Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DIY Tenkara Line Furling Update

"Make Your Own Tenkara Line" has been by far the most visited blog post so far. Looking back though, I realize I could have been clearer with the instructions I posted and pictures to visualize the process. Also, I gained more experience making my own lines since then and now I am applying a different approach and technique but with the same result.

This post should provide more information about my new approach to furled lines, even though currently my favorite line is the hand-tied one of TenkaraBum.

Again, these instructions are for a furled tapered line, but you could furl a level line as well, using the same dia/test mono or fc strands.

I am using 3 to 4 different diameters/test of mono or fluorcarbon line (fc), 3 strands each. The tip is a short section of 2 strands, also furled. For ease of reference I will use the term "mono" in the instructions.

First, you will have to think about length, taper and line material of the line you want to furl. This is very subjective and the below is just for illustration purposes; feel free to modify as you like and see fit. For a 12 ft line, as an example, this is what a taper could look like:

- 3 ft of 0.011" dia. mono, 3 strands (total of 0.033")
- 3 ft of 0.010" dia. mono, 3 strands (total of 0.030")
- 3 ft of 0.009" dia. mono, 3 strands (total of 0.027")
- 3 ft of 0.011" dia. mono, 2 strands (total of 0.022")

These instructions here will not employ any weights, dividers, bottles, hooks etc. as used in the first post; which are used to separate the strands, keep tension and avoid tangling. Instead, 3 of your favorite coffee mugs will do the trick (or any other contraption that can separate the loose ends of the strands, such as 3 chairs, a banister on a landing etc. - I am sure you get the idea).

Please excuse the poor quality of the pictures and the video, but it's the best I could do with my little cheap digital camera.

3 coffee mugs to separate the 3 strands
Now take 3 strands for the first section of line and tie them together with a simple knot. This step is important, you will be holding the knot to begin the furl.

3 strands 

tie them together with a simple knot
Thread each strand through one of the handles of the mugs. One strand per mug. Make sure that the mugs are not too close to avoid that the loose ends don't twist with each other.

thread strands through handle of coffee mug - one each

just like this
Hold the 3 strands with the knot end so that the knot points away from your hand. You will need to use thumb, pointer and middle finger to separate the strands from each other.

a bit fuzzy but hope it shows how the strands are separated by the 3 fingers
It is important that you hold the 3 strands in place but let them allow to spin while you twirl the knot with your right hand and slightly pull on it. You will notice that this motion will create a furl and the slight pull will feed the strands to make the line. Twirl and pull, and you should have maybe 2" of furled line. Let go with your right hand and move it back to the left hand and repeat the twirl and pull. Repeat until you furled the entire line section.

furled line after "twirl & pull" with right hand
I tried to make a little movie, unfortunately I had some issues with the focus but I hope you see how it should work.

Once you finished the section, finish it off with another simple knot so that it does not "unfurl".

simple knot to finish
Repeat this for each 3 strand furl section. I prefer a two strand furl for the tip of the line which is a bit easier. You fold the line in half, leaving a small loop between your thumb and pointer.

folded line, leaving small loop
Grab the loop and twirl and pull in the same fashion as you did with the 3 strands and finish off with a simple knot.

two strand furl
Now you have all section ready to "assemble" the line. I typically lay down a measure tape on the floor and align the sections along it to give me a visual picture how the line will look like and where I want to make the knots for the taper. Once you decided the taper, knot the sections together with double surgeon's knots.

knot sections together with double surgeon's knot...

... and pull tight on all ends.
Clip tag ends close to the knot and secure the knot, if you like, with just a bit of zap-a-gap. This is not necessary but will give you a peace of mind just in case you plan to catch the "big one".

clip tag ends
I attach a piece of fly line backing (20lbs is fine, 30lbs works great) to the butt end (I use a clinch knot) and then finish the loop in the backing with a double surgeon's knot. I leave a small tag end that I can grab to untie the line from the lilian.

clinch knot to backing

double surgeon's knot in backing

trim tags 
You have now a hand-made furled tenkara line with your own custom taper and can go fishing!

your new line

tip end, two strand furl (the shadow might be a bit confusing)

butt end with backing loop for attachment to lilian
I hope those instructions are clear enough, but if not, please leave a comment or send me a message through the 'contact me' form.

Tight Lines, K

Guest Blogger Grahamskis

Hello everyone! Graham Moran here. Karel has asked me to be a guest blogger on his site. I am going to be making posts as time and life allows. I don't get to fish as much as I would like but I will do my best to give you all informative posts. I am going to go to Maine to go fishing in less than a week now with my lovely fiancee who doesn't fish but we can only hope. LOL. Upon my return I will be posting a blog post of my trip as well as lots of pics.

I have some goals for fish to catch while I am there but that will be kept secret for now because I don't want to give all the fun away.

So for now all I can tell you is keep your eyes peeled for a few posts from me as the year wears on.

Work is for people who don't know how to fish!