Peninsula Fly Fishers

A Rubber Butt Cap for the Rodbuilder

by Mike McGuire

May 2005

It seems that vendors of rod building supplies don't offer us much in the way of good looking butt caps for heavier weight rods like 7 weight and up. In the process of figuring out a way to make a cork lathe for shaping cork rod handles, I came up with a way to make a butt cap from a rubber furniture leg cap. What it takes is a way to hold an electric drill  as described in the lathe article,  the leg cap for a 1" leg, a bolt 10-24 by 1" long, a nut for it and two size 10 fender washers. These are large washers the same diameter as the inside of the cap.  
View of parts

Bore a hole for the bolt as well centered as you can in the bottom of the cap, and assemble the cap with the nut, bolt, and washers so that the bottom of the cap is clamped between the washers as shown in the picture
View of assembly

The next step is to mount it in the drill/lathe and cut it to length with an Exacto knife. Use light pressure with the knife and let the drill do the work. The cap is to be mounted by gluing if over a 1/2" thick cork ring, so the inside length should be 1/2".
View of cutting the cap

After cutting it to length sand the cap to desired size and shape. I found that 60 grit sandpaper is about right for the rough shaping and 100 and 220 grit work for finishing. The somewhat grayish tone of the finished cap can be blackened with black liquid shoe polish.
View of finished cap

The cork ring it is to be mounted on needs to be sanded down to the 1" inside diameter of the cap. This is easily done by clamping it between the two washers, taking care to center it, and sanding it flush with the edges of the washers. This ring is glued on last in the stack of rings that is glued on the rod.
View of seat ring

When shaping the handle the back end of the ring in front of  mounting ring is sanded to a diameter to meet the front diameter of the cap. If things were not perfectly placed on the rod, the end of the rod may stick out past the cork. It is easily removed by sanding it away. Finally the cap is glued in place, taking care to plug the hole the bolt passed through.
View of finished handle

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