Bamboo Tips - Tips Area
Blank Info - Straightening - Twists

< Home < Tips Area < Blank Info < Straightening < Twists


I just took a tip out of the string and knocked the glue off and found it has a slight twist.  What is the best way to remove it?  (Tim Stoltz)

    I found the easiest way to identify exactly where the twist is, is to lay it in your planing form. That really makes where the twist starts jump out. Then you heat and twist the other way to take it out.  (Darryl Hayashida)

      For tip twist I have occasionally held the tip in the oven door when I have it going, when I am cooking cane, for about 15 or 20 seconds. this is often good enough to straighten the first few inches of the tip.   (Timothy Troester)

      Darryl is right on here.  Lay it on your planing form and hold it down at the very tip.  Then slide the index finger of your other hand down the tip section while pressing it down against the form.  Watch the butt end of the section as you slide your finger down the blank, and you can see exactly where ever little twist in the section is.

      Be very careful with the heat.  It really takes very little when you're heating something as thin as a tip section. It's easy to over do it and twist it in the other direction.  (Robert Kope)

    Bill from Corens showed me this.  Take 4-5 single edge razor blades.  Dull the sharp edge on a file and pull the back off so that all you have a flat piece of metal.  Lay the blade on a flat and hold it in place using a small rubber band (the orthodontic type works well) looped around the section and blade on 2 sides.  Kind of like the sketch below.  It's harder to describe than it is to actually do. The frame of reference is looking straight at the blank from one end.


    Place the blades on the section all on the same flat, staggered  along it's length and then sight down the section.  You will be able to see exactly where the twists are located.  You can slide the blades up and down the blank to really pinpoint minor twists.  I heat the section over my heat gun VERY GENTLY and work the twist out.  I do the work with the blades in place so that I can check the progress of the twist.  Watch the heat, it will cause the bands to snap sometimes and  scare you the first time it happens. No real danger though compared to what some others are doing out there.  (Brian Smith)

      That's a heck of a great idea!  Simple, yet effective.  Cheap too (for the Scot in me...).  Definitely going to have to give that one a try.  (Mark Wendt)


Any thoughts on how to get a twist to stay out of a tip section? I have heated and fixed, only to find the twist back again a couple of months later.  (Peter McKean)

    I've seen this happen a few times, although the twist, or even a bend, seems to reappear more quickly for me.  Often overnight.

    Usually correcting the twist the second time takes care of the problem permanently.  If these sections are unvarnished moisture reabsorption may explain what's happening.  (Harry Boyd)

    When you heat it, make sure the heat penetrates  right through, not just the surface.  (Ron Grantham)


My sections have been glued (Epon 2:1 ratio) and hanging for 48 hours now. I can see that I that I still have a twist and bend in my tip section that I didn't get out. Should I wait until after I cure the sections in my oven, or work on the twist/bend before curing?  It seems that it would many be easier to do before curing???????  (John Freedy)

    I would go ahead with the heat-cure, so that when you do straighten, you'll have minimized the glue's sensitivity to heat.  I couldn't swear to it, but straightening now may cause the glue to soften and leave you with visible glue joints.  (Bill Harms)


I should have know that things were going far too well. Final planed my first rod yesterday and hit all the numbers...hooray!

Mixed up some URAC tonight and ran the butt through the binder and it all worked. Coated up the tip and ran it through the binder and all was well until almost the end of the second pass. The drive belt wanted to stick to the blank and bend it rather than rotating it through. I pulled the drive belt and hand wrapped the last 10 inches and managed to do it before the glue kicked. I straightened the strips and cooked them for an hour and a half. They came out of the oven all stiff and whippy, just like a real fly rod. And when I picked at the binding thread it peeled right off. I'm thinking this bamboo stuff ain't so bad after all...

