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Cane Prep - Extra Strips

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I have a very small shop for making rods, so when I setup for sharpening, I'm setup for sharpening. When I setup for roughing out, I'm setup for roughing out. No room for setting up jigs all over the place. What I need advice on is how to handle preparing for mistakes. After setting up the nodal spacing and cutting to working length anything that necessitates discarding a strip and going back to use another strip (depending on how far along the process) means breaking down the current setup and resetting up for processing another strip to get the nodal spacing right. Should I just setup two sets of butt strips and 3 sets of tips to cover any potential problems? What would be a good way to handle this?  (Bill Walters)

    I know the struggles that a small shop presents.  My own shop is 6' x 16', and I share it with a lawnmower and chest type freezer.  At least being in the shop gets me out of the way of SWMBO.

    One suggestion:  When you're roughing out, why not make seven strips for each section?  That's what I do.  I leave one strip full length, and use it as a spare if I mess something up.  Straighten the nodes, rough plane it, and heat treat it.  Bind together the six strips you intend to use,  then just lash this one to the bundle.  Since it's full length, you can use it anywhere in that rod section.

    Gotta admit that I've been lucky lately.  I've got about 8 or 10 of those leftover spare strips that I haven't needed.  One of these days I'll make a franken-rod out of all those spare strips....(Harry Boyd)


One of the really nice things about this list is that you find out, not so much how to do things properly, but how other people do things - and you can make up your own mind as to whether it is any better or not.

When I split up a culm, what I am shooting for is 12 strips plus a few spares from the butt section; these have to be wide enough and thick enough to allow for butt dimensions, including the occasional swell for those folk who just cannot help themselves about butt swells.  And I want 24 tip strips out of the front end, and a couple of spares are a nice bonus, occasionally.  This allows me to do 2 rods from the culm, but occasionally, as I am sometimes stretched pretty thin getting my 24 plus, I have to use some of the second lot as spares, or even just don't quite manage 24 in the first place.

What this means, of course, is a big accumulation of leftover butt strips, and a pretty fair pile of tip strips, too.  Every now and then there suddenly appears a big heap of garden stakes for my wife, or a rod built out of odds and sods.

There is no way known, not while my bum points to the ground, that I can produce tip strips of the same size as butt strips.  And as for "untapered" strips - well, the bamboo is tapered and so are the strips that I split from it.  And I am a pretty competent splitter, using the finest tool ever made for the job - the Mk 1 Hand  (assisted by the Mk1 Broken Butchers Knife and the Over the hill old engineers vice).

It's no problem, you just cook the thin stuff for less time; you learn when to take it out after a few failures.

It does mean that you have to pay attention, but rod building is a game of paying attention to details.  (Peter McKean)

    Or, you can use a convection oven, M-D's fixtures, put the set temp to 360 degrees, and not ever have to worry about burning up strips.  (Mark Wendt)

    Sounds as though we split using a similar method.

    I'm a bit of a heretic when it comes to the question of "when to heat treat" After soaking, straightening and rough planing, I let the strips dry for a week or so then plane to final dimension. Then I bind the strips and put them in the oven for heat treating. I know, the bamboo shrinks and my final taper is a bit smaller than the original plan, but because I create all my own tapers, I allow for the shrinkage when designing the rod. But, to be honest, there's only about half a line size difference at most.

    Tests were done several years ago to determine the amount of shrinkage when heat treating. (Ron Grantham)

    It's no problem, you just cook the thin stuff for less time; you learn when to take it out after a few failures.

    What time difference do you allow between strips and what sort of rough size difference do you have?

    With my setup if the tips were in danger of getting anywhere near to the point of failure if heat-treated as long as the butts, the butt strips would almost certainly be overdone too.  (Steve Dugmore)


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