January 2014 (Volume 54)



January 2014 (Volume 54)
January 2014 (Volume 54)
Dedicated to the Making
of Fine
B a m b o o F ly Ro d s
Inside this issue:
The First Cast
Fly Reels for the
Ferrule Supports
The GPW Mortise
And Tenon Jig
Travelling Angler:
The Triangle
of Split Cane Rods
Firewood Reel Seat
What is a Parabolic
Watercolor on paper courtesy of Alfonso Jaraiz Puig (http://artificialfliesdrawings.blogspot.com)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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January, 2014 (Volume 54)
New Offering
We at Power Fibers have decided to offer web site hosting services for
anyone who wants to set up a web site at an affordable price. We’re offering space for you to upload your site along with a secure login to maintain
the site. If you’re interested in more information, send a message to
[email protected]
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January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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The First Cast
Todd Talsma, Editor
Well, we’re in the middle of the coldest stretch of weather that I’ve experienced in a long time. A lot of snow and a lot of snowblowing. This
is what I remember Michigan winters being every year. The change of
seasons is one of the reasons that I love living in Michigan. Each season
has its positives and negatives. I choose to look at the positives. The
amount of snow that we have should surely help the level of the lakes
and rivers in the area once spring rolls around!
Power Fibers
Online Magazine
Todd Talsma
Personally, I’m at somewhat of a crossroads. In a couple days, I start a
new job after spending about 10 1/2 years with the company I’m leaving.
I have some mixed feelings, but I’m excited to start the new job!
Balling, Fred
I’m also slowly moving toward making some more rods. Last issue, I
had started working on some more nodeless rods. Now, I’m thinking
about doing some more work with flaming. I’ve done some unusual
things in the past, such as flaming over a campfire. Now I’m thinking of
doing something with thinner striping patterns (saw something like this
on the internet), some random flaming and maybe some swirly patterns.
Might have to get a new torch to do
that, but we’ll see. I’d surely be interested to hear about some different Because many aspects of bammethods for doing this. If you have boo rodmaking bring the maker
anything that you’d like to share, I’m in contact with machinery,
bladed tools, volatile chemicals
all ears!
and gases, the editor and advisory board of Power Fibers ask
I can always use more ideas, feel free you to exercise the utmost cauto contact me. If you have a sugges- tion when attempting to build
tion about improving Power Fibers, or mimic any devices or actividrop me an email at the following ties mentioned in this magazine.
e m a i l
a d d r e s s :
Please have any devices you
[email protected]
build and use in your shop
checked by a safety professional
before attempting to use such
devices. This is to guarantee
your personal safety and that of
others around you.
If you choose to build any device or use any technique found
in this magazine, you are doing
so at your own risk.
Drozenski, Chip
McGuire, Michael
Salmi, Tapani
Spezio, Tony
Wieditz, Gerd Peter
Copy Editors
Bret Reiter
Carol Talsma
Mark Wendt
Advisory Board
Russ Gooding
Bob Maulucci
Bob Nunley
J.D. Wagner
For more info contact:
Todd Talsma
[email protected]
8412 North Maple Court
Zeeland MI 49464
Copyright © 2014 by Power Fibers
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Fly Reels for the Contemporary Rodmaker
Text and photos by Fred Balling
Depending on how you count, there are about 1,000 bamboo fly rod builders around the world. The
greatest number of rods being built are 8' or less in length and 5 weight or under in line weight.
There does not appear to be a proportionate number of equally fine reels to complement the finely
wrought smaller rods that are being produced. So many rod makers, so few reel makers.
Despite the great treasury from legendary makers: the Vom Hofe brothers, B. F. Meek, Frederick
Malleson, William Talbot, Philbrook and Payne, trout size reels made today essentially remain the
“stepchild” of traditional tackle making.
Hardy of Alnwick does make a number of good reels, such as the Bougle, Perfect and St. George in
smaller sizes, but not everybody wants a Hardy, not everybody wants an English made reel, and not
everybody wants a comparatively mass produced reel.
Fascinating small batch reels, among the finest being made today, are produced by my friend Masatoshi Okui, owner of Kineya Tackle in Kyoto, Japan. His beautiful reels display astounding creativity and craftsmanship. A few really terrific North American reel makers concentrate their skills on
larger reels for Salmon and Steelhead, and two or three others offer individual light line reels. A
small number of Euro reel makers exist, but they are not readily accessible over here.
