Gathering of the Clan

A Gathering of Fly Fishermen
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:02 am 
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Since field work died down for the year and cold weather has set in I have been making a couple bamboo rods for a couple of old buddies.

I've known these guys since my childhood. We have stood next to each other while fishing our local trout streams and have stood up for each other at our respective weddings.

I am making them Dickerson 8013s to match my own. It's a strong, powerful 5wt rod that is well suited for trout fishing on our home streams. I'll wrap them in period correct colored silk and make them true to Dickerson's style with a down locking walnut reel seat, step down ferrules, same grip shape and length, and cap it off with properly spaced Dickerson signature wraps. The rods will be 8ft rods, 2 pieces with 2 tips and 13/64th ferrules.

Last year I bought a few bundles of tonkin bamboo and had them delivered to work. Shipping is easier and cheaper if the 12 foot bundles are delivered to a commercial address with dock facilities. I hung them in the garage after putting a check split in each culm.
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I cut and measured two culms for these two rods. The plan is to use strips from one culm for half of each rod and strips from the second culm for the other half of the strips of each rod.
This will do two things; it will allow me to stagger the nodes easily. The nodes on the two culms are not spaced the same. I can alternate strips from each culm on the rod and the nodes will automatically be offset from each other without having to space them by moving the strips up or down and cutting away the excess.
It should also make the two rods cast and feel just about exactly the same. The construction of the two rods will be identical, both made from equal parts from each culm. It will also give me spare strips to make an extra couple of tips in case one gets broken. I will already have exact tips, with the same node spacing ready to go.
Here, the culms are cut to appropriate length and the ridge on each node is filed down.
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Then the sections of culm are flamed with a propane torch to give them some color and then each section is split into appropriate width strips. The strips are bundled separately. (Culm A butt strips, Culm B butt strips, Culm A tip strips, Culm B tip strips)
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Then each strip is straightened and roughed into triangles. The nodes are the most troublesome and are hardly ever straight. These spots must be heated and straightened. I also press the nodes flat. I filed off the nodal ridges earlier but the valley between the ridges must be raised a bit to make everything flat across the node. I person could just file and sand everything flat but that would destroy a lot of the power fibers in the cane. Those are important. I try to 'massage' them into shape. The strips are cut into triangles so they will sit well in the planing forms when planing the strips to the correct taper for the rod. I use a machine to cut the triangles into rough strips.
Once the strips are triangular in shape, I bind them onto some aluminum fixtures and bake them in an oven.
This will 'heat treat' or 'temper' the bamboo strips. First it will drive all of the moisture out of the bamboo. It will also change the properties of the bamboo. It will make it stiffer and will return to its shape better after being bent. This will make for a bit faster rod and the rod tips will be less likely to take a set. I keep an eye on the oven temp and use temperature probes in a few spots throughout the oven.
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Once the strips are tempered, it is time to break out the planing forms and set them up to plane the strips to final taper. The forms have an adjustable 60 degree groove down the middle. The groove is adjusted to the proper depth using a dial indicator to measure the correct depth. The dial indicator will measure down to a thousand of an inch. Once the forms are set, you plane six strips down to make a rod section. It's a bit tougher than it sounds, there's a learning curve in there.
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Once the strips are planed down, I nestle them together and check them for fit.
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Once all of the strips are planed down and pass inspection, they are glued up and bound into sections. I let the glue set up for a day and then put the sections in the over to heat set the glue. Once the glue has been heat set and the strips cooled down, the string is removed and the glue lightly sanded away. Then I get the first real look at rod sections.
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The next step is to install the ferrules. I have to work down the bamboo to fit the inside of the ferrule. Some people do this on a lathe. I do it by hand; I use some needle files and sand paper to fit the bamboo to accept the ferrules. I takes a lot of careful measuring and careful cutting to get a good and proper fit.
In this pic you can see the first tip section before it is worked, the second tip section has been cut down to accept the ferrule (notice the step down in the bamboo and the ferrule), and the last two tip sections have been worked and the ferrules installed.
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And that is where I left off last night. I still have the butt section ferrules to fit. Tonight I will cut the butt sections to length and trim down the ferrule stations. If time allows tonight, I will glue all of the ferrules to the sections and bind over the ferrules with twine.

After that, it's off to wrapping guides, making cork grips and turning down some West Virginia walnut for reel seat spacers.

to be continued...


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:41 am 
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Who said we couldn't do without Mark Wendt's tutorials? Great stuff, Brian.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:09 pm 
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Fun Brian, thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:31 pm 
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That, Brian, is some fine work!! Thanks for sharing.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 5:32 pm 
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Location: Leo, IN.
Brian, very nicely done tutorial. Very cool stuff. Fine work all around. I look forward to the rest of it and the casting review.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:09 pm 
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Satchel wrote:
Brian, very nicely done tutorial. Very cool stuff. Fine work all around. I look forward to the rest of it and the casting review.


I look forward to finding out how he'll adopt me and make me a rod, too.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:30 pm 
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I could never complete such an intricate series of related and precise measurements to complete such a finely balanced fly rod. The genes are simply not in my breeding - that said, I'm sharp enough to grasp the intricate mastered details of those who can do the work. Well done! and thanks for letting us into the magic of your craft.
Bux


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:19 pm 
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Good looking work, Brian. I think I'll stick with furniture and cabinetry.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:17 pm 
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Brian,

I'm with Ed on this one. All the wishful thinking in the world that it would be otherwise won't overcome my inability to do something requiring such precision and attention to detail.

You have clearly become quite skilled in a very short amount of time.

Thanks for sharing! I know these rods will be great.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:18 pm 
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PS - did you make your forms or buy them?

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