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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Starting my fly rod - finding materials including birch bark

I am setting off to make my first fly rod (sorry, graphite not a bamboo rod - one thing at a time) with the goal of leveraging my years of woodworking by turning a unique grip. I am also making a rod for my older brother as well. I plan to make something similar to this one http://eclecticguy.com/2009/04/06/birch-bark-fly-rod-grip/ - birch bark grip with other laminated woods.

My first chore is finding some birch bark and since I live in Arizona we have plenty of cactus (i.e., saguaros) but no so much birch. I was originally going to post a question for where I can find some birch bark, but after sifting through my wood stash this morning, to my amazement, I found a birch log. Whenever I find a old piece of wood - I have to think back to where it came from (reminds me of places I have been and people I have met). And in this case, the log came from a tree that was located in front of my childhood home where my mother still lives (Lowell, MI). We had to cut down the tree after it fell in a Michigan ice storm. We did end up planting another beautiful birch tree in the same spot - it's growing very well. I must have shipped this log from Michigan to my home in Arizona 4 years ago and after being in a hot and dry climate for a few years - it now weights about half.

This morning, I stripped the bark off the old log and started to clean it up. I ended up wetting down the bark to see if I can flatten it without much luck. I still need to strip the layer of wood that is stuck to the bark - this will take a little time today. My goal is to get it flat enough to drill 1 1/2 inch holes (hole cutter) to be glued up for the rod grip. This is my first time doing this process but I have lots of advice from this web site (http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/) - if you're interested in learning more yourself.

I plan to document the process.

I will document the process using my blog and will include the final fly rods when I am finished. Hopefully me using them and catching a fish!




 

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Starting my fly rod - finding materials including birch bark

I am setting off to make my first fly rod (sorry, graphite not a bamboo rod - one thing at a time) with the goal of leveraging my years of woodworking by turning a unique grip. I am also making a rod for my older brother as well. I plan to make something similar to this one http://eclecticguy.com/2009/04/06/birch-bark-fly-rod-grip/ - birch bark grip with other laminated woods.

My first chore is finding some birch bark and since I live in Arizona we have plenty of cactus (i.e., saguaros) but no so much birch. I was originally going to post a question for where I can find some birch bark, but after sifting through my wood stash this morning, to my amazement, I found a birch log. Whenever I find a old piece of wood - I have to think back to where it came from (reminds me of places I have been and people I have met). And in this case, the log came from a tree that was located in front of my childhood home where my mother still lives (Lowell, MI). We had to cut down the tree after it fell in a Michigan ice storm. We did end up planting another beautiful birch tree in the same spot - it's growing very well. I must have shipped this log from Michigan to my home in Arizona 4 years ago and after being in a hot and dry climate for a few years - it now weights about half.

This morning, I stripped the bark off the old log and started to clean it up. I ended up wetting down the bark to see if I can flatten it without much luck. I still need to strip the layer of wood that is stuck to the bark - this will take a little time today. My goal is to get it flat enough to drill 1 1/2 inch holes (hole cutter) to be glued up for the rod grip. This is my first time doing this process but I have lots of advice from this web site (http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/) - if you're interested in learning more yourself.

I plan to document the process.

I will document the process using my blog and will include the final fly rods when I am finished. Hopefully me using them and catching a fish!




Interesting, I look forward to more
 

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Starting my fly rod - finding materials including birch bark

I am setting off to make my first fly rod (sorry, graphite not a bamboo rod - one thing at a time) with the goal of leveraging my years of woodworking by turning a unique grip. I am also making a rod for my older brother as well. I plan to make something similar to this one http://eclecticguy.com/2009/04/06/birch-bark-fly-rod-grip/ - birch bark grip with other laminated woods.

My first chore is finding some birch bark and since I live in Arizona we have plenty of cactus (i.e., saguaros) but no so much birch. I was originally going to post a question for where I can find some birch bark, but after sifting through my wood stash this morning, to my amazement, I found a birch log. Whenever I find a old piece of wood - I have to think back to where it came from (reminds me of places I have been and people I have met). And in this case, the log came from a tree that was located in front of my childhood home where my mother still lives (Lowell, MI). We had to cut down the tree after it fell in a Michigan ice storm. We did end up planting another beautiful birch tree in the same spot - it's growing very well. I must have shipped this log from Michigan to my home in Arizona 4 years ago and after being in a hot and dry climate for a few years - it now weights about half.

This morning, I stripped the bark off the old log and started to clean it up. I ended up wetting down the bark to see if I can flatten it without much luck. I still need to strip the layer of wood that is stuck to the bark - this will take a little time today. My goal is to get it flat enough to drill 1 1/2 inch holes (hole cutter) to be glued up for the rod grip. This is my first time doing this process but I have lots of advice from this web site (http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/) - if you're interested in learning more yourself.

