Joined: 04 Mar 2008
Location: Lowcountry Ga.
Off topic for sure, but in the fly fishing world, this 7'9" for 5 wt. rod is equivalent to a 16 ga. 100 year old SXS in the hunting world. This is as close as I can get it to what this forum is about.
I retired September 28th and hit the ground running in Blue Ridge, Ga., Monday October 1 through the 6th, for Bill Oyster's course. I have for decades been hankering to make a split cane rod, but never got the round 'toit. I've had the cane, planes, forms, etc. for over 15 years but didn't feel comfortable getting it out of books so when my wife offered me a fishing trip getaway, I opted for the course instead. He's been teaching bamboo fly rod building for over 20 years and has never had a participant fail to complete the rod. He and his protege, Riley, are talented and levelheaded and show one how to do it and supervise the 8 participants from beginning to end. We flamed the raw cane, split it, straightened and flattened nodes, planed the strips and glued and rolled them up, sanded, wrapped on the guides with silk thread, coated the thread wraps. The sections were given three coats of dipped varnish with sanding and steel wooling in between coats. We had previously mounted ferrules and turned the grips on small lathes with sandpaper. It took several days before the strips resembled something that could be made into rods. It's boot camp fast, but progress to the next step is not faster than the slowest (me) maker, with long hours, but at the end, one has a rod. The youngest participant ever was 10, his son; the oldest, 87. Participants are given the choice of line weight and length. Folks from all over the world attend. I was hoping to baptize the rod near Brevard, N.C., this weekend with my daughter Julia on our annual trout trip, but Michael has something to say about that. Gil
Each culm is 12’ long. The culm is cut into two 6’ lengths and split in half lengthways. We flamed the two pieces outside which changes the color from straw to honey brown, to black depending on the time spent flaming, scraping and sanding. Here are my two pieces, one from the bottom of the stalk for the butt section and the top of the stalk for the tip.
The halves are split into as many .25” sections as possible. I was able to get 9 out of each piece and we picked the best 6 for the tip and butt. Here are the strips position for inner node removal.
Here the unflappable and talented Bill Oyster is demonstrating heating the nodes with a alcohol lamp to straighten the sections for running through a specialized router which speeds up rod making otherwise we’d have had to have planed them to rough shape before tapering.
Butt strips completed; hand planing gave me more trouble than it did the rest of the class. I got to sit in a corner with my nose to the wall.
Here's close-up of the cut-off piece between the rod sections. It's from the butt section and is about .375" across the flats. The darkerpower fibers are in about an 1/8" from the outside inwards. Every effort is made not to compromise or thin the outer portion. The white area is the pith which adds weight and nothing else. Advanced techniques of rod building eliminate as much pith as possible. Tonkin cane is the only cane used in rod construction. It grows in about a 40 square mile area in China and is cultivated and not Panda food. It's primary use is for Asian skyscraper scaffolding which is lashed together. It's tough stuff. Oyster does a video demonstration of him jumping up and down with his booted heels on a butt section (his wife's rod) to no ill effect. Try that with graphite. Not to say the rod can't be broken by over flexing the tip. Each of the six strips of cane have a cross section of an equilateral triangle.
Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Location: Kansas High Plains
Beautiful rod; great job! Congrats!
_________________ I feel a warm spot in my heart when I meet a man whiling away an afternoon...and stopping to chat with him, hear the sleek lines of his double gun whisper "Sixteen." - Gene Hill, Shotgunner's Notebook
Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Location: canandaigua - western n.y. (formerly deerhunter)
many moons ago when I 1st started at Kodak , a few of us were trading / bying bamboo's . My GL had a Cortland and he was thinking of buying a 6' Orvis I believe . We were at a honey hole trying them and a trout got hot maybe 25-30' below Charlie . Put a dry right on it's nose , set the hook - SNAP . Rod broke right at the base a couple inches above the handle . We laughed ssoo hard !! 7'' brookie . When he took the rod back to Don , Don was pi***d , but was able to get a new bottom ... His comment was that you could always tell Charlie's fish on a stringer because they were always CROSS EYED !! ...Nice build by the way . Wish I still had the patience !
Beautiful stuff. Larry showed me his split cane fly rods at the MN Fly Fishing Expo a couple of years ago -- beautiful pieces of material and workmanship. He also taught me to cast with one of his rods to show how different a split cane rod is from the modern stuff. This old technology still has great capability and gives a very satifying feeling. I have neither bought nor built one of these rods. That was my only contact with Donahe. I'm not getting paid to plug his products -- just testifying to their beauty and function. If I had the time, I'd make one at Donahe's place.
Joined: 18 Jun 2004
Location: thick and uncivilized places in the Allegheny Mts.
Wow Gil, you really impressed me. Great looking rod. And congrats on the retirement. Since I retired I can't find enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. Hope you have the same problem.
_________________ Going into coverts becomes less a chase with the sole purpose of killing; it remains important to find game but the gratification-and I keep coming back to that word-is in the beauty of finding it. George Bird Evans A Dog, A Gun, And Time Enough.
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