What species do fish for with your bamboo rods?




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Slow down!  There is no need to finish in a hurry, you do NOT really need that rod for that upcoming trip to wherever, and if you hurry you won't have a new rod to fish anyway.  (James Piotrowski)


It's a fishing rod.  (Bob Maulucci)


Make a rod with one tip.  Why waste bamboo on a second tip.  From the looks of it, I think my first rod will cast around corners very easily.  One tip for casting around right handed corners the other for left handed.  I think I would have been happier saving the cane in one of those tips for a second, straighter, rod.  (Tim Wilhelm)


Want to find the width of a flat? .578D = width  (Don Schneider)


IKEA has flexible plastic measure that are 1 meter long. they also show 39" on the same side and are about 3/4" wide. The best part is that they are free in the store.  They are for measuring the furniture they are selling. If you have one of their stores in their area pick up several. I have one on my work bench and several in my various tackle boxes and vests. If you have a store near you, that alone it is worth the trip.  (Rich Jezioro)


I have an interesting idea here.  Being cheap, or frugal, I tried the local library for access to "The Lovely Reed" they did not have it!  So off to the local book store.  I found   FIFTY DOLLARS???!!!! Holy S^&%!!!  I just can't justify that expense!  So back to the library I went and asked about "interlibrary loan"  no dice!  Then the librarian said,   "Gee, don't we have  any books on this subject?"  when I replied that they did not, she said, "Well, then!  We will just have to see if we can order one!"  I just got a note from the library today thanking me for my suggestion, telling me that they did indeed order the book and if I want to reserve it, to call their information number.  So I did!  Total cost to me.   $0  The book company and Jack Howell both profit through a sale, the local community benefits through acquisition of a new book and I benefit because I want to read it.  VERY good deal all around.  some of you might want to pursue this type of action.  Libraries are ALWAYS looking for ideas for new books.  They have a budget for same too.  It's worth a shot!  (Mark the Mystery Man)


OK, I admit to having forgotten most of the geometry I learned in school. Having fessed up, can someone provide me with the formula for arriving at the width of one side of an equilateral triangle given the depth of the triangle?  (Wayne Kifer)

    Divide the depth by .866 to get the width of the sides.  (Robert Cristant)


I think we've been here before, here being delaminating old cane rods and replaning them.  My aging uncle is probably not much longer for this planet, but some time ago he gave me an old cane sea rod, 8' long in two pieces. He bought it in about 1962 from Blacklers tackle shop, in Falmouth, and he had a struggle to get a bag out of them!  I know this because I was there. I cannot remember the name of the English maker but it is not an exotic.  The thing doesn't have an action, the test curve rating would be ridiculous.  Does Dutson sound a familiar name to any of my UK readers as a maker?  I've been removing all the bits from it and today noticed that delamination is setting in.  So I've chucked it into a pond to see what happens next. I think it will be a fitting memorial to the old rogue to turn it into a 7' brook rod, provided I can get it to delam reasonably cleanly and the horrible shake in one butt strip can be planed around. I suppose dozens of you will now tell me you've done this before to turn pre-embargo cane off noodles into good modern rods!  (Robin Haywood)

    I've built several rods from strips I got out of a pile of "boat rod" blanks.  I bought a hand full from a used tackle store.  He had hundreds but I passed them up.  Wish I hadn't now.  Not heat treating, no straightening, nothing but put them in the planing form and go to it.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)


Could someone send me the decimal for calculating the width of one angle of an equilateral triangle given the height.  (Wayne Kifer)

    Here it is:  h the height, w the width (angle side):   w= hx 1.15470054  (Jean Claude Lebraud)


At one point, Jerry Foster mentioned 8 strip rods.  This message was a response to that post:

I thought about asking you this yesterday but wasn't sure if you were kidding or not. Is the 8 strippers just something you wanted to experiment with or do you have a market for them? First thing that crossed my mind was "all them extra %##$& nodes to fool with." What about spacing of them? Spiral?  4x4? Really curious and wonder what spurred you to do this?  (Will Price)

    Yes it was just something I was curious about, and you are correct,  the extra strips and nodes are PITA. I'm using 4x4 node spacing, I  tried 2x but the rod looks like all nodes. They extra slits in the  ferrules are fun too.

    Until the recent conversations about regular polygons i was going to  target the better casters. I got the idea from watching Dave Roberts  doing his thing..upshooting curve pile casts..stuff like that. I was  hoping that the extra flats would help with the off angles.

    I have one complete and it is an interesting rod. I didn't hollow it  so it is a little heavy. must be the extra glue. I'll hollow the next  one. I'm not a proficient enough caster to put it through all the  paces. But good enough to give it a test...

    It's like .022 across the flats near the tip so I had to grind the  sides of the top guide feet so they wouldn't overlap the blank. and  it took about 3 tries and about a week on the spread sheets to get  the numbers right. Still have to fish them to see if there is an  advantage. All in all it's another fly rod. Doesn't look as bad as I  thought it would.  (Jerry Foster)

    I made some experiments on 8 strip rod and put the strips inside-out to have extra power fibers "packaged" to the rod - see Power Fibers, Oct 2005.

    I did not find an advantage in comparison to hex.  You may calculate easily any "mass-equivalent" 8 strip rod taper (or quad or penta) using the excel program here.   (Tapani Salmi)


I have two tips I made for a 5-weight "Midge" that I rejected for someone else's rod. I would like to turn them into a 3-weight of basically the same taper, and of course for my own use. I may sacrifice power fibers but that's mostly what there is in these little tips anyway. Sanding them down to size would work, but sounds tedious and this would be something to do quickly... would it work to set the planing form for the final diameter (Vs the 1/2 diameter used for the strips) or  is  there  some  geometric  problem  my non-engineer gray matter isn't foreseeing?  (Henry Mitchell)

    Yes, there is a geometrical problem. The half diameter is from apex to flat, when you put a glued up section in the form there is a flat down. Somewhere in the world there is a formula for converting the taper into form settings, but I don't have it anymore. Put one of your tips into the form and look at the end of the section and you will see what I am talking about.  (John Channer)

    One big problem I see is if you try to use the form, you would have a the corner sticking up to sand. Interesting idea for a 12 sided rod.

    Lay them on the bench and sand or scrap them down similar to the process for making a 2 strip quad (except you are sanding the enamel outside). I put a piece of masking tape on the bench with the final measurements I want and plane away on the two strip quads.   (Gordon Koppin)

      I guess there's a misunderstanding somewhere, when the blank sits down in the form a flat is up, not a corner.

      John, you're right. My guessed-at ratio wouldn't work. I just measured a piece of a blank at .156". When I opened the forms so that the top flat of the blank was flush with the top of the form, the dial indicator in the form at that point was  .234". So the ratio looks like 1.5:1, not 2:1 as I'd thought. I'll try that on one of them and see how close I come. Now if this rain would quit, the stream levels drop by 50-80%, and the weather warm back up maybe we could go fishing instead of worrying about this stuff. (Henry Mitchell)

    Well, the 1.5:1 ratio worked, to numbers close enough to the target that misses are probably operator error in either the initial blank or in the modification. The 2:1 ratio I initially theorized wouldn't work for the reason John Channer said: measuring from flat to flat, not to an apex, which is what the indicator's point is measuring.

    I took the two reject tip sections from a PHY Midge-derived 5 weight and planed them down thusly: I set the planing forms (butt side) to numbers that were 1.5 times the target final dimensions for a Dickerson "6610", a 6611 hexrodded to a 3 weight. The butt end of the tip section is .160" with the form set at .240, the tip .056" with the form set at .084. The planing was done taking off thin shavings and rotating the blank 60 degrees after each pass.

    If it works I'll take the results to the Catskill Gathering , but I'm not putting my best corks on it and don't look for an agate stripper. Once again, snatching a workable embarrassment from the jaws of failure.  (Henry Mitchell)


While making my flying trip to the SE conclave, I had the opportunity of let a couple of the certified casting instructors cast one of my rods.  While their comments were generally favorable, they said something that set my  mind working  (a dangerous thing.)

"We don't know much about Bamboo rods." 

Now we all know that bamboo rods cast differently than graphite.  That's why we use them. My question is, how can we educate the FFF casting instructors about bamboo?  They don't need to be an expert bamboo casting guru, but knowing the difference would be a help.

I know that Harry Boyd is CCI and Capt. Pat Damico owns several bamboo rods, but I'm also certain that there are four or five times as many CCI's who've never touched a bamboo rod and may ever believe that bamboo isn't worth learning about.

What to do?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    About all you can do is keep using them, answer their questions when asked and let them try them out.

    I went fishing with a new fishing buddy a couple of nights ago, we got into some fish and noticed he kept watching me cast. Then he would watch me fight and land a fish.  He started asking questions about how I got to be a "graceful caster" I replied it's the rod. As for fighting and landing fish, I never bent the rod double to protect the tippet like he so often does with graphite to make the rod work to protect it. Just fought the fish off the butt and landed them with authority. After a while and a short break I offered up the rod - a 7.5' 5wt, told him to slow down, let the rod do the work. He figured it out, bent the rod double to land a fish, I cringed, but it survived, a little coaching and he fought the next one, a 20" off the butt, brought it to net and smiled. Said, "I like this rod."

    Now I've got to build him one.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I know John Long is also a CCI.  I spent an hour with him a while back and learned a lot.  I think our best hope is for those of us in the bamboo community who know a CCI to let them try our rods, maybe even fish them a time or two and for the CCIs in this group to spread the gospel among their peers.  (Neil Savage)

      What other bamboo nut certified instructors are out there?  John Long, Gene Holland, Dennis Higham, Ken Cole, Troy Miller, Jimmy Chang, Dr. Sid Smith, Tony Austin, Denis Dunderdale, Doug Pierrelee, Bob Tabbert, David Diaz, Jim Bureau, Bret Reiter, Chris Raine, Bob Beanblossom.....  I know I've missed a bunch.  Who have I overlooked?  (Harry Boyd)

        This is Reed Guice in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I've been a CCI since 1996 (tested by Mel Krieger) and a 'bamboo nut' since 1990.  Syd Smith is a good friend and neighbor just 10 miles down the road from me. 

        I've never felt 'handicapped' using bamboo, and use it for all my freshwater fishing.  I remember once when a friend and I went up to  Slough Creek's second meadow on horseback.

        Another member of our party scoffed at our bamboo rods as we strung them up. Later, when he came up on me while I was fishing, he was amazed that I didn't have any trouble casting into the wind. Then I made a leisurely reach cast to extend my drift to get that big cutt right up against the bank in slack water.  When I let him cast the rod, he became a believer. He was still an arrogant ass, but a believer nevertheless.

        I suggest that bamboo rods can be a wonderful teaching tool for beginning casters. You can feel the rod load and everything happens a little slower. It's the beginners that show up with the fastest $700 rod they can buy that have a hard time.  "Use a heavier line to load it" should be stated "Use a slower rod." 

        CCI's can help spread the gospel among their students.  But, first we need to be willing to let them cast our bamboo.  There's the rub!  (Reed Guice)

        I know Al Crise (sp?) in Texas uses and loves a bamboo rod James Russel made for him.  (John Dotson)

        Add Reed Guice and Jack Cummings to the list.  Others?  (Harry Boyd)

          David Roberts OREtroutbum@AOL.com  Um, I've seen him bang the backing knot off a tiptop on one of Jerry's 4wt rods.  On the grass.  Nicest guy you'd want to meet, and the top Rogue River guide IMHO.  (Leonard Baker)

          Dave Roberts in Oregon.  One of the finest casters and fishers you could ever hope to meet. Don't hold it against him, but I count him a friend as well. Damn fine rower and guide too!  (Mike Shay)

          Please add my name to the list. I took the certification test soon after it was established. Bamboo definitely works as a teaching tool for new casters.   (Peter Jones)

            I am still trying to understand how one becomes "Certified" in Bamboo? I have never heard of such a thing.

            What did I miss?  (Jimi Genzling)

              The certification is a certification with the FFF for casting instructors.  It really doesn't have anything to do with bamboo, though you can use bamboo during the testing.  (Todd Talsma)

                Wanna hear a little story?  I was offered to be grandfathered in as a CCI  upon payment of the fee.  I turned the offer down because I believe that if I can't pass the certification I don't want it.  Still have not passed it.  I never was a good caster anyway despite having been introduced to Bamboo fly rods 65 years ago.  (Ralph Moon)

              Just curious...

              What is involved?  I assume distance and accuracy tests of your own casting, but I would hope that there are "teacher" skills, too.  Being good at something is not the same as being good at teaching that same thing. (Carl DiNardo)

              Please visit this FFF site for more information.  And you are absolutely correct. Casting well and teaching are two different things.  I'm very proud of a couple of my students who now cast better than I can.    (Reed Guice)

                Initially the certification was centered around individual skills. Realizing the error, the FFF has stressed the teaching aspects very strongly for a long time now.  As you say, there is much difference between being good at a skill and being able to teach it to others.  (Ed (also CCI, for what it's  worth) Berg)

    Great questions.  My immediate reaction is that we must be diligent about putting bamboo rods in these guys hands.  And those bamboo rods must be really, really good casting rods.  I have won several fans for bamboo by putting my P101 in their hands.  Graphite guys are not used to parabolic actions, so save those till after you have  converted them to the virtues of bamboo.

    A few years ago I took a preparatory class for potential casting instructors.  There were about a dozen of us in the class, and each brought his favorite rod.  Of course I had a bamboo rod.  One of the instructors, a really big shot with the FFF, asked me this question:  "Why are you handicapping yourself with that rod?  Bamboo is obviously inferior, and you want to make this as easy on yourself as possible, don't you?"

    I took him aside and explained a few things.  First, I probably understood at least as much about rod design as he did (which wasn't much).  Also, that I was wise enough not to "handicap" myself.  And it went on for several minutes.   But I did it privately, and humbly.  The next day he tried out that 8015GS Dickerson taper, and fell in love with it.  His apology was sincere and profuse.

    We also must become better casters ourselves.  I practiced 20 minutes in the driveway yesterday evening, and another 20 minutes this morning.... well, this morning I tried out a rod I just finished and did more testing than practicing.  Gene Holland is probably the best caster of bamboo I know.  He practices daily, and can make any rod shine.   Any rod, graphite, fiberglass, boron, bamboo, and probably even a willow switch.  If more of us were as good as Gene, we would have less trouble winning casting instructors over.  (Harry Boyd)

      Way to go Harry! I believe that the right Dickerson taper would make a believer out of 90% of the graphite crowd. Of course everyone on this list knows by now that I'm biased when it comes to Dickersons' tapers! I'm going to have to look at maybe building a Payne since so many on this list seem to like them so much.  (Will Price)

      It really is a hoot to introduce an expert to bamboo.  Harry hit on a couple critical points that make it a totally positive experience.  Private humble conversations and a maker with decent casting skills are required.  I've got to put more time in on the casting part.

      I had a unique opportunity to spend a few days on the Smith river with a well know fly fisherman a few weeks ago.  Matt West and I were with a group of 11 on a 5 day float.  Between the two of us we were carrying 6 bamboo rods.  Everyone else was using high end graphite rods.  It was 3 days before the bamboo topic came up.  It started with the predictable "don't you break a lot of those rods?" question around the camp fire.  That was all Matt and I needed to get the rods out.  The gentleman that asked about the rods had not cast bamboo since he was a kid.  And he's been in the fly fishing business longer than I've  been alive.   He spent  the next  hour casting  7 and 7.5’ 4 and 5wt rods and one 7’ 7wt.  The rod making conversation went on for hours.

      His conclusion was that he didn't know bamboo rods could cast like that.  And here's the kick in the butt, he said politely that he thought we were just a couple purist that couldn't cast when he saw  us carrying bamboo the first day on the river.  If he hadn't been such a nice guy, I might have been offended.  But I think that speaks volumes about first impressions.  We're probably perceived that way by many of our graphite carrying peers.

