Class, Week # 1 Introduction & Bamboo Rod Blanks

Vintage Bamboo Rod Building Classes & Workshops

Introduction to Alternative Bamboo Rod Building

Seinors Free Class

Date: June 7

Time: 10:00-11:00

Location: East Millcreek Senior Center

Address: 2266 E Evergreen Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
Instructor: Kenneth Lund

Contact: email:


Class description: Alternative bamboo rod building.

Bamboo rod making with a high tech makeover.

Summary: The four week class plan is to present the methods and materials used in vintage bamboo rod making with a high tech makeover.

Participants are encouraged to build there own rod. A basic materials list is provided below or a kit may be purchased for $50.00 (please note this price is a special reduced price available through donated materials)

The intent of the Vintage Bamboo Fly rod building classes is to replicate some of the early 1800’s rod building techniques with modern materials and methods. The methods for building the rods are the essence of simplicity and require minimal inexpensive resources.

While the majority of bamboo fly rods built today by artisans are the six sided hex rods the methods and rods I am building and presenting in the classes are quad, four sided rods,

Early rod makers used a variety of hardwoods for rod making as well as the progression to bamboo.

Class 1 Class Overview and Bamboo Rod Blanks

June 7, NOTES:

The quad rod we will build in the class is a solid bamboo rod made from engineered bamboo. Before discussing the engineered bamboo products available let's review how a raw untreated clum of bamboo is prepared for making into a rod. The process described is that being used by makers making hex rods and includes

Selecting, Splitting, Dams and nodes, Straightening, Heat treating.

So this leads us to the engineered bamboo we will use to make a rod. The process of preparing bamboo for commercial purposes is similar to preparing the bamboo yourself,

The rods I make are are from strand bamboo flooring. Strand bamboo is made from bamboo fibers fused together with resin heat and pressure. The material is formed into blocks and then sawn into dimensional lumber. The species of bamboo used for engineered products are not f the same quality and strength as the varieties generally selected by the hex rod makers.

While you could make comparisons between engineered bamboo products and other of the thousands of species used for a variety of purposes I prefer to think of the engineered materials in a category by themselves, much like the variety of hardwoods used in vintage rod production.

Going back to the 1930's. The rod builders of this era used a variety of materials to make rods. Mostly hardwoods including Greenhart, Mahogany, Hickory and Elm, Lancewood, Dagama, and Bethabarra just to name a few. I bring this fact to light for the naysayers who may find the materials I use unconventional, which they are but I believe they have an important place in building new types of Bamboo rods.

An interesting fact is that you will often hear that hex rod makers use Tonkin Cane, Plant species have latin names, Tonkin is an area in China where quality bamboo species are grown and in the Herters book on Bamboo rod building they identified up to 25 species that could be considered as Tonkin cane.

In addition to the solid bamboo rods I also make rods from laminated blanks of bamboo and carbon fiber. In the craft of bamboo rod making you will often hear the term power fibers, These are the fibers in the bamboo that give it it’s exceptional strength. Since carbon fiber strands are about 1/10 the diameter of a human hair and the carbon fiber tow I use has 10,000 strands the combination of the bamboo and carbon fiber is exceptionally strong.

Laying out your first rod

When I first started making rods I took the rod taper calculations from hex rods and converted them to my quad tapers. The rod I will make in this class has a straight taper, meaning it is tapered the same from the rod butt to the tip. With either a solid blank or a laminated blank the straight taper is the easiest to make.

The class rod is a two piece rod 6’-0 this simple but fun rod to make includes all the processes required to make longer and more complex designs.

So let's start with the square blank and look at methods for tapering it.

The bamboo has to be sawn into strips, The rod butt end starts with a to a ½" strip. Preferably the same width as the thickness of the blank. The tip section is about ¼ to 5/16"
Once cut the strip needs to be checked and made square. This allows for laying out an even taper on all four sides.
There are several ways to cut the taper, The quickest way is to adhere a strip of masking tape or painters tape to the blank and layout the taper. The taper can then be band sawn to the rough shape. You can also use a block plane or a scraper to cut the taper from the square rectangle. Sanding is also another way to taper the blank. On a 6’0 rod (2) 36" sections the total taper per 36" section is about is about ", So the butt end section tapers from about ⅜" to ¼" and the tip section tapers from about ¼" to about ⅛". As you can see there is not a whole lot of material to remove.

Basic Materials"

Quantity: Bamboo flooring section at least 40" long cut into 2 pieces ⅜" x ⅜"
1" copper pipe cap
1" copper pipe coupler
Epoxy 5 minute kit
¾" diameter wood rings with a ⅜" hole center drilled
Cork rings 1-⅛" diameter , enough to make a 7" long handle
Wire for snake guides .024 diameter or close
Sand paper

(10) Paraffin wax

(11) Linen fabric 12" square

( 12) Silk thread or poly thread

(13) clear fingernail polish

Additional miscellaneous items may be used.

Links, Bio Composite Revolution

Linen Movie English

Ekoa composite

Blackbird guitars & Mini Sax


Class 2 June ,14

Class 3 June ,21

Class 4 June ,28

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