This is a wider view of the Bamboo Fly Rod dipping enclosure.
Here is a look at the sandpaper strip after a little work on the ferrule. Note we are slowly working the ferrule tabs thinner.
Of note is that you have to remember to insert the Ring after you complete wrapping under the hump in the Strap, but before you place the first turn over the Strap beyond the hump. Forget this step and you will have to unwrap some silk. We use tweezers to gently slide the Ring into place.
We made our dipping tubes from Aluminum Rod Tubes we bought from Landmark Components. At our request, Ron Cili provided our tubes without foam in either end-cap of the tubes. We also requested that Ron NOT seal the bottom cap on the tubes. We sealed the bottom using epoxy. Note: because we used powder coated Aluminum, we had to sand off the coating to make a good bottom seal. Perhaps plain Al would be easier.
Continue to work the ferrule tabs a while with the linear motion described in line #27 above; like sharpening a knife, don’t work any tab too long before rotating to the next tab – that keeps things even. Now you can fold the sandpaper and work the tabs by rotating the ferrule tabs against the sandpaper. Don’t hold the sandpaper too tightly against the tabs; slow and easy is the way to go.
This photograph shows our Nickel Silver Strap and Ring in place with the YLI SIlk wrap and tipping finished. Since we will be coating the wraps with varnish, we left the tag ends and will cut them later.
We have not had any problems with varnish leaking from these tubes, but we have had leaks with previous tubes, so we place each tube in a gallon can. Better safe than sorry.
In this photo, you can see where we continue to abrade the nickel silver ferrule tabs (like in line #28).
It is a great help, when applying varnish to the Strap and Ring (whether brushing it or or later when we dip the rod) to keep the Ring erect. This is easily done if you use a pin with a long shaft; you can keep the pin in place by inserting the tip into the cork grip. We bought a box of pins from a Craft store.
This is an overview of our Power Supply and Extraction Motors.
If you enlarge this photo, you see we are making progress with thinning the tabs. But you can also see where the 400 grit sandpaper is leaving some marks on the finish. We want to work those marks out.
We are applying an initial coat of varnish (we cut it with between 5% to 10% Acetone to immprove penetration into the silk).
We have our bamboo rod sections slowly rotating in a motorized rod dryer. The rotation insures the varnish doesn’t sag while it dries.
We run the fly line backing from the spool to eye hooks in the ceiling.
To start eliminating the scratches from the 400 grit sandaper, we will now use 600 grit. As with everything when making bamboo fly rods, slow and easy is the key.
Continue carefully applying varnish with the brush. You want an even coat. Watch out for bubbles.
We place a small egg-shaped lead fishing weight at the end and put a medium sized fishing swivel at the end of the line to both anchor the lead weight and provide a mechanism to attach the rod clip to the Bamboo Fly Rod Section.
The small lead weight provides weight to stabilize the line if/when it is lowered without a rod section attached.
If you enlarge here, you can see that after a while of using 600 grit sandpaper the scratches from the 400 grit sandpaper are getting harder to see. Yes, you get your fingers dirty.
Brushing varnish onto the Strap and Ring wrap is the most time consuming because you have to negotiate under the pin shaft and around the Ring.
This photograph shows our two male 18% nickel silver ferruels for the two tip sections, the female 18% nickel silver ferrule for the tip end mid section, the male 18% nickel silver ferrule for the butt end of the mid section, and the female 18% nickel silver ferrule of the butt section.
Next we use 0000 Steel Wool to remove all scratches resulting from sandpaper.
Here is the wrap on a Male Nickel Silver Ferrule mounted in a drying motor. Note the tag ends have not been cut off.
We buy small plastic coated clamps from Home Depot to hang the bamboo rod sections from. The small loop of cord attaches to the swivel clip.
This is the 0000 Steel Wool we use for polishing the nickel silver ferrules used on our bamboo fly rods. Be sure you get steel wool that has no form of additives. Note, it will eventually rust if you don’t keep it sealed and away from moisture and oxygen.
On the left side of this guide we cut the tag ends off before varnishing. On the right side, we will cut the tag ends off after our first varnish coat. There is no reason to do it both ways here other than to show it doesn’t make any difference in the end. It is your preference. You MUST cut the tag ends if you coat the wraps in epoxy rather than varnish.
The fly line backing from our Extraction Motors goes through small eye hooks in the ceiling.
OK, now we begin with the steel wool. Using 0000 steel wool is a great way to polish out all imperfections left by using 400 grit and 600 grit sandpaper. Also, as we will see later, it can both remove extremely small amounts of nickel silver on the slides of the male ferrules and simultaneously polish the the ferrule.
On a different guide, where we left the tag ends on the silk thread, we are beginning the initial application of varnish.
Our Dip Tubes and Extraction Motor system allows us to simultaneously dip the butt and both tip sections of our Bamboo Fly Rods.
Rotating the ferrule in the 0000 steel wool accomplishes the final polishing of the ferrule tabs that we earlier sanded with 400 grit then 600 grit sandpaper. This is not quick; spin the ferrule perhaps 6-10 rotations in the steel wool, then stop and check it out. Repeat as often as necessary.
Here is a guide where we have finished an initial varnish coat. The bamboo fly rod section is slowly turning in our rod drying machine. We will let the light coat of varnish dry for two hours before hanging the rod sections into our drying cabinet for 24 hours.
We have a thermostatically controlled electric heater and a small HEPA filter in our Drying Cabinet. We can suspend up to 40 Bamboo Fly Rod sections in our cabinet at one time.
Here is the nickel silver ferrule for the butt end of the mid section of our three piece bamboo fly rod blank. It is presented on a small piece of scrap bamboo rod blank.
Using our three piece bamboo rod template, we make small pencil marks on our two tip sections indicating where we want to make our black silk wraps indicating Tip #1 and Tip #2.
We bought an indoor/outdoor temperature gauge…the IN measurement is the temperature in the dipping apparatus while the OUT measurement is the temperature inside the Drying Cabinet.
After Crowning, tapering, and polishing the nickel silver ferrules, it’s time to prepare them to be epoxied onto the ferrule stations. To insure a secure bonding, we need to scratch the inside of the ferrule (where it slides on the ferrule station, NOT the inside of the female ferrule into which the male ferrule slides). You can use a number of tools to do this, but we use a hardened stainless steel pick. Clean any metal residue from the ferrule; an Acetone swab is helpful.
Here are the completed wraps indicating Tip #2. Tip #1 would have only one wrap.
We also have a Hygrometer inside the Drying Cabinet to measure humidity (note that the temperature in the Drying Cabinet drops quickly when the door is open). The device seen behind the Hygrometer is the sending unit for the OUTSIDE portion of the inside/outside thermometer.
This photo shows a “pot” of 60 minute epoxy (mixes the same as is in Line # 22-24 in the Measurements and Cutting Segment (equal parts of epoxy and Hardner). We use a stirring stick to wipe the epoxy inside the ferrule.
This photo shows a rod section with a guide that has a dried application of varnish. We will use a fresh razor blade to cut the tag ends off close to the wrap. If you wait until the first application of varnish, the tag ends become stiff so when you cut them off, they don’t have any frizzes nor any chance to unravel.
A view of the cup hooks we use to suspend the Bamboo Fly Rod sections in our Drying Cabinet.
Using the stirring stick, make sure you rub epoxy all over the inside walls of the ferrule.
Here is a close up of cutting a varnished tag end after 24 hours in the drying cabinet.
A close up of one of our Bamboo Fly Rods drying.
Apply the epoxy to the ferrule station; don’t skimp. This photo shows us finishing the liberal coating of epoxy onto the ferrule station. Any excess will be squeexed out and can be wiped off.
This is the elegant box that Phoenix Silk Fly Line arrives in.
This is what we use to develop a template for use with similar rod lengths, tapers, and weights to speed up our work. We use plastic corner guards designed for protecting corners made from sheet rock. We buy them in four-foot sections.
Another view of trimming tag ends.
Here we slide our 18% nickel silver ferrule onto the station after the liberal coating with epoxy. Note that this may be very difficult as a side effect of having enough epoxy on the station is that an air pocket may get trapped inside the ferrule and it won’t slide on to the full extent. That is the reason for marking where the tabs should reach when you “dry fit” the ferrule. If you apply steady, constant pressure, the ferrule will eventually slide on to where it should be. If you enlarge the photo in Line #43, you see that we aligned the tabs on the nickel silver ferrule with the flats on the bamboo blank.
We use one inch masking tape (blue is a nice color) to provide a writing surface (conveniently re-usable) to mark off our template.
Phoenix Silk Fly Line comes with a container of Red Tin Mucilin Line Treatment. Brasstown Creek also sells genuine Red Tin Mucilin which is made by Thames Fishing Tackle, Ltd. in England.
Here we have placed masking tape on each of three Corner Guards (one corresponding to the butt section, one to the mid section, and one for the tip section).