The Perfection Fly Reel Company offers an alternative to makers and anglers devoted to bamboo
rods, providing reels that are conservative, classic, and essentially archival embodiments of the
great tradition of fly fishing equipment. The integrity of Leonard, Payne and Thomas lives on in
domestic rod making. Design, materials and workmanship of the right reel can enhance the experience and satisfaction of the builder and the angler. Simple and functional reels are meant to be a
tribute to that American tradition.
Is a rod the end in itself or is it intended to be a superb fishing instrument? If you invest upwards of
forty hours making a rod that reflects your vision, your choices of fibers, taper, color, wrapping design, hardware and reel seat, you have made a distinct artifact; or if you should purchase a rod of
distinction for your own fishing interests, wouldn't you naturally expect a reel that shares the tradition of that special rod?
In full disclosure, I own the Perfection Fly Reel Company. Like the traditional rod-maker, this reelmaker spends a ridiculously inefficient amount of effort in developing prototypes, refining tools
and learning from mistakes. Reel prototypes are tested by hard time on the water, used, abused and
(Continued on page 6)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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In the vast majority of contemporary reels seen in the marketplace where design is driven by machines, you can choose a reel that looks either like a colander (full of holes) or a hamster wheel (all
spokes). Bench made reels are those where the design drives the machine. The following illustrations show some of the processes required to bench build a reel that would be compatible with rods
of distinction. The reels shown are the Fairy and the 44 Special.
Fairy Reel
44 Special Reel
The Fairy reel is our best effort to hand make a reel that embodies all the quality and simple elegance of the vintage HL Leonard version, a direct descendant of the fabled Philbrook and Payne
raised pillar reel with marbelized side plates. In a few instances, it seemed necessary to upgrade
some of the Leonard details: the old reel had a slightly misaligned rear bushing that, due to the resulting uneven wear, caused the spool to run less smoothly than it should. The early pawl gear was
also a bit worn and so the new reel has a stainless spur gear. Also, the holes in the “ears” of our ebonite side plates are more accurately shaped, centered and counterbored. The teardrop shape of the
winding arm is a reference to the legendary early Philbrook and Payne raised pillar reel.
The iconic Meek 44 all Nickel Silver fly reel made its debut in 1899. Only 15 of the beautiful first
model were produced, possibly because the elaborate dogleg wind arm and intricately knurled and
beaded knobs and controls were difficult and expensive to manufacture, while the pillars, with a
male thread at one end and a female tap at the other were quite finicky. This wonderful reel has
been revived in a practical 2-1/2” version that handles modern 4 and 5 weight lines.
This reel as the “44 Special” is available in Nickel Silver, Naval Bronze, T5 Titanium, with ABEC5 ceramic micro-bearings and specially stabilized shed deer antler.
(Continued on page 7)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Concept Drawing prepared for reel.
(Continued on page 8)
Landmark Components
Email: [email protected]
Screen Printing
Rod Bags
Phone: 970.278.1311/888.779.4855
Fax: 970.278.1312/888.557.6561
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
Page 8
Detailed work drawings are made; here a winding arm to be cut by waterjet from nickel silver
sheet. The operator determines the formula for the arc of the curves that define the shank.
Shaping Ebonite reel face on pre-war Bridgeport Mill, rotary head.
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January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Visual reminder to "default to the curve," avoid unnecessary straight lines.
New England machine shop out of the past, the once famous Skilton Tackle Company, sadly now
Pawl springs in brackets, gears.
(Continued on page 10)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Completing aluminum spool plate on pre-war Hardinge lathe.
Parting off click gear from pinion rod.
Prototype face plate back cut for weight reduction, tempered bronze spring, ceramic bearing, prototype pawl, cutaway spool face to allow view of click action.
(Continued on page 11)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Hand polished winding arms from rough cut waterjet blanks.
A 44 Special on a custom cast billet of Nickel Silver.
(Continued on page 12)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
Milgrain and Knurling is done with jeweler's tools.
Alex Vardanis nodeless rod with Fairy.
Page 12
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Page 13
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Ferrule Supports
Text and photos from Tony Spezio
This ferrule support supports the ferrule end of the section when wrapping the ferrules. It has a hole
on one end to support the male ferrule end and the other end to support the female ferrule. This
keeps the end of the section from the end of the section from being pulled down from the thread tension while wrapping the ferrule. I have made one for each ferrule size I use. Just turn a length of
dowel the length you desire.
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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The GPW Mortise and Tenon Jig
Text and Photos by Gerd Peter Wieditz
In this article, we’ll discuss a different method for implementing spliced ferrules to connect mating
pieces of any split cane two hand, two or three piece, salmon rod.