      He was genuinely impressed with the rods.  He said he has a Ralph Moon original at home.  We offered to fish it if he wasn't going to.  (David Bolin)

        It's a hoot to introduce anyone to bamboo, but you have to get the rod in their hand and let them cast it or fish with it. I was at an outing with a bunch of guys and there was one young guy that was interested in bamboo but he fished a short, very fast graphite that he used on small streams. His argument was that bamboo was too heavy, his rod only weighs one ounce, and his bad shoulder won't let him cast a heavy rod like bamboo, and on and on. I explained to him that while the bamboo is somewhat heavier the amount of energy that is required to cast the rod is usually less than a stiff rod since the rod is doing the work rather than your arm. I took my 6 ft. 3 wt and dropped it out 30 ft. with an easy cast and then handed it to him. After getting him to slow down and enjoy casting rather than working at it, his response was simply WOW! Let him fish with the rod and he landed a big brown on it and to his surprise it didn't break. By the end of the day he wanted a new bamboo rod, and I thought back to first time that I picked up a bamboo rod and said WOW I want one of these! Then thought to myself, I bet that I could make one of these and I haven't ever regretted making that decision.   (Gary Jones)

    I think the FFF has been good about promoting bamboo rods and rod making. I attended the 2005 FFF conclave in Livingston Montana. They had a week long bamboo rod building class (I attended, it was excellent). Jeff H had a big display of his bamboo collection. There were a number of rod makers in the vender area. Wayne Maca was there with his innovative hollow built rods.  I had the pleasure of meeting Ralph Moon and his wife. I saw a lot of bamboo rods being tested on the lawn. Tom Morgan was around with his Hand Mill.

    This year they are doing another bamboo rod building class and I'm sure we will see other activities around bamboo rods during the conclave. With this type of involvement we are pretty much guaranteed at least some of the CCIs are seeing bamboo rods.  (Will McMurrey)


I am working on my third rod. Harry suggested I build a Payne 200 based on my described needs and wishes. Problem is I have a new beveler that I enjoy using and cut all my strips down to size. LOVE IT! Makes turning out a rod much easier and faster.

Problem is.......I was using Hexrod and after talking to Harry yesterday I got the straight on the butt swell. HOWEVER. when prepping strips, I was looking at .141" as butt maximum size. Now I have butt strips of .150-.155 and can't get to the first swell of .165. Should I make another butt set of strips or just forget the swell? How will it affect the action? Will I notice it? Would it soften the action a little?  (Barry Janzen)

    Just glue on some splints of power fiber through the grip and as far up the butt as you need extra thickness.  Often you can fully disguise these with butt wraps, so no one would ever see them.  They definitely won't compromise butt strength.  (Paul Gruver)

    Why not simply build another rod for #3 and make the Payne 200 #4?   (Jim Lowe)

      Or just make the strips into another mid section and make two more butts sections and I would have two Payne 200's with the two tips I have already made.  (Barry Janzen)

        Yep, you could do that to and give the extra to a buddy. The 200 is great rod. Which taper are you using? Higham?  (Jim Lowe)


So let's talk about what makes a good rod.

I know that in my own limited rod making, I strive to achieve certain things. Some times when I look at rods made by rod makers that I'm told are "good", I think to myself " I'd strive to do better". Or I say "gee I couldn't ask $1500.00 for that."

They fall below my expectations and it makes me wonder sometimes if my expectations are too high or if its even fair to judge other work by what I would expect from myself but have not achieved.

So how do we measure "good"? Our own expectations? The general consensus of the community? Is there a certain level of craftsmanship or acceptable number or type of flaws that dictates what is " good".  (Jim Lowe)

    Does this person mean the rod itself isn't good, i.e. won't cast well, not well glued or otherwise, or does (s)he mean it isn't "pretty"? (Neil Savage)

    I think Jim is asking a good question here folks.  What makes a rod "bad"?  Here's my two cents worth.

    • A bad rod is the opposite of a good one.
    • A good rod, first and foremost, casts well.
    • The good rod also shows that the maker respected the medium of his craft. 
    • Flawless execution is not a requirement of a good rod, but an attempt to do things well is.
    • Shortcuts and skipped steps are to be avoided.
    • Guide feet should be tapered.
    • Wraps should be smooth and without major gaps which are the result of sloppy technique.
    • Nodes should be treated consistently and show a conscious decision about their spacing.
    • The reel seat should securely hold a reel.
    • Ferrules should be mounted straight and fit correctly.
    • The taper of the rod should be smooth -- no obvious bumps or dips when one runs his fingers up and down the flats.
    • Hexagonal rods should have six sides from one end to the other -- no sanding ll the way round down at the tips.
    • Gapped nodes and glue lines do not make a rod bad unless they are the obvious product of a lack of care.
    • The finish of the rod should do a good job protecting the bamboo and the wraps.

    Remember, these are the characteristics of a good rod, not a great one.  There are a thousand tiny details that distinguish a great rod from a good one.  I'm certain I have skipped some things that are important.  Can you add to the list?  (Harry Boyd)

      A good rod is one that catches fish by itself.  I handed my Sir D to a flyfishing novice friend to hold onto while I untangled a bird's nest that he put into his fly line.  While he was holding my rod (he didn't think to actually fish it) the Prince nymph that I'd tied on dangled in the current.  A nice brown gobbled the nymph up to the complete astonishment of my friend.  He shouted something to the effect of "what the heck do I do now?"  I told him the obvious: "Reel it in!!"  The lucky dog caught the only fish of the afternoon.  (Dennis Haftel)

    "are there minimum standards for consideration of a "good" rod?"

    Two hypothetical cases, regardless of tapers:

    1. A person who loves to flyfish, loves bamboo rods, and wants to make rods for himself, but unfortunately is inexperienced with tools and has poor eye-hand skills. He makes a rod that has many imperfections but performs well enough to satisfy his needs and gives him pride in the accomplishment.

    2. A person who is a talented craftsman who can make a near perfect rod but doesn't care about trying to produce that level of work and just gets by with rods that have many imperfections.

    I would rather congratulate person "1." and give him my respect and encouragement and help and say he has made a good rod.  (Steve Weiss)

      This brings to mind when I showed my second rod to Ron Barch. He said something along these lines: I cant believe this is your second rod,  It's a good fishing tool and well made. I would like to see #100. I don't know if I will ever get to 100 rods or 100 years. As you have it, good is a relative term and depends upon what rod you are talking about and who made it.

      Another thought, The large increase in the number of rodmakers who do not depend on rod making as a way to make a living has brought the standards of rod making to such a high level that anal retentive customers can pick and choose as they wish. The standards of today far exceed those in the days of classic cane.  (Doug Easton)

    Well, I'm certainly not an authority on the subject. But, it's just gotta have the right MOJO you know it's just gotta feel right and do it for you. That's the magic no one rod is gonna please everyone and we don't all have the same taste. I have seen some very beautiful rods and some not so pretty ones, my personal style is pretty simple and basic, that's just what I like. Does it make it right, don't think so, but it's me. Are my rods perfect? I personally don't think I have ever built a perfect rod. Don't know that I ever will, not bad though. One thing I can say is that they have character. My son says "you don't even have to sign them, they have your name all over them, just your style."

    You want to make a good rod? If you are being true to yourself, you are well under way. They are perfect! Flaws and all.  (Joe Arguello)

      I tell people yeah, my rods have defects! Birth marks are the little blems in the cane and the unavoidable marks. Then there's the birth defects, those are of my own making!!  (David Dziadosz)

    Bill Waara said the most important part of a good bamboo rod is the taper. If your not happy when you get on the water with your bamboo rod then what's the point. Kinda hard to argue with that. I know when I hand a rod to perfect stranger who's never cast a bamboo rod before and he cast a beautiful loop that brings a smile to his face I'm happy.  (Ken Paterson)

      I've struggled with the good rod bad rod question as a beginner.  I get lost in the conversation if cosmetics and functionality are commingled.  It seems to me that a rod shouldn't be put in the bad category because of cosmetics.  It might be ugly, but not bad (that's most of my rods).  There may be a few cosmetically perfect rods that belong in the bad category, but that's unlikely.  A maker that perfects the cosmetics probably learned to make good functional rods first.

      Generalizations about a particular maker or their nationality serve no purpose here or in any other discussion as far as I'm concerned.  This thread hasn't gone there yet.  Hopefully it won't.  We're all capable of making a bad rod if we get in a hurry or try to work around a mistake.  Bamboo rod making brings an international melting pot of craftsman to the table with common interests in fish, fishing, the environment and relationships that last a lifetime.  Oneupmanship has no place at that table.

      I think Bill Waara was spot on with the taper comment.  But it's more than the taper that makes it a functional rod.  It's having the right taper for the type of fishing and casting skill of the fisherman.  But there are a few characteristics of a rod that may doom it to the closet forever.  I don't have enough experience to know what all of them are, but here's a few that are on my list:

      1.   Uncontrollable tip bounce.

      2.   Heavy rods with no corresponding power

      3.   A grip that's too big or too small to fish comfortably

      4.   Sideways tip deflection in the casting stroke

      5.   Taking a set for no apparent reason (no fish on)

      6.   Reel seat hardware that won't fit the reel properly

      The absolute worst rod of all is the one that won't catch a fish when my buddies are slamming them with their graphite rods.  (David Bolin)

        David you have scored 100% and no one else even comes close.  A good rod is one that catches fish.  The other aspects such as taper, tip bounce poor esthetics are all covered in that explanation.  A rod that makes it difficult to catch fish is no good.  If it is too heavy  or too light if the grip is too large or too small, and all of those other things keep you from an enjoyable day's fishing ..bad rod  (Ralph Moon)

        I have seen your rods, they are not "ugly".  (Tony Spezio)


Garrison said somewhere that you have an acceptable rod if there are 8 mistakes or less.  If its good enough for him, its good enough for me – I figure – but I try to limit those mistakes to little ones!  (Brian Morrow)

    Are you sure that was Garrison?  I haven't reread it in a long time, but a statement like that would have stuck in my mind. I got the distinct impression that Garrison would have been totally intolerant of any mistakes in his own work.  (John Channer)

      I should have, of course, gone and reread Garrison before answering this. But life, I find, is a bit short for that sort of thing. If Garrison did say that then it was very uncharacteristic, and he was probably counting every minor imperfection in the varnish as one error. Eight thousandths off just above the handle he would have called disaster. Not even eight errors!  (Robin Haywood)

        I met an Italian violin maker based in Sydney once who almost convinced me I should get into that game who had a very good reputation and worked on Strads that required work if one happened to be in the country at the time.

        I saw a doco made about three violin makers in Australia and he was one of them. He said on the doco that if there are say 150 different operations in the making of a violin you aim to get 150 but never get more than 135 exactly right. You never get the same 135 exactly right and you never get 150. He'd made who knows how many over his life but he reckoned he'd made a violin up to the finish stage which his wife does the finishing of every 10 days for his whole life and he was almost at retirement when the doco was made.  (Tony Young)

      I believe Hoagy Carmichael said something to that effect in an interview   ".....even a perfect rod might have 6-8 flaws..."   The quote may be somewhere in George Black's book Casting a Spell. I agree.  Of course, they are much more visible to us.  (Darrol Groth)

        I thought maybe it was Glenn Brackett that said that. Maybe it was in Casting a Spell, or maybe it was in a podcast interview that I heard that. Then again, maybe several makers have said it and we are just chasing our tails. (Scott Bearden)

        You are correct UD - it was Hoagy Carmichael being quoted in Casting a Spell on page 232. '..."a good rod, a really good rod, is one where you make maybe nine mistakes."'(emphasis added) So much for perfection!  (Jeff Inglis)

    Eight? Only eight?  (Jeff Schaeffer)


Am I the only person to have ever made a bamboo rod who considers the term "clone" to be somewhere between a derogatory remark and a mortal insult?

Inquiring minds want to know.  (John Channer)

    I would think that would depend what your intent was and to what the remark of another was referring to. If the intent was to be original and the remark was that you were the same as everyone else’s. I would think that would be frustrating and disappointing. If your intent was to do a faithful reproduction then "clone" might be inaccurate I think the meaning would be that you had successfully met your goal. That said, if some s.o.b. is trying to bargain me down with insults i might hike the price and put him on a waiting list. Is there a good story here?  (Timothy Troester)

      Just to set the record straight so that we all are working with around or avoiding the real definition of the term "clone."  see below. As a Biologist, not necessarily as a rodmaker, I find the term misleading and don't particularly like extensions on terms that have real meaning. That being said it seems that the movies and popular culture have expanded the meaning of a perfectly good term so as to make cloning a "dirty word." Unfortunately it's easier to say than "based on a Payne 200 taper." From the point of view of "Rod DNA" which is another term which makes me cringe I guess that any copy of a Payne 201 taper made within the tolerances maintained by Jim Payne with comparable materials and workmanship could be a which also makes me cringe.  (Doug Easton)

      BTW: I make real clones all the time and so do plant propagators.

        While I appreciate your position, everyone knows that clones, no matter how good the copy, will self-destruct blowing themselves, and all around them, up!  I saw it last Sunday night on Futurama.

        Love ya all!  (Mike Shay)

      Speaking for myself, if I could clone a Dickerson 8014 I'd be as happy as a clam.  As it is, I just have to do my best.  (Neil Savage)


I had one of my spinning rods break (rather cleanly) right at the base of the female ferrule. I would have thought that it should have splintered at least a bit. Was this caused by to much heat somewhere along the way? My brother was using the rod and was probably a bit rough with it.  (Tom Kurtis)

    Could have been the way the ferrule was set.  Ferrules are the place where stress is the highest.  Bamboo flexes metal doesn't.  If you exceed bamboo's ability to flex you can get a clean break.

    Could also have been moisture got in there some time.  I've had old rods snap at the ferrule, usually after several years of having a crack in the wraps and being stored in a moist warm place.

    Those are the only ideas that come to mind right now.   (Terry Kirkpatrick)


Here is a question for those of you that actually make rods (and not assemble from components).

How many rods (indicatively) do you think it takes to make before one can make a "fine" rod? Do you think the number is 10, 20, 50, 100 etc. What do you rodmakers think? Yes, I know what defines a "fine" rod is rather subjective.  (Paul Blakley)

    Some of you make a fine rod right away, others of us never make a fine rod.  (Bill Lamberson)

      Bill has no right to use the word 'us' in that sentence.  He makes a fine rod.  I hold the rights to making the ugliest rods in the US.  (Rick Crenshaw)

        That's only cuz you use grits for glue.  Yours ain't so ugly any more.  And Bill does make a mighty fine rod.  (Mark Wendt)

    Do mean cosmetically or functional perfect?  Maybe both.  Who is discriminating? Other makers or public?  Because there a difference what.  (Gary Nicholson)

      I would define a fine rod as one that is straight, no visible glue lines and one with flawless cosmetics and fine varnish work etc.  (Paul Blakley)

        I think you could probably attain a good level of workmanship very early on in your rod making career today. Providing you have practical tool skill to start with. Its not coincidence most rod makers are engineers or wood workers of some sorts. There is a lot more information out there today which easily obtained just think about what goes on this site and a few others (its a lot easier now than when we first started out Paul for sure).

        Also if your been critical on your own rods. Your levels rise with each one. Just look at some of the rods on Clarks simply fantastic works of art.

        Really if your making just for pleasure your goals should be high. The pleasure is in the ride.

        Different if you make to sell (profit). You have to draw the line otherwise you would be working for 2 an hour and trying to sell your rods 3000.  (Gary Nicholson)

    It's been a long time since I read Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Bob Pirsig demonstrated that the issue of Quality can make you crazy. But back to the question at hand; the cosmetics of  some the rods made today far exceed those of Payne, Leonard, Dickerson and even Garrison. Should one aim to exceed that level of quality, or should one shoot to match the best of their rods? Should one feel a level of satisfaction for having maintained the classic standards of the craft? I admire the work of these makers because there is a certain Zen in a product with a balance of practicality efficiency and beauty. I think Marinaro was shooting for something special in his tapers, however as Bill points out in his book he didn't tolerate sloppy work or thinking either. But put one of his rods, an original Payne or Dickerson on the "Have you made any rods lately?" section of Clarks board I am sure you would get some nice comments but no raves. I guess Have answered my own question. We each have to continuously look for the Zen balance that feels right for us. Just like the rodmakers of old you will probably attract customers or admirers with the same sense of balance. A good read on this is George Black's book Casting a Spell.

