Swedish version

Dan Fallon's World of Fly fishing

Column nr. 2  2009  


Build Your Own Three Piece Bamboo Traveler

  When the three piece Bamboo blank arrived from China www.clubwaterman.com E-Mail open4u@paran.com The kit was complete and the blank after extended observation appeared straight and glued together with care! Many blanks I have encountered were not as well constructed or as straight. I have sent a few blanks back and turned down possible articles because the blank was not as advertised. This blank and the related gear turned into a pretty nice three piece in about five days. Perhaps a bit of my personal Bamboo back story?

  Other then the unofficial world record for light Bamboo that I shattered eleven years ago that has been covered more then enough (see last column) my love for fine Bamboo began in the days when America knew no bounds in its strength the early 1950s. My Grandfather, uncles revered Bamboo fly rods and maintained a fine collection. Life moves on and the sport angels smiled at me when Mr. Bamboo himself Walton Powell came into my life and became a friend. Mr. Powell educated me slowly and in his last days presented me with one of his last handmade 6 weights. By my early forties Bamboo became a way of life which left nothing but contempt for man made plastic garbage with fancy names and claims. All of you are aware of the absolute criminal insanity endemic in the rod companies charging you six hundred or more for a man made stick with little if any character, sensitivity, style, feel. Carbon, plastic whatever name these companies give these sticks they all feel lifeless and dull to me! Yes, often great tip action, that is about it.

  Before the current economic melt down Bamboo fly rods were garnering huge prices on E-Bay and other web venues. Those days may not come back soon, still quality well made Bamboo will never depreciate only escalate in value. If one wants to buy a finished Bamboo rod expect three to five thousand at least! Used Bamboo great way to begin unless you have a few skills working with wood, wrapping, glueing, enlaying and all the often tedious details involved in building a quality Bamboo you can use for 40 years then hand over to your grand son. In my mind one does not have to be an expert shopsmith to build a Bamboo fly rod from blank to finish. If one moves slowly does his or her homework and simply takes the time to study a fine rod can be made my friends, it really ain’t that difficult!


  It took me about an hour to carefully check the hardware that came with my new Blank. The guides all single foot were accounted for, all the farrow connections fit well other then the main large farrow connecting the middle rod with the Butt was too tight and needed work. The reel seat dark wood with silver fit well togther. I had another three piece to use as a model which helped. After counting the guides and dry fitting the farrows to make sure of alignment it was time to decide on what kind of varnish, shellac to apply to all pieces before the glue up session. In this phase many problems can easily be avoided by working slowly, carefully..... For me the prealighnment before glueing was the most tedious with no allowance for mistakes. I have built a few rods from blanks, not for publication though!

  Varnish or old school Shellac?

  I decided to opt for the old school Bamboo look in this buildup, contemporary fine Bamboo is usually finished with one of the newly refined varnish’s of which many exist. I decided to go with a very fine old style thin Shellac namely Zinsser Clear finish and sealer. The idea being two fold keep the water off the bare wood and provide a great looking finish. I applied three light coats and rigged a drying rack out of card board. I waited several hours and then applied the final coat the next morning. A critical stage indeed, the rods had to be pampered and turned so no drips blemishes etc.... From bare Bamboo to highly reflective deep tone a metamorphosis that will get the amateur rod builder excited and ready for the messy tedious glue up routine. In my amateur mind knowing how critical the finish and sealing process is caused some reservation. Did I get in over my head, will this fine blank actually become a functional not bad looking tool I can be proud to carry? At this point I’m hoping and moving carefully, a mistake and no article just wasting time! After the third coat dried I took the four pieces out in the sun and carefully looked for mistakes, found a few and with a very sharp knife cleaned and recoated a couple of areas. One thing to keep in mind almost every mistake can be fixed redone if one does a bit of homework and moves carefully.

