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I need some advice on how to actually use this Medved Beveler that I built.  It was a kick to build, and seems to work very nicely on the 1/4" poplar dowels than I ran through it as a test.  The beveled edges of the dowel square very well in the 60 degree center gauge (BTW, this machine was very simple to build, and I would think that anyone who can make a bamboo fly rod could build one.  Cost was around $100 including a brand new router).  However, when it comes to beveling bamboo with it I have some questions:

Do I feed the strips to the router with the enamel side square to one side of the 60 degree form?

Do I bevel one side of the strip, then bevel the other side of the strip while the beveler is at the same setting? 

Do I switch ends every time the strip is fed in the beveler?  (feed starting with end "A", then the next time the strip is fed start with end "B").  (Kyle Druey)

    Just wanted to thank everyone for all the responses I got for help.  Below is a good summary I received on how to use the Medved Beveler:

    The key to getting good strips is patience. DO NOT TAKE OFF TOO MUCH MATERIAL AT A TIME. I start by putting a strip in the machine with the power off. I set the cutter height so it just touches the strip. I then remove the strip and turn on the power and feed the strip. (I always place the enamel on the back angle with the pith facing me.) On your first pass you might only take off the high spots. I run all 18 to 24 strips through the beveler at this setting. I then adjust the depth 1/32 lower, flip the strips end to end and feed them. (Again keeping the enamel on the back angle.) I repeat this process until all the strips are about .230. I then bind them and heat treat. after heat treating I take the tip strips and bevel them to about .150. (This saves a lot of hand planing.)  (Kyle Druey)


I've a quick question on Medved style bevelers. Does one plane the primary angle by hand and then run through the rough beveler or does one make two sets of wooden forms for the beveler?  (Wayne Kifer)

    The Medved type  beveler  has  a  60-degree  groove  in  the feed-bed. You run your strips though with the enamel facing first one side of the groove, and then the other.  (Bill Harms)

    Yes you should have to forms for the beveller. One is square and the other will have a 60 degree groove. In my regimen, I run all the strips through the square firm and they will come out fairly uniform. After that, change to the 60 degree form and run them through alternating sides. Making several small passes, I keep going until I have the angles formed. After that, I heat treat and move on to final planing.  (Bill Bixler)

    I used to run my strips through the square groove and then through the 60 degree groove.  However, one day I needed to make an extra strip and being in a hurry skipped squaring it up first and went right to the 60 degree groove.  I discovered that the strips came out the same as if I had squared them first.  So.. now I just take the split strips, straighten them, bevel them and then restraighten any imperfections before I bind to heat treat.  (Tom Mohr)

      I have become a huge fan of squaring strips. I made a Medved beveler with just squaring beds (you can make a lot of the parts from that Delrin plastic if you don't have metal working capability). Two advantages:

      1. You can get rid of most of the kinks at the nodes, and you only have to press out the hump.

      2. It gives uniform straight strips for further beveling or use on the Morgan Hand Mill. I can feed strips into a Bellinger beveler with no surprises. I get better, cleaner cuts, because I am hogging off less cane.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

        I am also a believer in squaring up the strips even though I hand plane. It just makes life easier. It's easier to square them than bevel them and easier to bevel them if they're squared up first.  (Timothy Troester)

    Thanks all for your feedback. Then all I need to do cut the groove and I'm done. I would imagine that if the strips were soaked 5 days, straightened, and nodes flattened, that it wouldn't be necessary to square up the strips prior to running them through the V-groove. Has anyone found it to be a decided advantage to squaring them first? Also, since it will be a while before Harry will have the heat treating fixtures available, it was suggested to me that an L shaped piece of aluminum for each strip might serve to accomplish the same thing. The idea does seem to have merit. Taking the idea a step further, a T shaped piece with each arm cut down to 1/4" would hold two strips and two T pieces could then be bound together flat to flat holding four strips. Therefore six such pieces would heat treat twelve strips. If the enamel sides of the strips were placed against the upright angle of the inverted T, back to back, it would hold them straight, provide equal heat transfer to all four strips from the aluminum, and leave both pith sides of each strip exposed to air flow. Not as handy as M-D's fixtures obviously but perhaps a workable alternative. Has anyone tried this or can anyone tell me why it shouldn't work.  (Wayne Kifer)

