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Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Noah Stephens (---.lightspeed.ltrkar.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 13, 2019 09:54PM

Hello everyone!

New rod builder here, and new to the forum. I’m impressed with the correspondence and order of this community. Y’all are awesome, so I hope you can help me with this question.

I am very well aware that the primary type of bamboo used for split-cane rodbuilding is Tonkin cane bamboo from China, and preferably a higher grade of Tonkin from a specific region at that.

My question is, does anyone have any further information about other varieties of bamboo that have been used to make split cane rods?

I’ve only found a couple of other forum posts, here and elsewhere, that say anything about other varieties. I’ve seen one post specifically that is a Madake/Wadake rod that was essentially built with a 6wt Tonkin taper so it would behave like a 5wt as Madake. Madake is less “stiff” than Tonkin, if you can say it that way.

I’ve also heard of a Brazilian rodmaker using an alternative variety for his commercial rods that he sells, it is at least feasible to use SOME other varieties of bamboo.

I’m from Arkansas, and am aware of one variety, Golden Bamoo (that is actually an Asian invasive species here ) that grows locally and all across the SE United States. It seems to me that a rod could be made from it, as the wall thickness is plenty thick enough on mature culms to plane and form triangles for a similarly sized rod as a Tonkin counterpart. I have pictures from some cane here in Conway if any of you are interested in seeing what I’m talking about.

Does anyone have any information about what a rod made from golden would yield in terms of backbone/strength/rebound? What is it like to work with in comparison to Tonkin? What are the roadblocks? Does anybody have any actual experience or heresay, not just purist speculations, about using Golden Bamboo from the US or any other variety other than Tonkin for rodbuilding?

Thanks very much. This seems to be less-charted waters for most rod builders, so I’m interested to see what niche makers will come out of the woodworks of this already niche community to give their 2 cents.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Michael Maclean (---.knology.net)
Date: March 13, 2019 10:11PM

I was reading the same topic on another forum. I don't remember which forum it was but the outcome was that other bamboo doesn't have the density of power fibers that tonkin cane does. The power fibers is what makes the tonkin bamboo stiffer than others. Comparing the density of the power fibers in different variety of bamboo culms should help you get an understanding of which species of bamboo might be suitable for a rod.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Noah Stephens (---.lightspeed.ltrkar.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 13, 2019 10:56PM

Right. I’m hoping that the power fiber density of local Golden Bamboo is high enough to warrant a good ol handyman try. I’m thinking of building a Tonkin rod of specific taper, probably on the faster/heavier weight end of the spectrum, and then building an identical Golden rod and comparing their performances. I know that’s a lot of work for the name of science, but it seems unexplored! How many men get to say they made improvements to a field or have experimented on the cusp of reason/practicality?

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 12:08AM

I would guess that many many craftsman throughout the world have made fly rods from other species of bamboo and i would also guess that it's the main reason why so many say stick with Tonkin cane .

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Noah Stephens (161.31.8.---)
Date: March 14, 2019 12:09PM

I would guess so as well! That’s whats so exciting about it to me. I would love to hear about their experiences and learn a thing or two.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Lynn Behler (---.97.252.156.res-cmts.leh.ptd.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 06:06PM

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 07:32PM

Some people just have to go through it themselves though because they figure the craftsman who did it in the past forgot a certain step and thats why the rod wasn't a success , the craftsman of today know better , they just don't forget certain steps like the inferior craftsman of days gone by. This process has repeated itself over & over going all the way back to when the Neanderthal's crafted their first bamboo fly rods out of Golden Bamboo & after trying to fish with them all agreed that the rods worked far better as firewood than fish catching tools. True story by the way

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 07:50PM

Exerimentation is part of the education process and is a good thing, not a bad thing. One has to satisfy their own curiosity to educate themselves otherwise they rely on group think which is bad thing. Nay sayers restrict progress and knowledge.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 08:14PM

Insanity definition , doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result . I take advantage of the countless craftsmen that experimented to find out what to stay away from and what works , experimenting is great IF something can be learned and gained , experimentation is a complete waste of time IF it's already been proven and widely accepted as fact .

It's a known fact that Tonkin cane is the bamboo species of choice if you want to build bamboo fly rods , it's also been proven that Golden bamboo is complete garbage by comparison but if you insist that everybody that has ever studied it is wrong and that more experimentation is needed then by all means knock yourself out.

Some things are just known and no experimentation will ever change anything , do you want to experiment more as to why square wheels don't work as well as round ones , experimentation was already done and more experimentation would be a monumental waste of time.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 08:21PM

What does make sense to me is if Noah wants to get into the art of rod crafting bamboo rods then constructing one out of any species of Bamboo would be highly beneficial and maybe if you really like it and get good you can purchase the materials to build a real masterpiece down the line.

You should check out some of the Bamboo fishing gear by some of the sponsors on the left .