    Wow - it's going to take a while to dig out of this.   (Doug Easton)

      The (good ones anyway) old  rods were made to cast great, look decent and sell for a profit, the ones on Clark's were made to cast great AND look great, you would have to ask those guys if they made a living wage doing it though.  (John Channer)

        My point was: Set your own balance, strive to hit it consistently and see if It gets you where you want to go. My goal right now is to be proud to say I made it when another angler approaches me on stream and asks where I got it  :)  (Doug Easton)

    I noticed that one maker dished out some sarcasm over on the CFRF when you made that statement. What you've asked is really not definable for many reasons. It really depends on the person making the rod and how fast they get through the learning curve in addition to how willing they are to take the time to do it right! I have seen rods by makers who have between 50-100 rods under their belt that leave something to be desired cosmetically and I've seen rods that were absolutely stunning by makers with less than 10 rods under their belt. Just looking through the Made a new rod lately? thread on the Classic Fly Rod Forum shows that very clearly. I think it was Mats Oberg who said the last rod he showed there was his 10th and it's very nice looking. I can't think of his name right now but the fellow who shares a shop with Mats posted a nodeless rod that was mortised about a foot above the grip with the forward section of the rod blond and from the mortise back to the grip very darkly flamed. Clearly impeccable workmanship! I feel pretty sure Chris Carlin has passed the 100 rod mark or getting close to it but the point is his work is outstanding and has been for quite sometime(in other words not long after he started making rods it was evident that they were 1st class)!I believe, right or wrong, that in today’s world it depends on the makers willingness to DO IT RIGHT far more than how many rods they've made.  (Will Price)

      It does matter how much effort you put into them.  I build "fishin poles" for me & my son & I do not worry about rubbing them out or any such thing.  I brush my rods by hand & they turn out OK.  Would they be better if I rubbed them out like others?  Maybe, but that is not my goal.  They cast well & that is all I care about.  Do I make a fine rod?  To me, yes they do what I want.  Others may say they suck or are ugly but it doesn't matter.  I guess what I am trying to say with this is it is all in the beholder's eye.  (Bret Reiter)

    I have seen guys who made their first rod & it was amazing & I have seen guys who have built 100 rods 7 the still don't get it.  I also built flintlock guns & I see the same thing there.  I go to a gun show in Kalamazoo Michigan that is for antique gun stuff 7 there are 2 guys who have set up for years & their guns look like square chunks of wood with a barrel 7 lock in it.  So how many does it take?  It depends on the individual.  (Bret Reiter)


I'm finishing up a Garrison 221 and decided to add a short fighting butt extension. My question is; should the extension add to the overall length, (butt section longer than tip section) or should the extension be included in the overall length? (both sections same length as usual) Does it matter if the extension is removable or permanent?  (Randy Fridlund)

    I made this rod in a 3 piece several years ago & I added a fighting butt to it.  My fighting butt is removable so all the sections are the same length when the fighting butt is not on it.  the fighting butt adds 3.5 inches to the butt section.  (Bret Reiter)


I broke a rod twice at exactly the same spot - just below the female ferrule.  The first time I thought I screwed up by leaving the ferrule tabs a little to thick but after thinning and reseating it happened again.

Now I'm thinking it has to be the bamboo.  Normally I use the same the same culm for both tip and butt sections but since this rod was for me I used some old strips, from the same culm, for the butt.  I mention this because I noticed the Butt nodes have a spotted splotchy dark color - maybe bacteria?.  The tip section isn't showing any stress and the color seems normal.

Anyway this is the first rod I've broken and to think it took place where the bamboo measures .204.  It happened both times while casting and without a heavy fish load, although the second time it happened was the day after catching several 18" wild browns.

Well my plan is to build another Butt section but it would be interesting to know if this has happened to anyone else?  (Doug Alexander)

    I’ve had one break on a roll cast once.  After looking at it closely, I could see that I nicked the bamboo below the ferrule while filing down the serrated tabs.  Wonder if this might be the case.  (Brian Morrow)

    Another thought, how much bamboo did you have to take off for the ferrule station to fit?  (Pete Van Schaack)

      Thanks for asking.

      I use my lathe with ferrule cutters so .204 bamboo cut for a size 13 ferrule, 13/64", measures after fitting .203. maybe .202.  (Doug Alexander)

        What type of rod taper was it? This might have something to do with the breaks.  (Bob Norwood)

          I was going to ask what taper it was also. Adding to that, was there a ferrule guide just below the ferrule?? Didn't Garrison mention that was a weak spot of the rod and that's why he wrapped (double wrapped) a guide at the ferrule?? I can't remember for sure, "Old Timer's Disease".  (David Dziadosz)

        That shouldn't do it, I think you might be on the right track with a spline or two of bad bamboo.  (Pete Van Schaack)

          So what is the acceptable amount of bamboo removal for cutting a ferrule station, - out of curiosity.  (Brian Morrow)

            I measure the blank end and what ever size ferrule that indicates I go the next size up. I just basically want to be able to take off the corners of the blank to fit the ferrule.  Some people think it adds more weight to the rod, I think it makes it a lot stronger.  (Ken Paterson)

    That is a fairly common place for a rod to break, so I doubt if it was the bamboo.  I asked this same question once on this list, and the answers seemed to boil down to mechanical damage.  Primarily, damage from too tight a grip by your lathe chuck, although any damage to the bamboo could be at fault.  (Ralph Moon)

    I think you just wanted to brag without seeming to about those two 18" browns.  {:>)

    BTW I just broke a rod a few days ago just below the mid section female ferrule. While casting a 7 wt sink tip line. It was the second rod I ever made 4 years ago. A 3 piece 8 1/2’ 6 weight. I haven't really looked into it yet as I just got home from the trip this afternoon. However it broke clean across just at the mouth of the ferrule, No splinters, just a clean break under the thread.   :>(

    Well that is the advantage to rolling your own.  No cash out of pocket when something like this happens.   I actually broke another rod in the same spot before I started into rodmaking, a Heddon #20 8 1/2'  3 piece 8 1/2 ft for 5-6 wt.  (Larry Swearingen)

      Yeah, no cash out of pocket unless it was on a customers rod...LOL  (Mike Shay)

      How dare you accuse me of being a braggart ... even though you just might be right!

      As it turns out I fished the Big Horn River in Montana Sept. 10 - 17 (although one of those days, I think it was the 13th, we took a road trip and fished the Tongue River -the River is all wade able, I came within 50 feet of a Moose and the fish are aggressive- in Wyoming for Cutthroat Trout).  I was very pleased with our Big Horn results since we rented a boat and fished Zero to Thirteen in tough conditions and still managed great fish up to 22".  We are committed dry fly guys and fished mostly top water and with a few streamers on cloudy days.  Our best results were with Hoppers but we did enjoy success with occasional black caddis activity using our modified, with CDC. sparkling caddis pupa (fished dry using the new Harrop oil) and Hemingway caddis.

      Anyway my ferrule broke off both times the same way yours did, a clean break with no splinters just below the ferrule at the thread.  I really think it was the bamboo and I started on a new butt section today.   As I said  this  was  my  first break(s) and it came as a surprise but one list member reminded me that the greatest amount of stress is just below the female ferrule.

      Thanks again for your comments, I got a pretty good laugh!  Your message is exactly how my friends talk to me - all the time.  (Doug Alexander)

        Not to be a smart a$$ or anything but I have never figured out how people end up breaking rods.  The only rod I have ever broken in almost 50 years of fishing was an Orvis Trident that I broke in 3 pieces over my knee.

        Is it because you stress the rod too much playing a fish?  I know I see a lot of guys who bend a rod well past the 45 degree angle even as far as close to 90 degrees.  I have caught Kings upwards to 60#s in Alaska on an 8 foot 6 weight  Leonard bamboo & I did not even break that.

        Again I am just wondering how this is done?  (Bret Reiter)

          Don't know about the bulk of them, but one thing that you see a lot of in this country, especially amongst graphite anglers, is "high-sticking";  in my opinion it is one of the most common causes of rod fracture here.

          I don't deliver much of a pep talk to the people who buy my rods, but I do warn them about high-sticking every time!  (Peter McKean)

            What exactly do you call "High Sticking" ?  (Larry Swearingen)

              Lifting the stick above the height of the crossbar, of course.  (Larry Blan)

              I mean raising the rod up to a position where it is at least vertical, and often past vertical, while playing a fish.

              The Poms used to call it "Putting the wood to the fish" because the butt was pointed more or less at the fish

              But whatever you call it, it puts a lot of stress on the rod.  (Peter McKean)

                Agreed.  (Larry Swearingen)

                  But the fact that just about all stress related breaks occur at the female ferrule and not at the male leads be to believe it's a design fault in most rods at the ferrule station and improving that and ferrule fitting will improve strength of your rods.  (Ken Paterson)

                U-bends in rods are not good!  (Timothy Troester)

                I have always kept my 5 wt. rod close to vertical, slight angle favoring the fish, which allows the rod to act as a shock absorber when protecting my 6X tippet ... especially with big trout.  When the fish pushes for power and take a run, I allow my drag system to help my wrist, (which also acts as a buffer), to protect the rod.  This is why I think a reel's drag systems is very important.

                I would never go past vertical pointing my rod butt at the fish.  I've never seen this done and it occurs to me your asking for trouble.

                It might just be my imagination but I think bamboo tires a fish quicker than graphite.

                I have never broken a rod with a fish on.  (Doug Alexander)

                  Vertical puts too much pressure on the ferrule station of the rod & does not allow a good shock absorber.  This is where  see rods getting broken.  (Bret Reiter)

            Exactly Peter, that is what I see all the time; thus a broken rod.  (Bret Reiter)

          I've broken, or had break while I used them, 3 rods over the years. All while casting and all with some unusual casting gear on the end.

          #1 - A St. Croix 9’ 8 wt 4 piece that I used for Surf fly fishing in California. I used 200 gr. and 300 gr. shooting heads with running line. Not really what you'd really consider "Fly fishing" but it WAS a fly rod.  One of the mids fractured longitudinally during a cast.  St. Croix gave me a new section.

          #2 My 50 year old Heddon #20 8 1/2’ 2 tip 3 piece for 5-6 wt. Broke just below the mid female ferrule while nymphing on the Pit River in CA.  IE: using two good sized split shot and a bobicator.   That isn't really what you would consider a cast, just more like lobbing the whole rig or drifting it down the slot then flipping it back upstream.  This technique really doesn't stress a rod very much. Unless you are using graphite and "ding" a section with the split shot. This was before I started making my own bamboo rods. Chris Raine of Dunsmuir Rod Company "fame" :>)  was kind enough to shorten the mid section and reset the ferrule for me and in a short enough time that I could get back to fishing my bamboo.

          #3 the last one broken just a few days ago was the second rod that I made. In early 2004 so about 4 years old.  It was a Payne 204 taper. A 8 1/2ft. 3pc 6wt. I'vew used this rod quite a bit but never on any really large fish. Maybe a few 16-18" Bass but no steelhead or salmon. Got the taper from the online Hexrod site.  This taper is a "sort of Convex" taper. That is the sections are roughly "convex" between the ferrules. Know what I mean Vern? I was fishing a small National Forest lake in western Michigan from my float tube using a 7wt sink tip line.  Certainly not the most "elegant" method but I was catching perch in the deeper water with it. In this case I can think, in retrospect, of a number of things that possibly contributed to the breakage:

          A) Using a 7wt Sink Tip line .. Not the best combination for smooth casts.   False casting a Sink Tip line is "shocky" at best. The line I have is a short tip, roughly 10’ sinking section. A longer sinking section would probably be less stressful to cast.

          B) Casting from a Float Tube.  Hard to keep the line up out of the water when you sit that low. Especially when you have that sink tip line whipping around.

          C) I remember having some trouble keeping my planing angles correct in my first few rods.  I may have had to correct final angles by removing more of the enamel side than was good practice.  If that was the case near the ferrule then I had more Pith and less Power fibers.   That would possibly account for the type of break that happened.  No splintered section, just a straight across break.

          Anyway, I'll probably get down to the shop today and look closer at the break.  (Larry Swearingen)

            OK, the 1st one was a graphite I am assuming so it sounds like you may have ticked the section during a cast so that may account for that break.

            The 2nd rod it just sounds like you over stressed it with the setup you were using.  Not the best combination for a bamboo rod in my mind.  Chuck & duck is a pretty stressful way to fish any rod in my mind that is why I do not do it.

            The 3rd rod I am eager to see what you figure out, but I am thinking that the combination of what you said over stressed that rod as well.  Sounds like more of a tuna rig to me.  How much cane did you remove to set that ferrule too?  (Bret Reiter)

              #1 was indeed a graphite and "ticked" is pretty polite terminology. I probably "Crashed it" a few times with the 200 grain shooting head in the surf.

              #2 was a 50 year old (at least) rod and the Heddon rods of that configuration, 8 1/2' 2f taper, have a bad reputation of breaking exactly in the same place.

              #3 was a rod I made.  To numbers provided my John Channer and Dennis Higham on the on-line Hexrod site. Indeed I did cut into the power fibers quite a lot.  Remember that was my second rod. The bamboo remnant measured just above the ferrule is 0.182" and the ferrule interior measures 0.0172".  That's 5 thousandths off the power fibers each side not to mention the corners. The numbers called for a #11 ferrule there but the ferrule should probably have been a step down style with 12/64 for the female to 11/64 for the male. Also I feathered the tabs but did not crown them.

              I think I'll just salvage the parts off this rod.  I was never happy with the cork grip style I put on it.  Too small at the front.  The mid and both tips have visible glue lines from the URAC that I used with Walnut Flour.  The flour was not sifted well enough and had lumps apparently. That doesn't seem to have affected the strength of the bamboo though.  Still, better to just put it to rest.  Parts to maybe live in yet another rod.  (Larry Swearingen)

    Interesting topic with some surprising replies.

    I was wondering if anyone has any experience breaking a bamboo ferruled rod.  I would be interested in knowing at which point it fractured.  (Larry Tusoni)

      I have tried to break one but did not have a lot of luck. The strength of a bamboo ferrule is very strong, the rod give way at the butt section first. Also my friend PB has tried to break one same conclusion. It's a seriously strong joint when constructed correctly. I personally believe its stronger than a metal ferrule joint.  (Gary Nicholson)

        PB here and I can confirm everything Gary says. I have purposely tried to break a bamboo ferruled rod by SERIOUSLY over bending the rod and could not break the ferrule irrespective of how severe I bent it. Bamboo ferruled rods are good, the aesthetics of the joints are however questionable and customers who trust them are few and far between.  (Paul Blakley)

      You've seen the bamboo ferrules I incorporate, with females built into the butt section, and (knock on bamboo) NONE have broken yet. One of my customers has caught numerous ten pound fish on that 7' 6", 4 wt. design... and it's still going strong. It seems the male portion, which on mine, is the smaller point, would break first. I'm still wanting to try the Italian version you introduced me to... very sleek looking idea.  (Mike St. Clair)

    Poor casting technique is a great way to snap a rod just below the ferrule on the butt.  Yes, I have a rod from years ago that is broken just there.  I keep it as a memento.

    I learned to really cast, learned to really fish, and I don't break rods anymore.

    Anyone who says they never broke a rod probably lies about other things as well.

    Casting a rod is NOT like beating a rug.  Even though there are many rodmakers out there with many rods under their belts that look like rug beaters when they cast.

    But their wraps are very nice.  That's what counts, right?  (Chris Raine)

      Speaking of lying fishermen, I just returned from a couple of days in salt water at Apalachicola FL, with a group of 10 fellows.

      I brought home the only trophy, a magnificent thing about 2 feet tall, with a fish on top of the vase or whatever it is.  Unfortunately, it was not given for the biggest fish, nor even for the most fish, but for telling the biggest lie !

