My first Bamboo rod semi-build

Well I am going to have a reason to legitimately use this section of WFF not just lurk.
A friend is going to build a bamboo blank for me to finish.
It will be a Lyle Dickerson 8013 taper. It is a 8' 5wt 2 piece w/extra tip.
The rod will have the nickle silver ferrules already fitted.
After I get the rod handle done, guides wrapped and the wraps finished Jeff will let me dip the rod at his workshop so I get a good finish.
I have done some research on Dickerson and his work, he was kind of a loner in the upper mid-west. I read that many of the best builders were in the Adirondacks, and associated with one another but Dickerson was not a part of that group.
His rods were very plain with brown wraps tipped in black. Some historians said that Lyle was himself a very plain sort of guy and did not build rods with anything other than what was necessary. Some had small black wraps on the lower part of the butt section.
The 8013 was considered to be a fast action 5wt rod compared to other bamboo tapers.
Some of the original 8013 rods, there are not many, had a tiger striped flamed finish so I will have my blank flamed to match.
The original rods had a downlocking reel seat and a cigar grip.
I think that I am going to try and be as faithful to the original that Dickerson designed and built.
I am excited to get the blank. Jeff said that it will be a month before it is done. He has built nearly 50 rods but it is a hobby so he works at it around his full time job and family responsibilities.
If any of you veteran builders and collectors have any Dickerson info or If I have some of my information wrong please chime in. One the things I like about bamboo is the history and stories of the builders from yeasteryear as well as today.
Your choice of a Dickerson rod is a good one. Dickersons are fast-action rods that you'll really like if you're used to fishing graphite. I made an 8015 Guide Special and an 8014 Guide several years ago, and really liked them for fishing in Puget Sound. These rods were actually designed for fishing from canoes on rivers in Michigan like the Au Sable. A stiff, fast action rod is needed to pick up a bunch of line and make a long cast before the boat passes likely holding water.

There is a short article on Dickerson that gives you a sense of his work. . There is also an out-of-print book about him, and I actually found copies for sale on Amazon

Keep us posted on your progress!

Thanks Tom so do I have the designation wrong I said 8013 is it 8015? See I told you I am a rank beginner at this.
I will look for the book.
Jesse, I'm sure your blank is really an 8013. Dickerson's model numbers consist of a rod length and a ferrule size, so your rod is 8' with a 13/64th inch ferrule. There are a lot of variables to consider in determining the best line weight for a bamboo rod, but a 13/64th inch ferrule typically translates to a 5-weight or 6-weight.

I was talking about the rods I made, which used a 14/64th ferrule (8014) and a 15/64th ferrule (8015). The 8014 works best with a 6-weight or 7-weight, and the 8105 Guide Special likes a 7 or 8-weight.



Love vintage graphite!
A friend of mine knows the guy down in CA that bought a lot of the stuff from the original Dickerson shop, including the beveler/taper machine. My friend went down to his shop and made detailed measured drawings of Dickerson's beveler and, subsequently, reproduced this machine for his own shop. I hope to have another exact duplicate (less the tapering feature) for my own shop soon. While he was there he also had the opportunity to measure several unvarnished blanks that Dickerson had made and compared them to the taper. He told me that it was absolutely incredible how accurate the rods were. Measured in about 60 different positions he found about 3 positions that were off by about .001" and one that was off by .003". Dickerson was a stickler for accuracy and consistency in his rods.

Damn, I'd love to get that book but it's a bit spendy!
Now I remember that was how the rods were numbered by ferrule size. The guy who is building the blank was in today and he has the culm all picked out and is ready to start splitting.
I will keep you informed and will probably be asking a lot of questions.

Mike Monsos

AKA flyman219
Glad to see you took the plunge Jesse, enjoy the ride and keep us posed on your choices and progress as you move along. I've made a couple of Dickerson 7613's and really like faster feel of his taper's, one of my favorite tapers so far.

So I have decided to take up rod building. I'm leaning toward bamboo. Where would one start. I'm trying to find classes or find someone who can steer me in the right direction.


Love vintage graphite!

For starters, I could recommend a couple of books...
1. Fundamentals of Building a Bamboo Fly Rod, by George Maurer and Bernard Elser
2. Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods, by Wayne Cattanach

Either will give you a pretty good understanding of what is entailed before you make the plunge.

I took a class from Bill Oyster but I had to travel to Georgia to do it.

Classes closer to home...

I'm still trying to get my shop fully functional so I can get into it as much as I'd like, and it's been pretty involved.

Check out this thread.......

Hope this little bit helps....
Bitterroot has given you some solid advice. Either of the books listed are very good. I’d also suggest reading Harry Boyd’s 7 part series on rod building
This is available on line, and gives a solid overview of the building process.
I just finished giving a class (for lack of a better description) working with a pleasant gentleman building his first rod. His 2 piece blank is glued up and ready for cleanup and ferrules.
There are several good rod makers in the Tacoma area that may be willing to show you the basics.
For me working with a new maker was a very rewarding and enjoyable process.
Best regards,
I got my Bamboo blank yesterday. It is beautiful. The flaming is nice, a great color. the blued ferrules are really nice. It is marked for the spine and ready for me to start the building process. The area of the reel seat is nicely turned down. I am really pleased.
It is based on a Dickerson 8013 and feels like it will be a 5-6 wt which is what I was looking for.
The blank weighs 3.25 ounces so I think the finished weight will be good.
Blank was made by Jeff Pope of spokane.

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Well the rod is nearly done. It was far enough along that today I lined it up and did a little casting on the lawn. I put a
Rio 5wt gold that I knew was going to be too light. To my surprise it handled very well with that line. I think a Rio grand or a 6wt DT will give the rod a little more feel. But I was really impressed with the way the rod cast in close and out to around 60'.
Now I know that I am going to like this rod alot and can't wait to fish it.
As far as the cosmetics it is certainly not a presentation rod. I have discovered the silk is difficult to deal with even though I used A silk. It is not only more difficult to wrap nicely it is harder to burnish and easliy frays and leaves fuzzies.
In addition the varnishing of the wraps is harder than I thought it would be.
I am happy with the rod based onthe fact that it is my first attempt at wrapping and finishing bamboo. It was always my intention to build a rod to fish but to try to do the best job I could with my limited abilities.
I have succeeded at that the rod is going to be a great large stream/river rod, capable of casting longer distances and will handle bigger fish easily.
I have a couple of more days in finishing and polishing and then I will take a few pics and post them here. I will take the pictures of the parts of the rod that turned out the best;)
My plan is to build another rod and the lessons I learned will serve me well on the number 2.