FTOTY Bamboo Rod 2004
Posted 18 August 2004 - 04:01 PM
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!
Posted 21 August 2004 - 04:08 PM
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).
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.
Posted 21 August 2004 - 04:14 PM
Posted 21 August 2004 - 06:06 PM
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.
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!
In this photo you can see the moisture and sap bubbling out from the end of the culm.
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.
Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:05 PM
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.
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:
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.
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.
Once sawn, each section is then split into 24 more-or-less equal size chopsticks.
Tomorrow I will begin sorting and arranging the chopsticks in order to reform them into useable rod strips.
Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:08 PM
|I don't know if i'd have the balls to do something like that for fear of doing a big "whoopsy".|
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!
Posted 21 August 2004 - 09:32 PM
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
Posted 22 August 2004 - 01:15 PM
“If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you'll spend your life completely wasting your time. You'll be doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don't like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life, doing what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way." - Alan Watts
Posted 22 August 2004 - 02:24 PM
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'. 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.
Posted 22 August 2004 - 03:53 PM
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