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Nodeless

See Chris Bogart's excellent site for a description on building nodeless. I pretty much do it his way..

When I do nodeless, I :

  1. Flame the culm (If you are going to do it that way, but I like blond nodeless rods, flaming really makes the splices show)
  2. Cut out the nodes. (Band saw works great!)
  3. Heat treat in the kitchen oven.
  4. Mark my sections as to what order they came in the culm. (I mark the butt ends in colored markers using black, blue, green, purple, red. This way they are spliced to sections consecutively from butt to tip. If you look at the colors I use, you will notice it is alphabetical. Black sections come from the butt of the culm and red closest to the tip.)
  5. Split the sections.
  6. Plane the sections in the splice block. Alternate the splices between strips. (Do all the splices on the first strip with the enamel facing you in the splice block. Do the second strip facing away, etc....)
  7. Use Titebond II to clamp sections together (I use three 1" Pony clamps per slice)
  8. I square of the edges of each strip in a little form with a square notch down its length. Shallow for tips on one side, and deeper for butt sections on the other.
  9. Rough plane
  10. Final Plane
  11. Glue
  12. Finish

I have had good success using Epon and Gorilla Glue for the rods.  Just be aware that the Titebond II at the splices is susceptible to high heat. I would be wary of using heat to set the glue because of the Titebond II. That's why I started using Gorilla Glue instead of the Epon. (Bob Maulucci)

    I pretty much follow the same procedure except:  I roughly square the chopsticks before I splice.  This gives a good square cross section for the clamps to push against.  Otherwise, the clamp pressure tends to pull the enamel side apart on some strips.  (Bill Hoy)


Don't worry about staggering scarfs on nodeless rods per se, just try to make sure no scarfs sit next to each other which I guess is staggering in a way.  I'm unsure if this would cause weakness but it looks bad.  (Tony Young)


I build nodeless and use the 3 x 3 staggering of the scarfs.  However, I also reverse the angles of the scarfs to give me sort of a saw tooth pattern if you were to look at it with all 6 strips laying flat.  (Joe Byrd)


There are some issues with nodeless construction as well as benefits and any pros comes down to how well you handle the cons.  The biggest single possible problem is the glue.  I’ve mentioned the problems I’ve had with glue before on the list and won’t go into it again on-list, but provided you have a dependable glue and use good gluing practice and preparation of the scarfs, the other cons all come down to technique.

Maximizing bamboo:
     Pro:  It's possible to get over 30 strips to a culm easily
               because you're only splitting bamboo between nodes so
               the length of the split is around 12" or thereabouts.
     Pro:  You can split each section in to the width you want (thin
               - wide and everything in between) thereby reduce the
               time it takes to plane excessive bamboo.
     Pro:  Use almost all of a culm due to not having to worry
               about node staggering of a strip as it comes from the
               culm including the ability to chop out undesirable parts
               of a strip such as worm holes, grower's graffiti and
               drying splits in inconvenient places.
     Pro:  It matters not a jot if the culm is bent like a pretzel.
     Pro:  The nodes burn well :-)
     Con:  You waste some bamboo at every scarf but it's less
               waste than you'd get when staggering nodes and
               rejecting strips due to flaws.... mostly.

Node preparation:
     Pro:  Using a slick and plane I can cut a 1:22 scarf faster than
               I can file and press a node.
     Con:  It takes time to glue the scarf and it's messy.

Planing nodes:
     Pro:  The strips are as straight as you want to make them at
               the scarf gluing stage.
     Pro:  What are nodes?
     Con:  See above.

Node staggering:
     Pro:  The sections are layed out and made to length taking
               into account where the scarfs lay relative to each other
               before gluing the scarfs to make the strip.
     Pro:  What are nodes?
     Con:  You need to glue the sections.

Heat treating:
     Pro:  Every Western society kitchen with power I ever saw
               had a stove. As it happens mine is an old stove but the
               thermostat is very accurate (I've tested it) and yours   
               may be too so don't just write the stove off until you
               check.
     Con:  I'll need to think about one. I guess if I had to put in a
               token con I'd say your stove may not have an accurate
               thermostat but it's likely as good or better than the
               average heat control over the whole oven used by a lot
               of people's full strip length ovens unless you go to a lot
               of messing about making the oven work properly which
               you need to do in the end.

Heat straightening:
     Con:  Possibly huge problems. The trick is using a glue for the
               scarf that will either withstand without failing due to the
               heat required to allow straightening of the blank or  
               use a glue that will regain 100% strength once the heat
               is removed. The latter is preferable IMHO.

Rod action:
     Pro:  Who can tell?
     Con:  Who can tell?

Rod strength at the node/scarf:
     Pro:  Discounting possible scarf failure due to inconsistent
               glue or poor technique it's not an issue for a rod in use.
     Con:  Discounting possible weakness due to worm holes or
               poor/inconsistent node preparation technique Not an
               issue for a rod in use.

Personally I think the two methods have as much going for and against them as each other. Some operations are easier some are not. If you are a beginner and don't want to make an oven try nodeless. If you live where due to import tax laws and lousy exchange rates a culm costs > $200 so every inch counts definitely try nodeless. If you have a quick means of cutting and gluing scarfs try nodeless. If you cannot accept the possibly of scarf failure (ever) due to any number of possible reasons don't try nodeless. If you like nodes (yeah???) don't try nodeless.  (Tony Young)


When making nodeless rods a splicing block is needed. I have a wood splicing block I made and it is okay. I started to think about a metal one. Well when I saw a metal splicing blocks for $85 I took a "Gulp" and decided to try and make one. After a few attempts I still was not satisfied and then I stumbled across an idea that worked. So here is how to make a all metal splicing block for about $15.

List of materials

2.5" drill press vise from Harbor Freight $4
1/8"x 3/4" x 2' CRS angle iron Home Depot $3
1/8" x 1/2" CRS flat stock $2 or plastic or wood
Epoxy $3

Cut the CRS angle iron into 2 eight inch sections. Knock off the corners and edges. These are going to be your planing surface. Put 2 of the side together and lay them on a flat surface. Make sure the face of the bars are even one to another. Now clamp them together tight.

the drill press vise and knock of any edges on the jaws and look to make sure the jaw surface is free from ridges or protrusions.

Place the clamped together  angle irons within the jaws of the vise. The vise will provide the clamping power to hold the cane when cutting a splice.  Place the angle irons in a position where the jaws of the vise will provide the best clamping in the area of the cane to be planed. Mark the underside of the angle irons along the edge of the vise jaws. Apply epoxy to the underside of the angle irons and then insert the clamp angle irons into position. Clamp with moderate pressure and make sure the faces of the angle irons remain flush.

I use a 6 degree angle on my splices a 4 degree angle works well also but does make for a longer splice. Make the angle you choose on a piece of paper from the top edge. Lay a true edge of your thin piece of metal, plastic or wood along this angle. Now mark a line across the top your material by using the edge of  paper to get the angle. This line is parallel to the top edge of the paper. Cut you material along this line. When lined up and sandwiched between the faces of the angle irons it will then give you an angled shelf for the cane to sit upon. Glue this to one side of of the angle iron.

Make sure all glue is dried. Now dress the top of the angle irons as you would if you were dressing forms. I mark the planning surface with a sharpie marker and use a flat file to flatten the planning surface. I keep filing until the sharpie is remove evenly and the surface if flat.  Once the faces are cleaned up you now have a mini planing form set up to do splices.

After all that I probably will set up my router with a laminate bit to do my splice. Oh well! at least I did something today.  (Adam Vigil)


I made my nodeless splicing block by taking a length of wood, drawing a line along it at an angle of 1:22 (this slope looked like it would work and wasn't too extreme, less may be ok), clamping a straight edge along the line, setting a 6 mm bit in a router to a depth of 6 mm (making the hole square when completed), routing a slot the length of the wood, gluing a second piece of wood over the routed slot (you can use Titebond :-) ) then cutting the block to size. Takes about 10 minutes.  (Tony Young)


For those who build nodeless and may use Titebond or Titebond II for joining the scarfs I have this question. How long do you maintain the scarf under clamp after gluing?  (Jim Tefft)

    I clamp for 1/2 to 1 hour but don't stress for 24 hours.  (John Long)

    I try to leave scarf joints clamped overnight, just to be on the safe side, but that's probably a bit of overkill.  (Mike Roberts)


I reported several weeks ago on the list about my problems with scarf failures in nodeless rods using Titebond II Extend. I now use a shallower angle  (about 2 degrees)  and have solved the problem. I was using a 5 degree angle before -- thought I had accurately measured it as shallower but I was mistaken.  No really, I was. I know it's hard to believe....(Barry Kling)


Just getting into nodeless building and was wondering how the rest of you were gluing all the little sticks together. Are you using some sort of jig to hold 3 or 5 sticks together, strait, while you attach the 'pony' clips?  Or, is this a dumb question.  (Don Greife)

    I glue one splice at a time on each strip.  If the full strip includes five sections, consider them A, B, C, D and E, I glue A to B and D to E, then AB to C and finally ACB to DE.  I find it easier to handle only a single splice at a time.  In the long run it doesn't take any more time unless you have a very large supply of clamps.

    When I glue the splices I place the sections enamel side down on a piece of glass and apply the middle of three clamps.  I then turn the unit over and adjust the fit as necessary and apply the clamps to either side of the first.  Between gluing sessions I use a little scraper with a razor blade to remove the dried glue from the glass.

    When I am gluing I will split a culm, heat treat, put the angles on the sections and then glue a set of strips two or three times per day until all the strips are completed.  A 12' culm will usually yield 40 - 60 strips depending on how long they need to be.  (Bill Lamberson)

    As clamps, I use old fashioned clothes pins and I reinforce them with a rubber band around the clamps. Works fine and you can afford to have a lot of them, which speeds up the gluing of the splines. I glue the splines for a rod in one day.  (Geert Poorteman)

    Further on Bill's advice, someone recently commented on his procedure by saying "Garrison lives." If you've seen any of Bill's rods you'd say the same thing - they are exquisite, so I'd take his advice. He also has excellent taste in tapers. Last time we talked he was using Titebond II for the scarf joints and resorcinol for gluing up the sections.   (Barry Kling)


I just noticed that www.Grizzly.com has some inexpensive spring clamps.  Has anyone used these for nodeless.  (Here’s a link to it.)  (Darrin Curtis)

    Just wrap the scarves with thin cotton thread used to sew shirts or whatever. When it's time to get rid of the thread just plane it off when you start work on the spline.

    Works great.  (Tony Young)

    I've tried them.  They didn't work worth a crap for me.  I press the enamel side of the strips against a piece of glass to hold them even while I apply the clamps.  The little rotating face on those clamps had to be past the enamel surface of the cane for them to hold steady.  If I just pressed them down to the glass like I do with my regular Pony clamps these popped off.  It was possible to get them to hold by just holding the cane with one hand and applying the clamp with the other, but for me it is much harder to get the joint even that way.  Also, the spring on them seemed pretty weak compared to the Pony clamps.

