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To straighten completed sections I drilled a series of randomly placed holes (3/4") in the 2x6 that I work on. I place varying height dowels in these holes and this gives me different points to leverage a bend with. Works well for me.  (Steve Trauthwein)


I was hunting around for an MSDS on Power Bond PU that I use for ferrules. And I came across this on an archery site. I am not sure how it works, but when you see it the light bulbs will start to go off in your head as well.  (Bob Maulucci)

    Good show.   I had three 200 watt light bulbs go bang in my head.  At $169 it is too pricey for me, but I can see a dozen ways to fabricate it inexpensively.  I am about to go to the shop.  The wheels look like roller skate bearings.  The body, just a good aluminum extrusion.  Check your local full service glass shop.  I think it is worth a go.  (Ralph Moon)

    It looks more like a measuring  device then a straightening device.  If it works, it's going to take a lot of blue language out of this business.  (Mark Dyba)

    It looks like something designed for aluminum arrows to me, which would be a different procedure than wooden arrows. I've seen the local traditional bowyer straightening wooden arrows with a steam generator, much the same as we do with a heat gun on nodes.  (John Channer)

    Is there really any difference other than that we need to apply heat before straightening and aluminum naturally can be straightened cold?  (Neil Savage)


I would be interested to know whether anyone has any comments on the following idea. I spent a long time battling to get a tip section straight using a toaster, a heat gun, ironing on the workbench, ironing in the forms etc. I finally settled on the heat gun but there must be a better way.

Before I go ahead and possibly waste a whole lot of rodbuilding time I thought I should run this idea past you guys: Basically it involves using sash clamps in reverse.

1.. Using a long sash clamp (or two).

2.. Butt the loose stop end hard up against the adjustable (threaded) stop end.

3.. Drill pilot holes one above each other or side by side through both stop ends allowing for larger holes to be drilled later. Ideally use  2 sash clamps - one for butt and the other for the 2 tips.

4.. Separate the stops and drill different size holes in the relevant ends to accommodate the butt and tip sections.

5.. Separate the stops so that the distance between them is 2 inches shorter than the sections.

6.. Before gluing the sections, mark both ends of 2 opposing flats with color in order to align later.

7.. Glue (use a glue with a long working time) and bind the sections.

8.. On the butt section drill small holes through the previously colored ends 1/2 inch from the end to accommodate a small steel pin.

9.. On the tip sections drill a hole for a pin on the ferrule ends only.

10.. Place the sections in the sash clamps in the relevant holes so that 1 inch is projecting at each end.

11.. Insert the pins.

12.. Wrap the projecting tip of each of the tip sections in rubber or latex leaving a little of the color exposed for alignment. Slide a small washer (larger than the stop end hole) onto the rubber and clamp with cable ties (or something else?)so that the washer butts against a cable tie in the same position on  both tips.

13.. Check the sections are not twisted by aligning the pins and checking the colored ends.

14.. Slowly tension up the sections by separating the stop ends - IE: using the sash clamp in reverse. Insert shims between the washers and the stop ends if necessary. Don't over tighten.

15.. Leave to cure.

Presumably if it works the sections should be quite straight. Final straightening could possibly be done by reinserting the sections into the sash clamp and heating with a heat gun whilst in place?  (Stephen Dugmore)

    I'm actually facing the same problems as Stephen. My first tip, no problems. Tip 2 twisted and curved mess, shortly burnt to a crisp. Tip 3 twisted and curved mess, Tip 4 big sweeping curve and much rejoicing.

    My question his, how much heat is too much heat? As mentioned previously I destroyed tip 2 when I wasn't able to leave well enough alone. Now I'm a little gun shy. I've changed to a lower heat source and spent about an hour last night trying to straighten two tips. I had little success and figured it would be better to simply finish the rod than risk exposing it to too much heat. (But here I am a day later, fighting the urge to go back and try to straighten them again, that's what got me in trouble last time.)

    Should one keep at it until it's straight or is there a point in which all that heating will do more damage than good?

