Bamboo Tips - Tips Area - Planing - Apex

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What's the verdict on planing a tiny swipe off the apex of the splines before gluing? What happens if you don't? I always have, but had a letter from a person that said when you knock off the top of those splines, you create movement during gluing that can affect the tightness of the glue job. In others words, do the splines maybe shift around in there during gluing? What do ya'll think?  (Jerry Andrews)

    IMHO. Keep knocking off the apex of the planed strip. Keeps any burrs from causing a gap and I don't believe it allows the strips to roll.  (Steve Trauthwein)

    I don't, but probably should. No real problem that I know of if you don't, but I'm sure others will chime in.  (Mike Shay)

    I usually take 2 passes on  butt sections and one pass on the tips. This is with the plane set to take a very light cut - .0005" - .001". If there is any movement, it wouldn't be noticeable IMHO. This allows some space for glue to remain in the section when binding - i.e. you won't squeeze all of the glue out & starve the joint.  (Tom Bowden)

    I take a couple of passes with my plane for the simple reason that two or more things can't occupy the same space at the same time.   Those 6 apexes are all trying to occupy the same point so removing them gives them a little room.  (Tim Wilhelm)

    Like you, I always knock the apex off of the strips before gluing.  In fact, I use 400g sandpaper on a block and make one good pass.  Does that allow the strips to wiggle around during gluing?  I certainly hope so!  I want those strips to have a little wiggle room.  Once they are bound together, there's no movement.

    I've found that rods with the apex removed are less prone to glue lines.  In my experience, the more of the apex that one removes the less chance there is for glue lines.  (Harry Boyd)

      Same here. I keep a hard rubber sanding block loaded with 320 wet/dry. One pass for tips, two for butts.  (Martin-Darrell)


How much do people remove from the pith apex of splines prior to glue-up?  What's the min/max you think?  Is it really bad not to remove any?  (Henry Mitchell)

    I think the idea is that the 6 apexes can not all occupy the same space. So, it only requires a little, 2 or 3 thousandths should be more than enough. I tend to remove more and excess glue will drip out the middle. I suppose it may give some place for the extra glue to go. I do not know if as a result of the glue being more easily displaced it helps address glue line issues.  (Timothy Troester)

      I lay the six strips side by side on a piece or 2 of  masking tape (tape perpendicular to the strips just as if I were going to glue up) and make about 3 full length passes with #220 or #300 sandpaper on a hard block - a piece of steel bar stock - then use a toothbrush to carefully remove the dust.  Dust between the strips is badness!  I use fresh tape for glue-up.  (Neil Savage)

        I usually take a couple of passes on each of the strips with my block plane after I get all of the strips final planed.  (Todd Talsma)

    The amount of material you remove from the apex is not too significant except near the tip.  If you removed 0.005 inches from a strip measuring measuring 0.030 (a small tip strip) the loss in stiffness is far less than 1 % (0.8%).  If you remove 0.010 from that tip though (1/3 of its thickness) you will lose 12% stiffness.  (Al Baldauski)

      I have never removed any (that is intentionally).  (Rob Clarke)

    It's been my experience that when strips are left 'undressed' while planing,  the plane often tends to ride over the surface rather than cut.  Giving the (pithy) apex a pass with my file removes very fine slivers that otherwise might go unnoticed, and the planing then goes much more smoothly.  And those same slivers, if left  during the gluing-up process,  can cause much grief!  (Vince Brannick)

    One pass of the plane along the full length of the strip - takes off the finest hair - I think that’s all that’s needed.

    It’s probably important to do the same on each one, whatever you do. If one is left proud of the others, I’d worry it wouldn’t pack in with the rest.  (David Kennedy)

    I remove a thin part of the apex so that the splines nestle more easily when glued up.  (Geert Poorteman)

    I have a plane set for the minimum amount I can remove. The bamboo removed look like strands of hair.

    The strips are laid together on a couple of strips of masking tape like they would be ready to glue up. I make two or three passes on the apexes for the butt section and one pass in the tip sections not going all the way to the ends of the tips. The sole of the plane resting on all the strips keeps the plane flat. Doing this takes off the same amount off all the apexes at the same time.