I plan to document the process.

I will document the process using my blog and will include the final fly rods when I am finished. Hopefully me using them and catching a fish!




If this is really your first rod you may want to use cork for your first grip, the seat and guides are much harder and you may benefit from the experience before getting really creative… blanks can be a little pricey unless you go for a St Croix blank.

Looks like the bark that you have may not be fresh, but you may be able to save it with a scraper, try cutting it into 2" strips, let it dry, scrape the strips flat, cut into 2" squares, drill 1/4" hole in the middle of each one, glue them up on a piece of 1/4" all-thread rod, be sure to put the 'other' disks on the rod as you build up the handle, put the threaded rod between centers and turn it into a handle. If you are going to use an up-locking seat put the hood cork on after turning and fitting up the handle.

The site you quoted looks like the handle was turned on the rod, IMHO don't try it… turn the handle on the threaded rod… the graphite rod blank is too flexible and may self destruct as you spin it.
After the handle is turned bore it out to fit the rod, then epoxy it to the rod, much easier in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Starting my fly rod - finding materials including birch bark

I am setting off to make my first fly rod (sorry, graphite not a bamboo rod - one thing at a time) with the goal of leveraging my years of woodworking by turning a unique grip. I am also making a rod for my older brother as well. I plan to make something similar to this one http://eclecticguy.com/2009/04/06/birch-bark-fly-rod-grip/ - birch bark grip with other laminated woods.

My first chore is finding some birch bark and since I live in Arizona we have plenty of cactus (i.e., saguaros) but no so much birch. I was originally going to post a question for where I can find some birch bark, but after sifting through my wood stash this morning, to my amazement, I found a birch log. Whenever I find a old piece of wood - I have to think back to where it came from (reminds me of places I have been and people I have met). And in this case, the log came from a tree that was located in front of my childhood home where my mother still lives (Lowell, MI). We had to cut down the tree after it fell in a Michigan ice storm. We did end up planting another beautiful birch tree in the same spot - it's growing very well. I must have shipped this log from Michigan to my home in Arizona 4 years ago and after being in a hot and dry climate for a few years - it now weights about half.

This morning, I stripped the bark off the old log and started to clean it up. I ended up wetting down the bark to see if I can flatten it without much luck. I still need to strip the layer of wood that is stuck to the bark - this will take a little time today. My goal is to get it flat enough to drill 1 1/2 inch holes (hole cutter) to be glued up for the rod grip. This is my first time doing this process but I have lots of advice from this web site (http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/) - if you're interested in learning more yourself.

I plan to document the process.

I will document the process using my blog and will include the final fly rods when I am finished. Hopefully me using them and catching a fish!




Thanks for the guidance Dane. It looks like you've made a few of these yourself. I might need some advice while I am putting mine together.

Regarding the birch bark. I cleaned it up last night and it actually looks pretty good. Let me know what you think.

 

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Starting my fly rod - finding materials including birch bark

I am setting off to make my first fly rod (sorry, graphite not a bamboo rod - one thing at a time) with the goal of leveraging my years of woodworking by turning a unique grip. I am also making a rod for my older brother as well. I plan to make something similar to this one http://eclecticguy.com/2009/04/06/birch-bark-fly-rod-grip/ - birch bark grip with other laminated woods.

My first chore is finding some birch bark and since I live in Arizona we have plenty of cactus (i.e., saguaros) but no so much birch. I was originally going to post a question for where I can find some birch bark, but after sifting through my wood stash this morning, to my amazement, I found a birch log. Whenever I find a old piece of wood - I have to think back to where it came from (reminds me of places I have been and people I have met). And in this case, the log came from a tree that was located in front of my childhood home where my mother still lives (Lowell, MI). We had to cut down the tree after it fell in a Michigan ice storm. We did end up planting another beautiful birch tree in the same spot - it's growing very well. I must have shipped this log from Michigan to my home in Arizona 4 years ago and after being in a hot and dry climate for a few years - it now weights about half.

This morning, I stripped the bark off the old log and started to clean it up. I ended up wetting down the bark to see if I can flatten it without much luck. I still need to strip the layer of wood that is stuck to the bark - this will take a little time today. My goal is to get it flat enough to drill 1 1/2 inch holes (hole cutter) to be glued up for the rod grip. This is my first time doing this process but I have lots of advice from this web site (http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/) - if you're interested in learning more yourself.

I plan to document the process.

I will document the process using my blog and will include the final fly rods when I am finished. Hopefully me using them and catching a fish!




no problem, ask away… I have made quite a few various rods over the years, the most rewarding are the split cane fly rods.

