Building my own bamboo fly rod – Day 2

Today I continued my pursuit of hand building my first bamboo fly rod!  My husband, Dave, has been building for years, so I am fortunate to have an excellent mentor. If your’re curious about building a bamboo rod check out his website.  My goal is to post a blog every day I work on the rod. My goal is to have the rod complete by Christmas – we will see how that goes.  I hope you join in to follow my progress and learnings.

Today – I spent about 6 hours in the shop taking my bamboo rod from the initial rough splits to rough triangle splits – ready to start planing!

My first step was to heat treat the rough splits about 9 per bamboo culm. This takes much of the moisture out of the rod and stiffens the bamboo. The heat treated bamboo made it easier for me to split the bamboo into sections small enough to rough plane.  There were 2 steps to split  each culm into  18 pieces.

 

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Step one – Start the split with a box cutter.

 

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Step two – finish the split on the vise, making sure the split stayed in the middle of the split culm.

 

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A close – up of the split culm – check out the power fibers that give bamboo it’s strength and feel.

 

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All  ready for the next step

 

At this point I selected 8 pieces of each culm that had an even heat treat and good width for the beveling step. You may wonder why eight pieces. Eventually I will use 6 pieces to form each section of the bamboo (tip and butt section) – choosing 8 pieces allows me to 1) pick the best six  split pieces for the final rod and 2) yes, allow a mis-step in subsequent steps:).

 

With my selected 8 strips from each culm,

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I belt sanded each split to remove the enamel layer on the outside of each strip.

 

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16 strips waiting for their next action!

 

With the rough sanding done – I moved to the beveller. I fed each strip through the beveller to get the rough tri-angler shape. I have to say running the beveller step was a hoot!

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Feeding a strip through the beveler

 

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A closer look of the rough beveling step – check out the triangular shape of the strip

 

A good stopping point for the day. The rough beveled strips patiently waiting for the next step!

 

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Whew! A good point to stop and

 

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Savor today’s efforts with a class of wine.