That is until I'm unwrapping the tip. The last 5 or so inches where I had to hand wrap it is doing a credible imitation of a spiral built rod. I know I can heat it up and straighten out bends, but can I untwist it? Or should I just go ahead and finish it out and pretend that I planned it that way?  (Larry Lohkamp)

    Untwisting is all part of the final straightening procedure.  Sometimes I get a minor twist in my tips or mids, mostly due to the binder cord hiccuping or something else, but it happens.  Work a small area at a time, then let it cool.  Then work another small area of the twist, then let it cool.  You can use your planing forms and the two-finger method to determine where the twist

    begins and ends, and when you've finally got the twist taken out.  Lay the strip on the planing form, not in the groove, and put your right forefinger on the end of the strip.  Put your left forefinger about an inch or two down the strip, at the same time lessening the pressure on the strip with your right forefinger.  It's easier done than said, and once you do it a few times, working your way down the strip, you'll see how easy it is to identify where the twists are in the strip and where they start and end.  (Mark Wendt)

    I use URAC and build mostly 2/2 rods.  I presoak my binding cord in water before gluing strips.  I mix enough glue to do the butt section and after binding and straightening I clean everything with water especially the binding cord.  Then I mix enough glue to do both tip sections, move steady and fast and complete these sections without the cord sticking or drying out.  I've never timed myself but I'm guessing it takes me 15 - 20 minutes to glue, bind and straighten a section.

    I've glued about 120 rod sections and I have not had any twist after gluing so I can only guess that they can be straightened.  Sorry I can't be of further help.  (Doug Alexander)

    You can easily untwist a tip section by ironing it with a clothes iron set on "linen", over a flat surface.  (Chris Obuchowski)

    You can heat and untwist.  Ask me how I know.  I'll leave it to other to be more  specific/eloquent/comprehensive on this subject.  (Steve Yasgur)

    One idea is to soak the drive belt in water before binding. Keeping it wet lessens the "stickability" factor with URAC.  (Brian Morrow)

    By all means, straighten the tip. How could you ignore the opportunity to learn one of the most gratifying procedures in making a bamboo rod? If I remember correctly from reading "The Book", Garrison enjoyed it so much that his wife knew that she had better not even speak to him when he was straightening a twist.  (Steve Weiss)

    Twists are all caused by torque.

    There may be a multiple number of reasons twists occur:

    1] Sticky drive belt - Urac is a pain - into a water bucket between strips helps. Wiping it down with a good  soaking wet sponge helps as well

    2] Pull strength of the binding cord - had trouble with that as well - too tight results in torque/twists. I built a much larger set of washers of UMHW rather than the miserably small and pain in the butt sewing machine type I used previously. Helped out twists a lot

    3] Run in and run off trays also acquire glue and may cause the section to grab requiring  more force on the drive belt to spin the rod. Clean them between strips.

    Still twists occur. Ron Grantham showed me a neat trick that he demonstrated @ Merritt last year. Jump in here Ron.

    The system I've used for years was temporary mounting the guides with orthodontic dental elastics and looking down through them to make sure they were in alignment. After all, the guide alignment is what shows in the final product.  (Don Anderson)

      A week or two ago there was a thread about twists in rod sections. Don Andersen had said, "Still twists occur. Ron Grantham showed me a neat trick that he demonstrated @ Merritt last year."

      I've tried posting my method a few times but don't know if any of them got through.  I'm sending it again -- if you've already received it, my apologies. If you haven't, then here it is.

      Lay a short piece of masking tape across one end of a sanded blank and bring the ends around and stick them together to make a protruding tag. Then lay the blank on a flat, smooth surface with the tag somewhat vertical and slide a piece of bamboo along the length of the blank, all the time watching the tag. If the tag moves, you've found a twist. By moving your hand back and forth you can determine exactly where the twist begins and ends. This will work with quads, pents, hexes or whatever.

      When checking for bends, sight down the blank in the usual manner. Put your thumb on the bend the way you would for straightening and check the position of the tag. After rotating the blank over the heat, point the tag in the predetermined position and you'll know which way to apply pressure without having to sight down it again.  (Ron Grantham)

    I made a continuous drive (Garrison) binder that has two spools behind the crank.  One holds the drive cord and the other recovers it.  It works nice and you don’t get a buildup of glue and the dive cord is always coming through “new” and not sticky.  You can bind as many sections as you want as long as you have cord on the supply side spool.  I’d add a picture bit it is a proto type (scrap built) and not very compact or pretty.  I hope to reduce the size a bit and refine it but it worked fine for the last two rods that I bound up.  (Mike Monsos)

    I have posted a brief article on my website dealing with tools that help remove twists from rod sections.  It is labeled "Lesser Widgets".  Which they are.

