SPLIT-CANE FLY RODS
BUILDING MY FIRST CANE ROD
In 1968 I decided to build a fiberglass rod - drove to supplier on Friday
and got the blank, cork rings, guides, varnish, glues, ferrules. Found
spine [spline], mounted reel seat, cork rings, ferrules and guides.
Varnished guides and fished the rod Sunday. Total construction time - 3 hours
In 1981, I decided to build cane rods. Found a cane rod builder and a book
on rod building, read and pestered the rod builder for information. Ordered
cane, acquired or built the following: forms, planes, stones, dipping
tanks, rod turner, rod binder, heat tempering oven, 60 degree lathe point,
alcohol lamps, micrometers, calipers, depth gages, made work bench, knives,
chisels, soft hammers, ferrules, glues, guides, hardwood, ni-silver, lathe,
lathe tools etc. etc.to the tune of about $ 5,000.
Cane arrives after 6 months and was check split. Two years pass while cane
seasoned and I built or acquired the parts.
And now for the big day:
- decided on rod taper
- plotted taper
- split the cane
- preliminary planed the cane
- bound the cane and tempered
- final planed the cane
- glued the cane strips
- removed glue string and straightened the rod
- installed ferrules and lapped
- made reel seat, wood insert
- mounted reel seat and cork rings
- finished handle
- dipped the rod 3 times, sanded with 600 grit, polished, redipped, sanded
with 1500 grit, polished, dipped and final sanded
- mounted guides
- waited about 2 months for varnish to completely harden
- fished the rod.
Total elapsed time about 2 1/2 years. Total construction time about 75 hours.
So what's to be learned: If you desire to build a graphite/glass rod you
should be able to fish the rod within 48 hours of the purchase of the
parts, for cane figure about a year minimum. And its a whole lot easier
to make a mistake building a cane rod as virtually all of
the components must be adjusted, fit or manufactured whereas the graphite
rods come with nearly all the components "ready to use".
While I don't mean to make light of the efforts graphite builders go
through to make a rod functional and pretty, those efforts are just a small
part of what a cane builder does to accomplish the same end.