I've been building graphite fly rods and restoring bamboo fly rods for years. I don't know what finally decided to get me to bite, but I decided that I am going to start manufacturing bamboo fly rods from the ground up. After the restoring that I've done, I didn't have many doubts about being able to craft a beautiful rod, but could I make a functioning rod?
I did a little research and immediately saw that this was no small project. The amount of information out there on different tapers, actions, methods of planing, heating and flaming bamboo seemed overwhelming. That was the easy part. I soon found out that one does not walk into Home Depot to buy materials to start making blanks on day 1. Unless you have the money to drop on specialized tools, the majority of makers out there craft their own. I decided to make a set of planing forms out of maple to start. I would need one set of rough forms for getting the strips within the ballpark for their final planing. The final forms are much more precise and need to be accurate to .001”, that is a small margin of error.
The planes were fairly easy to assemble, but needed some finishing to make sure that they were perfectly flat and true to form. Once they were all set, I had to groove out my forms. Since there are 6 strips in a standard bamboo rod, 360 degrees around, each strip has to be cut to a 60 degree angle. I needed to make two tools for this. A 60 degree bit plane as well as a 60 degree file plane. The bit plane would allow me to make quick progress while the file plane would be used to clean up the grooves. There were a ton of resources out there to help me create these tools, and I'm extremely happy that phase of the process if over. As of now I've managed to cut the grooves in my rough planing form. I am waiting on a 60 degree contact point for my dial indicator before I start grooving out my final forms. With the need to be so accurate, I want to make sure that I am exact to .001”. Once you take out wood, there is no going back. Now its time to get some bamboo and get splitting. Stay tuned, I'll keep posting progress.
|60 Degree Lathe Bit Plane & File Plane|
|Unfinished Final Form (Left) & Rough Planing Form (Right)|