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Heat Treating - Alternative Methods

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Recently Ralf Ladda and I visited Walter Brunner, an internationally known rodmaker, in Austria. He was a very kind and informative man who was willing to share his knowledge and expert advice on bamboo rodmaking. His shop, situated in Steyr in Austria is a Bamboo rodmakers paradise.  I am sure that the methods he uses are not only used by him, but they do differ from the usual rodmakers ways. Walter Brunner is 74 and has been making rods since the second world war. He designed rods for Hans Gebetsroither and  Charles Ritz at the beginning of his career. He has been a professional rodmaker for a very long time.

Heat Treating:  The culm is split by hand and then the nodal dam is removed with a disc sander. Then all the strips are strapped to a solid metal pipe. The metal pipe is then hung on a slow revolving hook and an electric oven consisting of two elements about a foot in height and mounted either side of the pipe is moved up and down parallel to the culm by a motor and chain setup while the culm is rotated. The entire (split) culm is then heat treated until a certain brown tone is achieved (it is a very light color). I suppose the process is a bit like electric flaming.

All treated strips are kept in a  warm box at 40°C.  (Stuart Moultrie)

    A couple of years back I bought some cane that had been heat treated as a whole culm (It had a check split in it, but nothing else).  The cane was beautifully toned and needed no further heat treating.  I made a couple of fly rods and a spinning rod for a friend from it and the only problem I saw, was that this stuff planed like IRON!  It was tough!  For hand planing, I don't think I'd use it again, but if I did have a power mill, then I wouldn't have to worry about the extra aches and pains of hand planing it and would give it another shot... still have a bit of it laying around somewhere, and at the rate I'm going on it, my power mill will be perfected sometime close to the end of the next decade or two, so maybe someday I'll try it again! *S*  (Bob Nunley)


For heat treating I have access to a large bread baking oven. Getting close to this point with my first rod.  My question is, should I stay with the typical heat treating times or reduce the time since the oven does not lose more than a couple of degrees when opened?  (Peter Van Schaack)

    Go with the typical time, whatever that is. As for a couple of degrees to or fro, it does not matter. (Carsten Jorgensen)

    For some years I used cure my cane in a large wood-fired, 150 year old brick oven owned by some friends in a village near my  home.

    It had the huge advantage of never varying much in temperature as the thermal inertia represented by a couple of tons of brick and  steel  is immense,  added  to the  fact that  bakers are semi-nocturnal animals who are pretty well finished with their ovens by 0700 hours. The temperature was monitored by about 20 thermal probes distributed around the oven, so was pretty reliable.

    Disadvantage mainly centered around the fact that I would sit around and eat pastries and drink coffee while the cane cooked. The amazing inflatable rodmaker!

    I must admit that I am not as precise about heat treating as some of our more expert builders, but for me the sort of average treatment times seemed to be fine.

    I now have a personal oven made from insulated metal ducting, with a fan forced oven heating element with the heat distribution randomized by a series of baffles. It works well, is shit boring, smells bad, and there are no cream filled escargots, croissants, or cream  buns to wash down with latte.

    I am probably going to live a lot longer, but frankly, who cares!

    Stay with the baker! In fact, when I  think about it, that is pretty good advice in any of life's little crises - just stay with the baker!  (Peter McKean)


Just gotta give Kudos to the heat treating method that Darryl Hayashida used.  Used that method on my last three rods and am sold.  My strips split easier after they are treated.  Strips bounce right back after they are flexed.  Was a little nervous after the first time but, I can take the strips and bend them in a full circle and haven't had a piece break yet.  Torching the inside of the culm does not affect the appearance of a blond rod.

Not a big time burden.  Flamed the outside, inside, wire brushed and split the culm in less than an hour last night.  Granted the section is only 37" long and 24 strips worth.

I do use Harry's heat treating fixtures to do the final straightening after rough planing.  I heat treat only long enough to get the kinks out.  Heat my hot air gun oven to 200 and put the strips in for 10 minutes.  Never let the temperature go over 275 and then leave the strips in until they drop to ambient.  Knocks all the kinks out and I am left with straight strips.

Not trying to start any debates just offering up what IMHO is a slick method to temper your strips fast.  Darryl's method is listed in the Tips section.  (Pete Emmel)


I remember seeing a pictorial/tutorial by Darryl on flaming the inside of a culm for heat-treated blonde rods.  Where can I find that again?  One of the Forums had a link that didn't seem to work for me.  (Jim Rowley)

    Go to the section......rodmakers tools and tips....the article by Mr. Hayashida is pinned, fifth one down the list.  (Gary Nowak)

    Hereyago, Jim...(Bob Brockett)


I have been lurking on this list for quite some time, and find it immensely helpful.  I am certainly a rookie and am looking for some heat treating advice.  A good friend owns a pizza restaurant and was wondering if there are any pitfalls or tips for using a pizza oven for heat treating.  (Chris Bair)

    From my experience being around a pizza oven I would caution you about burning your arms on the steel doors. A pizza oven will hold a constant temp.  I wish I had a pizza oven not only for cooking the bamboo but also for the after shop hours pizza shindigs.  (Timothy Troester)

    You’ll get fat sitting around waiting for the heat treating to complete.

    I work in a school, I have used theirs as well as a local bakers oven. The oven will hold a consistent temp, roll the sections a couple of times while they are baking.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      And don't forget a liberal slathering of 'Marinaro" sauce.  (Darrol Groth)

    Been there, DONE that! It works fine. I covered some thin sheets of wood that I had (maybe 4x12x1/4"?) with aluminum foil in case there was anything on the oven shelves or the owner worried that the cane would taint his cookin surface. Laid 'em crosswise with three of them supporting all the 6 sections of two rods at a time. Went in on Sun mornings when he was cleaning up and had no customers.

    "This ain't gonna smell, right?" was his only question. "About like bamboo shoots in a Chinese restaurant" I replied. Made about 20 rods that way, then the bum upped and retired. Had to fend for myself after that! 'Course you won't be able to rely on when the bamboo smell changes, not with the smells of Italian food cooking - small price to pay.  (Art Port)

    Digger Degere used to cook whole culms in big commercial ovens if I recall correctly.  (Gordon Koppin)

    I would suggest propping the culms up on a hardware cloth rack so that they heat evenly with complete air circulation around the culms.  (Chris Obuchowski)

    Aside from burning myself and getting fatter, sounds like there isn’t too much to be worried about and I should just give it a go. I will wait until the end of the night to cool the oven down to the proper temps and see what happens.  That is usually when there is free pizza anyway because someone received one with mushrooms on the wrong half, etc.  I wish I could come up with a witty response to “Marinaro Sauce”, but no such luck or wit.  (Chris Bair)

      No worries, bake the rod, have a slice or two, let us know how it comes out.

      Just remember to roll it a few times otherwise you’ll end up with a dark strip.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      There's a gentleman here in Maine that roasts coffee with bamboo and it's darn good I might add. talking about bamboo in the pizza oven....he may be onto something.  (Wayne Caron)


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