After securing a proper fit of the nickel silver ferrule onto the ferrule station, you will see a lot of excess epoxy squeezed out of the ferrule onto the bamboo fly rod blank. This needs to be removed before it dries. So, first simply wipe the excess off with a clean lint-free cloth. Then, dip more of the same clean lint-free cloth in some Acetone (you can probably use the leftover in Line #41) and wipe off any and all epoxy residue. Don’t over-do this and damage the blank.
There are a lot of tag ends when wrapping a three piece bamboo rod.
Here is the simple Tension Device we made to aid us in securing Braided Leader onto Silk Fly Line for Leader (angle iron, rubber bands, spring clips, bar clamps).
To insure a tight fit fo the ferrule onto the ferrule station, wrap the tabs securely with strong twine. We use 100% Cotton 16/4 Glace (white). Anything similar will do, but be sure it is lint free and strong. A couple of half-hitches will get the Glace wrap going, so just keep a tight turn going until you are comfortable that the tabs are secured to the bamboo.
This is an example of a Template we made for the three piece 5wt Bamboo Fly Rod. This photo is for the butt section of the 3 piece Bamboo Rod. We marked where the edge of the female ferrule would start. Note that minor spacing adjustments were made to account for ferrule locations.
Use your best guess with the initial spacing between the angle irons of your Tension Device; the space between angle irons depends on personal preference. Remember you need to leave enough room to easily wrap the Silk Fly Line.
You can tie off the tag ends of the Glace thread, but an easier method is to simply take some some masking tape and wrap it around the loose ends of the Glace Thread that you have kept tightly turned.
This is the grip end of the butt section of our 3 piece Bamboo Fly Rod. We have marked where the butt cap ends. Note the length indicated on the ruler. There will be more on this later.
Here is an example of how Tension Device can keep constant tension on fly line (example uses cord rather than Silk Line). As you see, rubber bands are useful for a lot of things.
This photo shows one end of the bamboo rod blank segments with their ferrules snugly wrapped on and secured with masking tape. The Reel Seat, on the butt end of the butt segment is discussed in the Reel Seat Module. We place our three piece bamboo fly rod segments into our drying cabinet (approximately 95 degrees F) and leave it for 24 hours.
Here is the Template for the mid-section of the 8’0″ 3 piece 5 wt Bamboo Fly Rod. Again, our starting mark is the edge of the female ferrule.
Brasstown Creek also sells Phoenix Braided Leader. We will use this Braided Leader in this example.
After the epoxy has dried, remove the masking tape and unwrap the Glace thread.
Notice here we mark some of the locations of the #2 snake guides on the mid section of the bamboo blank.
This is a photo of the Butt end of the Braided Leader. Note that by the nature of its manufacture, Braided Leader has a hollow core.
If we have done thngs right, after you remove the Glace thread there will only be very minimal evidence of epoxy on the nickel silver ferrules or bamboo rod blanks. Generally, this can be resolved using the 0000 steel wool.
This photo shows the #3 snake guide location and the end of the male ferrule on the mid section of the bamboo fly rod blank.
The Silk Fly Line is on the left in this photo, the Butt end of Braided Leader on the right. Our intent is to carefully thread the Silk Fly Line into the Braided Leader.
This is the other end of our 3 piece bamboo fly rod shown in line #49.
Here we mark our Template for the tip top of one of the tip sections of the 3 piece bamboo fly rod blank.
Here we are beginning to thread the Silk Fly Line into the core of the Braided Leader; do this without tension on line (our example shows the Tension Device clamps only to assist in photo; don’t apply tension until Photo 17).
The female ferrule on the tip end of the mid section has a residue of epoxy; the parallel lines are a result of the epoxy being absorbed into the Glace thread and then hardening on the nickel silver ferrule. We will have to remove it using the 600 grit sandpaper and then 0000 steel wool.
This photograph of the tip section of our Template shows locations for #3/0 and #2/0 snake guides.
Brasstown Creek uses Cyanoacrylate glue as well as the silk thread to secure the the Silk Fly Line and Braided Leader to each other. Here are some items used with the Cyanoacrylate glue (inverted mixing cup, toothpick, tweezers, Cyanoacrylate glue for semi-porous materials)
Here we spin the ferrule tabs (where the epoxy has leaked and dried) in a strip of 600 grit sandpaper.
Notice that we marked the location for doing small wraps to differentiate between Tip 1 and Tip 2 for this three piece bamboo fly rod blank. The Template helps make sure these differentiating wraps line up on the two tip sections.
If you use a toothpick to apply the Cyanoacrylate glue, you get better control of the process. Here we place a drop or two of glue on a mixing cup to facilitate application with toothpick.
This photograph shows some improvement in removing the dried epoxy. We’ll finish it off with 0000 steel wool.
This photo of the tip top template of the bamboo blank is marked at the end of the male ferrule. Notice the length, which we will talk more about later.
Dip tip of a toothpick in Cyanoacrylate glue (some glue will initially be absorbed by wood, use your best judgment to insure sufficient but not excessive glue on toothpick)
Like in Line #37, spin the ferrule in the steel wool, checking it continuously, until you are satisfied.
Here we have a photo of the taper of the Heddon #125 8ft 0in 3 piece Bamboo Fly Rod. The taper is marked in 5 in graduations for each section (butt section, mid section, tip section).
Now apply glue to the Braided Leader at the furthermost point to which Silk Line is inserted. Cyanoacrylate glue will penetrate the Braided Leader and adhere the leader to the Silk Fly Line. Do not be excessive, this is only to enable tension to be applied to Silk Line and Braided Leader
A straight pin can help clean out any epoxy in the serrations between the ferrule tabs.
This photo shows the 17/64 ferrule set for the tip of the butt and the butt of the mid section (one male ferrule is excess), and the 11/64 ferrule for the tip of the mid section and the butt of the tip sections (both male ferrules are used).
Here is another photo showing the application of glue to Leader-Line junction. We then continue to sparingly apply the glue with the toothpick along the lengh of the Braided Leader into which the Silk Fly Line has been inserted.
A triangular scraper is useful in getting residual epoxy off the bamboo flats than may have been missed in the initial clean-up.
Once we have selected the ferrules needed for the three piece bamboo fly rod blank, we need to be sure the ferrule surfaces are clean from oil/grease and residue. This photo depicts the Acetone we use to clean the inside surfaces and the silver polish we use to clean the outside surfaces.
At this point, the initial glue application has not dried; notice that end of Leader is a bit frayed from the insertion process.
A bit more work with the 0000 steel wool on the nickel silver ferrule and we are done.
You can see from the Q-tip (which we dipped in Acetone) how effectively we cleaned the inside of the nickel silver ferrules. The outside of the nickel silver ferrules were cleaned with Silver Polish. We used a clean dry cloth to apply then wipe clean the polish.
Once the Cyanoacrylate glue has dried (this doesn’t take long), clamp the Silk Fly Line in one Spring Clamp and the Braided Leader in the other clamp. Stretch the rubber bands when applying Clamps so that when released, tension is placed on Line-Leader junction.
It cleaned up pretty well. Using 600 grit sandpaper, a three-sided scraper, and 0000 steel wool, the epoxy has been cleared up and the ferrule itself polished up nicely.
You can see here (note the small pencil mark on the top tip section of the three piece bamboo fly rod) where we measured and marked the 0.070 inch flat to flat station of the tip top portion of the tip section of the 3 piece rod blank.
In this photo we show a spool of YLI #100 Silk Thread. We use Black, but the color is your choice. We use a fly tying bobbin to wrap the thread onto the Leader-Line junction,
Here I lined up all the butt ends together (male ferrules). They are polished up quite well.
If you look really closely at the bamboo fly rod tip (you may have to enlarge the photo), you can see the pencil mark where we indicate the 0.070 in on the taper chart.
Attach the YLI Silk Thread at furthermost point where Silk Line is inserted. We use a Constrictor Knot (see the following URL for example of knot: http://www.netknots.com/html/constrictor_knot.htm)
Similarly, the tip ends (female ferrules) are lined up and polished.
After cutting the tip top off at the 0.070 in mark, we lined up the PAC Bay tip tops sized for the bamboo rod. Then we inserted a toothpick into the hollow end of the tip top and measured where it stopped. We next removed the marked toothpick, used it to measure the difference between the total tip top length and the distance that we could insert the toothpick. We then measure back from the 0.070 in mark on the bamboo rod the difference between the total tip top length and the inserted toothpick and cut off that much of the bamboo rod. Thus, when you glue on the tip top, the tip of the loop will be where the 0.070 in mark was.
Tighten up Constrictor Knot before you begin wrapping the YLI Silk Thread over the Silk Fly Line – Braided Leader junction.