      Remind me to tell it sometime.  (Carey Mitchell)

        I would say you have earned bragging rights. (Timothy Troester)

      A dear friend of mine, who has since passed on gave me a small plaque once it is inscribed:

      "All fishermen are liars except you and me.......and I'm starting to worry about you!"  (Joe Arguello)

      You calling me a liar?  I have never broken a rod except for the one I broke over my knee.  I still have every rod that I have ever owned since I was a kid & I will show you every one of them to prove the point.  from spinning rods to fly rods.

      Poor casting & over exuberance playing fish is what breaks rods.  (Bret Reiter)

        Poor casting & over exuberance playing fish is what breaks rods.

        There are other things that break rods too:

        Stupidity breaks rods.  I have broken 2 but neither were from casting or landing a hawg fish. One was a gr***ite that I did not take apart and tried to get through my back door. The other was the tip of my favorite Sir D. To this day I do not know how I broke that tip. Just took it out of the rod bag, and there it was.

        I also saw another tip of a rod I made broken by someone else trying to yank a fly out of a tree. The heck of it was I gave it to him as a gift and it was his first time out with the rod.  (Bill Bixler)

          Oh yeah, I did forget stupidity.  (Bret Reiter)

            Understandable.  Fish don’t realize they are in water, either.  (Brian Creek)


Recently there were some posts about the "right" way to build a bamboo rod.  Because of the holidays I couldn't get the chance to respond.  Now that the wife is back to work and the Christmas decorations are back up in the garage I'd like to make my first post to the list.  But - it will be in parts so that if anyone is not interested they can delete right away thereafter.  I'm going to try to make the posts more toward beginners but add in some findings and questions for the more advanced.

The original thread went from the beginning steps of rod building to the end.

My first step is to choose a rod taper to build.  My first rod taper was recommended by my mentors because it should be within my ability to build (no ability at all at first), it was a Garrison taper (the 202e), which they liked and felt would be appropriate, and finally (an important point for beginners) the taper fit the two half culms I had.  The first culm was purchased from someone who wanted to try rodbuiding and gave it up and the culm had been cut to fit in his car.  It was explained to me that the cut points on the culm, the nod locations on the two halves and the rod taper would cause some problems with node locations at the tip top and the ferrule locations, and with the staggering of the nodes in the rod blank.  So - one of my first lessons was to try to match the taper with culms I have (I originally got a bale of 20 12 foot culms from Demarest that allowed me to make choices).  Later I added the weight of the culm and other factors to the choice of the culm to use that I'll talk about below.

My second step would be the actual choice of a culm, which to some extent is dependent upon the taper you want to build.  I'll begin by visually inspecting the culms suspended in my basement ceiling.  I'm looking for the diameter I'll need, which may vary from taper to taper and whether it will be a one piece, two piece or two tip rod; the straightness of the culm; any visual defects, major sweeps (the culm looks like a slithering snake), crush points; and node separation.  I will then pick out two to three culms and bring them down onto my basement floor for a closer inspection, feel the weight of each (for the same diameter and length a greater weight should be somewhat indicative of power fiber depth) and sight down each culm and roll them back and forth to see how bad the sweeps are and where they are.  The next thing I'll do is to take a rough taper length model out of the storage bin that matches the taper length I want to use.  The model is nothing more than a piece of pine cutoff from a 1 x 4 or 1 x 6 the is now about 3/4's by 1/4 and meets the length I need.  With a marking pen and a tape measure I have marked out the 2 inch leeway on each end, the node stagger dimension of 1 5/8 inches (I use the Garrison stagger method because I believe that he is correct, to a point, that the other five strips or splines will make up for a possible weakness of the node) and the basic taper length.  I also mark out with a red felt pen the 5 inch and three inch clear points (no nodes will occur in this area which is representative of the ferrule locations from very good to acceptable).

The Model:

What the model looks like:  Starting at one end of the stick I come in about 2 inches and make a black line across the stick, then two inches, make another and draw an "X" across the box.  This is the first leeway area.  Next I mark lines across at 1 5/8 inch increments five times as I move down the stick and give each line a number from 1 to 6 starting at the bottom of the "X" box.  This automatically builds in the nod stagger.  From line number 6 (the last one I made I move down 3 inches and put a red line and two more inches and put another.  This sets the three and five inch clear areas on one end.  I next measure from the number 6 node stagger mark down the length of the wood stick the length of the working rod length (for a 7 foot, two piece, rod that would be 42 inches) and make a mark there.  I then measure 2 inches further and make a mark for the leeway with the "X" in the box again.  I then go back to the point that marks the end of the rod taper (the 42 inch point I just talked about) and make black marks at 1 5/8 inch increments, going back up the stick, five times and mark them 1 through 6 with the number 6 at the leeway box this time. I then mark the 3 and 5 inch points going back up the stick for the clear areas on this end.  The entire stick for a 7 foot, two piece rod is about 58 inches, and the actual length from the end of each marked leeway box is 54 and 1/8 inches.  I then mark on the stick that it is for a 7 foot rod,  42" strips, 2" leeway, 46" working length, 54 1/8" end to end.

While the above sounds like a lot it is not and all I do once the model is made is take the right one down, place it next to the culms on the floor and slide it back and forth at each end to see which culm would be best to meet the needs of the node stagger and the tip top placement and ferrule.  It only takes a couple of minutes to decide which one to use and mark it up for cutting.  For beginners, this is only a rough length with the nod stagger built in and not the working length.  That will come in the next installment.  (Jim Nash)


Hello to all and many thanks for all you do to assist wannabes like myself who decide to set off down that adventurous road of self taught/learned cane rodmaking. I am slowly inching down the path of building my first cane blank. I got a bale of Demarest cane last Summer, opted to buy a used set of forms, went with a J.W. binder, and will build my drying cabinet and dip tank. I just finished my mica strip oven and am preparing to work the nodes and rough plane my first rod's strips that I split without too much blood letting or aggravation. I ended up with 18 strips from the butt section of the culm and 20 from the top half.  I 'took' rather easily to controlling the splitting process ( at least the eveness of the strips width) though many of the strips have less than ideal edge angles.

The treatment of nodes is finally beginning to 'crystalize' in my late middle-aged mind after repeatedly referring to the three books I have on rodbuilding namely Jack Howell's, Wayne Cattanach's (DVD set also), and Maurer/Elser's. The woodworking aspects along with effective sharpening/maintenance of edge tools were already part of my knowledge base, so that saved a not-too-insignificant amount of time in these areas, and I must say (no bragado intended), I have a rather complete array of woodworking tools. I suppose it also doesn't hurt that I've been flyfishing and flytying ( and yes, (sigh) I confess, a graphite rod assembler) for about 45 of my 53 years of age mostly due to my late father's influence and love of the sport. But, enough about me.

Several issues  have already 'popped-up' for me, the first dealing with the oven I just finished. I am less than satisfied with it's ability to hold a tight range on temperature. I closely followed Wayne C's. plan. I'm using a Robert Shaw universal oven control with the 54" 650 watt mica strip heater. One inch fiberboard insulation sandwiched between fairly well constructed (tight) nesting galvanized sheet metal boxes. The oven's temp - checked with a digital thermometer at the mid point - rises pretty quickly to around 10% higher than the control's 'set' temp and then slowly drops to a point - again about 10% - lower than the set temp before the oven 'cycles' the strip back on again. This seems to me to be an excessive range of variation ---- or is my OCD already a concern? Does this seem like acceptable performance or are there better control systems out there?

Two other concerns. As I have yet to decide on an adhesive system (kinda leaning towards Epon) or  what taper (again kinda leaning towards a PHY Perfectionist) to select for  my first blank attempt, I am looking forward to any 'advice' or 'recommendations' from the grizzled gallery of wise men (and women) as to which choices in these areas might be more gentle (forgiving?) on a virgin such as myself.  (Jim Sency)

    It’s not uncommon for a “standard type”  bi-metallic oven temp control to swing the range you’ve quoted.  As a matter of fact, two months ago, I suspected my kitchen oven was inaccurate and set about measuring the temp with an industrial digital thermometer.  I measured exactly the swing you did.

    The way to get good temp uniformity is to use a PID digital controller combined with a strip heater the full length of your oven.  You can find the controllers on Ebay for as little as $25 (new).  Having installed a PID controller, you have to tune it to get best control in your system.  Another way to improve the performance of a PID system is to re-circulate air through your oven at the rate of about 300 cfm per kilowatt of heater.  The more the better.  (Al Baldauski)

      Can you point me in the right direction as far as selecting and wiring a PID controller?  Besides the controller and strip heater, is there anything else required?  (Steve Krumpos)

        I am not Al, but I am in the position of getting started and needing to set up some kind of bamboo toaster arrangement for myself. I did some Googling  and found what looks like a pretty nifty little PID controller setup for a pretty reasonable price. I have no commercial interest in this outfit. See here.

        To go with it you would need a temperature sensor -- a thermocouple (they sell that too) and a solid state relay which the controller uses to turn the heater on and off. You would need that plus power cord, wiring, some sort of box or enclosure in which to build it up.  (Mike McGuire)

          You can find similar controllers on Ebay at the same or lower price with thermocouples included.  Some of them come from the far east which is not necessarily a bad thing since most of these things probably are assembled over their but are sold by US companies.  (Al Baldauski)

    If you take my advice, you will use Epon to start with.  I have used a wide range of glues, but have come back to Epon, even though I really do not like the smell.  It has a workable viscosity, long working time and admirable characteristics once set.

    I thought I had found God's answer to the glue problem when I tried Titebond III, but, while I have not actually had any problems with it, there is something down in the reptilian part of my brain that doesn't like its temperature tolerance.  So, back to Epon.  Measure accurately and mix well and you won't have any problems with it.  (Peter McKean)

      An epoxy alternative to Epon is Uhu Plus 300 (Uhu Endfest 300), which is widely used in Europe for rod building.  It does not have any disagreeable odor and has a long working time.  With heat treatment as contained in the directions, it achieves a very high degree of adhesion.  In Europe one can buy it in a department or hardware store, but in the US a good source is found here.  The package they sell comprises two small tubes which will glue-up 2-3 rods.  Uhu Plus 300 is not particularly sensitive to the mixture ratio.  It mixes at a nominal 1:1 which is very easy to estimate.  (Tim Anderson)

    Welcome to The List Jim!  Sounds like you're off to a good start.  I've been down the same road with the oven.  You can read that story here.  For what it's worth, you can read my glue story here.  As for the taper, the perfectionist is a sweet rod.  But...I wouldn't recommend a parabolic for your first bamboo rod.  Unless you're already fishing bamboo parabolics.  My first rod was a Para 14.  That was a big mistake.  Nothing against the taper, it just wasn't a good place to start.  A Payne 101 would make a good starting point for the transition from graphite to bamboo.  (David Bolin)

      I'm not sure about the Payne 101, I haven't made one yet, but it would depend on the kind of fishing you do.  I fish big water, and the Waara 5 wt. was suggested to me.  The Perfectionist was my second rod and I didn't like it  (though I was severely castigated for saying so.)  I put a heavier reel on it and it's better, but still a bit light for the fishing I do.  My most recent was a Dickerson 7614, and it's sweet.  (Neil Savage)

      I couldn't agree with David more about the perfectionist being your first rod. It was my first rod after coming from a tip flex Orvis graphite rod. I was ready to chuck the hole thing. I started reading and digging around in the archives and tips site and found out about parabolic tapers and what they were. I later learned how to cast this rod and I now truly enjoy the taper. If you are coming from graphite, I agree, pick something else like David says.  (Bill Bixler)

        I agree with David and Bill.  I love my Perfectionist but it is surely different from graphite.  The Payne 101 is a rod about as close to graphite characteristics that you will find from the “old school”.  Here is a bamboo taper that was designed to behave like a Cortland graphite rod of a medium fast action.  It’s very similar to a Payne 101 but with a little more flex in the tip.

        Skylands 7’6” 5wt

        0.060
        0.075
        0.090
        0.105
        0.120
        0.135
        0.150
        0.167
        0.185
        0.202
        0.220
        0.237
        0.255
        0.272
        0.290
        0.307
        0.325
        0.342
        0.360   (Al Baldauski)

    Well this is my first post and thank God its on a subject I know a lot more about than rod building! With reference to Jim’s issues with the oven here are some of my thoughts. I have a little experience in this area as I spent 4 long years of my life making temperature controlled chambers. The key issues are as follows:

    • How fast can you heat the area to the temperature required
    • What is the speed of response of the control unit you are using
    • What is the speed of response and positioning of the sensor
    • Can you exclude draughts from the chamber
    • Is the external frame insulated and reflective

    OK, assuming you use a mica strip heater (which I would) you can heat the chamber rather quickly, now that causes an issue because if either the sensor or controller is slower that the rate of change of temperature then you send the core temperature into a large cycle and you will never manage to stabilize it. I think the oven controller you are using maybe fast enough but I doubt the sensor is.  The general  oven controllers only have a +/-5 – 10% accuracy anyway so that leads to problems when you reach high temperature (i.e. At 200 you could be anywhere between 180 and 220). The sensors from oven controllers are really slow because they are encased in metal to protect them, but then the metal casing has to heat and cool too which also makes the system slow (actually this is most likely the main problem!). When I make chambers I control them, and I know this sounds mad, with controllers from commercial fridges. These are made to be much more accurate and can be set for heating control. Also they will take bare sensors which are really fast to react. Although the controller is slightly more expensive you will get great results. At one stage I was designing heaters for hogs and even though the heated surface is exposed to the outside we could keep the temperature to with 1% of the set temperature. I would recommend getting single stage digital controllers with NTC probes. The controller will cost more but the results will be really good and they last for years. The issue of hot spots is a really easy one, I went down the road of fancy flow exchanges and external fan control systems, but they cost a lot and didn’t work well as they all introduce cooler air along the way. The simple solution is to mount one slow rate fan close to either end in opposite directions. If you make them slow enough they move the air just enough to average out the temperature without causing a heat tunnel. And the best bit is they cost very little. You can get good large computer fans with speed control in most PC shops cheaply. (Michael Kennedy)


Somebody out there must have some knowledge of what will attach UHMW to UHMW. I tried Rockler's tech number, 'cause they sell it. No joy, though he mentioned GOOP, which I tired this am, and that ain't IT!  (Art Port)

BTW, I've never used JB Weld, though I have some - any thoughts on that? I assumed it is just epoxy, but I've certainly been wrong before!

    What is UHMW?  (Peter McKean)

      Ultra High Molecular Weight (plastic).  (Art Port)

    They say it can’t be done.  Must be mechanically fastened. See this link.  (Ralph Tuttle)

      Tch, tch.

      Ralph, yer on the rod makers list.  Never, ever, ever, say something can't be done...

      I'm starting to think you might be from LawnGuyLand too.  (Mark Wendt)

      Probably your best bet for gluing would be Aquaseal.  (Ken Paterson)

    Not much will stick to UHMW, (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) it's basically a wax, but I found this link, go down about halfway,

    to the post by a obgyn2915, he gives some info on 2 special glues, one by 3M.  Can't attest to either working, but "FWIW", maybe they would.  (Ralph MacKenzie)

    Found two references, here and here.

    Why you trying to adhere two pieces of some of the most slippery stuff in the world?  Can't you get a bigger piece and cut it to size?

    Tch.  You LawnGuyLanders.  (Mark Wendt)

      Yo, Beltway Boy,

      You ever try to make 1/4 round molding? You rout it into a wide board's edge and then trim the edge off to width. I want to make 60 degree grooves in UHMW for a Medved style anvil. That is most easily done by using a 60 degree router cutter on two OUTside edges of a 4" X 48" slab and then ripping those edges off and reversing them to form a 60 degree groove withOUT a malformed bottom.

      I guess I can screw them together but I was hoping for glue.  I tried GOOP. And it sux! The test was a dismal failure.

      I want to thank Mac for sending me the 3M 4693 info, but it doesn't look strong enough for my purposes.