    The sections are then brushed with a small stiff brush from wide end to narrow end. Some dust will stick to the tape in between the strips so this will have to be removed. Place the sections on new tape and remove the old tape before rolling the strips together to check them before glue up.  (Tony Spezio)

    You can take off almost as much as you want as long as you keep about 95% at the tip end.

    What you want is to have six strips that are all the same depth.  Remember hollow build?  Most of the strength of a bamboo rod is in the power fibers along the outside.

    I usually lay my strips side by side,  apex up, right before planing.  If it's a tip I take one or two cuts along the entire section and one or two more toward the butt.   A butt section or mid section, will get the full treatment.   (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    Some will hollow out sections of  the apex to cause a desired effect. Where does the glue go?  Others plane away some of the pith.  Where does the glue go? What effect does the glue, wherever it goes, have on the end result?  Planing, (hand planing in particular) does produce 'feathering', which must be dealt with. One might be astounded at the amount of 'feathers' generated.  One thing can be said with a degree of certainty.  If the feathers aren't addressed, there's sure to be  be some irregularity in the taper measurements ~ and if 'dressed' there's sure to be a hollow center.  The question then may, be how much of a hollow center is acceptable?  In this writer's opinion, the least amount, the better.  Here, for what it's worth, is my procedure.  Throughout the entire planing process, the feathers are removed with a 'swipe' of my single cut file along the apex as well as along the enamel edges.  The enamel edges can be thus treated, prior to heat-treat, as that portion of the the spline will be planed away in the final planing stages.  During the final planing, only the apex is dressed, but a light swipe of the file along the planed surfaces can help to remove any accumulations of 'dust and feathers'.  The key to all this is the word "swipe".  No pressure is exerted on the file ~ just the weight of the file itself is applied.  Holding the spline in one hand (not against a hard surface) allows the spline to flex away from the file. and no appreciable amount of material is removed.  Try it, you may like it!  (Vince Brannick)

      What's wrong with a hollow center?  The closer to the center of a flexing beam (the neutral axis) the less and less that portion of the material sees the stresses of the beam in tension and compression.  Removal of a small amount of material, in this case, a few thousandths, is not going to affect much of anything in the action or feel of the rod, and it certainly won't take away any of the strength of the "beam."  (Mark Wendt)

        To use my favorite example, if you reduce the section height by 50% - so your wall thickness is a quarter of the overall across flats diameter-then you will reduce weight by 25% and the resulting loss of stiffness may be counteracted by increasing original diameters by 1.6%.

        This is as near as you get to money for nothing, except that it takes more workshop time, of course.  (Robin Haywood)

        The implication wasn't to suggest there being anything wrong with  a hollow center ~ in fact the very small hollow produced as a result of judicious removal of the material at the 'meeting point' of the inner apex may be a good thing.  (It gives a place for the glue to go).  With respect to a hollow cross section having an advantage over a solid section, mechanical design shows this to be true, but then, when a hollow tube is subjected to bending stresses, is there not a tendency for an ellipse to be generated? Is this good or bad? I don't know.  The reference to glue merely emphasized Garrison's admonition about the dead weight generated and its effect on a rod's action. Hope this removes any bad 'vibes'.  (Vince Brannick)

          I wasn't implying "bad vibes."  I was just wondering why you'd mentioned the hollow in the center as maybe not necessarily a good/neutral thing.  If a hollow built section is built correctly, you shouldn't get very much of an ellipse formed.  If you think of an "I" beam, that piece in the middle is called the web.  That's what keeps the two flanges separated when the beam is being stressed by the forces of tension and compression.  We've basically the same thing in a hollow built rod, except instead of a vertical web in the middle of the beam, we've moved that web to the two outside edges of  the flanges.  Theoretically, we could build a rod that has a middle web.  We could call it the "Poor Engineers Quad", or PEQ for short.  We'd cut the two outer flanges a constant thickness, and taper the web to create our rod taper.  As long as we keep our casting on the plane of the web, theoretically, the rod should cast just fine.  But, and here's the issue - if we cast this rod off plane, some weird things are likely to happen.  We avoid that by hollow building a quad or hex shaped rod by moving the webs to the outside, and they serve the double duty of becoming the flanges when we cast out of plane.  (Mark Wendt)


            If an ellipse doesn’t form (highly improbable), then one of the two sides would have to at least thin out as compared to the opposite side. The  shear fact that there is a bend in the rod leads me to believe that, in order for the rod to bend, there would have to be some sort of give in the material, putting the concave side under compression and the convex side under stretch.

