My romance with the nodes

Finally i have selected the right culm of bamboo, so now i can start with the splitting of the cane. A standard bamboo rod has (as required by the tradition) one butt section and two tips. In this case we are considering the making of a 2 pieces rod.

To carry out a two pices bamboo rod with double tip, we need 18 strips, plus at least 3 strips we’ll use in case of problem, as replacing strips.  So the right number is 21.

Today on the market we can find culm with different sizes. The lenght is always around 3,60 m. (around 12 feet) but the different is in the circumference. A standard tonkin cane culm has a circunfernece of 50-57 mm (2-2.25 inches) , but are available on the market also XL bamboo culm where the circumference is more than 57 mm (2.25 inches).

With a standard cane is not easy to get 21 or more strips. So before start with the splitting is better to consider the wide I aspect by the single strips. In this case I ‘m building a bamboo ferruled rod so the 12+2 strips I’ll use for them are going to be almost the same dimension of the 6+1 I’ll use with the butt. I prefer to get less strips but well done rather than trying to get more strips but smaller; this because I like to maintain a good tolerance between the starting meausures and of the strip and the final ones. This give me the chance to recover some problem during the making.

I’m using a standard culm and I got 19 strips. I’m on the edge, in fact I have only 1 strip to be used (eventually) as replacing strip. Hope experience and good luck will take me to the final result.

Once selected the strips for the tips and the strip for the culm, I begin the staggering of the nodes.

There are different methods used for this: 2×2, 3×3 and Garrisong style are the most known and used. On my rod I usually do the 3×3, and ery few times the Garrison Style. To me good distance between the nodes of 2 different strips should be more than 4”.


So once cut the strips following the 3×3 staggering nodes I can start to deal with the nodes.

The dealing with the node is maybe the part that cause me the more quantity of emotions during the making. I can hate them but I can also love them. They will stay and talk to me from the beginnning until the end of the full process. If I start the work in a right way since the beginning, they will be good friend until the end of the making, if I don’t treat them in the right way since the beginning they will shout on my face until the end of the process.

Let’s try to treat them as a nice and kind woman !!!

The first thing I do is the flatting of the lower part. I do that using the plane.



After that it’s time to turn on the heat gun to start the real treatment of the nodes.


Firstly I use a common vise where I added two metal piece with a small invitation for the teeth of the nodes. This is very usfeul cause when you smash the node you want that the tooth won’t be touched. The pression of the vise must concentrated in the two parts (left and right of the tooth), because is there I really need to work.


During this pression applied to the node I basicly want achieve the following results:

  • To flat the node surface without touching the tooth
  • Get the fiber straightened in the node area



  • Get the strip straightened above all on the node area but also all along the strip length….any bend I get on the strip will give me problem during the planing step.

Once the node have been smashed and straightened, I put on the in another vise (a classic vise) and using a soft file I start to work on the tooth and the whole node area to make it perfectly flat. This step is crucial. It’s a good rule touch as lees power fibers as possible and trying to be concentrated in a very short space just around the node. So I do it very carefully working with the file only where is really required to do it.


The node treated in a good way must be :

  • Not burnt
  • Perfectly straight and flat
  • Touched only in the area very close to the tooth.


Ok I must repeat the operation for 36 times. This is the amount of the nodes I have on my 18 strips. And I know for sure that i’ll deal with again in the making process.

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