      Alack and alas,

      StatNislander (Art Port)

        There is no know glue for polyethylene.  Industrially, PE is bonded using hot air or ultrasonic welding techniques.  (Al Baldauski)

        Sheesh.  You LawnGuyLanders.  Take a small end mill or a carbide burr down the center of the bottom of the "V" groove after you finish, and go slightly deeper than the bottom of the "V". The sides of the "V" groove are going to support the cane, not the bottom.  Think planing form...  Ain't no bottom to yer "V" groove there.  (Mark Wendt)


It is cold here on the Outer Banks and I need help! I have four rods to varnish and my shop is cold (around 60 degrees). I have built a varnish room which is 2 feet deep, three feet wide and 10 feet high. It is divided vertically into the bottom where the varnish tubes reside and the top portion is the drying part with plexiglass doors. I want to heat the room up to about 80 degrees without blowing myself up. Suggestions. (oh my wife made me move the varnishing operations out of the heated portion of the house- something about the smell of volatiles from the varnish did not appeal to her.  (George Wood)

    It's also cold here in Michigan - today's top temp. reached a whopping 22 degrees F - that's a heat wave!!

    I had the similar situation and hence here is my solution; maybe you'd find it useful

    I made the dipping tube out of an aluminum tube. I then wrapped it on the outside, evenly spaced, with the heating cable used for keeping reptiles; the brand I bought is called Zoo Med Repti heating cable.

    then used the aluminum tape for heating to secure the cable in place, evenly spaced, of course - be sure to leave the leading 6 1/2 ft non-heating cord out.

    I then wrap the whole thing in fiberglass insulation - then drop everything in a 4" PVC pipe.

    Surprisingly, it heats up the varnish quickly and you do have to monitor the temp and unplug accordingly. If you want to have something nicer, find an aquarium heating cable with Thermostat built-in - you can then set the temp and it'd automatically adjust the desired temp.

    Hope this helps - I am rather happy with the results.  (Jimmy Chang)

      I did something similar to Jimmy.

      I took a PVC tube and wrapped it in a heat tape used for roofs. It has a thermostat that does not kick on until something like 35 degrees. I cut that off and attached the little wires to an electric rehostat for a light and mounted that in an electrical box on the tube. I put a thermometer in the tube and can adjust the heat.

      I wrapped the whole thing in Aluminum insulating tape. It has worked for years and I can get it to 90 degrees if I want to.  (Gordon Koppin)

      Jimmy's idea reminds me that a cable for keeping pipes from freezing and is thermostated,  is available from your big box or plumbing store. I have no idea what temperature.  Also nurseries and seed sellers have cables which go under the seedbed which can get to the 80s. They are safe and can even get wet as i recall.  (Dave Burley)

    They only smell for a short time.

    Most home made "hot box" I have seen people build, they use light bulbs for a heat source.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I would set up a small light bulb in a ceramic socket and put it in your varnish "room", near the floor.  I'd start with maybe 30 watts.  You also could wrap some insulation or Styrofoam board around the room. A thermometer viewable from outside would be very helpful.  (Dave Burley)

    Wow George, 60 degrees.  Around here we would be getting out the barbecue's and patio furniture.    I recently built a varnish cabinet very similar to what you have.  Mine is about 2 feet square and 9 feet tall with a dip tube in the bottom and upper see through doors into the drying area.  As I sit here at the computer in the house, I can see that the workshop temp is a balmy 41 degrees and the cabinet is at 72 degrees.  I know this because I have one of those wireless indoor/outdoor thermometers and I put one sensor in the cabinet and one in the shop.

    My heat source is simply 2, 100 watt light bulbs mounted to the bottom floor of the cabinet.  A couple of coffee cans with the bottoms cut out slip over the bulbs for a heat shield.  Also in the cabinet and wired to the light bulbs is a thermostat mounted in a standard electrical box.  This is the kind of thermostat that is used for electric baseboard heaters and operates directly on 120 volt AC circuits.  This gives about a 2 degree control.

    Now this arrangement may seem like an invitation for a Nunley considering the presence of volatile vapors and hot light bulbs but the cabinet is vented at the mid height and near the top, allowing for some air exchange.  The amount of volatiles coming off a drying blank is really quiet small and the flash point is pretty high. So far it has worked just fine for me.  (Rick Hodges)

    My 2 cents worth - only heat it if you absolutely feel you have to.  My own experience is that I get much better drying performance in my marine polyurethane varnish if I don't heat up the cabinet.  In winter here it probably goes to 0 - 2 0r 3 degrees Centigrade in my cabinet overnight, and at those temperatures I might consider using a 40 watt bulb as a heat source, but I still feel you get a much better finish if you just leave it to dry by itself.

    As they say, this advice is probably worth every penny you paid for it.......  (Peter McKean)

      I usually read on the cans (tins) of varnish that 55F or 65F (11C-16C) is the correct application temperature for brushing on and levelling the finish. The rate of evaporation of the solvent and the rate of cure of the finish goes down as the temperature goes down. The quality of the finish would be hard to predict as a function of temperature due to these factors. Better to stay within the design of the formulators if you can, although it does not mean other regimes won't work.

      Here's a good general purpose article on varnish that may be of interest to some readers.  (Dave Burley)

    Thanks for all the great ideas. I settled on the light bulb approach and I can stabilize my varnish room at 75 degrees with two 100 watt light bulbs. One is installed in the lower cabinet and will be turned on a couple of days before dipping to make sure the varnish is warm and the upper bulb wil be turned on when I dip so I can see and to provide some warmth in the upper chamber. I suspect I will turn both bulbs off right after dipping and allow the varnish to cure in the ambient temperature of about 50 degrees unless someone advises differently.  (George Wood)


I'm close to putting down the floor in my new 10'x12' shop and need some advice (I'll probably get more than I need and most will be conflicting, but what the heck).  The shop has a raised wood sub floor of 1 1/8" thick plywood, but I would like to put something harder for better wear and easier cleanup.  I'm leaning towards hardwood oak or maple, but I could go with some type of engineered product which would cut down on the cost.  Any opinions based on personal experience?  (Tom Key)

    Something that will take a liking to varnish!  (Scott Grady)

    For about the same cost as nail down hardwood, you could put down bamboo?? And use the leftovers to make rod tubes.  (Larry Lohkamp)

      Bamboo flooring does not "wear well."  When I worked for an Interior Designer we installed some in a clients penthouse.  You couldn't slide a couch around without marring the floor. Not my idea of something you want in a shop floor. Go with the maple if you can afford it. Most of the "engineered product" is a hardwood face maybe 1/4" thick over softer plywood core. Anything is better than concrete slab, except maybe a dirt floor.  :>)  (Larry Swearingen)

    No personal experience,  but I hear that BAMBOO flooring is super!!!!!!! HAHAHA!!! (No, really, I have...)  (Mike St. Clair)

    I have a similar size room in my shop with a similar raised floor which I covered with oak parquet squares from the home center. I'm very pleased with it. Looks good, cheap, cleans easily, fresh coat of varnish  every few years will spruce it up.  (Dick Steinbach)

    My shop floor when I inherited it from my new bride, had an engineered wood floor. She was constantly bugging me to not scratch it, and I found with the slightest drop of moisture, particularly snow, of which we get occasionally up here in BC, it becomes slicker than you know what?

    my choice was to install an interlocking tile, with edges like jigsaw puzzles, purchased from Home Depot, at a reasonable cost.

    It vacuums well, occasionally gets washed (once or twice a year), and most importantly is non slip, I am very attached to my fingers and other parts.

    Under my bench I have added on top, an open mesh type rubber flooring for comfort, and this too is easily vacuumed or lifted for sweeping under, as well as being comfortable to be swinging the plane on.

    Like ya said,  you will get lotsa input, but this is working for me.  (Keith Paskin)

      I made my shop work area floor entirely out of interlocking cushioned flooring.  Now the rest of the basement where the shop is, is going to be bamboo.

      Did the cushioned floor because I hate a sore back. (Bret Reiter)

    Go with bamboo flooring.  Better wearing, better for the environment since it grows so fast & duh we work with bamboo anyway.  (Bret Reiter)

      Think hard about the bamboo. I have it in my shop, courtesy of my employer, 'cause we needed to do a test installation with the bamboo glued direct to the concrete with a couple of different adhesives - and who just happened to have a brand new slab.  Although it was beautiful it is taking a beating. The cheaper bamboos' finishes scratch easily, mine does not. ALL bamboo that we have tested dents easily.  Where the cutoffs fall from the table saw is really a mess.

      It has a significantly greater propensity to expand/contract with the weather than hardwood.  Used the leftovers for a couple of benchtops.  This was done several years ago when the weather was the south's usual high humidity.  During our 3 years of drought, both benchtops have shrunk about 3/8".  The floor cannot move due to the urethane adhesives, but the joints are much more open.

      Soooo, think hard, as it is indeed tempting.  (Carey Mitchell)

        Great info. I was planning on using it in my office upstairs at home. What do you think? Use the good stuff or stick w white oak we used in the other rooms?  (Gordon Koppin)

        One of the local shops here in Dublin has bamboo flooring. You can see marks where every single person in high heels has walked across it. Glad now I didn't insist on it in my apartment given SWMBOs propensity for Manolo Blahnicks.

        I'm not sure if you'll be wearing high heels in your workshop???  But if looks are important  you may  want to consider this aspect.  (Nick Kingston)

          "The Blonde" has been known to wear high heels in my workshop when she’s trying to get me out of it,but not often enough. We have a DIY store in the UK which sell that interlocking stuff, It’s colored on one side and black on the other. They were clearing it in their sale a few years ago and several chums who have professionally fitted garages/+workshops (I ask you..............) pronounced it to be cheap crap that wouldn’t last. Its very comfortable to stand on, easy to clean, and apart from where my granchildren’s guinea pigs chewed it, intact.  (Robin Haywood)

        I realize that this is a hugely boring and pedestrian solution, but my new work room, for various structural expediencies, had to have a two-level poured concrete floor.  Incidentally, it was partly designed that way, as I had need for benches of different heights and found that the easiest way to achieve that end was to run the bench at one level and set the floor at two levels, with the result that I have flat benches that run the full length of the room but have higher and lower sections as required.  Very useful.

        I do various things in this room, and run all the usual rod building stuff plus an Emco Compact 8 Austrian metal lathe.

        The lathe complicates things a bit, as the metal swarf is pretty abrasive on the floor, but in the end I settled for cushion-backed commercial grade vinyl flooring.

        In fact I am very happy with it.  It is eminently cleanable and even washable, is comfortable to walk on, looks tidy, and as it is a pale tan board pattern (tacky, I know, but you can't have it all, at least not at the price !) it reflects available light very efficiently.  I just make a point of sweeping up  the swarf frequently, which is no bother.

        Also cheap as chips!

        I'd put in pictures of the work room if I knew how to post the bloody things.  Perhaps I should get my wife to post some.  If there is any interest,  I  will.    I get  great natural  light  in  this  room,  with a full-length north-facing panel of windows, as well as windows facing east.  Doors east and west give good access and great through ventilation on demand, and Holland blinds add to the thermal insulation when called for.  In the summer when the light/heat through the windows is at a peak, and may be too much, then all the trees are in full leaf and provide good cool shade.  I am, as I said, very happy with the set-up. (Peter McKean)

    FYI, In my shop I have a slab with rubber matting in front of some of the work areas.

    But, if I were to put flooring in, I would look around for some Brazilian maple or other very hard wood.

    When I was looking for wood flooring for my cabin, I found some Brazilian maple for 1/4 of the price for local oak flooring from a flooring warehouse located in Sacramento that was in the business of purchasing left over flooring from other contractors.  The wood has been amazing.  Very difficult to scratch, easy to maintain, etc. But, difficult to nail and cut.  (Larry Tusoni)

      There is a new product out that is a lot like the Rhino rubber coating used on trucks. you roll it on like a thick paint. Cleans easily, resistant to chemicals and spills, has some texture for non slip... and surprisingly inexpensive.  An absolute great coating for decks and shops. Their web site is here  (no I do not work for them, but am familiar with their product.)

      Also due the the housing industry dive, there are many hardwood flooring clearances going on now. I just bought unfinished grade 1 white oak for $1.00 /ft. I just finished the kitchen and about to start on the great room and hallways soon.  (Harold Maxwell)

    What are you going to be doing in this "shop", building bamboo fly rods or having the boss and his wife over for cocktails? Leave the plywood as is, slop various kinds of glues, varnishes and solvents all over it, it will just get better with age, sweep as little as possible and NEVER, EVER use a vacuum on it, that leads directly to washing your fishing vest and you know what happens after yyou wash your vest.  (John Channer)

      What about sanding the plywood and putting some sort of gym floor finish on it.  Easy clean up.  Smaller investment than a hardwood floor.  Then you can just toss down a couple of shop pads where you need them.  Just another option is mess with your mind.  (Pete Emmel)

    This could  be the biggest response I've ever received for one of my questions.  On the cheap side I like the suggestion of leaving the 1-1/8" thick plywood sub floor virgin and over the years the spilled glues and varnish will give it a nice patina - heaven knows I've spilled plenty of both.  I was warned not to put down bamboo if I plan on wearing my high heels in the shop - they leave dents.  (Don't tell my wife I've been wearing her Pradas.)  Solid oak & maple were common suggestions, but the one that intrigues me the most is a roll  on product that seals, waterproofs, and gives a hard no slip finish.  Also, I NEVER was my vest!!!!  (Tom Key)

      Contact the people at the company. Their number is 866-422-6489 and they will send you some coating chip samples. If I were, and when I do redo my basement, this is what I am using. My basement is where I have my reloading bench, do all my woodwork, and store my welder, mechanical, paint and carpentry power and hand tools, pac-rat everything, and also have my kegulator, ( a fridge containing a keg of Guinness on tap) and all fishing gear/kayaks etc. Somethings always getting spilled!  (Harold Maxwell)


Well, I did it, got my finger to close to the business end of a tool while I was operating it, and I got blood on my freshly planed tip section, I've tried almost everything I could think of to get the stain out, mostly sanding, apparently bamboo has an affinity for blood.  Is there any secrets to getting blood off of bamboo, or should I just count my lucky stars that I still have all my fingers, and chalk it up as a teaching moment.   (Joseph Freeman)

    Ouch!  Try a little non-chlorine fabric cleaner.  The enzymes work well on blood and other organic stains.  (John Dotson)

    Count your self lucky you have your fingers yet! i have in the passed decorated the stain with a decorative wrap or you can consider it a water mark and devotion to the craft. (Timothy Troester)

    First, don't ask your local police how to get blood out. {8^).   Bleach may work, but may also damage the bamboo due to its alkalinity.  I would try an enzyme.  Likely your local dry cleaner can sell you some of the really good stuff or you can go to the internet. Failing this try a proteinase, like pepsin which you can perhaps get at your specialty compounding pharmacist.  (Dave Burley)

    Try ordinary hydrogen peroxide, the 3% stuff from the drug store.  It converts the iron content of the hemoglobin into a colorless compound.  Also works great on clothing, etc., including the wife's brand new cotton covered comforter (don't ask how I learned this). 

    It may take several applications.  Do NOT use the higher strength stuff such as 30 or 50% (hard to buy).  I had some in the shop to deal with some mold, the spray bottle got knocked over and some dripped on the bamboo floor - bleached it.  That was the high strength stuff, no worry with the 3%.  (Carey Mitchell)

      The better part of this is that the peroxide breaks down into water and oxygen, so no nasty residues to deal with like bleach.  (Carey Mitchell)

    Blood, even dried blood can be dissolved by the persons spittle.  The enzymes in your spit will break down the blood and then soap and water will wash it away.  I do not know how much will come out of the bamboo. (Joe Redburn)

      Don't take it off!! It's an anti counterfeit DNA signature. In 75 years, when your rods are selling for $10,000,000.00 each as collectors items, this will prove that it's an original Redburn.  (Dave Kennedy)

    Having done what Joseph has done, I just left it on the blank and proceeded. The way it came out, I thought it would make a nice color tone for a rod. I haven't had the fortitude to extract enough "toner" to cover the entire blank to see how it would come out. I'm sure the opportunity will come one day if I am not on my way to the ER.  (Bill Bixler)


I got a very interesting question, one that most people won't ask, via email today.  I won't reveal the person's name, but his question is a good one, and deserved to be answered.  So, here is his question...

