Bamboo Tips - Tips Area - Repair

< Home < Tips Area < Repair


I just found a small splinter on a tip section of  one of my rods, which needs a reglue/repair wrap.

What's anyone's preference for adhesive?  Anyone use Gorilla Glue for a repair like this?  (Greg Kuntz)

    I use URAC (just for repairs) but I think GG would work very well. I usually don't put a repair wrap on the damage as long as the split is not missing any wood.  (Marty DeSapio)


I  had a little accident on the water yesterday with my second rod, still one of my favorites.

Consequently, I have to straighten the butt about 6 inches from the ferrule where there is no sort of a tight little dogleg.

Problem is, it's nodeless, glued with Epon and Titebond II. I'm concerned about glue failure heating up that mass of cane. Is it possible to bind the section as in glue up to keep the splices in place if the heat goes a little too far? Does Titebond regain its strength after cool-down?

I am open to any suggestions about how to proceed.  (Bill Hoy)

    I also build nodeless with Epon and TB II... and have been getting increasingly concerned with the integrity of TB II  during/after straightening.  I have learned from experience on this one over the past three months that TB II is doesn't like too much heat. I've been monkeying around with the setting on my heat gun to give me a warm enough temperature for straightening without killing a splice joint.  There have been a few outbursts of expletives in my garage late at night. 

    I think you're going to need to be VERY careful with the application of heat.  and I may hazard a guess that binding and then straightening just delay seeing the failure if you use too much heat.  You may see the splice pop apart after you take the thread off.  Start with a low setting and go slow.  Really slow.  (Eric Koehler)

    I have also found Titebond II does not take much heat.  I have also found I am having much more trouble with the splices failing when using flamed cane.   I have tried all three types of Titebond, epoxy, and URAC.  The only glue which has not failed is the URAC.  Haven't figured out why yet. (John Long)

    I had a pretty bad kink just above the handle where I'd spliced a section on to extend the butt.  In case you're wondering why I had to do this, the whole butt was undersized because I'd set my wooden planing form up one very humid evening, and done the final planing next morning without rechecking the settings.  I think the humidity caused the forms to swell slightly which resulted in decreased dimensions, hence an undersized butt. Serves me right for rushing.

    Anyway, Tony Young donated a piece of reject butt section of "near enough" dimensions which I spliced on using Resorcinol.  I use this for gluing up the strips but, like you, I use Titebond II for the splices. I bound the section tightly with thin cotton cord with no gaps.   Just like a guide wrap, there were no spaces at all.  The section was then gently heated over my trusty old kitchen toaster and gently coaxed into the desired shape. So far no adverse effects have become apparent but I was VERY gentle with the heat.  I don't know enough about Epon to comment, but I do know that Titebond II doesn't like heat.  If you heat it enough to "let go" it will not regain it's original strength.  Hope that helps you out.  (Mike Roberts)


I've talked about this Four Brothers rod a couple of times and am now resolved to make it my "first rod". As it (and my budget and schedule) can withstand any mistakes I might make on it as opposed to bunging up a fresh batch of strips. Here's my one big hang-up:

It has delaminated BADLY in many spots

Some are to the point all six strips have been freed from one another for a foot or two down the butt and mid sections. 2 Tips seem to be in need of normal degree of restoration (stripping, wraps, guides, new coat, straightening, etc.).

In an extreme situation like this what is the proper cure? Neither Sinclair nor Kirkfield address this particular situation and I wonder if it's because they would just as soon use it as kindling as pursue the headache.

I suppose I'm hoping someone will say - delaminate the rest of each section by (insert method here) or maybe clean the delaminated areas with (such and such) and glop your adhesive in the delaminated areas, pass through the binder and proceed as normal...(Gerald Buckley)

    You're not telling us what kind of glue you've been using. If this happened to me, I would try to delaminate the hole rod, clean and glue up again. I can't tell You what method to use, don't knowing what kind of adhesive you used.

    I would also be very interesting in knowing what made the rod delaminate. On the first two rods I made, I had sort of the same problem, only not that sever. My problem was the working time for the glue I used,  and the time I spent on gluing up my section. (Danny Twang)

    Sorry all, I should have been more specific...

    The Four Brothers rod is an older rod made for/by Pflueger - meaning I didn't make the rod. (But, if I had it would probably have delaminated on the first lawn test.) Not sure what adhesive was used at the time of its making... Whatever it is it didn't stand the environment this rod encountered too well.

    I've been able to walk the delamination to the extreme ends of the affected sections without much effort. I feel pretty sure if the remaining components were taken off the rod that I would have six strips from each section on my table with little additional effort.

    Some have suggested hide glue was used... maybe so. I haven't tried applying hot water yet. I'd like to think that WAS the adhesive as cleanup will be much easier. (Gerald Buckley)

      It is probably Hide glue but the old glue need not be removed as it pretty much disintegrated with age. Reglue with either Urac, Epon, Poly , or Titebond II extend.  (Marty DeSapio)

      You know, Gerald, I may be missing the point here; but in my opinion it would need to be a REALLY good lot of cane to be worth all that buggerising about.

      You would do it quicker, and probably better, from scratch, wouldn't you?  (Peter McKean)

    Just to make sure - delamination is the separation of the strips, right?  I have seen this with restoring old rods. I look for it by rolling the sections between fingers.  My experience has been it is glue failure because of age. I listen to guys arguing glue but I use a simple glue, Titebond II. Easy to find and easy to use It's waterproof and you got good handling time .  Try changing your glue process or the glue itself, would be my first thought.  Let us know how it goes.  (Rex Tutor)

    Delaminate that which delaminates easy. If it all delaminates reglue and run through the binder. If it is delaminated only in spots, pin these spots open and glue using strips of paper to force the glue in the tight spots. These you can bind by hand if you like or run through the binder.  (Marty DeSapio)

    There was no clear consensus on which way to go with restoring the rod sections to a serviceable state. Reinforces the idea that there really is more than one way to skin the beast.

    A few gentlemen felt opening the delaminations with toothpicks, cleaning the exposed surfaces well and then spreading a good adhesive in the voids and then binding as normal would suffice.

    Others were skeptical of the long-term viability of the rod by suggesting that if the delaminations were severe but true on the seams (and they were) that the rod should be taken back down to 18 strips and restored from that point. Not so much from a value standpoint as much as a learning experience - given my earlier points of contention on costs and availability of rodmaking gear.

    I mulled it over for a couple of days finally concluding that if I was going to restore this rod and do it in a manner that I could be relatively sure it wouldn't fall apart again - in my hands or its next owners' - that a full take down was in order.

    Recorded where the original  hardware had been set by the maker. Removed the varnished exterior with mineral spirits. Removed the line guides. All the ferrules were pinned and in such corroded shape that they were not salvageable. Removed the ferrules, tip top and butt sections (and they were all stubborn in the taking off) and delaminated the rod sections very carefully over a weekend. The order of sections was recorded and all the strips are now stored in an aluminum tube for future attention.

    The original adhesive left a considerable amount of artifacts on the rod sections. So, at this point I'm faced with removing the residue of dried adhesive (still no idea what was used). I'm told the prescription for this particular phase of the restoration is a LOT of 600 and 1000/1200 grit sand paper and a LOT more time than I ever imagined in order to get back to clean bamboo.

    Most of this advice has been imparted at gatherings and online chat sessions with other makers - to whom I am grateful for the sharing of their own experiences and advice.  (Gerald Buckley)


Last night I started stripping the varnish off my next project rod and I found to my horror that the strips in the upper 1/4 of the butt section have cracks in the middle of the strips.  This is  an old 3-piece steelhead rod that they did a small amount of hollowing all the way up the butt sections by apparently knocking off the apex on each of the six strips. Has  anyone run across a rod like this and the subsequent splitting of the strips in the middle? Guess I'm going to be making a new butt section since I wouldn't trust the ferrule area to any real stress with cracks like these. Guess this is why many of the recent hollow built rods use a series of "dams" at regular intervals. Could something like this happen with the type of hollowing used on a Morgan HM?  (Bill Walters)

    Been doing that for years without failures, so I don’t think this is the culprit. I can’t come up with a better idea, though.  (Carsten Jorgensen)

    If the cracks, or splits run the length of the strip for a couple of inches or less, this is what happened to many EC Powells.  I have many Powells that have sharp depressions like this. but have never had a failure.  Press Powell and Tony Maslan showed me a few breaks, or explosions in Tournament rods.

