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Planing - Final - Sanding

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A friend working on his first rod may have a new 3 wt rather than the 5 wt he was originally hoping for.  In reviewing the difference between what he targeted and what he got, the question came up of how much should you allow for sanding when cleaning up the glue, and/or removing enamel?   In the Wayne Cattanach book, I think he recommends something like going .001" or .002" over on strips, stopping at the thin haze when removing enamel prior to final planing.  What do you guys do - do you leave enamel, or remove it all, or  what?  If you leave all of the enamel prior to final planing, how much allowance do you need to allow?  I allow around .002" glue cleanup and sanding, but I take enamel and haze off before final planing.

Needless to say, he took a little more than that.  ;-)

I told him, though, it's *still* a flyrod.......(Ralph MacKenzie)

    A strip when completed should be an equilateral triangle.    If the enamel is not removed before final planing you will end up with an arc on the base, and when the arc is removed, you will be off on your target measurement.   I scrape before final planing.  (Ralph Moon)

    What is dominating the rule that we should not sand off the enamel side of the strip too much?  I tried to think about it.  Esthetic? Because it's a rule? or For the action? I want to take the position of reasoning it for the action of the rod.

    Referring to Bob Milward's experiments, the suffice of a blank will reduce its MOE (a force needed to stretch a strip for a certain length) about (very about) 0.5% of 6 million PSI (pound per square inch)  when we sand the enamel side off  by 0.001 inch, if my calculation is OK.  (please make sure at p26 of Milward' book)

    This means, deflection of the rod would increase 0.5%.  If a rod deflects 1" in ideal making, a rod which sanded the enamel 0.001" more, would deflect 1.05".

    Thus, the stiffness of the rod will be decreasing according to the inches sanded off below skin. I imagine if 0.025" is sanded off, the rod would become just a bit slower but not so much. 0.04" acceptable, in my case.  A little slower.

    As a matter of fact, I do not care about this too much.  It is because:

    1. Bamboo themselves are different by cane to cane.  The same thing is happening at the time of selecting cane.

    2. Moisture would change bamboo characteristics.  Less sand off amount does not always mean that it is stiffer, if the bamboo includes moisture.

    3. I like slower rod.

    4. For such bamboos which have high node banks, we can't avoid sanding off the enamel as much as necessary.

    But it is sure, less sanded off, nearer a rod becomes to the nature of the cane attribute.  (Max Satoh)

    ...and how much of the glue clean up/sanding is offset by glue thickness?  (Bob Williams)

      I clean off  all the enamel before final planing with scraper until it is pretty. I then finish the strip. Decide how to allow for glue thickness.  Glue it up, wipe it down, dry, unwind and sand off the remaining haze of glue with 400 or 600. Depends on how much haze was left. When you see shiny cane you are done, move on!  (Adam Vigil)

    Take it off, take it off, take it all off! Before you get the strips down to the forms.  (sorry, couldn't help myself)  (John Channer)

    When I sand or scrape the enamel off depends.  If I mic a varnished rod and want to duplicate it, I will leave the enamel on until after glueup.   By the time I get the rod scraped/sanded and varnished, I'm hoping I will be close to the original.  The enamel thickness should be close  to about a two coat varnish job.  Anyway, I shouldn't be off by much. 

    If I'm doing one of my own tapers, the enamel comes off before final planing.  (John Long)


All, a thought just struck me (blow was severe, but not fatal.)  Has anyone tried using fine sandpaper on a solid block to get the last .001" off a strip?  I don't want to "reinvent the wheel" so if it's been tried and rejected that's good enough for me.  My thought was to use #400 wet/dry paper wrapped around a steel block.  It would slightly rough the surface of the cane, and slightly polish the top of the form at the same time.  Possible down side would be tiny particles embedded in the cane, but they should be small enough not to be a problem.  Is this idea all wet???  (Neil Savage)

    They will all scream at me for this, but you can scrape or rub the final section down to size  quite appreciably without affecting anything, in spite of what they will all now chime in with!  (Robin Haywood)

      I guess I'll come out of the closet and admit that I have on occasion sanded a strip or two, but only the ones that refused to plane cleanly and I didn't inhale.  (Tom Kurtis)

    Before I got the hang of my Lie-Nielsen scraper (better said Denver Dave showed me how to use it) I used to final sand all my strips for that last couple of thousandths. I must say I like the scraper better. And by the way I used 150 grit paper on a sanding block, this can be done successfully.  (Joe Arguello)

      I may try it on the next rod.  Currently I scrape with a razor blade or plane iron, but my hands cramp after a bit & I can't afford (can't get past SWMBO) a L-N 212.  (Neil Savage)

        I have used a razor or cutting knife blade to do a finish scrape but now I just use an old plane blade that I can sharpen as per usual. I just hold the blade in my hand at 90 degrees and go at it. Works great.  (Ken Paterson)

        I have a Lie-Nielsen 212, and use it quite a bit, but to make you feel better about not having one, I don't use mine for final planing; the tendency for scrapers to "chatter", even in a microscopic sense, puts me off their use in this situation.

        I just use a L-N block plane, VERY sharp, and set very fine to do my finishing cuts, and in my, admittedly not very authoritative, opinion, it enables a better cut to be made.  (Peter McKean)

    Having read some of the responses, I feel better about my routine.  Of course, my case is a bit simpler, since I build quads.  Anyway, I often use 220 grit sandpaper for final sizing on the pith side.  A bit of residual roughness there is beneficial for gluing.

    On the finish side, I use a cabinet scrapper for final sizing, and then polish it lightly with 600 grit to get rid of any chatter marks.  Even there, though, a bit of microscopic roughness helps the varnish adhere.

    You just don't want to be able to see scratch marks.  (Paul Gruver)


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