Bamboo Tips - Contraptions - Binders

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Here are some pictures and/or drawings of binders from various makers. If the name of the submitter is underlined, you can go to the submitter’s web site.



Martin-Darrell Binder


Tim Stoltz’s Interpretation of the Smithwick Binder

(More information on the Smithwick Binder)

Stoltz Smithwick Binder 01

Stoltz Smithwick Binder 02

Stoltz Smithwick Binder 03

To use the binder, you just insert the blank, tie on the string and start cranking, pulling the blank through as you go, tie it off and repeat, but turn the wheel in the opposite direction.


Follweiler, Jacques

Follweiler, Jacques 01


Kearney, Ian - Smithwick Binder

Kearney Smithwick 01

Kearney Smithwick 02

Kearney Smithwick 03


Kearney, Ian - Milward Binder

Kearney Milward 01

Kearney Milward 02


Knott, Ted Binder

Ted Knott Binder 01

A few things the photos don’t show clearly:

1. The pulley 1 1/2” bolt shaft is free to move up and down in a slot in the vertical wood frame.

2. A 1/4” rod is tapped into the 1/2” bolt shaft and extends out the bottom, from which weights are suspended.

3. I use “saltwater” size sinkers for weight. I have an assortment of 4, 6 & 8 oz. sinkers.

Ted Knott Binder 02

Ted Knott Binder 03

Ted Knott Binder 04


Smithwick, Tom Binder

Tom Smithwick Binder 01

Tom Smithwick Binder 02

Tom Smithwick Binder 03

Tom Smithwick Binder 04


Smith, Brian Binders

Brian Smith Binders 01

Brian Smith Binders 02

Brian Smith Binders 03

Brian Smith Binders 04

Brian Smith Binders 05

Brian Smith Binders 06

Brian Smith Binders 07

Brian Smith Binders 08

Brian Smith Binders 09

Brian Smith Binders 10

Brian Smith Binders 11

Brian Smith Binders 12

Brian Smith Binders 13

Brian Smith Binders 14

Brian Smith Binders 15

Brian Smith Binders 16


Marbert, Bob Binder

Marbert, Bob Binder 01

Marbert, Bob Binder 02


Hardy, Tom Binder

 Marbert, Bob Binder

This is my latest binder. Four strings, uses 6lb mono. Approximate cost was about $80.00, but I could do it better for less now, after the fact, (of course). One feature that I love is that I used 3/4" aluminum tubing for the bores, but lined this with plastic plumbing tubing, (held in with duct tape), that is easy to clean out, or just replace after a few rods. sticks come out very straight out of this thing, and it's one time through and your done.


Kearney, Ian - Marty Mass Binder

Kearney, Ian - Marty Mass Binder 01

Kearney, Ian - Marty Mass Binder 02

This binder is so simple it is actually not easy to describe and the photos do not show up much. However I hope you can understand the following. Send me an email if you have any questions. This binder was explained to me by Dutch rodmaker Marty Mass and is a design explained to him by an old local rodmaker.

You need a piece of pipe about the length of the final rod section. I used relatively thin plastic pipe used for electricity ducting. The attached photo is for a 4' rod section and the pipe is 4' long. It is necessary to cut a thin slit down the length of the pipe hence a thin walled plastic is the best type of pipe unless you have means of making such a cut in a metal pipe. I used a stiff backed saw to cut the slit and it was fairly easy to do. The slit needs to be around .065 of an inch. I then cleaned up the slit with some sandpaper to make sure there were no sharp edges that might cut the thread.

It is then necessary to mount the pipe onto a board to hold it steady and to ensure it is straight. I used the edge of a board about 6" wide so it was possible to clamp the binder on the bench if necessary and also mount another shorter pipe, say 3'9" for 7'6" rods, on the opposite edge if required. The simplest way to mount the pipe is to puts some blobs of fast curing epoxy along the board edge and then hold the pipe in position until the epoxy is hard enough to hold it. Mount the pipe with the slit facing out from the board.

You then need a device to hold the thread If you have a thread tensioning device from Russ at Golden Witch they are ideal but it is easy to make one up using a L shaped bracket, a bolt, a cotton reel for the thread , and some springs to apply tension. The one I use is shown in the photos and it is mounted on a longer piece of wood to enable the stretch from holding the drill in one hand and the tensioned thread in the other.

You also need a drill with a reverse direction capacity and a variable speed.

