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Bamboo Rod Making

I dedicated a whole website about bamboo rod making (here).

The art of building fishing rods out of cane, by carefully and patiently splitting a humble bamboo culm over and over again is witnessing a renaissance.

There are now hundreds of young and old rodmakers on both sides of the Atlantic, in South Africa, in Australia, in South America all connected by this unique and once secret fishing tackle workmanship..

bamboo rods

And I became a bamboo rod maker myself.

By doing so, I discovered more and more craft, people and fine artisans.

Would you like to know how to make your own cane rod? Read on!

  • step by step instructions (coming soon)
  • tools needed (coming soon)
  • the planing form (coming soon)

By Bill Harms, a personal message

The "hexagonal" rod in full length seems to be Phillippe's contribution, but Murphy was probably experimenting with six-strip, tip sections at the same time. Most fishermen and makers favored various hardwoods for the butt and mid-sections, while the tips were first to undergo experiments in bamboo. This began in England in the 1830s, but not with six strips, and not with the enamel surface facing outward. Again, this seems to have been Phillippe's and Murphy's idea. I have never found reason to think that Phillippe and Murphy were "comparing notes" (distances and communication in those days were not easily overcome), but they surely would have been aware of each other's work.

In any case, we must distinguish between the "hexagonal" and the six-strip rod. Phillippe and others were making six-strip-rods through the second half of the 19th century, but these were always round in cross-section. The true hexagonal shape (six, distinct flats) wasn't produced until the 1880s by Hiram Leonard and Charles Wheeler in Maine.

This came about only when Leonard invented a mill to shape the taper of a rod on the INSIDE surfaces of each strip, then gluing the strips with taper intact (the method we have taken for granted ever since). Previously, however, makers had glued the six, triangular strips, then tapered AFTER gluing. The taper cut through the power fibers and rounded the outside of the blanks.





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