FTOTY 2006 Bamboo Rod Build
Posted 12 October 2006 - 01:51 PM
From the first few polls we decided on a 7'6" 4wt 2pc rod based on a Paul Young Perfectionist taper. I'll be using a taper provided by George Maurer that can be found in RodDNA and Hexrod.
The taper dimensions (diameter) at 5" increments beginning at the tip are as follows:
A quick look at the stress curve chart shows the typical parabolic style action, with a soft tip (left side of the chart), a stiffer mid section and soft butt.
And a shot of a graph of the taper dimensions:
Posted 12 October 2006 - 03:42 PM
I start by cutting the culm into two roughly equal length pieces. One side will be used for the butt and the other for the tips. Each section of the culm is then split into half to expose the interior, or pith side of the culm.
I like to flame the inside of the culms when I do blonde rods, a la Darryl Hayashida, using a propane weed-burner torch. Though this does impart some heat treatment to the cane, which results in a more resilient and slightly stiffer finished rod, I will still oven temper the cane in a later step.
So in this case the preliminary heat treatment is to help the cane split easier, or rather more consistently. I find that culms that have been flamed wander less when split and are therefore easier and faster to split than non-flamed cane.
After flaming the pith the excess carbon is scraped away using a wire brush.
Posted 16 November 2006 - 03:24 PM
After the flaming I take each of the culm halves shown below and split them into smaller sections.
Each section is split using a froe clamped into a vice.
The goal is to get at least 6 butt strips and 12 tip strips out of the culm sections, plus a few additional in case of a problem down the road. Once finished I will still have enough strips left over for at least another 2/1 rod.
With the strips split and selected, it is time to space the nodes. I normally do either a 2x2x2 or 3x3 node spacing and usually let the culm dictate which. Culms have node spacing that I find tend to lend themselves to one spacing or the other. What I try to do is get the least amount of nodes in a section, while at the same time keeping the nodes plenty far away from the ferrule or tip top area (5" or more) and making sure alternate nodes are as far apart as possible. After a quick minute of trying different combinations, this culm tells me it wants to do a 3x3x3.
Once I have all the strips spaced properly, I trim both the butt and tip sides of the strips to the same size and a couple inches over final length. I am also careful to mark the bottom of each strip so I know how to align them when it is time to finish plane. I mark butt sections red and tips black or violet.
The strips are now ready for the next step in the process which is node preparation.
Posted 16 November 2006 - 03:31 PM
A quick shot with 60 grit on the belt sander takes the nodal dam from this:
The enamel side takes a bit more care and a lighter touch as you don't want to remove too much material or dig into the enamel around the nodal bump. By slightly bending the strip and working on a rounded part of the belt sander, this takes only a moment.
Once I finish all 18 strips, I am ready for the next step which is heat pressing and straightening the nodes.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:22 PM
The node is centered over a fishtail nozzle on a heat gun set on a fairly high setting.
After a minute or so, or when the pith side of the strip starts to show some blackening, I remove the strip and press the node in a vice to quickly remove most of the nodal hump.
I then clamp the strips into a device made by Robert Kope that straightens the strip in both directions and holds it until the strip cools. I would use this device by itself except the regular bench vice exerts more pressure for the initial pressing.
Posted 05 December 2006 - 04:22 PM
After working through the nodes on all 18 strips (roughly 60 nodes) it is time to shape the strips into their initial 60*, non-tapered shape. I use a Bellinger Hand Planer's Friend to do the roughing. It has a 60* bit so it cuts both sides of the strip at the same time. I make 2-4 passes in the HPF with it set to various depths until the strips are approximately .030" over the maximum final dimension for a strip. In other words, the maximum finishsed butt diameter on the Perfectionist that we're making is .275, so I bevel the strips to roughly .030" over half that dimension, or .138+.030 = .168".
With both the tip and butt strips roughed, I tape them together on the table with the enamel side down, then roll them up into what is now starting to look like a rod section.
A quick pass through the binder secures all the strips together in preparation for heat treating. The butt section strips are bound into one of Harry Boyd's heat treating fixtures. By using this jig, I am able to heat treat the butt and tips together as the fixtures help the larger size butt strips dry out faster. If I didn't use this fixture, I would want to treat the butts and tips separately due to their different dimensions and rate of curing.
Posted 07 December 2006 - 04:36 PM
Posted 07 December 2006 - 05:06 PM
Posted 28 December 2006 - 03:50 PM
After a few minutes at 350* I let the sections cool for an hour or two.
In the meantime it is time to set the planing forms. Using a digital depth indicator I set each 5" station on the form to correspond to the desired width of each strip.
To keep all the sections aligned I make a couple marks on the forms. The red dots are where the end of the section will be after it is cut (90" for the butt andd 45" for the tip), and the green line is the end of the strip as it is currently cut. By aligning the end of the strip with the green line, it is very easy to confirm the placement of the strip.
From here is is just a matter of planing down the strips until they are even with the top of the planing form. I use two different planes for planing, a Lie-Nielsen 9 1/2 block plane with a flat sole set to .006-.008 and another L/N 9 1/2 with a rodmaker's groove set to .001-.002.
First I remove the enamel with a combination of passes with my grooved block plane, a pass or two with a scraper and some final touch up with a sanding block.
With the enamel side now flat and smooth I start at the tip of the strip using the smooth block plane and begin to taper it by working my way towards the butt. 6-12 passess this way give a decent taper, followed by one full length pass to smooth things out. The strip is then flipped and worked the same way, followed by a good cleaning of the V groove in the forms.
Next I take a look at which side is cleaner - especially around the nodes - and make 3-6 passes with my grooved block plane on that side. This finishes this side of the strip. With this done I clean out the forms of any dust, flip the strip and continue planing until the strip is flush with the top of the form, making sure the final few passes are done with the grooved plane.
Here is a shot of a .0015" shaving coming out of my grooved plane on one of the final passes.
And a picture of a 4' long .001" shaving. A properly sharpened L/N block plane is a wonderful thing!
Lastly, once all the strips have been finished, they are set on a piece of masking tape with the enamel side down, and with the nodes properly spaced (3x3 in this case if you recall), then finally rolled up to make the ready to glue section.
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