When you examine a culm of bamboo,
you will notice it is a long tube with solid “nodes”
cutting across the tube at 12”-18” intervals. As bamboo
grows, the nodes provide structural support for the plants to grow
to great heights.
The bamboo between the nodes is made
up of 3 layers: the outer enamel, the power fibers, and the inner
pith. The power fibers end at each node. When a fly rod is made
with nodes, the power fibers are not continuous along the rod. They
stop and start at each node. The node area is also much stiffer
than the power fibers, causing irregular flexing of the bamboo strips
and, eventually, the rod.
In order to eliminate these “node
caused” problems, I take the time to cut out all nodes and
expertly splice the pieces back together in the original order and
orientation that they existed on the culm. This time consuming process
means that my finished fly rods are only made of continuous power
fibers. People who cast my finished rods comment that they are amazingly
“smooth”. That tells me I have attained my goal of making
the ultimate bamboo fly rod.