Bamboo plaining forms

Bonsai

Jerry
This question is for those people that build bamboo fly rods. I would like to try my had at building a bamboo fly rod from a clum of bamboo. I only want to build one rod (at this time) and can't see spending $900 on the planing forms. Is it possible do do the job with out spending more on the tools than a new bamboo fly rod would cost?
 

rawalker

Active Member
You could make a set of forms out of hard maple. Or see if you can find/borrow a used set.
There are also some excellent classes out there where you provide the labor and they provide everything else. Not sure how Covid has affected them. Check on the classic flyrod forum.
 

Tom Bowden

Active Member
This question is for those people that build bamboo fly rods. I would like to try my had at building a bamboo fly rod from a clum of bamboo. I only want to build one rod (at this time) and can't see spending $900 on the planing forms. Is it possible do do the job with out spending more on the tools than a new bamboo fly rod would cost?
There is some investment required to get into rod making. In addition to the planing forms, you need a high quality plane with a good blade, a depth gauge to set the forms, a good set of calipers, a binder, an oven, a heat gun, and a good vise to press nodes

The cheapest way is to make your own forms. Wooden forms are easy if you have a router and a drill press, while steel forms are more time consuming. You could keep checking the Classic Fly Rod Forum for people selling their forms, and maybe even post a "want to buy" ad. The least expensive new ones I'm aware of are $600 from Larry Swearingen.

I think the best way to get started is to take a class, where the instructor provides the tools and materials, and shows you what to do. At the end of the week, you have a nice blank, and can decide whether you want to "take the plunge." A google search for "bamboo rod making classes" will show you who is doing classes and the cost. Most classes are probably on hold due to the pandemic. Another possibility is to sign up for the one-day beginner's workshop at the Corbett Rod Makers gathering in Kamloops in 2022.
 

Bonsai

Jerry
Tom, I have looked off and on for a class. Most seem to be on the east coast and have the added cost of travel. There was a fellow in Dunsmuir Ca. that offered classes, but he stopped and moved. The class that I have been thinking about, if I have to go to the east coast anyway is Bill Oysters class. I thought the gathering at Corbett Rod Makers was by invitation and you already had to be a pro. This may be little more than a dream for me. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and this would be another thing on my bucket list.
 

Canuck from Kansas

WFF Supporter
Classes are a great idea, but they're gonna cost ya a lot more than planing forms, especially Bill Oyster, though if I had the time/money, would do it in a heartbeat.

Scott Nillson near Spokane has a 1 on 1 class
classes

Dave Dozer in Sisters OR also does a 1 on 1 class - really good builder.

Before going the full route, you could buy blanks. I've built from blanks without the ferrules installed - hand turned the stations, so you can do it without specialized equipment and a big outlay - see how you like it.

Cheers
 

Meeshka

Active Member
All I can give you is my advice
You can buy blanks lots available to finish a rod. Your question does not involve just planning forms, Cause Its not just planning forms. You can find DYI wood forms on the net I'm sure. But if you want t to spend the time and effort.
Your question is not just plainnung forms. How do I glue this and finish this? I'm sure you know how to wrap a rod. How you gonna finish it? True oil? - hats all my rods. Do you want dip varnish tanks?
i don't know you have not provided enough info?
Proper grass rods take a lot of time and effort. Ive spent over 20K USD for my bamboo shop and only turned out 7 rods. But I love it SO who cares.
Back to my advice:
Take a course. You will come out with at least 1 blank, and you will be able to recognise what is involved

My 2 cents
Doug
 

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
For what it's worth....
If it was sort of a 'bucket list' thing for me to be able to build and fish a bamboo rod from culm to finished product....I would go the class route. It will cost more than the forms, but you'd at least learn how to do each step correctly. It would also help in knowing which steps are more critical as far as workmanship to get that great final product. You'll be confident that the rod you end up with will be a nice rod...you'll know all of it's better points...and of course each and every flaw. But at least you'll know the flaws. Since I didn't have a hands on 'teacher', I'm still not sure where I'm possibly repeating errors..and not even knowing it. I also got into this knowing I would make mistakes and am willing to go through the process of hopefully 'improvement by doing'.
I think I've seen posts where you build boats. If that's true...you'll love building a bamboo rod. To me, there is nothing better in woodworking than planing a long grain board with a sharp blade. Bamboo is grass! It planes like silky butter!
I had the idea when I was first starting that maybe rod builders could set up a 'co-op' of tools, but as I got further into this I realized that I can never predict when I won't be needing my planing form.
One thought...you could make some rough forms (it's a first step after splitting and node straightening/pressing) and plane enough strips to make a 2 piece 7' 6" 2 tip rod...probably a five weight. From these 'rough' strips...they'll be ready to heat treat and then final planing on 'real' forms. If you find you've enjoyed it to this point ( rough planing)...the final planing forms might be worth purchasing.
If you don't like it...I'll take the rough strips : )
I think I remember seeing pictures of a pram you built...any rod you made would but mine to shame.
Good luck...I vacillated for a year before I bought the planing forms.
Mark
 

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
IMG_1461.jpg thought you might get a kick out of just how
primitive my set up is. The top photo is my 'stringing' machine and the lower image are my sections ready to be heat treated. I currently use a combination of a heavy galvanized pipe with a copper tube in it and then I treat one section at time for 20min at as close to 350 degrees as I can. The pipe is placed over my gas BBQ with a heat gun on one end and a temp probe placed inside. The last inch and half of the sections get a little 'toasty' : ).
Three things cost me a chunk of money. The planing form, a minilathe and associated chucks, and a worksharp sharpening wheel (which for me is priceless as I would otherwise be a little lazy about keeping my blades sharp).
IMG_1462.jpg
 

Bonsai

Jerry
View attachment 279637 thought you might get a kick out of just how
primitive my set up is. The top photo is my 'stringing' machine and the lower image are my sections ready to be heat treated. I currently use a combination of a heavy galvanized pipe with a copper tube in it and then I treat one section at time for 20min at as close to 350 degrees as I can. The pipe is placed over my gas BBQ with a heat gun on one end and a temp probe placed inside. The last inch and half of the sections get a little 'toasty' : ).
Three things cost me a chunk of money. The planing form, a minilathe and associated chucks, and a worksharp sharpening wheel (which for me is priceless as I would otherwise be a little lazy about keeping my blades sharp).
View attachment 279638
What mini lathe do you use. I have been looking at one from Harbor Freight. I have heard pros and cons.
 

Mark Kadoshima

Active Member
What mini lathe do you use. I have been looking at one from Harbor Freight. I have heard pros and cons.
The one Rockler sells. The lathe was only around $300 but it's the chucks and the turning tools that add up, although it opened up a whole new window of other woodworking possibilities. Turning your own grips is quite a bit of fun. You can customize it exactly to your hand. My buddy got a kick out of my ability to customize the grip to the size of his hand of a rod I made as a gift for him. I recommend strongly to wear a mask to protect against the cork dust...it can be pretty irritating. It's the reaming the internal to the size of your blank that is a little bit of chore...especially if making your own reel seats (at least for me).
One of the main attractions is you can do this craft as fast or as slow as you want. If you're making the rod for your own use, then you can also be as picky or sloppy as you want (and not feel bad about it...it's for fun!). I looked up the Oyster rodmaking class and I bet it's a lot of fun, but if you know you are going to be making more than a couple rods, I suggest just getting started. If it turns out after you purchase your planing form that making your own bamboo rods just isn't for you, I bet you will not have any problem selling it. As you've probably noticed...they don't really come up for sale on the secondary market.
All the best,
Mark
 

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