    I think Al Medved just uses little metal binder clamps made for paper clips.  They are very cheap and wouldn't suffer the same problem as these.  (Bill Lamberson)

    I just did a dozen splices with the little Bulldog binder clamps this week, and they worked quite nicely.  I do wish I had watched your demo at SRG on nodeless stuff.  Some of them didn't line up quite perfectly, and I wish I had known about the glass trick.  Also, get the medium size, not the small.  Even some of the mediums are difficult to get open wide enough to fit around butt section sized splices.  Live and learn, I guess.  (Harry Boyd)

    I have been using the medium Accu binder clamps and they seem to work fine. I use three per splice. I place the first in the middle and make sure that the alignment is correct, a glass plate or other flat surface can help, and then place one on each side. I then feel the splice with a finger to make sure all is OK. If not, I make any required adjustments. These clamps are cheap and can be bought at any stationary/office supply store. The house brand is often less expensive and works  just as well as the name brand.   (Mark Cole)


OK all you nodeless guys.  I was at the local Staples at lunch and saw some binder clips on sale.  Which size are you guys using?  I'm not ready to build nodeless yet, but if'n I can pick some up cheap, I might as well do it.  (Todd Talsma)

    I would use the med. or large ones but binder clips are, in my opinion, the least desirable clamps to use.  There is a new type of pony clamp on the market made by Quick Grip.  They are yellow with black swiveling jaws which also have a narrow 60 groove (which sometimes comes in handy).  They also lock and have a release lever.  They are available in a bunch of sizes but I like the 1 1/2" for nodeless work.  I guess they are more of a clamp than the usual pony spring types.  (John Long)

    I use the Medium ones and I go thru and sort out what feels like the strongest clamping. The rest I set aside or give to the wife to use.  (Jim Tefft)

    I can't look as all my rod making stuff is packed up in Leadville awaiting our arrival at the end of next month but, I think that I used the medium clips -- three per splice.  (Mark Cole)


Do any of you nodeless guys temper your culms before you cut out the nodes and split the strips or striplets? Would there be any advantage to this other than using ones bamboo oven (better temperature control) and having a easier time splitting? Is there any disadvantage to this? Am about to start my first node less, thanks to the evil influence of Mr. Bogart, and thought this just maybe the best, for me that is, way to go.  (Patrick Coffey)

    I've only built a couple of nodeless. I have cut out the nodes first then used the kitchen convection oven to heat treat. the sections split beautifully after heat treating. No reason I can think of not to use your bamboo oven and cut out the nodes later.  (Dennis Higham)

    The way I do it when I do is first mark the butt end of the section above the nodes by drawing a line around the circumference before cutting.  I then cut the node off then split and heat treat in the kitchen oven.  Cooked bamboo is harder to work with than before cooking it.  (Tony Young)

    I would recommend you take the whole culm and cut about 1" each side of the nodes (I do it on a band saw) and mark a band around each section with a felt marker;  i.e. 1 band, 2 bands, etc. to keep track of their original placement in the culm.  You can either heat treat now in your kitchen oven, or do your splitting now and then toss all the strips into the oven.  You can save the node rings and make napkin rings.......(John Long)

    I split the culm in half. Mark each section. Cut out nodes with a power cut off saw. Heat then split.  Works well.  (Adam Vigil)

      Bob Milward confirmed your heat treating formula, at Corbett lake last week.  He hadn't seen your findings in the planning form but had come to the same conclusion as you did. The interesting part I found is that it was pretty much what Walt Powell told me that  he did about five years ago, except he cranked up after heating to 350 degrees and turned his cane dark. Milward said anytime one darkens the cane with heat treating that they have started caramelizing the sugars in the lignin and the bamboo was loosing strength and stiffness because of it. It was nice to see that some one had actually did some testing and found out the optimum heat treating, good job.  (Patrick  Coffey)


I know the subject of nodeless building has been planed to shavings on this list, I've read the archives. However one subject that most builders tend to agree on is the way the scarf is cut. has anyone built with a compound scarf, that is to say cut the angle, and then bevel that, or maybe even the plane of the scarf begins on the enamel or pith side. My geometry (I haven't done any) might be wrong, but would that not provide a larger surface area for glue to adhere to?  (Shane Pinkston)

    It wont make any difference as it's the surface area that's glued that holds it together. Keying the scarf wont be worth the effort IMHO.  (Tony Young)

    A compound scarf may be stronger but not necessary. If the glue is going to let go on a normal scarf it will do so on a compound also. The saving grace of nodeless building is that the scarf is surrounded by other splines. I have built nodeless and it is fun but when a splice lets go the fun is out the window. I will build nodeless in the future but only when I find a glue that is so strong the cane will break before the splice. I have not found such a glue yet. Most people start with nodeless because of a lack of an oven that will fit 5' piece of cane. If a oven is the problem you could use a torch to heat treat if the proper technique is used that is.  If the nodes are the problem you can soak your cane and press the nodes. This removes a lot of the node pressing nightmares. Shoot many guys are returning to the sand off the hump method. In reality not heat straightening a node may just prove to be stronger due to the decrease of damage to the cane from heat. The old-timers did not press nodes they sanded and filed that hump away.  (Adam Vigil)

      I've messed a lot with nodeless and have come to the belief the only glue to use for the whole rod including the scarfs is resorcinol.  (Tony Young)


Try as I may I can't seem to get the splices on a nodeless rod to line up right.

Let me tell what I want to do in the following order. Not wanting to put any heat on the glue joint, rough plan the strips a little oversize for the largest dimension of the section, bind and heat treat. Cut the splice angle and glue the strips.

I've tried using: all kinds of clamps, made clamps, made V blocks and forced the joint into the V and plain old warp the joint. All to no avail. Everything slips slightly or at least doesn't line up right as far as I'm concerned.

The only way I can get a good glue joint is heat treat the split chop sticks, splice and then plane the strips. To me, I lose any straightening, what little there may be, during the heat treating doing it this way.

Any ideas?  (Don Schneider)

    I gave up rough planing before gluing splices real quick.  I heat treated, cut the splices and glued.  If they needed straightening, I did it after the splice gluing.  Compared to noded, I never had a straightening problem with nodeless.  (Onis Cogburn)

    For what it's worth:

    I have nothing but trouble trying to bind my nodeless splices with thread I always get some serious shifting which, because I flame,  results in a very visible splice joint.   (This happened last night as a matter of fact.) 

    I'm going back to using the Pony clamps (per Chris Bogart's article).  I use three clamps per splice and fit both pieces together  - enamel side down - on a thick piece of glass to ensure the enamel surfaces are even.  

    For my next rod, I'm going to experiment with Epon for the splices.  I'm increasingly concerned about the long-term integrity of Titebond II after the straightening process.  I'm usually very careful with the heat application and I'll really flex a strip to attempt to cause a failure if I think I've overheated a splice.  

    As far a straight strips go, I dry fit the pieces together - looking for alignment of the surfaces to be glued and then eyeballing the strip to be as straight as possible.   Sometimes I get good results,  but never good enough that I don't have to straighten.  (Eric Koehler)


On Clark Davis' web site the following comment was made by ChuckN, "This is also why any given rod taper tends to be faster, and at least a line-size heavier, when made as a nodeless rod (because of all the scarfs)."

For those that have built nodeless, have you found this to be the case? If you take a traditional 5 wt. taper and make it nodeless, does it come out as a 6 wt?  (Bill Walters)

    Al Medved nodeless 5 weights were 5 weights not 6 weights. 4 weights were 4 weights 2 weights 2 weights, etc.  (Timothy Troester)

    I don't know how to say this without being rude, it's wrong. A #5 with nodes is a #5 without them.

    I never found there to ever be any differences between noded and nodeless rods apart from the lack of nodes. They aren't

    faster, slower, stronger, weaker or any other thing you could imagine. The only reason you'd go with nodeless is you can use up what would otherwise be scrap off cuts of bamboo and or you don't need a specialized oven to heat treat them.

    I think the amount of work cutting and scarfing is about the same as doing whatever you decide to do with nodes.  I don't know if the nodes are weaker than the rest of the spline or not, nor do I think it matters one wit. Rods never break at the nodes. 

    Nodeless rods with problems often break at the scarfs.  Having made quite a few nodeless rods and having more than my fair share of problems as a result I still make them but I'm particular about how which I've mentioned often before and it's only to use up what would otherwise be scrap bamboo as it's so expensive and hard to get out here that any waste is too much waste.  When I decide on the taper to make one of these nodeless rods I fully expect it to be exactly the same as any other rod I'd make to that taper, no different in action at all beyond the normal small variation you'd get anyhow, certainly not a line weight or something has gone badly wrong. 

    If you were to use inters to reinforce the scarfs that would add a line weight possibly.  (Tony Young)

    I am not sure that I have noted a difference of a full line weight, but my experience has also been that nodeless rods are a bit stiffer than conventional.  I think Bob Milward suggests the same thing.  During casting the fibers in the bamboo extend and compress and may to some extent slide past one another.  My speculation is that, perhaps depending on the glue, the scarf joints break the continuum of fibers and inhibit their movement within a strip, hence causing it to be stiffer.  (Bill Lamberson)

    I don't know Clark Davis or Chuck N, or how they arrived at the decision they did, but I can tell you from personal experience that the nodeless rods I've cast were basically the same as the as rods with nodes. I've cast several of Al Medved's nodeless rods and every one of them cast superbly. None of Al's rods were stepped up a line weight because of the fact that they were nodeless.  (Jim Bureau)

      I've cast and certainly admire Al's rods, but I don't have any way of comparing them to the same tapers with nodes.  Admittedly, I don't have the experience that a lot of you do, I've only built 50-60 nodeless rods.  The only thing I can tell you is that mine have seemed to have the same general bending characteristics, but just seem to be a bit stiffer.   It is pretty easy to knock the dimensions back just a bit on the nodeless rods to make them more similar to the conventional.  (Bill Lamberson)

        If you've made 50+ nodeless rods you're far ahead of me. I've never made a nodeless rod as of yet. I've cast quite a few nodeless rods and basic reasoning would lead me to believe that they would be stiffer then a rod with nodes. Most casters I've talked with feel the same way as you do, that these nodeless rods are slightly stiffer, but not by a full line weight. It's also difficult to compare two rods of the same taper, made by two different builders. More often then not, the fly line is never the same on the two rods. That alone will make the comparison quite difficult.  (Jim Bureau)


The archives are very helpful and Chris Bogart's update really got me convinced.  However I still have questions about nodeless construction before I get started splicing.

What is the street wisdom about heat treating before versus after splitting?

If you heat treat before, how close to the final maximum width can you safely split?  (It looks like Garrison added 1/3 but this partially allows for HT shrinkage.)

What is the current thinking about the "sanding disk" method?  (I purchased a 10" disk from Wood Worker's Supply that fits on a table saw and seems very precise.  I am working on an adjustable jig that slides in the saw's miter groove.  The advantage I expect is that the disk can be set up to rotate directly into the fibers at the point of the scarf and reduce tearout for either right or left hand bevels.  Shouldn't this work as well as a beat-up splicing block?)

    I think cane splits better after heat treating.   Here is my method, worked out by trial and error (mostly error):

    Don't try cutting too close to the nodes; even if the cane looks fine it will have some crooked "grain" near the node and when you split the strips they will  have a little dogleg bend at the end.  Plan on loosing an inch on each side of the node.

    I split each intra-nodal section in two before heat treating, and mark the inside using an art marker with a fine nib at one end and a wide nib at the other.  The section at the small end of the culm gets 1 thin strip, next section gets 2, etc.  The wide mark is a 5.  Etc. Try to heat treat all the sections, even if it is more than you think you will need, lengthwise. You might need it.