The final part of the ferrule segment of our three piece bamboo fly rod is to lap the male ferrules to fit into the corresponding female ferrules. Some makers will put their rod sections in their lathe then lap them with fine Gorbet files. Instead, we hand lap the male ferrules beginning with 600 grit sandpaper. We cut a strip of sandpaper, fold it over, then twirl the slide part of the male ferrule. This requires CONSTANT checking with the female counterpart for fit.
Here a toothpick points to the tightened Constrictor Knot
There are several epoxies, 5 minute, 30 minute, 60 minute, etc. Generally speaking, the faster the set the less secure the adhesion. Since sometimes tips break on bamboo fly rods, it might be wise to use a 5 minute epoxy to glue the top top on so a little heat from a heat gun can remove the old tip top for reuse. That is what we did, but the set time is really up to you. We start with a plastic recepticle on a scale and Tare it to Zero.
Once we begin making progress with the 600 grit sandpaper, we switch to 800 grit sandpaper. This is a very slow process with monotonously frequent checks for fit. Someone once said that the difference between a male ferrule not fitting in a female ferrule and having a perfect fit is “the thickness of smoke”. It is better to lap slowly and check a hundred times than to fail to check and wind up with a loose fit. You can’t fix that.
Cut tag end of the Silk Thread. Do not cut too closely at this point; you can wrap the tag end under the silk thread wrap for neatness.
Here we measure some 5 minute epoxy resin into the plastic recepticle. We don’t need much for tip tops, so we weighed out 0.020 ounces.
In the next photo we will add the hardner. We need the same amount (by weight) of hardner as resin, but it is difficult to squeeze exact amounts out of the containers.
Using 0000 steel wool for the final lapping of the slide on the male ferrule seems more like polishing than lapping However, the very slowness of the process is perhaps your best insurance against turning the male slide down too much. Check it, check it again, and then again.
Begin to wrap the YLI Silk Thread toward the Butt End of the Braided Leader; wrap over the tag end of the silk thread you just cut.
Therefore we settled for being over by 0.005 ounces hence a total of 0.045 ounces. We then thoroughly (very thoroughly) mixed the resin and hardener together. We applied liberally to the hollow of the tip tops and also to the tip of the bamboo fly rod. We have already identified and marked the spine of the bamboo fly rod tips (if present) and aligned the tip top loop accordingly. We wiped off excess epoxy and allowed it to harden.
This is what the fit looks like as you begin working on the male ferrule slide. Generally, the male ferrule will not fit into the female ferrule much if at all when you first start.
Here is another photo of the beginning of the wrap
Now we have to start the process of making sure we measure and cut our bamoo blanks to the right size. If things were easy (they aren’t) we would simply divide the 8′ 0″ rod by three (96in/3=32in). The tip tops are about the easiest section to deal with, so we will start there. We need to find a point near our 32 inch point on the tip of the mid section and the but of the tip section where we have the same flat to flat measurement. We decided 0.165 in was close to our desired length, so we marked the 0.165 point on the tip of the mid section (top bamboo fly rod section in the above photo) and the 0.165 point on the but of the bamboo tip sections (the bottom two rod sections in the above photo)
This is what the fit looks like after you have worked a while with the 600 grit sandpaper. You see the male slide will insert a very small distance in the female but no further. So back to work you go. Check CONSTANTLY.
Here is a clClose up photo of the wrap as it approaches the Butt End of the Braided Leader. Gaps in wrap are pretty much inevitable, but make sure they aren’t too wide, both for cosmetic and structural reasons.
Now we want to measure from the 0.165 point on the tip of the mid section approximately 32 inches. We decided on 0.265 inches flat to flat on the butt end of the mid section. This requires us to locate the same 0.265 inch position on the tip end of the butt section. In this photo, the butt end of the mid section is the top bamboo fly rod section and the tip end of the butt section is the bottom bamboo section.
More turns with 600 grit and many checks, then many, many turns with 800 grit and checks, then the same with 0000 steel wool. And SUCCESS! Our 18% nickel silver ferrule fits together snugly and pulls apart with a pleasant “pop”.
Before you wrap to the Butt End of the Braided Leader, trim off the frayed portion as close to the Silk Fly Line as reasonably possible. Some frayed ends remaining really isn’t a problem.
Now we start to get serious about the length of each of the three sections of our 8′ 0″ bamboo fly rod.
Remember, we want the total length of the three piece rod, when joined, to be 96 inches. We also want each of the three sections to be the same length. But since we are mounting nickel silver ferrules on the rod sections, and the male portion of the ferrule must seat inside the female portion, we have to calculate the impact of the seated ferrules. The way to do this is to calculate the sum of how far the two male ferrules (one on the mid section, one on the tip section) will insert into the female ferrules, divide by three (there are three sections) and add the result to the base length of each section of 32 inches. We will do this with the help of a simple toothpick. Take a toothpick and insert it into the female ferrule and mark where the toothpick comes to the whelt on the female ferrule. Now starting with the female ferrule for the butt section of our 3 piece bamboo fly rod, measure that length marked on the toothpick with a caliper. In our case (Row #28 above) we get 0.9645 inches.
Some makers dip their rods in varnish after installing ferrules, then wrap on guides and varnish the wraps using a brush. We wrap our guides, apply three coats of varnish to the wraps with a brush, then dip the rod sections in our dip tubes of varnish. We tried protecting our ferrules with teflon tape, but found it is difficult to remove. I think Scotch Tape works better.
Now continue the wrap
Now we need to do the same thing with the female ferrule for the mid section of the bamboo rod. Again marking the toothpick, upon measuring we get a depth of 0.725 inches.
Adding 0.9645″ and 0.725″ yields 1.6895″. Dividing this by 3 yields 0.5631 inches. This is a close approximation to 9/16″ (9/16 inches equals 0.562 inches).
We have protected the nickel silver ferrules on each of the sections of our three piece bamboo fly rod, and have attached hanging clamps to each.
Now you are almost to the end of the first wrap.
Since we are starting with the tips, the photo to the left shows a pencil mark at our starting length of 32″ (the tip top is to the left, the butt end of the tips will be to the right of the 32″ mark). The marks to the right of the 32″ indicate where we measured a common diameter of 0.165″. Note that it is important to keep this common point (0.165″, or whatever common diameter you select) aligned as we adjust.
These are our variable speed, reversible extraction motors. We have three enabling us to dip the three bamboo sections of a two-piece two tip rod simultaneously.
Wrap over the trimmed Butt End of the Braided Leader and continue a bit beyond onto the Silk Fly Line.
This picture shows where we added our calculated add-on amount of 9/16′ to the base 32″ length to get 32 9/16 inches for each of the three sections of our bamboo fly rod. All of our rod sections (tip, mid, butt) will end up, after the tip tops are in place, the ferrules have been mounted and the reel seat glued on, as 32 9/16 inches. NOTE: with male ferrules, we CUT the bamboo at the 32 9/16″ mark because the water seal thickness is negligible.
These are the control boxes with DPDT toggle switches controlling each extraction motor.
The first wrap is now done; now you have to wrap back the way you came (wrap over the first layer).
Here we take the second of the tip sections, and mark it also at 32 9/16 inches. Notice that the common diameter point of 0.165 inches (which we selected at the start) very conveniently line up also). Again, CUT at the 32 9/16 inch mark. Some builders adjust for the water seal thickness in the male ferrule, but since the thickness is less than the cut diameter of my Duzoki saw, it doesn’t seem to relavent here.
This photograph shows our three dip tubes with heating pads wrapped onto the bottom of each tube.
Here the second wrap is progressing toward the start point (furthermost point where the Silk Fly Line is inserted)
In this photograph, we line up the 0.165 inch diameter point on the tip end of the mid section of our three piece bamboo rod with the 0.165 inch mark on the butt end of the tip top. Next, mark the mid section where it matches the 32 9/16 inch mark on the butt end of the tip section.
The caps are still on our dip tubes in this photo.
Here is a close up of second wrap. Wrap as carefully as you can in order to cover as many of the minor gaps as feasible. By this time, any gaps are mainly cosmetic rather than structural.
OK, now we go back to the mid section of our 3 piece bamboo fly rod. You can calculate all this if you want to, but I have found it is MUCH easier to use a practical approach. So again we use the multi-purpose toothpick (I use the ones with square sides as they are easire to write on). Note in this example I have clipped off the point on one end as I have found that when I insert a pointed toothpick into a nickel silver ferrule made from solid bar stock, there is a very small concave shape in what equates to the moisture plug if your ferrule is made from nickel silver tubes (the male slide does not, of course, extend into this tiny concave portion). As we go through this process, we will refer to Row #35 Photo and Row #36 Photo. In Row #35 Photo, the bottom bamboo section is the mid section. The pencil point indicates where we have adjusted the cut point on the tip end of the mid section to match the cut point (so the flat-to-flat diameters match) on the butt end on the tip section.
