Bamboo Tips - Contributors - McGuire, Mike

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So here's who I am -- Mike McGuire. I live in Portola Valley, California. It's about halfway down the San Francisco Peninsula. I am 64 years old. I retired a couple of years ago after 28 years at Hewlett Packard Labs. I am a physicist by education and profession. Worked on precision timekeeping and atomic clocks for awhile, but ended up working on digital printing, imaging and color reproduction.

I have been fly fishing for about fifteen years,  a variety of places around the west, but emphasizing High Sierra backpacking and Northern California. I got into rodbuilding on graphite blanks fairly early on. That was fun but ultimately unsatisfying. Seemed like it didn't take me much more than an afternoon to knock one out. I was looking for something with a bit more depth and staying power. I had looked at a copy of the "Book" (Garrison and Carmichael) in the public library some years ago and was horrified. About a year ago I came across the Maurer book and Gould's books in a local flyshop. They made bamboo rodmaking seem possible. It wasn't long before I discovered all the online resources. Can't say enough good about Todd's Tips, this list, and all the rest for that matter.

I found the Penrose web site and made a planing form. Filing the groove gave me some insight into what life is like for those Pakistani tribal gunsmiths who produce whole revolvers with just files and hand drills. I also came up with my own design for a heat treating oven using a copper pipe wound with a heating tape with temperature stabilized with a PID controller.

I finished my first rod back in the spring. It was a 7'6" 6 weight using a Walton Powell taper. It turned out pretty sweet to my taste. I took it to the San Juan and christened it? deflowered it? what should one say? by catching a 20" rainbow for a first fish.  Then I got curious about what a 9' 6 weight might be like. So I make one on a Ray Gould taper. I wasn't happy with it. It was very tip heavy. The balance point was still way forward of the grip even with a 10 weight reel hung on it. As a result, I am thinking that a useful addition to a rod computation programs would be an estimate of  where the balance point of particular taper would be. The necessary input information is implicit in the taper spec and the known density of bamboo. So what to build next? That first one was a two piece. For me that's a problem in today's hassled air travel environment, so I made a three piece version of it, which also turned out quite pleasing to me.

I finally got to meet some real live bamboo rodmakers in person at Larry Tusoni's Eastern Sierra Gathering in October, having been on my own until then. But I may not be alone for long. Some guys in my club are starting to ask serious questions about what's involved and how to get started.

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