    This is one way to determine if you have a Powell that is hollow after someone has refinished it.  Don't worry about the depressions.

    If it is an EC Powell, please let me help you with some restoration tips.  It is a shame how many EC Powells are ruined when refinished.  (Chris Lucker)


I need to do a small delamination repair to a Heddon tip. the delaminating  section is about 2 1/2" long. Can anyone recommend  a good glue to use for this that is available in a small quantity?  Do I have to buy a pint of something that only has a shelf life of a few months ?  I'm not building rods yet so anything I buy will probably go bad before I get a planing form and some culms.  (Larry Swearingen)

    You can use Gorilla Glue - like 3 oz bottle , for just a few dollars or Titebond II (Elmer’s waterproof glue) . I use gorilla glue on small delamination repairs because the bottle is light and easy to handle.  (Rich McGaughey)

    Try Titebond II available at all hardware and lumber stores.  It is just good to have about the house and will do your repair as well as anything else.  (Ralph Moon)

    The repair turned out very well.  I spread the pieces with toothpicks as shown in the Garrison book. This actually the splines that had delaminated as there was no real break in the bamboo, and spread plenty of glue in the pieces with another toothpick. Then I spiraled two opposing rubber bands tightly around the section to clamp the pieces together evenly.

    A little judicious straightening and then 24 hours to let the glue set.  The next day I took the old varnish off the section between the wraps and revarnished.  Now I can't even tell which tip had the delaminations except for the slightly better looking finish where it was repaired.  There is no noticeable difference in casting between the original  tip and the repaired tip. But then I wouldn't expect there to be since nothing was broken.  (Larry Swearingen)


I have an old rod that the tips have a couple of long (6" or so) delaminations in them and when I glue them back together I want to be sure that the part of the section I'm gluing up doesn't twist or get a bend in it. What would you recommend, short of building Hal Bacon's glue up jig (which I intend to do but I'm in a cramped apartment right now)? I am planning to use my binder to bind the short glue ups but will entertain any innovative ideas on how to keep them straight.  (Bill Walters)

    I have only done a few of these, but I would use Titebond II Extend and bind them by hand. Maybe hang a weight to avoid twists. I put a stool under my sections that I hang a weight to. The contact with the stool will keep the weight from spinning and twisting the rod even worse.  (Bob Maulucci)

    In cases like that I bind by hand. I feel I can control the tension as I go along.  (Tony Spezio)

    Using a binder complicates things. Better off doing it by hand. I use a fly tying bobbin with strong sewing thread. Pull off 10 feet of thread, put the bobbin in a vice so it won't let any more thread out, pull tension on the thread and wrap over the glued up split. Sight down the rod and straighten if needed. I never get a twist doing repairs this way but if you do just put an opposite twist in the section as you would gluing up blanks on the binder.  (Marty DeSapio)

      Thanks for the all replies. Looks like binding by hand and working out any kinks and then hanging with a weight till dry should do it.  (Bill Walters)

    I know this doesn't sound very high tech, but here is how I've handled delaminations in the past.

    I put several rubber bands on the rod section below the delam and several above, doubled over on themselves enough times that they apply a reasonable amount of force.  I separate the delaminated sections with toothpicks and apply glue with another (or a straight pin, or whatever).  When the glue sufficiently covers the delaminated surfaces, I role the rubber bands down until they are equally spaced in the delaminated area.  I let it the glue dry and that's it.

    From my experience, the rod sections that need straightening after this procedure, would have needed straightening anyway.  The curves, sweeps, and bends are not confined to the delaminated area, but go throughout the rod section.  If there were no bends in the section before gluing, I've never seen any after.

    It should be noted that I've only done this 4 or 5 times, so your results may vary.  (Steve Dunn)

      That sounds to me to be better than hand wrapping.  I use Surgical tube or dental rubber bands to hold guides in place for wrapping.  For me, it works better than masking tape.  (Tony Spezio)


I broke my favorite 6 wt a few weeks ago.  It had a repair job done on a cut made by a fly that hit the bamboo.  (about 1/16 to 1/8 deep.)   I'd repaired it two years ago and though it was holding.   When I examined the break it looks like  the bamboo around the original cut was deteriorating below the wrap.   Anyone know a way to stop this from happening?

My repair steps were to first cut the rod about 2 inches into the handle., then remove an additional 3 inches of cork, leaving the reel seat, but of the grip and a stub of the original butt section.  

Next I found an existing butt section that was in good shape and cut and sanded it to fit.

Then I made a coupling from a piece of thin wall copper about 2" long and sanded both the stub and the end of the butt to fit snuggly into this tube.   Next I  cut another piece of thin wall copper, one side larger than the coupling.   I glued the coupling to both the stub of the old butt and the new butt with epoxy cement, then glued the longer tube  over the old butt (up against the cork ring) the coupling and the new butt section.

To join the old cork and the new cork rings I used a 1/2" washer with sandpaper on one side to level out the ring on the old grip.  I placed the washer, sandpaper down, on the old cork,  pushed a new ring down on the washer and then rotated the washer.  The old grip quickly "came clean."

The rest of the repair went like building a new rod.

This is about the fifth time I've done something to this rod.  It's a favorite, but it's also teaching me what I'm doing wrong!!  (Terry Kirkpatrick)


What is the best way to delaminate a rod? (Robert Sherrill)

    I have never done this done on purpose but have see it happen over a long time.  Delamination is a glue failure.  Why would you want to delaminate ? You could probably use very slow heat and pressure.  (Rich McGaughey)

      How about inserting into an aluminum tube in a damp basement next to the water heater.  (Timothy Troester)

        I know that works !!  (Carey Mitchell)

        Some years ago I received a Granger rod that had delaminated.  The rod had been put away at end of season wet, in a wet bag, and in a screw top tube.  The rod wasn't used for a year or two, and when removed from the tube had almost completely delaminated.  The only things holding it together was the ferrules and wraps.   I took it apart, scraped the splines in a planing form, and reglued it.  As far as I know its still in use.  (Ted Knott)

          Had the same experience.  Had a South Bend 359 that I grew up with which sat behind the hot water heater for years and delaminated.  This was 20 years ago, and knowing absolutely nothing, I scraped the sections and reglued it with Elmer’s.  Still intact today, but has not been fished in many years.  (Carey Mitchell)

      Mostly just want to see what it takes to pull an old production rod apart. I want to see what someone has to do to a rod to get it to fail.  (Robert Sherrill)

        The delaminated rods that I have seen have been stored in basements, corners of garages and the rafters of barns. I just completely delaminated a rod last week. once I got it started it came apart like it had a zipper on it. I plan on putting back together but I have a few questions; like my cousin Rodney that reeled a water moccasin all the way to the boat then asked.  NNNNNow whatta I dOOOOOO!!!!   (Timothy Troester)

        I would try using a stream iron, set pretty high  and pressing hard all 6 sides until they start to shift (don't use your wife's good one!).  Then you should be able to pull them apart by hand if still hot. Please let me know your degree of success on this endeavor.  (Rich McGaughey)

          Guys, think about it. Unless the rod is a Phillipson or some other production maker that used Resorcinol, it was probably glued with hide glue. All you have to do with a hide glued rod is soak it after stripping the varnish off, it will come apart easily, and then use low heat to dry the cane thoroughly, scrape off any old glue and then reglue it. I've done it on a  few  sections (Heddons) that were so badly delaminated that it just made sense.  (Bill Walters)

            You don't need to scrape old hide glue off, it's the only reversible glue there is. Just paint it with hot water and add a thin amount of real hide glue, not the liquid stuff from Franklin. Old Stradivarius violins and still together after 300 years. Pretty impressive stuff.  (Patrick Coffey)

    In the end, I found if I soaked the rod in water hot water over night, it cam right a part. I put the stripped rod into a PVC tube, poured hot water and split it apart the next day. I will be heat treating the rod again, then seeing what the rod can take in abuse after this.  (Robert Sherrill)


I have a small split in the tip of one of my rods just above the top ferrule (not the tiptop). I read in the archives a post suggesting that as long as none of the cane was missing all you need to do is slop in a some glue and that will take care of it -- no repair wrap is needed over the split. I'm interested in your thoughts on this.  (Larry Puckett)

    I meant to say that the split is above the top snake guide not the top ferrule. It begins right at the edge of the thread wraps. This happened when I clipped a low branch a couple weeks ago.