      Before MD's fixtures, I dried my strips in 3/4"X 3/4" lengths of oak with 60 degree grooves routed them. Clumsy, but they worked.  (Tony Spezio)

    I soak split strips (flamed usually) and after straightening nodes, remove pith and roughly square up the sides with a hand plane. This process goes quickly while the strips are still wet. After allowing them to air dry a short time I run the strips through the beveller just using a 60 degree tray. I tried a squaring tray for the beveller but found it more time consuming than just using a plane to do it.  (Winston Binney)

      That's pretty much what I suspected. The same was suggested by other makers. I'll just go with the 60 degree groove.  (Wayne Kifer)


Not long ago I remember another newbie mentioning a bit of a problem with his power beveler. When feeding a strip, if he stopped for a second or two to change grips, the bit cut a small divot in the strip. Sure enough,  I ran into the same thing with mine. A little practice with keeping the strip in motion did alleviate this for the most part but during this practice, I also discovered that the smallest bit of upwards or downwards pressure while feeding the strip caused the  bit to take a bit deeper bite. Obviously, I needed a bit more spring pressure and I thought I had plenty. I found that successive passes without changing the depth setting helped the divot problem but took a good deal longer to finish a strip. Looking the whole setup over, I concluded that an additional set of hold downs on either side of the bit might eliminate the problem to a good degree. However, before I stop and I overhaul the beveler I thought I might check to see if anyone else had tried this successfully, or had come up with another solution to the divit problem with the Medved style beveler. All in all, it works fine. Enough passes and it produces dead on equilateral triangles. The problem could quite likely lie in the materials I had available when constructing it.

Now, before someone gets the idea that I'm finding fault with the design, which I'm not, or feels it necessary to remind me of the contribution Mr. Medved made in sharing his design, which I absolutely agree, let me state that I'm simply checking on others experiences here. Input appreciated as always.  (Wayne Kifer)

    That's the way it goes with that type of beveler. Mine is not that type and I have the same problem. The divet happens when the feed is stopped. Either to change hands to push or to switch from the push position to the pull position. Two guys really makes this happen much more easily but then he drinks all your beer. Unless you think your beveler is supposed to go to final numbers, don't sweat it. You will get rid of the burn marks and divots when you final plane.  (Mike Shay)

    3 things that helped my system:  1) more pressure on holders, 2) holders closer to bit and 3) more rigidity on motor mount.  (Grayson Davis)

      Grayson's answer says it all.


      3 things that helped my system:  1) more pressure on holders, 2) holders closer to bit and 3) more rigidity on motor mount.


      I modified mine by using 1/2" roller bearings as hold downs placed as close to the bit as your machining allows and yet provides some safety.  The shaft that holds the bearing slides up into a block of aluminum with a compression spring inside and a threaded top to adjust the tension and height of the bearing.  These shafts really don't have to travel very far, maybe an 1/8th of an inch.  The closer you get the hold downs to the bit and the more pressure you put the less divot you get.  I get none now.

      Biggest drawback is that the chips get thrown under the bearing and stick to the strip because of the pressure.  Which means that after every pass you have to run you hand along the strip to get the chips off.

      I believe, don't know for sure, that it is the back hold down that is the one that really allows the divot to be created.  (Ralph Tuttle)

      More pressure on the hold downs and hold downs closer to the bit speak for themselves. I'm working on these modifications currently.  A more rigid motor mount, however, seems less obvious.  I would think rigid is rigid.  I would like to hear more of your thoughts on this before I start driving in the nails, as it were.  (Roland Cote)

        What I have done is I made ‘fingers’ with 60 degree Grooves in them, I can hold down much closer to the cutters this way.  (Joe Arguello)

    I pretty much figured it was a common symptom. I liked Ralph's idea of the roller bearing and shaft hold down setup. I might have to try that in the future. For the time being I'll just increase spring pressure and add a second hold down on the feed side of the cutter. I did change angle the angle of both hold downs to keep the wheels as close as possible to the bit.

