Bamboo Tips - Tips Area
Splitting - Gloves

< Home < Tips Area < Splitting < Gloves


Well, last night I had my first minor injury (only bled for ten minutes) No not the blood and gore type injury that so many of you have reported, so yes some of you may be disappointed!  But since this was my first injury AND also my first attempt at splitting bamboo it was a happy cut.  I guess that taking off the gloves was a bad decision. LOL

I’m looking forward to more of these minor cuts and scrapes.  (John Freedy)

    I can't stand gloves, so far I have been cut a number of times on my first rod. Most of them have been on the fingertips while repositioning my hands along the strip in the form.  The rest are from slips while splitting. I keep telling myself that this is like cutting razors with razors. The first bad one is like David Carradine in Kung fu carrying the red hot urn on his forearms. Bear the scars with pride.  (Shane Pinkston)

      Suggestions... somehow it seems I've been deemed the Prince of Pain, King of Calamity, so I've got these bamboo cuts down to an art.  First, keep a roll of sterile gauze, a tube of Triple Antibiotic and a roll of electrical tape handy.  The electrical tape will stretch and move with your hand or finger and not come loose, so you can just bandage up and keep on working.  Another little trick, but I wouldn't suggest anyone else doing this, is super glue.  Just squeeze a drop of super glue in a cut and hold the cut together for a bit.  Just like cyanoacrylic stitches.  It doesn't work so well on places that have a lot of stress on them, like elbows or beer bellies (don't ask how, but yes, I tried it on my belly once... it will NOT withstand the bounce), but it will do well on the palm of a hand, a finger, etc.  One last thing, common white flour is great to stop bleeding.  No, I don't keep a bag of Pillsbury Self Rising on the bench, but the shop is close enough to the kitchen that I can get to it quickly if I have a cut that won't stop bleeding with pressure applied.

      By the way, everyone always asks "What good does flaming do?"  Well, after a few hundred cuts and splinters, you'll understand that we flame rods so that we can find the splinters easier!  NO OTHER REASON! *S*   (Bob Nunley)

        Pillsbury is great if your objective is to prepare finger sandwiches but we in the practice of emergency  medicine recommend direct pressure.  (Mike Brown)

      Try using rubber finger cots that are used to count money or page thru reams of papers. You can purchase them at any office supplies store. I have been using them for years with very few cuts but extreme control over the bamboo.  (Jack Follweiler)

        The finger cots are a very good way to not only protect the fingers, but also to help hold down the bamboo strip when in the form. It takes much less finger pressure to hold the strip.  (Martin-Darrell)

        If I understand the situation, the reputation is somewhat well deserved...  ;^}  Actually, super glue, or Cyanoacrylate glue was originally developed by Kodak for eye surgery, and was adapted by the military for quick wound closure.  The trick to using the glue for wounds is to use a very small amount, just enough to close the wound.  The glue kicks off by a combination of moisture and the absence of air.  Since wounds tend to be moist (think flowing blood in Sir Robert's case), the adhesive will kick off pretty quick.  If you're not that familiar with the super glues, when a quantity kicks off, they generate "smoke".  Guess what generates smoke?  Heat!  Yup, you can actually get burned from the heat generating reaction of the glue kicking off.    I've been using the CA glues for years making model aircraft, and have used all kinds of CA - thick, thin, medium, jelly.  (Mark Wendt)

          I  believe that the cyanoacrylates in use as general adhesives are polymers, whereas those developed and used as tissue support in surgery are monomers. The monomeric molecular structure makes for easier metabolism, lower tissue toxicity, and incidentally a lot lower level of stability - the surgical product is freezer storage once opened, refrigerator before.  (Peter McKean)

