McFarland FAQs

Can you ship your rods to other countries?

Yes. We can ship to just about any location and costs are usually reasonable. We generally use US Postal Service Priority Mail for international shipments. This service is about a 7 day delivery and usually costs around $40 for one or two rods.

Why would I want a glass rod?

Isn’t graphite better?

There are certain applications where fiberglass makes a superior rod. For short and/or small stream rods, glass is a much better material than graphite. This is because it’s softer and has more inherent mass that allows the rods to load more quickly from its own mass instead of being dependent on a certain length of fly line. Where glass isn’t as good as graphite is in long lightline rods. You wouldn’t want a 10’ 3wt nymphing rod made of glass. While you could make one, it would be heavier and slower reacting than the same rod made with graphite. However, for pretty much any sub 9’ single hand rod, a well designed glass rod can rival or surpass just about any graphite rod in performance. Glass is also great for bigger rods such as spey and switch rods for steelhead, salmon, or saltwater rods. It’s extremely durable and is the ultimate fish fighting tool for big fish. Glass has fewer limitations than most people believe.

Why are modern glass rods as expensive as graphite?

Decades ago fiberglass rods were generally less expensive than graphite rods. At the time, graphite was new technology and as such commanded a premium price. Since graphite was used for most companies flagship models, glass was typically built as a low cost alternative with inexpensive components. As graphite became the predominate material for rod manufacturing, the two raw materials became more similar in price. The modern glass pre-preg clothes that we use to roll our blanks is as expensive as, and often times more expensive than, the best graphite pre-preg material. Since glass rods and graphite rods are made using the same construction process, the production cost of the blanks is very similar. Additionally, McFarland rods are handmade using the finest cork, US made components, flawless finish and attention to detail which all add to the cost.

What is pre-preg?

Pre-preg is the term used for the graphite or fiberglass material used to roll the rod blanks. This material is impregnated or “pre-pregged” with a thermoset resin. The rolls of pre-preg look similar to a large roll of duct tape. The Pre-preg is unrolled and then precisely cut into a pattern or “flag” that is rolled onto a thin tapered steel mandrel, wrapped with cellophane shrink tape, and then baked in a large oven to cure the resin. After curing, the resin is pretty much unaffected by temperature and moisture.

What is modulus?

The term modulus refers to the stiffness of the material used in the construction of the rod blank. While is doesn’t solely determine the stiffness of the rod, it is one of the factors that contribute to it. A higher modulus material can generate a desired amount of power with less material than a lower modulus material resulting in a lighter blank. However, higher modulus materials are also less durable. When you read about rods made with very high modulus material or alternative materials, such as boron, these materials are almost always blended with lower modulus, more durable, materials for strength.

What is scrim?

Scrim is material added to the lay-up of a rod blank to give it hoop strength or crush resistance. Graphite and certain fiberglass pre-pregs are unidirectional in construction. This simply means that all fibers run lengthwise from butt to tip in the rod blank. Without scrim added, the blank would easily crush under the force of normal fishing. There are different types of scrim. Some manufacturers use a thin fiberglass while others use a carbon material or a helical wound carbon fiber. We have worked with all types of scrim materials and have settled on a unique material that is not only extremely light weight, but also much stronger than carbon scrims.

What is the difference between E-glass and S-glass?

While S-glass is slightly higher modulus than E-glass, great rods can be built with both materials. The way the pre-pregs are constructed in terms of fiber size, resin contents, etc. has a much greater effect on the performance of the rod than whether the glass is E or S. In general, S-glass is better suited for longer rods, especially in lighter line weights, while E-glass is often better on shorter rods and certain other applications.

Can you make a glass rod with a smaller diameter?

A glass rod will always have a larger diameter than a comparable rod made from graphite. This is because of the physical properties of fiberglass. This increased diameter will be more noticeable in the butt section while the tips sections will be similar to graphite. There is really no downside to a larger diameter aside from wind resistance, but since the increased diameter is only in the lower part of the rod, this isn’t an issue. If a rod supposedly made of glass has a small diameter butt section it’s because it has graphite blended in with the glass. A true glass rod, whether made of E or S or “S2” glass, will always have a large butt section compared to a graphite rod. There is no way around it. The laws of physics prohibit it.