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Planing - Final - Scraping

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Plane a strip close to the final dimension, move the strip down the form some so that it is oversize when the plane starts scraping metal.  Finish that side by scraping with a single edge razor blade till no more bamboo can be removed and you are scraping metal. That gives you one clean smooth side of the strip.  Flip the strip and  move it up the form to the finish dimension, plane the rest of material off and scrape that side as above. This gives uniform strip that is as close to the dimensions that you have the forms set for. Each strip will be the same and virtually eliminates any glue lines.  I find that even after I plane as close as I can plane, I can still feel the high spots with the razor blade and it will scrape some little curls off the strip. Scrape the strip till it has a clean line along the form edge. If you can see a little "fuzz" along the edge of the strip it is not scraped down to the form.

I get  my blades  from Harbor  Freight when  they are  on  sale  for 1.97/100. Usually buy 10 boxes at a time.  (Tony Spezio)


I'm final planing the tips for my first rod and I'm noticing that when I scrape that final thousandths that the edge is a little fuzzy, how do I get rid of the fuzz?  (Tim Stoltz)

    Gently roll the strip between the palms of your hands - it will come right off.  Trying to sand it off might ruin the integrity of the sharp edge.  (Jerry Young)

      Jerry's right... I don't do it so gently.  I get pretty aggressive with it.  I just put all six strips for a section together and roll them between the palms of my hands until the fuzzies are gone.  If you ever had a chance to see the tape "Winston Waters", there is a section of it that shows Glenn Brackett rolling strips this way to get the edges clean.  You can't really see it in the video, but those minutes splinters will just float away as you roll the strips.

      Troy Miller was here this past week and he saw me do it.  Troy?  There will be nonbelievers that think it will screw up the edges, so tell them how well it works.  (Bob Nunley)

        Bob is 100% correct.  I wasn't too worried on the butt and mids, but those delicate tips....    Let's just say that I'm glad it was Bob that was doing the rolling.  It does work like a charm, about 95% of the fuzzies are gone, and just a tiny bit of sanding will remove the rest.  The edges were not harmed in any way that I could see.  When the sections were glued up, they were tight and as near-perfect as I could expect on my first attempt. Maybe worth mentioning --  Bob's technique involves leaving the enamel intact until the final sanding.  If you are scraping/sanding enamel prior to glueup, then you might factor this in.  (Troy Miller)

    I have found that rolling the fuzzies off it works much better if I wear a pair of leather work gloves, the rough out type. It might be something peculiar to the way I make the strips , or, maybe not.  (AJ Thramer)

      It may be that I've never worn gloves so after years of bamboo cuts and splinters, maybe my hands are about the same texture as rough out gloves! *S* 

      Something peculiar about the way you make strips???  Face it, we make rods!!!  There's something a little peculiar about ALL of us!  Oh, I see, you were talking about technique!  Sorry!  :^)  (Bob Nunley)

    My best suggestion is get your plane blades sharper and don't scrape the last thousandths -  plane it!  (Peter McKean)


I'm down to final planing, scraping actually, and I'm still 2-3 thousandths over all along the rod.  I've triple checked the depth of the forms, and I'm scraping metal.  I suppose that the bottom of my depth gauge might not be exactly true, but other than that I'm perplexed.  What about choking down on the forms a couple of thousands to make up the difference?  Also what happens when you put some glue in there?  Should the blank actually be smaller than the sought after taper to compensate?  (Bill Freiman)

    Since you can't add cane, it's better to be slightly over dimensions than it is to be under. I set my forms as close as possible and plane the first strip. I take readings along the strip and then adjust the forms as necessary. When the first strip measures my target dimensions, I plane the rest of them. Others may compensate for glue -- I don't. Sounds like you're doing just fine.  (Joe Loverti)

    I would quit if it were 1 thousandths but I would recommend checking the forms. Do you have a 60 degree tip on your depth gauge? Glue depending on the type may take up as much as 2 thousands but I go under 1 thousandth to anticipate glue expansion.  (Rich McGaughey)


I am pretty much a newbie at rod making. I am starting to plane my 3rd rod. I currently use a Lie-Nielsen 9 1/2 grooved plane.

