Over My Waders


from The Wise Fisherman's Encyclopedia

Hunting Knife. A hunting knife or a heavy-bladed knife of any sort is used to remove the inside nodes of the bamboo from the individual strips, once the culm has been sawed or split.

Winding Machine. Listed last among the tools, but of first importance in good rod building, is the winding machine, described below.

As we have seen earlier in this article, when the individual strips of bamboo that make up a single rod section are glued together, they are bound together with strong thread to hold them under pressure until the glue has hardened. Since the thread must be wrapped on in such a way as to maintain a uniform, specified pressure (that varies with the glue used) throughout the entire length of the rod section, a machine is used for this operation.
This piece of equipment is so simple that the term "machine" is hardly an appropriate description. The design is the product of the late Robert W. Crompton. It was developed primarily for the amateur to circumvent the uncertain and vexing hand-wrapping operation after gluing.
It was Crompton's intention that every rod maker should possess such a device, whether or not he could afford to have one especially made or not. In the latter case, the required material (costing less than a dollar) plus an evening or two of pleasant work will yield a perfectly functioning device for the rapid, urn-form application of the binding cotton with predetermined pressure on all glue lines.
Working Principle. The basic idea is simple. If a string is wrapped once around a rod section, held tight to prevent slipping, and one end pulled, the shaft will turn. Now if two turns are taken about the stick, and if one or both loose ends are guided, pulling as before will not only turn the section, but will cause it to move to the right or left depending upon which end is pulled, and the direction in which the wraps were applied (clockwise or otherwise) . In the latter case the amount the rod travels to the right or left depends on the steepness or "pitch" of the string. This can be regulated by guiding the cord at the point where it begins to wrap around the shaft, as well as at the point of departure. Since the rod is rotated and the amount of travel can be controlled, it is necessary only to lead the wrapping thread to the rod and fasten it there. The rest of the winding operation is automatic.

Pressure. It will be readily understood that if a turn or two of strong cord is taken about any object, the simple expedient of pulling the ends in opposite directions results in a uniform tightening abo.ut the object in question. A rod section, similarly, can be subjected to a definite radial clamping along all glue lines in the same manner. Then, the only problem remaining regards meeting the glue manufacturers' recommendations on clamping pressure, which they specify in pounds per square inch. The area is easily figured, since it is the diameter of the rod section in inches multiplied by the distance the shaft travels through the machine in one revolution (of the rod section). Inches multiplied by inches equals square inches, which is area. One element is now known; the other —pounds—must be found. As an example: The rod is ¼" in diameter, .25' expressed in decimals. Let us say one turn moves it through the winder a distance of 7/32" or .218". Multiplied together, the area equals .0545 square inches. The glue manufacturer recommends a minimum clamping pressure of 200 pounds per square inch. Therefore: 200 lb./sq. in. equals

Weight (lb)
.0545 (area
or, simplified: W = 200 x 0.545 lb. A tension of about 11 pounds will insure a good joint.
It is not a good policy to apply only one winding, as this will cause twisting. A second wrapping is then in order. The wrapping tension can therefore be safely reduced to about 8 pounds for each operation. The tendency of the second wrapping to slightly unwrap the first, loosening it slightly and thus relieving pressure, averages the total pressure to nearly the desired figure.
Construction Details. The most straightforward method of obtaining accurate tension or pressure is to hang a weight on the machine. Crompton envisioned the clamping cord as an endless belt wound about the rod, and then brought around a hand-driven pulley. This pulley should be free to move up or down, and the weight (a tin can containing sand, nuts, bolts, or stones) is suspended to it. The rod section is supported evenly by four hooks (Note Figure 17), arranged in a straight line across a backboard or plate. The two hooks in the center serving as guides for the endless belt. A pivoted arm is provided as a support for the cranking pulley. Other construction details are readily apparent. A spool such as those upon which spinning lines are marketed makes an excellent cranking pulley.
Excess glue squeezed from rod joints during the winding operation should be wiped off the machine while still wet. If the wooden parts of the machine are painted with melted paraffin prior to final assembly, the glue will not adhere quite as readily as if the machine were left untreated.
The Endless Belt. Endless belts for the winding machine are easily made at home. Heavy cotton cord, such as the 'chalk line" or 'plumb line" used by carpenters, is quite satisfactory.
Cut a piece 2 or 3 feet long. Bring one end around the cranking pulley from below, then upward and twice around a rod or pencil which rests in the supporting hooks, thence downward toward the cranking pulley, and beside the other free end. Lay the two overlapping strands parallel to each other, drawing the ends in opposite directions. This tightening of the loop will raise the arm on which the pulley is attached. When this arm is in a nearly horizontal position, a mark should be made across both of the overlapping ends. The cord is then removed, laid out straight, and the distance between the marks measured for future reference.
Trim the ends 2" beyond the markings. Then unwind the three strands of each end for a distance of 2", i.e., back to their respective marks, taking care to prevent unravelling of the separated strands. Bring the separated ends together to form a loop, laying each of the separated strands of one end between two of the other, much the same as fingers fall when hands are folded. The marks previously applied should again be brought in line by careful manipulation of the loose ends. See the next page.