    You know, reading some of the earlier posts regarding the frustration of building that first rod, I was a bit surprised to find I didn't feel that way. I guess, unless your an odd ball like me, having to deal with the little problems that you encounter on the first couple blanks may seem frustrating to most but I kind of enjoy it. I get a kick out of figuring out solutions to deal with these issues and a good deal of satisfaction when they work. I know it's probably blasphemy but at this stage the rod is almost secondary to the process.  I expect, down the line, I'll spend a good deal of time between rods refining or redesigning the tools. I guess I'm just lucky. I haven't found anything about bamboo rodmaking I don't enjoy. Well, maybe not the never ending little splinters and the numerous small cuts. <G> Never did like working with gloves much.  (Wayne Kifer)

    Your conclusions seem corrects that you may need more pressure on the hold downs and keeping a smooth motion during feeding the strip. But where in the strip are you getting divots?  I have gotten some on the starting ends of strips before the strip is held down by the second wheel, but nowhere else.  I always try to use an even motion and start pulling the strip through as soon as I can.  *My theory is if you get a divot anywhere but the starting end of the strip it is because you may be pushing the strip too hard, over coming the downward of the first hold down, and bending the strip up into the bit causing a divot.  (John Freedy)

    *Disclaimer: I'm no expert at rod making but I do use a Medved style beveller (and also stayed at the Holiday Inn last night).

      Another cause of the divots, especially the ends, is having no support under the bit for the spline.  I have seen a couple of bevellers where part of the 'V' groove has been drilled or milled away under the bit.  Presumably to allow for the collet nut.  This allows for a small amount of vibration by the spline since it has no under support at that point.  Just let the bit cut its own path and stop at the point that you want as the smallest depth for you spline.  It's a minor detail but it may be the cause of your divots.  (Ralph Tuttle)

    Since you are interested I thought you should have more information.  With the window spring I purchased, looks like the letter W only rounded at the bottoms and top, I recessed the router wood feeding base following the profile of the spring using my drill press sander.  This allows the spring to sit close to the bottom of the wood's 60 degree V.   Tension adjustments were made with drywall screws, 2, that were placed in the middle of the W and on each side of the wood groove.  The drywall screws were set at an angle, away from the grove, so as not to hinder the bamboo feed to the router bit.

    There are two springs.  There is a spring before the router bit and after the bit and placed as close to the router bit as you dare keeping in mind as you adjust the amount of cut the springs can become closer to the routher bit.  I felt the springs were light and then doubled them up one on top of the other.

    Having said this I have to tell you that the last couple of rods I built were roughed by hand.  My splitting bamboo has resulted in narrower strips and I am not much on all the router noise and I have been able to sharpen my plane blades so their sharp.  I adjust the blade so I take allot off on each pass, nearly as much as my router.

    If you have ever seen Trout Grass, Glen Brackett uses a splitter that has a solid pipe center - 1", with blades, 1-1/4", welded on the sides, I attached 8 sharpened blades to mine.  It works great and has become my favorite part of the building process.  With these 8 strips I can usually yield 3 from each so 8 X 3 = 24 per 6' section.  A snippet of the movie Trout Grass shows Glen using his cutter and can be viewed on the Trout Grass Web site.

    Did you ever do anything with the Payne 101 taper I sent too the list in response to a Bob Norwood post?

    Oh by the way I spiral my nodes for spacing.  I'm not an engineer but the geometry seems right - with no nodes opposite another.

    And that will be that.  (Doug Alexander)


OK...I'm making a router-based Medved-style beveler.

In a previous life I was a cabinet maker and spent plenty of time using routers/shapers/etc. Everything that I have ever done with a router has always been feeding "into the grain"...I think it's called a "climb cut".

In looking at a lot of the bevelers out there, I see that a lot of guys make their feed direction the opposite direction...I think that's called a "chop cut".

Question:   Why? 

It might become apparent when I start using one, but I can't visualize the reason for doing that.  It seems that you're setting yourself up for projectiles.  (Bruce Johns)

    You've hit the nail right on the head, or maybe I should say, put the arrow in the bullseye.  (Mark Wendt)

    Most bevelers have a carrier for the strip to slip through. The climb cut has a tendency to pull the bamboo out of the groove into the bit, especially when starting to feed. Once the strip gets to the holddown beyond the bit this tendency becomes less. On the chop cut the bamboo is forced away from the bit keeping the strip in the groove.  Do you have a potential rocket launcher? YES. Wear gloves.  (Don Schneider)

    So what is the consensus? Feed against the rotation or with it?  (Steve Dugmore)

      I'd say use conventional milling for rough beveling where you have a lot of bamboo left to remove because it's safer.  Besides you can always clean up whoop-de-doos in the final planing to taper.

