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Cane Prep - Soaking

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If you are soaking your strips for only a day, try soaking them for four to five days. You can't believe the difference. It only takes 30 seconds over the heat gun to displace (or flatten) the nodes. They don't burn and the nodes don't harden. Makes the plane slide like hot butter. Rough bevel while wet.  To dry the strips before heat treating I wrap them with the pith side out and set them in the oven @ 125 degrees F till I think they are dry  enough. I heat treat in the normal way.  (Tony Spezio)


I am fairly new to soaking strips before prepping nodes, and I'm on my fourth rod with this technique.

Anyway, the first three sets of rod strips all stayed at the bottom of the tube when I filled it with water. Last night I threw a set of strips into the tube and when I filled it with water they all shot up about six inches above the top of the tube.

Can anybody tell me what the reason is? I was thinking something to do with density being obvious, but I'm curious since all four culms came from the same bundle, purchased in 2007 - my oldest bundle.   All four of these culms were split within 4 months of each other, and western Colorado humidity in my shed rafters being an almost constant 20% through the months. In other words they were all dried the same in the same place.

Is this just one  of those  things that just happens from time to time?  (Tom Vagell)

    The only thing I can suggest is that on the first 3 rods, the strips had enough friction against the walls of your soak tube to prevent them from floating up.  Every rod I have ever soaked strips for, the strips have floated up about 6".  However, since bamboo is full of vascular tissue, it quickly takes up water, and the strips have always sunk by the next day.  (Robert Kope)

      OK now I want to slap myself upside the head. Of course that makes sense, the first three rods were 18 strips crammed into a 2" PVC tube. The strips I put in last night were only 12 - for a one tip donation rod to the Hospice silent auction in January.

      Wow, sometimes the answer doesn't have to be quite so scientific.

      I appreciate the responses, I'll go back in my corner now and sulk over my lack of common sense!  (Tom Vagell)

    The reason why they float is they have a specific gravity less than water. All kinds of things float when they have a lower specific gravity than the fluid they are in - fly lines, pieces of foam, wood.  In this case it was because the first strips had water in them and later strips had more air and less water in the bamboo (they were probably dryer for whatever reason). I have never had my strips float on their own because I've generally lived in dry climates and because I bake before I soak (I know heresy but it works and that's another topic).

    To deal with "those floaters"  I just  slip-fit a PVC cap on the tube. It does two things: pushes the strips down in the water and keeps things like bugs out. Also, if you knock the tube over the spill is less catastrophic. Finally in you round off the strip ends for beveling they are like little spikes sticking out so it's a lot safer with a cap it avoids anybody getting their eyeball poked out.  (John Rupp)

    I have a piece of 2 x 4 about 3" long. I set it on top of the tube to keep the strips from floating above the end of the tube. In a few hours, they will not float any more. Robert answered your question as to why they float and did not float.  (Tony Spezio)


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