For quite some time I have been building two handed Salmon rods. Initially, I have used metal ferrules for connecting the two or three piece rods. I was not satisfied with this sort of mating of the
pieces. Metal ferrules are heavy and I had the impression that stiff ferrules negatively influence the
dynamic characteristics of the rod. I then went back to using the often used splicing technique.
However, I still was not happy with the result – after taping the three pieces (butt, middle and tip
piece) I could feel lateral movements in the connected parts of the rod.
I had the idea of mating wooden parts like carpenters do – using a mortise and tenon joint technique.
I initially tried to achieve the mating using specific sharpened planers, this however was unsuccessful.
I talked to Aleco Franolic (http://www.elastic-tungsten.de), an engineer and well known toolmaker,
and asked him to design a tool according to my specifications. This device had to be designed so
that I could mount it to the support of my metal lathe and at the same time allow me to fix the blank
to it and work on it.
(Continued on page 18)
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I can now put the blank on this tool in a fixed position (above and below).
The blank in the jig and in fixed position.
(Continued on page 19)
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Now I needed an additional tool in order to drill the mortise into the blank. This is a small saw of 2
mm cutting width (.078”) and an adequate holder for my metal lathe.
Holder and saw.
The positioning of the blank in the Jig is simple, since the Jig will center the blank while mounting it
to the metal lathe. I adjust the height of the saw with respect to the blank in order to get an exact
mortise into the blank. Monitoring the depth of the mortise is essential to avoid damage to the blank.
I make the tenon from a flat bamboo splice. The tenon must be precisely shaped to fit into the mortise and will then be glued into the butt piece of the rod. The glued tenon in the mortise of the butt
piece must then be worked on to fit precisely into the mortise of the second piece or the tip of the
I can now mate the pieces of the rod and secure them with tape.
(Continued on page 20)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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I was satisfied with the result of my efforts. At the Flyfair (Fliegenfischermesse) EWF 2013 (http://
www.erlebniswelt-fliegenfischen.de/en ) some well known casters such as Ian Gordon, Gerry Scott,
Michi Mauri, Jürgen Friesenhahn, and Antti Guttorm have tried the rod and were highly pleased
with the result.
Based on this positive experience and feedback, I decided to introduce my technique to other rod
makers by publishing it in Power Fibers.
If anyone has questions or comments feel free to contact me via eMail: [email protected]
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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a division of Kinnikinnick Frame & Box Co.
"Only the finest in quality, grain contrast and color. Guaranteed."
Stabilized blanks
Dyed and Stabilized blanks
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Unique, one of a kind
Finest quality - Guaranteed
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Traveling Angler: Patagonia
Text by Chip Drozenski, Photos by Chip Drozenski & Memo Stephens
Argentina is a country that offers many venues for outdoor adventure, eco, hunting, fishing and touring. Rich in history and tradition with the gauchos alive and well in a landscape that’s as good as it
Most of the fishing articles are about Tierra del Fuego with its big winds and sea run browns and
recently the new emerging rainbow fishery called Jurassic Lake. But here it’s the fabled rivers of
Names like the Chimehuin, Alumine, Malleo, Collon Cura, Limay, Arroyo Pescado and Rivadavia
just begin an endless list of possibilities. Big rivers, small rivers, spring creeks, famous bocas, lagoons and stillwaters abound and offer the angler all the trout fishing one could do in a lifetime.
(Continued on page 23)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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There are so many venues to choose from, but the Malleo and a few special Spring Creeks with gin
clear water, great hatches, big selective fish and the river cries out BRING YOUR BOO!!
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The possibilities are endless for anglers that have dreamed about the early years of Montana’s legendary fishing, but want the beauty of the landscape and the solitude not interrupted by anglers in
every pool. After a great day on one of these waters, you kick back and take it ALL in. This is how
we end the day.
Chip Drozenski
[email protected]
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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The Triangle Construction of Split Cane Rods
Text and photos by Tapani Salmi
.. and then something totally different…
Triangle split cane rod advantages:
Some physical properties (including Moment of Inertia (elasticity, stiffness)) are superior compared to six, five or four sided rods.
It is possible to make long and light single and two hand rods with pleasant fishing properties.
Same advantages as in extreme hollow-building are easily obtained using standard hand tools.
Thick sections for two hand rods are obtained using normal cane thickness.
The unusual/strange look!
No tapers available.
Problems with handle, ferrule, line guide geometry due to triangle shape.
