Brasstown Creek Bamboo Fly Rod Three (3) Piece Rod Wrapping Information Measuring and Cutting Rod Blanks

The information below for making a 3 (Three) Piece Bamboo Fly Rod from Rod Blank to finish is one of several approaches used by Brasstown Creek, Inc., depending on a number of factors such as whether we coat the wraps with varnish or Flex Coat, two or three piece Bamboo Fly Rod Blanks, etc. There are many other methods, some certainly may be better.  Always use caution with lathes, flammables, razor blades, heaters, and other dangerous items.  Always follow manufacturer instructions.

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1 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.
2 We use one inch masking tape (blue is a nice color) to provide a writing surface (conveniently re-usable) to mark off our template.
3 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).
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 Notice here we mark some of the locations of the #2 snake guides on the mid section of the bamboo blank.
8 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.
9 Here we mark our Template for the tip top of one of the tip sections of the 3 piece bamboo fly rod blank.
10 This photograph of the tip section of our Template shows locations for #3/0 and #2/0 snake guides.
11 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.
12 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.
13 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).
14 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).
15 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.
16 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.
17 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.
18 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.
19 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.
20 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.
21 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.
22 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.
23 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)

24 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.
25 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.
26 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).
27 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.
28 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.
29 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.
30 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.
31 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.
32 This photograph shows the butt end of the mid section described in Row 39.
33 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.
34 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.
35 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.
36 This is the Duzoki saw we use and a small miter box we got from a model toy store.
37 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.
38 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