Does the beveler do the job of the hand plane? If so, aren’t you taking some of the romance and skill out of rod building – the hand plane and planning  being a central part of the business? Just asking as a beginner rod maker.

And here is part of my answer.  I did edit it down a little bit just to keep the bandwidth low... 

Yes, it takes the place of the hand planing, but it doesn't really make the work (that much) easier.  The strip prep in hand planing can be "just close enough" but with a miller, it has to be VERY EXACTING or the machine will eat up the strip or cut it way out of specification.  A node with a slight sweep may lay down in a planing form, but a node sweep on this new machine is a recipe for "How to Fill the Trash Can With Bamboo. 

To me the romance is in the creation of a new taper (along with the building of tools and machines for the craft) and seeing the look on my customers faces when they see their new rods... and of course, fishing the rod, not in planing.  Hand planing is great and is the only way to go for those that do this for a hobby or part time (or for those who don't want to spend thousands, or tens of thousands, on machinery... I do NOT want my wife, Rita, to know how much money I have tied up it tools and toys), but when you do it full time, a machine is almost a necessity.  I'm not as young as I think I am sometimes, and hand planing is tough on my hands.  I have arthritis and degenerative bone disease.  So if I want to make rods, I need a mill (and I do want to make rods... I LOVE making rods!).  I've been using a machine for finish cut for years, but it was a saw beveler, not a mill.

Here's something many don't know, but Jim Payne never hand planed a rod in his life.  Neither did Ed Payne, Lyle Dickerson, Gene Edwards, Fred Thomas, Pinky Gillum or any of the well thought of rod makers of the past.  Hand planing has always been the way to go for part time makers, but full time makers and the "Golden Boys" of the past used either saw bevelers or milling machines.  Everett Garrison is an exception, but he even, in his later years said if he ever regained his health and could make rods again, he wanted a beveler.

Someone once told me that using a machine was cheating.  I just smiled and said that I guess we'd have to relegate FE Thomas, Thomas and Thomas, Winston, Leonard, Gillum, Payne, Dickerson, Edwards, South Bend, Heddon, Granger, Hardy, Powell, Bob Summers, Ron Kusse, Bobby Taylor, Marc Aroner, Per Brandin, and almost every notable past maker and many of today’s more prevalent makers, into the realm of "Cheaters", because all of these, and many more, used either saw bevelers or milling machines.

There is another great advantage.  (Manipulating) Tapers...  When i cut a rod on the machines, I can cut EXACTLY the same rod any time in the future.  Don't care if it's 2 months or 2 decades down the road, I can exactly duplicate the taper.  Now I hand planed about 300 to 350 rods before I ever got a saw beveler and (FOR ME) it's very difficult to get exactly the same taper twice unless you set up and do several at a time once you get your forms set for a rod.  With the machines, it's simple.  With the old machines, you just went to your collection of pattern boards and picked out the one for a particular rod, put it in the machine and it would cut the rod exactly to dimensions (more to it than that... sometimes 10 minutes of setup time, sometimes 2 hours of setup time on the old saw beveler).  That was what it was like with my saw beveler.  With the new machine, it's even easier.  Everything is CNC controlled, so my tapers are basically programs.  All I do is load a new program, home the machine and start cutting (again, a little more to it than that if the cutting bed has to be changed or reshaven, but not much).  I can change a taper program in about 2 minutes.  This machine is even more exacting than the saw beveler.  The motors that run it move in steps.  This one, on the dimension axis has 67,238 steps per inch.  That means that the motor moves 1/67,238" every time the computer sends it a signal to move.  I do my tapers on one inch stations, and the program smoothes it out between stations so the cut is perfect.

That is another advantage of machines.  On planing forms, you're restricted to adjusting tapers every 5 inches.  With this machine, although there would be no need, I could go down to 1/100th of an inch adjustments (or even smaller, but again, no reason).  I do, however, find it very nice to have the advantage of using one inch stations. If I can manipulate tapers on a smaller increment, then I can have more control over what the rod will do.  Some will disagree with this, and that's fine... it's just my opinion.

That being said, 5 inch stations are fine.  After all, we're making bamboo fly rods, not Space Shuttles.  I just like to be able to play with my tapers smaller increments if I choose.  I think in the long run, with a little  experimentation and a few blanks in the trash can, having this ability will help me make better casting rods.  (Bob Nunley)

    And you still have to glue the strips, straighten any little bends, sand the strips, attach the ferrules. align the blanks, varnish, wrap & do the other work by hand so I guess the planing or beveling on the machine is only a small part of the entire process anyway.  if I could afford a mill like that or Mark's I would be the first one to have it sitting in my shop.  (Bret Reiter)

    Does the beveler do the job of the hand plane? If so, aren’t you taking some of the romance and skill out of rod building – the hand plane and planning  being a central part of the business? Just asking as a beginner rod maker.

    And of course those of us who only rough bevel with machinery and then hand plane afterward are only "a little bit pregnant." (Mike McGuire)

    Good, thoughtful reply.  One correction though.  You mention below you can go down to 1/100 of an inch increments.  You can actually go down to .0001" increments (100 times smaller than 1/100"), if you wanna type alla them G Code statements in your pattern file...  Mach and EMC2 (the CNC control software - one for Windows and one for Unix OS's - are accurate to .0001" in their machine movements.  (Mark Wendt)

      Clarification to the correction.

      While CNC applications will carry out to 4 or 5 decimal places there is still the mechanical limitations to deal with.

      Today's stepper motors typically have a 1.8 degree step for a total of 200 steps per revolution.  Depending on the linear drive that you use (ball screw, acme screw, rack and pinion) you can increase the steps per inch.

      While a micro stepping drive will increase that resolution by 10 to 2000 steps per revolution, the holding torque of the stepper is dramatically reduced when it is off from its 1.8* marks.  You need to gear the stepper to desired resolution on 1.8 degree increments.  The micro stepping smoothes out continuous feeds.

      While Bob's theoretical resolution is 1/67,000", friction and holding torque abilities dramatically reduce the actual resolution.  But it certainly is still 0.0002.  Better than I can hand plane.  (Ralph Tuttle)

    Very thought provoking comments. I agree wholeheartedly with you on hand planing Vs machines and the old masters.

    I always thought Jeff Wagner's response to John Gierach in his book "Fishing Bamboo" where Gierach states that hand planing is romantic and the way a rod is supposed to be made. Jeff's comment was "there is nothing romantic about Carpal Tunnel  Syndrome" -  the most witty response to this question I've ever heard.  (Tom Vagell)

      Is there increased incidents of CT Syndrome and hand planing?  I haven't heard that on lists, but may have missed these comments.  (Louis DeVos)

        Maybe David Bolin can do a poll on his blog site on CT and rodmakers?  (Scott Grady)

          A poll of rod makers for occurrence of CTS wouldn't mean much. CTS is the result of repeated movements over a significant length of time. Most of the rod makers being polled have other occupations that likely produce more stress than building the few rods most of us build. Further, there is a genetic propensity for CTS to occur. Of people doing essentially the same job under the same conditions, some will get CTS, some in both wrists, some in just one, and some won't be affected at all. For many years business used the vagaries of the disease to blame the workers and refused to cover treatment. Hand planing certainly has the essentials to be a root cause of CTS in a rod maker, but probably wouldn't actually be a problem unless they were a volume producer.

          It is a disease that you can tolerated for a long time. In the end it is uncomfortable and debilitating. I've had one wrist cut because of it. Bob has had the cure too. If I was making hundreds of rods a year, I'd be looking for production efficiencies, especially those that reduce something like hand planing. (Larry Lohkamp)

    I would have to agree with you that a machine will cut strips faster and maybe more repeatable than hand planing. Those of us who make only a few rods per year don't have to wear our selfs out day after day making strips and personaly I like hand planing even though I suffer from all the problems older age bestows on us, It just takes me a little more time than it did a few years ago.

    But I have two questions regarding the making of strips and ultimately the bamboo rods that really have me confused.

    The first is why do we think that it is necessary to make each strips so exactly, It seems to me that the folks you mentioned who used machines did so purly for the economics of the business and when their rods are measured, they can differ from flat to flat by quite a bit. Now I do not think that as long as the differences are small. that anyone could or can tell the differences. I made two tips for a Garrison 212 that I brought to SRG two years ago. One tip was done to the regular 212 taper and one to a  +_.005 inch Zig Zag stager for each 5 inch station. I could not tell the difference between the two. A simple static deflection test showed both looked the same and those who tried casting both tips could not tell the difference either. I will have to admit that I am not the worlds best caster, but it would seen to me that if small taper variations really make a difference then it would have shown up between these two tips.

    Second you mention setting your machine to one inch taper values. I myself have not seen very many tapers done to one inch measurements. I know that some taper programs give one inch values but I don't think these are calculated values but are simple the difference between the 5 inch station divided by 5 which is a zig zag straight line. Also to do this accurately the station values and calculations must be done to four places not three.

    I hope I'm not sticking me foot in my mouth, but I really have problems with these two questions, so if someone can point me in the right direction I would appreciate it very much.

    BTW I cast one of your rods at SRG that year (I think it was that year) and like it very much. (Bob Norwood)

      I find it interesting that you bring up the argument of 5” to 1” interpolations as just being linear when I sent you an Excel spreadsheet on 3/27/2008 that clearly shows how cubic splines will yield curvilinear data points on whatever increment you want.

      Of the rods that I have mic’ed there have been many that have significant dips that would not be reproducible with a 5” planing form.  As to whether that makes a significant difference is another question.  (Ralph Tuttle)

      This has also puzzled me and some months ago I told the story here about my wife shortly after we were married having me help her shorten a dress. We would measure it, I would pin it.  Repeat for the other side and check it again and it would be off by 1/8". My wife being a very quantitative person insisted it be repinned, etc. etc.  Finally I said to her "look! this is cloth, not metal, cloth stretches and no one will be able to tell the difference, even if you could get it to within 1/8 in."  Bamboo is sort of in that category as cloth, since it can swell and shrink with humidity and heat and take a set, etc.

      The advantage I can see to close tolerances is the personal pride the maker gets from a false impression.  But I applaud him anyway for a beautiful job well done.  (Dave Burley)

    Great answer Bob! I agree 100%. Bill Oyster posed this question on the CFRF about 2 years ago and I posted a similar answer. Most other posters agreed that a CNC machine was better. While the notion of a rodmaker in a dimly lit basement stooped over a planing form laboriously slicing thin slivers off a strip of bamboo ala Everett Garrison is a romantic idea, the fact remains that no human can cut to the tolerances of a computer. You nailed the whole crux of the matter with your statement that you can duplicate the taper EXACTLY 2 months or 20 years down the road with your CNC Miller. A human being just cannot work to the same tolerances that a computer can.

    Only a day later the whole thread at CFRF disappeared. I sent Bill a PM asking what happened to it and his reply was he deleted it because he found the answers depressing. Well he certainly doesn't have anything to be depressed about. His metal engraving skills are so freakin' awesome that he could make a living doing that alone. I don't think anyone who has seen his rods would question his rodmaking ability. Same thing for Mike Clark who still hand planes.

    In the end, the only thing that matters is the finished product. Whether one arrives there manually or mechanically shouldn't matter.  (Will Price)

    Here's a question; where are these CNC bevelers coming from?  Are most one-off home creations, or is someone making them for sale?  If so, how much do they run?  (Chris Obuchowski)

      The only commercial maker I know of is Jerry Wall.  All of the others that I have heard of are one-offs. 

      As a designer and maker of 2 machines I can tell you that it depends greatly upon what style, features and how much work you do yourself.  If you wish to keep the costs down and create a spline beveller only and can do the parts machining and  electronics assembly you can get by for about $5k.  If you buy the electronics add another 1k.  If you buy everything new instead of eBay add another 2k.  If you hire someone to design it, add another 5k.  If you hire someone to build/machine it, add another 5k. 

      I think JW was selling his for 12k 4 years ago.

      You will spend hundreds of hours designing and building.  Another hundred hours learning about CNC and Gcode.  It will save you perhaps 6 hours per rod.  (Ralph Tuttle)

      Can't speak for anyone else, but my machine was designed and built by me.  I'm pretty sure Bob's machine was designed by Bob, but I'm not sure how much of the fabrication the machine shop across the street did for him. So basically, our machines are one off's.  Once I get some spare time, I'm going to post the design and working drawings on Todd's Tips site, along with probably a build article in Power Fibers in case anyone else wants to attempt to build their own CNC saw beveler.

      I decided early on that I didn't want to get involved in the commercial reselling of the  machines for a number of reasons.  Number one, the liability costs.  Secondly, the amount of time involved in building up a machine like mine would pretty much price me out of the market if I tried to sell a machine that I took the time to make as precise and accurate as mine.  Unless your willing to part with at least $25k... ;-)  The market just ain't big enough, or willing to part with that kind of money to justify making a business out of it, at least for me.  (Mark Wendt)

      Ok...Pull your toes in..

      There are some misconceptions about rod making.

      If you do it for love of crafting or make a few rods a year (hobby) for your self and for friends then any method you use is just dandy. You can plane for hours, you can heat treat or not, you can take shortcuts or not.

      If you do it as a professional (your livelihood) then different factors come into play. Efficiency and repeatability immediately come to mind. Those factors dictate a different set of processes. EVERY MAJOR PRODUCTION SHOP HAD A MILL. Personally I don't abide by many of the production techniques used but then I, nor no-one I know of today, makes thousands of rods a year. 50 rods a year is almost a rod a week. I did that with planing bars for 1 year. Ugh!  All of those mills used a pattern bar, cam, etc. Those bars were machined and the filed to specific measurements. Some were 3in stations, some were 6in, but none of them (unless by intent) were perfectly linear between stations.

      Now we come to Mr. Garrison (Carmichael). Timing is everything. He introduced 2 very important things. Stress curves, and adjustable planing forms.

      Stress curves, a very important first step in understanding and designing tapers.

      Adjustable Bars, a cheap way for hobbyists and part time makers to get into rod making.

      Personally I think bars were the death-knell to advancing innovation in taper design . We now have thousands of rods measured at 5" intervals. That produces the sawtooth output we see on dimension and stress graphs. If you think you are reproducing someone else's rod (cloning)  then  you  are close..but no bananas.

      The difference is inside the rod. A rod is at the most primitive level a power transfer device. Do you believe that all those little pips are the best way to efficiently transfer power to the line? If you do, then fine. If you don't then there is not much you can do about it using planing bars. The biggest anathema is when you get into new taper design and now you have the same problem you did with reproduction rods.

      The only way out of this box today is CNC and Dynarod. With one click of the mouse you can apply an algorithm that smoothes all the little dings and gives you 1" increments with new dimensions. The other thing I think is wonderful about Max's program is designing  by  deflection  rather  than stress...a new paradigm. Incidentally for Mark and Bob. You can   define   your  headers  and  footers  and  generate  the G-Code with one click of the mouse.

      The other reason for CNC is it's fun...but so are chisels. Depends on where you are coming from at the time.

      I have a JW CNC Mill and it cuts as well today as it did 5 years ago. But it is expensive to purchase. I have also assisted 7 others with mainly the electronics and software in making their own mills. Still expensive and a lot more time consuming..but each of us has to decide how we spend our time here...I think that is a paraphrase of something I read somewhere. For-instance, I wasting my time now developing my own web site that someone else could do in 1/4 the time.  (Jerry Foster)

        This doesn't have to be a matter of belief. It can be tested. Come up with some tapers that you think are better produced with one inch or finer spec intervals. Make the rods with your CNC machine that way. Then take the tapers and respec them to five inch intervals, linear between. Make these rods with your CNC machine. Keep all other details of the process the same. Then start casting them. Have others cast them. We await the results.  (Mike McGuire)

          Well, I have a question in return..how much does it take for you to feel the difference in a taper..If i add .001 over the entire rod, can you tell. If I add .002 can you tell. At some pt anyone can tell. That is a personal decision line.