Some years ago I visited Egypt and saw some PAPYRUS REEDS growing in the river Nile and noticed that they are triangular in cross section. I realized that the triangle form has to give some advantages to the reed when standing in the constant river flow compared to the most common round
shape. I have built split cane rods of several geometric compositions (hex, penta, quad) but because
(Continued on page 33)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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“nature is full of brilliant mathematicians," I decided to build a triangular cane rod. Thereafter, during several winters I have constructed triangular rods of different lengths. They are really promising
in some properties, especially giving advantages as long rods. I will try to explain why and how to
build such totally different fishing rods.
My wife and Nile river papyrus reeds - two biggest mysteries in the world?
Some Mathematics
Theoretically in engineering science the stiffness of an object (rod) is calculated using the formula
of "Moment of Inertia" MOI or “Moment of Elasticity” MOE. The formulas for MOI and stiffness
are different for hexagonal, pentagonal, quad and triangular constructions (see eg. en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/List_of_area_moments_of_inertia#cite_note-tri-4 and www.efunda.com/math/areas/
The formulas are useful when comparing two or more bamboo fly rods. The formulas may be used if
we have several rods with equal length and equal weight (their cross section area is equal at every
point) but built as six strips (hexagonal, hex), five strips (penta) or four strips (quad) construction.
The formulas are also the base of some taper-design software calculating stress curves of the rods.
When casting the rods, we notice some differences in the action, in the stiffness of the rods, rods of
same weight are faster or slower when they are built as hex, penta or quad. We try to forecast these
properties using these mathematical formulas.
These mathematical formulas teach us that if we have the cross section area of 1.00 and the rod is
hex (six strips) the MOI value is 0.080. The rod with equal weight built as quad (four strips) has
MOI of 0.083 – thus it is about 3-4% “stiffer.” The difference seems not to be very large but usually
we are able to notice it when casting these rods. If the rods are hollow built the calculations get more
(Continued on page 34)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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If we make an equal triangle cross section with the area of 1.0 the MOI is 0.095 which is 20%
greater than hex rod. The difference in stiffness between the tri and the hex rod is thus FIVE
TIMES the difference between quad and hex. If you are able to notice the difference between hex
and quad you really notice the surprising difference at once when casting a triangular rod. The triangular rod is much, much stronger, stiffer and faster compared to hex or quad rod of equal weight.
Comparison of MOI (stiffness) of HEX, QUAD and TRI rods of same weight.
Practical Issues
In practice the higher stiffness and power is of great advantage when constructing long rods. Typically, traditional rods longer than 8 1/2’, 9’ and 10' seem to be either quite slow and/or quite heavy,
especially compared to graphite rods. The long two-hand salmon rods are a very special problem.
Bamboo is a good material to build a spey rod but the long traditional spey rod tapers result in very
heavy rods. The wall thickness of heavy two-hand rods also has to be quite thick. It is not easy to
find such a thick cane culms and this has resulted in different technically difficult solutions (hollow
building, double strip building, etc). Triangle rods give nice advantages with the extra stiffness of
the triangle construction shape. Combined with inside-out or hollow structure the triangle rod consists only of strong power fibers.
(Continued on page 35)
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CONSTRUCTION I - Triangle Cane Rod with Three Strips
Schematic presentation of three strip triangle rod cross section.
I started the experiments by constructing a Triangle (Tri) rod with three strips. Such rods have to
consist of very wide strips with corners of 30-120-30 degrees. These kinds of strips are not very easy
to make using hand tools. I started the construction by making an Excel spreadsheet to convert the
“hex tapers” into equal triangular area and equal mass to get the dimensions of the strips.
To get the 30-120-30 degree I first made 60-60-60 degree (Hex) strips with equal width as the final
30-120-30 strips. To get this kind of final rod taper dimensions the strips are converted by multiplying the dimensions by 2.45 (= sqrt(6)).
Thereafter you have to plane the top 60 degree corner into 120 degree corner. For that purpose I
used first a simple hand mill of my own. This hand mill consists of two blades located at 120 degrees angle. The proper taper is achieved by mounting the strip on a wooden support. This support is
elevated gradually to achieve the exact dimensions for the taper. This all took several weeks to finish and my results certainly could not be compared with professional tools like the Morgan Hand
(Continued on page 36)
Landmark Components
Email: [email protected]
Screen Printing
Rod Bags
Phone: 970.278.1311/888.779.4855
Fax: 970.278.1312/888.557.6561
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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Mill. Later I have got a Baginski –type beveller with
120 degree angle (gratitude to Juha Jokinen). As I
plane the soaked strips the sharp corners come out
quite nicely without much tearing. Thus I had a construction system to make the strips with 30-120-30
degree corners and then glued my first triangular
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Three strips with 30-120-30 degrees for a triangle
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Three strips are glued into a triangle rod.