    I've got a coffee can full of nails & screws for ballast, with a bungee cord knotted around it.  I slip the half section under the cord to hold it vertical, and mark around the top using a flexible plastic ruler and a pencil.  I use 1/4 inch for the tips and a little more for the butt strips.  You can probably go finer, but cane is cheap.  On the other hand, if you make your strips too wide your splices will get longer and you will loose length.  Geometry is a cruel master.

    I split with a junk wood chisel  ground on both sides and a mallet. Make your first whack at each split solid, not a little "tap" which will make the chisel bounce off the mark.  One whack then a twist of the chisel and the strip is split.

    I've not tried the sanding disk method,  but it sounded interesting. I cut the bevel on a bandsaw with a fine tooth blade and a little sliding jig, then a few passes with a plane in the splicing block will smooth the cut ready for gluing.  A grooved plane sole will preserve your splicing block.  If you haven't got a grooved plane that might be a priority.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)


I've started work on a couple of nodeless rods.  I'm in the process of cutting the splices using a Garrison style splice block and a Stanley 9 1/2 with a Hock iron for coarse cuts and a grooved L-N 9 1/2 for finishing up.  I'm not getting as much service out of the edges of my irons as I would like; maybe 8-10 finished pieces (the cane was heat treated in the kitchen oven).  I'm sharpening at 30 degrees.  Would a steeper angle increase the life of the edge?  Anybody out there using a steeper angle for planing cane in general?  (Bill Benham)

    I'd guess that 8-10 pieces per sharpening for hardened steel blades is quite good.  My suspicion is that most guys sharpen every 3-6 strips. The surefire alternatives to frequent sharpening are to use either HSS or Carbide tipped blades.

    Hardened steel blades in block planes seem to allow a little latitude in sharpening angle, my suspicion is somewhere between 28 degrees and 40 degrees is the working range.  I've settled on 34 degrees for all my work, but there's no magic in that number.  In theory, a little steeper angle has a little more metal behind the edge, giving it a little more rigidity. But the extra amount of metal behind at 40 degrees edge as compared to a 30 degrees edge is minute in actuality.

    My recommendation is to find a system of sharpening that works quickly, easily, and consistently for you.  I use diamond paste on a powered leather wheel as first described to me by Tom Smithwick and George Barnes.  Some folks like my setup, others do not.  But it works for me.  Find something that works for you, and sharpen at the very first hint that the edge is beginning to dull.  (Harry Boyd)

    I use 35 with a couple of degrees more for the secondary bevel.  (Steve Weiss)


I'm working on a couple of nodeless rods which means I'm cutting a bunch of splices.  I was having to stop and sharpen my irons (I'm using 2 planes) every 8-10 finished pieces.  I was using the basic Garrison procedure; put the piece of cane in the splice block and plane on it until it's flush with the top of the block.  It occurred to me that if I could knock most of that waste off before I started planing the splice, my irons would last much longer.  So I got out a 1/2" chisel and a mallet, put a piece of cane in the splice block and chiseled the waste off,  cutting about 1/32" off the top of the block.  It worked great; fast and not hard to do.  So know I'm taking my pieces and chiseling the waste off a batch first, then going back and finishing the pieces with the planes.  I can now cut 24 finished pieces before having to sharpen my irons.  Even with the extra step, which goes pretty fast, I figure it's cut my time almost in half.

I have to sharpen the chisel every 40 cuts or so, but that's easily done on a bench grinder.  I've found that a bevel of about 35 degrees works well on the chisel.  Eye protection is a must as the pieces of waste cane really fly from the cut.  (Bill Benham)

    Good idea. Try putting a bit of a bevel on the underside of the chisel so you can drop the handle and climb out of a cut if it goes too deep.  (Ron Grantham)

    I use a large chisel, very sharp, and slice them off without a mallet. A couple of years ago, someone suggested using a slick. great idea.  (Steve Weiss)

      I believe that it was Tony Young who used a slick.  As I recall, he said it just takes one clean slice.  (Robert Kope)

        That is true.

        Use the bevel down, hold the chopstick firmly or clamp it and lean hard on the slick. Because it's so wide compared with a regular chisel you can take the top off in a single pass if the slick's sharp enough. Finish with a plane.

        You don't see slicks very often but  I think Barr Industries have them, they got them made by a black smith. Being so wide and thick nothing much argues with one so they're useful for general carpentry and cabinet work also. The main difference between the slick and chisel apart from it looking like it's on steroids is the handle is off set from the bottom face of the blade rather than in line as with a chisel meaning it's cocked upwards so when you push your hands are above the line of the cut, very much like you're pushing a handle on a plane which is basically what a slick is. Excellent for cleaning up corners etc where a plane can't get into.  I'd get a local black smith to make one if you were interested.  (Tony Young)

          Woodcraft sells them.  I believe they have 2 or 3 different sizes.  (Larry Blan)

          Slicks are still used in traditional boatbuilding and log cabin building.  Woodcraft used to carry them.  I don't know if that's still true, don't have my catalogs handy.  (Neil Savage)

          I have one that an old "Boatright" gave me over 20 years ago. When I got it he said it was over a hundred years old. To this day I am amazed at how well it holds and edge and sharpens, even after the "Clod" down the street borrowed it one time without asking and really mangled the edge. Took 2 days to reshape the cutting edge to sharpen it again. But it will still shave the hair off your arm after using it. Wish I had a dozen of them but am satisfied with having the 1.  (Jimi Genzling)

            My slick is an old boatbuilders' slick also. It's a socket jobbie which I guess most are though they also come with a tang and leather bolster setup. The reason a lot of the old slicks hold an edge so well is they used what is strictly speaking wrongly called cast steel blades. Cast steel is what is marked on these blades if that is what they are and you can see the aminations if looked from the side. These have a laminated blade with tool steel on the back and cast iron on the belly of the blade making it cast/steel. This of course meant you could really pound the hell out of the slick yet have no fear of the blade breaking as you would if the while blade was made as hard as the tool steel lamination. I doubt the new slicks would be made this way so they prob wont hold so good an edge as the steel will have to be less hard else shatter in use. A lot of old chisels seem to keep their edge pretty well, a lot is to do with the steel used as well as (some say) the constant pounding over the years compresses the carbon making the steel better with use. I have no idea as to this though I'd prefer an old chisel every time over any new one no matter what brand though I do like the ones I make myself which are a lot harder than you can buy, I just have to be careful to never drop them.

            The cast steel blades are not unlike the Japanese chisels except they have the hard steel laminated in a channel of softer steel. If anybody ever comes across a slick, especially a socket model buy it.  (Tony Young)


Anyone out there tried running a nodeless/spliced spline through a Medved style beveler?  If so, were any problems encountered in cutting through the splices?  Like having them shred, or something equally bad?

A related question.  Some router based beveler designs I've seen pictures/drawings of cut with the direction of feed (a climb cut).  Adam Vigil's design and, I believe, the JW Flyrods model are examples.  Others, like the Medved style cut opposite the direction of feed.  Is one better than the other?  I would think that the Medved style that cuts opposite the direction of feed might have a tendency to lift or splinter fibers.  But then most woodworking machines and practices avoid climb cuts as being dangerous.  What are the thoughts/experiences of the list?  (Bill Benham)

    Nodeless splines cut just fine. As for climb cut, it is smooth and trouble free. No splintering. The length of your try and firm hold downs provide plenty of pressure to keep the spline from shooting out. I have never had a spline even appear as if it where going to shoot out of the beveler. Just be sure to make 2 to 3 cuts at least on each side  of the strip instead of one big one. Use leather gloves and you will be fine. Your beveler is like a Garrison binder, if you build it right to begin with it will do what it is suppose to from the start. If you are unsure on how to build a beveler I will be happy to help or if you decide to buy on JW Flyrod’s beveler it is a class act and you won't go wrong.  (Adam Vigil)


After checking out the variegated nodeless Wagner quad rod, I got to thinking about cutting splices with a machine.  Mr. Wagner mentioned that he worked out a way to cut splices mechanically that only took 15 seconds per cut.  Anyone out there given any thought to this?  I've wondered about this before, and even went so far as to pick up a little 4" Jarmac table saw off eBay.  Ultimately it didn't have the power to cut Tonkin, but one of the better machines might.  I've also thought that a router table type mill might be used.  Comments?  (Bill Benham)

    My guess is that you could make a nice splice cut with a sanding disc mounted in a table saw. You would need a simple guide to slide the strip into the disc at the right angle.  (Tom Smithwick)

      Seems to me that I have heard of someone (possibly Al Medved) using a laminate trimmer mounted in some way to cut tapers on planing forms.  I wonder if this idea were transferable to scarf joint forms.  (Carl DiNardo)

      From experience here I can tell you that a sanding disc will work, however, when I did it (IE: guide on table, etc.) I had a lot of scarf joint failures.  No matter what glue I used 90% of the scarf's failed.  Conclusion is that it is good to hog off the meat of the bamboo, but then transfer to a scarf block and hand plane.  (Joe Byrd)

    I use a 12" sanding disk with 120 grit paper to cut splices.  I have a fence on the edge of the  table saw table on a Shop Smith.  I position the strips and use the quill feed (like a drill press) to push the spinning disk  against the cane.  It is very fast, five to six cuts per minute.  To my knowledge I've never had a splice fail in sixty nodeless rods built over the past five years.  The splices are glued with Titebond II and the rods (mostly) with resorcinol,  some with Elmer's ProBond polyurethane.  (Bill Lamberson)

    I always build nodeless. I used a mechanical tool for making the splices before. Now I use a normal splicing block. It is a bit slower, but I have the feeling the splices are better.

    The tool is described on the net somewhere, but I can't remember where. But it is something like this... The basis is a motor with attached a disk. On the disk goes coarse sand paper. The motor is attached to a table with the disk upright and in front of the disk is a horizontal table which is 90 to the disk. There is a guide glued to the table with a shallow angle to the disk. This angle will be the angle of your splines. What you do is make the disk turn and feed the splines along the guide to the disk. The sand paper takes the cane off the spline leaving the desired angle. It makes a lot of dust but it makes the splines real fast.

    But why do we all need to do those things fast?? As for me, I make rods as a hobby, and if it takes time, that’s exactly why I picked up a hobby... to pass the time in an interesting way. In French a hobby is called 'passe temps', temps meaning time... The thing I will do next is making agate tip top guides and butt guides. I plan on guides for spinning rods too. It will take a lot of time, but what the heck!!!  (Geert Poorteman)


I've noticed that a lot of the guys that have tried nodeless gave it up because of the tendency of the splices to pop. Has anyone tried clear overwraps for reinforcement, and did it help?  (Bill Walters)

    I've built at least a dozen nodeless rods most of which have been fished a minimum of 200 days a year. No problems (yet). These rods were built ca. 5 years ago, using Titebond II for the scarfs and Epon epoxy for the strips. For what it's worth.  (Jerry Snider)

    Splices don't pop if made well. Nodeless 6, 5, and 4 strippers, using Titebond II for scarf bonds and  Epon strip bonding  seem OK after lots of field experience. The thing that does fail  is the nodeless two-strip quad with Titebond II scarfs. I have one with clear overwraps almost from stem to stern and they still fail. It's become a game to keep overwrapping to see who wins. Lessons learned.   (Bill Fink)


For those of you that build nodeless rods what’s the staggering pattern you use (if any) for the splices?  I see that Eden Cane don't use any (ref Ed Engle’s book page 130) staggering but I have a recollection that someone else was recommending 2" between any spliced section?  (Paul Blakley)

    I usually build nodeless and I stagger the splines 3X3. I also try to have dark and light colored slices next to one another so it creates an interesting pattern. I feel the staggering reduces the danger of breaking, but I have no evidence for this.  (Geert Poorteman)


Any idea what the angle should be on scarfing jigs?   (Don Anderson)

    I have a scarfing block that was made by Bill Waara/John Long for scarfing strips to build nodeless.  The angle is 4 degrees.  (Ted Knott)

      I agree with Ted's answer since I also have a John Long scarfing block and it measures 4 degrees.  (Jack Follweiler)

    Is it for scarfing new sections in or for making nodeless?  Garrison's scarfing blocks for scarfing in new sections we set to 2 degrees if I remember right.  (Mark Wendt)

    The scarfing block I bought from Golden Witch drops about 1" over a 12" run.  (Kyle Druey)

    Thanks for the help. 1 in 12.