In Row #36 Photo we have flipped the bamboo mid section from left to right just to match up with the yellow tape measure. The cut-point we identified in Row #34 Photo is now the left-most mark on bamboo mid section. Take the toothpick with the 0.725 inch measurement and align it with the cut-mark on the mid section. This will show you where the female ferrule will line up; you can place the ferrule alongside the toothpick for visual effect. The yellow tape measure is aligned to 32 9/16 inch; the far left of the tape measure (0.0 inches) will be where we cut the butt end of the mid section in order to install the male nickel silver ferrule.
Here the caps are off our dip tubes and we have the butt and mid sections of our 3 piece bamboo rod ready to dip.
Now you are nearing end of second wrap.
This photograph shows the butt end of the mid section described in Row 39.
This shows how we suspend the rod sections for dipping.
Finally! The wrapping part is done. Now apply a thin coat of Cyanoacrylate glue over the entire wrapping (again using the toothpick for better control); the glue prevents unraveling of the thread until it can be securely tied off.
At this point we will measure the butt section of the 3 piece bamboo fly rod. In the photo you see that we placed the mid section along the yellow tape measure with the mid section’s tip to the left and butt end to the right. The CUT point is marked and we placed its associated male nickel silver ferrule in the proper orientation.
The butt section of the three piece rod is arranged below the mid section and is oriented so that the tip end of the butt section aligns with the butt end of the mid section and the butt end of the butt section is to the far right. The bottom toothpick points to the CUT mark on the bamboo. Another toothpick indicates the 0.9645 inch slide distance. Note that the common flat to flat points, 0.265, align on the mid section and butt section.
We use an indoo/outdoor thermometer to indicate the temperature in our drying cabinet. In this case, our room temperature, where we dip, is 75 degrees F and our drying cabinet is 97 degrees F.
Now cut wrapping thread, leave sufficient slack and tie a good Constrictor Knot.
OK, now we have identified the CUT points on all the bamboo rod section EXCEPT the end of the butt section where we install the reel seat. So now, let’s prepare the reel seat.
We’ll start with measuring the thickness of the butt cap (we didn’t worry with the thickness of the water plugs, but the end cap is a little thicker.
Refer to the photo in Row # 43.
Using a Caliper, we measure the thickness of the butt cap to be 0.06825 inches.
We have our heating pads turned on and are just beginning to bring our varnish up to 80-85 degrees prior to dipping. we use an infrared thermometer to check the varnish temperature.
Tighten the Constrictor Knot; apply a bit of Cyanoacrylate glue over the knot.
This is a photograph of the butt end of the butt section. We moved the CUT point 0.0680 inches to the left (close as we could adjust to 0.06825 inches). This is close to the cut width of the Duzoki saw blade, but possibly worth the effort.
This is the variable AC to DC Power Supply we bought from from Jameco which enables us to power our three extraction motors. Since the motors are designed for 3 RPM at 12 VDC, varying the DC voltage at the power supply lets us precisely adjust the RPM of the motors.
After the last bit of glue dries, closely trim off the tag end of the YLI Silk Thread.
This is the Duzoki saw we use and a small miter box we got from a model toy store.
This photo is a close up of the Butt section of our three piece bamboo rod being extracted after its first dip. Notice that the dip gives a smooth coat to the wrap (which has already received three coats of varnish using a brush.
The wrapping, knots, and glue are now done.
This begins our cut of the tip end of the mid section. As you cut, rotate the bamboo rod section a full 360 degrees to avoid splintering of the bamboo.
A wider view of the above rod section also showing the bamboo fly rod mid section.
This is a photo of the finished Braided Leader-Silk Fly Line in Tension Device.
Here is the finished cut of the tip end of the mid section of our 3 piece bamboo fly rod blank. This process is repeated for each of the rod sections
Here is a look inside one of the dip tubes.
This photo shows the Braided Leader-Silk Fly Line junction and tip end (loop) of Leader. Now just attach your monofilament loop-to-loop.
For our three piece bamboo fly rod, we are using a very nice REC Spalted Maple wood insert. Here you see it hanging in our drying cabinet at approximately 95 degrees F for a minimum of 24 hours. This is because, once before, we dipped the insert in varnish and when we put it in the drying cabinet, we got serious bubbles in the varnish finish. We determined it was possible that the wood insert either wasn’t fully dry when we received it or it had reabsorbed a good bit of moisture from the atmosphere. Either way, the solution is to throughly dry the insert in our own drying cabinet and then quickly dip it in varnish before it can reabsorb anything. We made wire “dip hanger” from coat hangers. Cut them to lengh, bend a small “L” shape in the bottom to hold the insert, and make a small 180 degree bend in the top so the clamp can grip it.
This photo shows the two tips of our three piece bamboo rod being lowered into the dip tubes.
This is the elegant box that Phoenix Silk Fly Line arrives in.
Since the beginning, we have had a HEPA filter and electric heater in our drying cabinet. But we decided to expand the air filtering to our dip tank area. We made a rough wood frame and enclosed our multiple dip tanks and extraction motors in heavy gauge plastic and got a HEPA filter to clean the air.
Here Tip #2 is being extracted from the varnish.
Phoenix Silk Fly Line comes with a container of Red Tin Mucilin Line Treatment. Brasstown Creek also sells genuine Red Tin Mucilin which is made by Thames Fishing Tackle, Ltd. in England.
Here we show our HEPA filter placed near the dip tubes. This greatly reduces the odd dust particle that could otherwise adhere to our wood insert (or bamboo fly rod) as it is being extracted from the varnish.
An here Tip #1 is being extracted.
Here is the simple Tension Device we made to aid us in securing Furled Leader onto Silk Fly Line for Leader (angle iron, rubber bands, spring clips, bar clamps).
During cold weather, we drop the thermostat in our rod-dipping to about 65 degrees Farenheit (the drying cabinet takes care of heating and drying the rods). But we like to keep the varnish at a higher temperature than that. Even though we extract our rods very slowly, we want to be sure the varnish in our dip tubes does not get too viscous.
Our drying cabinet is equipped with a thermostat controlled electric heater and a HEPA filtration device.
Use your best guess with the initial spacing between the angle irons of your Tension Device; the space between angle irons depends on personal preference. Remember you need to leave enough room to easily wrap the Silk Fly Line.
We wrapped the lower part of each dip tube with a heating pad. We can turn the heating pads on and thus warm up the varnish without having to heat the entire room.
All four segments of our three piece bamboo fly rod are hung for drying (butt, mid, and two tips).
Here is an example of how the Tension Device can keep constant tension onthe Silk Fly Line (this photo uses cord rather than Silk Line). As you see, rubber bands are useful for a lot of things.
While waiting for the varnish to warm up, we make sure our REC Spalted Maple insert is properly worked before we dip it. REC does a great job right out of the box, but rubbing some 0000 steel wool over the wood makes things even better.
Our drying cabinet has room for a number of rods.
Brasstown Creek also sells Phoenix Furled Leader. We will use this Furled Leader in our example.
We use an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of the varnish in our dip tubes. Here we see at the start that the varnish is 64 degrees Farenheit.
We can aso measure the humidity in our drying cabinet.
Brasstown Creek uses Cyanoacrylate glue as well as the silk thread to secure the the Silk Fly Line and Furled Leader to each other. Here are some items used with the Cyanoacrylate glue (inverted mixing cup, toothpick, tweezers, Cyanoacrylate glue for semi-porous materials)
After awhile, our dip tube varnish has reached a little more than 80 degrees Farenheit. We continue to warm it until about 85 degrees.
After each dip in varnish, the rod segments are dried for 24 hours. We then use a head strap magnifier with three power magnification (with plenty of light) to inspect for defects in the finish. If there are any we sand them out.
If you use a toothpick to apply the Cyanoacrylate glue, you get better control of the process. Here we place a drop or two of glue on a mixing cup to facilitate application with toothpick.
OK, now to dip our REC Spalted Maple insert.
Use caution to not sand through the coat of varnish and into the silk threads.
Dip the tip of a toothpick in Cyanoacrylate glue (some glue will initially be absorbed by wood) Use your best judgment to insure sufficient but not excessive glue on toothpick.
The insert is on its way under the varnish (note, a complete imersion on varnish seals the wood insert on the inside and outside). The light color in the dip tank is the aluminum of the inside of the tube.
This is our three piece bamboo fly rod after each silk wrap received three coats of varnish with a brush (24 hours in the drying cabinet between each coat) and three complete coats of varnish in out dip tubes (again, with 24 hours in the drying cabinet between coats).
Form a loop in the Silk Fly Line. You can look at photo 25 to get an idea of the size loop we use. As long as it is sufficient to make a loop-to-loop connection with the Furled Leader, the size is up to you.
Now we begin the extraction.
Here is a close up of the butt ends of the three piece bamboo fly rod.
Using the toothpick dipped in Cyanoacrylate glue, apply a small portion of glue to the junction of the Silk Fly Line at the base of the loop (note, as clarification the loop is not dipped in glue – the glue on the plastic cup is in the background). Do not be excessive, this is only to enable tension to be applied to Silk Fly Line and Furled Leader.
