Making a bamboo fly rod

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GLS
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Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by GLS » October 10th, 2018, 12:16 pm

I retired September 28th and hit the ground running in Blue Ridge, Ga., Monday October 1 through the 6th, for Bill Oyster's course. I have for decades been hankering to make a split cane rod, but never got the round 'toit. I've had the cane, planes, forms, etc. for over 15 years but didn't feel comfortable getting it out of books so when my wife offered me a fishing trip getaway, I opted for the course instead. He's been teaching bamboo fly rod building for over 20 years and has never had a participant fail to complete the rod. He and his protege, Riley, are talented and levelheaded and show one how to do it and supervise the 8 participants from beginning to end. We flamed the raw cane, split it, straightened and flattened nodes, planed the strips and glued and rolled them up, sanded, wrapped on the guides with silk thread, coated the thread wraps. The sections were given three coats of dipped varnish with sanding and steel wooling in between coats. We had previously mounted ferrules and turned the grips on small lathes with sandpaper. It took several days before the strips resembled something that could be made into rods. It's boot camp fast, but progress to the next step is not faster than the slowest (me) maker, with long hours, but at the end, one has a rod. The youngest participant ever was 10, his son; the oldest, 87. Participants are given the choice of line weight and length. Folks from all over the world attend. I was hoping to baptize the rod near Brevard this weekend with my daughter Julia on our annual trout trip, but Michael has something to say about that. Gil
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Each culm is 12’ long. The culm is cut into two 6’ lengths and split in half lengthways. We flamed the two pieces outside which changes the color from straw to honey brown, to black depending on the time spend flaming, scraping and sanding. Here are my two pieces, one from the bottom of the stalk for the butt section and the top of the stalk for the tip.
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The halves are split into as many .25” sections as possible. I was able to get 9 out of each piece and we picked the best 6 for the tip and butt. Here are the strips position for inner node removal.
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Here the unflappable and talented Bill Oyster is demonstrating heating the nodes with a alcohol lamp to straighten the sections for running through a specialized router which speeds up rod making otherwise we’d have had to have planed them to rough shape before tapering.
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Butt strips completed; hand planing gave me more trouble than it did the rest of the class. I got to sit in a corner with my nose to the wall.
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Getting closer.
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Last edited by GLS on October 10th, 2018, 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

coconut
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by coconut » October 10th, 2018, 1:56 pm

Guess the graphite ones are just to expensive these days. :D

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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by coconut » October 10th, 2018, 2:01 pm

All joking aside it is very good looking. Should be extra special to catch fish on that.

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guesswho
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by guesswho » October 10th, 2018, 2:06 pm

Cool! You show a lot more patience than myself. I'm to bad to go from step A to step Z, then wonder what went wrong. And congrats on the retirement. I can tell you from experience it's everything it's cracked up to be.
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by Hognutz » October 10th, 2018, 2:19 pm

Congrats on the retirement, Gil. Now you can scratch the rod off your bucket list and attack another endeavor!
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redarrow
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by redarrow » October 10th, 2018, 2:23 pm

Watched a very interesting show on Saturday. "A Craftsmans Legacy" He made a split bamboo rod.
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by MAK » October 10th, 2018, 3:16 pm

Very nice- congrats on retirement it’s a blast
MAK

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GLS
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by GLS » October 10th, 2018, 3:29 pm

Here's close-up of the cut-off piece between the rod sections. It's from the butt section and is about .375" across the flats. The darkerpower fibers are in about an 1/8" from the outside inwards. Every effort is made not to compromise or thin the outer portion. The white area is the pith which adds weight and nothing else. Advanced techniques of rod building eliminate as much pith as possible. Tonkin cane is the only cane used in rod construction. It grows in about a 40 square mile area in China and is cultivated and not Panda food. It's primary use is for Asian skyscraper scaffolding which is lashed together. It's tough stuff. Oyster does a video demonstration of him jumping up and down with his booted heels on a butt section (his wife's rod) to no ill effect. Try that with graphite. Not to say the rod can't be broken by over flexing the tip. Each of the six strips of cane have a cross section of an equilateral triangle.
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howl
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by howl » October 10th, 2018, 3:48 pm

Pretty sweet. And congratulations!

firedup
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by firedup » October 10th, 2018, 7:08 pm

Heck of a project! Well done! :thumbup:

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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by decoykrvr » October 10th, 2018, 8:15 pm

Great project!!! What weight and length? Be careful not to catch so many trout that you put a set in the tip. Do you tie your own flies? Like taking birds /deer, etc., w/ ammo which you have loaded, it's a very satisfying experience to catch fish on a rod and w/ flies which you have crafted. Now that your retired and with all that you will do, you will wonder how you had time to work pre-retirement !!

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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by hoobilly » October 10th, 2018, 11:35 pm

that is impressive! I have caught brooks in Georgia and in NC

looking forward to seeing the rout you catch with that

congrats on your retirement!

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GLS
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by GLS » October 11th, 2018, 6:01 am

Thanks, Fellas.
The rod is 7'9" for a 5 weight line. I had considered making an 8' for 8 wt saltwater, but the plan is for this rod to eventually go to my daughter who also loves to fly fish for trout and she lives in NY. As I've noted, I've had all but a few items needed to make them here at home but I've started the ordering process to get what else is needed to make the 8 wt.
I started tying flies almost 50 years ago. I've had several cane rods over the years. As for rod "set", I sold an old F.E. Thomas 8' for 4 wgt. with intermediate wraps that eventually landed in the hands of a man who foul hooked a muskrat on the Chattahoocee. The muskrat put a set into that lovely old rod. Ronnie, this is my second retirement. I threw out the anchor in 2003 and went back to work in 2008 when the kids started higher education. I'll miss the daily contact with those I worked with, but not the soul sucking stress associated with the work. I have plenty of other time-killing hobbies. As Mark Twain noted and I paraphrase, a hobby is a device designed to murder time. I have slayed a lot of time. Gil

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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by hookspur » October 11th, 2018, 6:02 am

Beautiful work! Fascinating process! I'm sure that was a ton of fun, and you can't wait to see the end result on the water. Congrats!!

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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by Hognutz » October 11th, 2018, 7:50 am

With all due respect, Gil... What did you retire from? What is your profession?
I am a retired union Ironworker. Almost 9 years now. 37 years in the trade.
It is all that it’s cracked up to be!!
Enjoy!!
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GLS
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by GLS » October 11th, 2018, 3:42 pm

I've been a lawyer for 45 years. Was retired for 5 years starting 15 years ago. Will keep busy soon, but not for a while. Gil

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Hognutz
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Re: Making a bamboo fly rod

Post by Hognutz » October 11th, 2018, 4:08 pm

Enjoy your well earned retirement. Now you are in control of how the days shake out. :thumbup:
May I assume you're not here to inquire about the alcohol or the tobacco?
I am the man from Nantucket.
When attacked by a group of clowns...Go for the Juggler!!

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