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PMQ Poor mans quad


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#1 Mungo Park

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 10:03 PM

Not having planing forms and wanting to build a Bamboo rod, the PMQ (poor mans quad) seemed the perfect rod type to build. This is a rod made out of two strips of bamboo which are plained freehand and glued together to make a cane rod.
I selected a taper from David Rays Taper Library. http://www.uwm.edu/~...apers/drtapers/ >From this selection of tapers I picked Sharpes Lee Wulf 5wt. This is a one piece rod so no need for ferrules and it would come from a 6 foot culm of bamboo.

It is wise to measure your culm to see that its thickness is at least half the taper thickness since it is made up of two strips glued face to face. This is relevant for the butt of the rod.

I have bought Tonkin Bamboo from Golden Witch as well as some from Home Depot to practice on. If you are on a tight budget it seems possible to make some of these rods from non Tonkin Bamboo. The bamboo on the left is the Tonkin Bamboo so you can see the difference in fibers.

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Here is the warning part , This is a build and use at your own risk hobby cane rod. I am simply explaining how I built my own. I do not accept nor take any responsibility of any kind what so ever, for any accident what so ever that may occur to any person or property, as a result of using all or any part, or passing on any part of the information, I have posted in this forum. If you plan on building your own and there is anything you feel should be done safer please do it in a safe fashion.

I split the culms in half by starting a split with a chisel. I then pushed the culm along a knife tip held in a vise on my work bench. I wore gloves for all of the splitting. The splinters and edges of this stuff is very tough and sharp and will cut your hands very easily.
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Once the culms were split I knocked out the dams with a hammer and chiseled out any remaining material with a chisel, this seemed to help with further splitting.

Next I flamed the insides of the culms, this helped to drive out any moisture in the culm and hopefully temper it some. This seemed easier than trying to build a drying oven. The pith on the inside got burned but the burn did not go deep enough to burn the fibers underneath. I moved the torch from the muddle of the culm towards the ends to drive the moisture out the end of the bamboo. I kept the flame on one area until the flames of the burning pith died down. It was a leap of faith not knowing how much was enough.

I also flamed some stripes on the enamel side purely for looks. I tried to space them out and not put them on the nodes. I think I overdid it a little as there is no pith on the outside to protect the fibers.

Flaming can be done with your basic propane torch, if you are under BTUed, watch that you do not roast the insides of the bamboo. A really hot torch will burn the outside very fast and heat the inside less. A cool torch will heat the inside more by the time it has burned the outside.
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Once flamed the burned pith inside the bamboo was brushed out with a wire brush and split to usable strips. This part was a little tricky, and took some practice with the cheaper bamboo. I found the best way for me was to start the split with a chisel and then lightly clamp the bamboo in a vise, leaving about one foot sticking out to be split. I then split it by pulling it apart with my gloved hands. If the split went off center, say to the left, bending the left strip out more, and keeping the right strip centered pulled the split back towards the middle.

The bamboo was split on half and then in half again until the strips were thin enough. How thin is enough? Wider than the butt of the rod and some room for error. Look at both inside and outside of the strips - my split did not always go at a right angle to the enamel. So the outside might be wide enough but not the inside, or maybe decide to build a lighter rod. I have no photo of splitting.

Once split the pith sides of the strips were planed flat, you can see the planed part as the black has come off already. Also there are the planes I used, the bigger one was best in the end producing long even curls with less hills and valleys. I found that I did the whole rod with one sharpening of my plane blade, here is a link to plane sharpening. http://www.rexmill.com/
This site also has information on how to tune up your plane.
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The enamel side of the nodes were filed/sanded until the dirt started to show in the deepest part of the node. Dirt collects in the node valley as the stuff grows and it gets grown over. This also was a bit of a unknown as to how much to take off so I stooped when the dirt showed.