    You can view it at: .  I was going to make a bunch of them, but found out that me and one other guy are the only ones that need them.  So much for my retirement plan.  (Chris Raine)

      About five years ago, Joe came down to my shop in Denver for a visit and brought some goodies with him. He gave me some of his homemade fly floatant (it's all gone now, good stuff though!), and a small glass vile of dissolved pine pitch. He told me how to use it and then I tossed it into a drawer on my wrapping bench. 

      That little vile sat in the same drawer until last week. I have been having severe problems with my hands due to arthritis and carpal tunnel and wrapping rods has gotten fairly difficult. I was really having trouble with some trim wraps which for the last 10 years or more had never been a problem. A thought came to mind about what Joe had taught me and I started to wonder if I even still had the jar and if it would still be good after all these years and a move to AR.

      Well I found the jar and followed Joe's instructions. The results were just short of a miracle. I'm now kicking myself for not using this stuff for the last 5 years. Like I said before, I never really struggled with trim wraps before, having wrapped somewhere in the neighborhood of over 500 rods, but with my lame hands I was starting to really struggle but the dissolved pine pitch makes even small trim wraps extremely easy. I even followed Joe's advice on cutting up double edged blades and using them in an Exacto blade holder, I'll never go back to single edged blades for cutting thread!

      Thanks Joe, I really owe you one (with 5 years interest)!

      If you want to see how this stuff works, here is a link to a tutorial Joe did.  (Jeff Fultz)

        As Paul Harvey used to say "And now the rest of the story!"

        What Jeff neglected to say is that while I was in his shop Jeff mixed up a batch of his browntoning formula as well as some of his n/s oxidizer. The only difference is that I have been using this stuff all along! So I guess the question is now who owes who?

        Thanks Jeff!  (Joe Arguello)

    I have never bought or made a gluing binder that I didn't hate.  We always have a little "chat" prior to glue-up.  I take the whole thing outside, and show it exactly where it will land in the blackberry bushes when I throw it down the hill. I always feel better.  I think I have a better mousetrap in the works.  But to answer your question about twists in tips:

    You have to glue up a bunch of sections to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the machine, and be able to deal properly with them.

    If you can't get all your sections glued up in 45 minutes, use two glue-sessions instead of one.  This was all ready suggested to you, and was good advice.

    You did not mention how much weight you use.  The least amount is best. Garrison is laughing about the 2 and 1 pound weights.

    GLUE THE TIP SECTIONS FIRST. Everything gets stickier as you glue.  Trying to run a tiny tip section through last is just asking for twists.

    I have made a pair of "Lesser Widgets" to deal with twists, especially slight ones in the butt section.  Great for old, arthritic hands.

    As for those posting about the hundreds of sections you have glued up without any twists in them, I say to you as I have said to others:  you probably lie about other things as well.

    That being said, I have to go glue up a rod.  Man, do those blackberry bushes scratch!  (Chris Raine)

      No twists???  Well, I've glued up close to 700 rods now and I still get twists.  Not every time, but occasionally... and it's usually when I've let my alligator self esteem overload my hummingbird a$$.  I'll set up to glue 3 or 4 complete rods at once and as Chris said, things get sticky.  REALLY sticky.

      Knowing your machine and what it does helps.  The binder I currently use (I think this is somewhere around binder #10) is a JW Binder. It's just a well built Garrison style binder.  I don't use anywhere near the weight that's in "the Book".  With my binder and my tensioners, I know that if I'm doing a tip, I can bind it one direction, then when I bind it the other direction, I tighten my tensioner 1/2 turn and it will come out with no twist, or very little at the most.  So little that it's easy to fix.

      Learn your binder and you'll eliminate a LOT of your problems.  Not all of them.   I have a good friend who  has been making rods for 60 years.  He STILL gets the occasional twist and he's been using the same binder for about 20 years.