            I think the monomer is the liquid form. CA adhesives polymerize after deployment. The main difference in the surgical cyanoacrylics is that they are sterile. The processing to make a sterile product is what drives the cost up. Regardless of the level of polymerization these adhesives are foreign bodies and are prone to infection if buried, either soon after surgery or later if there is a bacteremia (such as after dental work). Thus, when you use them on skin you want to keep them on the surface and not down into the wound. There is likely an eventual absorption as even with the polymers you will see related products (radionuclide tracking) in the urine. I don't know how long this would be. In surface wounds, if the CA is down in the lower tissue levels, they will often get infected and then extruded from the abscess. I have used them on wounds and for sclerotherapy in injection of thoracic ducts but am not an expert on surgical adhesive use.  (Jon McAnulty)

          As a newcomer, I have struggled with the cuts and slivers, and the search for a reasonable level of protection.  I finally settled on wearing a left and right handed golf glove (on the appropriate hand, naturally).  They are extremely flexible and I am on my third rod without showing much in the way of wear. No cuts or slivers, but they do have a drying effect on my finger tips (perhaps being 64 has more to do with it than the gloves).  (Don Bugg)

            I hate wearing gloves but some times it is necessary. I have settled on some cheap, really cheap, thin cotton gloves with a very thin rubberized coating that cost about .39 each at the local hardware store. I go through the bin and pick out some that fit. The bamboo won't slip through your hands with these on. My favorite. I can still feel. (Timothy Troester)

            I  should really mention before we all lose interest in this thread, that if the major source of cuts in your operation is slippage of the strips during planing, resulting in cuttage, swearage, and bleedage,  you can avoid the problem, as many of us do, by using a clamp to hold the end of your bamboo strip firmly while planing.

            This has the  added advantage of freeing up both hands for the operation of planing, which  tends to both give better control and to save you from the physical distortion involved in the right hand plane/left hand hold orthodoxy.

            Some (see Carsten's web site) use over-center camming type clamps, while some more primitive types like me just use a plastic spring clamp. You will notice that the real bamboo aristocracy, those who use Morgan mills, are not seen to be doing any  cross-handed plane and hold thing, but have their strips screwed down. That would probably be an option for the proletariat as well, but it seems to me that a clamp is simpler and a good deal more democratic!

            To enlarge just a wee bit here, what I  do is to position the clamp  about a foot down the strip, plane from the butt to a point nearly at the clamp, leave the plane sit, remove the clamp, reposition it at the butt position and continue the stroke of the plane. Sounds complicated, but it really is not. It becomes second  nature,  and gives you a killer handshake!

            I don't suppose that you can do this  at all if you don't raise your forms, as I do, about 3" from your bench top on a   couple of wooden blocks. This simple act of raising the forms has so many advantages that you will wonder how you ever managed without doing it.  (Peter McKean)

              Peter forgot one thing: real men uses bench planes for final planing. Four pounds of plane flying low on top of the splits makes for real straight planing. And Peter, whaddaya mean with "aristocrats uses MHM´s"  Only wimps use machinery for planing. (And sometimes it would be nice to be just a tad whimpish.)

              Seriously: using clamps or other methods for holding down the strips in order to use both hands for planing, no matter what type of plane You use, makes for better planed strips. I have for years recommended bench planes for straighter planed strips, in which more and more members agree with me. Give it a chance. If nothing else, ask a professional carpenter if he would use a Stanley 9 1/2 for planing a 4 feet long board. Be prepared to be laughed at.  (Carsten Jorgensen)

                I use 3 sizes of bench planes for planing, a 4 and 3 for rough planing and a 3 and 2 for final planing. In searching for information on bench planes I found that block planes were made to plane end grain, and bench planes were made to plane sides with the grain. Seems to me that the way we plane bamboo most closely matches planing with the grain in wood. I also agree that using two hands no matter what type of plane, 9 1/2 or bench, is a lot easier. Using a clamp to hold the strip also avoids the strip slipping in the form and the cuts you get from that. I'm sold on bench planes for rodmaking, I don't use my 9 1/2s any more.  (Darryl Hayashida)

