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Double Building

Do any of you build rods by laminating the choice power fiber layers of two strips together, and then planing that?  (Shane Pinkston)

    That was pretty common practice in the days prior to plastic to get more powerful rods such as tournament casting rods and especially boat rods.  (Mike Biondo)

      I have always had some problems with double built rods.  They are mostly power fibers, and I have always been convinced (and I think Vince Marinaro too) that the softer pith acts as a cushioning agent between the layers of power fibers, and that removing the pith makes the structure much more subject to longitudinal shear.  It does make it stiffer, but is stiffer better?  I have seen very "unstiff" rods (parabolic if you prefer) that can cast a country mile (if that is what you yearn to do) and are much more pleasant to cast.  Not so tiring.  Remind me to tell you how my right arm got four inches longer than my left when I last used my Cross DB.  (Ralph Moon)

    Sounds to me like "twice the work, for twice the weight..."  Since for all intents and purposes,  if you're going to double the density, you're going make a heavier rod, no?  (Mark Wendt)

      Heavier rod YES.  I fished Nobler's original Cross double built one morning. It was like carrying a lead bar. I lasted about an hour before the shoulder and arm decided to call it quits.  (Tony Spezio)

    I had heard about double built rods, but did not realize that that was how the construction was achieved, I have now been educated well on the history of Cross et al. On that and Port Orford cedar and foam filled. I have also read in the archives about builders grading cane for the cane that is the most dense in power fibers, and that was the source of my question. The consensus seems to be that too much density only adds weight and SOME power to the rod.   (Shane Pinkston)

I don't mean to sound like a complete fool (though I'm quite good at it), but how exactly does one double build? Just "laminate" two or more flat/square strips of bamboo with the appropriate adhesive?

I'm going to start my spey rod this weekend (Waara) and will need to check the depth of power fibers on my meager selection of split-out strips. (Joe West)

    I'm just finishing a 12.6 ft spey rod, 3 pc.   I started with Chris Bogart's variation on the original Waara taper.   I found a few people who had some experience with the taper and also compared it to rods I own.   Tom Smithwick had some great comments as well.   So I ended up adding .014/5" in the butt section to produce a stiffer action at that end, left the mid as per Bogart's revision, and lighten the tip a few thousandths (Both the Waara and Bogart tapers are in the archives.)

    Like you I thought of double building as a simple lamination issue.   I think you could just prep strips and glue one to the other and then plane such laminated strips to the initial 60 degree angle, but I didn't quite do it that way.  I double built the butt section but not the mid.   I milled two sets of strips for the butt section.   One set became the outer section of the butt, and one the inner section.   I milled the outer strips as per usual practice , IE: largest dimension + .05.   For this taper that works out to .215 +.05.   That's a hefty strip and much of the material is pith. 

    In the next step I milled the apex off of each outer strip.   I removed all of the pith and low density power fibers.   In this case I reduced the strip by 40% to ca .160 in height.   The inner strips are prepped and each is separately glued on to its matched outer strip.   Actually I made the inner strips somewhat oversize.   This is important since it gives you some flexibility and the laminated strips need not be perfectly aligned when glued and bound.   The proportions are important too since if you remove too little of the outer strips' pith, making it proportionally larger, when you mill the final taper you loose some of the benefits of those high density fibers from the inner strip.   (For example, with this taper if the initial proportions are 50/50, when you mill to final dimensions you would effectively mill off all of the inner section at the ferrule end.)

    I used epoxy for glue.   Slippery stuff so it pays to have oversize inner strips.   I bound each set of strips with cord, and then clamped each in a press using my planing form (set to a level taper) and topped it off with a steel bar and lots of C-clamps to hold the whole mess together.   I think the clamping is important because it ensures a good bond and straight laminated strips.

    Once you've got the laminated strips complete, it's just a matter of planing or milling each to taper.

    In theory, for larger rods double building should yield a action that is more consistent with the initial design since the pith and low density power fibers have been removed.   (I assume that stress curve calculations assume a uniform density, which is fine for smaller rods, but not so for larger rods.)

    I'll let you know how it casts.   Right now I'm waiting for the weather to warm up before varnishing, and then an early May trip to the Restigouche for spring salmon.   (Bob Milardo)

OK..so I'm looking at my last 5 culms...3 have pretty shallow power fibers (although I'm not real sure how to judge that) and 2 of them are thick and dense.

Since I have absolutely no use for a rod under 5 weight, I was wondering if it would be possible/practical/totally stupid to consider the dense part of the lesser culms together.

Can you/should you laminate dense sections together somehow to achieve power fiber depth?

Just wondering...  (Bruce Johns)

    You would essentially be double building or even triple building.  I hate double built rods.  They feel like a telephone pole.  Why not just build the rods.  Remember Lee Wulff landed a huge salmon on a 4' rod.  Attention to the taper will govern the action of the rod.  Bulk just doesn't do it.  (Ralph Moon)

    Absolutely, it is called double-building.  (Ren Monllor)

    I think a better choice would be to hollow build a rod with that skinny walled cane. Take a favorite taper and increase the diameter by say 3% at the butt, 2% midpoint and 1% on the first third of the tip (ferrule end). Take a piece of graph paper and draw the taper you want. Draw a second line with the increase and smooth it out to follow the original. Get your wall thickness down to around 0.060". I think you will like the results.

    It will perform much better than a double built rod.  (Jerry Drake)

Suppose I wanted to build a big rod, say on the order of something big enough to take on a tuna.

There were some pics a while back on rodbuildingforum.com, a guy in Canada had built one and caught a sailfish with it. He had triple built the butt and double built the tip, and the ferrule was a 32/64.

I guess my question here is how does one go about getting strips wide enough to make a rod this big?

Last week I was invited up to Race Point to go after blue fins. That's why I ask. Maybe next year.  (Kurt Wolko)

    One of your problems will be how to get your strips thick enough. Assuming you are are hand planing strips.  With the usual 3/4" square  steel  planing  forms  the  thickest  strip  you can  get  is 0.250" because the 1/4" dowel is placed in the middle of the bar. that leaves 1/4" on each side for planing strips.  So if you are hand planing you'll need to get some forms out of 7/8" or 1" square bars to get what you need. If the guy you are talking about used a 32/64" ferrule then each strip was 16/64" or 0.250" at the ferrule.  Considerably thicker at the butt.  (Larry Swearingen)


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