One of the most common questions people seem to have is what how-to books about rod making do I recommend, if any. That's a very good question. When I was starting out I read every book on the subject I could get my hands on - including outdated & out of print books. There aren't many titles about how to make a fly rod available, compared to other fly fishing subjects, but still more than any budding rod maker would care to buy at any one time. While the following books are suggestions based on my opinions only, I will tell you that I've chosen these books based on my own daily experiences as a full time rod maker.
For anyone interested in a good book making graphite fly rods, I'd suggest these two titles:
1.) "The Custom Graphite Fly Rod" by Skip Morris
2.) "Handcrafting A Graphite Fly Rod" by L.A. Garcia
These two books will also give you a firm grasp on making fiberglass fly rods as well. Designing a fiberglass rod employs the same fundamentals as a graphite rod & these books cover these fundamentals well.
If you're wanting to take the plunge into the world of bamboo rod making I suggest these books below. They are listed in order of usefulness for someone just starting out.
1.) "Fundamentals of Building A Bamboo Fly Rod" by George Maurer & Bernard Elser
2.) "Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods" by Wayne Cattanach
3.) "A Master's Guide To Building A Bamboo Fly Rod" by Garrison & Carmichael.
Do some research into making bamboo fly rods & you'll sometimes hear the Garrison / Carmichael book referred to as 'the bible of rod making'. I don't agree (blasphemy, I know). Don't get me wrong, while there's plenty of useful info in that book (& every rod maker should own a copy), there's also tons of complicated formulas that could easily intimidate the new rod maker. If the Garrison / Carmichael book were your only source, you just might feel overwhelmed & give up. This is why I make the Maurer / Elser book my top pick for new rod makers. It's written out in clear & simple terms with step by step instructions that walk you through all the different steps of making your first bamboo fly rod.
The first step in making your own fly rod is gathering info. This can be daunting & it will take a while. Plan to invest six months to a year (or longer) acquiring tools & knowledge before you even begin to make a fly rod. The more knowledge you collect, the better your first rod will be. Just remember that the skills needed to make a really good rod can only be obtained through practice & experience. These are things you can't get from any book.