Bamboo Tips - Tips Area
Heat Treating - Experiments

< Home < Tips Area < Heat Treating < Experiments


From some of the experiments on heat treating, could one conclude there is a difference or no difference in the rate of moisture absorption between heat treated and non-heat treated bamboo?

If there is no difference, I'm wondering why we go to the trouble of heat treating other than color and straightening when the strips are bound or treated in a fixture. Also; I don't see why we need the high temp, 325° - 375°, to drive out moisture/straighten when 200° for a longer period of time would achieve the same goal. Thoughts anyone?  (Don Schneider)

    Many years ago there was a discussion on this list about whether heat treating was needed, or maybe it was one of those things done just because it has always been done. So I made a rod without any heat treating at all - or maybe I should say I made a blank because I never finished to the point where I put guides and a handle on it. When bent the blank would hold the bend for about half an hour and slowly return to straight. I taped on guides and test cast it. The term "felt like a wet noodle" took on a whole new meaning. Driving out moisture is not the only change bamboo goes through when heat treating.  (Darryl Hayashida)

      John Long says if you flame, you don't need to heat treat any more than that.  I made two Young Perfectionists from the same culm, one flamed and heat treated the other just flamed.  I don't claim to be an expert either in rodmaking or fly casting, but my son-in-law is an excellent caster/fisherman and HE can't tell any difference in them.  How they will stand up over time is still a question, of course.  (Neil Savage)

        I did a series of test years ago that were published in the Planing Form. Cane used came from the same culm - strips side by each. Each tapered and treated @ various times/temps. Conclusion - heat treating is a myth. Untreated cane performed better than some treated cane. Still, I heat treat. No sense flying in the face of convention.

        My testing was replicated by Tom Folk who came to the same conclusion. If anyone has done similar testing that is not subjective, I'd certainly like to hear from them.  (Don Anderson)

          Sorry, but my testing was actually making a non heat treated rod - real world application, not test strips, and I'm going to continue heat treating.  (Darryl Hayashida)

            A thought came to mind. I think we all agree that the physical properties of bamboo change during heat treating. Supposedly for the better for our uses. The thought is; does the hardness/durability of bamboo change during the process?  The spectrum is form none to burned but where is the optimum? Has anyone ever checked the hardness and correlated an optimum from the results? Or are we saying, that's the way the Masters did it and that makes it right?

            Any thoughts?  (Don Anderson)

        John Long's Grand experiment had one rod that was the same Waara taper as all the others but not heat treated. When I and many others cast it we could not tell the difference between it and the original taper heat treated. Perhaps John could chime in on the "set" aspect, since the rod had been around for two more years and may have been fished enough to take a set. Also, wouldn't glue joint "creep" potentially be a bigger issue in sets and wet noodles than heat treating the cane?

        Also, wouldn't glue joint "creep" potentially be a bigger issue in sets and wet noodles than heat treating the cane?  (Doug Easton)

          My Grand Experiment rod did not have any heat treating.  Checked it about 5 minutes ago and it still does not have a set.  It was also a spiral.  (Scott Grady)


            A non heat treated spiral rod. Seems to retain it's stiffness and doesn't take a set. Something to look into. (Darryl Hayashida)

              I think there is something to this. Lambuth never heat treated, and no one complains about his rods, BUT, he was apparently very accomplished at selecting cane. I believe you could get away with more in a spiral rod than a straight one, but I doubt you could compensate for really poor cane. Let me turn the question on it's head. Has anyone seen a rod that was heat treated to a significant color change that DID take a set easily? I never have.  (Tom Smithwick)

                If by not heat treated you mean the bamboo was flamed with no  further heat treatment after, I can see this happening. I used to do that myself - flame just the outside of a culm, split and plane from there. In fact, most of the rods I have made have never seen the inside of an oven. I don't currently own an oven even now. That's why I said I consider flaming a heat treatment, and I mean flaming the way most other people do it, not the way I mega flame the inside of my culms.

                I eliminated glue creep as a reason my non heat treated rod stayed bent because it did straighten out by itself in about a half hour. If it was glue creep it would have stayed bent - at least a little, and I would have seen some sort of displacement between the strips.  (Darryl Hayashida)


Anyone here have any experience using zip ties to hold strips to the MD Fixtures during heat treating?  Any problems?

I usually bind the strips by hand but I thought the zip ties would be much quicker and easier.

I put one in my kitchen oven for 15 min @ 350 and it did not seem to have any ill effects.  Might have been slightly more pliable, but not much.  The best part was it did not melt.  Tomorrow I am going to visit a friend who has a rod oven, and give it a try.  Just thought I would see if someone else has tried it already.  (Matt Fuller)

    If it doesn’t melt, I wouldn’t see much of a problem but it would seem to get pretty expensive and time consuming to have to zip tie every inch or so to ensure that the strips are bound to the forms.  (Greg Reeves)

      I was not going to use that many......maybe 6 - 8 per section.  I get them on sale at Harbor Freight and they are not very expensive.  (Matt Fuller)

        If you use only 6 or 8 I would look out for 6 to 8 dips in each strip. Then, if you try it and it works, wahla!  Since no one has done it before, the only way to know for certain is to give it a go. Let us all know. (Timothy Troester)

          Call me a renegade but I am going to go for it.  Hell, this might even lead to a Zip Tie sponsorship.  The possibilities are limitless (okay maybe a bit limited).

