As noted above, today the enamel sanding was finished but using 220 allowed me to get it done fairly quickly. The rest of the strips were done in approximately 3 hours, which included a good amount of time involved with researching my taper on Hexrod and RodDNA. I discovered that standing over the form and applying a little more pressure gave me better flats faster and I didn’t inhale as much dust because I was further from the source, so sneezing was somewhat reduced.
I met Lloyd, another builder. Nice guy, very VERY meticulous.
Jerry and I talked about reel seat inserts for a bit, and I learned how the recess was formed on sliding band seats (either a router to take out the mortise or an off-set mandrel). A neat, convenient lesson that I may have to take advantage of when I get back from the wedding.
I operated Jerry’s binder, which was an interesting piece of machinery. I guess Vince Marinaro designed that style.
Our heat treatment today was getting the strips up to 360-375 and holding them there for 40 minutes, which toasted the cane slightly. I noticed a slight burning odor for the last 5 or so minutes the cane was in the oven. It was kind of glorious, actually.
While the cane was in the oven we set our measurements. Initial planing is done to 10 thousandths over final. The “final” numbers are HALF of what the flats measurement is because of how the math works out. Take that half, then add the 10 thousandths. Example: my butt measurement on my first rod was 0.271; final dimension is therefore 0.1355 and initial dimension was .1455. Easy, right?
The initial planing allows for the blades to be sharpened again for the final plane, which makes rods immensely accurate.
Setting the planing form was fairly easy with a well-calibrated depth gauge. Jerry noted that the biggest thing with getting accurately planed strips was getting your gauges and planing forms to agree on what was standard. His depth gauge was consistently over by 0.400, so a measurement of 0.108 would read as 0.508; it was up to me to finish setting the form knowing that bit of knowledge. The forms were adjusted fairly easily, but because of the springiness in the steel (don’t over-tighten the bolts!!! No ratchets!!) they had to be rechecked, at least once. I checked my measurements 3 times total, once initially while setting and then twice afterward. Many of the measurements were off the first time I checked. Several were off a bit the second time I checked them for accuracy.
I used two of Jerry’s Lie-Nielsen planes to do my planing, the first was a grooved bottom plane (3-thousandths recess) and the second, for final planing, was a flat bottom. The models were 91/2s and were just amazing. Especially the flat-bottomed one.
Jerry told me he did his sharpening with an 8000 grit whetstone, and had this neat holder for his blade that I believe he got from Lie-Nielsen. He said it ran him 65 bucks. Worth at least another hundred: this holder held the angle of the blade proper when sharpening, so no convex edges (in Dad’s words, a radius on the blade) formed while running it over the stone.
Planing requires the plane to be held very level, which a mirror helps with. You watch the gap under the plane and keep it level; rocking the plane back and forth will allow the formation of glue line. Use an angle check (60 degree, possibly also a micrometer) to verify that your angles are good and consistent. Check frequently.
Make sure you flip the strip from side to side with each planing pass to keep the strip even.
I got 2 butt strips done. Jerry and I talked about how the rest of the build would go – having a wedding and housing transfer will make our lives interesting but we should be okay. At this stage, I’m thinking my light-caramel rod will be finished with white wraps and lavender accents, a burl cork handle (one piece! No rings!), and purpleheart seat insert. Ferrules and guides and seat hardware will be blackened nickel. Jerry will make the ferrules for me; this morning (morning after planing, 10-13-13 AM) I picked up the cork block and seat hardware via eBay. I’ll order guides and thread from Jeff Wagner later. Jerry did have a question about the style of ferrule to use, because my fairy rod has so little material at the ferrule spot – there’s a noticeable drop – that we want to talk to Harry Boyd about the style he used / suggests. Note to self, learn more about ferrules.
At this stage I feel I am hopelessly addicted to making a bamboo fly rod. It was way too much fun planing strips out. I was hooked on this before I began planing, once a strip was out and I could see that it would be turning in to a rod, I felt the excitement build deep inside me. This is so very rewarding, moreso than nearly anything else I’ve ever done in my life.