    So far the response has been about 50:50 with some saying just use the glue and the others suggesting the repair wrap. Since I plan to rewrap this rod this winter I think I'll just do the glue now to prevent any further damage and then a repair wrap at the same time as I redo the other wraps.  (Larry Puckett)

    Depending how bad the split is, I usually wrap a very very thin small wrap of very very thin silk  then bruh  it so it becomes invisible with finish.  (Rich McGaughey)

    I have made that repair without a wrap numerous times without a failure. If you had a delamination and reglued it you wouldn't use a repair wrap.  (Marty DeSapio)

      Thanks Marty. The question then is when do you actually do a repair wrap?  (Larry Puckett)

        When there are wood fibers missing from the split.  (Marty DeSapio)

    Thought I'd let you guys know how it turned out. I opened the split in the tip using a couple pins. I was really happy to see that it didn't penetrate very deep at all and there were no other failures. I used a small paint brush to wet the inside of the cane then using another small diameter pin I smeared Gorilla Glue in the open split. I then pulled out the pins, forced the split together, then wiped off all the glue that oozed out. I then overwrapped the split area using some tying thread in a  bobbin and set it all aside overnight. I then removed the thread and scraped off the small amount of dried glue, that had been left behind, using a dull knife blade. After that I took the rod out to the back yard, put on a line and gave it a few test casts - seems as good as new. I'll give it the fish test on Saturday.  (Larry Puckett)


I'm in the process of repairing an old rod, and have to scarf in some new pieces.  I've got the new pieces all ready to go, and I'm looking for opinions on what glue to use for the scarf joint.  I use Epon for my spline glue ups, and I've been contemplating whether that is the glue to use for the scarf joints, or should I use a PU glue?  What say ye?  (Mark Wendt)

    I build nodeless and I always use PU. Once I had failures, but that was probably due to old glue. Using a new bottle, I have nice scarfs now, without failures!  (Geert Poorteman)

      Did you use the PU for both the scarfs and the finished strips?  (Mark Babiy)

        Yes, I only use PU glue. The brand names are European, recta vit and another one, bison kit I think. I like it because firstly I can FIND it, but also because it gives me a enough time to work with and it doesn't take too long to cure. It's a bit disgusting though, it sticks on anything, especially on fingers and hands. I used to work with gloves, but now I rub hem with grease before and clean them with alcohol afterwards. I sometimes use epoxy for reel seats and such, or cork.  (Geert Poorteman)

    Use the Epon.  (John Channer)

    I use Gorilla Glue on scarfs and never had a failure. I always place the center of the scarf joint under a guide wrap for extra reinforcement.  (Marty DeSapio)


I need to know a good way to delaminate old bamboo rods.

I tried soaking in a wet towel for 5 days but nothing happened.  Then i held it over steam and this worked somewhat well. But at the tips the glue was not sufficiently melted and the splines came apart with a needle point to a couple of them. It seems that the bamboo became weaker than the glue and a portion of the bamboo stayed with the glue. During this process I also noticed that a longer period of time in the steam is not better.  When I held the bamboo over the steam for a longer period of time it would seem to start resetting. The method that worked best was to start at the thick end and steam for about 1 minute then try to push a stout toothpick in and start the split along one axis. When this worked then use additional toothpicks for the other 2 axis. I never used excessive pressure to separate the splines. Then I would move the rod length over the steam kettle spout to the next portion and steam it until the toothpicks could be moved again.

Has anyone tried soaking the rod in acetone?

By the way, I used a scraper (thank you Tony Spezio and Darroll Groth) to remove the old finish and then the 3M Safest Paint Strip. This worked quite well.

This rod is going to be either a midge or a 5 piece pack rod due to the shortened strips.  (Randy Tuttle)

    I really do not know if this will work on a rod, but it sure works well on a flat surface. Place a slightly damp cloth (cotton or the like) on the area to be delaminated and use an iron set on high to melt the glue. Iron till there is no longer any more water in the cloth. Its kind of like your steam idea but you can make the heat more localized by using the tip of the iron.  Just do not let SWMBO see you with her iron.  (Daniel Durocher)

      An iron isn't THAT expensive.  If you use more than once in a great while it would be worth the cost to preserve your hide from SWMBO to get your own. It's nice to have peace in the family.  (Neil Savage)

        Just got home from five days with the great grand kids. Catching up on mail. I bought a good working steam iron at the Goodwill store for 75 cents and a toaster for 1.00.  Still have not worked out using the toaster for straightening strips.  Leave SWMBO's iron alone.  (Tony Spezio)

    I took the water soaking advice and placed the rod sections into a PVC tube filled with hot water. About 12 hours later I removed the sections and they came apart just fine. The next time I will leave the ferrules on and soak for a couple of days to see if this will also loosen the ferrules.  (Randy Tuttle)


Got a couple of rods in the shop that have broken tips/butts. What are your thoughts with regards to putting on the invisible wrap prior to or after the varnish coat is on the whole rod.  (Don Anderson)

    If your white thread has been sitting around for a while, it may be yellowed.  Strip this away to expose the "new" thread.  I apply several full, wet coats of spar varnish at the same time I'm doing the guide wraps, and before I do the final dip.  (Ted Knott)


Are there any plans for making a scarfing block out there?  Also a tutorial would be great.  (Lee Orr)

    I think that Ray Gould's second book has a plan amd description.  (Paul Franklyn)

    Is that the same as a splicing block?  I seem to remember reading a description by Harry Boyd a while back.  I can't seem to find that, but there is a short guide by Chris Bogart at the Rodmakers site - follow the link to Tips / FAQ DIY Tools and look for the links to nodeless - the first has a drawing on how to make a scarfing block.  (Greg Dawson)

    The Garrison/Carmichael book, "A Master's Guide to Building a Bamboo Flyrod," has plans and description of use of a scarfing block. The book should be in all rodmakers' libraries. Maybe not your first "how to" book, but certainly for a second or third purchase.  (Steve Weiss)

    Is the block for repairing a tip or making a nodeless rod? I made several nodeless rods and I am glad to have gotten that out of my system. Nodes if done right are just not that hard to work with.

    To make a splice block for a nodeless rod take 2 3/4 x 3" x x6" pieces of oak. Screw them together. Plane the top surfaces smooth. Drill  2 holes and put a bolt  about 1.5" from each end with wing nuts. Remove the screws. Unbolt, and place a piece of plastic or hard board or aluminum at an angle of about 22 degrees (you may need to monkey with the angle to get it correct) drill hole through the material to match the blocks. Plane off the overlapping material flush to the top edge. Now bolt together and tighten wing nuts. Get a piece of cane place it edge side up. Tighten the bolts and put it into a vise and plane away.

    If you want the block for repairs it will work for that also. But find out the correct angle. If it is for a nodeless rod, have fun.  (Adam Vigil)


So, I've broken a tip and would like to try my hand at scarfing.  I'm looking at Wayne C's plans and explanation and I don't understand.  He says that he makes a new block for each repair and that he uses a constant length rather than a constant angle - 1-1/4" for tips.  How do you figure the angle to cut the block for a 1-1/4" scarf.  I'm trying to visualize it but I'm not getting it.  (Lee Orr)

    If I assume that the flat-to-flat dimension of the break is .125" then the angle to give you a 1 1/4 scarf would be about 6 degrees from the horizontal.

    You're going to want to scarf in a new piece to make up for what you'll plane off.  Of course, the taper of the new piece has to match the original tip.

    I'll send you a PDF of the geometry if you want.  (Ron Larsen)


If one was to scarf a tip would Borden's Pro Bond or Gorilla glue be up to the task or would you recommend some other glue.  (Tim Preusch)

    Since no one has attempted to answer this to the list, I have used Probond to scarf both butts and tips with no problems yet. I generally dispense with the invisible silk wrap.  (Doug Easton)

      Try Epon.  Or Titebond II.  Or resorcinol.  Or Nyatex.  Or else try Urac.  A quick visit to Todd's Tips site might help you out here. Just about any glue used in rodmaking will be good for splicing and scarfing.  I would stick with what you are currently using to make rods.  (Rick Crenshaw)


I just returned from a 3 day South Fork of the Boise drift boat trip.  I brought my Dickerson 8014 and kept in the rod rack that is built into the top of the side wall on my Hyde 16.5 drift boat.