  Alignment And Glueing Session

  Those who have built fly rods from blanks are aware the accepted practice is to use the messy two or three part Epoxy to glue both farrows and secure the butt section and reel seat. Epoxy another highly over rated modern miracle in my opinion! I found after some research an easier just as solid, waterproof and completely impermeable as the best epoxy. Gorilla Glue a fast cure truly tough glue! It does dry white so one has to be careful at first and keep extra oozing glue wiped up. This glue is to be used sparingly as well. Very easy and I’m happy with results. Making absolutely certain the reel seat is aligned with butt guides and so forth critical. Simply sight down the blank maybe mark it with crayon and hold that line. After being vigilant during curing time wiping all excess and allowing the job to stand over night just make sure before wrapping begins. I decided to do a bit of inlay work to make this three piece my own. I took two fine Chukker hackles and carefully placed and shellacked them several times on each side of the butt near the hook keeper. Turned out very nice, quite pleased. One can use the imagination and inlay almost any fly related object even a special fly can be inlayed! Personel satisfaction at this stage is sweet, the rod is coming together and looking pretty nice. At this stage I understand how this game can become addicting. Its like any activity that is so tedious you loose all since of self, love that!

  Choosing Thread Color And Wrapping

  I suppose creativity knows no bounds when it comes to fly rod thread and color? I decided to stay old school and go with silk bright red with silk green cap. Looks authentic to the period in history where Bamboo caught my imagination.... Those souls who take this tedious craft to the outer limits buy or build wrapping drying stations and all the fancy stuff that goes with it! I opted to stay rank amateur and use the kitchen sink, card board, without a fancy wrapping set up. Exactly like most of you would go about building a first Bamboo fly rod. As the photos explain the process is more fun then messy though talk about tedious!

  I started with the hook keeper and then did a small three step decorative wrap and then the large butt guide. By the time I finished the butt wrap work I felt fairly confident this work might actually produce a quality trout/salmon stick? Continuing with the remaining three pieces involved careful wrapping followed by light coats of shellac, same process over and over.

  Zen Wrapping!

  I highly recommend fly rod wrapping for chasing everyday issues straight out the back door Pilgrims ! After getting over the angst of messing up a fine Bamboo blank by screwing up the critical guide wrapping process. I settled into the groove one finds while doing delicate tedious work. Wrapping reminds me of water color painting which I enjoy. Great activity to still the savage beast Dexter. One must be careful in placing guides along the blank so they all align perfectly. No room for mistakes.


  This Bamboo blank is Tonkin Vietnam Bamboo, known to be the best for making fly rods. The owner of the small company in China is Korean. Andy Shin migrated to China to build high quality Bamboo blanks with Korean techniques and special blank building machinery. The blank I worked is obviously higher quality then others I have inspected. I’m pleased with the results and will be proud to take my new three piece custom made Bamboo along on the next fly adventure


© Phil Frank 2002

Illustrated By Phil Frank,
San Francisco Chronicle Cartoonist, creator of "Farley "

Fletcher Quill and his otherworldly crew fresh from playing with Atlantic Tuna now breathing French air are about to get into a very serious impromptu blues jam in the Hotel after hours club... Other patrons fail to notice the gangster clad black blues giants are all quite dead.

  "Miles Davis, the Black Prince, good to see ya dawg. Looks like death hasn’t altered your killer fashion sense. Man, that purple velvet suit is bad to the bone!"

  "Fletcher Quill, hung with you dirty white boy Fillmore West around 1967 or 8. First saw your action in the Fillmore Green Room. Didn’t you bring that Hashish that almost ruined my set Dude?"

  "Oh yeah, that Green Room seen it all. So Muddy Waters, look at you! Before we explore your songbook. Mckinley Morganfield A.K.A. Muddy waters. You were called the pearl of Chess Records, your classics, "Long Distance Call" "She Moves Me" I’m Ready " all killer, all seminal."

  "Don’t you forget my boy Bo Diddly, Bo knows the blues, Bo knows..."

  "Excuse me General Quill a message just arrived marked urgent!"

  "Fletcher it is I Sister Fister Mutha Superia’s friend remember? Our little flower is doing much better thank you. I have a message for you from a Nurse Caron out at Stanford Medical in California. Dear Mr. Quill I will be in France in two days and would love to discuss in detail your philosophy on near death experience and perhaps co-write a book on this subject which I have spent the last 15 years face to face. If your game let me know how to hook up in France. Can’t wait to meet the famous Frisco Bad ASS....."

  "Ok, Send Nurse Caron an invite, always have soft spot and a hard on for nurse’s. She sent a photo Keith look at those can’s Dude 34 D at least. We will commisurate sunshine, they don’t look like Bolt On’s either Cowboy?"

