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Tip Problems


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Though Fridays are scheduled as my off days, circumstances often conspire to keep me busy on Friday.  My wife is in Minnesota.  My daughter is in Michigan.  Today I had the rare chance to have an entire day in the shop.  Checked my email this morning and got busy working on a coupla 8' three piece 3 weights, one for a client and one for a friend.  The morning started well.  I removed the binding cords and spent the morning sanding away excess glue.  Did some careful checking,  and both rods were right on the money, within a thou' or so at each station.  Installed the tiptops and began prepping ferrules.  Thinned the tabs down and crowned 'em out.  All good so far.

One rod was to be outfitted with Super Z ferrules, the other with Step-downs.  Cut the rod with Super Z ferrules down to length, and fit the ferrules in the lathe.  One rod down, one to go.  Still everything is A-OK.  Began fitting the male step-down ferrule on the first tip of the second rod.  I cut the first diameter, and since the stepped portion is a size 8,  I chucked the size 8 cutter in the tailstock and started cutting.  Everything went well, though the fit was a little looser than I like it.

Before I started on the second tip, I decided it would be simple enough to hone out the bore of the size 8 cutter with a little sandpaper so the fit would be a little more snug.  Easy enough, but a bad mistake - though I didn't realize it at the time.  Cut the first diameter on the second tip, then cut the stepped portion, first with size 9 cutter, and finally with the newly modified size 8 cutter.  That's when the trouble started.  With the lathe turning about 80 rpm's, the now honed size 8 cutter "grabbed".  Not only did it splinter the bamboo, it actually tore the core out of that tip section for about 3 inches.  Absolutely ruined it.

Oh well, I've now got three tips for two rods.  The client will get a two tip rod, and my friend a one tip rod.  Removed one Super Z ferrule (not yet glued) and began cutting a second section down for a Step-down ferrule.  To shorten the story a little, I turned the chuck by hand so I could stop things before the destruction went to far.  At least in theory.  Cutter grabbed again, and broke off about 1" of the tip.  Now I'm in a pickle.

I decided I could splice on another piece to this broken tip.  Since I was going to give this rod to my friend, he wouldn't mind a spliced tip.  Slapped it in my splicing jig, and planed away.  Looked good.  Except I can't believe I'm so stupid.  How could anyone do anything so dumb?  I put the only good tip left in the splicing jig, and planed the end off of it.

In over 80 rods, this is my very first absolute disaster.  I ruined four tips in less than an hour.  Now I have mids and butts, but no tips.  I guess I can start all over on the tips if I can get the color to match.  Hard to believe I did it.  But I did.

Quit at supper time rather than continue to screw things up.  The moral of this story?  Never, never, never make the following claim: "The author is a fine gentleman and extremely knowledgeable.  Besides that, he's smart and good looking."

Even if you spell "extremely" correctly, the bamboo gods will get you.

I repent.  Is there any absolution?  (Harry Boyd)

    Your shop jinx is not due to your tongue-in-cheek boasts.  You were being punished for working in the shop while  you had such freedom.  Bream and bass are perfectly fine quarry on bamboo fly rods.  Your punishment came about because you had an opportunity TO FISH and passed it up.  Come on, man!  You can't lose sight of why you started building these things.  You have to, have to, have to keep a clear perspective while working on flies and bamboo rods... and that can only be achieved by knowing that you need the object of your labor to catch fish.   Money, generosity, and , yes, even pride, are not enough to keep you focused.  You must have a strong desire to put a fish on the objects.  This will keep you focused and as a bonus, will relieve you of hours of efforts and attempts at aesthetic perfection such as sanding between coats, putting tipping on wraps, and all manner of artsy, fartsy rod work.  You've seen my rods.  I'm a master at this kind of focusing.  I inherited this fine quality from my grandfather, whose red and green cotton thread wrap repairs on the old Edwards Radio rod he gave me attest.   (Rick Crenshaw)

    BTW, of the five bamboo rods which I've managed to hang on to, three have repair wraps.  These are my fishing rods.