            Now I’m no engineer, but I can picture what I just explained.  Is my bulb about to extinguish???  (Ren Monllor)

              Of course, this must happen. The questions are, at what point do we experience failure, and what percentage of the wall thickness must be preserved to prevent it? Compression and tension are not the enemies; they are what makes a fly rod work for us in the first place. There are several ways to hollow a rod, and I don't suppose all yield equal benefits (or equal protection against failure). Everything depends on how things are done, not on whether or not one hollows.  (Bill Harms)

              An ellipse will form, due to the elasticity of the material.  However, the ellipse will be relatively small, due to the compression and tensile strength of the material.   Looking at the rod section statically, with bend in the section, the upper part of the material, in other words the outer side of the bend, will be in stress and will elongate.  The lower part of the material, or the inner side, will be in compression, and will shorten to a certain extent.  The web, which in our case of a four or six sided rod, being the sides of the beam, will tend to flex outward.  you also have to take into account the center of the beam/flex, where there is very little to no compression or stress, which in the case of a six sided rod, would fall on a corner, and in the case of a four sided rod, the middle of a flat.  While a six sided rod's "web" (a two piece matrix) will not have the same stability as a four sided rod's web (just one piece), both webs are subject to the same stresses in each case, just in different locations.  (Mark Wendt)


                Between the response you just gave and Robin’s explanation, this is beginning to make a little bit more sense.

                I’m still on the fence about where the glue goes on a hollow built and what effect it would/wouldn’t have on the action of the rod, but that’s a story  for another day.  (Ren Monllor)

                  The hollow built rods I've made have very little glue in the center.  That's mainly because I run a q-tip down the flutes to sop up the excess glue, leaving the majority of what's left of the glue on the sides.  A little bit will squeeze back into the middle, and also back towards the outside of the section.  The trick is to not glop an excess amount of adhesive on the strips in the first place.  (Mark Wendt)

          The ellipse will form in the butt joint, if it forms at all.  It only became a nuisance when very thin walled fiberglass became available. The tendency can be eliminated by increasing the butt tapers exponentially to give a concave curve to the butt section taper.

          There are, of course, a few of us who hold that ALL butt sections should have a convex taper, but just a bit less severe. I have not made any very thin walled cane sections up and tested them for ovality under stress and whilst I hate opinions, even my own, I rather doubt that the fairly minimal hollow building normally used (say up to 50% reduction in section thickness) will bring on the problem. If someone would be kind enough to run the experiment and prove me wrong I should be deeply indebted to them!  (Robin Haywood)


            Concave butt….Now there is a possibility I’d not thought of, nor am I sure I would care to plane…

            It does make some sort of sense though….(Ren Monllor)

            Aren't flagpoles thin walled, hollow, and tapered? They also carry quite a load when fitted with a very big flag flapping in the wind. I wonder about some of the flag poles at some of the car dealerships that I see. It seems that each dealership has to have a bigger flag than the next dealership. Anyway aren't such flagpoles similiar to hollow built fly rods?  (Dick Fuhrman)

              A flagpole, much like a ship's mast is convex in shape.  There might just be something to Marinaro's meanderings on the subject.  (Mark Wendt)

                Well, flagpoles are generally unstayed, while ship's masts of much size rarely are.  Also, ships become dismasted, usually because some part of the supporting rigging fails.  I broke an unstayed mast on a small boat once.  Had to rebuild it stronger.  (Neil Savage)

                  Could it be that the design of the mast that was broken wasn't convex enough, or designed with enough compensation in the area that it broke in for the stresses that were experienced?  It could very well have  been a design flaw, and you did say you had to rebuild it stronger.  (Mark Wendt)

