Bamboo tradition?

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by jessejames, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

    Jul 23, 2004
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    Show Low, Arizona
    I have a bamboo blank that Jeff Pope a local builder crafted for me. It is a Dickerson 8013 8' 5wt. It appears to be a well made rod with a nice lightly flamed finish. I haven't built many rods and the ones I have wrapped have been graphite or glass.
    I read alot of info and thought I would try to use silk thread. The small gossamer type threads were way above my ability level at this time. So I ordered several colors of silk in a size A. I have had good success with this thread. I am able to make nice wraps, ramping up the guide feet and the ferrules has not been real difficult. I like the way it is turning out.
    Why silk? If I am going to wrap with A thread anyway why not use nylon? I think that for the skilled builder the small silk wrappings are beautiful and look like there are not even any individual threads. But with 3 or more coats of varnish I dont think the A thread is going to be noticebly different without a very close inspection.
    There is also the colors used on bamboo; with the exception of a few inexpensive imports that were pretty wildly wrapped. The colors are again pretty tradional. Antique gold. Dark claret or burgandy. Red and black.
    I originally thought I would do the rod in the Dickerson colors very plain antique gold with a few Black accent wraps.
    In the end I made the decision to do what I wanted. I am not building a heirloom rod, or a perfect reproduction, nor am I building a presentation quality rod. I am building a tool to fish with. Albeit it will be the best quality tool that I am capable of building it will my rod with my personality built in.
    So I will wrap it with a silk olive thread on the guides, I will use black on the ferrule wraps and some of the tipping and accents will be done with a silk red/orange thread. All of the hardware will be blued and the stripper guide will be red, orange agate.
    I am a partner in a fly shop named after my most favorite fish the Westslope Cutthroat. These colors represent that fish. Olive back. Black spots and markings and the beautiful red/orange slash at the throat. It will be the Westslope Special and I will probably even inscribe that name on it.
    The next one I build.........Who kinows.
  2. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

    Aug 8, 2010
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    Wetside, WA
    Jesse, it sounds like an absolutely beautiful rod. I hope you'll post pictures when you are finished. My own rod building skills aren't any where good enough to tackle a bamboo rod, at least not yet. I hope to get there some day.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Steve Kokita

    Steve Kokita FISHON206

    Sep 28, 2008
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    Burien, Washington
    I've been redoing cheap ebay bamboo rods, 11 of them now. I use nylon thread A size and coat the wraps with a light coat of flex coat. Also instead of varnish, I use seven coats of Dayl's tung oil with a couple coats of Birchwood Caseys gun stock wax to finish. Tom Bowden told me about this finish and I like the looks of a satin finish compared to the plastic look of varnish. Just my .02
  4. Troutcreek

    Troutcreek Active Member

    Jan 23, 2011
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    Southern Washington
    Congratulations on your bamboo build. I’ve seen several photo’s of Jeff Popes rods over the last couple years and his rods show a consistent quality. I think that it is cool that you are supporting a local Washington Maker..
    I also think you are on track with the build. There is no reason to use silk except in support of tradition but the fact is that many many classic rods were wrapped with nylon. Visually I can’t tell the difference but some tell me that they can.....In practice I don’t find a big difference between Persall’s Gossamer silk and size A. The Gossamer is fussier to wrap with but easier to finish, size A silk is easier to wrap but takes more coats of finish to smooth, both look nice if done well and also look bad when done poorly.
    One of the benefits of building a rod is to build the rod that you want. Use the color combinations that you find pleasing. I try to keep with the earth tones that seem to complement a cane rod. It sounds like you are on the same track with olive wraps tipped in red. My only suggestion is that you do some test wraps under the cork area, your whippings will have a significant color change when varnished (or even flex-coated if that’s your preference).
    The 5 wt Dickerson taper is very good, and it will make a nice fishing rod.
    Enjoy the build and enjoy the rod.

    Best regards,