You then put a small piece of plastic film over the end of the rod section to protect the rod chuck from glue, slide the rod section into the pipe, with about 2 inches protruding, and tighten up the chuck on that protruding section (protected by the plastic film). Tie the thread on the rod section in front of the chuck and put the drill on slow speed switch.Then lead the thread into the slit and turn the drill on. the rod is turned and as this happens lead the thread along the slit until you reach the far end where the thread is tied off. Repeat the process with the drill direction reversed and the section is bound. The rod section is pulled against the inner side of the pipe and does not bend but does get some twist however the reversing of the drill direction for the second bind usually removes this.

Marty's advice was to then put the drill on high speed and with the section still in the tube run the drill for 30 seconds in one direction and then 30 seconds in the other direction.

I get straight sections with little twist using this binder.

Ian Kearney


Schneider, Don Binder

The parts I changed and added to the Garrison & Bellinger designs are the cradles, amount of weight needed and most important, the angle that the binder thread approaches the drive belt spiral. Please note that the belt only goes over the right hand cradle. I don't know if you can see it or not in the pics but the thread approach angle is parallel to the belt spiral. This really made a difference in smooth performance. I've never or have needed or used more than 13 oz of belt weight and I think that is heavy. I can adjust enough thread tension to break the heaviest thread with any weight I use, 3 - 13 oz. The Garrison needed weight to keep the continuous belt from slipping, thus causing twist in the bound sections, this design doesn't. So less weight is better. All the weight is needed for in this design is to keep the slack out.

Schneider, Don Binder 01

Schneider, Don Binder 02<./p>


Wendt, Mark Binder

I built this binder over a few weeks. The binder body is made from 1/4" soft aluminum sheet. The brass pulleys were turned from solid brass bar stock, down to an inch in diameter, then center bored for the axle. I used nylon spacers for the wide grooved pulleys, mainly because I made a mistake in measuring the center of the pulley groove. The nylon spacers were picked up from the local Home Depot in the nuts and bolts section. I used a 3" pulley as the drive pulley, and fashioned the turning handle from some 1/8" scrap aluminum, and 1" hardwood dowel. There's a 1/2" nylon spacer inside the pulley hole, and I used washers to get the correct stand off distance from the binder body. The cradles are made from 1/8" aluminum, with the cradles themselves cut oversized based on someone's recommendation on the list. The binding thread "director" is made also from 1/8" aluminum. The thread tensioners are made from 1/4 - 20 bolts, washers, compression springs, and a nylon inserted locking nut. The binding thread "eye" is made from music wire, inserted into a 1/4 - 20 bolt that had a hole drilled in the top, then super glued in place. The thread spool holder is a 1/4 - 20 x 7" bolt.

Wendt, Mark Binder 01

Wendt, Mark Binder 02

Wendt, Mark Binder 03

Wendt, Mark Binder 04


Freaner, Claude Binder Drive Belt Cleaner Drawing

Freaner, Claude Binder Drive Belt Cleaner Drawing

I seem to remember one of the complaints voiced on the list about binders is that the glue that squeezes out from the rod gets onto the cord that runs through the pulleys for rotating the rod and is then a mess and a pain to clean up. Take an artificial sponge, such as the 4" by 8" by 2" thick ones used for washing cars. Cut out a piece of it roughly 2" by 1" by 1". On one end cut a slit about 1/2 inch deep, and the same distance from one of the 1" by 2" sides as the binder cord is from the board. Using a bulldog clip screwed to the board, mount the sponge so that the moving binder cord goes through the slit. Moisten the sponge with vinegar or water, depending on the glue used, and it should wipe most of the glue off the binder cord as you are turning it. The sponge can be easily removed from the bulldog clip for cleaning when done.


Van Burgel, David Binder

Van Burgel, David Binder 01

Van Burgel, David Binder 02

Van Burgel, David Binder 03


Preusch, Tim Binder

Preusch, Tim Binder 01

Preusch, Tim Binder 02

Preusch, Tim Binder 03

Preusch, Tim Binder 04


Andrews, Jerry Binder

Andrews, Jerry Binder 04

The picture with the wheels showing, is a side view. The pic with the board & the groove routed down the center, is a top view. The spool on the left, is the drive cord, which is fed up through bigger hole in the end of the grooved board, on the left end, facing you. The smaller spool, of red thread, is the binding cord itself, which is fed up through a small hole in the end of the groove, on the left side also, facing you. Small eyelets keep the drive cord separated a bit, so you have travel, as the speed of the travel is determined by the amount of space you have when the drive cord is double wrapped over the rod. The drive cord is reversed as in a Garrison style, to wrap the other direction. Both spools have tension devices on them, (springs with locking nuts) to set your tension, which this set up does NOT require much tension at all.

