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Building a bamboo flyrod
This is an outline of the steps I use to build a hand planed, six sided bamboo fly rod.  (This is only a brief outline.  If you are looking for a more detailed description pleas see Other Information Sources, for a list of books and web locations.)



= After the rod taper is selected, appropriate bamboo is selected. 
Some bamboo that is suitable for a 6ft 3 weight may not be for a 7ft 5 weight.  Because bamboo is a natural material flaws must be evaluated and in some cases an entire stick of bamboo will be rejected. 

= The bamboo is split into strips approximately 1/4 inch wide. 

= The "stagger" is created.  Tonkin Bamboo grows in sections.  Each section is about 14 to 20 inches long.  A node or nodal dam caps the end of each section.  In nature, these nodal dams add strength to the bamboo plant, allowing it to grow to remarkable heights.   In rod building, these nodes are weak spots and are staggered to balance casting stress.  There are several ways to stager the nodes. 

= The strips are straightened to remove the natural curves and kinks in bamboo.

= Strips are then milled to the original bevel.  In cross section this bevel will be an equilateral triangle.  There is no taper in the strips.  That will come at a later step. 

= The individual strips are inspected and any strips with problems that can't be overcome are rejected. 

= The strips are bound together into what will become a section. 

= The section is "heat treated."  The bamboo is basically cooked at temperatures of over 300 degrees F. for a short period. 

= The individual strips are planed to the final dimensions.  Each strip is inspected through out this critical process. 

= The strips are joined using 4 or five pieces of masking tape. The taped section is inspected for problems.  The masking tape is slit open between two strips and glue is applied. The strips are once again bound into a section.  The section has any kinks or bends removed before the glue sets. 

= The section is set aside to allow the glue to cure for 24 to 48 hours

= The section is again inspected and heat is used to take any remaining bends out of the bamboo. 

= The sections receive a protective coating of varnish, polypropylene, tong oil, or other suitable finish.  (Brushing, wiping, spraying, or dipping may be used to do this.)   The rod is set aside to allow the finish to dry. This process may be repeated as many as 4 times. 

= The section is cut to final length and hardware (tiptop, ferrules) is added.  At the end of this step the sections of the rod will be identical lengths.

= The reel seat and handle are glued in place. 

= Guides are taped to the rod.   The rod is "tuned" by adjusting the placement of the guides.   The guides are wrapped.  The wrappings are coated with a protective coating.

= The rod is approved by fish.

= The rod is placed in it's bag and tube and is ready to be fished.




A Short History of 
Bamboo Fly rods
 Fish-Tested Rods
Other Information about Bamboo Fly Rods
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