    Have you even noticed that the drawings in Garrison's book are incorrect for the butt scarfing block. The Top left drawing shows 3/4 * 3/4 where as the overall height is 1 1/2".

    Screwed up the angles big time. Hence, the question.  (Don Anderson)


I was looking at nodeless building and thought that this looked like an ideal situation to use a bandsaw.  It would provide much more uniform strips than splitting. What's the thought on this building technique and am I off on the bandsaw?  (Lee Orr)

    I build nodeless. I saw the nodes out and am left with the internodal sections. Splitting those is really easy, and I see no necessity using a bandsaw...  (Geert Poorteman)

    The bandsaw would be an effective tool at the onset of a nodeless project. It gives uniform strips that could easily have the nodes removed and spliced. I have not built a nodeless rod in a while, but I would want  uniform strips the next time for sure. I would be glad to give you more info on sawing, but the principles of sawing will be addressed in my article found in the upcoming January 2004 issue of Power Fibers (See issue 14).  (Bob Maulucci)


I'm trying to figure out the advantages / disadvantages to making nodeless strips. Anybody care to offer opinions?  (Ron Grantham)

    Having made a grand total of "one" nodeless rod, the biggest advantage is not having to work those pesky nodes.  Disadvantages?  It took me a little longer to get the strips to the final planing stage, what with having to make the splices and glue them up.  The strips do plane rather nicely, not having the node to plow through.  You do have to be a little extra careful to notice when your plane blade is starting to dull, since you don't have those friendly nodes to give you the sharpening reminder.  (Mark Wendt)

    In addition to not having to work with nodes there are a couple of other things you may want to consider.

    In addition to cutting out the node, also  make your cut generous enough to get rid of the little dip & twist on each side of the node. One more thing you don't have to contend with.

    I use a thickness planner to make all of the chopsticks the same size. To me, having all of your pieces the same size, in cross section and length, makes all of the following steps easier.

    You only have to expose the bamboo to heat once. You can heat threat the chopsticks in your kitchen oven.

    You have complete control over  where the splices are in a section. In other words, not close or under a ferrule.

    I've designed what I call a "Splice Clamp" to clamp the pieces together while the adhesive sets up that eliminates the need for using spring clamps and applies more pressure to the joint than 3 spring clamps. It is also faster to use. It not only clamps but also aligns the pieces so that you end up with a straight strip without twists. The "Splice Clamp" can be configured to clamp strips for square/rectangular or triangular cross section. If anyone wants a  picture of the "Splice Clamp", let me know and I'll send you one off line.  (Don Schneider)

      I forgot to mention that I used a set of Don's clamps when I made my nodeless rod, and they work as advertised!  I put on a little demo of their operation at the SRG this past year, and the folks that watched it can attest to how easy, quick, and accurate they are to use.  They clamp the splices very nicely, with equal pressure all the way across the joint.  And as Don mentions below, the clamping pressure is quite strong.  The usual disclaimer - no financial interest, etc...  Just enthusiastic about a well designed, and very functional tool to add to the arsenal.  (Mark Wendt)

    Speaking of nodeless rods - I am in the process of building two nodeless rods (1 quad and 1 hex) and used Jeff Wagner's nodeless jig to cut the scarfs.  The jig holds the strips and using a bandsaw I cut off most the the scarf and then using a flush bit and a router in a table, am able to finish the scarf cut.  The whole process of clamping the strip, running it through the bandsaw and the router takes me about 45 seconds ( I think Jeff's site indicates it takes him about 30 seconds).  It works pretty and slick sure beats planing the scarfs, no blades to resharpen, etc.  No financial interest, and all the other disclaimers.  (Bob Williams)

    I think the biggest advantage is that you'll get the maximum utilization out of a culm.  If there is a scratch, worm hole, leaf node, etc. you'll probably loose only the strip with the defect and not the piece above or below it.  Makes sense for those paying a premium for their cane.  (Brian Smith)


Was wondering if I could bother the list with a request. I have enough short sections of bamboo to build a half dozen nodeless rods and figured I'd give it a shot. The only thing I'm lacking is a splicing form to plane the scarfs.

Would anyone be able to point me in the right direction for instructions on how to build the device. I don't have access to Garrisons book so, something online or e-mailed would be very much appreciated.

I'd rather build it than buy it..... making tools is half the fun!!  (Mike Givney)

    Try Chris Bogart's online guides:

    Splices

    Nodeless 2

    If you don't have it bookmarked, try Rodmakers and this site (Bamboo Tips).  Both are amazing repositories of tips, tricks, tools, links and even some "interesting" folklore about what some of our esteemed fraternity colleagues have managed to do to their surroundings and bodies with fly roods and the tools to make them  :)

    The first URL has a diagram of a splicing block.  Pretty straightforward to make yourself.

    Alternately, try Golden Witch.  Follow the links to "Rod building", then "tools" then "Splice and scarfing blocks".   No financial interest etc.  (Greg Dawson)

    Where are you?  might be someone in your area who could show you one.  Otherwise, consider making one from three pieces of lumber... Two pieces of 1" x  2" x 8" hardwood, and a third piece in the center about 3/16" x 2" x 8".  On the center piece, one of the long corners is cut away at 3 degrees - 4 degrees for about 3".  All three pieces are doweled together and held in a vise.  (Harry Boyd)

      That's exactly the way I made my splicing blocks, and it worked quite well.  I had a few dowel pins left over from when I made my forms and used those to help keep things straight.  I used three machine screws, which thread into some brass threaded inserts to clamp down on the strip, and hold it in place, then the whole unit is held in place by my bench mounted wood working vise.  I hog off most of the material before planing using a very sharp 3/4" wood chisel, then plane the strips down,  and finish off with a few light passes with a file.  Takes about a minute per piece or less.  Takes longer to get the strip out and put the new one in than it does to have the splice planed.  If I remember right, I used a 1/8" thick piece in the center, because I was planing the splices in strips that had already been rough beveled, and I wanted a little space between the clamps so I could clamp down on the strip solidly.  Worked quite well, and you don't have to worry about setting up an accurate angle on your table or band saw to cut that angle on the top like the "Garrison" method shows.  The 1/8" thick piece was glued in place using Titebond, after the angle was laid out on the inner face of one of the clamps using a machinist's protractor and a straight edge.  I used the same technique when I made up my scarfing blocks that hold hex shaped sections for rod repairs.  (Mark Wendt)

        After going through several wood splicing forms I made a metal one. Had a couple of pieces of 1x1 CRS about a foot long left over from when I made my forms.

        With a piece of 3/16" flat stock about 3/4" wide I squared up one edge and put a 60 angle on the other edge. Laid out the 4 angle on one of the 1 x 1's and fastened the 3/16" piece to it with flat head screws. One dowel in the middle and a countersunk machine screw on each side to pull it together. What stuck out I cut off and smoothed up flush with the 1 x 1's.

        So now I have one side for square/rectangular & the other for roughed sticks. A little work but I won't have to make another.  (Don Schneider)

      When I was making nodeless I used a home made device like you suggested. I just used 3/4 inch plywood and put a 21:1 taper for the splice on one of the blocks and the other flat. I used dowels like you suggested and put the contraption in a wood vice.  I was using a plane with a groove so cutting into the splice block was not a problem.  Some, with a Shopsmith and the 12 inch sander just sand the taper, that worked even better for me. From my very limited experience I can say that having the strips the same width made it much easier. It also helps to have the strips flatter on the enamel side to keep it from rocking.  (David Ray)

    I made a splice block, although I haven't made a nodeless rod (yet).  Mine has a couple of springs around the bolts that hold it together, so when I back off the vise the splice block opens automatically.  I used 2 nuts and bolts to hold it together,  and 2 pieces of brass rod for alignment pins.  Try to get the bolts high enough that they won't interfere with the vise jaws. I had to move mine.   (Neil Savage)

    Just wanted to thank everyone who responded. I had the day off and with a quick trip to the shop I turned those suggestions into a first rate splicing form. I'll give it a go this weekend! I posted at 8:30 am and had it built by 4 pm !!!!!  (Mike Givney)


Question for those who build nodeless and cook the bamboo in the wife’s oven.

If you want a darker tone to the cane how long do you cook?  I'll usually cook at 350 for 10 minutes for a blond look.  (Jim Tefft)

    When I was making nodeless rods, I used 375 for 8 minutes and I got just a little darker than what I would describe as blond.  (Joe Byrd)

    We have a convection oven which cooks a little faster than a conventional oven. 325 for 15 minutes or till it looks right. Kind of like watching toast till it gets the right color.

    How's that for being precise???  (Don Schneider)

    When you use the wife's oven to heat treat the bamboo for nodeless construction how badly did it stink up the kitchen and also did the bamboo smell stay in the oven very long ? I'm wondering if I have to do this while she is shopping or away somewhere and if I have to run  the oven high temp clean system.  (Jack Follweiler)

    I found the calibration of my wife's oven to be about 35 degrees low.(Somehow she serves up great baked meals) I got her out of the house on a shopping spree. It was expensive but I had time to run a few simple tests with sample strips and found that 10 minutes at the oven set at about 337 gave me just the slight color change that I like.  Subsequently we had the kitchen redone, everything new except that oven! Maker's wives have to make sacrifices sometimes.  (Bill Fink)


I have some left over strips and a culm that has a lot of leaf node scars that I plan on using to build nodeless with. Has anyone tried gluing their scarfs with Polyurethane glue? If so, how well did they hold up?  (Bill Walters)

    The first several rods I built were nodeless, with PU glue for the splices.  Yes I did have a couple splices fail on the one rod I fish most heavily, after a few years.  That is not good.  I would not use PU again for that purpose.  For the strips its fine but for the splices its not good enough, IMHO.

