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<  16ga. General Discussion  ~  Stuck between bird seasons-so I built a split cane fly rod
Gil S
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:02 am  Reply with quote
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Location: Lowcountry Ga.

Off topic for sure, but in the fly fishing world, this 7'9" for 5 wt. rod is equivalent to a 16 ga. 100 year old SXS in the hunting world. This is as close as I can get it to what this forum is about. Smile
I retired September 28th and hit the ground running in Blue Ridge, Ga., Monday October 1 through the 6th, for Bill Oyster's course. I have for decades been hankering to make a split cane rod, but never got the round 'toit. I've had the cane, planes, forms, etc. for over 15 years but didn't feel comfortable getting it out of books so when my wife offered me a fishing trip getaway, I opted for the course instead. He's been teaching bamboo fly rod building for over 20 years and has never had a participant fail to complete the rod. He and his protege, Riley, are talented and levelheaded and show one how to do it and supervise the 8 participants from beginning to end. We flamed the raw cane, split it, straightened and flattened nodes, planed the strips and glued and rolled them up, sanded, wrapped on the guides with silk thread, coated the thread wraps. The sections were given three coats of dipped varnish with sanding and steel wooling in between coats. We had previously mounted ferrules and turned the grips on small lathes with sandpaper. It took several days before the strips resembled something that could be made into rods. It's boot camp fast, but progress to the next step is not faster than the slowest (me) maker, with long hours, but at the end, one has a rod. The youngest participant ever was 10, his son; the oldest, 87. Participants are given the choice of line weight and length. Folks from all over the world attend. I was hoping to baptize the rod near Brevard, N.C., this weekend with my daughter Julia on our annual trout trip, but Michael has something to say about that. Gil
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Each culm is 12 long. The culm is cut into two 6 lengths and split in half lengthways. We flamed the two pieces outside which changes the color from straw to honey brown, to black depending on the time spent flaming, scraping and sanding. Here are my two pieces, one from the bottom of the stalk for the butt section and the top of the stalk for the tip.
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The halves are split into as many .25 sections as possible. I was able to get 9 out of each piece and we picked the best 6 for the tip and butt. Here are the strips position for inner node removal.
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Here the unflappable and talented Bill Oyster is demonstrating heating the nodes with a alcohol lamp to straighten the sections for running through a specialized router which speeds up rod making otherwise wed have had to have planed them to rough shape before tapering.
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Butt strips completed; hand planing gave me more trouble than it did the rest of the class. I got to sit in a corner with my nose to the wall.
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Getting closer.
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Here's close-up of the cut-off piece between the rod sections. It's from the butt section and is about .375" across the flats. The darkerpower fibers are in about an 1/8" from the outside inwards. Every effort is made not to compromise or thin the outer portion. The white area is the pith which adds weight and nothing else. Advanced techniques of rod building eliminate as much pith as possible. Tonkin cane is the only cane used in rod construction. It grows in about a 40 square mile area in China and is cultivated and not Panda food. It's primary use is for Asian skyscraper scaffolding which is lashed together. It's tough stuff. Oyster does a video demonstration of him jumping up and down with his booted heels on a butt section (his wife's rod) to no ill effect. Try that with graphite. Not to say the rod can't be broken by over flexing the tip. Each of the six strips of cane have a cross section of an equilateral triangle.
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fin2feather
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:52 am  Reply with quote
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Location: Kansas High Plains

Beautiful rod; great job! Congrats!

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16gaDavis
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:29 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 1335
Location: canandaigua - western n.y. (formerly deerhunter)

many moons ago when I 1st started at Kodak , a few of us were trading / bying bamboo's . My GL had a Cortland and he was thinking of buying a 6' Orvis I believe . We were at a honey hole trying them and a trout got hot maybe 25-30' below Charlie . Put a dry right on it's nose , set the hook - SNAP . Rod broke right at the base a couple inches above the handle . We laughed ssoo hard !! 7'' brookie . When he took the rod back to Don , Don was pi***d , but was able to get a new bottom ... His comment was that you could always tell Charlie's fish on a stringer because they were always CROSS EYED !! ...Nice build by the way . Wish I still had the patience !