Plates 1 to 12 show the succeeding steps, which entail the bringing of one strand over the one adjacent, and under the one beyond that. The next strand of the same end is then carried over and tucked under in the same manner. And so on around until each strand has been tucked in at least four times. The loose strands of the other end are then tucked, each in its turn, four times. A crochet hook or a bent wire can be inserted between the appropriate strands and the loose member drawn through. Roll the splice between two boards to even it out, then trim the excess strands flush with a sharp knife or razor blade. Once a little experience is gained, the entire procedure will take no more than five or ten minutes.
The Belt in Use. In use, the belt is slipped into the groove of the cranking pulley from below. Two turns of the belt are taken about the larger end of the rod section, which is then placed across the supporting hooks. The belt is brought up around the left side of the hook at left center, about the rod between the two center hooks, then over and outside (right) of the right hand center hook. The two hooks at the edges of the backboards serve only to guide the rod section.
When the belt has been properly positioned, the binding thread is "caught" between the belt and rod section with its free end brought to the left. Turning the crank will lay a few turns of the binding over its loose end, securing it firmly. Cranking is continued until the rod tip is ejected from the machine. A few inches of wrapping thread should be withdrawn as the rod section is removed from the machine. One or two half hitches should then be taken to secure the free end. The second, or cross winding, is next on the agenda.
While wrapping the belt twice about the rod shaft, opposite rotation is ac- complished by taking the turns in the direction opposite to that taken previously. In other words, the first resulted in a right-hand spiral, while the second becomes left- handed. The illustration (Figure 17) of the machine shows both. Binding cord this time is "caught" as previously, but from behind the rod section. Crank through and finish off as before.

There are many possible variations of this fundamental winding principle. The rod builder is encouraged to improve the design and disseminate the new information to his fellow hobbyists. In this way the Crompton idea will be fully consummated.

A list of figures representing diameters taken at various stations along the length of a rod conveys very little, if any, information save to those few blessed with the ability to appreciate the significance of numbers. This is not peculiar to rod makers. Bankers; scientists, mathematicians, and others resort to pictorial representation of the series of numbers under consideration. The maker of fishing rods, then, can profit by plotting a graph—i.e., making a picture that can be appraised in its entirety or a point at a time.
Figure 18 illustrates an example. Measurements of four bass bug rods were tabulated. The figures themselves are relatively meaningless. When developed into the form of a diagram or curve, however, both visual and mental processes begin to function. On viewing Figure 18 one would immediately wonder why so many humps and dips were apparent, why so much diversity exists, especially toward the ends of the tip sections. There is no valid reason. Each rod, like Topsy, just "growed," and yet all four of the rods whose dimensions are plotted are declared to satisfactorily perform the same task.
One worthwhile fact is quite evident: a straight line, originating at the tip end, can be drawn through the middle of the confusion. It is also quite a coincidence that this line practically intersects two ferrule stations on its way upward and to the left. This line then represents an average of the four specimens, and in all probability inherits the best features of each.
Comparison of the graphs of several casting rods, (Figure 19) of identical length yields much the same information: considerable diversity exists between any pair of rods chosen at random, yet a straight-line-average exists through the group as a whole. Therefore, an empirical basic set of rod tapers may be safely assumed as follows:

Fly And Spinning Rods
Fast Action .034—.038 in. per ft.
Medium Action .028—033 in. per ft.
Slow Action .023—.028 in. per ft.
Plug Casting Rods
Fast Action .041—.045 in. per ft.
Medium Action .036—.040 in. per ft.


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All content copyright Reed Curry © 2006.
Cartoon by Walter Young © 1961, used by permission.