I really like this plane very much. I know this has probably been brought up a million times, but what does everybody use to take off that final .003 of bamboo. Scraper, small block plane with a 35 - 45 degree micro bevel, or do you just compensate and readjust your planning form. Been doing a lot of reading on the bamboo tips site but can't really get a handle on what is the best. (Jack Leary)

    I have a L-N scraping plane, but don't like to use it for this purpose.  Despite the correction I received recently from one of our list members when I said this before, I find it hard to see how a scraper can work without some, albeit small, level of chatter!  It's just the nature of the beast (and I can sharpen them as well as anybody does).  I finish off with a sharp plane.  I always used a L-N standard block plane, but quite recently got a grooved plane (L-N) and despite earlier skepticism about the thing, I think it is the best tool for the job.

    It is practically an article of faith with me that nothing, but nothing, will shift bamboo better or more precisely than a sharp and well-tuned plane, nor leave a better surface.  (Peter McKean)

      I agree with “sharp and well-tuned”…and I love my L-N grooved…but for the final “shave” I prefer a good old, well-burnished cabinet scraper…mine happens to be L-N.  (Doug Blair)

      I concur with Peter... a well tuned, well sharpened hand plane is all you need.  I got into the scraper bit about 15 years ago or so.  Eventually I ended up with a L-N and 3 different size antique Stanley bodied scapers.   The thing I really LOVED about them was that when I sold them, they fetched a bit over $1000 total, the L-N selling for much less than the antique Stanley's.

      And before this gets brought up, NO, I don't hand plane anymore, except for the occasional section for a restoration and in the Rodmaking Classes, but I started out in this biz hand planing and hand planed well over 150 rods before I went to the MHM then to the Beveler.  (Bob Nunley)

        OK, I don't have the rodbuilding credentials of a Bob Nunley, but if you are just starting out, and don't want to invest in a beveler just yet, you can take the last bit off with a cabinet scraper. They are just flat pieces of tool steel with sharp, square edges.  I have a set of TwoCherries  (a German brand) scrapers that I picked up at Home Depot for less than $10.  I use the rectangular shaped one on bamboo to take off the enamel, and to get the blank down to final dimensions.  (Paul Gruver)

    Set the forms, plane a strip, measure the strip, reset the forms, plane the rest of the strips.  (John Channer)

    After playing around with a few different procedures, here's what's been working.

    1. All strips roughed & tapered in the beveler.

    2. All planing done with my old Stanley 9.5 Sweetheart plane.

    3. Last swipe on the strip with the LN 9.5 set to remove .002

    4. Scrape with a single-edge razor blade or utility knife blade.  (ALA Tony Spezio)  (Paul Julius)

    I do not use a plane on the final few thousandths,  only a scraper. It removes material more slowly thus giving more control and exactness of taper. It also seldom chinks resulting in a ruined section.  (Jack Mickievicz)

      I do not believe that a scraper necessarily removes material slower or more accurately than a well-tuned and very sharp plane.  If the strips are well prepared and fit well into the groove in the forms, I can easily pull a .001", transparent strip off the length of the strip.  If I wanted to, I am sure I could do it thinner, but no point.

      Horses for courses, I guess.  Some folks even use (shudder) sandpaper.  (Peter McKean)

        Why ‘shudder’ at sandpaper? I personally use Tony Spezio’s flipping a razor blade technique but why would you not consider sandpaper… even if just for a nasty node?  (Steve Dugmore)

          Heavy handed humor, I'm afraid.

          Though I must say that if you are down to doing those last couple of passes and still have a "nasty node", you are in deep trouble. I would like to fix up that sort of thing while  I still had a few thou to play with, or I would personally be reaching for the spares and making a new strip.  (Peter McKean)

            I agree dealing with a nasty node needs to be done earlier than the final passes but sandpaper is not a bad option. I sometimes scrape/sand down a tricky node right down to the form quite a while before final planning and scraping.  (Steve Dugmore)

    I think the consensus is to set the forms, plane, measure, reset the forms and finish with my really sharp grooved L-N 9 1/2 . And if I have to take off anymore to use a razor blade, or one of those steel cabinet scrapers.  (Jack Leary)


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