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Rule

I like taking absolute truisms and trying them out  - or debunking them if you want to call it that.

A couple of years ago I tested the "can't plane the power fibers" truism and found that planing all the way up to .010 from the enamel side made no discernible difference to the strength, flex characteristics or anything except the appearance - which improved because a lot of the blemishes and watermarks don't go that deep. It's also a way to straighten out nodes without having to heat and press them.

Nodes near the ferrule - what's wrong with that? Nodes are stiffer and for all I've seen stronger than the rest of the bamboo. In fact if you put a node right where the ferrule ends you won't get a "casting fracture" in the wrap - because the node doesn't flex as much and doesn't flex the wrap as much. There is a longer stiff section with the node and the ferrule, so you have to decide if it's worth it.

You already know I use bench planes to rough plane, and without a roughing form. Use your final planing forms, they do just fine. What was that 57 degree starting angle thing of Garrisons?

Flamed blonde rods? Isn't that an oxymoron? Not if you only flame the inside of a halved culm. No oven needed.

Keep your bamboo dry - a lot of the rodmakers on this list soak the bamboo before planing either on a Morgan handmill or conventionally.

Glues - what a lot of differing opinions there. I've even tried Elmer's white glue, and that rod hasn't failed yet.

Dipping a rod - Instead of drawing the rod out, drain the varnish. End result is the same.

Other things that go against convention - two strip quads?  Twisted spiraled rods?  (Darryl Hayashida)

    Nodes near ferrules?  This sounds interesting.  Have you tried this, if so how are the characteristics of the rod changed.

    Defeating fractures at the female ferrule are a prime concern of mine.  (Steve Trauthwein)

      I couldn't agree more. That rule of "don't put a node within 6" of the ferrule or tip top" is one of those rules that Leonard, Heddon, FE Thomas, Edwards and Granger  didn't follow.  (Marty DeSapio)

    I don't heat and press the nodes. Maybe they did and it weakens them? Just speculating....

    What I am saying about soaking strips is it greatly reduces the effort to plane,  straighten,  or press nodes  (if that's what you do). I soak my strips, and I really can't see why everybody doesn't do it also. Keeping your cane dry was a truism that I tested. 

    When "wet" planing, you leave the strips 10 to 20 percent oversized, dry them in a drying cabinet and take a pass or two with a plane when they are dry.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    I soak my strips for 24 hours prior to planing untapered strips.  Once the strips are removed from the water, they dry VERY quickly so I only take one out at a time. It is not recommend to plan wet strips to final taper because of shrinkage. Wet strips cut like butter. Once I have all strip planed to a 60, I bind and then heat treat. Works Great. Try it.  (Paul York)

    When I first got into rod rebuilding, I started with sections I'd picked up at flea-markets.  My thinking was "each section contained a total amount of power fibers.  If I needed to reduce a taper I could remove a percent of power fibers from the outside and still have the same amount of power fibers as the target taper."   For example If I had a 9 foot 8 wt mid section with (this is just some numbers for this example, folks.  not an actual count of anything.) 1000 power fibers  and wanted to make a 7½ foot 5 wt.  with 800 power fibers in it, I could remove 200 power fibers from the outside without going below the original 7½ foot rods 'strength'."

    I tested this theory and found that it will indeed work.  However you just can't just remove power fibers from the outside of a rod and expect it to perform.   My first rod broke on my first few casts.   It became apparent that I was going to have to modify the target taper.  (I later repaired this rod and It's the one I was using when I caught the 4 pound. bass.)

    There are two caveats:  First, I really don't know how many "power fibers" are in each section.  Because bamboo is a natural fiber, each section will have a different count from the next.   However, most rods are made with more than enough power fibers for the section.  Most makers recommend at least as much power fibers as you can get.   100% for the tip section and as close to 100% as you can get for a butt section.   I believe that most rods have more than enough depth of power fibers for some "slight" modification.

    Second, the best power fibers are closest to the outside.  Removing them takes a greater percent of power away from the rod, than removing those below it.   So in my above example, I would want to remove less than (200 power fibers) to attain the same strength in my section as the target section had.

    How to do this became the question.   I've come up with two simple answers.

    First method:  Remove between 1/2 and 2/3 the difference between the tapers.  (If has a diameter of .130  and the other has a diameter of .100 I'd aim for .115   or .110 depending on the rod, my gut feeling and the time of day!!!  (Just kidding about the time of day.)

    Second method:  Add one .001 to the taper for each 5 inch station

    • .066  tip remains .066
    • .074 becomes  .075
    • .089 becomes .091
    • and so on.

    If you think about it there are limitations to each.   However I've made several rods that are fairly nice casting tools, so far.  I'm still learning the limitations of all this, but most of my failures haven't been because of over stressed bamboo.   They've been things like bad ferrule seating, poor choice of rod sections, etc.

