Bamboo rods have been highly prized for centuries for their flexibility and strength, and vintage rods can run into the hundreds of dollars. On the surface, a bamboo rod seems to be fishing at its simplest: a stick, a line and a hook. But there’s more to this ancient art than just cutting off a piece of bamboo. There are also several types of rods that you can make as well, but a rod made from round bamboo is the most ancient technique. Although this art may take years to perfect, with some patience and a few basic tools, you can make a bamboo fishing rod for a fraction of the cost of a commercial one.
Things You’ll Need:
- Several seasoned lengths of bamboo free of insects and imperfections Wood (for a fire) Heat resistant gloves Silk thread Lacquer Sandpaper Wood file Wax and cloth Reel seat Line guides Fiberglass tip
- Several seasoned lengths of bamboo free of insects and imperfections
- Wood (for a fire)
- Heat resistant gloves
- Silk thread
- Wood file
- Wax and cloth
- Reel seat
- Line guides
- Fiberglass tip
Build a fire outside and let the flames die to about a foot high with a bed of hot coals. Since bamboo is always curved, you will need to straighten it with the heat. This will also make it harder.
Slowly heat the bamboo without catching it on fire. Wearing heat resistant gloves, slowly work the bamboo into a straight rod. As the bamboo cools, reheat it and continue the process until it is straight.
Wrap the joints where the pieces of bamboo are joined together with silk thread. Make sure the thread doesn’t overlap or have any gaps between the threads. This is a time-consuming job, and having patience really pays off.
Carefully apply lacquer to the silk thread wrapped around the joints. Let it dry for 12 hours, sand it and then relacquer. Repeat the lacquering process three or four times over the length of the rod.
File down the areas for the reel seat, line guides and fiberglass tip for a tight fit. Do this slowly and carefully for the best fit.
Apply wax to the entire rod and use a cloth to polish it.
Tips & Warnings
- Have spare bamboo handy. Plan on breaking or burning several pieces before you get the hang of straightening the rod.
- Some people are allergic to lacquer. Take precautions in using it.