      If you are milling to final taper I'd say then use a Climb Cut.  But be careful. I'm not sure I'd expect the same mill to do rough and final beveling.  Or at least not the same cutters.  Or reserve a freshly sharpened set of cutters for the final milling to taper.    If you choose to climb cut then yer on yer own.  I didn't recommend it.  (Larry Swearingen)

      I feed WITH it... carefully.  (Mike St. Clair)

      "Conventional" milling!! Feed your stock into the cutter so the rotation would force it backwards TOWARDS you.

      NEVER climb mill (as when the stock would grab...and be pulled through!)  (Jeremy Gubbins)

        I do rough cutting conventional and taper cutting climb. I have never had a problem with either one on my equipment.

        I also hollow using a climb cut.

        Not a problem either way.  (Jerry Drake)

          Consensus??? This is the rod makers list. We don't need no steekin consensus. He-double hockey sticks, we can't even agree on grits!!!  (Rich Jezioro)

            I agree. My choice of word is wrong. 'Consensus' and 'rodmakers list' are almost by  definition mutually exclusive - (good thing too). Throw in 'grits' and they become positively volatile.

            Nevertheless here's a Googled definition for 'consensus' that kind of works:

            "A position reached by a group when everyone in the group can say, "I can live with it." That means that all participants may not find the outcome as their ideal solution, but it is not worth arguing about - they can live with it and can support it, they can sleep at night."

            I think with grits the "not worth arguing about" and the "can support it" factors are obstacles to consensus. As for the "sleep at night" I guess that depends on how you make it.  (Steve Dugmore)

              I think the only thing we would all agree on is "however it works best for you". I would put a very large disclaimer on feeding climb cut though. It is much more dangerous than conventional cut and requires very strong hold downs to keep the strips under control, they in turn will require more strength to pull the strips under. I like whoever's idea of featherboards. I use them regularly on table saws but it never occurred to me to use them on the bamboo mill, hmm, something else to think about.  (John Channer)

                When I made my beveler someone on the list gave me some spring steel about 3/8" wide. It was easy to make a few slits in one side of the board to use those as feathers.  They also acted like anti-kick back holders as well.  My hold downs have a lot of pressure but I use bearings so they still glide easily.  I do use climb cutting and have had no problem with arrows since there is more than enough pressure to hold the strip as I push it through. I have had problems with regular milling pulling up the tip of the strip as it first enters.  Just works for me.  (Ralph Tuttle)

    When 'climb milling' the cutter rotation is in the direction of the table travel.  When the table travel is opposite the cutter rotation, it's called 'conventional milling.  (Vince Brannick)

    Having made and used a router-based Medved-style beveler, I can tell you why I did not set it up to feed into the grain.  One simple word, "splitting."  The standard feed direction tends to pluck the fibers up and we all know that bamboo splits well.  Of course, doing it that way might be good insurance that the beveled edges are always parallel to the bamboo's fibers.  As for the projectile problem, the first rule is, as always, don't stand behind the beveler where the strip could fly out.  I have found that the strips do not shoot out, perhaps because of being pressed into a 60º slot by, in my case, feather boards ahead of and behind the router bit.  (Tim Anderson)

      I feed with the cutter, several light passes on my Medved style beveler.  I've had one strip become a projectile, when I took too heavy a cut.  (Neil Savage)

    The best advice I got for beveling was to taper the trailing ends of the strips so the cutter couldn't grab them as they exited the machine. I hold them against a sanding disc so that they look like half a sharpened pencil - size and shape wise. All the inside is tapered like a cone except that the power fibers are left flat and untouched.

    If I DON'T do that, every once in awhile, I'll get a strip divided lengthwise into MANY, many slivers, and the end looks kinda like a blunderbuss.  (Art Port)

      Thanks Art, I hadn't thought of using power tools to make kindling.  (Rich Jezioro)

      Good advice, and whilst I'm on my cutters cut down, forcing the work piece onto the solid bed, not up against the sprung loaded pressure pads. It doesn’t shoot out of the ends because I'm holding it with thick leather gloves.