The hollow-built triangle construction.
I chose the first taper to be PH Young Driggs River Special (line weight #4-5). It was an easy and
obvious selection because I have previously made several Driggs River rods using different constructions like hex, penta, quad, inside-out, hollow-built and with different kind of ferrules (bamboo,
scarf joint) etc.
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When the rod blank was ready I made the scarf joint ferrules and fixed the line guides onto the rod.
To my surprise the triangular Driggs was not casting #4-5 line but #7 line - it was extremely stiff
and much, much stronger than the equal hex rod. Now I rechecked the mathematic formulas of MOI
of triangle construction and realized the huge difference between hex and tri construction both in
theory and in practice.
As the difference was so huge I wanted to try to build longer and lighter rods. This has not been too
easy, but I then tried to construct some straight tapers for 9-10' rod and 12-14' #8-#10 two-hand
salmon rods using the mainly slow “trial and error” method.
The three strip triangle rod is easy to make hollow built. The glue line of a triangle construction is
wider compared to hollow built hex. This gives extra power to the rod structure.
The glue lines of a triangle rod are longer and therefore stronger than those of a Hex rod.
Some cross sections of my three strip hollow built triangle rods.
(Continued on page 39)
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CONSTRUCTION II: TriStar –Triangle Rod Using Six Hex Strips
The schematic presentation of the six strips inside-out triangle rod.
As mentioned earlier, the Tri rods using the 30-120-30 degrees of strips were difficult and slow to
manufacture using hand tools and therefore I decided to try another triangle construction.
The idea is to use six strips with normal 60-60-60 degree corners. The strips are then turned 60 degrees inside-out and then glued together. The strips are thus glued with the power fiber surfaces
against each other. This results an inside-out hex rod. This hex rod is then modified into the triangular “TriStar” rod by planing the soft part of the strips away. I call this rod “TriStar” because the
shape is triangular (Tri) and in the cross section the power fibers are arranged as a star shape.
Schematic presentation of the six strips for a TriStar rod.
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The six strips are glued inside-out with the power fibers against each other (60) and then planed to a
triangle form (70).
Theoretically any HEX rod taper is very simply converted into TRI taper - you just multiply all the
HEX dimensions with value of 1.40 (sqrt(2.0)). The resulting inside-out TRI rod is two times heavier than the original HEX taper. Then you plane 50% of the mass of the blank away as described.
This results in a triangular rod of equal weight to the original taper. The stiffness of the new TRI rod
is however much higher again. The rod is suitable for heavier line weight than the original taper; the
difference may be 2-3 AFTM line weights as mentioned earlier.
The planing of the soft part of the strips makes same effect on the rod as hollow building. If you
want to take 50% from the mass of the Hex rod you have to take 70% of the wall thickness
(0.7x0.7= 0.49). This effect is thus achieved simply by planing in the TriStar construction. In addition the triangle structure gives higher MOI values.
(Continued on page 41)
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The effect of the triangle planing is equal to 70% hollowing of a hex rod.
When building thick salmon rods you would like to have very thick and strong cane. When manufacturing triangle rods using these constructions this is not required. Normal thickness of cane is sufficient for the triangle inside-out TriStar or three strip triangle rod. The extra thickness is planed
away as demonstrated in Picture 12.
Some examples of my TriStar rod cross sections.
My present mathematic formula is to multiply the HEX taper values not by 1.40 but by value of 1.26
to 1.30. The more accurate tapers could be developed using the formula of MOI as the mathematical
base. I have some tapers which I already have built and tested in fishing on my home page. The simple Hex_to_Tri_Calculator (Excel spreadsheet) may be also downloaded from my home page http://
personal.inet.fi/private/tapani.salmi/ .
TriStar construction with inside-out structure gives an extra option for cane rod building. You may
(Continued on page 42)
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plane the ready glued rod thinner to change the taper and function. When planing an inside-out rod
thinner you do not lose power fibers because they are inside the rod, not in the surface – see picture
The TriStar rod (80) may be planned to a thinner taper (82) without loss of the power fibers (83).
Other Features of Triangle Rods:
There are some obvious problems or even disadvantages in Tri -construction. The shape and outlook
is certainly not usual and is even strange!
