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Heat Treating - Seasoned Bamboo


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I began work on two new orders yesterday when I looked in my storage area to find only a few culms of cane leftover from last year. These culms were marked A- and had been sitting around in the dry Colorado climate for almost a year. I decided to start splitting and testing and checking out how bad the culms were. I was pleasantly surprised to find the cane to be quite strong, resilient and in overall good shape. The culms split out fairly easily and I was able to prepare strips for an ultra light spinning rod and a 7' 2" 2/2 #4. I break tested a few pieces and after some effort I was able to break the test strips with resulting splinters that were long, fine, and looked as they should. My experiment consists of trying to build these strips into rods with no heat treating at all. I was able to complete the spinning rod all the way through glue up. I checked the blank first thing this morning, and I am very happy with the results. I'm beginning to think that heat treating is not required on cane that has been well seasoned. What do you all think?  (Jeff Fultz)

    I tried making a rod with no heat treating a few years ago. I found the rod took and held sets quite readily. Try this - bend the rod in an arc and hold it for a few minutes. nothing drastic, just as if you were fighting a larger fish. Let it go and sight down the rod. If it straightens out right away you might have something. I found the rod I made would straighten out eventually - in about a half hour.  (Darryl Hayashida)

      The spinning blank shows no signs of taking a set at all. I had to do a little bit of straightening and now have bent the rod practically in half and held it for 30 seconds. It springs back to straight like an arrow. It also dampens very quickly. I used a modified UL taper to make this a fast action rod.

      I guess my storage method might act as sort of a long time heat regimen. I store culms above my shop where temperatures often reach over 100 degrees. The Colorado climate provides for a rather low humidity environment.  I know Bill Phillipson used to advertise that his cane was "seasoned" in the best available conditions here in the dry climate of Colorado.  (Jeff Fultz)

    I've never tried a rod without heat treating. As understand it, the major benefit of heat treating is water removal. "Air-drying" would likely work as well as heat treating.

    The big question is how well the un-heat-treated rod performs over time. I recall reading about various tests which concluded that heat treating permanently removed most of the water - IE: the bamboo would never take on more than a small percentage of moisture content. It would be interesting to see if the same thing happened with an air dried rod.  (Tom Bowden)

    While heat treating may not be needed in all culm it is good to take a lesson from Jack in the Box. Is it better to make sure the stuff is cooked or it just may come back to kill you later.  (Adam Vigil)

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