      The guard on my Medved-ish beveler is boxed in, roughly, and a 45 degree 2'' drain joint is stuck into the side just ahead of the cutter. This is connected, vaguely, to a Dyson vac. Keeps all the dust in the Dyson for transmission to the workshop stove, or any other handy stove.

      I have a suspicion that the bigger the router, by which I mean the more powerful, the better it all works.

      Medveds are brilliant, very easy to make, and save hours of pointless planing. Also, you are not completely knackered when you come to the important bits of the planing, so scrap rates decrease.

      It seems to be a good idea to buy the most expensive router bits you can find, about thirty pounds Sterling in the UK.  (Robin Haywood)

        Art if you taper the forward ends and use a climb cut you can just pick the finished strips out of the wall when you are done.  (Gordon Koppin)

          Pshaw! You think you're telling me something NEW???

          I can also inform you that no matter HOW sharp you make them, they won't pierce concrete worth a damn!

          I'm thinking of adding carbide arrowheads for that purpose.  (Art Port)

            If you up the RPMs on the router enough they will indeed go through cement.  (Steve Shelton)

              Aw shucks, I dunno HOW to UP the speed. I know I can get speed reducers for routers . . . where'd ya pick up the speed INcreaser??  (Art Port)

        Just for the record, I made a Whitehead style beveler (I saw one that Ron Barch had) out of a washing machine motor, maple feed bed, Medved style hold downs and a 33 tooth milling cutter from J&L.

        I feed the conventional style and have never had a problem. It takes out kinks, evens nodes and I take a final very light pass on the top to insure the strips are flat.

        It has done probably 500 rods (not all mine by a long shot) since I have done a number of classes and people come over to use it all the time.  The cost was about $30.00 for the cutter and $30.00 for the miscellaneous parts since the motor was free (if you don't count the new washer my wife just had  to have).   (Gordon Koppin)

          Tell me this - do you blokes who use a beveler still have to straighten strips and deal  (one way or the other)  with nodes, or do you just rip 'em through?  What about celebrated milling machine users like, say, Lyle Dickerson; did they just cut the things or did they do all the preparatory stuff first as well?

          Seems kind of industrial to me. But then I tried wet planing and hated it, so I am pretty much an old Caneosaurus flatulus, I guess.

          To each his own!  (Peter McKean)

            I built my contraption with ideas plagiarized from Dickerson, Bellinger and every other picture or written record of bamboo milling machines I could find, tempered by an extremely limited budget. I can't quite get to finished dimensions but I can taper to .040 over final dimensions depending on what taper I'm making. I tried to make patterns of the tapers I make most often, but now just cut everything on the 8' pattern and finish the rest in the forms. I can tell you this much, strip preparation for a machine is as important as for hand planing, which is why there is such a difference between good rods and cheap ones, the cheap ones were rammed thru the machines without much prep, the guys who made good rods worked as hard at it as we do. About the only exception to that that I know of is Heddon, their best rods were made from the best strips, they used so much bamboo that they could cherry pick their racks of strips for the straight flat ones and use those for the high end rods. BTW, there is a difference between milling machines and bevelers. Strictly speaking, a beveler uses saw blades to cut the strips, ALA Payne and Leonard,  milling machines use some form of milling cutters, such as Dickerson's machine. I would include anything powered by a router in the milling machine category.   (John Channer)

              How about router powered rough planers?  I think beveler is just easier to say, write and for the rest of us to understand.  (Neil Savage)

                Call it what you want, I was just pointing out the difference because there is one. Miller does seem a bit easier on the tongue to me though.  (John Channer)

            If you were asking about finish mills and not just roughing bevelers then..

            If you want finished strips then one must put more time into the prep work. The cane must be straight and flat on the enamel side. If there is a .006 bump in the enamel then there will be a .006 undercut on the back side of the cane. Or if there is a jaggie, the mill will cut a perfect jaggie.  Crap in crap out. Sawing will give you straight strips but you are at the mercy of the nodes (run-out, and cut strips 3/8, like the Bellinger saw are difficult to press, so people who saw generally just grind off the nodes). I still hand split mine, then do the nodes, then soak and press and straighten the nodes,  then dry, then rough (machine) both bevel and enamel, heat treat, then do the nodes again, then mill.

