In this article will be showed the whole process of making a Bamboo Fly Rod. The main goals of the article are first of all to give to the reader a general overviiew of the process in the making, but it could be also an answer to the people who often ask to me how long takes to make a Bamboo Fly Rod. We’ll go throught it looking step by step without using any machine from the beginning to end of the blank, until the assembled rod.  Of course any rodmaker has his way to make it and his secrets; here i’ll show the way I work. The assumption is made for a hex shape rod, two pieces, standard ferrules, with two tips and light flamed.

Selection and Flaming the culm (for a deepr view see Dealing with the choice of a bamboo culm)

A good culm must basicly have 3 characteristics: a good distance between the nodes, it must have a good density of power fibers, it must be dry and  seasoned. Of course it should be free by any bug attack and the enamel must be as clean as possible. Regading the flaming, I do it using a classic butan gas gun. Time required: 3 work/hours.

Splitting the culm

When you split your cane you should be able to follow the veins of it. I start cutting the culm in two equal parts and then using a knife stopped to a vice I start the cutting of the culm in the veins directions. It dipends from culm to culm but you should be able to obtain at lieast 20-24 strips, 18 to be used for the rod and the others as emergency substitutes. Time required: 45 work/minutes.

Staggering of the nodes

Different philosophies also for this. You can do that 2×2, 3×3, Garrison style and more. Time required: 1 work/hours

Heat treatment and crushing of the nodes 

Once you have your strips, you start to treat the node with a heat air gun. You don’t have to burn them, they just need to be heated and pressed using the vise. Time required: 2 work/hours

 

Sanding the nodes

I sand them using a vise and soft file first, and then using sandpaper for the final treatment. Time required: 2 work/hours

 

for a deeper view of the steps Splitting the culm, Staggering the node, Heat treatment anch crushing and Sanding the nodes follow this link

Premilinary 60° planing

I do it using directly the Planing Form. I set up the PF with 25-30% larger measures than the final taper measure. My plane balde work at 35° or 40°. Time required: 12 work/hours

Oven treatment

This step is really important for the final action and the durability of the rod. Bamboo once brought at 150° starts his polymerization process. Each rodmakes has his heat treating method and believe in his temperatures and time of cooking. The oven i use is very simple (Rolf Baginski Style) and it works using an heat air gun able to reach 400° temperature. Time required: 1 work/hour

Set-up of the planing form and final planing

Setting up the planing formi s a crucial operation for the good result of the taper. Maximun discard allowed is something like 0,002 inches. During the final planing is very important that your blade is perfectly sharpened, so i do that very often, i can say i do it for each single strip. Time required: 12 work/hours

 

Hollowing the rod

99% of my rods are hollow built. As my approach is machines free i use the traditional flat hollowing and i obtain it using soft file and sandpaper. Time required: 6 work/hours

Gluing and Binding the blank

I use expoxy glue and a teeth brush . Once glued up i bind the blank by hand. Time required  2 work/hours

Cleaning the blank and final sanding

In order to do not damnage the blank i first try to get it free from the cotton used for binding. I do that using a 160 grane sandpaper.Then i start to clean up using 400 grane and 800 grane sandpapers. Time required  6 work/hours

Making the handle and the reel seat

Most of my rods are dressed with handle and reel seat made by mysellf. I don’t use the lathe, so i make reel seat using the drill as it was a lathe but i treat the cork and the wood only with sandpaper, without blades. Time required  6 work/hours

 

Assembling the rod: Time required  18 work/hours

 

  • gluing up the ferrules
  • gluing up reel seat and handle
  • silk thread is tied by hand using a fly tier winder
  • varnishing

So at the end of the process and without considering the dead times for the drying of the glues and of the varnishes the total amount of the work/hours required is 70/75

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