will most assuredly drip where you
don't want it...it stains and it is sticky. Pre-fit
the pieces to get a feel where the PVC contact points
are. Then prime just those areas on each PVC tube.
BE sure to prime the tube and the inside of each
the cement in the same fashion, coating both the
PVC tube and the inside of the fitting with ample
cement. Quickly assemble the fitting on the PVC
tube and twist to ensure full coverage of the cement
to all the glued surfaces. In just a few moments,
the cement will set.
very careful with PVC primer...its runny and stains almost everything.
the tubes are assembled and glued, allow them an
hour or so of curing time in a well ventilated area.
It's not advisable to stick your rod in the newly
glued tube...there just may be some cement that
hasn't dried thoroughly.
Making a few rod tubes can be done in under a half an hour and required no special tools.
THE FINISHING TOUCHES
the picture to the right doesn't clearly show the
markings, use a metallic permanent pen to label
your rod tube with the contents.
socks can be purchased from most any rod making
supplier for around $5 to $10, depending on the
material you choose. Or, to carry the theme of this
article, make your own rod sock to your exact specifications.
personally, I like just a sheet of flannel the length
of my rod and the width of a foot or so. I begin
rolling in each rod segment in one at a time, like
a wrapping a cigar. No stitching is required and
the cost of the flannel is minimal at best.
insert the rod-in-sock, tighten the cap and go to
the stream in confidence that your rod is safely
actually needed a few rod tubes to mail some rods
I had sold. After trying to find appropriate cardboard
tubes of varying lengths, I decided to cost out
making my own. In the end analysis, the cardboard
tubes cost the same and in some cases more expensive
for longer sections I needed. I then decided to
make my own.
DIY rod tubes aren't going to win any beauty or
crafstmanship awards, but with just a sheet of flannel
and some PVC they are just as functional as any
on the market...at 1/10th the price.
Mark your rod tube of the contents with a permanent ink marker.