          Some people like 7wt lines on a rod that many others think is fine with a 5 wt.

          I made many rods on my mill that were similar to those I had made on planing bars..could I tell the difference, most no, some yes. Does that mean the rods weren't a little different? Most would say that they were all a little smoother but even that is subjective.

          If a milled rod in someones hands feels smooth and casts 3 ft farther with the same effort than a planed one would they know?

          Most wouldn't ..not me for sure. But I haven't made a replica for years so there is no basis for comparison. And while I only make 8 sided rods now, I can make any claim I want, but they are just fish'n poles.

          The goal is to make the best rod I can. Even if the taper is a disaster it wasn't because I was wandering around on the dimensions. I know exactly what is wrong. It was a stupid shape.

          The only reason I talk about 1" intervals is the mill. I can begin and end compounds between stations and that is important when we talk about families of rods. Families don't really exist except with Garrison ( and maybe Granger). He made all of his rods based on his like of a certain shape .. Look at the other makers. No one has a series of rods that even resemble one another. If I made a 7ft rod with a certain shape and people loved it, wouldn't I want to make the same rod in different lengths and line wts. Difficult to do..New technology helps us, but as I can tell from the resounding silence..as I stated to Larry T. few are really interested.

          The fact that some of this stuff is all up to individual feel can negate any of it. But if we don't make the effort we are stuck where we are.  (Jerry Foster)

            Well that's a little different from saying that planing forms with 5" intervals were  "the death knell of taper innovation."  If we are going to make assertions that 1" intervals give different results, it unavoidably involves subjective testing. But for it to be believable it needs to be a consensus of more that one person doing the testing. As for families of tapers, you need to add E.C. Powell to your list. His A, B, and C tapers certainly represent a consistent family approach.  (Mike McGuire)

              I wondered exactly which point you taking exception to..now I understand..The end of innovation.........part.

              And you are also correct about Powell. EC was the only one other than Garrison that I am aware of that used any kind of math to design his tapers.

              And I did over generalize my point. Many have developed unique tapers...Most people who build other than hex's have had to do some innovation. Rob Smith, Montagne, and Wayne Maca come to mind because their  configurations are totally unique.

              These posts are not about me or my rods... I take no affront to people telling me they don't like them. I look at it the other way. My rods don't like them. My point is totally different. Using 5" stations limits the location of a lot of things you can do with a taper..I know you can slide in the bars. And the near linear lines that are drawn between bolts limits the kinds of changes you can make. Knocking off a point on a stress curve that may not be there anyway is a modification and not a new design. I have had hundreds of people cast my test rods and almost everyone is amazed at the correlation between stress and the feel when you sequence through the rods. These rods were made on a mill with 1" increments and many of them cannot be reproduced on planing bars. for-instance the tip series have turnover points at 8, 12 and 18 in. could they be at 10 15 and 20.. surely, but they wouldn't represent the same rods. I am not trying to sell anything here. I am trying to expand the thought about what can be done, not to restrict it to what has been done, or the limits imposed by a certain tool. There are also inherent limits in bamboo which you could have brought up.

              As far as believable goes...I would think common sense and basic math would make it believable. If there is a difference in feel between a Dickerson and a Payne and a Leonard, then there is a difference. and a few inches and a few thousandths of an inch are the only differences. But the differences don't clearly lay out on 5" intervals. (With the exception of a Powell B and a Garrison).  (Jerry Foster)

        The only way out of this box today is CNC and Dynarod. With one click of the mouse you can apply an algorithm that smoothes all the little dings and gives you 1" increments with new dimensions. The other thing I think is wonderful about Max's program is  designing  by  deflection  rather  than stress...a new paradigm. Incidentally for Mark and Bob. You can define your headers and footers and generate the G-Code with one click of the mouse.

        Hoping not to create an endless thread, I have to take issue with this statement. Clearly there are many ways, this is simply one of them, and definitely not for everyone. And nothing new about considering deflection in taper design, but ignoring static/bent stresses, deltas, correlations is.  (Larry Tusoni)

          I understand you are making a new program..I thought your old one was great. The Bokstrom methodology is great stuff.

          And I agree that deflection is not new, but I know of no other current rodmaking software that addresses the issue...the second part..static stuff? Explain more. I don't believe you are saying that static measurements are better than dynamic ones?

          Let me also state that Max's program has a $200 price tag and that may be a decision maker for many. Of which I receive none and no notoriety.  (Jerry Foster)

            I understand you are making a new program..I thought your old one was great. The Bokstrom methodology is great stuff.

            My point was simply that I for one, like to consider all factors when designing a new taper, static and dynamic etc.

            And yes you are correct about my "new program." I plan on releasing it in October at my Eastern Sierra gathering. I call it the "RodDNADesigner".  The current taper programs (including RodDNA) are great for using or modifying existing tapers, and don't make it easy to create a new taper from scratch.  This is why I am writing the designer program.

            I am hoping to provide a powerful taper design program for those makers who want to design their own signature tapers vs. using existing tapers or existing tapers with modifications;  The next logical step for makers.

            I have found that this is easier said that done.  With the help of Chris Bogart I have made very good progress and I am about finished with the program but need to start on the user manual.

            Since you asked, and to limit email questions, here is a quick synopsis:

            You can create a new taper via 9 different methods.

            You can then apply a number of "built in" modifiers (like smoothing as you previously mentioned) to the taper or partial taper,  You can also apply other custom modifiers or make your own modifiers that you can then reuse.  You can "chain" the modifiers together so all you need to do is push one button to apply all your favorite modifiers.

            You can determine the line weight in various ways.

            You can then analyze the new taper with other designs or models (in the RodDNA models database).  I use various algorithms for this, and the results are very interesting.

            Once you have a new taper, you can then export it to the models database and make other modification like # pieces, etc.

            On and on...

            And I agree that deflection is not new, but I know of no other current rodmaking software that addresses the issue...the second part..static stuff  ? explain more. I don't believe you are saying that static measurements are better than dynamic ones?

            No - as I mentioned above, I like to consider all factors.

            Let me also state that Max's program has a $200 price tag and that may be a decision maker for many. Of which I receive none and no notoriety.

            Yes and from what I know about it, well worth it.  (Larry Tusoni)

              I guess I should have mentioned that I do use your program. I feed the output of "the other program" back into yours to get a feeling about Garrison Style stresses. However in your old program i think you truncated the math at 3 or 4 decimal places so I can't use it for the mill  because of lack of resolution. I let the mill program "Mach 3" determine how many digits it wants to see based on the speed of interface. Steps/sec.  (Jerry Foster)

                Just to let you know I am listening...

                Tapers and taper design are fun & easy to discuss because a number is just what it is and doesn't change its meaning over time.

                Its all the other factors that go into a rod that get hard to measure: heat treating (we've already discussed that today, without anybody changing their mind).   And the effect of the glue, long and short term (nobody will convince me that epoxy is not sheer folly).  And finishes, and their permeability and impermiability to water vapor, compared to their weight. Then big one: the quality & characteristics & variability of the cane itself.  Milward's first book was a start on this but I haven't yet got the 2nd edition to see if there is more.  Another issue is cane fatigue: is it real & how does it work?  I'm glad I just do this for a hobby...I'd be a basket case otherwise.

                Back to tapers, I've always been interested in how to design the 10 or so inches of the tip.  It seems like these are usually just an afterthought, compared to the rest of the taper.  Stress numbers don't give us any guidance here.  Do any of the other taper analysis models offer any insight?  It would seem that a CNC mill that would be controllable to the inch or less would have it way over the 5-inch stations of a planing form for creating a working tip.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

            I wonder if the flames have died down enough that we could get back to a discussion of tapers. You guys that make lots of rods a year, and experiment with and develop new tapers, do you have any insights to share with the rest of us luddites?  Are there any characteristics of tapers that make some better than others, from your point of view?  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

              I use Hexrod and design or modify rods based on stress curves.  My stress curve ends up looking like a fish hook, (somewhere between a TMC 100 or curved caddis hook - Ha), with a notch behind the female ferrule for greater strength.  I am not an engineer nor pretend to be an engineer but Rods that work for me have this stress curve in common.

              Most of my rods are 7'-8" or less so that weight never becomes an issue.  My next project, probably over winter, is to experiment with hollow butt sections and I'm not sure what this will do to my stress curve since I might be adding 10% in width yet remove 35% pith - Some help here would be appreciated.

              I might add that  over  the  winter  I  built  several 5'-10" one piece rods that I am very pleased with.

              Thank you for maintaining Hexrod.  (Doug Alexander)

                The amount you add to the OD is dependent on how much you remove.

                For example:  if you remove 50% from the middle you have to add 6% to the OD (not 0.006")  so: 0.200 hollowed by 50% needs to be 0.212 OD to compensate.

                NewDia = OldDia *(1+(%Removed/100)^4)  (Al Baldauski)

                  This is very cool  and just what I needed.  So ...

                  If a rod measures .314 at a particular section and I  want to remove 50% than - I take .314 dived by two - planing form setting - and add 6% so I end up with .314 divided by 2 = .157 X 1.06 = .166

                  And it's OK to take as much as 50% - (although 50% seems right) and any thoughts on taking out 50% for the entire butt section?  I wonder how much is to much and I wonder how much the feel will change?  My intent is to pretty much hollow the entire butt section.  Why not?

                  This is great.  (Doug Alexander)

                    The formula I provided assumes a constant power fiber density throughout the cross section.  We all know that that is not the case since pith takes up  a good part near the butt.  In fact, the power fiber density is about constant from the top surface down into the about  0.090 to 0.100".  So there is some "fudging" that needs to be done to compensate for the different density due to pith.  In my design program I have compensated for the change in density and stiffness due to varying amount of pith.  Trying to compensate using manual calculations is tedious at best.

                    If you hollow a butt 50% where the diameter is 0.400, the strip is 0.200 and the remaining wall is 0.100 so you've removed mostly pith which doesn't change  the stiffness very much.  Therefore if you compensate by adding 6% it will be too much and that section of butt will feel stiffer than the original rod felt.

                    In the middle of the rod and up toward the tip it's virtually solid power fiber. At  a  diameter  of  0.200  the  strip  is 0.100 and you remove 0.050  All power fiber. So here the correction of 1.06 is valid.  IF YOU MAINTAIN A 50% WALL THICKNESS When some guys stop hollowing at 0.060 wall, that means the rod is solid anywhere that the diameter is 0.120 or smaller.  There you wouldn't use any compensation.  (Al Baldauski)

                    Not wanting to start an argument with Al or anybody (there's been enough of that recently IMHO), I'll just throw in my experience with hollowing.

                    The first 2 or 3 rods I hollowed, I expanded the hex 5 or 6% to account for the hollowing.  Using MY methods, I ended up making rods too stiff like that.  I scallop 3-1/2 inches, then leave a 1-inch dam, take around 50% of wall thickness, and never take the wall lower than 60 thousandths.  I use URAC or Resorcinol.   For THAT method, for ME, 5 or 6% more dimension ended up making rods too stiff.

                    Nowadays, for the most part, I just plane a rod to the published taper, hollow as described above, and everything comes out as planned - casting the intended line weight, just feeling lighter and "more responsive" than equivalent solid rods.

                    If others have had other experiences, I'm not saying they're wrong, and if they want to say that I am crazy, that's fine with me, I won't argue with them.  But I thought it might help someone starting out to hear a couple different points of view, and then get to decide for himself.  (Lee Koch)

                      Query, Al, does the formula below attempt to account for the loss of volume or mass or both?  Pith Vs power fiber weight?  Is there a change in MOI as a result of the change from beam to tube?  I have no idea and only am posing the question.  I haven't the engineering background to know if there is a difference or whether it is significant.  (Ralph Tuttle)

                        The paper by former list member Claude Freaner has the math for stress calculations for "ordinary" hollowing of hex, penta and quad geometries.  Its on the hexrod.net web site.  The problem is that there are so many alternative ways to hollow:  fluting, dams, etc.  But if you want to design a simple fluted rod to have the same stress curve as a solid rod, there's no need to recreate the math.

                        For those of you who don't remember Claude, he was a real rocket scientist before retirement.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

                        A tube is just a round beam.  It still gets it's strength from the opposing "sides" just as an I beam does.  The math to figger out the statics and strengths is a little more complicated (that durn PI number tends to crop up every now and again), but for all intents and purposes, when you look at bending moments on a tube, you're still looking at beam moments. (Mark Wendt)

                          And remember: a rod blank is essentially a tapered tube ...  (Nick Kingston)

                      Last winter Robin tried to start a discussion about hollowing. I was one of the few that bit. Off list he encouraged me to just plane   the  apexes  down 50%... no dams or scallops. I did 3 rods that way last winter. They were bamboo ferruled rods. I normally shave down the butt dimensions to account for the lack of all that metal usually found in the middle of a rod. I left the dimensions the same for the butt on those rods, which made the butts much stiffer feeling, then removed bamboo with the 50% hollowing. The hollowing is supposed to weaken the butts, so I was thinking that I'd end up with a lighter, smoother, more responsive rod without having to manipulate the dimensions and stress curve. Line weight turned out to be the same, which was a good sign. The rods felt smoother, which to me means that there aren't any surprises when changing casting distance. They didn't feel any lighter in the hand, but lawn casting a rod in the snow isn't all that conducive to that sort of thing.  The rods went to Vets. No one has called up and cussed me out yet so I'm guessing they are happy with them. The 50 percent method has a lot going for it. Its easy to do without jigs and special cutters, and it seems to work fine even hollowing through the  ferrule and grip. I am really looking forward to the new RodDNA.  (Larry Lohkamp)

                      I'm with you Lee.  Adding to the dimensions makes the rod feel different to me.  I did that on a few rods and still came  out with nice rods, but not what I was seeking.  Leaving the dimensions the same, hollowing to .070" on butts, .060" on mids, and .050" on tips works well for me. 

                      FWIW, I use 5" hollows with 1" dams.  (Harry Boyd)

                        Compensating the OD WILL make if feel different if the compensation doesn't take into account that you are not using a constant PERCENTAGE of wall thickness and if you don't take into account the varying stiffness due to more pith in the butt. 

                        As Larry said earlier, there are a LOT of ways to hollow a rod.  I was remiss in not providing a fuller explanation with my formula.  (Al Baldauski)

                          Oh yeah,

                          My formula and comments were based "scallops and dams" not fluting.  Dam spacing at 2.5 inches with 1/4 inch wide dams.  (Al Baldauski)

                        I'm not a "real" hollow builder, but I've got to agree  with   Harry (again). 

                        How do you think plastic rods hold up, when the wall is only .005 or .010 thick.?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

              Thanks Frank.  While I have found these threads entertaining, I personally would like to discuss how to design a taper on 1" increments.

              This would obviously be useful for those with CNC mills/bevelers, but also for those makers who have forms or pattern board with something finer than 5" increments/stations.

              Most software programs (including my RodDNA program) will calculate the intermediate taper values when converting from say 5" increments to 1".  This seems to be good enough for most makers.

              The question is what can be done to these intermediate values other than what I have just outlined?

              In my new RodDNA Designer program, I implemented the notion of built-in and custom "modifiers".  You simply select a range of an existing taper and apply the modifier.

              Currently, you can select one or more values and/or ranges on which you apply modifier(s).  For example you can smooth or enhance taper values from 5" to 20", or 10% to 60%, etc.

              I am contemplating implementing the ability to modify the intermediate taper values in a similar fashion.  Instead of selecting taper values and taper ranges, you could click a check-box for the "Intermediate" values, then apply any modifier on only those taper values.