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MaximumSmoke
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:31 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 01 Dec 2005
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Location: Minneapolis

Great job on the rod, Gil; it's a beauty.

If anyone desiring such a rod is in MN or thereabout, try Larry Donahe's shop -- another good place to build a rod, or have Larry custom build one for you:

Donahe Split Cane Rods
2620 Fieldstone Dr
Victoria, MN 55386
(952) 797-4943

https://www.facebook.com/L-P-Donahe-Split-Cane-Rods-106826566016642/

Beautiful stuff. Larry showed me his split cane fly rods at the MN Fly Fishing Expo a couple of years ago -- beautiful pieces of material and workmanship. He also taught me to cast with one of his rods to show how different a split cane rod is from the modern stuff. This old technology still has great capability and gives a very satifying feeling. I have neither bought nor built one of these rods. That was my only contact with Donahe. I'm not getting paid to plug his products -- just testifying to their beauty and function. If I had the time, I'd make one at Donahe's place.
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rudyc
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:52 am  Reply with quote
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Very Nice, great job Gil
Always wanted to fish with a cane rod.

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canvasback
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 2:26 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 12 Mar 2012
Posts: 527
Location: Ontario

Well done Gil.

On both retirement and the rod!

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WyoChukar
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:05 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 16 Jul 2015
Posts: 1101
Location: Hudson,Wy

Very nicely done Gil! I often wonder what a 2wt split cane rod would be like in hand. Perhaps someday I will find my "round toit".

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Pine Creek/Dave
PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2018 5:10 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Posts: 545
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa

Gil S,

Nice looking bamboo fly rods, who's tapers did you use when building? I favor the F.E. Thomas tapers, Garrison's are nice also.

Having restored & built many different Bamboo Fly Rods for a lot of serious Fly Fisherman, I appreciated what you have done.

Keep up the great building! Also learn how to historically restore if you can.

Pine Creek/Dave
Pine Creek Rod Restoration

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Rick Grimes
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:28 am  Reply with quote



Joined: 18 Jun 2004
Posts: 399
Location: thick and uncivilized places in the Allegheny Mts.

Wow Gil, you really impressed me. Laughing Great looking rod. And congrats on the retirement. Since I retired I can't find enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. Hope you have the same problem. Laughing Laughing

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Dave Erickson
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:55 am  Reply with quote
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Nice job, Gil. I'm a hardware guy, but I can appreciate talent.
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Gil S
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 8:55 am  Reply with quote
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Location: Lowcountry Ga.

Thanks, fellas. I've got the rest of the needed tools to make another on the way.
Pine Creek/Dave, check your pm's. Gil
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cowdoc87
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:40 am  Reply with quote
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Great job, brother. Get in touch with John Hollifield. Hes a great resource for cane rod building. http://hollifieldbamboo.com

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PablosDryFliesAndBirdshot
PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:00 pm  Reply with quote
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looks good
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CitoriFeather16
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:54 am  Reply with quote
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Location: Las Vegas

Great job Gil! I got lucky and found a long time builder in Boulder City who took me under his wing and taught me hands on. I've made around 25+ so far and have 2 more on the bench as I type this. It gets under your skin.

Try and find a copy of "The Lovely Reed" by Jack Howell. Great tutorials and many excellent tapers to be had. I'm assuming you're a member of the Classis Fly Rod Forum? Tons of great information at that site.

Build on!

Matt
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CitoriFeather16
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2018 10:54 am  Reply with quote
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Great job Gil! I got lucky and found a long time builder in Boulder City who took me under his wing and taught me hands on. I've made around 25+ so far and have 2 more on the bench as I type this. It gets under your skin.

Try and find a copy of "The Lovely Reed" by Jack Howell. Great tutorials and many excellent tapers to be had. I'm assuming you're a member of the Classis Fly Rod Forum? Tons of great information at that site.

Build on!

Matt
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