The rod rack has a significant sweep to at as it follows the shape of the hull (looking down on the boat from above from about mid boat to the point of the bow). The air temp was 95F (30C) for most of the day each day.  The 8014 did not see much use as I primarily used my Dickerson 7613 during the trip.

After 3 days in the rack, I took it out to throw a stone fly nymph and noticed a bit of a set just beyond the ferrule on the tip section.

Two questions, does this seem like it should have happened (given the extreme temperatures and curvature of the rack) and two, does anyone think there is any resurrecting it?  I suppose I could put it back in the rack in the reverse position for a couple days.  (Patrick Mullen)

    I'm not at all surprised that leaving the rod in a flexed position for an extended period of time in hot weather would cause the set. 

    I would very slowly heat and straighten the rod in the areas where the set seems centered.  With caution you can remove the set without destroying the varnish.  (Harry Boyd)


I have spent part of this winter redoing some of my first rods to make them prettier and give them grips that were actually functional. Then I came to my first Para 15. It was my third rod, and I was paranoid about "sanding into the power fibers". When it was made, I left the apex in place, and allowed an extra 3 thousandths per strip just to make sure that I did not "sand into the power fibers". The result was a taper that was easily a 7 weight, it it could probably throw an 8. I eventually made another, but could this rod be saved? I could get out the sanding block and take it to correct dimensions. I know that this has been done, but what does it look like in the end? Is it worth it to even spend the time? Has anyone ever tried this, and how was the result? Note that I would want to go to town on this one. There is a 5 weight Para 15 listed in Ray Gould's book, and I would shoot for that. So a lot of cane would be ground to dust. (Jeff Schaeffer)

    On occasion it might be nice to have a 7 or 8 weight. Why not take advantage of that.  (Timothy Troester)

    Is it worth it to do? Only you can answer that question. How much do you want that rod to be a 5 weight instead of a 8 weight? If it was me I would leave it the way it is and make that 5 weight Para 15 from scratch. You might want an 8 weight in the future for some lake fishing,  or light inshore saltwater fishing.

    I have done something similar to develop different tapers and comparing the rods casting characteristics to their stress graphs. I started off with a taper and sanded down different parts of it, measured the diameter at each station and graphed up the stress graph, taped guides on and cast the rod.

    A lot would depend on the density of the fibers within each strip when you originally made it. If the strips have no pith in them, they are 100% fibers, then sanding away the outside - the "power fibers" won't be that bad. The rod won't collapse and become so soft it's unusable because the power fibers are gone. As for what will it look like, it looks pretty much like normal except the little lines on the surface are little thicker or wider than you might be used to.

    Just to be on the safe side go slow, measure often and leave it oversized, tape on guides and use a rag and masking tape as a handle to test cast, sand no more than .002 each time, test cast again, etc., over and over again. Don't just sand it down to a 5 weight in one step and then test cast it. You can always sand a little more off, but you can't put it back on if you go too far.  (Darryl Hayashida)


A buddy of mine gave me his fly rod to do a little repair.  The cork rings are completely dried out, shot, and badly in need of replacement.  So, I'm not afraid of working on it for him, but my first steps are a little unsure.  I know I need to remove the butt and reel seat, but I'm not sure how to do this.  His rod is fiberglass (I know I know, shame on him), I have access to my father in law's lathe so I am set with that.  I just need to figure out how to remove the stuff I need to replace.  (Aaron Tester-Hall)

    In my experience it would be easier to leave the reel seat on and approach it from the other end. Removing the guides and hook keeper and replacing them after installing a new grip should be an easier job than trying to install a grip with a tapered hole over the larger end of the blank.

    Removing the old grip will be easy. Just attack it with an Exacto knife. Old damaged cork will crumble off easily. Just be careful not to gouge the blank surface.  (Steve Shelton)

    I've done many cork grip replacements and find it works best to remove the stripping guide, hook keeper, wraps and winding check first . Then cut off the cork with a knife and clean up the area where it was glued on. Leave the reel seat alone. Buy or make the new cork grip (off the rod) then apply glue to the area of the butt section where the grip will be located, slide the grip down the rod and snug it up against the reel seat. If necessary the grip can then be turned or sanded to final shape. Usually the preformed cork grip will clear the ferrule welt (for a cane rod) so the ferrule may be left in place. With your fiberglass rod that won't be an issue.  (Ray Gould)


I have a need to learn how to scarf a tip section (on one of my own rods) and I have been trying to find some web based instructions on how best to do it and how to make a scarfing block.  I believe the tool needed is NOT like the simple one I use for nodeless rods hence the question on where where to look.  (Paul Blakley)

    Garrison's book has good instructions, and I think Wayne Cattanach's book does too.  I'd be happy to scan those instruction and send them to you if necessary.  (Harry Boyd)

    I recently scarfed the two tips on my Sir D. Made a "quick and dirty" scarf block for the fine end of the tips in 30 minuets. Both tips were broken within the 9" of the tip top.

    I had a 10" length of 7/8X7/8" oak  and some scrap 1/16" plywood. Cut the 7/8 oak in half. That made two 5" lengths. On one length I drew a angle line, one end to the other from "0" to 1/4" from the top. Glued a piece of 1/16" plywood to that side along the angle line. The angle is the splice taper. Clamped the other 7/8X5" length of oak and a second strip of plywood to the first length with the plywood in the middle. The second strip of plywood is a filler strip for thicker sections, it is not glued in. It is clamped in place so the drilled holes will line up. Drilled two 5/16 holes centered in the 7/8 oak, 3" apart. Glued in two short lengths of 5/16 dowel in the holes on the side that the plywood is glued on. These are the guides. Slipped a short spring over each dowel to aid in opening the blocks. I use it in a vise to hold the blocks closed. I was able to use the block in an hour after I started making it. It is very much like the nodeless block.  I have been using the scarfed tips with no problems.  (Tony Spezio)

    Too bad you can't make the SRG this year...   ;-)   I'll be giving a demo on how to scarf in a new section of rod on one of my own rods.  I have two scarfing blocks made up, one for tips/mids, and one for butt sections.  I took two pieces of hardwood, and using a sign makers router bit (60º) made a groove in each piece, quite shallow for the mid/tip set, and a bit deeper for the butt set, on the same taper you use for scarfing.  I'm at work, and I can't think of the damn angle right now off the top of my head, but I'll try to remember to measure it tonight when I get home.  (Mark Wendt)

    Alan Kube showed me how to scarf the tip on one of my rods at SRG last year.  I bought a nodeless splicing block at the auction under the assumption I could use it to scarf.  Was I mistaken?  Alan had a wooden GW block similar to what you've described.  Be sure to bring the dimensions for your block to SRG.  I'll probably want to make one if I can't use the splicing block.

    Now, regarding the scarfed tip that Alan helped me with.  We did that at the kitchen table Friday night.  The scarf is about 14 inches from the tip directly under a guide (a strategically placed guide I might add.  Fish on, fish off or just fishing).  We glued it up with Gorilla Glue and wrapped it up tight with some fly tying thread.  I scarped the thread off Saturday morning, taped the guides on with masking tape, sealed the tape (wraps) with a smear of Titebond III and we were off to the Bull Shoals Dam.  Alan protested but I fished that rod.  Landed a half dozen 16 to 20 inch rainbows.  I fully expected the scarf to fail.  It didn't, still hanging in there today.

    As I recall, you guys were doing some kind of twisted spiral cast with that rod late Saturday night.  It would've been a hoot if the tip had broke loose.  Now that I think about it, we need to fish your demo rod Saturday morning.  (David Bolin)


I, just a couple of weeks ago, loaned a rod, a Garrison 206, to a young friend of mine.  It is a rod that I have used for a couple of years and that this young bloke has used quite extensively as well.

It broke!

First rod I have ever made that broke.  I am sure that it was not anything silly that the user perpetrated, as he is one of our better guides and an excellent caster, and moreover, he understands bamboo.

Now I am not going to say at this point how or where this rod broke, because I wonder what other folk have as their experience here.

