This morning i’m approaching the beginning of a new rod. First of all i have to pick up the bamboo pole. Hmm!! Few poles left, soon i have to make a new order. Getting good bamboo culms is crucial if you want make a good rod in term of performance and beauty.
I just pick up one of the culm and start to check if it’s good enough for making a nice 6’10” #3/4 bamboo ferrules with two tips blank.
The lower part of the culm has as usual a too short distance between the nodes and normally it’s also the part where you can get bad bends that will require a long work to geti t straightned. So i usually start to consider the culm normally after the third node (it could be also the fourth sometimes). The lower part of the plant is also the most rich of power fibers,. The upper part of the culm has a bigger distance between the nodes but it’s also the part of the plant with less power fibers. In this section i start to consider the culm after the first or second node.
So picking up a culm you have to be sure that the culm has some good features like:
- As much straight as possible;
- Good density of power fibers, possibly they should be as much uniforma s possible in their distribution around and all along the culm
- A good internodes distance: this is important to have as much less as possible number of nodes on your final blank and to spread the nodes you have in more lenght as possible along the rod lenght.
- Well seasoned: working with not well seasoned culm will give you really bad result and the rod built it’s just a waste of time
- As much clean as possible: we normally have two kind of bad things on a not cleaned culm.
- They can be just spots of humidity or they can be caused by bugs attack. In the first case they will impact only from an haestheticaly point of view; in the second case, if we thing that they will appear after the planing of the strip, you just have to trhow away that strip.
A well seasoned culm can be identified by some aspects:
- Color: well seasoned culm have a nice cream color; the not well seasoned ones have a strange green oil color soon above the appearance of a good cream color. You can easily appreciate the different also when you flame the culm. A well seasoned culm will get soon a nice brown color. The not well seasoned culm will show the oil green color and doing the flaming you’ll see your culm just getting dark on a deep and strange mix of colors (dark brown and deep green oil);
- Sound: knocking with your fingers the well seasoned culm the sound you’ll geti s a nice and very dried sound. Doing the same on a not well seasoned pole the sound you geti s deeper, more fullbodied.
- Weight: of course a dried pole will be lighter than a not well dried one.
I do a light flame on it and then i start to splitting the culm. The rod is gonna have bamboo ferrules so the lower part of the strips that will be used for the tips making must be a little wider than ones carried out to make a starndard ferrules rod tips. I got 19 strips…..i’m on the edge. 18 for the rod and 1 in case of problem will replaced the original one; but i’m on the edge…it’s a good rule to keep at least one replacing strip for each piece of the rod.
Let’s make some thoughts about the power fibers density in a bamboo culm.
We already said that normally they are more concentrated in the lower part of the plant and less concentrate in the upper part. First of it’s a duty to say that each plant has its quantity and density of power fibers and that find two plant perfectly equal is almost impossibile. This concept can let beginning also another thought about the chance that a rodmaker had, on making two rod perfectly twin.
But this is only the starting point. If we look carefully the bottom side of a culm we’ll see that inside the same plant the power fibers are not distribuited in a uniformly. And this is true in two ways. The fibers are not uniformly distribueted around the culm and also in all its lenght. Each strip will have its quantity and density of the power fibers and each strip will have part where there will be more fibers and part with less fibers.
All this can easily explain the deal that every rodmaker must do with the culm of bamboo is approaching for the new rod.
The rodmaking histories and the schools, the traditions, the studying and epxeriment on going now and done in the past, suggested to us different ways and method to deal with our bamboo culm features.
Well it’s time to start to work and let this new journey starts.
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