    On a positive note, those curves sure make finding the spine easy.  (Jim Lowe)

    I tried a similar setup, but without significant success. Bends and curves are also caused by internal stresses in the bamboo that will remain even if the freshly glued sections are under pull stresses.  (Frank Neunemann)

    I think I have your idea figured out, but to me it seems that you are going to a great deal of trouble to perform a job that it done a great deal more simply.  I have had no trouble getting straight sections, and I don't think I am unique.  I believe most other guys get them straight as well.  The secret is to work slowly and in small increments.

    First you cannot overheat the section.  Anytime that it is uncomfortable to hold in your fingers You are too hot.  It may take many applications of heat before the section is an even temperature all the way through.  Until it is, you

    cannot straighten the section safely.  Secondly, any straightening should not be over two or three inches long.  If you have a 14" bow in a section , you begin by straightening two or three inches of one end.   Then you move down and do a couple of more inches,  After you are finished if you are lucky, you are OK.  If not do it all over again until you get it right.

    You can not rush this job and try to straighten the whole section at one fell swoop.  It just does not work.  I would hope that some other might comment on this, because I am sure you know that everyone of us rodmakers has a different take on the subject.  I am convinced I am right, but if your method works, by all means use it, or pick the brains of some other guys.

    By the way, I would not use any of the heat sources you mentioned.  An alcohol lamp is still the best source of dependable low temp heat that can be controlled as to its location.  (Ralph Moon)

      I (almost) fully agree with Ralph. My only exception is that I can't use an alcohol lamp without scorching the cane - probably the same reason I can't power grind a blade without "bluing" it! No patience! I've always suggested a Farberware open topped broiler for this as it heats slowly without scorching, you can hold the cane as far away as you'd like, and you can heat any section length from about an inch or two to about 14". They're also available at many garage sales for about $10, and you can use then to do a roast on the dining room table when you're not using them for cane work! Many come with a rotisserie which can pull your sections from the dip tank. (Yes, I do own Farberware; I picked it up as a nuisance division when I bought Microsoft from Bill Gates last year!!!)

      As for the "start at one end and work your way through," one of the disconcerting things that can happen when you're doing this is that the bend turns almost into a kink as you work your way along it. It seems as though you're not really straightening so much as you're working the bend out the other end of the section. Don't worry about it getting worse ahead of your progress, just keep going till you've moved it all the way along!  (Art Port)

        Thanks Art.  I think that I should point out that what you use is OK, but only if you do not cook too fast.  a very mild heat applied a number of times is the way to go, not a hot blast once.  One thing about the inch by inch method is that it usually works out the first time, but sometimes, it is necessary to repeat the process.

        Patience.  (Ralph Moon)

    I use a bandsaw (Grizzly 14 incher) and saw my strips. I know some of you are cringing, and want to throw me out of the trade, but I do it. This means you do NOT have to fool around with the nodal areas,  side to side, and I'm 100% sure that this is where about 99.0% of all problems on nicks, chips & glue lines start. When cane is split, the node area, if a builder is looking straight down on top of the node, enamel side up, bends left or right, and there is a  "dip" for lack of a better word in that node. In order to get rid of it, you must straighten side to side, then plane it out, get it flat, before you proceed, or you will chase that "dip" from here to Kingdom Come, and never be rid of the thing completely. Sawing eliminates that problem, and then you only have to fix the sweeps. I've tested rods with the strips that have been made on a bandsaw, there is no weakening at all. Remember, a power fiber is very, very short, and you eventually plane through them anyway. If they ran from one end of the cane to the other, then I would agree that sawing weakens. I think some pretty famous makes used a saw also.  (Jerry Andrews)

    In my opinion strips not being straight can happen for many reasons.

    • not all the strips being the same
    • twisted strips
    • binder not adjusted properly.

I made a 4 string binder and never could get a straight strip.  That is when I went to my 1 string and I have much straighter strips now.

You can try the slap method, it works for some or the

Ironing method that works for others.

Winston uses, if I am not mistaken, 2 LB weights on the tips and 4 LB on the butts. I think if you use this method it would be best to use a slower setting glue so the glue will not set before the weight can help.  In like mind others have used springs to the same end.  (David Ray)

Using binders I experienced similar problems, so I quit using binders all together sometime back in 1994. did a few experiments with a self made binder and a Garrison-type binder that was very well made in a professional machine shop, but the results were less than satisfactory.