Do any of your rods break, where do they let go if they do, and under what sort of circumstances?

I'll be waiting with bated breath (again) to hear your experiences!  (Peter McKean)

    I've had two real breaks, plus one break on a blank I made for a graphite rod maker.  One came from the user pinching a crook into while taking the rod down.  The other real break came when the owner fell and landed on the rod, breaking the mid section just below the female ferrule..  The guy who broke the blank used 10mm single foot guides and giant tiptop on a 7' 6" 4 weight.  I think the line wrapped around the uppermost snake and he kept casting.  He's a heckuva caster and probably had 60+ feet of line out.  (Harry Boyd)

      Yep that'll do it! Don’t know of too many rods regardless of what they're made of that let you fall on them and not break(maybe you could get away with it on a old Union Hardware steel rod.  (Will Price)

    Most rods I have see broke met with screen doors or car trunks or doors. The rest start with a beer followed with "watch this!" The rods I have seen broken on fish were result of too deep a U bend in the tip. On this list, I have heard of rods being broke at ferrules. I have seen one rod I am sure was injured first from being stepped on.  (Timothy Troester)

    Of course it has happened to a lot of us.   Let me think a bit.  Broke 3" off the tip of my first nice Orvis plastic rod 15 years ago during the first use, cause unknown.  Broke a really nice antique Heddon  #115  2  years  ago  on  the  Bighorn,  right  at   the mid-female ferrule, not on a fish, but casting. Fixed it and it broke there again, fixed it again, still OK.  Broke a Sage 2 weight years ago, cause - somebody's big foot.  Reused the hardware to build another, and damned if it didn't break on the very first cast, 3 miles from the car on Grebe Lake in Y'stone - cause unknown.  Friend had a top-of-the-line Orvis collapse on him fighting the biggest rainbow I ever saw on the Bighorn, he was doing everything right, as I got it on video - and audio !!!  (couldn't play that in mixed company)  

    So, some apparently break just because the phase of the moon is wrong and/or the wife really didn't want us to go, but we went anyway and the curse caught up with us, at the worst time.  As the saying goes, sh** happens.  (Carey Mitchell)

    I'm just a user, not a maker. 

    The only rod I have ever had break, did so because I was living by a trout stream, and kept this rod set up in a dank humid CT garage.  Moisture entered via nicks in the varnish and softened the cane.  The tip bowed, and broke, just above the ferrule, under pressure from a 19" brook trout.  (David Zincavage)

      Well I have broken over the years both tips of a 1928ish flamed  Edwards rod. Both at the ferrule, so each tip is 1" short. Edwards  and Bristol Edwards and era Bristol ferrules are without any slits  and even though the ferrule metal looks thinner than the cylindrical  part, there is stress that eventually breaks the cane under ordinary  fishing pressure. I had a similar break in a 7' Leonard, but this was  clearly next to one node.  (Sean McSharry)

        The one EW Edwards rod that I own was built between 1920&1925 when he was running the Winchester rod shop and the ferrules on this rod are turned down paper thin for the last 1/4" and slit but not crowned with the slit on the corners and the ferrule sections between the slits centered on the rod flats. When I was restoring this rod I couldn't help but think that the ferrules on this rod had been paid more attention to than on any other early production rod I'd handled up to that point. I guess that at different points in time rodmakers did things differently to enhance production speed. At any rate this particular Edwards is an 8 1/2' 3/2 for a 6 wt and is a delight to cast with plenty of power.  (Will Price)

    I have broken quite few graphite and fiberglass rods in one way or another. I have broken 2 bamboo rods - actually 3 - one by viciously stabbing a rock whilst thrashing through a very bushy section on a stream, the other by inverting the rod, holding it by the tip and  yanking down a branch with  my reel  to retrieve a fly!! (I was only seven or eight, had just moved on from a tough old fiberglass rod, so can surely be pardoned?!) and the 3rd was a Farlows 'midge' which broke in the butt being pushed too hard to get that extra meter out.  (Stephen Dugmore)

    I broke my first rod in over 35 years early last year.  Hooked me a rather large birch trout on the back cast, didn't realize it, and tried to double haul him in.  The birch trout won that contest.  Broke about 6" of tip off on that one.  Tried to repair the break, did all the right things, and re-broke it a couple of months later trying to cast a big, weighted wooly booger.  My fault both times.  I'm going to splice a new section in one of these days.  Leonard 40L taper, BTW.  (Mark Wendt)


One of the first rods I made I sold to a friend (a 6' 2 weight) about two years ago. He just told me that a couple of days ago he was using it and took it apart and the blank broke just below the female ferrule. I haven't seen the rod yet to deduce why on earth it broke there, but it's broken nonetheless. I'm torn on whether to scarf a new piece on or just make a whole new butt section for him. Any advice or grand ideas on why the rod broke in that location? I don't recall ever putting much heat on that part of the rod when I made it, but it was the second rod I ever made so the details are a little fuzzy. I figure it was something I did, but not sure what. Would improperly crowned ferrules damage the blank enough to do that considering it being pretty small in diameter at that point?   (Phil Smith)

    Well, not having seen the rod or know the guy that bought it, I have only seen a rod break like that for one of two reasons. I saw  a rod once that when the guy made the blanks, the area right near the female  ferrule had a good kink and the guy heated the heck out of it to get it straight. The  first time he fished with it, the butt section broke off right at the ferrule. A good clean  break. No splinters. Too much heat in any area can cause real problems.

    The only other way I've seen this  happen, was when the ferrule fit was so tight, the guy couldn't pull the sections apart and when he really put everything he had into it, the section broke, because he didn't realize that  he was not pulling the sections straight apart. He was putting a lot of pressure at  an angle, which broke the section right at the ferrule. If you try to pull a rod  apart in front of you, you will always twist your hands and "bend" the rod right there, while  pulling. If you pull the sections apart, behind you, using your legs to push your  hands apart, this won't happen.

    Try taking a rod section with both  hands and pull as hard as you can and I think you will see what I mean about twisting your hands and putting  side pressure on the section.

    I don't know if this will help you any, but I figured it can't hurt.  (Dave LeClair)

    Any advice or grand ideas on why the rod broke in that location? I don't recall ever putting much heat on that part of the rod when I made it, but it was the second rod I ever made so the details are a little fuzzy. I figure it was something I did, but not sure what. Would improperly crowned ferrules damage the blank enough to do that considering it being pretty small in diameter at that point?

    When I was starting "up the learning curve"  (it's a long climb)  I used ferrules that were to small.  Had to cut the ferrule station down to fit.  Bad move.  Now, if there's any question, I always use a larger ferrule.

    As for fixing, the way I fixed a few rods with reel seats I wanted to keep was to cut the cork down to the bamboo, about 2" above the reel seat.  I made a "ferrule" by using two pieces of thin wall copper tubing, available from a local hobby store.  I cut the butt about 3" above the cork and make a "ferrule station" there.  I built a new butt, cut to fit with the old reel seat, 2" of cork and 3" ferrule station.  Made a ferrule station on butt.  The "ferrule stations"  are fitted so that about 1 1/2" of  the outer tube fits all the way down, flush with the cork,  The smaller tube slips into the outer tube and over the other  1 1/2" of bamboo.  Glued the whole thing together with slow curing epoxy. Then I put new cork over the repair and turned it down to the correct size and shape. Because the repair is below the cork, you can't see it.   Because the repair is directly under the casters hand, there's little lateral force on it.   The "tube-in-tube" multiplies the strength of the brass.  (Cannons were built by cooling the inside tube, heating the outside tube then slipping one in the other.  When they both stabilized, the larger contracted and the smaller expanded to form a tight fight.  Not only was it impossible to separate the two, but the outcome was stronger than a single tube.)

    I've done a few rods this way and they all fish fine... so far.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

      Thanks for the advice. I think that Harry and Dave L. were both right. I may have used too small a ferrule (have to go look back at my notes) AND the ferrules were a little tightly lapped. Being one of my first rods I "assumed" that the fit would break in a little and was scared to death to overlap the thing. The owner of the rod has recently complained to me about the fit and I promised him to swing by and take a little off, but apparently I'm too late (or the damage was mostly done already).