                    Well, it was a 12' home built boat.  I couldn't find tubing as thick as I wanted locally so I used aluminum water pipe and reinforced it with plywood.  Caught a gust that snapped it at the deck.  Next one I put a piece of solid wood in it & no more trouble for the life of the boat.  Fun little thing, actually & I learned to sail in her.  (Neil Savage)

                      Ah, so the mast wasn't tapered at all.  Could be the plywood caused a stress riser and the gust went over the mast's elastic point at the stress riser.  (Mark Wendt)

            I built a hollow rod for the CRG Rodmakers challenge on which I reduced the strip thickness in the hollow area to 39% along the full length except for the last 15 inches of the tip.  The rod failed during casting and upon close inspection the failure was due to delamination of the glue joints.  I am speculating that this can only occur because the rod section would tend to go oval when flexed which in turn tends to cause the glue joints to spread open.  I subsequently measured a section of rod that did not fail that was about 0.165 inch diameter across three flats both straight and then bent to an arc approximating full load.  The measurement across the flats in the bending plane  was smaller by about 0.001 inches indicating a tendency to be oval.  There is likely an “avalanche” effect because the more oval the section becomes the more quickly it loses stiffness (~1/ diameter^3). So if I had bent that section just a little more, it too would have failed.

            By the way, I used the “scalloping” technique with “dams” every five inches.  The failures occurred between dams and where there were no guide wraps to stiffen the section.  I suspect had I used the “fluting” technique it would not have failed.  I further speculate that you are right.  If you don’t exceed 50% hollowing using the scalloping technique, failure is unlikely to occur.  (Al Baldauski)

              I too had a hollow rod fail during the CRG challenge.  It was hollow fluted and the split lengthwise down the center of the strips from grip to stripping guide.  I suppose the point is that if stressed too much, the rod will fail at the weakest point.  (Bill Lamberson)

                Your comment about where your rod split caught my eye, and got me wondering...

                Would a couple of strategically placed intermediate wraps between the stripping guide and grip have prevented this?  Seems that would be more desirable than adding more "meat" in that area.  (Mike Biondo)

              I know it would have helped my rod.  Everywhere I had a wrapped guide foot between "dams" the rod stayed intact.  (Al Baldauski)

              Yes, I think so.  I considered doing that, and wish I had.  I think the intermediates would have helped prevent the rod from deforming to an ellipse and reduced the likelihood of the tube collapsing.  You may have cast the one-piece rod I had at the SRG.  It is similar.  I think I'll go back and add intermediates to it.  (Bill Lamberson)

                Your last sentence is true of any type of beam, made up of any type of material.  Once you've gone past the elasticity of any material, it's going to break.  (Mark Wendt)

              Seems strange to me that you had a failure the whole length of your  rod with  a wall  thickness of 0.075 at the butt. I have a hollow fluted rod that is 7' 6" for 5 weight that the butt has a wall thickness of 0.055 ant the tip is 0.050. This rod has cast 90' of fly line + 10' of leader + 5' of backing. I have a 8' for 7 weight that has a wall thickness on the butt of 0.070 and the tip is 0.065. This rod has been used to land fore steelhead than I can remember off hand. My salmon rod is 9' for 9 weight and it is hollow butt at 0.080 and the tip is 0.075. I have landed plenty of BIG salmon on this rod. None of these three rods have ever had any problems splitting. A friend of mine used my 7 weight taper and hollowed to 0.050 and used that rod to fish salmon this fall. He also had no problems with his rod.

              For what it is worth, test sections have only a very thin coating of glue on the inside.

              Hope you get it figured out because I find hollow building to make these rods really perform well.  (Jerry Drake)

                How did you hollow?  Fluting or scalloping?  What glue do you use.

                I scalloped with dams on 5 inch centers and used epoxy.

                The failures occurred where there were no dams and no guide wraps.