The construction of the ferrules is difficult as you have to change the Hex shape of the ferrules into
triangular shape. For one handed rods I have used scarf (spliced) joints which are very light. In a
scarf spliced joint the two sections are typically taped together. I also have built “plastic ferrules” to
add to the scarf joint using shrink tube support - see http://personal.inet.fi/private/tapani.salmi/
Another possibility is to make a bamboo ferrule. There are different techniques to make bamboo ferrules and the easiest perhaps is to use wide bamboo strips glued onto the blank and strengthened by
(Continued on page 43)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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thread. I have used bamboo ferrules in my single hand rods with good success, but have not tried
them in a two-hand salmon rod.
Bamboo ferrule of a triangle rod (left) and some scarf joint (spliced) ferrules with shrink tube support
Cork handle
Schematic presentation of a HEX shaped cork handle of the triangle rod.
Even the cork handle is more difficult to manufacture for the triangle rod than with traditional rods. I
have cut pieces of compressed cork plates (thickness e.g. 5 mm) and glued them to get 10 or 15 mm
thick plates. This compressed cork is used on the floor beneath the parquet material. It is cheap and
available in any parquet shop. As the compressed cork surface is not very hard, I wipe a very thin
layer of PU glue on the ready cork handle. This results a pleasant surface with elastic feeling that is
even softer than natural cork.
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Compressed cork glued to the triangle rod.
Cross section of the cork plates glued with PU glue.
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Final HEX shaped handles of two triangle salmon rods.
The triangular rod is not bending symmetrically during casting – it is a little stiffer and stronger
when the rod is held with the sharp edge towards the casting direction. Therefore it is faster and
stronger if you locate the line guides on the sharp edge of the rod and not on the flat surface. You
have first to turn the feet of the snake guides a little to adjust the guides to the corner or to make
simple guides of your own with proper geometry. I have made “single foot” guides of proper geometry using metal wire.
Bayonet Ferrule – Ugliest Ever?
The bayonet joint was earlier used for several purposes.
The first (lowest) scarf joint / ferrule of two hand salmon rod has to withstand a very heavy stress
(Continued on page 46)
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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during casting without any “hinge” effect. Therefore the scarf joints have to be built with extra
thickness especially in salmon rods. The first ferrule/joint seems to be the weakest point and not
strong enough if the rod is hollow built. I have had some breaks of the sections near to the scarf joint
after few days of casting. It could be strengthened using extra thickness of cane or using some firm
supporting material, graphite. Therefore I now have used a very simple, totally different construction
of the two hand salmon rod joints with very good experience.
To keep the triangle sections as strong as possible in the scarf joint I simply fix / tape them together
directly without any scarf joint. The base of the first section is simply fixed to the base of the second sections. The joint is thick and very ugly but it is very strong. It is also shorter than the scarf
joint and very simple to do. I call the joint “bayonet joint” or “bayonet ferrule,” see picture below.
Bayonet joints of two triangle rods from above.
Bayonet joints with shrink tube supports.
In addition to the direct stress, spey casting makes heavy oblique stress to the joints and even the
strongest tape seems not to withstand this. This causes an oblique hinge at the joint! Therefore I
have constructed a simple metal wire support, “stopper” to the lower section of the rod to keep the
joint as firmly fixed as possible. In addition, to fix the tape easily I have added a short piece of
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shrinking tube to the middle of the joint area. This holds the sections together when I start the taping. I hope that the pictures give you the idea of my bayonet joints.
Bayonet joint with shrink tube support and metal wire stopper for extra support.
Because of the bayonet joints the sections are turned 180 degrees compared to each other. Therefore
line guides to first, second and third sections are on opposite sides in consecutive sections – again
some new problems and challenges for the rodbuilder!
Two hand salmon rod (#9-10, 12.5’) with weight of 392 grams.
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The development of Tri rod tapers has been time consuming as there are so many variables affecting
the results and there are no ready solutions available. I have built long one-hand rods of 9-9 1/2’and
I am especially happy with my two-hand salmon rods. They are very light and fast compared to my
previous classic two hand rods. Now it is possible to cast so-called under hand casts using shooting
head (Skagit line) and running line with my new rods. This feature is very useful on big rivers, with
sinking lines and big flies for salmon fishing. When tested at the European Rodmakers Gathering
October 2013, some experienced two-handed casters had difficulties casting the rod as it is much
stiffer compared to hex rod of same weight. You really have to push the rod almost like a graphite
rod to load the rod.
I really recommend you to try Triangle construction, especially if you would like to try longer and
stiffer single hand bamboo rods or two-hand salmon rods. You are going to find totally new features
in the very well known old bamboo material.
Two hand triangle rods used for
Atlantic salmon fishing (Kola river,
Russia) and the happy result.
