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Rodmaking

I will add to this page gradually so at first it may appear as a series of snapshots but it will build into a description not only of the process but of the quality factors involved.

Sadly I have rather neglected this page over the years.  It has largely been supplanted by first hand rodmaking tuition.  To anyone interested in taking up the craft feel free to call for any advice or if you are having a particular problem perhaps I can help?

Final taper Planing

The sixth stage in the process.

Image: The tip end of a spline

This an end view of the tip end of my planing form showing a tip spline extended out and blacked for the photograph. the penny gives an idea of scale.

Image: Tip from above

The same spline but shown from above. The spline measures 28 thousands of an inch apex to flat and therefore gives a finished tip dimension of 56 thou for a 5 weight fast action fly rod.

Image: Planes eye view

A planes eye view. A finished spline in the planing form. The form is 72" long and has a groove for the butt on one side and tip on the other. The sides of the form is adjustable by push pull screw sets at 5" intervals allowing compound tapers to be set with the aid of a dial gauge. These forms were hand made by me, they are not commercially available in this country.

Some illustrations of an adjustable planing form in use. The forms are similar to those designed and used by Everett Garrison and are quite distinct from the use of fixed grooves or triangular formers. Adjustable forms of this type are used by most hand planers across the world for the creation of hexagonal section rods. Quadrate rods use a different form with a pair of grooves but the principle is the same.

Quality

The key point at this stage is to achieve the correct final dimension so great care is required.

The points to be met are:

Dimensions of each spline, within 1 to 1.5 thou.
True equilateral triangle.
Even planing, no gaps.
No nodal digs.
No structural flaws, constant bend testing.
Absolute care in removal of enamel.
Maintain short nodes.

Transparent wraps

Transparent of more accurately translucent wraps are traditional on high end fly rods and depend on the the qualities of fine silk. When saturated with varnish the opaque silk becomes see through to a greater of lesser extent dependant on its original colour and the colour of the cane. Achieving good consistent results demands attention to thread tension, varnish type and viscosity and how it is applied. Trapping of air either as definate bubbles or as "shimmers" in the silk must be avoided.

The sequence of photographs below illustrate that it is not just white thread that can be used in fact the colour chosen must bear in mind the darkness of the cane and the colour and amount of varnish that will be used in the finished rod.

Image: Untreated silks, white on the left primrose right.

The untreated silk wraps, white on the left, primrose to the right, both tipped with scarlet.

Image: After first coat

The wraps after the first coat of thinned varnish, the silk is now see through but not filled.

Image: After third coat

After 3 coats - so part finished - the likely end result can be judged. In this case on quite pale cane the colours are similar although the primrose retains a slightly warmer amber cast.

To finish this wrap will need one more coat followed by sanding down with 2000 grit wet and dry and then overcoating the whole rod so it all blends together and then polishing out.

Image: Garrison 206

Plain transparent wrap, appropriately on a Garrison 206.

Image: Transparent wraps single threads

Transparent wraps. The one on the right delineated with two single thread black trims.


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