M-D Heat Treating Fixtures

In March of 2006 I acquired the rights to produce and sell M-D heat treating fixtures from Martin-Darrell Odum.  The fixtures are star shaped aluminum extrusions 5′ long.  Six strips are bound into the fixtures to facilitate heat treating rough planed strips of bamboo.  Because the fixtures are rigid, they promote straighter strips right out of the oven.  Strips are heated more evenly because the fixtures allow air to circulate around the strips and avoid the propensity of bamboo to insulate itself.  Even individual strips can be safely heat treated without the hassle of binding to a wooden dowel.

heat treating fixtures for bamboo fly rods

Using the Fixtures

To use the fixtures optimally, have any node work already done.  Rough out the strips into untapered equilateral triangles via your normal methodology  The straighter the strips are going into the fixtures the better the results will be.  The fixtures are not a fix-all for crooked strips but are a better method than rod makers have ever had before.  They will not, however, straighten nodes.

The fixtures are made for strips .187″ and larger from flat to apex.  You may cut the strips very slightly smaller than .187″, but go too small and the strips will not bind into the grooves of the fixtures.  Remember that your strips will shrink during heat treating.  If your strips are smaller than .187″, you may find that they will not be held firmly by the fixtures after the moisture is removed during heat treating.fixload-combined

Depending on the configuration of your oven, you will likely see a significant drop in temperature when you place all three loaded fixtures into the oven. Room temperature bamboo and aluminum extrusions provide a significant heat-sink affect and absorb quite a bit of heat. The fixtures allow heat to reach all three sides of the triangular bamboo strips. I have seen no need to change my temperature settings while using the fixtures, although you will want to experiment to see what works best for you. My oven is fully described below. Yours is probably different.

Remove the bound strips and fixtures from the oven and allow them to cool before handling. The aluminum will hold heat longer than the bamboo. You now have a way to heat-treat one, two, or three strips at a time for last minute replacements without searching through your scrap pile for additional strips to use only as carriers for replacement strips.

I hope you enjoy the fixtures and they prove as useful to you as they have to others. Please contact me if you have further questions. Fixtures are 60″ long. Simultaneously heat treating all four sections for a three piece, two tip rod will require four fixtures.

The fixtures are $25 each. Up to six fixtures can be shipped together. Packaging and shipping is $25 in the US. Please contact me for international shipping rates. Total price for three fixtures is $100. Four fixtures are $125, etc. Paypal, Credit cards, and checks are accepted. Please contact me via email at maker@canerods.com to place your order. This email address is already set up for Paypal.  Please be sure to add me to your address book so my replies will not be treated as spam.

To make things simpler for me, I ship fixtures out most Fridays via USPS Priority Mail. Therefore, even if you order on Friday evening after I just returned from the Post Office, you will have the fixtures in at most 10-12 days.



Frustration with the un-even heating and expensive yet short-lived elements in the mica strip ovens I have made and used, prompted me to design a simple and affordable oven.  One of my fishing pals spent a career in HVAC design and installation.  As we discussed my ideas he became fascinated with descriptions of heat gun based ovens.  We worked together diligently for several years and through four (now six) iterations before settling on this design. This heat gun based oven holds temperatures within one percent of the set point at any point in the oven.  Temperatures from 100*F to 400*F are quickly reached and consistently held.

  • OVENS 1 & 2: Oven 2 is one of my ovens in Bob Nunley’s shop. R.L. Nunley Fly Rods The oven on the right is the one I use in my shop.
  • 60″ Interior Length: Interior length of the oven is 60 inches for strips for two piece rods up to 9 1/2 feet.
  • Digital Thermometer: The digital thermometer provided to monitor temperatures in the oven.

Using the Oven

First, carefully unpack the oven, heat gun, bungie cord and thermometer. Place oven on sawhorses or other suitable structure. The small hole for the heat gun in the open end goes on the bottom. Install the heat gun in the small hole. Sometimes it’s a tight fit and might require some wiggling. Once it is in place, secure it with the bungie cord. I like to position the oven so that the dial control for the heat gun is easily visible and accessible.

Install the thermometer probe in the hole at the top-center of the oven. Use a flashlight to peer down the dual walled furnace pipe. The thermometer probe must extend approximately one inch into the round pipe. Fashion a small “stop” for the thermometer probe from tape. I use foil tape, but even simple masking tape will work. As the oven heats and cools, the probe opening grows and shrinks. The “stop” for the probe helps hold it the same distance into the inner pipe.

Choose your heat treating regimen. I use 11-14 minutes at 375* Farenheit, but you may choose your own schedule.

Turn on the thermometer by pressing the on-off button. It should read whatever is the temperature of the room.

Turn the heat gun on at its high fan speed, and the temperature selector to full power. All LED lights should be completely visible. Allow the gun to warm the interior surfaces gradually. (At a shop temperature of 70*, my oven takes about 25 minutes to reach 375*) Watch the thermometer. As the temperatures approach your target, gradually turn the heat gun to a lower temperature by rotating the dial. I find that I need the dial just above the point where all the lights are on at their brightest. By adjusting the dial and waiting a minute or two, you can dial in whatever temperature you choose.

Allow the temperature to equalize from end to end by holding a steady temperature for at least five minutes before inserting bamboo. When the temperatures have been steady for more than five minutes, insert your bamboo strips and begin your heat treating.


Additional hints — The aluminum heat treating fixtures will absorb quite a bit of heat from the oven. When using the fixtures, I pre-heat the oven to about 400*. When the bound fixtures are inserted in the oven, the temperature drops to a reasonable heat treating level.

To counteract the heat synch affect of the fixtures, in summer, I’ll set my bound fixtures outside in the sunshine while the oven heats up. In the winter, I’ll gently warm the fixtures themselves over another heat gun, or even lean the bound fixtures against the radiator heater while the oven warms up.

Please call (318) 282-1825 with questions about the oven use, or suggestions on ways to improve the process.