                This was a “beast” of a rod at 8’3’’, 0.400 diameter at butt and 0.09 diameter at tip, but it felt beautifully light in the hand.  (Al Baldauski)

                  My rods are all fluted. When I started to hollow build, I rejected the scallop method because of the tendency to have very small glue lines at the deepest spots of the scallop plus the tendency for the section to go oval where the glue line is the thinnest. Sounds like that might have been a wise choice.  I use Nyatex epoxy. Hang for 12 - 16 hours(overnight) and then  heat set at 235 degrees F for 3 hours.  (Jerry Drake)

                  Anyone  on the list tried a balsa core rod.  Or another idea is a rod filled with expanding foam.  I have not tried any of these.  Anyone in the wonderful world of rod making tried these ideas?  (Gary Nicholson)

                    This is a reinvention of the Richard Walker laminar hex concept. This system put a thin wall of very high stiffness carbon on the outside with a foam, probably urethane, core. There was and is nothing wrong with the idea and I am daily in expectation of its resurrection. Unfortunately, the companies that tried to develop this in the eighties had nothing like the financial resources needed to fully develop and debug the production process, so it failed.

                    Having waggled a Sage z-axis however I think that they may well have to go down this route to continue to market improved product. It is possible, now that Hardy have once again emerged from the mists of self righteous inaction, that the change could emanate from this side of the Atlantic.  (Robin Haywood)

                      Actually, it's more  reinvention of EC Powell's method of hollow building. He would plane a strip down to a certain thickness, then glue on a strip of Port Orford cedar to the pith side.  He then cut his scallops into the PO cedar, removing most of it, but leaving dams made of cedar to increase the available gluing surface.

                      The reason he used cedar was so he could feel the change in resistance; he cut his scallops with a drum sander by hand.  When he felt the easy sanding cedar change to the very hard bamboo, he stopped and moved on the the next scallop.  (Chris Obuchowski)

                        This sounds very like doing it the hard way, why not just glue little blocks of the cedar to the cane where appropriate and plane them down? This was one of the traditional methods of course, but I have been wondering to what extent these blocks or dams are necessary with modern adhesives.

                        In my callow youth I just cut the centers away at six inch intervals with a great big horrible file, this was easy as the section was glued immovably to a triangular former. Every hollowing was down to a marked level to preserve a constant wall thickness, which wasn't because I varied it from about 3/32 to 3/64 down the section, depending on which section! They were very approximate days, or so I always thought, until I recently discovered that a crappy micrometer bought for ten shillings in a junk tool shop near The Aldwych is no more or less accurate than anything I now possess!  (Robin Haywood)

                      That idea is alive and well and living in Texas, currently being made by the Hexagraph rod company, complete with Super Swiss ferrules and a bamboo colored paint job. The only one I've cast was horrible.  (John Channer)

                        So, nothing  has changed, every one I handled was  horrible too. In fact, the late, legendary rod maker Alan Brown once chucked one at me in a boat on Bewl saying "Here, you try it, I think its possibly the worst rod I've ever handled!" I don't think its the fault of the material however, just the inept taper design, of which we see mercifully less these days.  (Robin Haywood)

                    Personally I think pith is a more suitable material. It's readably available. Easy to work with and for a rod of equal outer dimensions is much stronger. Don't believe me? Make two hex rod sections with the same outer dimensions, one hollow and one solid, run over them with your car and tell me which  one breaks.... End of contest. To me, the weight saving at the expense of strength is not worth it.  (Don Schneider)

              That's one of the reasons I think the fluting technique is more viable for hollow building rods.  You have more "glueable" area the entire length of the section, without the stress points that leaving in the dams would cause.  Looking at a rod section that has dams, the areas that will see more stress and be more prone to breakage are the areas that do not include the dams, which I have a feeling may be creating stress risers.  (Mark Wendt)

                I agree.  Fluting not only leaves more glue area, it provides stiffening ribs at the glue joints by virtue of that “extra” material in that area.  The balance is between leaving enough glue area and removing as much weight as possible.

                Since my CRG rod was my first foray into hollowbuilding it was easier for me to build a “scalloping” attachment to my power beveler than to build a fluting rig.  Next I have to do some calculations on weight reduction ratios between scalloping and fluting.