    Remember, the best power fibers are along the outside of the culm.   In some cases they stop rather abruptly,

    but on most bamboo they become further apart and fatter as you get to the center.     Remove less rather then more to get your desired result...

    Glues - what a lot of differing opinions there. I've even tried Elmer's white glue, and that rod hasn't failed yet.  I've used Elmer’s to repair some section and they seem to be holding nicely.

    I like to experiment,   I'm glad you do too.   You do a lot of original stuff.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

Rule

I like taking absolute truisms and trying them out  - or debunking them if you want to call it that.

  • A couple of years ago I tested the "can't plane the power fibers" truism and found that planing all the way up to .010 from the enamel side made no discernible difference to the strength, flex characteristics or anything except the appearance - which improved because a lot of the blemishes and watermarks don't go that deep. It's also a way to straighten out nodes without having to heat and press them.
  • Nodes near the ferrule - what's wrong with that? Nodes are stiffer and for all I've seen stronger than the rest of the bamboo. In fact if you put a node right where the ferrule ends you won't get a "casting fracture" in the wrap - because the node doesn't flex as much and doesn't flex the wrap as much. There is a longer stiff section with the node and the ferrule, so you have to decide if it's worth it.
  • You already know I use bench planes to rough plane, and without a roughing form. Use your final planing forms, they do just fine. What was that 57 degree starting angle thing of Garrisons?
  • Flamed blonde rods? Isn't that an oxymoron? Not if you only flame the inside of a halved culm. No oven needed.
  • Keep your bamboo dry - a lot of the rodmakers on this list soak the bamboo before planing either on a Morgan handmill or conventionally.
  • Glues - what a lot of differing opinions there. I've even tried Elmer's white glue, and that rod hasn't failed yet.
  • Dipping a rod - Instead of drawing the rod out, drain the varnish. End result is the same.
  • Other things that go against convention - two strip quads?  Twisted spiraled rods?  (Darryl Hayashida)

    Nodes near the ferrule sounds interesting. Have you tried this, if so how are the characteristics of the rod changed.

    Defeating fractures at the female ferrule are a prime concern of mine.  (Steve Trauthwein)

      I couldn't agree more. That rule of "don't put a node within 6" of the ferrule or tip top" is one of those rules that Leonard, Heddon, FE Thomas, Edwards and Granger  didn't follow.  (Marty DeSapio)

    The only cane rods that ever broke on me were near the ferrule, and where there was a node. Two. A Leonard 38 that was post fire, and a 1928 EW Edwards flamed rod. In one case the bottom of the mid and the other the bottom of the tip. So I do think about that.

    About keeping your bamboo dry. Does that mean you think there is a potential/actual loss of strength in soaking cane. I heard that the Winston strips are at least damp, and I work my 8 foot Glen Brackett as hard as I like.  (Sean McSharry)

      I don't heat and press the nodes. Maybe they did and it weakens them? Just speculating....

      What I am saying about soaking strips is it greatly reduces the effort to plane, straighten, or press nodes (if that's what you do). I soak my strips, and I really can't see why everybody doesn't do it also. Keeping your cane dry was a truism  that I tested.   (Darryl Hayashida)

        Using your post to ask a general question to those who soak their strips. Do you guys do this for planing to final dimensions or just for the initial rough planing? If you soak them for planing to final dimensions, how do you account for the size changes (shrinkage) that occur when you dry them out again?  (Jon McAnulty)

          I soak my strips for 24 hours prior to planing untapered strips. Once the strips are removed from the water, they dry VERY quickly so I only take one out at a time. It is not recommend to plan wet strips to final taper because of shrinkage. Wet strips cut like butter. Once I have all strip planed to a 60, I bind and then heat treat. Works Great- Try it.  (Paul York)

          You leave them 10 to 20 percent oversized, dry them in a drying cabinet and take a pass or two with a plane when they are dry.  (Darryl Hayashida)

Rule

I have a question about power fibers and cutting into them; Once you have split the culm and start final planing to taper, doesn't the plane cut the power fibers? Essentially you are making the strip narrower at one end, to get there aren't the fibers cut?  (Pete Van Schaack)

    Welcome to reality Peter.  Cutting power fibers is "another old wives tale" of rod building.  Every tapered rod has CUT power fibers.    Todd, maybe we need a section on your tips site on questionable practices.  weak nodes/strong nodes.  Press/don't press, burn the sucker up/don't use any heat.  Not Tonkin/no good,  etc.  (Ralph Moon)

      Yeah, Ralph.  Like Tony Spezio said, we all do things the way that works for us and share it.  It may or may not work for anyone else, but if it works for somebody, isn't the end result what we're looking for?

      Seems like I've heard someone say..."We're just making fishing poles here"...more than once on the list.

      Who can build a rod without a mica strip oven, right?   ;^)  (Todd Talsma)

        Here's another one! "Nodes too close to the tip top and ferrules"  (Marty DeSapio)

Rule

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