So I bind entirely by hand (as I did when I got started) and the results are fine with me. So far I only had one complete rod that did not need any straightening at all. In most of the other cases only minor straightening was necessary. Seems that I am a minimalist.

I tried the method Winston uses, but according to my experience a rod section should be as straight as possible before the glue has set. Pulling an otherwise bent or crooked section straight to let the glue set did not work for me.  (Frank Neunemann)

      I bind by hand too and there are two methods I use to get the sections straight before the glue sets. One is 'whacking' the rod on a hard flat surface (the floor) while its wet. I keep the thick end under tension and then let go the thin end so the section whacks to the floor. I do this several times and usually it straightens the rod well. Another way to make it straight is to put masking tape in the open groove of the forms and lay the section in it. The tape protects the forms against the glue. Then I tape the whole thing firmly down with about ten pieces of  masking take. Not too much tension, but firmly. I came onto the first method somewhere in the archives and 'invented' the second though others probably have similar methods.  (Geert Poorteman)

        That’s what I do, except that I don't whack the freshly glued rod section, but instead roll it on a flat surface and press/slide it with both hands, occasionally checking the straightness.  (Frank Neunemann)


This refers again to Ed Berg's idea of using angle aluminum for setting up a glued up section, dead straight. Last weekend I did a further tip. I need to explain the method used:

Epon glue

Angle covered with greaseproof paper

Section hand bound, rubbed down with vinegar to remove surplus glue and straightened as best possible, then stitched onto the angle with binding cord  with holes at 2 1/2" intervals. Bound down dead straight, and no twist.

Removed from angle after 12 hours and string removed. Rubbed down with vinegar and scraped with thumbnail to remove 99% of surface glue. Then rubbed down with water to remove any trace of vinegar. At this stage the blank looked pretty straight.

Rebound into the form. Section removed next day, and it has an almost perfect parabola sweep!

As a matter of interest I tried rebinding the section, having removed the greaseproof paper, and applying heat. This served to reduce but not eliminate the sweep.

By deduction, the second step of cleaning off the Epon is the source of the problem. It seems likely that the slightly wet blank is subjected to differential drying. That is, the outer surfaces are likely to dry faster than those in contact with the angle. Likely the presence of the greaseproof paper is not helping either as perhaps exaggerating the water retention for the surfaces in contact with it. Exactly why differential drying would cause such a set I have not understood, but I think it is the issue.

Next time I plan either to let the blank dry thoroughly before placing it back in the (bare) form, or just hang the blank up and not rebind it at all.  (Sean McSharry)

    If I'm not mistaken, Epon, as well as other epoxies, doesn't really dry. As it polymerizes, it sets up. It would polymerize in a vacuum once the two parts are mixed together. When you take the section out of the angle and remove the string, stresses in the blank relax and the blank assumes the curves. The next one you do will be different, with different stresses (or no stresses), so you still can't be sure.  (Steve Weiss)

      I appreciate your comment. I probably was not clear enough. The drying out differentially to which I was referring was that of the (hopefully small) residual vinegar after removing the last of the Epon from the cane surface, and more so the rinse water that may have penetrated the can, even if surface dried in a paper towel. It just could be this drying on one side shrinks infinitesimally the cane on that side while the Epon cures more and then the other half dries out but sets up its shrinking tension too late to return the blank to equilibrium?  (Sean McSharry)

        Why do you wash the vinegar off with water? I wipe my blanks down thoroughly with vinegar, straighten them, then hang them. The vinegar will evaporate and if there is any residue, it gets sanded off with the rest of the glue. As for binding to angle irons or planing forms, it's a delusion, I've tried every "trick" there is, none of them work, at least not for me. The only sure way to get a blank straight that I've found is to work at it until they're as close as you can get them wet, then do the rest with heat after the glue sets.  (John Channer)

          Well, looking at the thin tips I was a bit concerned that the vinegar could penetrate the glue within the splines. So, rinse it. That was all.

          I might still persist with the form idea for another project!

