Shorten Aluminum Fly Rod Tube - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-28-2019, 10:32 PM Thread Starter
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Shorten Aluminum Fly Rod Tube

I would like to slightly shorten one of my aluminum tubes. Has anyone done this and if so, how? Are the bottoms just glued in and I can heat and remove and cut off and reglue. Glue recommendations? Thanks for any insight.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 12:45 AM
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I've done it a bunch. Stick a closet rod/broomstick down and punch the bottom out. I've never needed to heat it, but if it doesn't come out easily, I'd just stick it in a pan of boiled water for a few minutes first.

Harder part is getting a good, clean perpendicular cut. I've just alway cut it with a hack saw after ruling a line. Then clean up with some emery paper or wet sand paper, clean with rubbing alcohol, and put a little epoxy on the rim of the cap, and pop it back in with a rubber mallet or a hammer with a piece of wood protecting the cap. Never hurts to rough the surface that is going to take the epoxy so there's a little tooth to bite.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 01:41 AM
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Can also be done by popping off the screw end. Benefit is this requires a less precise cut because the screw-end sleeve fits over the tube, and hides the cut end. Pop off the screw end by inserting a heavy object (e.g., biggest screwdriver you got), screwing on the lid, and “throwing” the heavy object against the screw lid.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 07:51 AM
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or one can just cut a straight line... you know, like a proper man.

jfc people,
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 07:53 AM
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If you must make a more precise mark for a cut... use a pipefitters wrap-a-round... or do this (which will perform the same function as the pipefitters tool)...

Take a Manila folder, open it, and cut a +/- 4" strip of it along the longest edge. Make a small mark on your tube where you want to cut. Take the FACTORY (straight) edge of your Manila material, and place it at your mark. Wrap the rest of the Manila around the tube so that the manila's factory edge lines up with itself all the way around the tube at your mark... Make sure you wrap the entire length around it, wrapping the manila over itself, and keeping the factory manila edge lined up with prior wraps and your mark. Doing this will ensure the mark (and subsequent cut) is perfectly perpendicular to the length of the tube, and will yield the best result humanly possible.

I would then make the cut with a wafer wheel on a right angle grinder... carefully of course. I think that would be the most commonly available tool that if used carefully, has the least chance of distorting the tube during cutting.

If you have to use a saw of some sort, lubricate the teeth with a generous amount of wax (dubbing wax or toilet ring wax should work fine). This will prevent the saw teeth from clogging up with aluminum and sticking or binding up during the cut, which may bend or kink the tube during cutting.

De-burr the cut edge and reattach the cap as these other guys recommended.

Good luck!

-Sean
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 08:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all, I'm going to make an attempt on a couple of tubes. I appreciate all the feedback and know for a fact I suck at cutting straight lines so might try the screw end first. 🙂
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 09:18 AM
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Just walk into a local plumbing supply house and I'll bet they'd have professional pipe cutting tools on hand. I'd also bet they'd be happy to help out for little or at no cost to you. The job would be done right and have that factory perfect finish!!

Or you may have a friend/neighbor with the necessary tool.

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 11:50 AM Thread Starter
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Success! Thanks all, a pipe cutter would clean it up but overall pretty straightforward and pretty clean with a hacksaw. Thanks y'all!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 12:23 PM
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The pipe cutter will roll the cut edge inwards and may prevent the plug being reinserted. Proceed with caution here.

-Sean
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-29-2019, 02:07 PM
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Yes the pipe cutter will roll the edge a bit...but just insert the bottom cap from the top down and carefully using the flat end of a broom handle or some such thing to gently tap it back into place. Anyway it always worked for me.....

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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-30-2019, 05:56 AM
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For future considerations....
Heat the end cap area with a
Propane torch to release the epoxy
Keep the flame moving so you dont
Mar the surface. Tap the end cap off with a broom handle.
Cut the aluminum tube with a chop saw. Tidy up the edge and glue the cap back in place.
Use a blade for crosscut work and you are golden. Been doing this for a long time. Works perfect.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-30-2019, 09:57 AM
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Worse case senario you can do what I did on one. Neither bottom or top would not come off for me - perhaps it was glued originally, or possibly I didn’t possess the yarbles to hit them hard enough, and/or in the right way. So I cut the top off to the desired length - being super precise on the top cut is not as crucial because the fittings go over everything. I ordered a new fitting and screw cap online - think it was around $11. Put that on the cut and lightly sanded end, and done. Think I may have used a dab of epoxy on it as well.

A nice tip I worked out for making durable new labels, if needed, is to use round vinyl stickers (get them on amazon or at the local office max) and spray with artist fixative over the sticker and ink - well dried sharpie is good - after application to the cap. You can get things just right that way, by trial and error if necessary - before you add them to the cap. Looks great, very durable, waterproof and the ink will never run or smear. You can even get different colors - the tan ones are nice in addition to white with black ink IMO. I will probably do a few more like this soon - a bunch of older labels even from fancy pants rod makers are well nigh illegible at this point. Add extra artistic flourishes if you have the skill.
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