      I like your idea Terry. Not sure if I'll do that yet or just make him a new butt section and/or rod. I may just take his broken rod, shorten it by 1", referrule it and give it away as is.  (Phil Smith)


I am about to try to scarf a tip for the first time. My question is, won't I have to add a small piece in order to maintain the tips original length? If this is so, won't there be two joints in this tip? I am trying to understand how this works using Tony Spezio's scarfing block from Power Fibers #26.  (Bill Bixler)

    You really need to make a new section longer than the broken piece, Then make the scarf taper on the large end of the broken area where you will be adding the replacement section. Measure the length of the replacement section to correspond to the finished length  including the scarf taper on the replacement piece, It should match itself with the size at the scarf. Glue and wrap. Do not wrap so tight that you will starve the joint of glue.

    Hope this helps. If not, will be glad to try to explain it better. Maybe others on the list might have a better way to get it done.  (Tony Spezio)

    There's a video clip of the scarfing process on my blog if you're interested.  Scroll down to the last video in the left hand frame.  Don't let the guy in the video worry you.  I think he knows what he's doing :-)  (David Bolin)

      The video clips are fantastic! Thanks for posting them....they ARE worth keeping around, not only for the techniques presented, but they have historical value as well. It's also a way - for those who can't attend a gathering - to meet the rod makers (in this case Harry, Jeff & Mark); hear them speak , answer questions and generally share their knowledge and love for rod making. It's difficult for me to attend gatherings. It would be a great idea to have some of the future gathering sessions on video. I, for one, would be more than glad to pay for a DVD of the sessions.  (Jim Sabella)


Had a small snafu when straightening a butt section.  Must have flattened a node too much and got into upper fibers.  Result was a superficial distal tear/lift of the strip for about 1-1/2".  I am interested in how you fix this if it's happened to you.  I was thinking of putting a clamp on the blank where the tear stops, lifting the separated layer of bamboo, epoxying it down and putting white silk and epoxy where the clamp was placed.  Thin Ca glue wicked into the layer that lifted was another thought?  (Dave Kemp)

    Actually, I was straightening a glued up blank butt section.  (Dave Kemp)

    Do the epoxy, wrap down until cured, sand smooth. You can probably get away without the silk wraps.  (Steve Weiss)

    Dave Norling’s approach:

    Gently work as much blank-gluing epoxy into the break as possible and warm it up with your heat gun—judiciously—until it acquires a watery consistency and runs thither and yon within the break lookin’ for love in all the right places.  Chances are it’ll wick into most or all of the spaces that ought to have been solids, but for the fracture.  Manipulate the pieces to replace them as solidly as possible in their original positions.  Wrap with white silk and let cure.  Sand off silk and revarnish.  The silk does NOT stay on the blank.  I have fixed a Perfectionist tip this way and it was perfectionistical, if’n I do crow so, mesel’!  (Steve Yasgur)

      What is the best adhesive for this job?  I have a butt section with what looks like one piece splintered.  (Frank Caruso)

        Select from amongst:

        • West Systems 107/209
        • Epon
        • Nyatex
        • Golfsmith shafting epoxy (Steve Yasgur)

    Did this happen during the glue-up process? Or after the glue was cured?

    I've broke off a bit of the tip section while trying to wipe off excess glue. Now I do that job different. We've all broke something, that's how we learn to do things right/different!

    Do what others have said and try to work the same adhesive that you used on the strips deep into the wound and wrap with string(like gluing/binding). Maybe the stripper guide will land there??

    Or you can make a new butt section, you are a rodmaker!!!  (David Dziadosz)

    This happened after glue up and putting the grip, reelseat and female ferrule on the blank. No varnish yet.  I looked at the section, thought I saw a compound curve (which probably should have left alone), heated and bent the curve and straightened it over my knee (it was a Dickerson "Mystery" with a stout butt) and then noticed the distal end of the node had separated a few fibers thick and lifted slightly. Interestingly, it did not splinter, just the whole width of the strip lifted corresponding to the thickness of the excess scraping which created a plane, I guess.  I don't think the structural inte-grit-y should be too much affected, but could see how this could continue to split if I lifted it up to glue it or didn't glue it and it just had varnish to hold it down.  (Dave Kemp)


I am building a nodeless one piece spinning rod for my nephew.  In flexing the rod after it was glued up, I broke it at station 25 (when it drops from .216 to .147 (see below for taper).  This was also an area that contained a splice, so the break contained a failed splice (and another strip did splinter a bit).  I was able to seat all the pieces back in their “grooves”, so glued and bound it back up.  In rubbing out the Tru-Oil varnish, I was a little aggressive on a stroke, and caught the rod with the chamois, bent it, and yes, broke it at the very same place.  I have now cut the rod at that spot.

My question is this – should I scarf it, or put a ferrule in that spot?  I fear the ferrule option because the step down looks like a vital spot in the taper,  plus the ferrule won’t be in the middle of the rod.  Either way, I will have to cut out about 2” from the fat end of the tip section. 

What would you do?

   Dimension  1/2 dimension

0    0.106          0.053
5    0.116          0.058
10  0.118          0.059
15  0.135          0.068
20  0.142          0.071
25  0.147          0.074
30  0.216          0.108
35  0.230          0.115
40  0.250          0.125
45  0.314          0.157
50  0.365          0.183  (Louis DeVos)

    Personally, I would start again and build a new section!  (Peter McKean)

    Are you sure station 25 is correct? If the numbers are transposed from .147 to .174 you wouldn't have such a drastic taper change.  (Ron Grantham)

      I was wondering about the taper. A change of .147 to .216 in five inches is always going to break. I do not know how you even get a form to change that much. Something ain’t right.  (Gordon Koppin)

      Yes, it is correct (at least according to Ray Gould’s book).  It is a South Bend taper he has listed.  (Louis DeVos)

        There were a LOT of print mistakes in Rays' Tips and Tapers book. This may be one of them. He sent out a list of corrections before he retired from the list. I'll do some checking and see if I can come up with something. Please post the page number you got this from Louie as that is how Ray sent the corrections out. By page and what the mistakes were and what the proper correction was.  (Will Price)

          Ray was kind enough to provide the correction information as a series of Excel worksheets, I have combined into a single 32K workbook and PDF document and will forward to anyone interested.  (Charley McNeill)

        That’s a strange taper.  Assuming the dimensions are right,  that’s a 0.079” step!  Even if you change station 30 to 0.174 to smooth the curve, you have a 0.027” step, still quite a bit.  When I look at the deflection of this rod, what strikes me is that virtually ALL the flex occurs in the area from station 15 to station 30, creating a very high stress peak at the ferrule.  Changing station 30 to 0.174” moves the stress peak away from the ferrule but it is still quite high.  It seems to me there must be some error in the numbers but also an odd design.  (Al Baldauski)

        Sounds peculiar to me, too.  There were numerous errors in...Tips and Tapers, but in reviewing my list of errata I don't find any mistakes listed for that taper.  I still think a straight line taper is fine for casting/spinning rods.  (Darrol Groth)


I just broke one of my graphite rods (haven't finished my first bamboo yet) and need a replacement. I was considering removing the reel seat and grip,  if possible, and putting them on a new blank. Any ideas of how to remove these parts without destroying them? Thanks!  (Nick Nasello)

    The reel seat can be removed by wrapping the butt of the rod in plastic, and immersing it in boiling water for several minutes, until the epoxy gets warm enough to release it's hold.

    The grip is probably a loss.  Cork is an outstanding insulator, so, while the above technique should work on it as well, it's almost impossible to get enough heat to penetrate through the cork.  If the graphite blank is trash, though, then you could try forcing some hot water, or steam, through the center of the blank.  That would be a bit more tricky, but should work as well. The release temperature is something in the range of 130 to 150 degrees F.  (Paul Gruver)

      Ah not all is lost! Once you get the reel seat off you can simply cut the graphite blank off flush with the cork, now you can use progressively larger drill bits or a rat tail file to enlarge the hole since the blank is hollow anyway.  Work slowly and carefully,  it can be done.