    I agree with Bob Milward that the unsolved question with nodeless rods is what glue to use for the splices. The best glues are two-part, like resorcinol and URAC, and they are a pain to use for splicing.  Many people use yellow woodworking glue for splices but I have not tried it.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    I use ProBond and haven't had any problems once I read the directions. The ProBond instructions say it requires moisture to cure. I dunk each surface of the splice in a cup of water, apply the glue and clamp for 24 hours. I also use ProBond for glueup. Generously spray water on the strips, apply the glue and bind. After about 3-4 hours, remove the binding, wipe down the section with acetone and rebind for 24 hours. Once ProBond cures nothing touches it, including acetone, except sanding or scraping.  (Don Schneider)

    I have used Gorilla Glue for the scarf  joints and the strips.  Worked out just fine for me.  I'm very  pleased with the glue.  I guess I need to try the other PUs.   (Ed Berg)


I'm looking for a metal splicing block to purchase if anyone has one for sale or knows where to purchase one. (Wayne Caron)

    Get in touch with Dave Hellman at hellmandave@yahoo.com

    A great guy to deal with and he makes a very nice metal splicing block.  (Chris Carlin)

    The few blocks that I've see all have a very narrow angle. I can see why that is necessary when splicing a tip. Does the angle really need to be that narrow when splicing the splines of a nodeless rod? It would seem that if you stagger the splices like you do nodes you should be able to make them with a steeper angle and therefore get more length out of any given section, depending on the rod length maybe even make less splices? Thoughts?  (Henry Mitchell)

      Interesting.  the "normal" splice is about a 4 degree angle for boatbuilding/woodworking.  Modern glues are so strong, I'm inclined to think if you use a Garrison stagger, so no 2 splices are adjacent, there would be no problem.  Guess some experimentation is called for.  (Neil Savage)

        I've been using a 4 splice for my nodeless rods. Haven't had any problems using the Garrison firing order staggering, uses more bamboo but not enough to worry about.  My splice block is made of metal with a rectangular slot on one side and a equilateral triangle slot on the other side. Prior to using a metal splice block and using a wooden one I noticed my splices were getting shorter because of wear on the block. The splice angle was increasing to the 5 - 6 range.  (Don Schneider)

        I believe the shallower angle is necessary as the splice might only be an inch at best on a tip section and although it is glued all around by the strips, that still doesn't leave a lot of glue to hold the splice together. Most people have  started out and 6 degrees and went to 4.  Almost all had failures and it seems as though the difference is the angle.  (Mike Canazon)


Is it workable to run  a nodeless  spline through a roughing beveler?  There is some heat generated with a beveler, so I wonder if there is a risk of delamination. I am about to glue up the pieces for my first nodeless.  (Paul Franklyn)

    I run my nodeless strips through my beveler with no problems so far but I have only made 6 nodeless rods.

    I do run the strips with the cutters running along the scarf on each side so that the ends do not possibly catch while they are coming down to size. Makes me a little nervous running the scarf sharp ends into a cutter head. (Gordon Koppin)


Just wondering who out here is building nodeless and what can you give as opinion.

Out here "California" bay area, I met a guy some months back at a fly shop "The Great River Company" who had some real real nice nodeless rods peddling them for consignment at the shop there.  He'd make one section chocolate and another blonde and the contrast was very interesting to say the least - WILD!!  My fishing buddy Jimmy knows the guy as a distant relative and I'm thinking of having the guy build me a blank but wonder what durability is.  Wonder if he's got a guarantee against delamination joint failure.  (John Silveira)

    My own nodeless rods made with Gorilla Glue have been through more of my clumsiness than I would expect any rod to survive.  For what it's  worth.  (Ed Berg)

    I've been building nodeless rods for years. I like them for several reasons. First thing I do is make all of the chopsticks the same size, butts, mids & tips. Second, I only want to apply heat to the bamboo once. The kitchen oven does a even/equal/same heat treating to all. Third, with a metal splice block and my splice clamps the assembly is very quick and the strips come out straight. Fourth, power bevel the 60 on all strips, again all strips are the same size & glued together with ProBond. From there on proceed as normal.

    Some have asked, "Isn't that a lot of splices?"

    My answer is, The same number as there are in node rods without a lot of the hassle and only one application of heat. I use my rods very heavily and do not baby them. Some might say I abuse them, which is true & intentional. If the rod is going to fail, I want to be the one that breaks it. Never had one come apart. (Don Schneider)

      Did you find that the nodeless were slightly faster than non?  I have made one that came out one line weight greater than the none nodeless.  (Ralph Tuttle)

        Yes, I think nodeless rods come out a little faster for the most part. Most, if not all of the rods I build are 8' to 10'. In the Northwest longer rods seem to me to be the length of choice, at least to me. This is because of larger rivers and the chance of more wind and larger wind resistant flies. Most of the fishing I do is from a float boat using a "Chuck & Duck" casting style. Casting 2 or 3 times per minute hard into within a few inches of the bank usually under some kind of over hang. Do I lose a lot of flies, you bet, but the thrill of seeing that large open mouth come out from under the brush is worth it. Just count to two before raising the rod tip, hard to do sometimes.  (Don Schneider)

          Would nodeless be enough to up the line weight by 1/2? I have a rod that is a 3/4 and I would love to have a true 4 wt. copy. Maybe building nodeless would accomplish this, if the same dimensions were used?  (Bill Walters)

            I think you may end up with what you want. My experience is a 5 wt taper comes out closer to a 6 wt.  (Don Schneider)


I have not been able to do any work for several months but now I have the urge, and thought I would try nodeless.  I have a microwave oven in the shop.  Use mostly for tea.

Is there any reason I couldn't use the microwave to cook the cane.  I suppose the best idea is to get down there and try it, but I thought that someone might already have tried it.  I could find nothing in searching.  If anyone has tried it do you have any suggestions as to time?  (Ralph Moon)

    I don't think the Microwave oven will work to heat treat bamboo. The Microwave oven will excite and cause the water molecules in the bamboo to boil. This could cause the bamboo strips to explode. Maybe not with the same action but similar to putting a raw egg in the shell in a Microwave oven. This is not what your looking for. Best use the wife's kitchen oven. After your recent hospitalization, you might get away with it.  (Dick Fuhrman)

    Can't answer that question Ralph, but I'll add a 2 cents worth.

    At the body shop I used to own we used to use infrared heat lamps to cure paint. The beauty of the lamps was they cured paint from the inside out, which meant the thinners and solvents would have a chance to escape through the surface skin on the paint instead of being trapped in the coat of paint because the surface of the paint is drying first.  Now those heat lamps get whatever they are pointed at pretty hot. Very hot. You can burn stuff with 'em.   I'm wondering if a series of those heat lamps (7 placed closely together side by side would cover close to 4' in length placed over a section of cane) would be enough to cook cane from the inside.   (John Silveira)

      Thanks for all the help.  The consensus is don't microwave.  OK I'll use SWMBO's brand new electric range.  If I lose my wife or my life over this you guys are toast.

      I have a new tip for Todd.  Bamboo as you all know is very sharp.  If by chance you do get a cut, Perry Frazier recommends that you stick the finger in shellac then in sawdust.  He claims it will get you back to the bench faster.  (Ralph Moon)

        Well, sometimes my fingers do feel like they're made of wood.  (Neil Savage)

    I would be concerned about the microwave over heating since there is not much in the bamboo. Maybe try it with a bowl of water added. Seems I recall a discussion some time ago about whether the microwave would damage the cellular structure of the bamboo.  I do not recall if anyone tried it.  (Timothy Troester)

    If you're going to use Pat's oven, here's the  process I've been using.

    1.  Cut one MD fixture into four 18"  pieces.

    2. Wrap the chopsticks onto the fixtures.  In  one fixture wrap in a probe to a digital cooking thermometer. (Typical oven  temperature controls are not even close.  Mine was 380 when dialed to  350.)

    3. Lay the four loaded fixtures on wood  spacers on a top oven rack.

    4. Start with a cold oven, temperature set for 400  degrees.  Close door. Turn on to 'bake'.

    5. Let temperature rise to 335 (on digital  thermometer) and turn off oven.  Set oven timer for 15 minutes.   Temperature will continue to rise.

    6. Open door slightly if temperature rises over 350  on digital.

    7. If temperature drops below 340, turn on oven  (still at 400) for thirty seconds.

    8. At end of 15 minutes, open oven door 2-3 inches  and allow to cool.

    I'm not saying it's the best, just the way I've been doing it.  It may depend on how dry your cane is to begin with.   For me, this process does not darken the cane.  I think the MD fixtures are  great for distributing heat throughout the sticks.  (Ed Berg)

    Probably not a good idea to use the microwave, but I like that you're thinkin' about how to do stuff still! LOL

    You might consider a cheapie little toaster oven that could sit right on top of your microwave thingy?

    I like the sawdust and shellac remedy. I found a dab of super glue works pretty good too. As for shellac working I'd bet it works well! I once burned my hand with boiling varnish. The varnish did a wonderful job of healing the wound quickly and actually, after I quit screaming, relatively painlessly...  (Mike Shay)

    Has anyone tried one of the household compact convection ovens for heat treating nodeless sections.  I've seen them around and they seem like they would be perfect and fairly inexpensive.  (David Van Burgel)


Having finished messing about testing my scarfer, which uses a 6'' abrasive disc to cut the six degree bevels I made a few up and bonded them with UHU, Titebond 2 and resorcinol. This seemed to go well, so instead of waiting for them to cure and test them I went and found a great heavy pole I'd been saving for when I want to make a cane Halibut spinning rod.

My own instinct was to split it out, render it to parallel sided strips then cut the knots out and cook the splints.  However, I see no point at all in consulting experts and then ignoring them, so if Gary Marshall says cut the nodes out, cook them and then split them then that's where to start. This was completely painless, once I'd found where I put the new hacksaw blades and a big bag of giant tubes were taken to the kitchen.  My wife has been ogling new cookers for a couple of years now, so I had already acquired a real cooker temperature gauge. This showed that in order to set the required 180 degrees I needed to set the dial to 200. It takes some time to get up to steam and once I'd loaded it up it was back to 150, even after 15 minutes it was only 170. At this point I "Took a View." This did not involve opening a door as, antique though it is, the thing has a glass door. What I mean is that smell was still emanating from it, a musty smell, not a burning smell, and it was a very thick walled culm. So I gave it another five minutes, by which time it was at 175 degrees and still not smelling cooked. So, another five minutes, by which time we were back to 180 and the musty smell had stopped. So, I took a further view and turned the oven off and walked away. It's still in there as I write and I mention all this for several reasons.

1) It may be a good idea to set a "strike" temperature, in the above case 200 degrees, so that it spends more time at the intended temperature.

2) Gary did say that the nodeless system allows us to play around with cooking times more than others.  Clearly correct, you can see what's going on and easily adjust for thick or thin culms.

3) Even the glass door on an oven that never gets cleaned as its clinically dead allows you to see whether any discoloration of the culm is occurring. In my example there was none visible.

4) Mother's day is coming, what nicer present could you give your wife than a new oven?

5) If your domestic oven is serviceable why not buy one for the workshop? After all, we all have an "overspill" fridge in the workshop (with beer in it to keep the temperature more stable).

Splitting and scarfing next, but remember my timescales.  (Robin Haywood)


Whilst I have been on this computer sending a stern reminder to so-called businesses who do not reply to my emails (Like Siestacork) the culm sections have been cooling.  Knowing how gripped you all must be I thought to check them now they have cooled.

The check splits, which had zero gap before, are now enormous, about an inch and a half.

The tubes feel subjectively lighter and much much harder, clearly a lot of water has been excluded, not surprising, Cornwall is very damp and they've been in a draughty piggery. Containing no pigs. It would be better with pigs, they would warm it up, but I'm not allowed livestock due to my reluctance to kill it.

No trace of discoloration. I think there probably should be a faintly discernible color change or perhaps even more, so I'll steam it up to 200 next time and see what happens.

