interested in learning to make rods should visit my Rodmaking Classes
|Here are many of the
tools used in
making a bamboo rod. Several of these items are home-made, and can be
purchased in fancier versions. Pictured are a rod binder, a blade
sharpening setup, a vise, two splice blocks, a ferrule puller, four
block planes, measuring tools, heating tools, sanding tools, two
preliminary planing forms, a final planing form, splitting tools, and
||I primarily build rods
enjoy the process of making something with my own hands. Only the
finest materials are acceptable. I use the finest Tonkin cane from
China imported by Charles H. Demarest. Each
rod comes from a single culm of carefully selected bamboo.
||Each nodal ridge is
sanded away before the culm is flame treated or split to insure that
coloring is as uniform as possible. As an example only, this particular
node was sanded after flaming, in order to more clearly show the
contrast between the sanded node and the surrounding area.
||Many of my rods are made
flame tempered bamboo. A propane torch is quicklypassed over the outer
surface of the culm. Keeping the flame moving, while maintaining a
constant speed and distance from the culm requires a steady hand.
Although the dark color looks rough at this stage, it produces a rich
golden brown color. Flaming the cane also slightly tempers the rod,
giving it more spring and resiliency. The result is a slightly crisper
||Each node is patiently
and straightened with heat and pressure before the strip is planed into
un-tapered triangles. Everett Garrison called nodes Job's gift to
||A single strip of cane
planed into a 60* equilateral triangle. Twenty four strips are required
for each three piece, two tip rod.
||When all twenty four
been planed to triangles the rod is ready for heat treating. The dark
flamed enamel faces out. No planing is ever done on the enamel side of
the strip. Just beneath the enameled outer layer lie the most dense
fibers. The enamel itself will be filed and sanded away before final
planing, but the power fibers underneath remain untouched.
||The tapered metal
are accurately adjusted to tolerances of less than a thousandth of an
inch. Understanding what makes a taper suitable for the type of rod
desired is one of the differences between good rods and poor rods.
||Planing a taper into one
strips for a butt section using a Stanley 9 ½ block plane. This
is one of six strips for a butt section. The forms have a much more
shallow groove on the reverse side for planing tip sections. Final
planing is one of the most critical steps in making a quality rod. If
for any reason a finished strip doesn't measure out to its exact
intended dimensions, the whole process has to be re-started.
||Industrial epoxy glue is
hold the strips together. One reason today's rods are better than those
built in grandpa's day is that today's materials are better than those
of yesterday. The high tech epoxy I use has a working time of
approximately three hours, enabling me to get the rod section almost
perfectly straight before the glue dries.
||Once the glue is spread,
strips are run through a Garrison style binder twice. The cotton
binding cord is wound under several pounds of tension, firmly clamping
all the surfaces together. Tightly binding the uniform strips insures
that the glue lines are invisible. When the binding cords are removed,
any excess glue is painstakingly filed away. At this stage the blank is
ready for ferrules, cork, guides, reel seat, and varnish. Getting to
this stage takes from ten to twenty hours.
||Using the finest
available makes each bamboo rod an instrument to be treasured.
||Once the blank is
ferrules, guides, a cork grip and a reel seat are added. Hand rubbing
the varnish to a high luster finishes the rod, giving the maker a sense
of pride in a job done well.