Andrews, Jerry Binder 03

Andrews, Jerry Binder 02

Andrews, Jerry Binder 01


Tom Smithwick’s New Binder

Tom Smithwick’s New Binder 01

Tom Smithwick’s New Binder 02

Tom Smithwick’s New Binder 03

Tom Smithwick’s New Binder 04

Tom Smithwick’s New Binder 05


Ron Grantham’s 4 String Binder

Ron Grantham’s 4 String Binder<./p>


David Ray’s Binder

David Ray’s Binder


Denny Dennis’s Binder

Denny Dennis’s Binder 01

Denny Dennis’s Binder 02

Denny Dennis’s Binder 03

Denny Dennis’s Binder 04

Denny Dennis’s Binder 05

Denny Dennis’s Binder 06


Jeff Schaeffer’s Smithwick Binder

Jeff Schaeffer’s Smithwick Binder 01

Jeff Schaeffer’s Smithwick Binder 02


Terry Kirkpatrick’s Binder

Terry Kirkpatrick’s Binder 01

Terry Kirkpatrick’s Binder 02


Chad Wigham’s Binder

Chad Wigham’s Binder 01

Chad Wigham’s Binder 02

Chad Wigham’s Binder 03

Chad Wigham’s Binder 04


Don Schneider’s New Binder

Don Schneider’s New Binder 01


Don Schneider’s New Binder 04

Don Schneider’s New Binder 05

Don Schneider’s New Binder 06

Don Schneider’s New Binder 07

 Don Schneider’s New Binder 08

Don Schneider’s New Binder 09

Don Schneider’s New Binder 09


Art Port’s Smithwick Binder

Port Modification of the Smithwick Binder #2

First, let me emphasize that this is a Smithwick binder. I merely made changes which altered it slightly and made it easier for me to use. This is NOT a Port binder!

Tom's binder is designed to allow the rod to turn easily and be bound from left-to-right and then back again. It is simply two pulleys mounted so that they have friction bars riding against them as levers on which you can hang weights to provide the tension in the drive belt. It has a thread tensioner on top just as the Garrison binder has. His is smaller than my behemoth, but mine disassembles for travel if needed. (The "wings" dismount, making it shrink from approximately 8 ft by 3 ft to 4 ft by 18", if the wings are stood on end next to the main chassis.)

I did several things differently after originally copying Tom's shamelessly.

Art Port’s Smithwick Binder 01

I had a heck of a time remembering to turn one wheel one way and the other in reverse as on his, so I placed them (almost) directly over one another (Pic 1). That way they both turn Clockwise when binding. The reason they're offset that little bit is so that the belt runs up and back down at roughly the same angles. I also added bronze sleeve bearings which I picked up at Home Depot. They're 5/8" inside diameter, I think, so as to match the hex bolts I used for axles on the pulleys. I'm pretty sure the pulleys' holes are 5/8", but you can certainly use other-than-that for the wheels. I pressed the sleeves into 5/4" pine "chassis" (probably aided by Epon) and then put washers (front and back) and stop nuts on the rear of the "axles" with such a spacing that the wheels turn freely without any slop.

Art Port’s Smithwick Binder 02

I also added the sliding support bar you may miss unless I tell you to look for it. Tom's has a rather small permanent rectangle cut out for tying the thread to the rods. I couldn't make that work and originally tried a plastic (maybe fiberglass) U shaped thingie that's made to hold cables to walls (See picture left). I mounted that so its bottom was in the same plane as the grooves in the infeed and outfeed troughs but it was supported only in the back, and tended to deflect downward whenever the tension in the belt increased. This sagging scared the heck out of me on the tips of tips! I subsequently thought his small bar looked like it worked better, so I tried that out but in a way that I wouldn't have to tie my knots using surgeon's forceps. Thus, the slider (See pictures below).

Art Port’s Smithwick Binder 03

Art Port’s Smithwick Binder 04

Art Port’s Smithwick Binder 05

Art Port’s Smithwick Binder 06

It slides away to enable knotting the thread and back to support the bar that juts out from the main chassis.