So far, I quite like the nodeless concept, but there is plenty of time for disillusionment yet! Especially as I'm sure I'm going to have to use resorcinol unless I make a monster oven and cook the clamps as well. I wonder................if I use UHU and bind the whole strips after bevelling and put them in the tube oven? Or, perhaps, put the final section made entirely with UHU in the tube oven? I shall have to be courageous, perhaps the Net handle I've been putting off is the opportunity. One thing I'm certainly going to do, as this is the master of the Cornish Bodge you are reading, is make a rod out of random chopsticks and see if it matters.  (Robin Haywood)

    Indeed Robin

    And how will you discern if it matters vs. if it didn't matter?   (Jerry Foster)

      I don't frankly know.  (Robin Haywood)


I'm getting ready to go nodeless for rod #2.

I used Elmer's Ultimate for rod 1 and am pleased with the working time, very little foaming, and easy clean up.

In looking through old threads re: PU glues, I didn't find anything really definitive.  Has anyone used this stuff for nodeless?  (Bruce Johns)

    I've been using it when it was called ProBond. I use it all the time. Never had a failure. Use gloves unless you want darker skin for a few weeks.  (Don Schneider)

      I've been wondering how well it would work to hold on the reel seat.  Since I install the reel seat after all the wraps are done, and the finish has dried, I find it a bit of a nuisance to mix up a small batch of epoxy just to mount the reel seat.  (Paul Gruver)

        If you want to remove the reel seat later it takes 400 for the glue to break down. I'm not sure the 400 is accurate. It is for shafting epoxy. The heat required to break the bond of EUG will pretty much smoke the bamboo. By that time everything else is toast.  (Don Schneider)

        It will work very well for reelseats if the fit between the bank and the reelseat spacer is moderately snug. Yes, the PU glues expand and foam to fill gaps. However, unlike epoxy the gap filling foam has no strength.   (Steve Shelton)


I don't have Garrison's book and have been searching the archive for the "correct" angle for a splicing block.  I saw one person refer to "1:22".  Does that mean a 1" rise per 22 linear inches?  (Bruce Johns)

    Six degrees is the answer you want. Although, strictly, a scarf only needs to be six times the diameter of the  sections, and that's adding in a lot for flop.  (Robin Haywood)

    "The Book"  page 28 says 4 degrees, 13/32 drop over 5 13/16 run.  (Charley McNeill)

    I use an 8:1 ratio when scarfing plywood for a boat.  Gougeon (West System) says that’s required to avoid any hard spots.  That makes for less than a 2 inch scarf.  (Leonard Baker)


I know this is a very controversial topic but I feel the need to let others know and maybe understand my dilemma a little better.

This evening I was final planing a nodeless butt section strip and the last section of bamboo pulled away cleanly on the splice. I looked it all over real close and figured I must have missed this one with enough glue although I couldn't explain how. It looked like it was never glued, not even a trace of glue. I did a stress test on some of the other strips and every joint will break clean at the splice with minimal effort and no evidence of glue.

I glued the strips up  last Tuesday with a new bottle of Titebond lll and very low humidity. Has anyone else experienced this and is there a remedy or do I go back to Titebond ll?  (Wayne Caron)

    No, but when I did some test strips earlier in the year the Titebond II gave no failures, the Resorcinol was disappointing and the uncured UHU Endfest 300 was like the TB II. Being a cynic I think that all I might have been testing was their gap filling ability, but the TB II surprised me to the point that I wonder why I bother with anything else.  (Robin Haywood)

      I have found out DON'T glue in a cold environment if its cold out, glue in a warm room.  Don't know at what temperature this this all takes place but it effects the bond for sure.  (Gary Nicholson)

        My current method is back to cooking the Endfest 300 after its had a day to preliminary cure.  (Robin Haywood)

          It was 65 degrees in my shop and the container says ok to apply at 45 degrees.  (Wayne Caron)

            You can put Titebond in the microwave for a few seconds to warm it up and raise the viscosity. You might want to experiment with that.  (Dick Steinbach)

            Try abrading the surfaces of the splice with 80 grit paper before you glue them together that way do don't starve the glue line.  (Gary Nicholson)

              And/or use a file for the last few strokes in the scarfing jig.  (Bill Fink)

    My first (and so far only) two rods were nodeless.  I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get fail-safe scarfs.  I didn't have much luck with TB I, II or III.  Ended up using PU for the splices, TB II for the rod. I actually fooled around with super glues, and they worked pretty well, but not great. The PU glue definitely came up with less failures.  I used 2 to 3 of the medium-sized black paper binder clips for clamps, per scarf.  (John Wagner)

      I use Elmer's Ultimate PU Glue.   Never had a failure in about 100 rods.  (Don Schneider)

    I just glued (Epon) up a butt section of nodeless strips  ---  the scarfs are glued with URAC.  Wes Cooper does all his tip scarfs with URAC.  I thought I couldn't beat that for a recommendation.  (David Van Burgel)

    I contacted a tech rep at Franklin International today to see if they had other problems with the TB III and I was assured that there were no problems with their product. I explained what had happened and the rep said that if you put TB III on the end grain it will act like straws and suck in the glue. She said the problem can be corrected if you mix TB III 1:1 with water and spread a thin coating over the end grain, wait just a minute and then apply in the normal fashion. She said TB II is pretty much the same except it's more forgiving. I think I just might try another method.  (Wayne Caron)

    I have 10 rods that have been done with with Titebond either II or II extended. Of those 10, half are nodeless and the scarfs have all been done with Titebond. I had one scarf fail in all those sections.

    As Bill Fink mentioned I finish all my scarfs with a file which I feel gives me more surface area for the glue. As for the water resistance question I feel no one is going to let there rods set in water any length of time and the multiple coats of varnish is enough protection.  (Jim Tefft)


I'm getting back into rodmaking after a long hiatus and I remember using the Garrison straight six firing order to stagger nodes.  I was just wondering what the consensus is among those of us who don't make nodeless rods (I love squishing nodes!)  (Dennis Haftel)

    I think that it is up to you, and it probably does not matter how you stagger. I do Garrison staggers if I can, but will go to a 2x2 or 3x3 if the culm won't allow me to do a Garrison.

    Here is an interesting trick- cut a culm in half. Take the top section and split it in half. Lay the two halves side by side, with the tip ends pointing in opposite directions. Find the precise middle and mark. Move each culm one inch at a time away from the midpoint in opposite directions. At some point you will have a pretty 3x3 stagger with leeway (given the length of the rod section), and you can cut to length. Then split. This gives you up to 24 strips that have identical node spacing, but you reverse 12 strips (butt ends become the tip of the rod). Gives you lots of spare strips that work anywhere depending on direction in case something goes bad. If a 3x3 was good enough for Lyle Dickerson it is good enough for me.   (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I always used a straight slip pattern: the center of each node 1 1/2" from the previous.  I don't like having a node within 6 inches of the tip or the ferrule.  I say always, except on the 6' spinning rod I'm making.  I used a 2x2x2 pattern.  We'll see how it works out.  (Ron Larsen)

    I have my reasons which I wont go into but I feel that the 2x2x2 staggering is the best method you can use. Just my opinion. And I also feel nodes should be heated and squished instead of just sanded. Again I have my reasons which I shall not go into.  (Joe Arguello)

      I've never been convinced of Garrison's "firing-order" idea for node staggering. Surely, there's nothing wrong with it, but the practice just doesn't address anything that needs to be addressed. But I DO believe that nodes shouldn't be coupled or tripled at the same location. I don't build rods with a tight production schedule in mind, nor do I have workers that need to manipulate large numbers of strips in the simplest manner. Consequently, I've always used the single-node, spiral pattern.

      Nodes have different flexing properties from the straight power-fibers -- whether stronger, or weaker, or as explained in any other conceivable way. And because nodes flex differently from straight fibers, I think they should all be separated from each other in some regular sequence -- each node surrounded by five, neighboring strips of straight power fibers. This assures uniform and consistent flexing down the length of a rod, and you need not worry so much about a node being located near the end of a rod section (well, except for tip-tops).

      Some folks say that one-node-at-a-time patterns waste cane unnecessarily. It may be true, depending on what the word, "waste," means to you, and depending on what the cane you "save" might be used for. I've always been able to get one good rod (2 tips) from each half of a culm, regardless of the staggering pattern. Conversely, I've never been able to get more than two good rods from a full culm by trying different staggering patterns. (Besides, what are we worried about anyhow -- cane itself is one of the least expensive components in a rod.)

      I've heard still other folks say that a spiraled pattern may induce torque as the rod unloads its energy (during a cast). But, while interesting in theory, this seems to be yet another of our ideas having no basis in reality. I don't believe it's possible to demonstrate that a spiraled node pattern contributes in any way to a less accurate cast.

      Lastly, the question of how to dress the nodes: Sanding is a quick shortcut, but it destroys fibers and leaves a long, ugly scar on the surface (unless one is sanding only that little, outer "lip" in the center of a node). "Squishing" the nodes is equally bad. The word was used well in one of our recent posts, because when a node is forced into conformity by a vice, fiber-squishing is exactly what happens  Squishing fast and easy, but it's an unnatural means of distortion.

      The proper way is to learn how to straighten node-kinks by hand, gradually, over heat.  This, too, is a means of distortion, and it's neither fast nor easy. But it gets the job done properly, with minimum chance of injuring the tangled fibers in a node, and it allows the maker to feel exactly when and how the fibers are responding to the heat. Your hands cannot force the issue as a vice can only do. By contrast, the mechanical advantage of a vice robs you of the necessary "feedback" from the material. Straightening with a vice is only another shortcut that most folks have agreed to take simply because hand-straightening is such a pain in the ass.  (Bill Harms)

        Of all the animals on this green earth, I feel sorriest for the poor ASS.

        What a seething mass of aches and pains this poor creature must be!  (Peter McKean)

        I agree that nodes should be straightened side-to-side by hand.  All one of the Bill Waara / John Long presses does is move my fingers away from the hot cane.

        But what do you do about the nodal hump?  Not the lip, but the small humps on each side of it?

        I heat them and press in a vise.  Seems to me that the pith is always going to be softer than the fibers nearer the enamel side.  What is "squished" is the pith that will soon be removed in planing the strip into triangles first, then tapered triangles.  (Harry Boyd)

          Yes,   almost   all    the   nodes   I   encounter   need   both side-to-side straightening as well as vertical (nodal hump) straightening. I do both by hand. I agree that you can safely squish the crap out of the pith, but it's the humped orientation of the outer, power fibers that you're really trying to address. When the vise mashes down on a node area before the stronger fibers near the surface are ready to yield, I think that both the power fibers and the tangled node-fibers are just going to be forced (squished) into conformity.

          I don't think a vise can possibly have the sensitivity to let you know whether the fibers have become truly plastic or just sorta plastic. Maybe a solution would be to overheat, just to be sure, but then you risk going too far without knowing it. So, I still believe that only your hands can give the feedback that tells you what you're really doing.  (Bill Harms)

            I am surprised you can flatten a nodal bump by hand. You must have very strong hands!  (Steve Dugmore)

              No, not at all. Like all straightening, flattening the node hump is tedious, but it's not difficult and doesn't require strength at all. That's a very good thing too, because my wrists and hands are pretty wimpy. (Bill Harms)

          And isn't it nice for guys like you, me, and Bill to see new names popping up on the Rodmakers List?

          Yes it is, Harry. It's the best thing about this place. There are always new faces and new ideas. I'm still learning, too.  (Tom Smithwick)

            The newer guys might not believe it, but even us makers that have been around for awhile are constantly trying to figure things out -- not only new things, but old things that keep coming back to bite us in the ass. It never stops, and if it did, I think we'd soon get bored with the whole project. Also, if rodmaking were about catching fish, we wouldn't do it for long -- almost any ol' pole would do that job, maybe even graphite.