          Thanks for your wisdom.  (Sean McSharry)

          Anyone who flames you John had better brush up on his techniques.  You are so right.  Get it straight when wet and make any minor corrections after cure with heat. Preferably not the toaster or hair curlers.  (Ralph Moon)

            I have to agree with John and Ralph as a "newbie" on rods 6 and 7. Glue, bind, and carefully straighten while the glue is wet using all the recommended tricks - rolling out, pushing/twisting, gentle slapping, etc. Hang it up and let it dry for 3 or 4 days. Anyway, it seemed to work for me so far. I think going slowly is a key for me in my recent glue ups. The first rod I was worried how fast the glue (Bordens Casco) really did set up - well it takes more time than I thought, so I now go a lot slower. Seems to work well and comes out better than I thought. Just my experience.  (Frank Paul)

              Haven't read all the messages on this subject, but here's my .02 from a "newbie" for what it's worth. The first rod I made I hung with weights which resulted in okay straightness, but I'm not sure the hanging really did anything as they were about the same after hanging as they were before. I had some problems with getting my string loops to stay put especially on tip section so the angle iron idea seemed intriguing. Lee Orr recommended just putting a glued up section back in the planing form instead of going out and buying angle iron and drilling, etc. From then on, I just put 1" masking tape down the center of my forms, roll out the glued blank and nestle it back into the groove on the forms, cover it with wax paper then tightly duct tape the whole shootin' match. Worked awesome on the last two blanks I've made.  (Philip Smith)

    Since Epon is an epoxy, it doesn't dry by air.  A catalytic reaction is what causes it to cure,  so whether or not it was facing outward, I think, would have little to do with the sweep you are seeing in the section.  I think it's more related to trying to bind something that has a taper to something that is straight that is causing your sweep.  The angle form would probably work great for keeping a non-tapered section straight while the adhesive is curing, but for a section that is tapered, I would think you are going to end up with a sweep regardless of the adhesive you are using.  You could always coat the groove in you planing forms with something like masking tape, and bind your section to the forms.  Your forms would have your taper set, and the rod section would sit straight in the groove.  (Mark Wendt)

      It would also probably be fine for a linear (straight) taper, but I don't think you can bind a compound taper to a straight line and not have "problems".  (David Van Burgel)

        I'm thinking if you set your forms so that half of the cross section of the blank was held above & below the top surface of the forms, the section would come out straight. This should work for any taper.  (Don Schneider)

    Some time ago I mentioned that I quite using Vinegar to clean the excess Epon from the blank, did not care for the white slimy coating it left to be cleaned off. Denatured alcohol does a cleaner better job and does not need to be washed off with water. It also dries real fast too. As easy as the glue comes off before heat setting, I just leave what Epon is on the sticks after wiping down with a paper towel.

    See my article on this in the Issue 19 of Power Fibers, it is a bit unconventional but it works.  (Tony Spezio)

      This may be the solution - thank you. I suspect it was the clean up water moisture, but I am not sure what it is doing precisely. I'll try alcohol next time.  (Sean McSharry)

      I have been using the same process as Shawn, except that I wiped the blanks down with a paper towel before rebinding for heat setting.  After heat treating, I took the string off, wiped them down with denatured alcohol and then scraped off any residue.  All of my blanks have come out straight. On the first one, I didn't use a greaseproof paper on the aluminum angle bars, and. . . you guessed it, the blank stuck!  That is a critical step!  (Don Bugg)

        From what I read, you scrape the sticks after heat setting, am I correct. I scrape the sticks before binding for heat setting.

        This removes all the outer glue from the the sticks while it is soft. Will send a photo of  the sticks before heat setting.

        I then bind all the sticks together for heat setting.  They have never stuck together.   (Tony Spezio)

    I leave my blanks in the angle until the adhesive  is hardened.  Any removal is with mechanical means.  I really can't  imagine a small amount of vinegar or alcohol distorting a blank held together  with epoxy, so I'm not sure where that leaves us.  As far as the taper of  the blank causing the problem, I don't think the very slight variations from a  straight taper is going to be noticeable.  I came up with the idea, but  that doesn't mean I have all the answers.  I feel the aluminum angle is a  great step in the right direction, let's all work together to iron out the  details.  I can't say much about problems I haven't experienced.  (Ed Berg)


My idea about angle-iron straightening is this, I'll get to try it in about 3 months when the next rod is ready to glue up.:

  • Rout 60-degree angles into a straight piece of hardwood and varnish or oil to prevent warping.
  • When you plane out your strips plane an extra one, leaving it larger than the final dimensions by the thickness of the binding cord.
  • Lay this strip into the 60-degree groove and lay plastic wrap over it.
  • Then lay the freshly glued blank into that groove, weight it down and allow to cure.