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Firewood Reel Seat Inserts
Text and photos by Tony Spezio
ing centers off center to get the most out of the
piece as I could below the check. Turning the
piece off center also shows the grain a lot better
(Photo 4). The piece is now set up in the lathe to
turn (Photo 5). Since the piece is off center it
will not turn true. Because of this, you will have
While looking through a stack of firewood that
my neighbor had I thought I might find some
wood that would make reel seat inserts. I took
some of the dry wood and gave it a try (Photo 1
& 2). I cut some of the smaller limbs into 4
inch lengths for turning (Photo 3). Most of the
wood had checks in them so I punched the turn-
to start turning it with slow revolutions until it
is pretty well round (Photo 6). Photo 7 (next
page) shows a piece with a crook in it being
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turned. This one really showed the grain when
finished. Photo 8 shows the crook almost
turned round. Photo 9 shows the piece turned
round. After the piece is turned round, it is
time to drill the center hole (Photo 10). Chuck
up the insert in the chuck and check center
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with the tailstock center before drilling the center hole. The piece is now slipped on a mandrel
and turned to final size (Photo 11). They are
then sanded and a coat of sealer applied. Photo
12 & 13 shows some inserts turned to final size.
The inserts can now have the mortise cut if desired (Photos 14 & 15).
Photo 16 shows some finished inserts made
from firewood. I have found a lot of really nice
wood for inserts in firewood piles. Look for
some of the smaller branches as you will find
more grain in them.
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What is a Parabolic Rod?
Text and photos by Michael McGuire
This question comes up perennially in online forums. Because there are two conflicting answers to
the question, confusion is the result. The story starts, as is related in chapter 14 of A Master's Guide
to Making a Bamboo Fly Rod, with a meeting in 1934 called by Sparse Gray Hackle, with Charles
Ritz, John Alden Knight and Everett Garrison attending. Ritz was demonstrating a rod he had developed, much favored by Knight. It was not to Garrison's taste, and he wryly commented that a broomstick would have a parabolic stress curve. Apparently the term “parabolic” appealed to Knight and
Ritz who took it up without reference to its mathematical meaning.
According to an online history of the French rod manufacturer Pezon et Michel, http://
xoomer.virgilio.it/ppotocco/pezon%20english.htm, Ritz became associated with the firm as a designer of rods about 1935, and about 1938 they started selling rods with parabolic as part their
names. These were well received and quite successful. In the late 1940's Paul Young started selling
Pezon et Michel parabolic rods and then developed his own very successful Para series of rods.
Noted angling authors such as A. J. McClane and Ernest Schwiebert sang the praises of parabolic
rods. It probably became commercially desirable to have something about parabolic in the marketing
of rods.
In 1977, A Master's Guide by Garrison and Carmichael was published. Chapter 14 introduced the
rodmaking community to the use of stress curves as a way to design rods. The essential point of this
was that specifying a stress curve and the weight of line to be cast, uniquely determines the taper of
a rod, or vice versa, specifying the taper and weight of line determines a stress curve. Parabolic and
semi-parabolic stress curves were discussed. But where might this fit with the parabolic stress curve
of a broomstick mentioned above?
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On the left we have the stress curve of 1.25 inch broomstick which is parabolic. On the right is the
curve flipped right to left and 140000 added to the baseline—Garrison's opinion, rods don't bend
much at stress levels below this. If we set it as casting 50 feet of 6 weight line we get a taper, except
for the tip, that is not too different from a Garrison 212. This simple exercise shows that pretty satisfactory rod can come from a parabolic stress curve. So in the sense of having a parabolic stress
curve the 212 can be called parabolic.
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The Master's Guide with its analytical approach to taper design was and still is very influential. The
result was that much of the rodmaking community thinks that a parabolic rod is one with a parabolic
stress curve. Ray Gould's books, Constructing Cane Rods and Cane Rods Tips and Tapers both have
rod design chapters discussing parabolic stress curves. In the books is mention of “semi-parabolic”
stress curves. These turn out to be just simply parabolic, but less steep in comparison to others.
But then there were those Pezon et Michel and Paul Young rods which were called parabolic. They
were pretty much the opposite of Garrison's rods, bending clear down into the butt section under a
strong casting stroke. Was there anything parabolic about them besides the name? The tapers appeared to have some curvature to them. I applied a mathematical technique called parabolic regression to some of them to see just how well they fitted to a parabolic curve. It is fairly simple to do
with an Excel spreadsheet. The technique is similar to the better known statistical technique known
as linear regression. Below is the result from applying it to Paul Young's Para 15. The blue curve is
the taper, the red is the best fitting parabola, the green curve the stress curve of the taper, and the
magenta, is the stress curve of the fit. Note the high values of stress at the butt end one would expect
from a rod that flexes into the butt.