            For me, more than anything, rodmaking is about the folks who do it. I suppose I could give up rodmaking and fishing if I absolutely had to, but what would I do if I had to say goodbye to  my hundreds of rodmaking friends? That would be the end for me.  (Bill Harms)

              The Caveman is back.

              When I first started in the sixties, I used the Garrison/Smithwick straightening scheme with the alcohol lamp. It was challenging but it did work. Wish I'd known about soaking back then. It helps. But what would Garrison have thought??

              I studiously used the 6-cylinder spiral node stagger.  It was tedious and wasteful, but it worked. Then I accumulated  a pile of unrelated nice strips so I built a rod with a totally random node spacing and, what do you know, no fire and brimstone, just a nice casting rod.

              Since then I've copped out by building mostly nodeless.   I've  swapped  node  problems  for scarf-splice problems. Life is a tradeoff. (Bill Fink)

          But what do you do about the nodal hump?

          I also prefer to do this by hand with an alcohol lamp, for the reasons that Bill has outlined. Before straightening, I file off just the nodal ridge. A few years back, I posted a tutorial at Todd's Bamboorodmaking.com site, which illustrates the method. You can get rid of a near impossible looking hump when you get the hang of it. The key to the method is that the lamp applies spot heat, so you only move the fibers you want to, and you only apply enough heat to get the job done. If I'm doing a bunch of strips, I soak them overnight, which makes the process easier.  (Tom Smithwick)

            This is exactly how I do it.  No heat guns for me.  I pulled a Nunley several years ago & I hung up the heat gun then.  I will get around to selling that darn thing someday.  (Bret Reiter)

        There is more than one way to stagger nodes and I think everyone will agree that the weakest point in a strip of bamboo is the node.  Having said that I decided to distribute the weakest point and not double up or triple up this weak point. So I spiral stagger my nodes 1 - 5/8" from each other and try to keep that last node as far away from the tip as possible.

        I hand split my culms, as opposed to a cutting with a band saw, and usually realize two 2/2 or 3/2 rods from each culm.  The tip strips can get pretty thin and I like it this way because the thinner the strips, the less material I have to take off.  There can be a "down" side to splitting the tip strips thin as it can get a little crazy around the nodes.  Sometimes as you look at the enamel side of the strip, nodes can take on a "S" shape and the only way to straighten them is with heat and a "squishing" vise.  Properly heated bamboo can become pliable enough that you will not hurt it's structural integrity provided you do not take heat or pressure to extreme.  This is what craftsmen often refer to as a  "feel" for their equipment and or material.  Anyway I'm not saying I'm a craftsman but in certain  situations the vise sure works for me.  (Doug Alexander)

        I thought the "staggering question" was going to be something like, What is the value of ethics if life is just an illusion?   (Mike Oatley)

          Yeah, like everything else about rodmaking, the staggering question is very much a matter of making our best guesses. But, even if "reality" only dangles out there like a carrot on a string, we gotta keep on keepin' on. It's the only game in town.   (Bill Harms)

            Well Bill, if that's the case, then the spiral stagger is the only sensible arrangement of nodes.  (Mike Oatley)

    I'm not sure it really matters. I remember in one issue of the Planing Form that Richard Tyree made a NTN rod, said it worked great, his son fished it hard one summer. So I thought I would try one and I had the same results. I used Richards taper, it was a real nice rod, I ended up giving it to a friend and as best I know it's still going strong. So pick your poison, I really did like the NTN, but I use 3 X 3 just to be on the safe side.

    If you have some extra Bamboo try breaking a strip with a node in the center, guess where it will break, not the center. Try it.  (Bob Norwood)

      What does NTN mean?  I hope nothing close to TNT.  (Duke Normandin)

        I'd say that's "Node-To-Node."  (Todd Talsma)

          Which means that every node is side-by-each at every node locations?  (Duke Normandin)

    I personally use a standard offset stagger for my rods where a node is matched up the 5 no node sections on the blank. I've heard that at 3 +3 staggering is actually the strongest though but still find it hard to believe.  (Ken Paterson)

    I want to thank everyone for their responses.  I didn't imagine the volume of answers that the question would generate, while not too overwhelming, very informative.  I'm torn (well, not terribly, but a little...) between the spiral (which I'll probably try because I've never done it before) and the Garrison 153624 (done it many times without incident).  I think I'm going to go with the spiral stagger if not for any other reason other than that it seems sound and I've never done it before.

    OK, this leads me to another question.  I used to file the "lips" off the nodes as per E. Garrison.  Is this still practiced anymore?  I seem to be able to level things out with a combination of the vise and hand straightening.  If not, how goes it?

    I apologize for the newbie questions, but I've been away from the craft a while and I'm jumping back in.  (Dennis Haftel)

    I've been following the thread on staggering with some interest. Here is my take on it. The folks who think the 3x3 or 2x2x2 system is best are all wet for two reasons.

    1.    If the nodes are the weakest spots in the in the spline then placing them together (3x3 or 2x2x2) forms weak spots in the finished section.

    2. If the nodes are the strongest part of the spline then placing them together (3x3 or 2x2x2) forms stiff spots in the finished section.

    I guess there is no winner here.

    Using Garrisons method or a spiral method separates the weak nodes and more evenly distributes these weak spots along the length of the section. The weak spots are buttressed by five stronger strips of cane.

    By the same token, if the nodes are stronger then the Garrison or spiral method evenly distributes these spots along the section. Instead of a few very stiff spots you end up with many not so stronger stiff spots.

    A winner no matter what you think about the strength of the node.

    By the way, Garrison or a spiral does not produce torque in the section. Any torque produced by any given node will be canceled by another somewhere else on  the section.  (Jerry Drake)

      People who think that everyone else is wrong if they don't believe as he does make me suspicious.   First off spiral spacing is not the end all.  The Great God Garrison has been proved deficient in more that one way.  Why did E. C. Powell and Walton Powell like the 3x3?  I certainly think that the distance rods of E.C. Powell showed few weak spots, or stiff spots.  I can think of a lot of other contemporary builders who might differ with you, but I fail to think they are all all wet.  Perhaps a little more humility might be in order.  Why not just say that this is what I believe?  (Ralph Moon)

      I favor the 3x3 node staggering system and I am all wet because I slipped on a boulder in the Little River and dunked myself "real good" and that's the truth.  (Hal Manas)


I have an established heating procedure that I use for nodeless rod construction. I was wondering what the rest of you nodeless builders use such as the type of oven, temperature, and length of time in the oven. I'm not so sure that my procedures are the best. Also interested in whether you heat treat the whole culm or cut it in sections and then heat treat.  (Jack Follweiler)

    I use my kitchen oven, make all of the chop sticks for the rod the same size usually with a 60 cross section and heat treat. This is the only time I subject the bamboo to heat. Using splice clamps set on 60 there is no need for straightening. As far as temp & time, it depends on the size of the rod. Not all bamboo is the same so I use 325F and vary the time so that the bamboo just starts to change color and/or smell.  (Don Schneider)

    I heat treat the chopsticks in my kitchen oven.  I don't think there are any 'magic' numbers for time and temp, I think it depends on your shop conditions and how the cane has been stored.  I'm just moving from southern California to Colorado so my numbers will be changing also.  In addition, 300 degrees on my thermometer may not be the same temperature as 300 degrees on your thermometer.  I test strips until I see some degradation in the fibers when bent to failure, then back off on time and temp.  That advise is worth at least what you paid for it.  (Ed Berg)

    I've been doing nodeless for a long time and my formula is this: I cut out all the nodes on my bandsaw, split the strips into chopsticks and stick them by batches into  our kitchen oven when Carmen is not around. I've calibrated our oven dial. When the dial is set at 337 it is actually  measuring  375 on the middle rack. When the oven dial light goes out I stick the chopsticks in for ten minutes. Never had a problem. Just a slight color change. And a sniff of cane cooking. I like that.

    We had our kitchen re-done years ago with all new appliances except for my treasure, that calibrated oven.

    Carmen is not overcooking our food because she obviously began compensating for the temperature overage years ago. Women are pretty smart that way.  (Bill Fink)

      When you've done all that how do you cut the splices?  (Robin Haywood)

        The simple answer is that I use a splicing block with a plane and a file, but I don't think that is what you are asking. I make no effort to isolate chopsticks from particular culms. I do look at power fiber thickness and match my selections on that basis. Thicker at the butt. The tips take care of themselves pretty much. I keep kind of a half an eye on splice stagger, making sure there are not too many in any one area. I also make sure that a few of the splices have color contrast so that you all can see  that my rods are obviously nodeless.

        Life is simpler and you have more fishing time if you don't fuss with cosmetics.  (Bill Fink)

        I cut the splice tapers after heat treating in a jig I run across my router table.  (Ed Berg)

      Has anyone tried binding the "chopsticks" to a piece of metal pipe (to give a result like the "M-D" fixtures)  and then placing in the oven?  (David Van Burgel)

        I'm satisfied enough to not allow the craftsman to change Carmen's oven so it's not likely that I'll be going much beyond the famous expression, "It Works for Me"

        And besides there's a definite limit as to how far I can push Carmen before she rebels at this cane-baking nonsense.  (Bill Fink)

        That is what I do.  I cut one MD fixture to 18" lengths and bind the chopsticks to those for heat treating in my kitchen oven.  (Ed Berg)

    I have only made a couple of nodeless and they were Quads. I heat treated the the strips in the normal way in my oven then cut out the nodes.  (Tony Spezio)

    Cut out the nodes, make sure there is a check split, and bake the shortened culm pieces right in the kitchen oven. Total control, and you can watch them change color. Then split.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


Does anyone know where the length of a scarf joint (3 9/16") illustrated in the Garrison book (page 223) derives from? Is it a 'calculated' dimension, based on the angle of the scarfing block, or is it a 'measured' angle,  requiring first planing the 'parent' joint? Hope this isn't being more complicated than it needs to be, but the text doesn't seem (to me) to be clear about how the measurements are attained. Thanks to anyone/all who may help.  (Vince Brannick)

    I don't do nodeless so I can't help you. My scarfing block has two angles. One side is 22:1 the other is 16:1. I don't know which angle is better but I tend to think that a longer glue surface has to be a good thing. I have used the 22:1 side for repairs.  (Mike Shay)

      Thanks for your response. I don't do "nodeless" either, and my concern basically is about a tip repair joint.  The 22:1 rise gives a 2.6 degree angle, which is close to the 2 degree specification for the Garrison built block, and probably reinforces Henry Mitchel's answer that the length dimension (in the Garrison example) is derived from the angle. To find the dimension in the replacement piece though, one needs to know the diameter at wide end of the joint on the 'parent' piece ~ that being at some point from the nearest undamaged part of the 'parent' piece. That is what has me baffled. Perhaps you can advise regarding that.  (Vince Brannick)

      BTW: Is your scarfing block designed for nodeless and repair? Is it self-built? Just curious.

        The "nearest undamaged part" can be anywhere you want to place the beginning of the new scarf joint on the section to be repaired.  If it's a tip section, I tend to try and get that spot to be under the bottom wrap of a guide wrap. That allows me to make the final clear wrap a lot shorter.  Sometimes you can't do that, so the final placement is up to you.  It's that artistic license we're allowed in rod making and repairing!  (Mark Wendt)


Out of curiosity, which glue are you using for for the splices on nodeless rods? I tried Titebond III and had several failures at the last splice at the tip. Mixing up small batches of Epon or URAC may be a pain in the ass, but I now believe it is the only way to go. I am now starting over and increasing the angle for the splice on tips as well as considering leaving in one set of nodes to make a double section without a splice near the tip.