                I think that at the end of the day the answer will be that a maximum effective wall thickness reduction will  be about  50% rather  than the 61% I used.  (Al Baldauski)

                  Trial and error.  I do think, however, that you will see about the same mount of weight reduction vis a vis scalloping versus fluting.  The big advantage with fluting is you can get to a thinner wall section at the bottom of the flute, and yet still leave enough of the side wall to compensate for a strong adhesive/cane matrix.  (Mark Wendt)

                  Well if it were me I think if I were to hollow build I would enlarge the wall thickness toward the butt where all the problems seem to be. Maybe someone has already done this, just my thoughts. Second I am going to  try to double build, doing this may allow me to use a smaller diameter for the same line size i.e. less wind resistance especially on longer rods Ren. I'm sure someone has done this already and may have some thoughts on it, good or bad.  (Bob Norwood)

                    My hollow built CRG rod had a constant percentage wall thickness and I had failures along the whole length, not just in the butt.  So at the butt I had about a 0.075 wall (39%) and near the tip where I stopped my hollowing I had  about  a  0.03  wall (39%).  But you’re right, if I increased the wall to say 50% it probably would not have failed anywhere.  (Al Baldauski)

                    Actually, I plan to double build in the future as I’m going to create some baitcaster rods for those here in Florida who prefer to throw plugs. But again that’s in the not so far off future.

                    As for the wet rods I’m creating, I’m keeping light line weights because long casts are NOT the norm when wet-fly fishing. I’ve finished the blanks on the 10 foot 3 weight I’m making and so far they feel beautiful to the hand (give me enough time and I’ll screw them up yet, LOL). They are not so soft as to feel sloppy in the hand (buggy-whip), yet it has just the right amount of backbone needed for careful manipulation of the line. I’m actually quite pleased so far.

                    I sure would like to hear from makers who have used the double-build method.  (Ren Monllor)

              When you’re talking scalloping and fluting are you guys referring to those processes in the same manner as they are used in woodworking???  (Ren Monllor)

                I’m not a professional woodworker so I don’t know how to answer.  Fluting when referring to bamboo hollowing means cutting a semicircular grove down the length of a strip.  Scalloping means cutting the apex away leaving a flat strip with 60 degree angles on the sides but every 5 inches (more or less) leaving the apex in place to create a “dam” in the otherwise hollow tube much like in the original bamboo culm.  The effect of fluting a 60 degree triangle (depending on the radius of the cutter) is to leave a wider gluing flange.  I can’t explain it any better without drawing a picture but I think this list rejects pictures.  (Al Baldauski)

                  Thank you for the explanation. The terms in fact are the same as I would use if talking to a woodworker. Very good.

                  I would then say that yes there might be less chance of collapse with a fluted rod than with a scalloped one. But  again I would question “where the glue goes” and if I would want it there. I feel it would be too fine a line to run whether or not an area might be “glue starved” or not. Again I haven’t been building rods as long as most of you fellows have so I haven’t been exposed to as much as you.  (Ren Monllor)

                    I think that because of the geometry of the strips, the "squeeze out" glue ends up on the surface, not at the center.   The rod in cross section is basically a full arch, the "weight" or pressure directed to the inside, so the glue squeezes out to the surface.

                    If you look at cutoffs from hollow fluted rods at least, there is only a thin film (looks like varnish) in the center AT MOST (I use a Q-tip run down the flutes prior to binding and end up with almost no visible glue in the center).  (Chris Obuchowski)

                    Are you more worried about glue starvation, or excess glue going into the hollow?  Glue starvation is glue starvation, whether the section is solid or hollow built.  The same technique that would cause glue starvation on a hollow built rod will cause glue starvation on a solid built rod.  Both then will be prone to failure at the glue starved joint.  If it's excess glue you're worried about, I use a few q-tips to clean up the fluted section before binding.  Spread out the glue well over the strips, with no remaining big globs of glue, swab the flute, and bind.  You won't get excess glue in the middle of the flute.  (Mark Wendt)

                      Actually my concern is in anything less than an optimally made rod. So I’m trying to weigh out all the information about the different manufacturing processes, take a serious look at those processes, then decide which processes to keep and which to let go by the way-side.