The insert is almost fully extracted. Our extraction motors pull the insert out at about 2 inches a minute.
And here the middle of the three piece bamboo fly rod.
At this point clamp the tip of the loop you just glued in the Silk Fly Line in one Spring Clamp and part of the body of the Silk Fly Line in the other clamp. Stretch the rubber bands when applying Clamps so that when released, tension is placed on Silk Fly Line so you can wrap the tag ends of the loop.
We have completed extraction of our REC Spalted Maple insert from the dip tube. We placed the insert in our drying cabinet for 24 hours, then dipped it a second time (with a follow-on 24 hour tour in the drying cabinet). We only dipped this twice because we don’t want the varnish build up to be so much that the insert won’t fit in the nickel silver skeleton.
And here the tips of the three piece bamboo fly rod.
This photo shows a spool of YLI #100 Silk Thread. Black is used here, but the color is your choice. We use a Fly Tying Bobbin to wrap the thread onto the Silk Fly Line Loop.
This is our Spalted Maple insert after the second varnish dip and it’s subsequent 24 hour stay in the drying cabinet.
A key thing to remember when you are preparing stripper and snake guides for your bamboo fly rod is to work the feet. A LOT! If the feet aren’t tapered sufficiently fine where your silk thread transitions from bamboo to guide, you can get a gap or other perturbation in the uniformity of your gap. To help the process, we start by using a Dremel Trio with a sanding drum. Of course the grit of the drum is way too course for the finish, but it tends to cut away the foot very fast and speeds things up a lot. But use caution (like everthing else in making a bamboo fly rod) because if you twitch while sanding you can grind away too much and have to get a new guide. I usually waste two to three guides per rod.
Attach the YLI Silk Thread at the base of the loop. We use a Constrictor Knot (see the following URL for example of knot: http://www.netknots.com/html/constrictor_knot.html)
This close up of the insert shows the our “dip hanger” which we made from a coat hanger.
I used to hold the guides in my fingers when I held them against the rotating sanding drum. The advantage to that is you get a really good “feel” of how the sanding is going. The disadvantage is that you can FEEL the sanding drum. So I have bought a set of Pin Vises and now I hold the guides in them. It is much safer for my fingers.
Tighten up the Constrictor Knot; you can apply a small bit of glue to the Constrictor Knot to prevent slippage if you wish. Then cut the tag end of the Constrictor Knot.
Now that we have completed the varnishing of our Spalted Maple insert, we need to prepare to match with the REC Nickel Silver uplocking skeleton. Here we have laid out the skeleton, in proper order, next to the insert.
Here is a guide mounted in the Pin Vise.
Begin to wrap Silk Thread down the tag end of the loop.
Just like we dry fit the ferrules onto the ferrule stations of our bamboo fly rod blanks, we also dry fit the skeleton onto the wood insert. There are a lot of reasons to do this: one is to make sure our two coats of varnish were not so thick that it hampered the fit in the skeleton, the other is to be sure we correctly lay out the skeleton parts (they usually come separate from the insert). Having the epoxy dry and THEN discover you left out the slide ring is not a happy thought.
This is a close up photo of the Pin Vise holding a guide. If you enlarge this photo, you can see where we are beginning to file (sand on the drum) down the end of the foot. You want end up with a gradual slope to the foot so that when you wrap with silk thread, the thread experiences a smooth transition from the bamboo rod flat to the guide foot.
As you near the end of your intended wrap, cut off the tag end of the Silk Fly Line
Now take the dry fit skeleton off and prepare to epoxy certain parts of the skeleton onto the insert. It is a wise idea to do what you can BEFORE epoxying the skeleton/insert onto the bamboo fly rod butt. We use 60 minute epoxy to allow enough time to place all the pieces together (5 minute epoxy will set up before you are finished); but there is a down side. If you aren’t very careful, the skeleton can slip slightly during the epoxy set-up and even a slight slip will be catastrophic. So, gluing what you can up front will pay dividends.
This is a close up of the guide above as we continue to work the foot. Work this slowly; you can always grind more off, but you sure can’t put anything back on. After you get pretty close to your desired end state, switch to fine grit (600 grit then 800 grit) sand paper and smooth out any scratches, by hand, from the corse grit sanding drum. Slope down to a very, very fine edge; if possible, you want the edge of the foot to be no thicker than 25%-50% the thread diameter.
This photo shows wrap almost to the end of the cut tag end of the Silk Fly Line.
We will use the same stainless steel pick that we used in the information section about perparing and installing the nickel silver ferrules on our bamboo rod blank (see Line #39) to scratch the inside of the reel seat skeleton. These scratches make it much easier for the epoxy to bind to the skeleton.
The Nickel Silver Agate Stripper Guide (Arcane Components) we used on our three piece bamboo fly rod has a much thicker foot than our snake guides, so it takes more work to slope the foot to where we want it. Again, we start with the sanding drum on our Dremel Trio. But before we transition to sandpaper, we work a while with a very fine #6 then #8 Grobet Swiss File I bought from JD Wagner.
Complete the first wrap of Silk Thread a bit beyond where you cut the tag end of the Silk Line. Then using a toothpick, apply a thin coat of Cyanoacrylate glue.
If you enlarge this photo, you can see the abrasions made by the steel pick.
This photo show working with the #8 Grobet Swiss File.
Begin second wrap which reverses course and heads back toward the start point of the wrap
Don’t forget to also scratch the Spalted Maple insert itself. Since we sealed it with two coats of varnish by dipping in the dip tubes, we need to scratch the varnish to insure the epoxy bond between the insert and skeleton. Be careful doing this; you want to scratch the insert that will contact the skeleton, but you do NOT want to scratch any portion of the insert that will be visible once the skeleton/insert is epoxied onto the bamboo fly rod butt section.
Finish working the Agate Stripper Guide feet with 600 grit then 800 grit sandpaper.
When you reach your starting point, keep tension on the thread with the weight of the bobbin and apply a thin coat of glue the length of the wrap thread
Here is a photograph of the steel pick making the scratches we need.
When we finish, we will dip our bamboo fly rod in varnish. But at this point, we are going to smooth our blanks with 0000 steel wool then wipe a thin coat of varnish that has been cut with a with between 5% and 10% Acetone. Before dipping our rod, we want to sign the butt; we want to apply the signature onto a thin coat of varnish rather than directly onto unfinished bamboo. This makes it easier to wipe off any mistakes in ink (not that we ever make any mistakes).
Tie a Constrictor Knot, apply a bit more glue, cut the tag end close, and then apply a thin coat of glue along the entire wrapped section
Now we are done with scratching the outside portion of the skeleton. Note that this Information Section doesn’t show ALL the areas on the insert that need abraisons. Use common sense, wherever the nickel silver skeleton is to be joined to the insert with epoxy requires abrasion.
Apply the thin coat of varnish with a clean lint free cloth. Then hang the blank sections in your drying cabinet for 24 hours.
Photo shows finished wrapped and glued loop
Don’t forget that the inside of the insert must be epoxied to the butt end of the butt section of our 3 piece bamboo fly rod. It too should be scratched.
Here is our 3 piece bamboo fly rod, after a thin wipe on of varnish, laid out next to a ruler.
This is a photo of finished loop next to a ruler for perspective.
The ends of the insert also require abraison, but this can best be accomplished by rough sandpaper (perhaps 60 grit). Be careful not to create scratches that will be visible to the fisherman after the nickel silver skeleton has been epoxied onto the bamboo fly rod.
We want to put a hookkeeper on our fly rod. Many makers choose not to use a hookkeeper because you can always use a guide or cork grip for that purpose. But we prefer one. Normally we install a “Wire Loop” hookkeeper (they are just as functional, but considerably more easy to install. But for this three piece bamboo fly rod, we are going to take a more elegant approach – we will use an 18% Nickel Silver Strap and Ring. The pencil point in this photo is by the Ring part of the Strap and Ring hookkeeper. Just below it is the Strap. We trimmed our Strap to the length we want (remember that you have to make a small “hump” in the Strap to allow the Ring to swivel. We will show more on that below.
Here is the Phoenix Furled Leader (see photo 7 for the package); The Phoenix Furled Leader has a loop in both ends.
Here are some of the items and tools we need to work with the reel seat and insert.
The first thing we do after cutting our Strap to length is to prepare the feet, just like we do on the guides.
This is a cClose up of the loop in Butt End of Furled Leader.
We have learned that Acetone is an excellent tool to keep handy. It is great for cutting grease in a ferule and thus make it easier for epoxy to bind. It is also effective in cleaning up epoxy residue from bamboo fly rod blanks. But this needs to be done while the epoxy has not yet set. The application of too much Acetone can jeopardize the integrity of the epoxy bond in the rod blank itself. Just dapening a lint free cloth with epoxy should work just fine.