  "Quill, didn’t your old buddy Congressman Pete Mc Closkey go to Stanford? The Sierra Club Man Of The Year winner was a star my friend."

  "Thinking about Pete lately, miss that Irish humor and no bullshitness...."

  "Quill lets rap this jam session and get some café action Dude! Lets head for The Dome first."

Paris circa 2009 Café Society is in a state of chaos because tourism has dived and the many cafe’s are starving. Also the historic cafe social life has been changing people aren’t spending money or time in the many cafe’s. Each month finds less and less surviving, times are indeed changing.....

  "Man, what’s up here Dude? The Dome almost empty Friday night? What the hell is happening to the Paris Hemingway loved ?"

  "You know that dictator prick Putin turning off the gas to hold up Europe and his own people. Will America’s new boy President pussy whipped as he is do anything about the Russian Dictator? I’m certain he will not. America intervenening with other nations is over for good. Only thing left for this sad country, global cop maybe with most experienced standing army burnt out or not. New program for shattered America I’m feared...."

  "Man, I watched the Inaugural love fest. You could see the desperate plea for hope in all the faces as If this young man is the black pied piper, which is just plain stupid gullible thinking from a nation pushed and raped by the last incompetent fool. "

  "Think you have nailed it Keith, Obamba a Chicago mover/shaker I would be more comfortable if he were managing a Lexus dealership instead. His gift of oration and physical presence combined with America’s desperation to get rid of and forget the most pathetic character to ever hold the office is understandable. The Obamarama adulation circus has plenty of fuel until he steps in shit like they all do."

  "Quill you think he will side with the insane Israeli bullshit going on. They are into genocide, those Palestinians don’t have a fucking prayer Buddy! Jimmy Carter and a host of others have tried to contain the rage of this crisis and failed. As the ancient philosohers from Nostra Damas to Edger Casey opined the end will come in this area no question, it will come..."

  "Keith, how long can those Palestinians hold on, the Israelites give them no quarter and no room to move and the fucking world at large sits on their ass like they do with the garbage situation with our Pal the Dali Lama. No one speaks for these lost peoples , no one, why?"

"Dude, did you see that guy just walked by, was that one of Putins boys watching us Dude?"

  "It was, I saw him earlier following the cab. So lets take his picture next time and make them keep changing these Geeks. Putin is on my radar for sure. I have express orders to do this dictator at the proper time. I’m for heading out to another café, this place is deadsville. "

  "Hold on cell ringy dingy Dude, "Keith whats up, we are waiting here in Spain for your guitar Glimmer Twin. Chuck leval is here, Buddy Guy just rolled up and we are ripping. So when you and Quill blowing out of France?"

"Mick, is our boy Ronnie sober yet? And what about Charlie’s throat and ..."

  "Man, its like the old folks home except we are all so frigging rich it don’t matter no more. We rock till we drop street fighting man. You ready, we want your ass here soon as possible!"

  "Keith sounds like your missed by your wife Mickey Pal."

  "Wife is right man, we been hooked since boyhood and it looks like till death does us part."

  "Lets set up a fly adventure Dude, French country side has the best little shallow streams. I’ll buzz Johnny Depp he is connected out in the hinterlands for sure. Capt Jack the pirate Matey."

Suddenly the boys find themselves in a dank side alley way near the gardens, its none other then the real Captn, his spaceness Captn Trips if you please....... A. K. A. Jerry Garcia.

  "Now now laddies, like my boy Bobby Weir would say, "How can we make this a party? " I heard your chin music on my America’s slide for life Pally. One thing for sure this world will be working together to get out of this mess. Just like me old band mates about to tour without Sugar Daddy at the helm. Love that, they all too young to hang it up. Why don’t we head over to that joint all the poets hang? Oh, what’s the dealy on scoring before you blow out Glimmer Twin? How about a taste of purple Owsley before you scram Street Fighting Man!"

  "Ok, here Captn, take what I have left. Maybe we ought to drop and trip before you go Keith?"

  "Have an idea boys we drop and we take Paris apart! We have this insane Penthouse and a city full of tang waiting to dance with he who can pay Jose! So post haste dropith and I’ll call old 666 get his crafty dead ass in on this. Captn Trips, how about a Dead Jam session with my blues ghost Pal’s doing the do like at the Fillmore West Baby!"