              Here are some of the built-in and custom modifiers I have implemented to date, and would like some suggestions for others that might be interesting:

              Smooth
              Enhance
              Round (various decimal places)
              taper
              Math functions
              Compensate for hollowing/fluting
              Inversion
              Boolean operators (AND, OR, XOR, etc.)
              etc.  (Larry Tusoni)

                I guess my first question is on the plot for the stress curve.  If we enter the data on 1" centers, is that what is effectively plotted on the stress curve graph, or does it take the values at 5" intervals and plot from that?

                Without going into a whole lot of detail, how do the modifiers actually work?  (Mark Wendt)

                  I guess my first question is on the plot for the stress curve.  If we enter the data on 1" centers, is that what is effectively plotted on the stress curve graph, or does it take the values at 5" intervals and plot from that?

                  The graphs are always plotted on 1" intervals.  If you are using 5" intervals I convert the taper to 1" intervals before I graph it.  It makes a much smoother graph.  If you are using 1" intervals, I plot them directly.

                  Without going into a whole lot of detail, how do the modifiers actually work?

                  As I said, you can manually select one or more taper values and/or ranges in various ways. Then you can use either the built-in "modifiers" to modify/adjust those selected values.

                  Alternatively, you can use custom "modifiers."  I have created a few as I mentioned, but anyone can create them for suit their needs.  You essentially select the range, action, etc. from a dialog then save it as a custom "modifier".  You can then utilize it over and over.  You can also "chain" modifiers, so one can chain to another to another.  In this manner, you can simple select the main modifier to do a lot of work.

                  The crux of my question was:  Since the majority of existing tapers are based on non 1" increments, how does one transpose those tapers to 1" tapers (or how does one create a new taper on 1" increments)?

                  Today most programs do a good job creating the intermediate values, but I was suggesting that perhaps, allowing the use of my modifiers on the intermediate values might have some merit, and was looking for input on perhaps more types of modifiers that I might implement.  (Larry Tusoni)

                    Maybe   I'm   coming   at  it  kinda bass-ackwards.  I hadn't figured out a way to design to 1" centers with RodDNA, so I'd forseen inputting the dimensions at the 1" stations and then peeking at the curves.  I'm assuming these modifiers allow manipulation of the stress curve and the resultant changes in the dimensions then?  (Mark Wendt)

                      Maybe I'm coming at it kinda bass-ackwards.  I hadn't figured out a way to design to 1" centers with RodDNA, so I'd forseen inputting the dimensions at the 1" stations and then peeking at the curves.

                      Yes that is one way to do it, but you can take any existing in any interval  and simple change the interval/station increment to 1" and go from there. Much easier I believe.

                      I'm assuming these modifiers allow manipulation of the stress curve and the resultant changes in the dimensions then?

                      Indirectly - you can modify either the taper values or the delta values (the difference of the taper values) and the charts will be calculated and plotted accordingly.  (Larry Tusoni)

              In Split & Glued by Harms & Whittle, you will find very interesting discussion and evaluation of "convex" tapers.  The photos of rods in action are alone well worth the price of the book.  What makes a taper good is primarily a matter of judgment by the caster, so asking for "better" might not get you the responses you were hoping for!  (Tim Anderson)


I would like to build a bamboo rod and would like to do the first one by hand. What are the best books for just making one by hand and how many forms would I need?  (Richard Slater)

    I usually advise that folks start with Cattanach or Howell’s books and some of the resources on the web.  After those books, Maurer/Elser is good.  Wait on Garrison/Carmichael until you have made a few rods.

    Let us know how we can help.  (Harry Boyd)

      Many years ago I decided to start this process, living in Tasmania, Australia, with only one other rod builder in the country, Tony Young, and he lived 5000km away across  the continent in Perth, Western Australia.

      (I should slot in here and once again thank Tony for the help and encouragement he so freely gave when I didn't know enough to suck eggs;  and there was no need for him to do so, as he was building commercially at the time, and might be expected not to be too keen on amateurs.  It seems in the bamboo fraternity there are a lot of men who go out of their way to be helpful and supportive and to impart hard won knowledge.  There are certainly a few of the other sort, the mean-spirited misanthropes as well, but thankfully they are very few and far between.)

      All the books mentioned are great, especially Howell and Cattanach, and I would recommend them.

      But the thing that made all the difference to me, isolated here at the arse-end of the Antipodes, was buying a set of Wayne Cattanach's video tapes.  In those days the quality was really poor, but when a magenta-tinted Wayne ventured into camera range and started to do the rodbuilding things accompanied by a humungus roar of various background noise in his puce and lime green workshop (sorry, Wayne, but the quality of those early tapes was never going to win you a Coq d'Or), it all dropped into place.  There is no substitute for seeing someone do a thing.

      So don't neglect Wayne's CD's as a source of instruction.  I think they are still available, and I guess that Wayne is probably no longer mauve-colored in the newer versions; but you will never regret spending the few extra dollars.  (Peter McKean)

    These should get you started.

    Boyd's articles in GFF

    Cattanach's book    Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods

    Penrose web site.      (Jim Healy)

    A number of good references were cited. Several of the recommended books are in my 'library', and I consider them excellent choices for anyone who has some fundamental knowledge of the many basic processes. However, if someone were to ask me directly which, in my opinion would be the best source of a very complete and detailed description of everything involved, without hesitation,  Garrison's book would be suggested. Before, not after the later books. Check out local libraries for a copy.  (Vince Brannick)

      I would add that if you're only looking to make "one" rod, don't go down this road.  Buy one from an established maker.  Lots of incredibly gifted and learned guys and gals to choose from right on this List.  By the time you buy and build all the necessary things, you'd do just as well...make that 'better.'  Having said that, if you do make the decision to start making cane rods yourself, one or two or three or ten will never be enough! You'll fall in love, the most dangerous (and expensive) game of all.  You'll be starting on your third rod before the second is finished!  Good on you and go for it!  (Unless of course you're serious about the "one" rod thing; something tells me that ain't gonna happen.)  Just my newbie opinion and take grains of salt as needed.  (Bob Brockett)

        Another good option for making a single rod is taking a class with established rod maker(s) offering their advice and experience. There are several folks on this List who offer classes. The class allows you to make everything yourself without the purchase of all the tools, equipment, and dedicated work areas.  (Harry Boyd)


Here's a more esoteric question for the list.  Ever notice how you think of a rod as at it's beginning, then middle, then close to being finished?

I was working on a rod and as I picked it up I realized I'm getting close to finishing it.  I still need to put a grip on it, but once I've done that, I can tape on some guides and start casting it.  Then it's do the wraps, put on the final finish, get the rod sock, and rod tube done, gather everything up and the rod's out the door.  A far cry from a couple of months ago, when it was just 18 strips of bamboo waiting to be heat straightened.

That got me thinking.  (Always a bad thing)  I put a rod into one of three categories, beginning, middle and end.   I look at my projects and each one goes into one of those categories. 

But I'm not sure how I really decide, "Hay, I'm in the middle of making this rod."  There are no clearly defined steps where a rod is at one of those stages.

So let me ask you.   How do you classify your progress?   Or do you?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    Short answer.

    Beginning: Planning, prepping the cane, splitting, rough planing and heat treating.

    Middle:  Final planing, gluing, ferruling and final straightening.

    End:  Handle, seat, wrapping and finish

    Reward: Test casting  (Pete Emmel)

    I classify my rods in progress by the next job in the process.  (Timothy Troester)


I've found most of my tools now, for the most part. Heaven's knows I've done enough looking in/following along on what you makers are up to and in the near future, when it gets coldish, I'm going to begin playing around in my basement, splitting.

Yesterday afternoon a neighbor that allows me to cast/play around with my cane rods in his spacious backyard came over and we discussed hobbies. Short talk...he has none and we've both recently retired.

When I mentioned I may actually begin making a few of these little gems he asked "How many? How many do you need? Do you plan on selling and making it a business?"

And lastly, "What will you do with all the rods you don't sell? You just going to keep on making 'em?""

That last question caught me up short. Never thought much about it. Right now it's a "Ya!" But he got me thinking...

So, whaddya do with all "them there" extra rods you guys make? They ARE extra's, right?

Just curious.  (Jeremy Gubbins)

    If you are like most of us,this hobby becomes addicting and you won't be able to stop at "just a few." Besides, you can never have too many bamboo rods LOL. Sell a few and use the money for more and bigger toyls, or supplies such as ferrules, agate strippers, guides etc. or even make them for friends. If you feel it's not right to profit off friends you can let them have them just for the cost of materials. You'll figure it out.

    Now get going and enjoy the fun!  (Will Price)

      Okay then. That's about as close to my line of thinking as I can foresee right now.

      Good points all 'round. Thanks. You about canned it for me. I'll be able to give a rod to "both" of my friends...maybe.

      Now I just have to get off of my _rse it would seem. I'm coming around. I should unbox that Sherline and see if it'll run true.

      Sharpening will have to get finalized. Still baffled there but I'll have to sort that out. I have the stones.... (sharpening stones) ..!!..

      Thanks for the bump.  (Jeremy Gubbins)

        Just do it and worry about the extra rods when you make them. Yes, you will make more than you need, I can bet my money on it.  (Tony Spezio)

          After you've made enough to have a few extra, see if you can give them to the local FFF or TU club for an auction or drawing.   (Down here they don't get much because everyone is fishing in the salt and they don't think a bamboo rod will hold up for that type of action.)  

          Consignment.  I had one in a shop for over four years before is sold.  Now if I can get around to making another one for that shop... sigh.

          I sold two of my first rods to a local sporting goods store for wholesale.   They were gone in a few months, so someone bought them?  

          Friends and family can always use an additional rod or two.

          Shows and conclaves.  Been there, done that.  It's fun but it's a lot of work both in preparation and at the event.   I've passed a few this year.

          Internet sales.  I've got a steady flow of customers (I should say a trickle) that come through the web.  That's the majority of my business.  I like it because I get a feel for what my customers want and I have some repeat business.

          Right now I have two rods "on hand."  One's a trade-in from a customer who's bought several of my rods at my Club's auction.  I usually make a 6 or 6 1/2’ 3, 4, or 5 wt.  He had about three of my 6 1/2 5 wts and talked me into a trade of a 7’ rod.  So I have the 6 1/2 ft rod that I plan to rewrap. 

          The other rod was a custom rod for a fellow.  I completed the rod, but didn't like the outcome.  It casts fine but I didn't like the finish, so It will probably go to the club auction, after I clean it up a little.  That's because I've promised the Florida Council another rod for their Conclave and Between that and the rods in the pipe line I won't have time to build a rod for the club this year.

          My advice.  Slow down. I rush things too much.  Glue, and varnish take time to dry. (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    There are no extra rods!  (Timothy Troester)

    At last a question my limited knowledge can answer! Yeaaa!!!

    I have a running collection of around seven or eight rods at a time. The first one I built I will never part with, it's rubbish but I don't care, it's the /first born/ and I love it. The second was rubbish as well and it got torn down and "harvested" for its hardware. The third turned out really nice and went to a pal back on leave from the army. The fourth and fifth weren't too bad but were also eventually harvested for parts. And so it goes, if I ever actually get good at this I may have to buy fresh hardware. ;-)   In the meantime if I find a taper I want to build. I check to see if I have a rubbish rod I can boil down for parts. I've got a set of 13/64 ferrules that is on its fourth rod at present. If I ever get satisfied with my building I'll have to rethink all this or start turning reels.  (Simon Reilly)

    Somewhere about 30 in your possession is about right. That should give you a couple of back-ups for each of your  fishing rods  + lots of flights of fancy when you just have to know what will happen "IF." Took a deep breathe a couple of years ago when I counted 50 rods [some plastic] laying around. My truck generally only has 8>10 @ one time - some had to go.  (Don Anderson)

    I was doing this before there was a list, and I actually ran out of tapers. I had no reason to believe I could make a rod other than a Garrison. I sold a couple, kept a couple, and donated quite a few to my TU chapter for cost. That allowed me to recoup and replace the hardware. (Art Port)

    Well, there you are. The big question.  What do we do with the "extra" rods?

    Well, just at the moment I am in the enviable position of being able to sell more than I can make, but that is very much a variable thing.  Some rods I keep, but surprisingly the number of rods in the cupboard never gets too outrageous.  I have more than I use, but not that many more

    There are some rods, I find, that are not up to scratch - action not right, "feel" all wrong, whatever goes awry.  Usually the wrongness does not manifest itself until you have put in all the work and the rod is finished.  I cut these rods up, use them for demo strips, slice the butts up to make buttons etc. One thing is absolutely certain - you do NOT want a pile of crappy rods out there with your name on them.

    Years and years ago, when I thought I had the rodmaking thing all wired, though even I had a few little misgivings about the standard of my cosmetics, I sent a consignment of 5 rods over to California to an organism known as Darrell Lee, for sale.  Well, in fact he just stole the rods, though I offered to pay the return freight, but that was just Dodgy Darrell, and I should have known better.  But though he failed to bother to pay me for the rods, I know he sold at least most of them; and now, years on down the track, when I realize how dreadful the cosmetics were on these rods,  I shudder to think of them out there with my name on them, even though they were all structurally fine.

    So, don't sell any rods at all until you are sure you have it all together, or it will come back and bite you on the bum!

    I give quite a few rods away to friends; and if you want to do something nice for a club or other organization, a donation of a rod is a nice kick to their fundraising effort.  I don't know what you lot do over there, but here we often raffle off things like this, sell 2000 or so tickets at $5 each, and on the stated day, draw the lottery.  It's a nice way to make a $1750 rod raise $10000 or more for the organization.

    I am in the process of making a rod to donate to the local (state) museum of  trout fishing.  It occurs to me that they have dozens, maybe hundreds of donated rods from the 30's 40's and 50's, usually made in England by makers of large heavy poles like Hardys, but none at all from more current makers.  A visitor looking at this museum would get the distinct impression that the manufacture of cane rods stopped dead at the  end of the 50's.

    Mine is not a business.  I get rid of some rods to defray the cost of components.

    But you do remember, Jeremy, the old saw about "counting your chickens before they are hatched", don't you?

    My best advice is to get down to it and build some rods, put in the time to get them pretty well right, and then worry about what you are going to do with them.  It may be that years down the track the name of Jeremy Gubbins will ring clear as a bell down the annals of the great rodmakers and no one will be able to get their hands on one for love or money; or you may have the world's biggest cupboard full of rods that went wrong.

    But before you know that, you have to build the beggars!

    Cheers, and don't worry too much about accumulating the tools.  You will never be finished with that.  Just get your head down and your arse up and get building, and realize your potential.  (Peter McKean)

      Thank you! You had me smiling as I read through this. All except for your losing those rods as you did.

      "Organism." I'll have to remember that one. *G* I'm very sorry to hear that these things really do occur in our love of this craft and all that surrounds it. Unbelievable!!

      Thanks for your reply. You said much indeedy...and it is appreciated.  (Jeremy Gubbins)

    I have given a bunch of them to the local fly fishing club to auction then for their conservation or operating costs (now they raffle them because it raises more money).

    They are always in demand and that way I get to keep making without them piling up in the basement.  (Gordon Koppin)

      Thanks very much for these replies. In time, hopefully, I'll be able to put out a rod nice enough for the  T.U. or gen. public to be able to raise a few bucks to help the causes. I might need to get a basement closet otherwise.

      I don't plan on selling any for a profit but it would be super if I sold a few just to cover costs etc. If a couple of friends thought enough of a creation to toss in some to make my outlay then that's all the thanks I'd need to get the juices flowing and keep costs down.

      I couldn't imagine sitting home with a closet full of my rods. I'd  have  to keep my waders on and feet wet all the time so I... didn't have to feel guilty. (Those who know me know that's B.S.) (Jeremy Gubbins)

    Having to many bamboo rods is like having to many tools, or to many guns. It just can't be done! (Jim Bureau)

    A good use for 'extra' rods would be Project Healing Waters.  The rods will be placed with or used to teach wounded veterans how to enjoy fly fishing.  You get to enjoy the making while knowing the veteran gets to enjoy the using.

    It is a good use for those 'other material' rods you have set in the corner because they have been replaced by your newest project.  (JP Willis)


 

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