Since we have installed a fair number of Strap and Ring hookkeepers, we made a simple tool to help us make our “hump” uniform and centered in the section of Strap. This tool is nothing more complicated than two pieces of smooth wooden blocks with a groove cut into one of them with a saw blade. In this photo you see a round toothpick (yes, ANOTHER toothpick) and a rubber mallet.
Here we are inserting Butt End loop in Leader through the newly made loop in Silk Fly Line
Now we need to mix the epoxy to glue the nickel silver reel seat, REC Spalted Maple Insert, and 3 piece bamboo fly rod butt section together. Start by placing a plastic mixing cup on a set of scales and Tare it to zero.
Place the Strap on the block that has the groove in it. Be sure you get the Strap centered on the groove.
This photo shows the Furled Leader attached to Loop in Silk Fly Line
Place some 60 minute epoxy in the mixing cup (we use 0.05 ounces); we need enough to mix well, but not so much as to cause waste.
Since it is really important that the Strap remain centered over the groove, tape it in place with masking tape.
We use hose clamps to secure the extraction motors to small wood boards. The small boards allow us some degree of portability once the motors are mounted. We use a single screw to secure the clamp to the board. We bought small pre-cut boards from the millworks section of Home Depot.
Now Tare the scales again back to zero.
Now for the magic toothpick again. Place the toothpick on top of the Strap and align it with the groove.
We purchased our extraction motors from Jameco Electronics (www.jameco.com). The motors are DC, variable speed, reversible. They are rated at 4.5 RPM at 12V DC. The operating range is 4.5-12 V DC, but we have been successful at approx 1.8 V DC for a slow extraction.
The Jameco product ID is: 155821. We paid $22.95 each in 2011.
We try to use an equal amount of 60 minute epoxy hardner, but were only able to get 0.045 ounces. This is close enough.
Just like we taped the Strap in place, we need to tape the toothpick in place.
We use insulated crimp on quick disconnect connectors from Radio Shack (#6403134) to connect to the blade connections on the Extraction Motor. For wire we used 18/2 wire from Home Depot.
Now the epoxy and hardner must be mixed together thoroughly. Be sure to you take the time necessary to do this right. Poor mixing (or an amount that varies widely from 50-50) will result in a poor bond.
OK. Now we are almost ready. Place the other wood block, the one without the groove, on top of the taped down Strap and toothpick. Then give the top block a single solid whack with the rubber mallet. Don’t act like you are driving a railroad spike, just a good whack.
We bought a Shaft Coupler from Jameco to connect the Extraction Motor shaft to the dowel inserted into the line wheel (shown later). The shaft coupler uses hex screws to secure the connection.
The Jameco product ID is: #138288. We paid $11.90 each in 2011.
Here is what we need for our initial work on the reel seat skeleton and insert.
Now start peeling the layers of masking tape back off.
There is a flat surface on the Extraction Motor shaft. Align one of the hex screws on the Shaft Coupler and tighten it down on the motor shaft.
Use the stirring stick and apply epoxy to the insert and to the REC nickel silver skeleton . Keep the mitered area (where the skeleton will NOT be) free from epoxy. You need a balance of plenty of epoxy, but not so much that it overflows when you join the pieces. Note that the rim of the nickel silver REC skeleton lines up with the edges of the mortise in the wood insert.
Take a look at the Strap. We have a very well formed hump centered pretty well in the Strap.
Here is the Shaft Coupler secured to the Extraction Motor shaft.
If you expand this photo, you can see where we squeezed out excess epoxy. There is nothing wrong with this, as long it is not excessive; expelling some epoxy is an indicator that you have probably put enough epoxy on the insert and skeleton. Wipe it off with a clean, lint free cloth then dapen the cloth in a bit of Acetone and wipe over the area again. This will clean it up just fine.
After removing the last of the tape, you can get an eyeball look to see if hump is exactly centered in the Strap. It looks to be a bit off.
Here we show what we use for the line wheel. We wanted a line wheel with a lip on it in order to minimize the possibility that the line would slip off during extraction. We experimented with different size line backing spools and determined that, for our Extraction Motors, the Cortland Micron Fly Line Backing (20# test, 100 yards) worked best. More on this later.
We use a small clamp to put pressure on the REC nickel silver skeleton and wood insert to prevent it from slipping while the epoxy is setting up. Obviously, you have to line it up carefully before you tighten the clamp.
Placing the Strap on the milimeter scale we see it is slightly off. That is a problem easily fixed with a set of small wire cutters. After cutting, work the foot again, as necessary, to be sure your silk wrap transitions well onto the Strap.
We used a ¼ inch wood dowell (poplar) from Home Depot to insert into the fly line backing spool which we subsequently connected to Extraction Motor via the Shaft Coupler.
Enlarging the photo here shows what you might expect, that is the further explusion of excess epoxy.
Now we are ready. You can see we did a dry fit with the Ring placed under the hump in the Strap. The hump is now centered in the Strap.
We used a fine tooth saw to cut the ¼ in dowell approximately 1 ½ in long. We roughed up the end of the cut dowell (to increase adhesion) and secured it in the fly line backing spool with Dap Strong Stick adhesive. The end of the 1 ½ down inserted into the Shaft Coupler was sanded slightly in order to insure a smooth fit into the coupler.
This is not a problem and can be easily handled with a clean cloth and a bit of Acetone. Remember, it is far, far easier to remove the excess epoxy before it sets up.
Here we will show a useful trick. In the section on installing ferrules, I emphasized that when you think you have feathered your ferrule tabs enough do it some more; well sometimes even that isn’t enough. Once you have epoxied the ferrule onto the bamboo fly rod blank, you are pretty well done as far as further feathering goes. So what then? Well, here is one approach: You will almost certainly have feathered enough to look good on the rod.
Here again is where we measured and marked the dowel for cutting.
This is an example of of our Spalted Maple Insert and REC nickel silver skeleton properly glued, cleaned, and clamped. We leave our insert and skeleton clamped for a few hours until the epoxy sets up solidly, then we remove the clamp and hang the reel seat in the drying cabinet for about 24 hours.
But the problem is if the thickness of the end of the tab is much greater than about 1/4 the diameter of the silk wrapping thread, there can be a discontunity in the silk thread wrap. A way to mitigate this is to take some varnish and apply it to the ferrule tab/bamboo flat junction. Then let it dry 24 hours in your drying cabinet.
The ¼ in dowel has been cut. The portion marked with xxx is where it will be secured into the fly line spool with adhesive. The other end will be sanded slightly and inserted into the Shaft coupler.
Enlarge this photo and you can see where, after doing a dry-fit of our Portuguese Cork Grip and Reel Seat/Insert, we made pencil marks at where the wood insert comes and also where tip end of the cork grip will reach. The pencil points indicate the marks. You will notice that we did not have to turn the butt end of our butt section in order to expand the hole so our insert could slide on. We normally do, but this time we paid to have a larger diameter hole in the insert.
It may or may not be necessary to repeat the application of varnish (depending on the varnish build-up). Once you are satisfied, sand the varnish layer to a smooth taper from the ferrule tabs to the bamboo rod flat. The idea is to enable the silk wrapping thread to transition from the bamboo flat to the nickel silver ferrule tabs without any perturbation. Clearly it is better to taper the ferrule tabs sufficiently to start with, but you will find that sometimes you have to make corrections.
Here is the ¼ in dowel cut, roughed, sanded and inserted into the Coupler Shaft. This is for demonstration since the dowel will actually be glued into the fly line backing spool after one side has been properly sanded to fit smoothly into the Shaft Coupler.
It is important to dry fit and mark where things will go, because once you apply the epoxy, you don’t want to take too much time trying to figure things out. Also, it is a good idea to know how far to slide your hardware and just as important, when to stop sliding; remember you are sliding it over epoxy and if you back things up you will leave an epoxy residue that will have to be cleaned. Note we have the ring for the reel foot on the insert. You don’t want to forget that!
Now our three (3) piece bamboo fly rod is ready to wrap the guides.
Here is a close-up of the Cortland fly line backing spool that we bought for using as our line spool.
This is a dry-fit of everything. Of course, we did that first before making the pencil marks, but we changed the photos around a bit so you could see the end results. You will almost certainly have to ream out the small hole through the cork grip. Use a tapered reamer or round rasp file as you will want the diameter at the butt end of the grip to be larger than the tip end of the grip. Test frequently. A tight dry fit is OK because wet epoxy acts as a lubricant.
All the butt ends of our bamboo fly rod line up.
This photo depicts where we glued the ¼ in dowel into the fly line spool for subsequent connection to the Extraction Motor via the Shaft Coupler.
See the blue masking tape? As mentioned earlier, we paid extra to have a larger diameter hole cut in our insert, thus eliminating the normal need to turn down the bamboo fly rod butt. But you don’t want any slack in the wood insert either, so if that happens you compensate by building out a small section with some masking tape. Then when you apply plenty of epoxy, the masking tape keeps the insert centered.