                      To my way of thinking, a section coming unglued in the middle of a fishing trip, would really upset me to no end, just as an improper glue-up; leaving a glue line as I did on my (and what a glue line)second blank…unacceptable!

                      By the same token, I’ve always figured that in hollow building there has got to be some glue left in the void. I know that when I do a glue up the excess goes everywhere and it’s only normal for it to do so. Even though there have been many ways of cleaning the glue out of the void, as described to me by many, you are cleaning out the void before rolling the strips together. Once the strips are pressed together, BINGO, the glue is going to move towards the center, or where the void is, just by the nature of how the first three strips roll together, leaving glue in the hollow. Is it a lot or is it a little doesn’t matter. The question to me is,” is it bamboo or is it hollow, and if not then why”? If it’s not hollow and instead has glue in the void, then I’m building something like a graphite impregnated bamboo rod with no graphite but the glue used to hold the graphite together, kind of thing. (I don’t believe I just wrote that).

                      Before I get  a bunch of flame mail, A little about myself and how I think….

                      I apprenticed with an old Spanish cabinetmaker from the age of about 8 til the age of 14. The first year all I did was sharpen plane blades, chisels and turning tools. None to his complete satisfaction…From the age of 14 through life, up to about 15 years ago (when I became disabled) I visited furniture makers and cabinet makers in the Carolinas and Pennsylvania’s Lancaster area on a regular basis and just chatted and got to know the why’s of what they did. I like the old way of doing things…simple and to the point.

                      When it comes to rod building, I,  just as all of you, want to build the best I can with what I know. Also I think it’s a matter of weighing out all the pros and cons. To me swinging another couple of grams or ounces of bamboo just isn’t a big deal. Super fast rods, even though I’ve cast my share, don’t allow me to fish in the relaxed paced manner I like to fish at. I don’t need to muscle a rod nor do I need to fish at distances of 75 feet, hell I couldn’t see a fish at 75 feet anyway. So, this is only for today and it can all change tomorrow. Maybe I’ll wake-up tomorrow and be able to see my toes while keeping my back perfectly straight.  (Ren Monllor)

                        I hear ya.

                        There will be a small residual amount of adhesive on the inside of a hollow built rod, much as there will be glue on all sides and in the middle of a solid built rod.  Remember, in the case of a  hollow built rod, you won't have as much glue area as you do in a solid built rod.  I would wager a bet that the amount of adhesive left   after   a  careful glue-up and cleanup of a hollow built rod would approximate about the same amount of residual adhesive left in a solid built rod.  The differences would be pretty minimal.  A glue/material matrix, whether you're making a cane rod or a glass/graphite rod is just that - a matrix.  Those of us that use Epon are using basically the same type of adhesive that's used to form the matrix in a glass/graphite rod - epoxy.  (Mark Wendt)

                          I think Hal hit the nail on the head….

                          Being that I wish to cater to wet fly fishermen, and make long(er) rods than most present rodmakers, it would make sense to at least do some serious research into making the longer rods lighter.

                          Please understand that I’m not belittling or questioning what rodmakers on the list are saying, it’s just a little hard for me to grasp the benefits to hollow building.  (Ren Monllor)

              What glue did you use?  (Chris Obuchowski)

                I used a boat building epoxy very similar to EPON but lower in viscosity. I've had great success with it up to this point except on nodeless scarf joints.  I did a quickie test of three different glues on scarf joints and found that Titebond II was by far the best.  The other two were Epon and Gorilla glue.

                I had the feeling that had I used Titebond, a somewhat more flexible glue with its better bonding ability, my rod may have held up.  (Al Baldauski)

                  Interesting.  I use nothing but resorcinol or URAC; both are very stiff and absolutely failproof.  (Chris Obuchowski)

                    The more I hear about URAC the more I believe I should give it a try.  I’ve been reluctant because I usually spend a lot of time straightening before glue set and epoxy gives me all the time I need.  What is the maximum working time with URAC ?

                    Have you used URAC on hollow rods with very thin walls and or wide dam spacing or do you use  the fluting technique?  (Al Baldauski)

                I know you asked Chris but I have about 25 rods glued with URAC and I might be able to help.

