Designing a rod

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
I had a lot of fun experimenting with a design for my 3 wt spey rod, and would like to do the same for my next rod. I used 'Hexrod' to help me with the initial numbers of existing rods and looking at different slope tapers. It's sort of greek to me though. My spey rod turned out fine, but it was totally luck. ( I stretched a six weight and kept the tip section a little stronger...)
I really enjoy a Paul Young Perfectionist 4/5 I made. I was thinking of making a 6/7 wt rod with a similar feel. Maurer mentions at the end of his book some ideas as to how to design a rod, but it's only a couple pages long. Does anyone have any suggestions as to a book or article I can look up on the basics of bamboo rod design? I checked out some blogs, but the discussion got so technical, I got lost quickly.
Any help is appreciated.
Happy Holidays and continue being safe...
Mark
 

Tom Bowden

Active Member
Mark, there are lots of different approaches to taper design. As you say, this can get very technical very fast. This probably isn't the best forum for a discussion on the topic, but I'll try to give you a few ideas and references.

There are many rod makers who stick to "classic tapers." A good approach is to start with a proven taper and either make one yourself or cast it at a gathering. You can then modify the rod to fit your own ideas.

Dave Dozer, an Oregon rod maker, did a very interesting presentation on tapers and casting style at a "virtual rod makers gathering" this year. VRG - 20201017 - Dozer, Dave - Casting Style (bamboorodmaking.com)

A great place to start is the late Ray Gould's books, "Constructing Cane Rods," and "Cane Rods - Tips and Tapers." The first book has a chapter on "unraveling the secrets of taper design," The second book has an extensive list of tapers by different rod makers, a comprehensive list of Ray's tapers that he designed for Northwest fishing, plus more information on taper design concepts and terminology.

Another good reference is a booklet called "Fundamental Concepts of Bamboo Fly Rod Design," published by Tom Fulk, an Anacortes rod maker. I've used a variation of Tom's "Tru-Arc" design process for many years in designing my own rods. I believe you can order the book directly from Tom.

EC Powell developed a great design system for his A, B, and C designs. A search of the Classic Fly Rod Forum provides lots of information on this. Powell's formulas were for his machine templates and used 3" stations. Some math is required to adapt the formulas for the 5" stations us hand planers use.

Hope this helps.
 
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Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
Thanks so much for the references. Your response was perfect for me as I'm not even sure designing my own rod is something I want to get really serious about....but my curiosity will get me to at least get Gould's books and then start from there.
I just received a bunch more bamboo.
After they get the vaccine available and everyone feels comfortable, I really look forward to the next 'Fling' and personally thank all of you that have helped me with this new passion.
Mark
 

Mike Monsos

AKA flyman219
WFF Supporter
Like Tom suggested, I think Ray Gould's books would be a great start too. I have only created one taper myself, basically a blend of two of Ray's tapers to try to create something a bit different. It was a fun process and the results turned out good IMHO.
 

Tom Bowden

Active Member
I believe Mike's process of blending two tapers was, and still is, a common way to design tapers. A good example is the famous 7' 4wt, "Sir-D" taper designed by the late Wayne Cattanach, and modified slightly by the late Daryl Hayashida. The original taper was designed by blending a Cross Sylph and a Paul Young Midge. Daryl added .002" to the tip, 5", 10" and15" stations.

BTW this is a great taper for small-medium streams, and even lake fishing. The taper is "fast" and a great first bamboo rod for someone used to casting graphite. There is some controversy as to whether the taper was named after Daryl or a fishing friend of Wayne's. My solution has always been to make the rod with two tips.
 
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Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
Mark, there are lots of different approaches to taper design. As you say, this can get very technical very fast. This probably isn't the best forum for a discussion on the topic, but I'll try to give you a few ideas and references.

There are many rod makers who stick to "classic tapers." A good approach is to start with a proven taper and either make one yourself or cast it at a gathering. You can then modify the rod to fit your own ideas.

Dave Dozer, an Oregon rod maker, did a very interesting presentation on tapers and casting style at a "virtual rod makers gathering" this year. VRG - 20201017 - Dozer, Dave - Casting Style (bamboorodmaking.com)

A great place to start is the late Ray Gould's books, "Constructing Cane Rods," and "Cane Rods - Tips and Tapers." The first book has a chapter on "unraveling the secrets of taper design," The second book has an extensive list of tapers by different rod makers, a comprehensive list of Ray's tapers that he designed for Northwest fishing, plus more information on taper design concepts and terminology.

Another good reference is a booklet called "Fundamental Concepts of Bamboo Fly Rod Design," published by Tom Fulk, an Anacortes rod maker. I've used a variation of Tom's "Tru-Arc" design process for many years in designing my own rods. I believe you can order the book directly from Tom.

EC Powell developed a great design system for his A, B, and C designs. A search of the Classic Fly Rod Forum provides lots of information on this. Powell's formulas were for his machine templates and used 3" stations. Some math is required to adapt the formulas for the 5" stations us hand planers use.