And, fortunately, so do the tip ends.
Here is the fly line spool, with dowel glued in place, ready to be inserted into the Shaft Coupler.
Here, the epoxy has been applied to the section of the bamboo fly rod blank that will be covered by the cork grip. This is where you will first appreciate the fact that you made a pencil mark where you want to stop sliding the cork grip on. A very small piece of toothpick can be used as a shim if you reamed a bit too much our of your cork. In this case, everything is fine.
Now we get ready to wrap. There are a lot of items that help when wrapping tipping, some essential and others simply helpful. We use YLI Silk Thread. Our preferred color combination (and what we are using on this three piece bamboo fly rod) is a Wrap of YLI Silk Thread (Color #201, Size #100) with a tipping of YLI Silk Thread (Color Black, Size #100).
The dowel (glued into the fly line spool) has been inserted into the Shaft Coupler. You can see the flat side of the Extraction Motor Shaft and the hex screws which secure the Shaft Coupler to both the Extraction Motor shaft and the dowel.
Since the insert that goes into the recess of our half wells cork grip is manufactured with parallel ridges, we don’t have to scratch it. Enlarging the photo shows where we put epoxy on the part of the insert that will contact the cork recess. A few notes: don’t put too much epoxy at the lip of the cork or the excess will get on the cork; be very careful NOT to put any epoxy on the on the inside of the insert or you may not be able to attach your reel foot.
Here is another helpful trick that sometimes work, sometimes not. Guide feet have to be kept in place while you start your silk wrapping; this is often done with narrow strips of masking tape. But Tacky Glue can also work. Advantages are you don’t have to wrap around the masking tape, the disadvantages are that the tacky glue can come loose and the guide falls off (you only apply a very thin amount of glue to the feet of the guide).
Notice the Brick under the wood mount for the Extraction Motor. We used Velcro Strips (the Velcro was secured to the Brick and the underside of the wood with self-adhesive) and then the wood was stuck together with the Velcro strips. The Brick provides mass so that the Extraction Motor can extract the section of the Bamboo Fly Rod from the Dip Tubes without moving.
Here we are putting epoxy on the inside of the skeleton where we will install the end cap. Be sure to fully coat this part of the nickel silver skeleton, but if you put too much epoxy on and it exudes onto the threads when you press the end cap on, you will be very busy with your clean cloth and Acetone. So use caution. Next, put plenty of epoxy on the butt section and slide your wood insert in place. The butt of the rod should press against the inside of the butt cap.
Dip a toothpick (yes, another toothpick) into the dollop of Tacky Glue and apply it to the bottom of the guide feet.
Here is a better close up of the Extraction Motor, blade electrical connections, and fly line spool. This works really well for dipping Bamboo Fly Rod sections.
I use a Reel Alignment Jig which I bought from Tom Morgan. While the epoxy is still fresh, set the Jig in place (just as your Reel would be when fishing) and rotate the grip/reel seat until the Jig lines up along the bamboo fly rod flat where you will wrap your Stripper Guide. Naturally you will have already identified the spine on your bamboo butt (if it has a spine).
This is an example of applying a thin coat of Tacky Glue to the Agate Nickel Silver Stripping Guide. Don’t apply so much that it causes an elevation of the feet on the bamboo flat.
Here is a European Style Terminal Strip (purchased from Radio Shack (SKU 274-678) which we used to enable three Extraction Motors to be powered from a single AC/DC Power Supply form Jameco.
Now let the epoxy set up before you hang your rod blank in the drying cabinet. During this set-up period, pay close attention to the alignment of everything as things tend to move about while epoxy is wet. Now is when you will apreciate having already glued part of this beforehand. Watch the butt cap closely, it may have a tendency to slightly back out of the skeleton while setting up and this will be blatantly obvious upon rotation of your finished reel seat.
After application of the thin coat of Tacky Glue, position the Stripper Guide on the bamboo flat. For me it is easier to use tweezers as you don’t want to slide the feet around and leave a glue residue. This is also a good example of why making a template which marks where to place your guides is helpful.
Here are the wires necessary to daisy-chain the positive and negative leads enabling three Extraction Motors to be operated simultaneously. The Banana Plugs from Jameco (#138288 at $1.59/pair in 2011) are inserted into the power-out portion of the Power Supply. The other ends of the wires coupled to the Banana Plugs provide input to the Terminal Strip. The Black and Red wires Daisy Chain on the Terminal (see following photo).
This is a close-up of the grip and reel seat. After about two hours, place it in the drying cabinet for 24 hours.
To begin wrapping our YLI Silk Thread onto the stripper guide, place the rod into the Flex Coat Hand Rod Wrapper (we purchased from Cabelas).
This photo depicts how the power is daisy-chained on the European Terminal Strip to allow simultaneous power for three Extraction Motors.
Various makers extend their wraps to different places on the ferrules. On Female Ferrules, we take ours just to the edge of the second ridge past the cut in the ferrule tabs. Rather than try to hold the silk thread in place with one hand while we wrap, we simply run a little excess thread and temporarily tape it.
Brasstown Creek uses a Sherline Model 4400 mini lathe to turn the ferrule stations for our bamboo fly rod sections. You can get it with a three jawed chuck and a hole through the headstock. The three jawed chuck will hold a hexagonal rod blank securely and the hole through the head stock allows the bulk of the rod blank to entend through during rotation.
Here you see the Banana Plugs inserted into the output of the Power Supply and the three pairs of leads (right side of Terminal Strip) each pair of which connects to a separate Extraction Motor. We bought the variable AC to DC Power Supply from Jameco (#301971) for $89.95 in 2011. The Banana Plugs, also from Jameco (#72195) were $1.59 a pair.
Wrap your silk thread with several turns over the tag end of the silk. Note that it usually takes more turns to hold the tag end tight when wrapping over nickel silver than when wrapping over the bamboo rod itself.
Here we have the tip end of the butt section of our 3 piece bamboo rod chucked in the lathe; we cut this section to length in our Measurement and Cutting topic. Again we used the ubiquitous toothpick and measured the depth of female nickel silver ferrule from the edge of the tabs to the water plug. In this case it measures 1.392 inches. So, we marked 1.392 inches from the CUT point and marked it with a pencil.
This is the Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT), with on-off-on positions, switch from Jameco. We have one for each Extraction Motor. The Jameco product number for this switch is #567761. We paid $3.95 each in 2011.
This a closer view of the start of our wrap over the Nickel Silver Ferrule.
The tip end of the butt section of our bamboo blank extends through the headstock (thanks to the hole through it). But if we don’t support this rod section, the weight of the rod section will cause a slight sag, and then the high rotation rate when the lathe is turned on will cause a serious wobble. Supporting the rod (many mechanisms will work, such having someone hold it with a gloved hand) mitigates the problem.
This is a view of the connections to the DPDT switch. For purposes of wiring the DPDT switch, let’s label the screws as follows:
Top row, left to right is 1 2 3 and Bottom row, left to right is 4 5 6 The switch is symmetric, so a 180 degree rotation is OK
After securing the tag end, cut it close with a razor blade. We will smooth and pack it later with an agate Burnisher.
This photo shows the bit aligned with the mark at the 1.392 inch point on the tip end of the butt section. We aren’t going to start turning our station now because the sharp corners on the hexagonal rod can “chatter” if we cut too deep.
Strap Connection 1 to Connection 6
NOTE: some of the DPDT switches are configured as top 3 2 1 bottom 6 5 4. If so, just wire by looking at the photos. If your motor runs opposite to the way you want it simply reverse the connections at the motor.
As we approach the end of the wrap, place a small loop of thread on the bamboo flat opposite the guide and continue the wrap for three to five more turns. Then keep the last turn in place with your finger and cut the tag end off, pulling it through the thread loop. With your free hand, grasp the two free ends of the thread loop and pull gently but firmly until the entire tag end is pulled back through the wrap and comes out as seen in this photo.
So we will begin preparing the ferrule station by rounding some off the angles with a small file. Once we have a bit of rounding on the edges, we will slowly cut with the bit. Use caution and go slowly with this process. If you cut too deeply with the bit with a given pass, you can cause the bamboo to bend while being cut and the result will be a distortion. We use numerous passes taking off very small amounts of bamboo with each pass. You will want to taper your ferrule station cutting (less of a cut at the 1.392 inch mark, more as you approach the cut end). The idea is to cut the bamboo down just enough for the ferrule to fit, but not have a lot of gap. You want the tabs to blend to the flats on the bamboo and if you cut the bamboo the same for the whole 1.392 inch length, then you can wind up with a gap at the ends of the tabs.
Strap Connection 3 to Connection 4
Note – you may wish to wait about the following two steps until you are ready to install in the Project Enclosure later in this example. When you do, use the wiring for the DPDT shown in this series of photographs.
