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The steel supplier here on the Isle of Man will only supply me 3 meter lengths which means  I would have to buy 6 meters (20 feet) to build a 6 ft form. At £60 + 17 1/2 % tax, this is a bit rich for me as this will be my first attempt at rodmaking.

My question is can I get away with just 3 meters,  i.e. 1.5 meters  that's 4 foot 11 inches forms? What limitations will this create? One last thing would you recommend EN1A over cold-rolled steel?  (Mark Johnson)

    Check out Don Schneider’s article. Great plans for wood forms, less expensive and easier to make.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      This is good advice. If you are unsure if you will continue to make bamboo rods, make a wood or aluminum form. You will be able to make at least a few rods on it. If you groove the sole of your plane and are careful planing, you might not ever need the steel forms.  (Darryl Hayashida)

        It's strange but if you use wooden adjustable forms you tend to not gouge them after a couple of rods. Any high spots are removed by then and because you plane to the surface and stop once the bamboo is at the same level and assuming you mic the strips the forms don't get nearly as much wear and tear as you might think. Also, if you do happen to plane the form being wood you wont chip the plane iron.

        Wood is a good material for forms.  (Tony Young)

    My steel form is 5'-0" and has worked fine for two piece rods up to and including an 8'-6" rod.  (Will Jette)

    Use Aluminum, it's easier to cut , drill and groove and the length you require will cost about £35.I have a set that has produced well in excess of a hundred rods (not all by me I should add) and they are still useable today.  (Paul Blakley)

    Look for an online source.  My two 6 foot lengths of EN1A cost me about £20 and I would have thought postage to the IOM would be about £10  (but I may of course be wildly wrong!).  If you decide to go the steel route rather than the wood or Aluminum alternatives then feel free to contact me and I'll let you have some more details of my "fun with files".  (Gary Marshall)


I have acquired metal for making a planing form. I could only for the time being get metal to make a planing form of 59 inches. Just short of 5 feet.

My questions:

1) Would it hamper my process badly? [Is it too short?]

2) As I'm looking at Thomas Penrose's process in making the planing form, could some one suggest a] amount of stations to place on this size, b] distance for these stations apart.

Penrose use 15 stations and spaces them 5 inches apart.  (Durick Schonfeldt)

    No, the size of the form is fine.  You can build up to a 9' two piece rod.

    I'd put the first station at 2" and every 5" thereafter.  This will give you 12 stations with 2" at each end.  (Ron Larsen)

    The first set of forms I made are 52" long.  I have ten stations with 1" at each end. I have made 8' rods on this form.  (Tony Spezio)


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