Put a hex on your rod! These checks with a hex will fascinate you with their facets, inside and out. Unlike other brands or homemade hexagonal winding checks, which fit the six-sided rod only on the interior while having a circular exterior, the HexChex also mirrors the facets on the exterior surface of the check.
To determine the proper hexagonal check size, use the average of the three corner-to-corner measurements and order the same 64th size; order up for half size measurements. Let us Emphasize: Corner-to-Corner … these are the single most mis-ordered products we sell.
If the fit will be tight, we suggest ordering the next size up and padding the check with turns of fine black silk, like Kimono #380. The padding centers the winding check keeping it concentric with the blank, pads the blank, allows the blank to flex “out of round” slightly when casting. This padding is essentially invisible because one side of the winding check is butted up against the front of the cork grip and the other is masked by the decorative wrap in front of the check – or maybe that decorative wrap is a functional wrap binding down your hook tender.
We always suggest ordering the size you need and one size up. One of the two will fit your blank best, and the other will go into your stash of rodmaking parts which, as it grows over time, becomes more and more valuable when you need just one little thing in order to complete the rod on your bench.
Before ordering, please read more about nominal vs. actual sizing further down on the page.
PLEASE ORDER CAREFULLY AS THE SIZE OPTIONS VARY. ALWAYS MEASURE CANE RODS CORNER-TO-CORNER WHEN ORDERING WINDING CHECKS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE DESIGN OF THE WINDING CHECK IS CIRCULAR OR HEXAGONAL.
Worth Noting (with some repetition):
All hexagonal checks (HexChex and ACW Hexagonal Winding Checks) are measured corner to corner. We do this to match how you’d have to measure a polygonal bamboo blank if you wanted to fit it with a round winding check, i.e., you’d have to measure it at its largest spec in order to get the check over the blank and down to the grip.
Getting any hexagonal check past the welt on a female ferrule is sometimes a serious challenge,especially if the blank is a lighter weight blank with a fairly straight taper and no swell in front of the grip. You may need to order an overly large winding check, then pad that check with a layer or two of fine black silk. It’s riskier, but some makers will slightly (barely, just barely) reduce the welt on the ferrule with judicious filing and/or slightly open the bore of the winding check with judicious filing. If you take this route, I suggest very fine hand files to remove material from the welt, because these are far easier to control than a rotary (Dremel/Foredom) bur which can skip and scar the ferrule pretty easily. Working inside the winding check, it’s pretty straightforward to use a narrow diamond bur in a rotary tool….just be sure to polish this bore smooth so it doesn’t score the blank’s finish when slipping it down into place.
The easiest thing to do would be to move up one size to clear the ferrule’s welt.
As for manufacturing methods and relative tolerances, I pulled one hexagonal check of each sort in nominal size 23:
- #23/64 HexChex has a corner to corner spec of 0.354” or 22.66/64; the flat to flat spec on this one is 0.335” or 21.44/64; these arrive polished, so these are the final specs on this particular piece. Other nominal #23/64 HexChex may have different specs, but not terribly different specs.
- #23/64 ACW Hexagonal Winding Check has a corner to corner spec of 0.358” or 22.91/64; the flat to flat spec on this is 0.330” or 21.12/64 – these specs are before polishing, and polishing may slightly open the bore.
There’s a price difference between the two versions and this reflects a manufacturing & tolerance difference. The HexChex, which are quite handsome & very popular, are formed from a round winding check that has been forced onto a hexagonal mandrel – it’s a hex, but the tolerances are not as tight and it can float to either side of nominal but they’re usually on the tight side to allow a maker to ream them ‘up’ to the ideal spec. The ACW Hexagonal Winding Check is machined as a hexagon, which is considerably more expensive than turning a round check, and the tolerances are tighter; Drake & I polish these in the shop.