      Hope this works out for you. (Joe Arguello)

        I've done this a couple of times.  Did it once with a 2 weight, seat and cork are now on a South Bend cut down to 6'.   (Carey Mitchell)

    If it a store bought rod why don't you just send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement section or rod?  Most of them do have guarantees for this you know.  I was given 2 graphite rods from Orvis & both of those have broken & Orvis replaced them, one has been replaced 2 times.  (Bret Reiter)

    Assuming epoxy was used to glue the grip and/or seat, place the whole works in an oven at 250F and after several hours, the cork and the graphite blank will have passed enough heat through to the epoxy to soften it.  (Al Baldauski)

      I have been soaking my crab apple blanks I purchased from Ron Hossack in Minwax wood hardened. What I discovered is that that stuff will dissolve super glue and epoxy. Probably any other glue known to man. Ask me how I know.  (Phil Crangi)

    I use a heat gun. Take your time so not to scorch the wood. Wear leather gloves. Nickel silver gets hot to the touch!  (Timothy Troester)


I have a problem with an older (1983) rod that has developed a tacky butt. (I'll let that sink in for a moment.)

The varnish on the butt is just a little sticky.  No bag marks. Just kinda tacky.  It looks great to the eye, so I really don't want to have to strip and revarnish.  Particularly since the tips are perfect.  (Reed Guice)

    You could try rubbing it out (polish) like you would when finishing a rod. It seldom works though. I have found that once the varnish starts to "melt down" they usually need to be stripped and revarnished, especially so if it is a Heddon.  (Will Price)


I need to repair a broken tip for a friend and I haven't had any luck finding someone who sells a scarfing block for repairing breaks. Any suggestions for a supplier, or where I might find some good plans for making one will be appreciated.  (Steve Millsaps)

    Golden Witch offered scarfing blocks for sale a while ago.   (Vince Brannick)

      I think Jeff Wagner still does.  (Mark Wendt)

        Not sure that the Wagner scarfing block is for 'repair' splices. One of the ones in the Garrison book is for that, another for lengthening splines (or nodeless?) when necessary.   (Vince Brannick)

    Perhaps my memory is failing me here, but was there not a scarfing block tool detailed in the Garrison/Carmichael book?  (Peter McKean)

      Yes. pages 224 & 229.  (Don Schneider)

    Jeff Wagner has them.  (Rich Jezioro)

    The best repair type scarfing block plans I found was Tony Spezio's in Power Fibers #26. Wayne Cattanach's book has plans for a scarfing block and covers rod repair and Chris Bogart's nodeless rod building treatise also shows a splicing block, but that is more for nodeless rodbuilding. For repairs you need a longer scarf than what is used for nodeless.

    I built a scarfing block using Tony's article for inspiration. I did somethings a little different. I used a spade bit for the spring recess and cut a rabbet in one of the blocks at the scarfing angle to support the piece being planed. (Joe Hudock)

    Last I checked, Jeff Wagner was selling one designed to be used with a power tool (router? table saw?), with an instructional disc.  One of the guys on the list also makes scarfing blocks occasionally for sale.  (Steve Yasgur)


I recently acquired a bamboo rod which is very nice and is of some age and had been repaired in 1980.  BUT the female ferrules both have a rod broken off inside. Weird, it is strange but all matching rod three pieces are there and in good shape. The rod looks very nice until you try to put it together. Some kind of history there. Maybe a really big fish or a really angry fisherman's wife.  But why are the parts in good shape? And are the broken off pieces still there because attempts to remove them were unsuccessful?  Very Strange.

First thought was to just drill the pieces out, but I became concerned that I would damage the inside of the ferrules.  Since the rod was repaired in 1980,  the potential is that epoxy was used, rather than hide or other natural glue  which would be amenable to hot water. I can probably cook up some concoction to soften the glue, whatever it is, but at the danger of damaging the finish if I am sloppy. I would prefer not to revarnish, as the patina is beautiful.

Maybe a plastic or aluminum tool?  Thoughts?  (Dave Burley)

    I assume it is just bamboo broke off in the socket.  If you have a lathe, I think I would try making a hollow tube drill.  Using drill rod, bore a hole through the center to make a tube then file some small teeth on one end.  You can get drill rod in 64th size increments and you should be able to get a good match to the female socket diameter.  Sand and polish the o.d. so it is smooth and slightly undersized.

    Chuck up the section in the three jaw and the tube drill in the tail stock chuck.  Go slow.  (Rick Hodges)

    You could try drill a small hole into the broken off rod, screw a screw into the hole, lock the screw head in a vice or hold it with pliers, gently heat the ferrule as you pull against the screw.  (Steve Dugmore)

    I'm a bit confused here.  You say the rod is broken off inside the ferrules, but you're worried about damaging the finish?  And all the sections have their male ferrules intact?  (Mark Wendt)

      This was a huge brain fart, as I said the other day.  Sort of anxious exuberance, I guess.

      I got this old bamboo rod and the female ferrules were mysteriously plugged. In the room where I examined it that evening, the walls are a dark bamboo, sort of, colored and it was at night with incandescent light.  I tapped at the plug gently and it was hard, and looked like a dirty bamboo end and was rough like the end of a broken bamboo piece.  I tried doing nothing until I really understood, as I did not want to screw up the ferrules.  So, my first act that night was to ask the experts here and I wrote that request to Rodmakers and have received offers of much appreciated help and thoughtfulness.

      As I was responding here to Hal, I realized that what I was thinking made absolutely no sense unless someone had stuck a piece of bamboo in each ferrule and broken it off, which made even less sense.

      So, I took the rod outside in the daylight, and with a magnifying glass, I examined it carefully and poked at the stuff in the ferrule. It was hard. But in real light and in the daytime I realized it was grey, and not the color of dirty bamboo, which I guess was from reflection off  the walls and the lighting where I had first examined it.  I had been told it was found in an old barn. I've never seen such a thing, but I realized this was just barn dust/dirt and had hardened like concrete over the ages.

      So, emboldened by this observation session, I poked really hard and twisted with a small screwdriver and eventually broke through the crust.  Also, I guess whoever rebuilt the rod in 1980 had not polished down the male ferrules sufficiently, so they did not fit properly, further leading to my perception that there was something hard like a bamboo piece in the female ferrule.

      So, eventually some poking with the screwdriver, soap and water and paper towels followed by kitchen cleaner paste, I got all the dirt out and got it shined up. Now, I still have to get out the 800-1200 abrasive cloth and reduce those male ferrules a little and put a little oil on them. The rest of the rod is beautiful and I am anxious to get it fishable or hanging on the wall of my man cave as a reminder of the first time I ever made a mistake.  {8^)  (Dave Burley)

    I had been told it was found in an old barn. I've never seen such a thing, but I realized this was just barn dust/dirt and had hardened like concrete over the ages.

    It could have been mud dauber wasps too.  They like to fill up little holes with (guess what?) mud!  (Neil Savage)

    The first decision to make is whether or not to replace the ferrule sets with new better ferrules such as nickel silver. If you do then the issue is removing the male ferrules so you can start over. If you want to reuse the ferrules then the issue is getting the broken stubs out from inside the females. Usually the cane breaks off right at the end of the ferrule. One successful way to remove the stubs is to drill a small hole in the center of each stub being careful not to harm the ferrule wall. Then screw a sheet metal or wood screw carefully into the stub so that there is something to hold onto. Then make a split wooden clamp to hold onto the female ferrule and clamp it in a vise, heat and pull on the screw. Now note if it is an older rod there probably is no moisture seal inside the female ferrule so you can simply clamp the ferrule in a vise using a split wooden block, the warm up the ferrule and drive out the stub piece using a punch.  (Ray Gould)

      As Ray pointed out, some old ferrules do not have a moisture plug. So be sure you are not just seeing the end of the rod section through the open end of the ferrule.  (C. Scott Bennett)


I had a ferrule come off a rod and am trying to figure out how best to hide the repair without re-dipping the entire section.  How do you guys blend the old varnish and the new varnish of the repaired wrap?  Is there a way to wipe on spar varnish so that  you do not see a transition?

I am using Ace Spar varnish (which I am told that I can no longer get in Illinois due to environmental laws.  They can only sell what is left on the shelves).    (Matt Fuller)

    With coatings which are solvent based it is no real problem, as these layers blend. With a cured coating like varnish, especially an old varnish, you will likely get tattletale discolorations and layers.  Stripping and dipping only one section may not be an option, as the sections will be different colors. How important this is, I can't judge

    You can perhaps stain a new varnish (not easy to get an exact match, but maybe close enough) to match the old darkened varnish, if that is the case.