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: ben belote (---.zoominternet.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 09:58PM

Herb, remember the rods made from carrots..my buddy has one..he claims that they are very accurate because the eyes are 20/20..lol.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 10:42PM

Yes, Herb it is quite obvious that you do not like to experiment you would rather believe what others tell you is true. I find your comments to the poster insulting and demeaning, He asked a question if anyone has texperience with making rods using different varieties of bamboo. There are other types of bamboo that make perfectly acceptable rods that are fun to fish with, even if they are not the highest end. This forum is to help and encourage rod builder, if you have no experience in this area and can’t help or encourage then don’t post. It a waste of all of out time.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Noah Stephens (---.lightspeed.ltrkar.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 11:22PM

Thank you Norman. And for encouraging me to look into rod components and stuff. I’m pretty well researched at this point and know the direction I’m headed with fittings and parts. Thanks though.

Herb: Do you know what else is insane? Typing up a wall of text that doesn’t answer the question. I specifically asked for information from experience or for actual observations of other people’s craftsmanship. I’d have appreciated it if you had referenced even ONE person that you know of that has tried to build a Golden Bamboo rod and used it as firewood. “It has been proven that Golden Bamboo is garbage.” That’s quite the exclusive claim you have there. If you can find me some documentation or testimony that would prove it, you’d then be making a relevant, beneficial post in this civil forum.

If you insist on your beloved, one and only, Tonkin and neglect all other possibilities on mere speculation and tradition, I’d begin to wonder if you actually are one of the simple minded Neanderthals you seem to be familiar with.

If not, I’d love to continue this conversation and actually maybe go and cut some of this local cane and get it drying for summer.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 14, 2019 11:27PM

Noah, thank you!

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: March 15, 2019 01:38AM

Ha ha ha ha ha , wait a minute are you telling me you actually thought my above posts were serious ? C'mon , it's obvious sarcasm , when i was told sarcasm is not easy for some people to pick up on the internet they weren't kidding . Noah picked up on my sarcasm in my first post but completely missed the rest of it . The ONLY post i was serious in is when i said if Noah finds Bamboo fly rods interesting by all means get involved and make Bamboo rods from any type of bamboo you can get your hands on it will give you knowledge & experience .

Here's the facts about me , my entire life from early childhood on up i have lived and breathed archery especially traditional archery and crafting bows and arrows has been my life . I know more about it than any other topic by far because all i did was study it and practice it . When i first started out bow making i wanted the facts , the last thing i wanted was for someone to tell me go experiment and eventually you will find out whats good . The only reason i wanted the facts is because of all the wasted time i did experimenting , years and years of different types of wood that i eventually found out made a crappy bow .

Eventually a Bowyer from another state shared the facts with me and i was forever grateful , the best woods for bow making were native to states half way across the country and others in other countries entirely . I actually wasted 18 + years experimenting when it was already well known what wood was optimal for bows , think about this , the best wood for bow making to this day are the same exact woods that were the best thousands of years ago , so much for experimenting .

There are things that are known and set in stone , then there are things that have never been researched and need experimentation . An example would be that round wheels work better than square wheels although i know one person that will insist more experimentation is needed .

In closing i should say that i am a person that DOES NOT get a lot of satisfaction out of crafting something that i know will be mediocre at best as far as it's performance potential , especially if it's well known that if i had chosen something that has proven to be superior to craft it with the result would be a much higher performing item . Thats me , some people obviously are much less demanding then i am and are perfectly happy with things that they know are reasonably decent .

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: ben belote (---.zoominternet.net)
Date: March 15, 2019 08:02AM

and that,s me..lol.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: March 15, 2019 11:54AM

I meant no disrespect in my posts in this thread , i wish Noah much success in anything he chooses to do .

Side note: This is a sarcasm free post approved by herb , enjoy your weekend everybody.

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net)
Date: March 15, 2019 07:25PM

Herb, When you call people names it is not respectful! Saying that experimenters are Neanderthals is insulting to those who experiment. Much in life is discovered by experimenting, and little is set in stone for long.

Noah asked a simple question, and from you he got discouragement!

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Mark Talmo (71.147.59.---)
Date: March 16, 2019 02:16PM

I too have investigated cane rod fabrication and am interested in possibly constructing my own. Your email is hidden on this forum so I cannot send you a private message. If you prefer to keep it hidden but would like to contact me, email me.

Mark Talmo

Re: Alternate Bamboo Varieties
Posted by: Tim Kelly (12.167.79.---)
Date: March 19, 2019 02:17PM

Noah, do you really believe your the first to try the USA bamboo? Others have considered it and opted to spend time their time with the best cane they could find, the size of the culm and density of the fibers is what keeps the bamboo from being useful. But if your determined, then build a rod and let us know how it works out?
Herb, I understand what your saying and thanks for your help.

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