I’m way overdue for an update on the rod so here goes…
Since my last post I’ve run the individual strips (18 in all) through the router-powered beveler, which cuts the initial 60 degree angle into each strip. Then I started working on the tip sections. The tip strips were further straightened and I scraped off the layer of enamel that covers the outside of the bamboo. Taking off the enamel is one of my favorite parts of rod building because it’s the first time I get to see the true color of the bamboo as it will look on the finished rod. It’s like opening a present!.
Then I adjusted the screws on the planing form to the proper taper dimensions and started to hand plane each strip to within .030 in. (thirty thousandths of an inch) of the final taper. A little more very delicate straightening preceded final planing which was completed Monday night. Now the tips are ready to glue. Tonight I’ll re-set the planing form to the dimensions for the butt section and start planing the rough taper. I’ll plane the butt section to final dimensions and I’ll be gluing up the blank Saturday morning. By Sunday night I’ll have the rod sections cut to proper length and the ferrules installed. Then I’ll adjust the fit of the ferrules, assemble the rod sections and give it the wiggle test for the first time. If I’m feeling like a really huge nerd I’ll tape on the guides, tip top, reel seat and grip and go outside and cast it for the first time and the neighbors will look at me funny.
Being that I’m smack in the middle of final planing I thought your readers might like to learn a little about the tools I’m using to do it.
The planing form and Stanley #9 1/2 low-angle plane that are the meat and potatoes of bamboo rod making.
The planing form is an adjustable “jig” that is made of 2 bars of cold rolled steel. The bars each measure 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 6′ and are held together with a number of smooth, steel pins, each spaced 5″ on center. At each pin are two adjustment screws, one on either side, which may be adjusted to either enlarge or reduce the space between the two bars. One set pulls the bars together the other pushes them apart. A finely milled 60 deg. groove runs the length of the bars along the inside edges where the two bars meet. To create the groove the edges of each bar are chamfered at a 30 deg. angle which combine to create a 60 deg. groove. The groove is also tapered so that it is deeper on the “near” side and shallower on the “far” side. The planing form has two of these carefully milled grooves, on on the top (butt side) and one on the bottom (tip side). The groove on the tip side is much smaller than the one on the butt side. By opening or closing the gap between the two bars you can change the taper along the length of the form. I use a dial indicator micrometer with a 60 deg. contact point to measure the depth of the groove at each 5″ “station” where very precise adjustments to the taper can be made. By following a taper “recipe” I can adjust my planing form to reproduce nearly any bamboo rod taper (fly rods, spinning rods or casting rods).
Next time-the joys of urea-formaldehyde epoxy resin!