Some of the enamel was planed/sanded off to produce a flat surface to rest on the workbench so I could plane the pith side.I did not go very deep and so it did not totally flatten the strip, but the edges would be planed of later anyways.
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The nodes were heated with a heat gun until the bamboo became soft and were then quickly clamped in a small vise to flatten the enamel side of the node. I heated the pith and sides of the bamboo mostly since this was the parts that would be planed off later if they got burned. I heated mine a little too much with hindsight and did darken the nodes some which has weakened then somewhat. I do not think a heat gun is the only source of heat that can be used but is the most common. I lightly sanded the enamel side of the nodes after flattening. My vise did not have any texture on the inside of the jaws so it did not mark the bamboo.
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Now the planing part starts!!! I had a half built wood planing form so I used it as a base and clamped the strip to that, enamel down . At five inch intervals I had masking tape with the taper thickness written on it. The base (the part near the roots) of the bamboo plant is thickest so it was used for the butt. It was easiest to take off long slices most of the whole length of the strip, going from butt to tip. With the long slice, once I got to the final thickness the next five inches up was not that far off and made the transition from one thickness to the next smoother. Planing produced a mountain of thin curls each one a few thousands of a inch thick, best to go slow and hit the mark. In one spot I went to far and the strip was to thin so I made a note on my masking tape and planed the opposite strip the equal amount thicker.
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When the strips were planed to the proper taper thickness they were glued together with the enamel side out. I used Titebond III. The strips were placed on some wax paper, glued up and clamped on to the workbench with a board on top.
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After 24 hours for the glue to dry the wax paper peeled of easily and the strips did not stick to anything but each other. I clamped the glued up strips onto the work bench and planed the strips sideways so I would get them started square. I did both sides like this. Once square I clamped the blank to the bench and planed the same as the strips. I turned the blank frequently to get it to taper in evenly on both sides. Do not plane the enamel, just the sides of the glued up blank.
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The planed blank was lightly sanded on the edges with 400 grit sandpaper. I cut the tip to length with a hack saw and cut off the corners to fit the tip top on. I glued the tip top on with epoxy, as well as the grip and reel seat. I made a winding check out of rod building thread. I coated the wraps with spar varnish.

After having built my first PMQ it was great to get out and do a few test casts as I have never cast a bamboo rod - it was great. I would think there are many ways to build a PMQ. The above is just one example.

Cheers,
Ron

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In my limited experience, never pet a burning dog.

#2 drgoretex

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 09:06 PM

Woo-hoo! Bamboo boy is a writer now! Excellent post, Ron! Go Quad Squad! kicking.gif banana.gif headbang.gif

Ken
"I'm a fisherman, not a doctor"

#3 Oldschoolcane

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 09:26 AM

Really nice - I enjoyed your post, thanks! Hows the rods action? Have you fished it yet?


Tim

#4 Mungo Park

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 10:45 PM

Tim:
Thanks for the kind words. I have not gone fishing yet but I did go lawn casting. This is the only bamboo rod I have ever cast. It casts 50 feet of line very easy, and my casting ability is about 50 feet, I do not get any more distance out of a 9ft graphite rod. So I think it is a great rod being quite short and casts as well as any other rod I have. It does bend right down to the grip when casting which is something new for me.
Cheers Ron.
In my limited experience, never pet a burning dog.

#5 rockymountain_brown

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 12:15 PM

Mungo-very cool!!
How many hours do you think you put into just building the rod; not components, grip, etc.?
Kevin

#6 Mungo Park

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:26 PM

Kevin:
Before I tell you a builder posted on this forum he built a PMQ in a afternoon as a quick way to try out a taper bugeyes.gif . I did not keep track of the time, but here is a rough time line:
Half a afternoon to flame and split the culms I did more than one. One evening to plane one strip. One evening to plane the other strip and glue it up. One mor evening to plane glued up the strips. As you can see things speeded up as I went along. I think now with my second one I will be able to plane the two strips and glue them up in one evening. I still have strips split from the first go at flaming and splitting.
Cheers Ron
In my limited experience, never pet a burning dog.

#7 Jamie Crona

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 10:01 PM

Ron,
That's about my pace also... Plane the first 2 strips & glue up ~1-1.5 hours. About the same amount of time to to plane down the other side. You could easily complete a blank in less than a week at this leasurely pace. If my wife and kids are out of town, I sould be able to have a blank completed in 1 day; however, that just dosen't happen too often. The part that always takes longer than you think is getting it straight... wallbash.gif wallbash.gif I probably spent a few hours doing that, I have to be relaxed & in the right frame of mind or it just seems to get worse.