Have you ever tried hollowing and nodeless? I only know of Bernard Ramanauskas who claims to do both, but he also claims to use some secret high tech glue that nobody else uses. The few people I have talked to that have tried both in the same rod have claimed failure due to a lack of surface support for the splice joints. I can only imagine a glue that penetrates deep into the fibers to make it work.  (Scott Bearden)

    "I am now starting over and increasing the angle for the splice "

    Which angle are you increasing? The angle where the splice meets the body of the spline, or the angle at the tip of the spline (the sharp bit)?  (Nick Kingston)

      The angle of the splice. I was using 4 degrees, but because the width of the strips are so thin on tip strips I found that there wasn't much surface area to support the splice. That is my thinking at least.  (Scott Bearden)

    I use Elmer’s Ultimate Glue, no mixing required, long work time. Never had a splice come apart. It needs some moisture to cure (Read/follow the directions on the package) and takes about 24 hrs to cure under normal conditions. Don’t confuse EUG with Gorilla Glue, they are not the same. My experience, don’t use EUG on anything you may want to take apart later. LOL  Never tried hollow built and nodeless.  (Don Schneider)

      Don, is that what you use for gluing strips too?  (Neil Savage)

        Yes, I use EUG for splices,  gluing strips and real seats. I don’t use it for ferrules or grips. My experience, EUG will expand/foam if you use more than necessary for the first 3-4 hours as it cures and if there is some place for it to go and it is not clamped/bound properly. I stopped using it for grips the first time it expanded through the pours in the cork, didn’t ruin  the grip, just wiped it off with acetone before it cured. Once cured, its there till you sand or scrape it off.  (Don Schneider)

    Actually, for a longer splice joint, you would want to decrease the angle.  Increasing the angle would make for a shorter splice joint, and less glue area.  (Mark Wendt)

      Well then that is what I meant. I wanted a longer splice joint near the tips.  (Scott Bearden)

    I tried TBlll a couple years ago and had the same problem. I called Franklin International and spoke with a product rep. I explained the situation to her and she said that the end grain on the bamboo splice joint was acting like straws and the glue was going inside the end grain and not leaving enough to make a good bond. She also said that the cure for this was to put a thin layer of glue on each side of the joint, wait a minute, and then put another layer of glue on each side of the joint and clamp it. She said that the first layer of glue seals the end grain. It makes sense to me. I asked her why I didn't have the same problem with TBll and she said that TBll was more forgiving. I went back to TBll.

    As far as hollowing a nodeless rod...I'm working on one right now. I will let you know how it turns out.  (Wayne Caron)

      My one and only attempt at nodeless was a replacement tip for my favorite rod.  I used a 4 degree scarf joint and epoxy adhesive.  Upon completion, I very quickly experienced delamination about a foot from the tip so I’ve been afraid to try nodeless again.

      Since then I’ve done several experiments with a few different adhesives on scarf joints and found that Titebond 2 seems to be superior.  I tested that against epoxy, and resorcinol by making up splice joints allowing them to cure adequately, and then bending the joint until failure.  This is all subjective based on how the joint breaks.  The better bonds seem to be the ones that “splinter” more like a virgin piece of bamboo.  The poorer joints show greater areas of outright delamination.  TB 2 was consistently better.  It gives me reason to try again.

      As far as the angle goes:  If 4 degrees is adequate at the butt, then it should be adequate at the tip.  The surface area is proportional to to the cross section and the angle.

      In normal fishing situations, the greatest stress on the rod is in the butt half, UNLESS you’re fighting a fish close to net and have your tip bent more than 90 degrees.  And I guess a lot of fisherman with a 5 lbs fish on a light weight rod FORGET about the stress on a rod in favor of getting the fish into the net.

      As the saying goes: ”Don’t ask me how I know!”  (Al Baldauski)

        A couple of years ago I conducted some tests on splices and TB2 seemed to be best, which surprised me at the time.

        By the way, what is the preferred orientation of the splice?

        I had always assumed it was so that the whole splice was exposed to the surface, which gives a shear strain along the joint, but during my recent visit to OZ, I met Mike, who arranges his splices so there is a tensile and compressive stress on them, depending whether they are on the top or bottom.  (Robin Haywood)

          I splice at a 4 degree angle across the enamel.   (Don Schneider)

          If “preferred” means: that which most everyone does, then orienting the plane of the splice perpendicular to the axis of the rod is “preferred” based on what I’ve seen.  Either way, I think you have tensile and compressive stresses in the splice, more or less depending on the distance from the neutral axis.  So I don’t know if the orientation matters except in a cosmetic sense.  Since I  haven’t tried  an orientation ala Mike (Mike who?) I can’t say.  My splices are virtually undetectable without magnification using the “preferred” orientation.  (Al Baldauski)


I'm thinking of making some nodeless rods and don't want to use the kitchen oven (not allowed) so I had two interesting ideas:

1. Anyone ever use a microwave to do the Job?  What are the pros & cons?

2. Anyone ever design a small box type say two feet long for the chopsticks powered by a heat gun? Are there any tutorials around someone could point me to? What's the pros and cons on this? I would really like to see some commentary.  (Dick Steinbach)

    I would think that a shorter oven would be much easier to maintain an even heat than the larger ones. It's always harder to keep even heat on a 60" oven because of the length. So make one up and I bet you'll be pleasantly supprised on how well it works. Just talking in theory here because I have never built a short one. (Don't do nodeless) Kinda like being a vegetarian.........if the good Lord wanted me to eat weeds and grains and stuff he would have given me a beek! If he wanted rods without nodes, he would have left them off!  (Joe Arguello)

    Why aren't you allowed? I used a local pizzeria's oven for years before I got my own, and they never had a problem with smell! Maybe a little like cooking bean sprouts, but nothing offensive! Heck, if THEY got any smell, they'd of tossed my a** out the door in a New York minute!  (Art Port)


There are a few nodeless builders out  there (or am I the only one???). My routine is to sand the angle on strips with a 12” disk sander.  It works fine and is fast, but creates A LOT of sawdust.  I have a good dust collector, but still, that is A LOT of bamboo dust, about 18 cubic inches per culm in case you are interested.  Have any of you tried sawing them?  I’ve ordered a mini-miter saw (3 1/2”) to give it a try.  I’ll report on how it works.  I figure if some of you can saw the bevel on strips, this might work for cutting scarfs.  (Bill Lamberson)

    I sand the same, BUT outside the house!  A nature boy here.  (Ted Godfrey)

    I have my first nodeless ready to glue. After trying a few methods I settled on my router with a flush trim bit. I then take a swipe or two with the plane as I like the surface of the planed bamboo better. Dust is always an issue with power tools and wood like material, but the router swarf is easier to deal with than sander dust, I think. I think someone was using a band saw jig.  (Larry Lohkamp)

      I have used my router table with a trim router bit for years and it is great. Made a little wooden form with some hold down clamp and I can let her rip. My dust collector can then keep most of the shaving/chips and dust under control.  (Gordon Koppin)

    When I build nodeless, I use a scarfing block and make the first cut with a wood chisel and finish with the plane.  It's really pretty fast and no dust.  (David Van Burgel)

      It's really pretty fast and no dust.

      I do the same thing.  I haven't done a nodeless rod in a while, but when I did, I cut scarfs with a standard scarfing block and plane, but speeded up the procedure, by knocking off most of the waste material with a big chisel and mallet, then cleaning up the cut with a plane. Since you already have the sanding jig, why not continue to finish with it, but remove most of the material beforehand with a saw, chisel, or whatever to cut down on the dust?  (Tom Smithwick)

        I think that is a  good idea.   Maybe the saw  can knock off 90% and sanding can finish it.  (Bill Lamberson)

      When building nodeless I use a metal scarfing block and like David make the first cut with a wood chisel, followed by a block plane and finish with a box-cutter knife blade used as a scraper. Super smooth joint and minimal glue lines. Very quick and accurate. Made the scarf block to cut 60 cross section on one side of block and 90 cross section on the other out of leftover 1x1 cold roll steel when I built my forms. The block is about 9" long. More work building the block but I got tired of making scarf blocks out of wood.  (Don Schneider)

      I am in the process of making my first nodeless rod, and made a wooden scarfing block (oak) and put a 'bulls eye' level on the top side. I used my 4 inch belt sander to sand down flush with the bottom face, while keeping the block level by watching the 'bulls eye' level. Worked like a charm! My question is, why did I not think of taking one of my wood chisels and mallet the knock off the bulk of the bamboo that had to be removed? Asleep at the wheel, I guess. GREAT SUGGESTION!!

      Incidentally, I wore a painters mask, and cleaned up the dust with my shop vac.  (Frank Schlicht)

        My scarfing block has springs in it and I place it in a drill press vise.  Make the initial cut w/ a chisel and a couple of passes w/ a plane and it's done.  Open the vise and the scrafing block pops open to release the strip.  No muss, No fuss.  (David Van Burgel)

    I haven't actually done this, but I've given it a lot of thought.  In woodworking, we use a scarfing block, because the angle of the scarf is very acute.  A miter saw by itself, won't do it, because they cut from 90 degrees (a square cut) down to 45 degrees.  You will need to  contrive a jig that will make up the difference between 45 degrees and the angle you want.

    On a band saw, it's a lot easier.  There all you need is a rip fence and a taper jig, really not much different from using a sander or a router to do the job.  (Paul Gruver)

      I use the adjustable nodeless jig Jeff Wagner sells.  Router with pilot bit method.  May be a bit pricey, but it's incredibly fast and efficient, giving uniform, repeatable results.  Only warning I can offer here (shout out to Bruce Morton who really clued me in here -- thanks Bruce!) is that too smooth a finish (the router will give a mirror smooth finish) may contribute to scarf joint failure, especially when using epoxies or any gap-loving adhesive.  Roughing things up a bit with 100 or 80 grit sandpaper after and backing off on the clamp pressure (or binding with string) seems to give the best results overall.  This could result in scarf joint lines that are a tad more evident, maybe, but the trade-off in more reliably durable scarfs appears more than worth it, to me at least.  (Bob Brockett)

    Check out my article in Power Fibers Oct. 07 Vol. 29.using a trim Router. Thanks to Al Medved for showing me this. Works well for me though I don't make many nodeless.  (Tony Spezio)

      Hasn't anyone (else) made nodeless, scarfless joints? (pack rod?)  (Vince Brannick)

        A few years ago I made two 4 pc 6’ 4wts for two buddies for hiking into brush country.

        Each section was short enough that there were no nodes.  Used aluminum ferrules too.  (Scott Grady)

          Mine was a 5 piece, with nickel-silver ferrules ~ Grandson 'Terry' says it's great for the kind of fishing he does. Now I don't feel so much like a heretic! Ha.  (Vince Brannick)

    I scarf using a wood scarfing block held in my wood vise , hog off the excess cane and finish with a file. Line the pieces up and mark with a pencil so when I glue I can reset at the same point.  (Jim Tefft)

    Here is a link to a sanding disc for the table saw.  You could use it for scarfs.

    Too bad my old saw can't take that blade.  (Henry Mitchell)


 

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