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Blank Info - Straightening - Ironing

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Does anyone use a cloths iron to straighten rod blanks by ironing them?  I would like to hear about this. Do you use steam? Which setting do you use, polyester, cotton, wool or linen?   (Timothy Troester)

    Clothes iron is very effective for straightening when your glued tip has a twist or doglegs.  Since bamboo also  comprises fibers, fibers can be stretched by clothes iron.

    For tip section, you may need to set the iron to linen (hottest) position and run the iron on 6 flats in turn slowly, about 6 inches per second.  It would work for mid section too but effect is less on butt section.  For a thicker section, you may need slower speed of iron movement.  For a dogleg on a thicker blank, you may need to unbend the dogleg using a lever after heating the portion especially.

    After running the iron on the tip section, sometimes tip remains a very slow curve entire the section when its taper is not perfectly straight.  In that case, it works sometimes for you to pull the blank under the sole of iron where you do not move iron.  Repeat this for every flat.

    Do not use steam for a glued blank.  The blank will get moisture back. Steamed iron may be used to straighten a strip before planing or heat treatment.  It works better for thinner strips.  Heat gun or alcohol lamp seems to be faster for this.

    There is such a way of getting dimples (beside a node) back to a flat surface by using a clothes iron, for either of  triangle strips or flat strips.  It is sometimes usable if you do not want to burn the edge of a triangle strip before final planing.

    Prepare a round bar stock of metal, brass or nickel silver or whatever, with about 0.8" diameter and about 4" long.  Make three depths of V grooves on it by lathe (using male threading byte), one for butt, one for mid. and one for tip.   Place the bar stock on a flat table and place a triangle strip with enamel side up in one of the grooves. Press the strip by clothes iron and move the iron back and forth until the strip is get heated.  You will get the dimple back to the flat surface though the entire strip is curved inside (pith side).  You can straighten the slow curve on the V groove of planing form later.

    For a flat (pre planed) strip, do this on the flat portion of a bar stock.

    Iron works better for thinner strips!  (Max Satoh)


Well, after an ultimately satisfying rod #2, rod # 3 has come out of the string more twisted and bent than I'd like to admit. Before I try to iron it (a tip from The Planing Form) I wondered if anyone had experience with this technique. Would the temp needed to straighten be greater than the temp needed to delaminate?  I tried to straighten more while still hot from the second heat treatment, I got one tip straighter, but it's still a little twisted and I didn't want to keep putting it back in  the oven.  (Henry Mitchell)

    You'll burn the bamboo before you hurt the Epon, though not much before.  (John Channer)

    I think it will be fine. I don't use Epon, but I recently straightened some one piece rods using that technique. They are usually a pain to straighten, and one was, shall we say, rather curvy. Both turned out to be the straightest blanks I ever had. I don't put the blank in a form, and simply use my workbench top.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


For anyone who hasn't tried the old clothes iron trick to straighten sections, especially tips, you don't know what you're missing.

I just spent a very satisfying hour in the shop.  I'm working on half a dozen rods, recently out of the binding string.  two of the tips had rather unfortunate twists, each twisting nearly 2 flats over about 8-12 inches.

I put each tip on a flat board, and ironed from the fat end to the skinny end over the twist, with enough pressure to roll the twist out with the iron.  After about six passes or so, each tip had ironed out flat with no more twist.  It was like butter, beautiful.  (Chris Obuchowski)

    Sounds like a cool trick. Does it work well for straightening also?  (Mark Shamburg)

      Yes, it works just as well for straightening.  I use the hottest setting on my iron (I paid $2 for it at a garage sale). No steam.  (Chris Obuchowski)

        I use it all the time, works like a champ.  Highest setting - with steam.  At first I was a little squirrely about the steam,  but no issues.  (Lee Orr)

    Is that on the "cotton" or "linen" setting, and is the steam on or off? (Ron Grantham)

      I always thought those things were only good for making grilled cheese sandwiches, any thoughts Mike or Mike?   (Jeff Fultz)

        I've tried using hot iron but I burned my hands and I couldn't grip it very well with those welders gloves. Now I just use a short length of 3/8" aluminum bar stock, cold. It's easy to handle, not as heavy as iron.  One good whack and those little nasties come right out.  (Mike Canazon)

    Had a similar experience recently and an abject lesson on what happens when the thread tension is changed from one pass to another in binding.  Wound up with a candy cane (~180 degree twist).  I had recently been messing around with spiral rods and made a Po' Boy set of spiral clamps.  Twisted section in hand I thought - welp, if it works making spirals why not use it to remove them?  Put it in the spiral clamps and worked like a charm - finishing up with a good ironing, too.  Someone asked What setting?  I figure if I want the twists and sets to stay gone I use: Permanent Press. ;^)

    One caveat on spiral clamps though.  Tom and others will attest that it doesn't take much pressure to hold the strip without squishing the blank.  (Darrol Groth)

    I had not heard of the clothes iron method before, but, being in possession of the necessary hardware, amazingly intact in spit of the attentions of the iron wrecking blonde, I wish to clarify something.

    It seems to be that this technique removes twists, this is not a problem as I prefer hand wrapping, but my query is this.  Does it actually straighten the section? I usually do this with a heat gun, much as I dislike the noise, but perhaps the iron is gentler?   (Robin Haywood)


First time I tried Chris O's method of straightening with an iron, I came home with a bandage on each ear.  My wife asked me what happened.  I told her that while I was ironing the tip section straight, the phone rang.  And I put the iron to my right ear and said Hello.  So my wife asked me why my other ear was bandaged as well.  I told her that the damn guy called back.  (Chris Raine)

    Yes, but was the rod straight? It's a mark of greatness (if only in your own mind) for one to suffer for their "art."  (Chris Obuchowski)

    Better put the phone away when you flame your rods!  (Larry Tusoni)


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