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/~stetzer/Tapers/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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.