Does anyone see any theoretical flaws with this?  (Henry Mitchell)

    I had to read that a few times but when I got it it made sense and I can't see why it would not work.

    The method I have been using is more basic and does not address the deviation between a compound taper and a straight one but it seems to work, my only proviso would be not to use any "straight" restraint with something that had a sudden taper change like a swelled butt.  Any way, my device consists of two hexagonal steel sections (5/8" across flats) bolted together flat to flat giving two opposite included angles of 120 degrees allowing completed sections to be directly bound into the grooves.  The steel is waxed before fixing a blank and I have had no problems with releasing the cane.

    I do not tie in a bent section and hope for the best, rather I use the groove to straighten the glued up section by rolling it with a soft decorating roller whilst it is positioned in the groove.  Keep turning the section and rolling until it is straight then bind in place.  It has worked very well for butts so I may do a scaled down version for tips.  (Gary Marshall)

      Your idea of using hex shapes for the curing forms sounds like another step forward from my aluminum angle.  As you say, straight restraints and large taper changes will be a problem but I don't think most of us are dealing with that.  Where do you get the hex rods?  Are they readily available in  different sizes?  My caution is to remember that gorilla glue does stick to  Saran Wrap and everything else I've found except waxed paper.   (Ed Berg)

        While on the subject of straightening I was wondering if anyone had tried the procedure in Ray Gould's new book using two Jacob chucks to hold the blank and then  spreading them apart to stretch the blank. It would seem that the chuck teeth might cause the strips to shift while they are being held.  (Tom Mohr)

        I'm in the UK so my sources may be of limited value but hex bar is a standard item I believe.  (Gary Marshall)


Driving home from work at 1 AM I was drawing diagrams in my head (plenty of empty space) of what I had earlier proposed and realized that placing a tapered spline in the groove (or in the angle iron) would actually create curves in the blank away from the nonlinear direction you want it to follow. i.e. it would be less straight than if you simply placed it in a straight 60-degree groove. So, nevermind....

Straightening in a planing form would be more accurate - I just wanted to Epon up the butt and 2 tips at the same time, let them set up in  60-degree grooves and not have to do more straightening, something I've not yet gotten the hang of.  (Henry Mitchell)

    When you place a blank in the 90 degree angle form, one of the flats presses against the side of the angle, and one of the points against the other side.  Having one side tied against the angles flat causes the blank to come out straight.  Granted not all tapers are linear, but with a little thought you can deal with that in terms of where you place your ties.

    The angles of a hex blank are 120 degrees. When you place a blank in the 60 degree form, you have to open the form to compensate for that.  Essentially you are placing one flat down on the bottom with two flats now making contact with the sides of the form.  You can set it up so that it fits perfectly in the tapered form.

    In comparing these my conclusion is; using the steel form is slightly better, but both work well.  However, for those of us who only have one steel form, It is a slow process.  However, you can spend $16-$18 and make 4 angle forms, enough to handle all of the sections of a two tip rod, and free up your steel form to continue planing.    (Don Bugg)

      OR. You can go to a sheet metal shop and have them make 4 120° angles - 5' long out of 1/16 cold roll.

      If you want to go HOG Wild. While you are at it, have them make a cap with a 60° break on the edges that will slide over the angles. Cut a bicycle tube to appropriate length. Insert a plug in each end. Put a air valve in one of the plugs.

      To use- Place the section in the angle with one flat on the bottom and the other two against the sides of the angle. Lay the bicycle tube over the rod, slide the cap on and inflate the tube with a bicycle pump. 15-20 PSI should do it, NOT 200 PSI :>)

      I have a sheet metal shop making the angles and caps. I'll let you know how it works out.  (Don Schneider)


I was just trying the angle metal section blank drying method and to my surprise I still got some bends in the blank, both a tip and a butt in which there was a general one way sweep. Is that to do with the glue? I am using Epon.