Jamie

#8 millerwb

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 07:19 AM

I have built two and am working on my 3rd and 4th. I have gotten faster with each. I think all told, on the second one, I spent between 5 and 7 hours to make a two piece rod.

Brian

#9 grandtrout

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 09:23 AM

Great Description Mungo Park!!!

I've built a few of these using almost the same method as you did. For the last one I broke down and got a table top a belt sander (120$ at canadian tire). Saves a huge amount of time planing and sharpening! I take the raw strips down to .03 thou above the taper and then plane the rest of the way. I didn't spend as much time straightening the strips either , just rough belt sanded the sides to get them close enough for glue up. The last one I built (2 pc, 7 foot) took less than 3 hours from splitting the cane to glue up & about another hour to finish the sections. One word of caution, the dust from bamboo is super nasty so wear a mask.
JB

#10 Mungo Park

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 09:05 PM

Jamie:
You have it about right, my wife goes out of town with the kids in tow only when I have a swack of 12 hour shifts to work.
I have a table top belt sander but have not tried it on Bamboo yet. I also have a thickness plainer and keep thinking I can make a sort of jig to feed strips of bamboo into it. I the mean time hand plaining and good tunes seem to be working. This also gives me time to answer the hundred and one questions from my 3yo daughter. I am not in a big rush since once I get a rod built then I have to start on another one and this means buying hardware, Jamie makes his own so he is ahead of me in this department. headbang.gif
Cheers Ron.

In my limited experience, never pet a burning dog.

#11 Adam-

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 08:38 AM

That was really cool to read, thanks for investing the time here to show your stoke.

It's fun to put it all together and then make the recipe online to show others...


Anyway, just curious, how do they cast?

Does it feel like a conventional rod when it is loading?

Accuracy?


Not knocking at all, not even, just obviously curious, I will build one myself after reviewing your post.


That is about the best compliment I could give you.
Grassart Studio

#12 Jamie Crona

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 11:15 AM

QUOTE
Anyway, just curious, how do they cast?

Like any other fly rod, what is going to affect how they feel will ultimately be the taper you choose.

QUOTE
Does it feel like a conventional rod when it is loading?

Yes!

QUOTE
Accuracy?

Probably more accurate than you can cast. hysterical.gif

Jamie

#13 phg

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 11:17 AM

What is a "conventional" rod? If you want a comparison to a hex-bamboo rod, the load and feel are similar.

What I have noticed is that a quad has significantly less tendency to twist. The quad shape naturally flexes in only 2 planes, side to side and up and down. As a result, the caster may feel that he/she is more accurate (how's that Harry?) when casting a quad.

It terms of handling, though, I doubt that you would notice a significant difference while fishing. A few weeks ago I was fishing with a friend's Mark Fitch Purist taper, a 4wt of similar length. The first thing that struck me, when I made my first test casts with my Z98 PMQ, was how similarly it handled. I won't say it was just as good, but I felt I could move from one to the other with little adjustment on my part.

Of course, once you've made a few PMQ's, you're going to start thinking more in terms of a 2SQ, built with top-of-the-line parts.... biggrin.gif

#14 Adam-

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 08:03 AM

QUOTE(Jamie Crona @ May 16 2007, 09:15 AM) View Post

Probably more accurate than you can cast. hysterical.gif
Jamie


I am not interested in building a rod that cast weird, that I wouldn't use.

I'll build one myself, from other accounts in addition to this one, they seem to be worth the effort.

Thanks for your answers though...

Grassart Studio

#15 testwood

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 02:43 PM

Really enjoyed your writeup on the PMQ, am going to make one !!. Its interesting you chose Lee Wulfs 6ft 5wt. I am a member of the Wessex Salmon and Trout River Trust here in the UK - www.wsrt.org.uk - and came across the following about a guy Julian Mills who was a great fisherman who had died recently .....'his friends among rod makers and fisherman were legendary including Pezon et Michel. Charles Ritz and Lee Wulf, Julian caught 3 salmon weighing 8 pounds each on Lee Wulfs 5' 10 1/2 " 5 weight rod that weighed 1 and 5/8 ounces (46 grams). ' My first PMQ will be with cane from the garden centre as I have only just found a supplier of Tonkin in the UK - am going to buy 5 canes.



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