          I had a couple 2 inch cut offs from the MD fixtures (the fixtures were too long for the oven I use) which I was going to use with some scrap pieces to see if the plastic left any marks on the cane.  I think in one of my cleaning modes, I said, "I am never going to use these" and tossed them.  Very unlike me.  I am a pack rat by nature, a clean pack rat, but regardless, a pack rat.  (Matt Fuller)

            Unlike metal, stretched plastics/rubber (with few exceptions) contract when they are heated. Has to do with entropy. The stretched state is the more ordered state (thermodynamically), so heating it goes to disorder (higher entropy).  Which happens to be the unstretched state (shorter).

            If you don't believe me take a piece of rubber hose or a big rubber band and hang a weight to it and mark where it is when cold and then mark where it is when heated with a heat gun.  You may be surprised to find that the hot band is shorter.

            This explains why you get nylon marks when you bind with it. The stretched nylon shortens.

            Cotton is better for this application.  (Dave Burley)

              The ones I have are nylon.  I am going to give it a try anyway.  If it does leave marks, hopefully they will not be too deep and will be taken care of when I remove the enamel.  (Matt Fuller)

              Actually there is a nice use for this effect if you glue with Epon and then heat set. If after the initial glue up is set, you find gaps, glue lines, close wrap the length of the gaps with D-size nylon rod wrapping thread. It will shrink during the heat setting process and usually close the gap. When I have done this, I have not found any marks from the thread.  (Mike McGuire)

            I use polyester thread and it shrinks and will leave marks on the soaked strips. To avoid leaving marks on the enamel side I put my strips in the fixtures with the "Pith" side out. The marks are left on what I will be planing off. You might try that.  (Tony Spezio)

    If it gets more pliable it can stretch. I would see if it loosens up. Nylon will leave a mark on blanks so I would look to see if the tis leave a tattoo of sorts. They make a tool that cinches up zip ties tight. Not expensive.  (Timothy Troester)

    It might be tough to keep the pressure consistent.  Why not just bind by hand.  Seems like it would be much faster.  In the fixtures (sold by Harry) you only need to bind one way.

    There was someone years ago who used O rings to bind.  His main advantage was they were reusable.  (Scott Grady)

      Try wrapping with your cord coming out of a well anchored brake arrangement like one uses for wrapping guides.  That takes most of the sting out of hand wrapping. In fact that's how I bind my rods after gluing. It's simple, quick and as fast any mechanical binding setup. I find about three hitches seems to tie off well enough and not hard to do in my setup.  (Mike McGuire)

        Granger and MSC sell a heat shrink tape 1/2" wide.  I have had some success binding strips to the fixtures with the tape before heat treating.  As the tape heats up it gets tighter and the shrinking problem seems to be less severe.  (Harry Boyd)

    It will depend upon the material used and associated stabilizers that may expire.  I am no expert, but had to experience-manage some challenges that are similar.

    Buzzword to look for Nylon 6.6 or Nylon Heat Stablized.

    Some Nylons, such as Nylon 11 will be a problem at your temperatures.  I do not really design with Nylon, so I do not know what cheap tie-wraps will use for material.

    Remember, if testing, the thermal conductivity of plastics is such that it will burn you well if it begins to melt.  (Dave Wilson)

    I heat treated the strips today using the nylon zip ties.  325-350 degrees for about 17 minutes.  No problems.  No black marks.  They stayed tight and I don't think they shrunk much, if at all.

    Not sure at what temp I would start to see problems but I am happy with the results.  (Matt Fuller)

      I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried to use heat shrink tubing for binding glued rod sections? Might be a stupid question, but I bought some at Harbor Freight and was going to give it a try to see what happens. I am always experimenting. BTW I purchased a Sully's rod wrapper a while ago and used it on my most recent rod. This this works great. I am very happy with it and would recommend it to any new rod maker who doesn't like sore shoulders and cricks in their necks The best part of this thing is that you can walk away from your wrapping job in the middle of it and not have to rewrap. I did modify it a bit to accommodate the smaller Pearsalls spools. I also changed the green felt to soft garment grade leather using either the smooth side or the suede side, both seem to work well. I found with my other wrapper that this was necessary as the rod can pick up the fuzz from the felt and then the next thing is I had whole bunch of felt stuck and wrapped around my rod section.  I had some scrap leather laying around from an earlier project and used it. Not sure where to where to buy small pieces of this type of leather, my son gave me this a long time ago and as I never throw anything away, it came in handy.  (Phil Crangi)


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