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Thread: Bamboo project

  1. #1
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    Default Bamboo project

    I'm actively searching for an old bamboo rod to rebuild, are there any brands I should avoid, and are there any I should jump on or not deface as they would better be put aside as collectors items?

    We have lots of "antique" type shops around I plan on searching through, don't want to mess up something that should be saved.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bamboo project

    I'd stay away from 9' rods unless you plan on cutting a 3 piece rod down to a 2 piece "banty"
    They're just not that fun to fish with.. tip heavy, but shorter rods command higher dollars no matter the brand and model
    Montagues and Horrocks&Ibbotson (HI) are the low end rods (for the most part) with South Bend being a half step better. Not that you shouldn't buy those brands.... just don't pay too much.
    You may want to stay away from the post war Japanese rods. I fish one myself, an 8'6" rod that I rebuilt and it casts fine, but most are 9 footers with much too high of a price tag.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Bamboo project

    Rip Tide has said what needed to be said. I have another tip for you, before shopping in antique stores use eBay. When I say 'use' it I mean go there and search for rods made by known makers. Placing the word 'Vintage' in front of 'bamboo fly rod' may prove helpful. I tell you this because there are many fine rods out there that have been refinished over the past 60 or more years. Some may no longer bear the makers marks on the butts. When you look over rods that are identified by the seller in the listings familiarize yourself with the cork designs and hardware used by the various makers. The cork and reel seat hardware is one of the easiest ways to either identify a rod or to be able to make an educated guess.

    While using the search feature on the auction site take a little time to check out some makers like:

    H.L. Leonard - very unique grip on these, easy to remember.
    F.E. Thomas
    Gillum - Finding one of these would be something, don't do anything until you talk to a collector.
    Payne
    Edwards - Several family members who all built rods, the quad rods are something you'll know when you see one.
    Orvis _ Since the rods have been around many have been refurbed, still the grips and hardware have remained pretty standard.
    Heddon - Made thousands of rods but look at Black Beauty rods in 8' if there are any listed.

    I have an old H&I 7.5 foot rod with a single tip that I got about 30 years ago. It is a great 5 weight rod, you just have to be careful to never break the tip. I'm going to give it a face lift this winter and deck it our like a Black Beauty

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Bamboo project

    Quote Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
    The cork and reel seat hardware is one of the easiest ways to either identify a rod or to be able to make an educated guess.
    And the ferrules. Good rods have good ferrules.

    A couple of years ago I bought a 1938 7'6" South Bend #24. 2/2 (two sections, 2 tips). Paid around $275 which I thought was a lot for a South Bend.
    I was nervous as I never shell out that much for a fishin' pole.
    But I was offered a decent profit for it within a week, sight unseen.

    Even the low end production rods have top end models
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  7. #5
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    Default Re: Bamboo project

    Thanks for all the information.

    I cruise fleabay now and then, I would always rather a hands on inspection if possible.

    Since I can't post a want to buy ad, I am looking to buy a 6'6" or 7' 1/2wt project rod/ blank/ what ever I can find to learn on, should someone have something gathering dust. I would be happy to return the favor in trade or legal tender as needed.

    Thanks in advance, I'm learning a lot
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  8. #6

    Default Re: Bamboo project

    Is your goal to build an inexpensive bamboo rod or learn to refinish an old one? If the former you can pick up blanks for rather little cash, if the latter, I'll look forward to following your progress. I troll ebay too and think about picking up one, something about the history etc that is appealing.

    p.s. I'd imagine you're already doing this, but if you spend enough time on google reading about old rods you can often find lists of good what are sometimes called 'blue collar' rods that aren't always that expensive.
    - William

  9. #7
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    Default Re: Bamboo project

    I am looking to restore an old bamboo rod.

    I have visions of nickel silver guides, silk thread and spar varnish.

    And when done, hopefully have something functional.

    Building the first one was fun, but I'm a carpenter/Luthier and something about wood and water just makes you smile.
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  11. #8
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    Default Re: Bamboo project

    Quote Originally Posted by ctshooter View Post
    I cruise fleabay now and then, I would always rather a hands on inspection if possible.
    I understand, I just suggested you use eBay to learn the profiles of the various rods and the hardware. Many times you can find a diamond in the rough for a very good price in antique stores or at auctions. Now days auctions are full of people who have already done the research I tried to describe. They can spot a good rod even if someones kids painted it with house paint.

    One on my good rods, an 8'6" Showers' was coated with red tinted shellac, the cork and all when I got it for free. I would post pictures of it now but I leave it in Colorado so that when I visit there I don't need to take rods. I left a few there

    My point is that when you know how they were made / design, maker to maker it'll help when there's not name on the rods. Rip Tide mentioned the ferrules, real good point! Learn the difference between a rolled edge / mouth on a German Silver male ferrule and the stainless steel Swiss ferrules that the high end builders used. The GS ferrules are OK but the Super Z or Z Swiss were the high grade joints.

    Just trying to help you find a gem, remember the 7'6" H&I rods are good. Those are usually 5 weights.

    Ard

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

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  13. #9

    Default Re: Bamboo project

    Quote Originally Posted by ctshooter View Post
    Thanks for all the information.

    I cruise fleabay now and then, I would always rather a hands on inspection if possible.

    Since I can't post a want to buy ad, I am looking to buy a 6'6" or 7' 1/2wt project rod/ blank/ what ever I can find to learn on, should someone have something gathering dust. I would be happy to return the favor in trade or legal tender as needed.

    Thanks in advance, I'm learning a lot
    The entries already posted hit all the right points in terms of what to check. I wouldn't buy a rod sight unseen unless it's from someone reputable. You'll want to assemble the rod and give it a waggle to make sure you don't hear or feel any "clicking" at the ferrules, which indicates they are loose. Also check all the glue lines for any indication of separation.

    The good news/bad news is you are in the right church/pew with regards to length. Unfortunately that is the same church and pew in which everyone else wants to sit. So those rods are going to be the most wanted and therefore most expensive.

    I might suggest, for your first project rod, start off buying a cheap, but solid 9' rod and converting it to a six and a half footer. Plan on stripping off all the old finish to get some practice doing the strip and then the refinish. You may also want to include a sawed off part of the bottom section to extend the blank a bit, you can mount the handle over that bottom ferrule.

    Alot of the cheap 9'ers make a fun to fish shorter rod. The cheap rods were made of cheap bamboo. The cheap bamboo doesn't contain alot of power fibers, so it lacks the stiffness found in prime tonkin. So the cut down rod will be very slow action, but they can be fun to fish for panfish and smaller trout.

    It would be a good project to take you over the learning curve.

    have fun,


    The more you know, the less you need.

    Tenkara Fly Fishing

    Tenkara Fly Fishing Blog


    "People tend to get the politicians and the fishing tackle they deserve" - John Gierach, Fishing Bamboo

  14. #10
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    Default Re: Bamboo project

    Found one, nothing fancy, not my dream rod, but good to learn on.

    9' 3 piece with 2 tip sections, looks like the guides have been rewrapped but the finish is pretty decent and it's solid and still has intact labels, and it was only $30.

    One of the low end Japanese rods from the 40's/50's still working on a positive ID, pictures when I get a chance, and I'll keep updating the thread so you all can let me know how to do it right.

    Thanks for the help
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