Hope this helps.
Just watched the video. What a great demo of casting styles and how the taper affects our casts, or conversely, how we can possibly make a rod we're using more effective if we're having problems.
Pretty generous of all of you to make this available online. I'm going to look at the other videos from your meeting.
Thanks again,
Mark
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
WFF Supporter
Mark
Take a look at Frank Stetzer's presentation titled Hexrod Explained. It's from the 7/18/2020 VRG session.
Hexrod has been around for quite a few years and Frank continues to develop it making it more versatile. It's easy to use, you can't break it and it does all the math for you.

Like any unfamiliar software you have to go through it a few times to get comfortable with it. Basically you enter the parameters of the rod you have in mind and it produces a graph of the rod and all your planning form dimensions and a bunch of other useful stuff.

Whoops! I just re-read your original post. Nevermind
 
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flybill

A collector never stops collecting!
WFF Supporter
I really want to build a bamboo rod. I may do Bill Oyster's class in GA or see if I can get someone to help me out. I don't really have room for the basic equipment, but I'll find a way. I've wrapped and refinished a boo rod and looked at a few books. My buddy has some Bellinger planning forms he wants to sell and a few other things.

I spent a few hours with the Sweetgrass guys on a trip out to MT and loved it! Someday, not soon unless I take a class where we build over a week or meet frequently and make progress as I learn the in's and out of putting a blank together. I would just do a known taper, something modern and medium to medium fast for a bamboo rod. Maybe a swelled butt, but don't know the benefits or compromises that has and how it affects the flex of the rod.

If I can swing it, I will buy a Bob Clay bamboo spey or find one that someone wants to sell. I know it's not cheap, but I really do want one!

I have three bamboo single handers, one that I refinished is really just a wall hanger, and I may build a shadow box to display it at home or in my man cave when I have room for one.

The other two are for fishing and I do when conditions are right or I just want to and it's not too windy. My first one I bought is a Headwaters 7'6" 2pc 4/5 wt and I have a DT line and a really old silk line for it. The other is a 7' rod I bought off the board here, I can't remember the specific taper, but it's a 5wt and my lines for my Headwater work very well on it. It's my first choice.

For a single hander I would probably buy a Sweetgrass stick first and maybe an Orvis bamboo. Just trout rods, but what I dig! I've seen a lot of nice rods, so I would worry about the action and feel and not the specific name of the rod. So many options!
 

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
I really want to build a bamboo rod. I may do Bill Oyster's class in GA or see if I can get someone to help me out. I don't really have room for the basic equipment, but I'll find a way. I've wrapped and refinished a boo rod and looked at a few books. My buddy has some Bellinger planning forms he wants to sell and a few other things.

I spent a few hours with the Sweetgrass guys on a trip out to MT and loved it! Someday, not soon unless I take a class where we build over a week or meet frequently and make progress as I learn the in's and out of putting a blank together. I would just do a known taper, something modern and medium to medium fast for a bamboo rod. Maybe a swelled butt, but don't know the benefits or compromises that has and how it affects the flex of the rod.

If I can swing it, I will buy a Bob Clay bamboo spey or find one that someone wants to sell. I know it's not cheap, but I really do want one!

I have three bamboo single handers, one that I refinished is really just a wall hanger, and I may build a shadow box to display it at home or in my man cave when I have room for one.

The other two are for fishing and I do when conditions are right or I just want to and it's not too windy. My first one I bought is a Headwaters 7'6" 2pc 4/5 wt and I have a DT line and a really old silk line for it. The other is a 7' rod I bought off the board here, I can't remember the specific taper, but it's a 5wt and my lines for my Headwater work very well on it. It's my first choice.

For a single hander I would probably buy a Sweetgrass stick first and maybe an Orvis bamboo. Just trout rods, but what I dig! I've seen a lot of nice rods, so I would worry about the action and feel and not the specific name of the rod. So many options!
I was hesitant for quite a while due to the cost of the planing form...however, I encourage you to just go for it. A really nice part of building rods as a hobbyist is there is no timeframe (you can pause at just about any phase of fabrication) and even if you don't perfectly match your taper with your planing technique, you still have a fishable rod (might just have to go up or down a line wt). The excitement of taking out your own self made split cane rod and hooking into a fish with your hand tied fly.....pretty cool feeling.
I've also found that for me, I like to have three rods in 'process'. One in planning (in this case hopefully my new taper), one in a planing stage, and one in the wrapping or finishing stage. This way one step of the process never gets too tedious as all the steps are so different. Designing, spitting, node straightening, planing, hollowing, binding, glueing, grip construction (all kinds of different materials other than just cork), reel seats (also different materials), wrapping, and varnishing...all so different!
I'm making a buddy a Paul Young Perfectionist with his Oregon State colors...hopefully be ready by Christmas. My first 'flamed' rod.....always something new to learn!
As you can tell, our forum members are also really helpful.
Good luck!
Mark
 

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