We will take a special “aside” look at tying off the tag ends of a wrap (same approach for both the main wrap and tipping, but the tipping is easier to come lose because there are fewer turns over the tag ends to secure them.
Here we have started a wrap of YLI Silk Thread.
In this photo we have knocked the corners off the ferrule station on our bamboo rod section. This makes use of our lathe and bit considerably smoother.
Connect the Positive lead from the power source to Connection 3
Connect the Negative lead from the power source to Connection 6
When you are about 5 turns from the end of your main wrap (this may be as few as three turns for tipping), prepare a loop of thread. We use contrasting colors for convenience.
We start our cut with the bit from off the rod and slowly move it to our pencil mark. Before turning on the Sherline lathe, we adjust the bit to take a really minute amount of bamboo off. As we said earlier, we don’t want to cut so much at a time that we cause so much pressure that we bend the bamboo while it is cutting. Also, and VERY importantly, it is better to take many, many small cuts (checking constantly) than to try and save time but cut too much!
Connect the Positive lead to the DC Extraction Motor to Connection 2
Connection the Negative lead to the DC Extraction Motor to Connection 5
Here we have inserted the thread loop under a turn of the main wrap. You will want to do this on the bamboo flat opposite the guide, for aesthetic reasons.
After another minute increase in cut depth, we take our bit back aross the bamboo. Remember we are also trying to take a small graduation from our pencil mark down to the necessary diameter to let the ferrule just slide onto the ferrule station. It is better to take 50 cuts and test after each one than to make one cut too deep. Like a haircut, you can’t add it back on.
We purchased Project Enclosure boxes from Radio Shack to house the DPDT Switches. The boxes are 6”x3”x2”. SKU is 270-1805. We use the optional aluminum top.
Begin to make more turns of your main wrap and over the thread loop. Pack the wrap as you go.
Now its time to start using sandpaper and smooth out our ferrule station. Again, SLOW is key here. Sand a little, test to see if the ferrule will fit on; sand more, test again.
OK, now we have put approximately five turns over the thread loop.
Mark a location on the aluminum top somewhat forward of center. The Nail Punch is to start the hole for your drill. A large nail will serve as well as the Nail Punch.
Now we are using 400 grit sandpaper and making a few more passes. We are close.
Using a free hand, put pressure on the last turn of the main wrap thread and prepare to cut the tag end.
Here the hole is started.
OK, now our nickel silver ferrule fits snugly onto our bamboo. Notice that we make sure the tabs align with the flats on the bamboo.
We want ample length to our tag end of YLI silk thread, so the cut is made off camera.
The tip of the screwdriver points to where a small drill bit has made the starter hole for the larger drill bit.
This is the same process, but with the male ferrule on the butt end of the mid section of our three piece rod. See the blue masking tape on the jaws of our Sherline chuck? The masking tape is there to reduce the chance of scratching the bamboo when we tighten the chuck. Be careful to keep the thickness of the tape the same to avoid causing an offset. Some makers place tape on the rod, but so far we haven’t found that necessary.
Keeping pressure on the last turn, tuck the tag end of your wrap through the silk loop. Using tweezers usually helps with this effort.
Use a ½ in drill bit and enlarge the hole for the DPDT switch.
Here again, we use a file to round off the corners of the ferrule station on our bamboo blank.
Now the tag end of the red YLI silk thread is through the thread loop.
Since the drill bit usually leaves burrs and sharp edges, we recommend using a bit of sandpaper.
This photo depicts the results of several passes on the bamboo blank with the bit.
Grasp the tag thread and pull it toward where the thread loop exits the main wrap turns. When you pull the tag end back through the wrap, you don’t want a lot of slack in anything.
Now the enclosure lid is ready for the DPDT switch.
Another application of 400 grit sandpaper. Remember to taper as you approach the pencil mark and do this slowly, testing quite often to be sure the ferrule fits snugly with no play.
In this photo we have pulled the thread loop (along with the captured tag end of the main wrap) out of the overlying red YLI silk thread. Normally we pull the tag end through in one motion, but for demonstration purposes we are showing this in steps.
Next, drill a hole in the end of the enclosure so you can pass the connection from the Power Supply (IN) and also the connection to the DC Extraction Motor (OUT). We drill the hole slightly below center (too high interferes with the DPDT switch connections and too low is difficult to maneuver out of the enclosure. We start with a tap hole drilled with a 9/64 bit and expand to the final hole using a 5/16” bit
OK, by now we have prepared all our ferrule stations. Here we have done a “dry fit” of the ferrules as well as the reel seat with wood insert (note that we didn’t have to turn the bamboo blank to fit the wood insert because we purchased an insert with a larger diameter hole). You see we have accopmlished one goal of all three sections being of equal length.
So now grasp the the thread loop and pull the tag end of the red thread completely through.
This is the tap hole using the 9/16” bit.
Now you can “Crown” the flanges. This step is not essential, but a lot of bamboo fly rod makers do this for aesthetics. How much you crown the flanges is a matter of personal taste; we don’t bring the flanges to a point (some do), we just Crown the nickel silver ferrules to a point that it is clearly noticeable.
Now give a gentle but firm tug on the tag end of the thread to snug it up.
Now the final hole has been drilled.
The way we do the Crowning is to take our sandpaper (we use progressively finer grit sandpaper), cut into narrow strips, then slid the strip between two opposite slits between the ferrule tabs. This way we can sand the side of two tabs at a time. Sand gradually and evenly, continually moving the sandpaper strip to the next pair of slits. Again, this is an exercise in patience. Do this slowly else you will not be happy with the results.
We now pack our thead wrap with an Agate Burnisher. Since we are going to coat the silk wraps with varnish,we will leave the tag thread uncut for the time being.
Remove the masking tape.
This photo shows one of our nickel silver ferrules that has been “Crowned”.
We are now back to the actual work on our 3 piece bamboo fly rod. You can cut the tag end off flush with the wrap.
Run your connections from the Power Supply and to the Extraction Motors. Wire up the DPDT switch as shown earlier in this example.
The toothpick (toothpicks are very useful) points to one of the crowned tabs.
Here is a close up of cutting the tag end with a razor blade. This appoach, cutting the tag ends flush work well whether you plan to cover the silk with varnish or with flex coat, but it is essential if you use flex coat. If you plan to cover the wrap with varnish, you have an option of leaving the tag ends uncut until you paint on the first coat of varnish. We will see this approach below.
This photo shows how to connect the DPDT switch to the enclosure top.
We gradually move from a 400 grit to a 600 grit which we show here.
Here is a photo of the completed DPDT switch housed in the project enclosure.
This is a dry fit of our crowned ferrule onto our turned and sanded ferrule station. If you enlarge this photo, you can see that the edges of the tabs are relatively thick, particularly compared to the thickness of silk thread. We have to handle this.
Here we wrapped the other foot of our Agate Nickel Silver Stripper Guide and after pulling the tag end of the main silk wrap we temporarily leave it without cutting; then we use YLI Blace for tipping. Some makers try to keep their tipping to as few turns as possible, but we use 5 turns as we like to clearly see the Black on Red contrast.
Here the Power Supply is shown connecting to the Terminal Strip. Note the power leads from the strip to the Project Enclosures which subsequently control the Extraction Motors.
First, remove the dry fitted nickel silver ferrule. We placed it along side the ferrule station. You can see where we gradually sloped our cut of the ferrule station so that the tabs lie close against the bamboo flats.
Here we begin the silk wrap for our Nickel Silver Strap and Ring. With a Strap and Ring Hookkeeper, you have to wrap the silk thread under the entire “hump” part of the strap. Here we use the ubiquitous toothpick to slightly lift the strap so we can slide the thread undeneath. Of course the toothpick has to be removed with each thread wrap else the wood may abraid the thread.
We operate three Extraction Motors at a time (one butt, two tips). For convenience sake, we label the DPDT switches for “Dip”, “Off”, and “Extract”.
In order for the silk thread to wrap over the nickel silver ferrule tabs well, the tabs must be filed down very, very thin. We will start smoothing the tips of the tabs with 400 grit sandpaper. You certainly don’t want to finish with 400 grit, but you can start with this in order to speed things up.
This takes time to complete wrapping the silk thread under the length of Nickel Silver Strap, but the effects are worth it.
We have enclosed the Dipping Tanks and Extraction Motors for our Bamboo Fly Rods in heavy plastic to help control dust and lint. Note the bricks to which the Extraction Motors are attached (with Velcro); the bricks provide stability during extraction of the Bamboo Fly Rod sections while enabling the motors to me repositioned as required.
If filed (sanded) enough, the silk thread will transition from the bamboo to the ferrule smoothly. No matter how much you thin down the ferrules tabs, once you start wrapping with silk you will probably wish you had filed a bit more. But use caution, I finally thought I had filed enough on a ferrule and realized I’d worn the tabs down and had to throw the ferrule away. If you sand the tabs by drawing theferrule toward you, you mitigate the possiblity of snagging a tab and bending it.