  "Excuse me Californicators this here is The Lizard King resting not in peace but itching for one more Moon light ride. So I’m in Captn. Don’t need know magic dust cause dead rock stars stay messed up eternally Baby. Hell me and old Elvis hook up with Jimmy Hendrix every sunset and get busy runnin gunnin on immortality juice, natural bad boy nectar son. Course no one can touch the King for tripping, that boy born to trip, born to sing, born to die young and live forever in sweet immortality......"

  "Jimmy, my main man. Your boys keep wanting to roll the Door’s show without your bad ass! What up with that Buddy?"

  "Like a dog with a bone , don’t want it can’t leave it alone..... Can’t blame them, we rode hard all the time, addicting that pace and lack of sane grace, We all still got that stage Jones dead or alive the jive is still alive. I’m waiting for San Francisco to explode again with some killer bands and start up one more time. We been sending all the right vibage air mail. When we played Fillmore West that Green room was glowing my friends, Lizard King ringing the bell. Geary Street and the Fillmore District west coast home plate for soul, more soul then they can control....."

  "Yep, yep when the Stones do Frisco it ain’t nothin but a party, staying at the Myako killer vibes! Now Paris ain’t unhip fellas. So lets get this acid party rollin and tumblin. Find out who is in town and lets get a crazy acid jam going like the time the Dead, Janis, Buddy Guy rode the rock train to Toronto."

Six phone calls later after convincing hotel staff with a thick wad of Euro’s to close the hotel bar for a private party, the dead and alive hard rocking fast talking no balking start filing in and tasting the Irish Green Special Cool aid near the door. 666 and his main Buddy Abbott Sammy Kinnison fresh from his San Francisco Golden Gate Park Underground Faerie Complex Headquarters have appeared and the festivities begin.

  "Jimmy Reed, man that you Mr. Honest I do? Hush Hush a killer riff. We have to get into Jimmy’s, " Baby what you want me to do "How you been blues man?"

  "Been hanging with your Frisco dirty blues boy Mr.Mike Bloomfield Baby, that white boy has the cahones in his bones! I played with him live at the Waldorf opening up with, " Sweet Little Angel " into, " Bad Luck Baby ". On the last night of that run who ambles in Stevie Ray Vaughan and Junior Wells. We all got busy slayed the beast and killed them ending with a thirty minute, " Buried alive in the blues". That was a rocking night Daddy!"

  "Jimmy Morrison is here Dude he say’s everybody in rock heaven is waiting for Joe Cocker those killer pipes of his do the do ya’ll. His, " You can leave your hat on " and ,"Feeling alright" on rotation 24/7 Son! "

  "Look here who the hell is that cat with the wild ass outfit glowing like street lamp?"

  "It is I 666 and me right hand dead man Abbott Sammy Kinnison. That coolaid taste won’t go away Quill? How many mikes in this bitches brew"

  "No worries triple six being your dead and all the effect ain’t exactly the same as us breathers. Timmy Leary used to eat this batch his dam self. That is your first clue Bop a do Bop a do, suck up a taste more you’re a back up singer now dead Dude."

Main players on stage Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, JimmyReed and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Lead vocalists Jimmy ( Road House Blues ) Morrison, Keith Richards (Glimmer Twin) band leader. On sax Bobby Keys on Piano Nicky Hopkins. On trumpet Miles Davis. Helping out on the long soulful southern bad boy blues his honor the King him dam self. Jimmy Morrison grabs the Mike and screams his dead ass off, "Five to one baby one in five,no one here gets out alive. The groove is fresh from groove mountain a new deep vain has been found.......

Buried alive in the Blues? Paris Café scene dying ? Next Stop Ravens Haven Baby!

Read about Fletcher Quill in earlier chapters:

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11
12 13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20
21 22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29
30 31  32  33  34  35  36  37  38
39 40  41  42  43  44  45  46  47
48  49  50  51  52  53  54  55  56
57  58  59  60  61  62  63  64  65

66  67  68  69  70  71  72  73  74
75  76  77  78


Written by Dan Fallon 2008
Illustrations by Phil Frank © 2003
Photos by Dan Fallon © 2008

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