              Good advice Peter. I forgot to jump in last week and second the recommendation of the $4 Atlas rubber coated work gloves from Home Depot or MSC. I use one the left hand and hold down the cane after using a clamp for most of the big tapering with the bench planes.  I don the other glove to rough strips in the beveller or to pull strips from the oven. They give dexterity far superior to leather at a good price, last long, and they are more breathable.  (Bob Maulucci)

              I do pretty much the same thing.  Question for you, when the strip starts getting almost level with the forms, do you do anything to keep the strip held in place under the clamp?  I've been using a strip of that non-slip shelf liner material under the strip.  I use the clamps that look like the grip exerciser too.  Pretty soon I'll have the strongest wrists in Maryland.... (Mark Wendt)

              As I lost my right hand fingers in a corn picker 30 odd years ago I found that I could hold the strip in the form by pressing an eraser on the strip with my right paw and planing with my left hand. Of course I now use a Morgan Mill but I find I have to hand plane my finer strips as the mill tends to deform the  strips that are below .040" dimensions.

              Just thought the eraser trick might work for some of the "newbies".  (Hank Woolman)

                Since my "happy cut"  I've went to Menards and got two pairs of gloves.  I spotted some of those yard/gardening gloves with the latex coated fingers. These worked out great for both protection and gripping the bamboo.  By the way I've made it through the splitting, node work, and into the rough planing without any more injuries.  The roughing went good with real 60 degree angles being formed.  (John Freedy)

                Very good tip Hank. I used that as well, but know I use a rubberized glove or clamp because I kept dropping the eraser!  (Bob Maulucci)

    I'm working on my first rod to, don't care much for gloves either. Bamboo cuts through skin like a hot knife through butter. I  took a cheap pair of leather works from Ace Hardware $3.00 and cut the fingers off, kind of awkward but it works. Also, since the gloves were already cut up, I cut a square out of the palm, that I will lay across the section and forms so you can hold with more than finger tips.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      Duct tape will also protect your fingers.  Great for saltwater fishing also to protect your fingers from line burns.  Get in the habit of lifting your fingers, rather than sliding them along the bamboo.  (Ted Knott)

      I recommend the single glove approach. I use my non-dominate hand, gloved to handle bamboo while my dominate hand is free to feel the bamboo through the plane. This also allows for measuring tools to be handled accurately with the dominate hand. The gloves get cut up and I don't have any one inch duct so I use electrical tape. The one thing I had to train my fingers not to do was test the strip in the form by dragging my finger on top of it. It really never helped but did cause the majority of my cuts.   I was giving a demo on splitting to Trout Unlimited and warned them about how sharp bamboo was . True , I was nervous and I did have one glove on but I cut myself between fingers lightly. I haven't cut myself in about 10 rods. 

      I have never cut myself seriously - like paper cuts - good luck and avoid those cuts.   (Rich McGaughey)

      I think you'll find you get most cuts when the plane iron is not sharp as you'll find yourself having to hold the strip tighter and tighter until sooner or later the plane iron becomes more dull than you have strength to hold the strip and it'll slip and you'll get cut.

      Keeping the iron sharp is the best bet over all.

      As far as splitting goes, use the Bob Nunley method best explained by Peter McKean.  (Tony Young)

    If you keep at this long enough, your hands will become so rough and tough that you won't even notice those cuts anymore. Of course my wife won't let me touch with these rough and tough hands. It's two blessings in one!  (Jeff Fultz)

    I've found that thin calfskin work gloves (bought mine at CostCo) are better for me than the rubber finger cots. The cots made my fingers sweat in the summer and be cold in the winter (I make rods in an unheated/uncooled garage). I've built four rods since I started using the gloves and my mileage is two rods per pair. Try to find a size that has a snug fit.  (Sixto Saez)

    I use a rubber coated glove by Atlas, blue color. Have used them for construction work, only glove that fits nicely (has knit backing for ventilation). You can pull a single 16 penny nail from your pouch without any problem. They're great for bamboo work as the dexterity is excellent, and durability is high. I get mine from True Value Hardware store, for around $4.00/pair.  (Chad Wigham)


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