Funny thing happened later. I was straightening butt the starting from the top end and was having a struggle to get a bend out about a foot from the top. Suddenly, not just this bend but the whole sweep went, and I was  left with a straight blank all the way. It was only a few minutes into the cocktail hour, too.  (Sean McSharry)

    I was the one that submitted the 'angle iron' (actually anodized aluminum) blank curing method.  My results were indeed 100% straight, using Gorilla Glue.  I think the method might not be effective with quicker setting  glues. Note that the photos on Todd's site show an unbound blank.   This was only for clarity to show the lacing showing the blank in place.   In use, I bind the blank by hand and then lace it into  the angle.  (Ed Berg)


Has anyone made this device, Ray Gould's tensioner, as described in "Cane Rods Tips & Tapers", which straightens the freshly glued section?

I am having trouble with the chucks crushing the ends of the section. the chucks need to be that tight to hold the section under tension.  (Olaf Borge)

    You have to make the sections a few inches longer, especially the tip of the butt and the butt of the tip.

    One of the neat things about the device is that once you have the blank untwisted and straightened under tension you can then scrub most of the glue, even Epon, off before it sets.  (Henry Mitchell)

    I use Nyatex, and the one thing that I thought could be improved was the tendency of tip sections to take a slight curve during the heat set, which occurred on a grooved board in Rube Goldberg oven. So I made a tensioner using a square frame (wood ends, shelf supports for the sides). Each section gets a loop of Dacron whipped on to it, and I hold tension with a hook on one end, and a hook, turnbuckle, and chain at the other. The chain allows me to adjust for different  length blanks.

    I pull the sections tight as I can, and let them dry for  24 hours. The idea was that I could heat treat on the tensioner with a heat gun or hair dryer, or hang the thing in my hot box and let it cure there.

    Here is the problem: after 24 hours I take the tension off to remove the string, and the damned curves come right back. The curves stay even if I tighten them back up and heat treat under tension.  And they go into thing straight because I have roller.

    So this tensioner thing is hanging in the shop. After looking at all the hooks, chains, and hardware, I named it "Jacob Marley". It is useless. Does tensioning even work at all? It hasn't for me, but I would like to find out why. My greatest challenge in rodmaking is to make my rods straighter. Second only to planing more accurate tapers and having better cosmetics.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


I have just discovered the 'Langer and Langer' (Austrian Rod and Reel Builder) web site which has some really nice pics of his products, some nice video clips and with a picture of what must be the definitive rod straightening jig, truly a remarkable piece of work and well worth a look here.  (Paul Blakley)

    Looks simple enough, and seems like it should work well.  Can anyone tell me where to buy various sized drill bits for drilling hexagonal holes? <g>

    BTW, I have a copy of their DVD on making rods.  It's quite interesting, even though I only understood a word or two of the narration.  Graduate school German was a long time ago.  (Harry Boyd)

    Not to get too off topic, but I have been using a piece of angle aluminum.  Somebody had mentioned drilling holes in angle iron and using string to bind the section down.  What I do is tape the wet blank down against the aluminum with 2" masking tape lengthwise.  Sections have been coming out pretty darn straight.  (Lee Orr)

      Do you heat set the glue? I plan on using Epon/Versamid. The recommended procedure is to remove the binding thread and excess glue after 18 to 24 hours and then heat set for 4 hours at 180 degrees. I was wondering if heat setting the glue with the strip in the angle would cause any darkening  on the sides touching the aluminum. Input?  (Wayne Kifer)

        I use PU glue.  I do cover the aluminum with masking tape first.  Then I lay the tape over the blank.  I've found that you can really force the blank against the tape.  I've tried hanging with weights, spinning in 1/2" tubing, and taping wet sections to my form.  This method has had the best results by far.

        Originally I tried drilling the aluminum and using twine - from Todd's tip site.  The drilling put a healthy curve in the aluminum, basically ruining it.  (Lee Orr)

          I do something similar with the MD Fixtures.  Seems to help, although I wouldn't say it's the perfect solution.  I think I got the idea from someone on this list. (Harry Boyd)


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