Trimming or cutting a graphite/carbon fiber tip top is sometimes necessary if you don't want your tip section taller than your mid or butt sections of your rod. We recommend that you trim the tip section so that it is a bit shorter than the mid/butt section. This will help prevent a broken tip when your favorite rod is stored in the tube but is inadvertently dropped on it's head and all the weight of the rod with rod bag may shatter the tip top right at the base of the metal tip top tube and the rod section. If you tip section was a bit shorter than the mid/butt section, they would take the brunt of you unintended abuse. Over the years we've had fishermen tell us that; "It was like that when I took it out of the tube, nobody touched but me, I don't understand how it could just break. Is it a manufacturing defect? Is it the rod devil?"
Probably not on either account. It may be that the tip section took the fall for the rest of the rod. Anyway, when you receive your new section either a replacement section or a brand new blank, check to make sure that the tip is shorter than the mid sections. Most of the rod blank manufacturing companies cut the blank to compensate for the tip top when installed. Sage is a good example. Not only is the tip section trimmed shorter than the mid(s), but the butt section is also a bit shorter than the mids to allow for solid butt plugs on reel seat.
Untrimmed tip top section
The extended length with tip top dry fitted
Tip top and butt section shorter than mids
Before you glue on the tip top of your new blank, dry fit it and make sure that it is shorter. If you need to trim the tip top a bit, DO NOT USE ANY BLADE WITH TEETH!! This is guaranteed to ruin your day as the teeth of the blade will fracture the graphite as the blade goes through and may even strip carbon fibers down the blank. ALWAYS USE A ROTARY CUT OFF TOOL!! A dremel tool or something like that will work just fine. We use a cutoff wheel at high speed not only to cut through the carbon fiber but also we can chamfer (bevel) the edge to help prevent catching a loose fiber when assembling the rod sections. If neither of these methods are available, you can use the edge of a file and score into the graphite while rotating the section. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as to crush your blank. After you have scored (going through the outer fibers) all the way around the graphite you will be able to snap off the small end piece.
Our cut off wheel that has seen many sections.
If you have any rod building questions, send them to us and we will try our best to help you out. Email me atBobW@flyrodcrafters.com.