A customer of mine asked me recently what I enjoyed most about making rods, and my canned response is “fishing them”. I usually follow up that response by saying that the actual handling of the cane in the early stages would have to be my favorite part. Manipulating the cane is more physical, and the raw medium is really being altered in a somewhat complimentary way. Meaning the best attributes of the bamboo in the manifestation of a fly rod come to life the more you handle it.
I purchase cases of Co-Flex tape, it allows my fingers to grip the cane
while in the forms and keeps moisture out of the cane while I handle it.
The resilliency and strength of the cane is felt directly in the hands and you gain a new respect level for the medium every time you start planing. There is no room for error because you can take off material but you cannot put it back on. So there needs to be total focus on your part. Its this focus that is somewhat relaxing and I may go as far as saying that it takes you away from the rest of the world without getting too metaphysical about it. There are parts of the rod making process that are more mechanical than others. There are parts of the process that also become less stressful the more and more you do it. Eventually your hands just kind of take over and there is a cadence between your brain and your body language.
There is something about the smell of bamboo shavings right out of the block plane that simply makes me think of good things in life.