Also remember a fly rod lighter than a #6 is much 'finer' and a handle that would look and feel great on a light spin-cast(hardware) rod may be too clunky on a fine fly rod.. also go easy on the thread a diamond weave may not be appropiate…

I have a bunch of rope-braid hook keepers that I make out of stirling silver, if you send me your s-mail I drop a couple in an envelope for you.
 

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Starting my fly rod - finding materials including birch bark

I am setting off to make my first fly rod (sorry, graphite not a bamboo rod - one thing at a time) with the goal of leveraging my years of woodworking by turning a unique grip. I am also making a rod for my older brother as well. I plan to make something similar to this one http://eclecticguy.com/2009/04/06/birch-bark-fly-rod-grip/ - birch bark grip with other laminated woods.

My first chore is finding some birch bark and since I live in Arizona we have plenty of cactus (i.e., saguaros) but no so much birch. I was originally going to post a question for where I can find some birch bark, but after sifting through my wood stash this morning, to my amazement, I found a birch log. Whenever I find a old piece of wood - I have to think back to where it came from (reminds me of places I have been and people I have met). And in this case, the log came from a tree that was located in front of my childhood home where my mother still lives (Lowell, MI). We had to cut down the tree after it fell in a Michigan ice storm. We did end up planting another beautiful birch tree in the same spot - it's growing very well. I must have shipped this log from Michigan to my home in Arizona 4 years ago and after being in a hot and dry climate for a few years - it now weights about half.

This morning, I stripped the bark off the old log and started to clean it up. I ended up wetting down the bark to see if I can flatten it without much luck. I still need to strip the layer of wood that is stuck to the bark - this will take a little time today. My goal is to get it flat enough to drill 1 1/2 inch holes (hole cutter) to be glued up for the rod grip. This is my first time doing this process but I have lots of advice from this web site (http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/) - if you're interested in learning more yourself.

I plan to document the process.

I will document the process using my blog and will include the final fly rods when I am finished. Hopefully me using them and catching a fish!




interesting, I've built probably 100 fly rods and have never encountered a birch bark handle. I am very curious about how it turns out. like most builders I always reach for the cork, but this might be really cool!

Tight Lines!
 

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Starting my fly rod - finding materials including birch bark

I am setting off to make my first fly rod (sorry, graphite not a bamboo rod - one thing at a time) with the goal of leveraging my years of woodworking by turning a unique grip. I am also making a rod for my older brother as well. I plan to make something similar to this one http://eclecticguy.com/2009/04/06/birch-bark-fly-rod-grip/ - birch bark grip with other laminated woods.

My first chore is finding some birch bark and since I live in Arizona we have plenty of cactus (i.e., saguaros) but no so much birch. I was originally going to post a question for where I can find some birch bark, but after sifting through my wood stash this morning, to my amazement, I found a birch log. Whenever I find a old piece of wood - I have to think back to where it came from (reminds me of places I have been and people I have met). And in this case, the log came from a tree that was located in front of my childhood home where my mother still lives (Lowell, MI). We had to cut down the tree after it fell in a Michigan ice storm. We did end up planting another beautiful birch tree in the same spot - it's growing very well. I must have shipped this log from Michigan to my home in Arizona 4 years ago and after being in a hot and dry climate for a few years - it now weights about half.

This morning, I stripped the bark off the old log and started to clean it up. I ended up wetting down the bark to see if I can flatten it without much luck. I still need to strip the layer of wood that is stuck to the bark - this will take a little time today. My goal is to get it flat enough to drill 1 1/2 inch holes (hole cutter) to be glued up for the rod grip. This is my first time doing this process but I have lots of advice from this web site (http://www.rodbuildingforum.com/) - if you're interested in learning more yourself.

I plan to document the process.

I will document the process using my blog and will include the final fly rods when I am finished. Hopefully me using them and catching a fish!




sweet!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Cutting out the birch bark

While waiting for some of the materials I have ordered for my fly rods, I have started to prepare the birch bark for glue ups. I also found some very cool looking cork which I have included. I am planning to weave in the cork into the rod handle.

Here's some pictures for this process.






I must be dumb as a rock Matt. It looks like you are going to glue those Birch bark rings together to form a handle, or what? By weaving, I take it to mean that you will be placing some of the cork rings in between some of the Birch bark rings? Anyway it looks interesting. I hope you will show us the finished product. Thanks for the blog.
 

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Cutting out the birch bark

While waiting for some of the materials I have ordered for my fly rods, I have started to prepare the birch bark for glue ups. I also found some very cool looking cork which I have included. I am planning to weave in the cork into the rod handle.

Here's some pictures for this process.






Are you making bamboo rods or fiberglass?
 

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Cutting out the birch bark

While waiting for some of the materials I have ordered for my fly rods, I have started to prepare the birch bark for glue ups. I also found some very cool looking cork which I have included. I am planning to weave in the cork into the rod handle.