    Lightly sanding the whole section and dipping it is probably the least frustrating option, if you can't just do a small repair..You can always repeat this on the other sections to get a better match if you later choose to do so.  (Dave Burley)

    I think I am a little confused at your repair (insufficient caffeine in my system yet this morning)... if the ferrule came off, you're going to need to do a new ferrule wrap.  If you finish your ferrule wrap the same way you finished the other wraps on the rod, won't the repair area be hidden and you won't be faced with a redip?

    My confusion aside:  I use a rub/wipe-on spar varnish to blend the transition between the rod finish and the wrap finish.  After messing around with various drip/dip methods, I like the simplicity (and the look) of a low-gloss rub on spar.   I've taken this approach because I'm never quite happy with my skill/results in applying the wrap varnish to the margins of the wrap and having a nice clean line.

    If I were you, I'd give the rub/wipe-on a try, but I'd try a wipe on coat on the whole rod not just around your repair area.  If it doesn't work, then you're probably face with a re-dip. (Eric Koehler)

      Yes, I did rewrap.  Since I usually do all my wraps before dipping, I have never had to blend the transition from wrap to rod finish. 

      Is the rub/wipe concoction you use store bought or something homemade?  (Matt Fuller)

        OK, I'm with you.

        I used both store bought and homemade.  I'm currently using a store bought product.  It's OK, but I'm not 100% happy with it.  It's a little too glossy (though not a high gloss).  I'd tell you what it is, but I don't have the can in front of me right now (I'm at my office, my vanish isn't).

        Previously I used a product that Mike Brooks made called Mike's Stuff. That's been my favorite thus far. Unfortunately, Mike no longer ships the Stuff due to DOT/shipping requirements.

        In Todd's tips site I think there's a recipe for a homemade version of the Stuff that someone posted with Mike's permission, if I recall correctly.  I haven't tried it yet.

        Best of luck with the repair. (Eric Koehler)


I have been asked to repair a B James Avon, with a broken tip section, for a friend to give back to his father (70) who has just returned to fishing.

It was broken when his brother stepped on it.

Settled on making a new tip from scratch as I could not let the old fella down.

Problem is matching the color to the original butt. Whilst I am stripping the butt right back and most of the color difference is hopefully the aged varnish?

Still think the 'new' cane will require a bit of help in the color matching department.

May sound daft but I think I can control the gradual darkening with Tan shoe polish.  (Paul Johnson)

    I have matched color with heat treating. This may work for you. I had to make a butt section for an original Paul Young rod. Got a perfect match in color by heat treating a bit longer than I normally do. Scraped the enamel off a strip and kept checking till the color matched a bit lighter. Allowed a bit for the darkening of the varnish . Got a perfect match.

    I also did this with a couple of other rods that I made new sections.   (Tony Spezio)

    You could also you Fultz Browntoner to match the color.  It has worked for me in the past.  (Greg Reeves)

      Instead of using tan shoe polish, which contains wax, you could also use tan leather dye, which does not.  You local Tandy, or other leather craft store, can supply.  I think Tandy has an online presence as well.

      If it was me, though, I'd go with careful heat treating.  As the cane bakes, it darkens naturally, and you can cook cane to almost a chocolate brown without weakening it.  Just rough plane a few scraps, and cook them until you get the color you want.  Make a note of the time and temperature, and repeat that with the strips you intend to use.  Always prepare an extra strip, or two, etc., etc.  (Paul Gruver)

    The only sure way of darkening the new tip will be to use old time, tried and tested method of using potassium permanganate solution to darken the new cane.

    You can get this from any pharmacists/chemists as its used to treat foot problems. be careful when using it as it will stain everything. You just mix the powder with a little water and wipe it on the blank until the correct color is achieved.

    Tan shoe polish is a most definite no no as it won't hold and will not take varnish. (Paul Blakley)

      The cheapest place to get potassium permanganate is your local pet supplies shop. It's used to disinfect Koi carp tanks and in very dilute form to treat skin conditions on various "gold" fish. It's the same stuff but around ten times cheaper. Over here some chemists are reluctant to sell it as it is an extreme oxidant which has been used in bomb making. I mixed it up fairly weak, around 75% water to 25% crystals and rubbed on several coats to gradually achieve the color I wanted. Worked great. It goes on purple but turns brown in seconds. Wear surgical gloves.  (Simon Reilly)


So I was out fishing a three piece rod I made a while back that has a number of trips under its belt.  I noticed an occasional tick sound when casting it last week, not loud but noticeable to me.  I checked the ferrules and they seem to be secure and tight.  The tick sounded like it was resonating around the reel seat/grip area. At this point nothing seems to be loose or coming apart.  How do you locate a tick generator in a rod that you are evaluating or repair?  Do I just keep fishing the rod and wait for something to show up or fall off?  (Mike Monsos)

    I had an old Shakespeare that had a light tick in it. I found a small area that had started to delaminate. That was causing the tick. It was hard to find. After re gluing it, the tick stopped. Used pins to hold the area open to apply the glue.  (Tony Spezio)

    I have had good luck checking ferrules by holding onto the female and flexing the rod. Reel seats are a little harder for me. One time I finally figured out it was the reel. It was an old one! The foot was a little loose at the reel.  (David Dziadosz)


Last weekend I went to an estate auction and bought a 7 foot, 2 piece, 1 tip bamboo rod.  It has no markings on the rod shaft. The rod is fairly dark browntone and has very consistent color. It has a satin finish. When I got it home I measured it and ran the numbers through Hexrod and RodDNA. It's closely matches an Orvis Battenkill.

The guides had been rewrapped and the reel seat had been replaced. Original cork grip. The finish on the wraps are sloppy, varnish all over the rod shaft. The finish on the rod shaft is very smooth. Now, if this guy had refinished the rod when he rewrapped it, how the hell could he have gotten such a smooth finish on the rod and a sloppy finish on the wraps? Could it have been impregnated? If so, how do you clean off the wrap finish off of the impregnated shaft?

I've cleaned varnish off of old rods before and they were really smooth. Could he have taken the old finish off and not recoated it with varnish?  How can you  tell if an old rod has been impregnated? Would it matter if a coat of varnish is applied over impregnation? Just to be sure the rod has been sealed?  (David Dziadosz)

    I would not varnish the rod over the impregnation. Just polish it up after removing the bad wraps and redo the guide wraps.  (Gordon Koppin)

    When I got it home I measured it and ran the numbers through Hexrod and RodDNA. It's closely matches an Orvis Battenkill.

    It sounds like an Orvis kit rod, and that what you are looking at is an amateur finish. The ferrules should tell you if it's Orvis or not.  If it is, the rod is impregnated. Put a drop of water on it and see if it soaks in. You should be able to get the wraps off by cutting into them on top of the guide feet and pulling off the guides, then peeling off the remaining thread. Try to pop off any remaining varnish residue with a fingernail or a plastic scraper, if you have to, use a varnish remover and ultra fine steel wool.  (Tom Smithwick)

      Where might find some photos or information about the ferrules and or the guides/wraps? Will the varnish remover damage the impregnation?  (David Dziadosz)

        I don't think the varnish remover will hurt the impregnation, but don't leave it on any longer than you have too. This photo is what an authentic Orvis finish should look like, and the male ferrules. If you have a TU magazine around, they usually have a full length photo of an Orvis rod scrolling over the conservation projects section. This is all I have.  (Tom Smithwick)

          Any idea what shade of silk thread and finish they used? How about guide spacing? Or would it matter since it's already been taken away from original condition?  (David Dziadosz)

            I bought a bamboo rod book a few years ago and tucked in the pages was a pamphlet on building Orvis bamboo rod kits with guide spacing for all the rod kits. I'll dig it up and report back.  (Ken Paterson)

    It might have been an Orvis kit rod.  One way you might be able to tell if it is impregnated is to put it in a tube in the sun for an hour or so then smell open end. You can varnish either way.  (Scott Grady)


Site Design by: Talsma Web Creations

Tips Home - What's New - Tips - Articles - Tutorials - Contraptions - Contributors - Search Site - Contact Us - Taper Archives
Christmas Missives - Chat Room - Photo Galleries - Line Conversions - The Journey - Extreme Rodmaking - Rodmaker's Pictures - Donate - Store