                I selected URAC because author Ray Gould said that it is still his glue of choice.  He mixed a ratio of 2 glue to 1 powder, walnut shell powder provided by Nelson, by volume.  I give you his ratio because seemingly the more catalyst the quicker it will set up.

                I mix by teaspoon 4 glue to 2 power for the butt section and after a quick clean up of the binder, mixing bowl etc., mix the same amount for 2 tips.  There will be extra glue but you want too much than not enough.

                Anyway to answer your question I'm not sure that I can because I have never run out of time with stiff glue.  Yesterday I glued up 4 sections of rod which included gluing a butt section and a tip using the same batch of glue.  I think it took me about 40 minutes for both with no problems.

                My advise to you is to start with one section and see how it goes.  I might add I use a fine toothbrush for application and have a bucket of water handy with sponge etc. for clean up.  (Doug Alexander)

                  Thanks for that info.  It encourages me to give it a try.  I don’t build so many rods that I feel I need to bind and straighten more that one section, let alone more than one rod, in an evening.  With up to 40 minutes working time, even I could do two sections at a time.  (Al Baldauski)

                    The "bad vibes" was {quote ~ "That's a pun, son" unquote} ~ and here's a bunch of 'fly-fishers' opening a 'can of worms' ~ hmm? At least providing some insight into how much we all (don't?) know.  (Vince Brannick)

        I think the question or point is…..”Where does the glue go?” 

        I’m of the same train of thought. I don’t think I would hollow build very much at all. Where “does” the glue go? The rod’s not really hollow…the weight of the rod….well if I can’t swing an extra ounce of fly rod, then I need to get to the doctors and not worry about fishing. In time, as the glue that’s in the center of the rod dries, and there will definitely be glue in the center of the rod, I don’t give a rats ass what anybody says, how does it breakdown? Where do the slivers go? What effect will it have on the rod?

        This is just me. I know that there are a lot of guys out there who probably know a whole lot more than myself, but these thoughts are thought that make  me go hmmm.  (Ren Monllor)

          Where does the glue go?  If you don't wipe the extra off, a small amount of it goes to the center, where it basically acts as dead weight.  Since it's at the center of the rod, where it will see little to no tension or compression, it really shouldn't add or detract much of anything to the action of the rod.  Hollow building, at least with fluted cross section, lends itself quite well to using a q-tip to get rid of the extraneous glue.  For a normal section, just wipe the apexes down with a clean coffee filter or paper towel (in most cases, even with the small "hollow" in the center left by taking the apexes down, most of the extra adhesive will be forced to the outside of the rod section).   (Mark Wendt)

            In sawing a test blank up for inspection I find no extra glue on the inside. I brush the glue well before binding.  (Dave Norling)

              I just finished a blank last week and cut off the extra length from the butt section, sanded the end and gave it to my fishing buddy.  (I told him it would make a great indicator for the lively worms he hides in his fly box!)  Anyway I could not find any glue lines including the center.

              I take the apex off because:

              • The strips seem easier to fold together just after gluing but before binding and for some reason they come out of the binder much straighter.
              • It removes any small feathers at the apex and evens them up.
              • Then I use a fine dry toothbrush to clean the strips thoroughly as a means to get rid of small shavings.

              I might also mention that I sprits the strips with distilled water, using an orchard mister, as a means to raise any other small splinters or feathers that are then brushed away with a fine toothbrush.  (Doug Alexander)

          I use Epon, which is a rather thick formula. It gets spread in a thin layer over the strips with a soft toothbrush, so there's not much excess. When I do my hollow-fluting, I clean the center of the strips by stroking down their lengths with a rounded pencil eraser -- then one more long stroke with the toothbrush.

          After binding and curing a sample section, you can cut cross-sections to check for glue in the center. You'll find little or none, and in a longer rod for a medium or heavy line, the improved feel when casting is well worth the effort. The rod is now "alive."  (Bill Harms)

            My experience matches Bill's. In sawing up a test blank glue inside resembles a coat of varnish.   (Dave Norling)


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