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Split Bamboo Rod Building Process & Checklist

This is hardly a new idea and is really for me than anyone else, but if you have any desire to build rods I hope this helps in some way.

One resource that I've used is the checklist that Wayne Cattanach has in his book "Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods". I've also taken advantages of the wisdom of other rodmakers that was presented in books, their websites and YouTube videos.

My preferred resource is from Harry Boyd's https://globalflyfisher.com/rod-building/bamboo-part-1

It's an in-depth narrative outline that I used in Harry's class.

As in his class, all examples will be for a  7' 6" (90") two piece rod.

Taper

Decide which taper you want to use so you'll know how long each section needs to be whether you

make a two piece rod or a three piece.

File Nodes

If you flame first and then file down to the enamel, you'll have straw colored gaps instead of the desired color.

Flame the Entire Culm...

...be it 12' or 6' to the desired appearance.

If you're happy with the existing straw color, skip this step.

Start from the butt, move along about 18" at a time and rotate the culm before you go another 18".

The longer you flame the culm the darker the rod will be.

Cut the Culm

The sections will ultimately need to be the same length - 45"

Before you cut, do some arithmetic:

45" + 2" + 2" (extra at each end for wiggle room) + 6" (node stagger) = 55" cut length.

Note: Often there is a node inches from the end of the butt of the culm. I'd cut it off. However, for the butt section the reel seat and grip will cover that node and overcome the it's inherent weakness.

However again, if you use butt strips for a mid-section, you'll wish you had cut the node.

Cut it off just to diminish any anxiety.

 

 

Culm Butt End_edited.jpg
Butt End of Butt

Cut & Keep

Color the Butts
Using a Sharpy or paint color the end of each cut culm - butt of the butt black and the butt of the tip red.

Split the Cut Sections in Half
   (Check out other sources for the "how-to".)
Remove Most of Diaphragms
By hook or crook, remove as much diaphragm as you can without causing any damage.
After splitting you'll remove the rest of the diaphragm with a plane and file.

Continue splitting until you have ~ 24 strips

Staggering strips
First the shall not - a node shall not be closer than 5" from the rod tip or from any ferrule. The butt section, where the reel seat and grip are, is exempt. The cane is reinforced by those.

Plane Diaphragms
Aggressively knock off each diaphragm with a plane. Then more gently plane down that area until it's flat. To flatten the nodes with heat and pressure, the external node must have a place to go, so a small amount of filing with a half round rasp can give the node a place to get squeezed into.
Don't get carried away.

Flatten

Round

Enamel Side

Staggering Nodes
At this point all strips are 55" long.

This is a 2x2x2 Stagger
 

1
2
3
4
5
6

55"

1
2
3
4
5
6

2"

Cut

Cut

4"

4"

1
2
3
4
5
6

49"

Straighten Strips & Press Nodes

Initial Plane - 90

Rough Plane - 60

Bind Strips & Heat Treat at 350   for 11 minutes

Set Taper Form to Appropriate 1/2 d Dimensions

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