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Below is the big picture of the fit to a parabola.
A result that comes from doing a regression is a measure of the “goodness” of fit, the correlation.
The value ranges from 1.0—a perfect fit to 0—not a fit. For this case I got a correlation of 0.997. I
applied the technique to all the P&M rods with parabolic in their names and to Paul Young's Para
series in the RodDNA database. I got good fits, high correlations in all cases.
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These results are “smoking gun” evidence that the tapers of the classic parabolic rods are sections of
a parabola. However there are two further conditions we have to apply to these rods. The length of
the rod must be a large fraction of the distance from the tip to the vertex, as is shown in the big picture of the Para 15 fit above. The fitting parabola must cup downward. This is true of all the rods in
the above tables. The reason for this is that the result of a parabolic regression can be misleading
unless one looks at the big picture. If we put the Garrison 212 into it we get an apparently very good
fit, a correlation 0.996. However the length of the rod is a very small fraction of the distance to the
vertex, the end of the rod being at 96 inches and the vertex at 1737 inches. In other words that almost straight line taper fits on a small section of a parabola so far away from the vertex that it is indistinguishable from a straight line over the length of the rod.
So did Ritz or Young know that their tapers were so close to mathematical parabolas? Apparently,
they did not. Ritz actually says in his autobiography, A Fly Fisher's Life, “This is the action which I
have called 'Parabolic', though the term is only a figure of speech, and the curve of the rod has absolutely nothing whatever to do with a parabola.” Ritz was a hotelier. His mathematical education
likely emphasized accounting rather than analytic geometry. Even if he knew how, doing a parabolic
regression by hand would have been a daunting amount of computation, as much or more than the
stress to taper calculation demonstrated in chapter 14 of A Master's Guide. Paul Young in More
Fishing, Less Fussing says “...under stress of casting or playing a fish, the parabolic [rod] forms a
parabolic curve...” He makes no mention of the shape of the taper. Ritz and Young must have arrived at their tapers by experiment, trial and error. This coincidence that tapers truly are parabolas
then is a matter of life imitating art. Tapers of this general nature did exist well before them, for example the Castleconnel rods, two handed greenheart beasts from 19th century Ireland.
E. C. Powell's approach to design was described by Ed Hartzell in an article in Best of the Planing
Form 2. It results in exactly parabolic tapers. Powell’s starting point was a straight line taper (Btaper). He set a small increment, say 0.0001 inches. At the first station he added (A-taper) or subtracted (C-taper) that increment to, or from, the B-taper. At the second station he added or subtracted
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two of those increments plus the sum of the previous increments for a total of three. At the third station he added or subtracted three increments plus the sum of the previous increments for a total of
six, and so on. Thus a Powell A or C rod taper is completely specified by the tip dimension, the underlying straight line slope, and the increment. I have worked out the details of why this results in a
parabola; they can be viewed at http://mmcgr.users.sonic.net/PowellTapers/PowellParabolic.html.
The spreadsheet for doing the parabolic regression can be downloaded from this page. The process
of generating A and C tapers is illustrated below.
In the sense of the P&M and Young tapers, the A-taper might be called anti-parabolic since it results in a very much tip action rod, while the C-taper is parabolic like them. Powell actually specified the half-dimension of the taper at six inch spaced stations. A typical slope was 0.008 to 0.009
inches per six inches with the increment in the range 0.00016 to 0.00025. I have not been able to
find much information on the actual values used for C-tapers, but Hartzell mentioned hearing of a
slope of 0.010 with and increment of 0.0006. The C-taper parameters of the P&M and Young rods
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can be easily calculated from the parabolic fit parameters. See previously noted web article for details. This provides a more intuitive way of comparing and relating these rods than the raw parabolic
fit parameters. Below are the results of doing this:
We can look at this as a scatter plot of increment vs. slope. Each point is one of the tapers.
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The truly parabolic taper rods fall into a limited region of increment vs. slope with the Para 16 being
the outlier. The Garrison 212 is plotted to show that with its parabolic stress curve, it is nowhere
near the parabolic taper rods.
In summary we can say that there are two very different flavors of parabolic rods, those whose tapers are very close to or exactly on parabolic curves, and those whose tapers are derived from stress
curves which are parabolic.
January, 2014 (Volume 54)
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