      A well tuned binder will make very (notice I didn't say perfectly) straight sections with very little or no twist, but nothing is perfect, and this isn't rocket science, so we can't factor in everything.  Twists are going to happen.  More often with a badly tuned binder than a well tuned binder, but they are still going to happen.

      Live with 'em, learn to fix 'em.  (Bob Nunley)

      Speaking of twists, where upon  I’ve been pretty lucky thus far (1 for 8), has anyone on the list made/used the gizmo found in Ray Gould’s book?

      The “Rack” that uses the Jacob’s Chucks and tubing to tweak and straighten glued blanks… I’ve been thinking of making one, just wondering how well it works.  (Ren Monllor)

        I had initially toyed with Ray's idea but finally decided that it was way too complicated to do what good ol' man gravity could do for free - hence I hang my sections with weight.

        The originator of this thread seemed to have suffered a radical shift in the tension of his binding thread - as had happened to me once when my tensioner tightened up bad before I noticed.  Then when I loosened it and ran the section back through the other way the inevitable happened.  To top it off when I removed it from the binder and saw what happened, in Nunley fashion, I whirled around and jammed the blank into the wall!  Thanks Pete my buttocks were spared but then I had a twisted blank in the shape of a question mark (?).

        What saved this disaster nicely was putting the section into my spiral rod clamping board (which I had recently made for a spiral rod) and gradually straightening and clamping the section until it was straight enough to hang.  So something good came out of it.  I learned the spiral clamps worked very well for removing twists as well as putting them in.  BTW, on my spiral clamp board I also use a very strong rubber band tied to a bench dog on the tip end to maintain straightness while twisting.  If anybody's interested I think I still have some pics I could share off List. Live and learn.  A good lie is a work of Art and most good humor is juvenile - IMHO.  (Darrol Groth)

          It's also what I do, I hang them with weights in the  closet from s-hooks. One thing I did notice was that no matter how carefully I place the rods to hang, and even if I straighten the string attaching the weight to the blank, the next day when I go to get the blanks, the line holding the weight is always spun and twisted.

          What causes this?  (Ren Monllor)

            I do the same thing but I don't have the twists as you do.  I would check that 1. you are hanging them dead straight (strings attaching to the s-hook and to the weight are perfectly centered on the blank, and 2. there is no air circulating around your drying area.  If these are both good, the blank should have no "reason" to spin.  (Louis DeVos)

              Do you use braided cord?  Twisted cord tries to untwist under load unless both ends are secured.  (Neil Savage)

            I do the same thing but I use black binder clips. I tie a short length of thread though the ends and tie that to a weight. The weight is clipped in the end if the rod and because the clip spreads the thread out, it doesn't spin. I'll see if I can drum up a photo.  (Jim Lowe)

            Hmmm.  Dunno - I never had that problem.  What I do is make two little sections of string with slipknot lassos on each end and carefully slip them on the ends of the blank on opposite sides, equally spaced and have not had them twist.  I hang them in the furnace/hot water heater closet which stays about 90 degrees.  I've been meaning to try Lee Koch trick of securing the strings with shrink tubing but haven't gotten around to it - may not because what I've been doing works.  (Darrol Groth)

          OK, what is a spiral rod? What is a spiral clamp? Are these things related to left handed screwdrivers? If indeed you guys aren't storyin' do you have photos and directions to share with this gullible novice? Thanks to all.  (Phil Crangi)

            A spiral rod has twists deliberately put in each section.  Some are a smooth twist the length of the section and most have a twist of one flat between each guide.

            The spiral clamp is a device that will hold the freshly glued sections at each guide location to hold the section in tension until the glue sets. Not sure where to find a picture of the clamp, maybe at Todd's tip site?  (Scott Grady)

              Ray Gould's book Cane Rods Tips & Tapers is a source.  (Wayne Thompson)


Site Design by: Talsma Web Creations

Tips Home - What's New - Tips - Articles - Tutorials - Contraptions - Contributors - Search Site - Contact Us - Taper Archives
Christmas Missives - Chat Room - Photo Galleries - Line Conversions - The Journey - Extreme Rodmaking - Rodmaker's Pictures - Donate - Store