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Regaining His Edge : Bass Rods by Gary Loomis (continued)


The Gary Loomis Factor: North Fork Composites is rolling blanks with three different grades of graphite composites. They've labeled the materials "SM", "IM", and "HM" with SM being the lower end and HM the higher end composite. What distinguishes one grade from the next is not only the raw graphite material but also the type of scrim that is used (more on that in a bit).


Andrew here is cutting the composite material into patterns that determine the taper of the blank and how it performs based on the application for which it is intended.


These mandrels enable that raw carbon material to be rolled into blanks.

For fishing rods, graphite is produced in sheets of material consisting of fibers fused together and all running the same direction. This is, for the most part, a vertical direction. To keep these tiny, individual fibers from separating, a layer of scrim is added to the material. This scrim is basically a material mesh running in several different directions that, once bonded to the graphite, holds the individual fibers together. The scrim is bonded to the graphite with a resin where the composite is stored and delivered to the manufacturer in what resembles big rolls of paper.

A set of mandrels being prepped for rolling.


Here you can see the carbon material wrapped around the mandrel, but these aren't blanks yet!

Most consumers understand the concept behind different grades of graphite. What's not as obvious to some is the fact there are also different grades of scrim. Virtually every blank manufacturer in the world uses one of three different grades of scrim made of fiberglass. The differences have to do with the overall weight and density of the fiberglass. The revolution Gary Loomis brought about in the 1990's was in the development and use of a paper scrim material made out of carbon. This was the now not-so-secret revolution behind GLX and why those blanks were lighter and therefore higher performing than anything else on the market. The carbon paper scrim was far lighter than its fiberglass counterparts and when used with high grade carbon material resulted in lighter, crisper, higher performing blanks.

One of the secrets to Gary Loomis's success? The pressure at which he rolls the blanks - over 200 psi while most other companies only do so at 30 - 40 psi.


Next Section: So why doesn't everyone us a paper scrim?









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