Here's some pictures for this process.






So far I'm liking your approach, birch bark is a good choice as well due to it's natural waterproof qualities. What will you use as a glue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cutting out the birch bark

While waiting for some of the materials I have ordered for my fly rods, I have started to prepare the birch bark for glue ups. I also found some very cool looking cork which I have included. I am planning to weave in the cork into the rod handle.

Here's some pictures for this process.






ShawnH - since this is my first time, I am using fiberglass. I would love to make a bamboo rod in the future, but need to be successful with these first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Gluing up the birch bark

While waiting for some of my rod materials to come in, I started the process of preparing the birch bark. You'll see that I have cut circular pieces of birch bark using a 1 1/2 inch hole saw with a 1/4 in hole in the middle.

Before the glue up, I used some sand paper to clean up the surfaces…and then veneer the individual wafers together using Titebond III glue. Clamping then up using a 1/4 inch threaded rod (approximately 12 inches long), with a large washer, piece of wood (1.5×1.5) and a nut that I can tighten.

See the work in process pictures and the final glued up pieces of birch bark veneers.




 

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Gluing up the birch bark

While waiting for some of my rod materials to come in, I started the process of preparing the birch bark. You'll see that I have cut circular pieces of birch bark using a 1 1/2 inch hole saw with a 1/4 in hole in the middle.

Before the glue up, I used some sand paper to clean up the surfaces…and then veneer the individual wafers together using Titebond III glue. Clamping then up using a 1/4 inch threaded rod (approximately 12 inches long), with a large washer, piece of wood (1.5×1.5) and a nut that I can tighten.

See the work in process pictures and the final glued up pieces of birch bark veneers.




Nice. Can't wait to see the finished rod.

- HITMAN, CT
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gluing up the birch bark

While waiting for some of my rod materials to come in, I started the process of preparing the birch bark. You'll see that I have cut circular pieces of birch bark using a 1 1/2 inch hole saw with a 1/4 in hole in the middle.

Before the glue up, I used some sand paper to clean up the surfaces…and then veneer the individual wafers together using Titebond III glue. Clamping then up using a 1/4 inch threaded rod (approximately 12 inches long), with a large washer, piece of wood (1.5×1.5) and a nut that I can tighten.

See the work in process pictures and the final glued up pieces of birch bark veneers.




Sorry about the play-by-play process. Between a pretty demanding full-time job and a 22 month old daughter, i don't have much time in the workshop. Not to mention that I am working on three or four different projects at the same time. That's the beauty of being a hobbyist, I work on what I am in the mood for.

Hitman - keep an eye on the blog, once I receive my reel seat - the rod this should come together pretty quickly.
 

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Gluing up the birch bark

While waiting for some of my rod materials to come in, I started the process of preparing the birch bark. You'll see that I have cut circular pieces of birch bark using a 1 1/2 inch hole saw with a 1/4 in hole in the middle.

Before the glue up, I used some sand paper to clean up the surfaces…and then veneer the individual wafers together using Titebond III glue. Clamping then up using a 1/4 inch threaded rod (approximately 12 inches long), with a large washer, piece of wood (1.5×1.5) and a nut that I can tighten.

See the work in process pictures and the final glued up pieces of birch bark veneers.




I love fly fishing and I love woodworking, can't wait to see where this goes :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Turning the handle

I am back to it and with the goal of completing my first fly rod by Christmas - it's a Christmas present.

I am pretty excited about how the rod handle came together. I am working on finishing the handle this week and will be assembling the rods next week. Look for an update next week.






Here's the handle with a coat of tung oil on it.

 

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Turning the handle

I am back to it and with the goal of completing my first fly rod by Christmas - it's a Christmas present.

I am pretty excited about how the rod handle came together. I am working on finishing the handle this week and will be assembling the rods next week. Look for an update next week.






Here's the handle with a coat of tung oil on it.

COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the post!
 

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Turning the handle

I am back to it and with the goal of completing my first fly rod by Christmas - it's a Christmas present.

I am pretty excited about how the rod handle came together. I am working on finishing the handle this week and will be assembling the rods next week. Look for an update next week.






Here's the handle with a coat of tung oil on it.

Sweet!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Redoing the grip

Well, if you have been following this posting - you'll noticed that I haven't posted in a while (months). With a 2 year old and all the other things going on - I had to take a few months off. However, I am back now.

After my last posting in December, when found that while reaming out the hole for the rod to fit in the grip-sections of my birch bark veneers separated and the grip was ruined. After discussing with the experts, they assured me that this a very typical and keep charging forward. So below are some pictures of a clamp I am using to attach the grip to the handle and reassemble and glue up the sections in the veneer that separated.



 
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