            This is not the correct or only way to process cane, it's just my current way.  (Jerry Foster)

              Thanks John and Jerry for your replies. I am still a hand splitter, and I deal with my nodes and sweeps and bends with a heat gun, the square up my strips and plane off some of the pith in those strips where there is too much.

              I still do all of the beveling processes with forms, and of course finish with my steel planing forms.  Of all of these, only the process of heat straightening seems to me at all tedious, and even that is not too bad.

              The reason I asked is that when you read a lot of mail about saws and planers and bevelers and the like, it is not hard to start to think that that is all that the users do to make finished strips.  It certainly seemed to be too good to be true, but just thought I'd ask.

              Got   18   strips   now   to  get  back  to heat-straightening.

              Whee!!  (Peter McKean)

            To give the peasant, totally unartisanal view, I do this:

            After splitting I sand the nodes flat,  carefully (for me) on a belt sander, then I remove any awkwardly sharp kinks in the section, the others I ignore. This gets bundled up with seven otherwise and baked. The result goes thought he Medved.

            I didn't say it was pretty, but it works.  (Robin Haywood)

    Feed with the same direction as the cutter but I have to tell you that I have not used my Medved for the last 25 rods or so.  With sharpened hock or Stanley blades it takes so little time to rough strips by hand and it's quieter, cleaner, safer and there is virtually no waste with my low tech blade "eating" a strip.  I roughed out a butt section this morning and it took me less than an hour for 5 strips.  They are straight, the nodes are flat and it should take me another hour to take these strips into final planing.  Granted I need to rest my hand but there is always something else that can be worked on and for me what's the hurry?

    On sharpening blades I use the scary sharp method using Lee Valley Micro-Abrasives, 8" X 10" sheets of sandpaper.   They are rated 1,000 grit, 2.500 grit and 9,000 grit. they do a great job.  (Doug Alexander)

    Sorry Bruce, but you've got the naming backwards. 22 years as a furniture maker with

    lots of experience with shapers and routers.

    The CLIMB cut is when you feed the stock into the cutter head "backwards" so to speak. And it called a CLIMB CUT because if you aren't careful to absolutely the cutter will CLIMB up over the material.  Ruining everything.  If not yer whole day !   :>)

    On a shaper we would use a power feeder to control the stock being fed into the cutter but even then if you tried too deep a cut it would  sometimes grab  the stock  and shoot it out the back.    At great speed I might add.   The reason for using a Climb Cut was that it left a smoother finish.   NEVER hand feed a climb cut on a shaper.  You can sometimes do it on a router though as long as the depth of cut is not too deep.

    A Regular cut is when the you feed the stock or router AGAINST the rotation of the cutter. Sometimes when the grain of your wood is running the "wrong" direction this cut will lift the wood ahead of the cutter, screwing up the finish.

    A climb cut can be dangerous.   The regular cut not so much.

    I've never used a climb cut milling bamboo as I am just now making my first miller but I have read plenty of accounts of guys trying it.  Result was usually the cutter grabbing the strip out of there hands and shooting it against something.  Hopefully not human or pet.  (Larry Swearingen)


How many passes through my Medved beveler is sufficient to get triangular strips.  I'm getting frustrated with the quality and time it takes to machine the strips.  I understand the operation but I'm confused when my strips don't turn out like I think they should.  Her is my technique... I always set my height by raising bead till it just touches the top corner (pith corner) of the strip and then raise the bed one revolution up.  I start with the enamel against the inside face of the V groove.  Run all six strips.  Make one turn to raise the bed and then run all six strips with the enamel on the opposite side of the V groove. What happens after the first two passes (one on each side) is that the first pass always seems to remove more material than on the second pass.  So if I were to continue the milling process by alternating sides and raising the bead by one revolution for every side, I seem to get a dominant corner that always has more material removed than that of adjacent corner.  (Derrick Diffenderfer)

    It would be my guess that on the second run you aren't raising the bed the amount of material you want to take off Plus the amount you took off the first side.  (Vince Brannick)


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