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FTOTY Bamboo Rod 2004


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#1 Carlin

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 04:01 PM

For this year's Fly Tyer of the Year contest, I've decided to donate a hand made bamboo rod for one of the lucky (and talented!) winners. Since the rod is not yet made, I'm going to ask your assistance in deciding on most aspects of the construction by way of polls that will be pinned at the top of this forum. The polls will change for each aspect of the rod building process such as cane preparation, grip style, reel seat insert wood, wrap colors, etc.

The rod I'm planning on making is a nodeless 2 piece single tip, 7'6" 5wt based on a Dickerson 7613 taper that has been slightly modified by the folks at Golden Witch Technologies to be a bit easier flexing in the butt section. It's a great all-around rod, with a medium-fast action that is very easy to cast. If you have any comments or suggestions on this selection, please let me know.

This thread will contain photographs and documentation of the process of constructing the rod for those that are interested. Once the first poll regarding cane treatment has been completed, I'll begin adding information as I progress.

The rod will be accompanied by a custom rod sock and an aluminum rod tube.

Good luck to all - and remember to get tying those flies for the contest! thumbup.gif
Chris

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#2 Leaky Waders

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 04:41 PM

Way to go Carl ! biggrin.gif

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#3 TroutBum

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Posted 18 August 2004 - 06:37 PM

SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! headbang.gif

Thanks Carl!
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#4 Carlin

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 04:08 PM

Since I have already chosen the taper of the rod, I figured I'd post some specifics for those who are interested. Please feel free to ask any questions. The below descriptions are obviously a very cursory overview.

This is a stress curve chart that is used to compare actions of different rods. With a bit of interpretation, the green line illustrates the rod's action. The tip is to the left of the chart. This particular graph shows that the rod will have a fairly even stress distribution, with a bit more flex at the tip and a slightly-swelled, or stiffer, butt (the abrupt drop on the right side of the chart). As an example, a fast action rod would have a large hump on the left side of the graph, and then drop abruptly towards the butt - representing a soft tip and stiff butt section. The Fer #1 point is where the ferrule will be located. The black line is simply a graphical representation of the taper of the rod (using the Rod Dim (inch) numbers from the chart below).
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The next image is the report that I will use to taper the rod to the correct dimensions. The Rod Dim (inch) column is the projected diameter of the finished rod shown at 5" increments, or stations. The Form Depth is the diameter measurement along the stations for each of the triangular rod strips. The 6 trianglar strips will be planed to these dimensions, and then rolled into a complete six sided rod section.
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#5 Carlin

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 04:14 PM

Since my weekend plans were abruptly cancelled, I'm going to start work today. Here is a picture of the culm of bamboo that I selected to make the rod from. The culm is a total of 12' long, cut into two sections, and is exactly 2" in diameter at the narrowest point. The bamboo was purchased from Andy Royer, an importer based in the Seattle area.
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#6 Carlin

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 06:06 PM

After splitting each culm section into 2 halves using a froe and a mallet, I pull out the old MAPP Burnz-o-Matic and start burning stuff.

I first flame the enamel (or outside) of the culm to produce, what will in the end be, the mottled look of the finished rod. The idea here is to char the enamel, and slightly discolor the underlying powerfibers without causing any structural damage.
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The next step is to heat-temper the cane. There are several different ways to do this, but in this case I'm going to flame the pith (or inside) of the culm. This flaming drives off any extra moisture in the cane which will result in a snappier rod that is less likely to take a set. As far as I know, Darryl Hayashida was the first to try this particular method, and it works amazingly well!
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In this photo you can see the moisture and sap bubbling out from the end of the culm.user posted image

The other methods of heat treating the cane use different types of ovens. Anything from a custom 5' bamboo oven, to your standard home cooking oven.
Chris

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#7 MSUICEMAN

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:04 PM

man, thats crazy looking. I don't know if i'd have the balls to do something like that for fear of doing a big "whoopsy". Thanks for the posts, the idea of making my own 'boo rods intrigues me.


steve

#8 Carlin

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:05 PM

Now that the flaming is completed, it's time to start splitting the culm. But first a word about nodes.

Nodes are the bumps that you see in a culm of bamboo. On the enamel side of a culm they are just a protrusion, but on the inside there is actually a barrier that separates the upper from the lower portion of the bamboo stalk.
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When a 'normal' split bamboo rod is made, the nodes are left in each of the strips. But before the strip can be used, the nodes must be heated, soaked, filed, planed, pressed or somehow flattened. Here is a strip that shows a cross section of a node:
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A different building technique is to make a nodeless rod. In this case, which is what we are doing, the nodes are completely removed. The culm sections are then split, spliced and rebuilt.
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After flaming, I cut out all the nodes, being careful to color code each bamboo section so that I can track from what part of the culm it came from (remember ROY G BIV?). This will be important when we start splicing the 'chopsticks' together. You can usually get 7 useable sections, that range in length from 10"-18", from a 12' culm.
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Once sawn, each section is then split into 24 more-or-less equal size chopsticks.
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Tomorrow I will begin sorting and arranging the chopsticks in order to reform them into useable rod strips.
Chris

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#9 Carlin

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:08 PM

QUOTE
I don't know if i'd have the balls to do something like that for fear of doing a big "whoopsy".

laugh.gif It's scarier looking than it is to do, I think. But, you will notice that I'm outside while doing it!!