Art Port’s Smithwick Binder 07

The infeed and outfeed troughs have grooves routed in them (approximately 1/2" radius) as retainers for the sections. The scale is not really evident, so I'll mention that my feed bars are almost 4’ each, so the rod is supported with a vengeance for the whole wrap. My only continuing problem is that the gluey rod wants to walk up and out of the troughs as it spins. (That may be the only source of twist possible in this design.) I have resorted to drilling small holes 1/2" deep along the edges of the troughs (maybe every 8" or so) and standing 2 1/2", 8p finishing nails in them, so as to provide a fence to trap the spinning rod as it passes.

You'll notice that I put handles on the wheels but I find it's more controllable if you just use the axles and your fingers to do the deed.

I think if you look carefully at the mechanism, it'll be apparent that with the exception of the infeed/outfeed angles (matching), almost none of the dimensions are critical and you can build it to your own scale.

In action, you place the rod to the left (I like to start tip of section first, so that as the tension builds, so does the mass of the rod to counteract twist), set the wt on the left-hand (following) friction bar, wrap the belt and tie the thread around the section a la Garrison, and crank the right-hand wheel clockwise. When the section is finished, you cut and tie off the thread (I flip the section over so it's again going through tip first), wind the belt and thread about the section so the next (right-to-left) pass will cause criss-crossing, place the weight on the right-hand friction bar, and turn the left-hand wheel, still moving in the clockwise direction.


George Barnes’ Smithwick Binder

George Barnes’ Smithwick Binder  01

George Barnes’ Smithwick Binder 02


Tony Spezio’s Binder Pulleys

Tony Spezio’s Binder Pulleys 01

 Tony Spezio’s Binder Pulleys 02

Tony Spezio’s Binder Pulleys 03

Tony Spezio’s Binder Pulleys 04

Tony Spezio’s Binder Pulleys 05


Jim Maselli’s Binder

Jim Maselli’s Binder 01

The inspiration for this binder design came from the “Winston Waters” video that was recently referenced in a thread on Rodmakers. There was a scene in the video that depicted a guide-wrapping device powered by what looked to be a bicycle crank. As a cyclist I have lots of spare bicycle parts laying around and got to thinking why not build a binder utilizing the same principal.

What I came up with incorporates several previous designs most notably the Garrison and Smithwick designs. The binder has the typical bench mounting capabilities of the Garrison binder (L shaped) but the rod is feed through and attached like the Smithwick style.

As with the first generation Smithwick binder two passes are made through the binder. On the first pass, feed the strips through the copper pipe at top, attach the thread, crank clockwise, and pull section forward. Second pass, repeat but crank counter clockwise.

 Jim Maselli’s Binder 02

Jim Maselli’s Binder 03


Don Schneider’s Binder

Don Schneider’s Binder 01

Don Schneider’s Binder 02

Don Schneider’s Binder 03<./p>

Don Schneider’s Binder 04

I use some 1" PVC in & out to support sections. The in-feed pipe helps to keep the strips from flopping around. The turn-round level winds the mason line on the reels.


Ed Miller’s Smithwick Style Binder

Ed Miller’s Smithwick Style Binder 01

Ed Miller’s Smithwick Style Binder 02


Mark Shamburg’s 4 String Binder

Mark Shamburg’s 4 String Binder 01

Mark Shamburg’s 4 String Binder 02

Mark Shamburg’s 4 String Binder 03


Darrol Groth’s Smithwick Binder

Darrol Groth’s Smithwick Binder

Download Darrol’s Plans Here


Don Ginter’s Binder

Don Ginter’s Binder 01

This is the whole thing ready to go. The connection from the drill press to the old drill stub shaft where the armature was is a piece of 3/8's rod with a piece of tygon tubing slipped over it.

Don Ginter’s Binder 02

This is a closeup of the working parts. The thread tensioners are off old sewing machines that seem to be a dime a dozen at repair shops. Lots of other really nice parts available in sewing machines too for those who like to build stuff.

Don Ginter’s Binder 03

This is the bottom of the thing showing the old 3/8's drill front end and the drive sheave which is on the output end of the drill where the chuck used to be.

Surely somebody could get fancy making one of these but I just wanted to get it running and run some bamboo through it. The main thing for me is to have a glued up section go through with no hitches because the binder I built before this one failed halfway through and then the glue started to set up before I got it straightened. Not good.


Matt Fuller’s Binder

Matt Fuller’s Binder 01

Matt Fuller’s Binder 02


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