Bamboo Fly Fishing Rods built in Baltimore, Maryland III, Hon

Not much progress to report on the rod this week because I just got back from a week in the wilds of western North Carolina. I fished a little bit while I was down there but many of the streams I saw were low and warm and the ones that weren’t low turned in to a river of clay-colored slurry as soon as anyone even mentioned rain. I realized how spoiled I am with the Gunpowder River just a 30 minute drive from my house in Baltimore City. Even after a heavy rain the upper river is never more than slightly off-color and the cold water has held out year after year. What a incredible resource this river is! Well, enough about all that.

Tapers, Tapers, Tapers...

I mentioned in my last post that I’d talk about some of the tools bamboo rod makers use. So far the pictures have shown my Milwaukee heat gun and wood worker’s vise. Pretty boring stuff. This week we’ll check out my router powered beveler. This is a serious tool! It’s a home made version of a beveler designed by another rod maker named named Al Medved. As you can tell from the pictures the router mounts horizontally and the bamboo is fed through an adjustable wooden bed that sits below the blade. The bed holds the bamboo at the right angle as it goes through the beveler.
Bevelers save timeThe beveler helps save time and a lot of hand planing by cutting the initial 60 degree angle in each strip. How much time? About 5 hours worth of planing and about 30 minutes of blade sharpening. Aside from my home-made lathe this is the only power tool I use in the construction of my flyrods. Everything else is done by hand. All of the primary and final planing of each strip is done one strip at a time with my trusty Stanley #9 1/2 black plane which is about 50 years old. In my next post we’ll check out the most important tool for making bamboo planing form.
Still straightening,