Building a Bamboo Fly Rod

This past December, Mary Ann decided she wanted to build her own bamboo fly rod. She has watched me for years and she has several of her own rods that I have built, but this would be the first one she built all on her own.  She chose to build a medium-fast action 8′  0″  6 wt rod.  There are many steps to building a custom bamboo fly rod but here is her build process captured in a just few photos.  Enjoy.

First step – Selecting the raw bamboo culm.

After the bamboo culm was cut to length, it was time to split it by hand into thin strips

Splitting thick strips into thinner strips.

After heat treating the strips and running them through a beveler to rough out the 60 degree angles, it was time to hand plane the strips down to final taper dimensions.

Measuring the final strip dimensions for accuracy.

The finished strips are ready for gluing.

Applying the glue to the strips.

Running the Glue Binder.

Gluing on the Ferrules.

Gluing on the Cork Grip.

Sanding the Cork Grip

The rod needs to get signed with Pen and Ink.

Hand Varnishing the Rod.

TIme to wrap the guides and varnish the wraps.

The finished Bamboo Fly Rod.

The finished Bamboo Fly Rod.


Last Week In California at The Fly Fishing Show

We had a great time at The Fly Fishing Show in Pleasanton, California last weekend.  Great attendance and lots of folks stopped by my booth to chat about bamboo fly rods.  Mary Ann taught two fly casting classes and gave a casting demonstration on Adjusting your casting stroke for varying distances of casts.

The Fly Fishing Show, Pleasanton, CA

After the show was over, I got the chance to drive over to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to the Casting Ponds and Anglers Lodge supported by The Golden Gate Casting Club.  What a great and inspiring facility, with many, many years of fly fishing tradition.  Here are a few photos:

The Fly Casting Ponds

Lots of old rods and flies on display.

An Old Classic Rod


Another Morris Kushner Post

Several days ago, I posted a link to a pretty interesting 1977 film about Bamboo Rod Builder, Morris Kushner.  This film was made by Kushner’s grandson, Scott Mann, and a fellow student, John Roman, when they were in college.  Well, a cool thing happened today right out-of-the-blue….Scott Mann replied to my post, thanking me for sharing his film about his grandfather.  Sometimes it’s a pretty small world.

Here is what Scott said, “Hi Dave– just happened to come across your recent post. Thanks for discovering and sharing my film — made as a student at the University of Michigan on 1977. I hope folks also check out the unedited complete interviews with Bob Summers and Robert Traver that I have also made available on the website.”

That WEB site is pretty cool, and as soon as I get the chance, I’m going to also check out the Bob Summers and Robert Traver interviews.  If you’re like me and enjoy vintage footage of rod builders, check it out.

Two new bamboo fly rods completed.

I just completed two new bamboo fly rods this week, just in time for the upcoming Fly Fishing Show next week in Pleasanton, Ca.  I’ll be there with a booth, and Mary Ann will be teaching classes and giving casting demonstrations.  I’ll have both of these two rods, a 7′  6″  2 piece/2 tip 5 wt Signature Series rod and a 7′  9″  2 piece/1 tip 4 wt Spring Creek Series rods at the show and available to cast.  If you are in the Bay Area, I encourage you to stop by the show….tons of fly fishing stuff, and 5 of us who build bamboo fly rods will be there.

A new 7′ 6″ 2 piece/2 tip 5 wt Signature Series Rod with black wraps and a new 7′ 9″ 2 piece/1 tip 4 wt Spring Creek Series rod with green wraps.

My New WEB Site

If you’ve been to my site previously, you’ll notice a new look.  After much procrastination, I finally got to a much needed overhaul of my WEB site.  Many thanks to Meryl Schenker, a very talented professional photographer from Seattle, for some of the fantastic images on my new site.  I’m still tweeking a few of the site details a little so you may still see a few additional minor changes.  Hope you find my new site informative, easy to navigate, and useful.