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Cane Prep - Mold

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I've been building for just over a year in sunny southeast Alaska (its raining and 40 degrees) and have been using a bundle of Bamboo I got over a year ago.  From the first rod on and every time I split another culm, I  notice black mold for the first few nodes in the pith and fibers.  The bamboo is dry, stored in a heated shop, and the mold does not appear to be growing, but it is rather unsightly.  Do I just flame every blank... or soak 'em in Clorox?... is this common and is there a solution?   (Jon Lyman)

    Mold is rather common in bamboo.  Seems like one dealer has struggled with the mold problem since first getting into the Tonkin trade.  The debate about its affects on the finished rod are long and lengthy, and to my knowledge have never been definitively settled through scientific testing.  If you search far enough back through the List Archives you will find that the debate about mold has prompted some of this List's strongest feelings and harshest words.

    Here's my personal opinion, and it's just that... if the mold is one the inner pith surfaces only, it has no affect at all.  If the mold penetrates beyond the pith and into the power fibers the bamboo may still be okay.  If the mold begins at the pith, and goes all the way through to the enamel, that culm will not make a good rod.

    As I say, that's just my opinion.  I once made a rod from moldy cane, and it was much more wimpy than the taper should have dictated. Other rod makers have shared similar experiences with me.

    Wish I could be more definitive.  (Harry Boyd)

    Is the black you are seeing at the  nodes mold or just trapped dirt?  As the bamboo shot grows, the portion above each node is slightly smaller and leaves a very fine ledge all of the way around.  This ledge will collect water and dirt.   As the culm grows, this dirt is trapped below the enamel. Filing the enamel down at the nodes on a culm will usually reveal a black line below the surface.  Slightly more filing will eliminate it.  Could this be what you are seeing?  (John Sabina)


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