Though it was a bit of a trick to do it one handed while I was taking the picture! tongue.gif
Chris

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#10 OSD

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:21 PM

This is very intresting Carl.
The only bamboo I ever built was when someone else made the blank.
I might take on building Bamboo blanks now that I have someone to answer my qustions.

Sweet thumbup.gif

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#11 Carlin

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Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:32 PM

Thanks for the kind words guys - I'm having a blast with it! headbang.gif

OSD, your post made me think that it might be a good idea for me to list the tools that I'm using, just in case anyone is interested in giving it a go.

So far all I have used is the following:

- Bernz-O-Matic MAPP gas torch (The kind with the small canister you can get as a kit from the hardware store for $20-$30).
- Bamboo Froe (a heavy duty knife or a thin hatchet works fine as well)
- Woodworker's Mallet
- Fine Toothed Saw

Chris

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#12 steeldrifter

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 01:15 PM

Carl thats amazing i've never actually seen the way a bamboo rod was made,looks like it takes a true craftsman to do accomplish a nice hand made rod. Very nice of you to take us all along in the step by steps headbang.gif

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#13 Carlin

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 02:24 PM

And now for a brief interlude.

My friends always seem to ask me 2 questions when we start discussing cane rods. First, why do you fish them? And second, aren't they really fragile?

I'm not going to go into the first question right now, but as for the second, they are not any more fragile than graphite. And, in fact, in many circumstances, they are actually stronger.

There's a good anecdote in Ed Engle's Splitting Cane where Mike Clark, a famous Colorado cane rod builder, when asked about the strength of a bamboo rod, will grab a blank off of his rack, chuck it on the floor, and walk back and forth on it in his heavy hiking boots. Try that with a hollow graphite rod!

I was recently fishing with someone who was using a cane rod that I had built for them, and they were hung up on something that necessitated snapping their line. Rather than doing the normal 'point the tip at the snag and pull' they reached up and grabbed the fly line with one hand, while holding the grip in their other, and started to pull. I was sitting on a nearby log and watched in terror as the upper 16" of the tip bent into a complete 'O' shape - not an inverted 'J' or an 'n', but a full 'O'. bugeyes.gif I was absolutely certain that the tip was going to snap - and this was the rod's maiden voyage! To my surprise it didn't, and immediately sprang back to it's normal shape after the tippet had broken.

The first cane rod that I built I wanted to really put through it's paces, and see what it could take. If there was a point where bamboo was going to break, I wanted to know it before I had built a bunch of rods.

In the spring, it's not uncommon to hook into 24"-32" rainbows in the river that lies next to my cabin. These are very strong and scrappy spawning rainbows, and the water tends to be especially fast moving and contains lots of snags and jams due to the spring runoff. The very first fish that I hooked ended up being a 26" rainbow. He hit hard, and took off downstream into some deep fast water on the far side of a massive log jam. There was no way that I was going to be able to follow him, and I wanted to give the new 'boo a good stress test, so I began to really man-handle him. I knew the leader was strong enough for what I was doing as I usually over-line in the spring for just this reason, yet I was fully expecting the rod to explode at any second. I was really pulling with a lot of force, especially for a 5wt, and I wasn't letting the reel take the brunt like I usually would.

The rainbow reluctantly moved upstream and then promptly dove into the log jam. I was sure this was it, but again, I started to really haul him in, and lo and behold was able to work him in to where I could land him. I don't usually have a net with me, so apart from fighting off the dog, who is always extremely interested in fish, I had to land him by hand. I wish I had a picture of the shape of the rod as I had it held over my head - certainly in the characteristic 'n' shape that is common when landing a fish - as it was just one more example of the sturdiness of the rod. After snapping a photo, letting Bill (the dog) give the fish a goodbye kiss, the trout shot back into the depths from whence it came.

Now I certainly wouldn't recommend doing any of these things to a bamboo rod, but if, and when, the inevitable over-stress does happen, there is an excellent chance that it will come away unscathed.

All of these instances, plus the many, many days of cane rod fishing that I and other friends have had since then (using that rod and others), helps reinforce the fact that there is a reason bamboo was the rod material of choice for a long time and that it is not as fragile as one might think.

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#14 OSD

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 02:37 PM

Carl
I need to come up and fish with you bugeyes.gif
Nice Rainbow (Beautiful coloring) thumbsup.gif

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#15 MSUICEMAN

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Posted 22 August 2004 - 03:53 PM

road trip! LOL, that is a gorgeous 'bow. Its true about a well built cane rod's durability. I haven't found mine any less durable than any graphite rod i've had and in all actuality, the cane rods has held up extremely well. Especially the Tonka Queen, as its what i learned on, and i'm sure I was less than kind to it in my learning stages. But it has held up perfectly fine to all my abuse/use. It now sits in the display case though, as the sentimental value keeps me from using it for fear of breakage, even if it is a low possibility.

steve



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