    For once in my life I am at a loss for words.  When I sent that nasty little snippet, I had no idea that it was to be  the straw that broke the camel's back.  To think that my unfeeling and unneeded sentiment could  bring such woe to a friend shames me.  I am certainly glad that I never do such stupid tricks.  I must admit to one that is not so bad, but not up to my standards.  I glued up two rods yesterday, One my 7'6" Progressive came out beautifully.  The other my little 6' #4 came out of the string just fine.  I laid the tip down along side the butt turned away a moment and then when I turned back I could not determine which was which.  I had made two butts for the D@%$# rod.   I commiserate with you my friend.  (Ralph Moon)

    Since you have repented, and seem sincere.  I give you the following penance:

    You will serve your penance fishing with me for 3 days here on the S. Holston tailwater in October.

    I am sorry you had the tribulations that you did.  It happens to the best of us.

    By the way.  Ain't a thing wrong with making a few spinning rods here and there from some left over strips.  :)))))  (Joe Byrd)

    I don't know about the absolution part, but it seems you're about to do your penance making some new tips. Save the messed up ones, run the tapers thru Hexrod and make some mids and butts for a couple of shorter versions, not that I have ever done this before! I set my ferrule cutters aside for this very reason and have gone back to just using a tool bit and some sandpaper in the lathe, it really doesn't take that much longer.   (John Channer)

      You should have come to me first. No one knows about guilt, penance, and absolution like someone who was raised Irish Catholic.  Actually, I have to admit John just got it right, your penance was decreed to be the re planing of the tips. I have to also admit, I am astonished be the severity. By Irish standards, your statements were mere embellishments of the truth that could not even be dignified by the word "prevarication". My advice to you is to do the penance, and stick to the straight and narrow. Evidently, you have no slack to work with at all.  (Tom Smithwick)

        No slack, huh?   Guess that means I've stretched the truth far enough, often enough, and long enough that veracity itself is constantly at the breaking point.

        Back to the straight and narrow for me....(Harry Boyd)

    "Pride goeth before a fall."   ;)   (Tim Preusch)

    You of all people should know  that Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).

    I'm having my own experience in humility. 

    Several of the list members have had the opportunity to cast a 7' rectangular PMQ that I made a couple of years ago, which is one of the best casting 4/5 wts I've ever cast.  I was particularly proud of this one because I designed that taper myself with almost no theory to go on, and I've boasted on occasion that the original blank took me only 3 hr from splitting the cast to glue-up for a 2/2 rod.  Of course, there are only 6 strips involved for a 2/2 rod, and the blanks still had to be planed to width after glue-up.  I had the rod at Corbett Lake the last couple of meetings, and at Grayrock 2 years ago. Ron Barch recently published the taper in the Planing Form a couple of issues ago.

    This year I made a couple more rods of the same taper, for a demo on 2-strip construction at Corbett Lake this year.  At Corbett Lake, I had the sections for these rods in various stages of completion.  Since then I finished both rods.  This time I took real care planing the blanks, and put nice hardware on them: NS reel eats, agate strippers, Snake Brand guides, while the original has the cheapest hardware I could find.  I was really careful wrapping and finishing the rods, and I do have to admit they are a pair of the nicest looking rods I've made.

    Well I took them down to the local lake about a month ago to cast them along with a couple of other new rods.  To my dismay, the first one cast just fine out to about 40' and then the tip just died.  I could push a cast out to about 50' with it, but there was a real unpleasant kind of backlash to it and it just felt like there was no power there.  I tried the second tip, and it was exactly the same.  I put the second rod together and it was just like the first one.  I went back home thinking I must have really screwed up somewhere so I miked all 4 tips and, after allowing for varnish, all appeared to be within a couple of thousandths.

    Finally, I took out the original rod and miked that one.  Oops!  I found out that, in my haste to slap that first one together, my QC was nonexistent.  I don't think I'd ever even checked the thickness of the blanks after glue-up when I made the rod.  The tips on that first one were off by as much as eleven thousandths, and have quite a bit of variation between them, as well as from the design dimension.  That first rod didn't cast so good because of my great design, but because of my poor QC!

    In trying to salvage the 2 rods, I've started making 4 replacement tips.  I'm going for a taper based on the average of what the 2 tips on my first rod actually are, not what they were supposed to be.  If they work out, and folks are interested, I'll be happy to share the numbers.  (Robert Kope)

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