Paradigm Custom Rod Design

Benchcrafted Fly & Freshwater Split Bamboo Fishing Rods for the Contemporary Angler
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   intro      split bamboo rod care
The Wonderful World of Split-Bamboo
A regimen for the care and maintenance of your custom fishing rod.
  First things first . . . This stuff is super-durable! That said, your new custom Split-Bamboo rod was made to fish with and enjoy often! It will withstand the harsh elements of nature to a very large degree, but it's always good practice to handle and care for it more so compared to an inexpensive graphite rod purchased from your local big box retailer. According to scientific reasoning, natural Tonkin bamboo is an exceptionally durable material with properties that possess a tensile strength said to be greater than steel. However, the outer finish (primarily several coats of spar varnish or marine spar urethane) applied is not impervious to nicks, scratches and gouges, etc. Please use proper care at all times when setting a Bamboo rod down on rocks and abrasive surfaces. Doing so will prolong the applied finish and keep your custom rod looking good for many years to come.

 -  Ferrules.  The ferrules on your custom Split-Bamboo rod are constructed of either nickel silver, chrome plated brass or aluminum. These types of metal composites are generally known to be "self - lubricating" so it is unnecessary to apply any type of oil, grease or synthetic lubricant on them. Doing so may actually break down the composition causing rapid wear and shorten the life of the ferrule - calling for an unexpected and often expensive replacement. Keep the outer surfaces of the male ferrule sections clean and free of debris by wiping them down with a non-abrasive cloth and Isopropyl alcohol. Occasionally, a cotton swab lightly dipped in alcohol can be used to clean the internal female ferrule but please be certain that the entire (inside) area is completely dry before attempting to assemble the rod.

 -  Assembly.  When assembling a Split-Bamboo rod with metal ferrules--- always use straight, in-line pressure when putting it together and the same procedure when disassembling. Without twisting, position the male ferrule slightly partway into the female ferrule section then sight down the rod to see if the guides are in line. If so, then carefully seat the ferrule until snug and firmly engaged with the least amount of force possible to complete the assembly. If you happen to have a three (3) piece rod, always begin assembly by starting with the smallest section first, ie;  tip to the mid section and then mid-to-butt section and disassemble in reverse order. When disassembling a Bamboo rod with metal ferrules, in most cases you will hear a "pop" when disengaging the ferrules. This is merely the sound of air escaping from the seal that was created when you put the rod together and a good sign that the ferrules are functional and working properly.
* It's important to... 
 NEVER use a twisting motion - on either rod section when assembling/disassembling or when attempting to align the line guides
on a rod with metal ferrules as this can result in damage to the ferrule and/or ferrule station - (cane the ferrule is attached to).
*It's okay to use a twisting motion when assembling/disassembling a - graphite or glass rod - as the ferrule is part of the rod's manufacture.
For Split-Bamboo rods with metal ferrules on the other hand - if the rod appears to be misaligned, simply take it apart
using the methods stated above and re-assemble it until the rod sections and guides are aligned to your satisfaction.
 -  Storage.  Be sure to always store a Split-Bamboo rod in the safety of its rod sock and tube/case at all times when not in use. With the rod in its cloth sock, cup your hand at the opening of the rod tube to form a circle < (especially aluminum/metal tubes) > Slowly and gently slip the rod into the tube allowing it to travel through your cupped hand. As you are doing so you'll likely feel the snake guides rubbing against the palm of your hand as you guide it into the tube. Your hand will act as a cushion to protect from haphazardly bumping the outer lip, inside edge or threaded portion of the rigid rod tube, keeping the rod safe from accidental damage and the possibility of breaking off a line guide. Try to stand the stored rod tube vertically in a safe place when not in use. If traveling, do your best never to subject a custom Bamboo rod to extreme heat for extended periods like in the trunk of a car on hot summer days where temps can easily exceed 150 degrees. Even while stored in it's protective tube - intense, indirect heat from the sun's rays can often wreak havok to the applied finish and potentially soften the varnish enough to possibly adhere to the rod bag. While modern varnish products are much less prone to extreme heat, caution is warranted especially in the case of older, vintage Bamboo rods.
An additional recommendation  for those who just purchased a brand new custom Split-Bamboo rod - if possible, keep the rod out of its tube and lay it down on its cloth sock in a safe place for a period of 4-6 weeks. This will help speed up the process to cure the outer coats of applied varnish. You can begin fishing with your new custom rod on the day it arrives to you, but use extra care as the varnish will be soft and uncured. A good rule of thumb to follow is that when scent of fresh varnish is no longer present - it's generally 100% cured.
 -  Good habits.  Acquire the presence of mind to not lean an assembled Bamboo rod against a wall or in a contorted manner for any length of time where it might form an unnatural curve or bow. Doing so can subject the rod to take on what is referred to in the Bamboo world as a"set". This is where a section of the rod (generally the first 6-12 inches of the tip) takes on a sweep or noticeable warped appearance. A "set" can be corrected with the careful use of heat and good patience but please be cognizant to use preventative measures to avoid the possibilities. While fishing, if you must set your custom Bamboo rod down for any length of time, just allow it to rest safely in plain sight braced in an upright, angled position against an object that will secure it from somewhere near the center of the rods axis. Additionally, when playing a rather large fish, try to do so by using more of the mid-section of the rod, with less pressure in the tip area.
 -  Moisture.  Please bear in mind that Tonkin Bamboo is born as a natural, living substance and has a fibrous composition. In the event your Bamboo rod was exposed to prolonged moisture, for example; if it was submerged in a stream for a lengthy period of time or perhaps if you got caught fishing in a monsoon downpour, etc. - upon arriving to your home or lodge simply remove the rod from its case, wipe it down with a soft cotton cloth and allow it to breathe and air dry in a warm, safe place overnight or for at least 12-24 hrs. Go fishing with it the next day or return it to the safety of its cloth bag and tube for your next adventure.
 -  Inspect.  Frequently inspect your Bamboo rod and keep it clean by using a mild cleaning solution like Windex or Murphy's multi-use oil soap. Spray the cleaning product directly onto a soft cotton cloth then wipe down the finish to restore its original luster. Apply a coat of Town Talk Orange Wax or a non-abrasive car polish such as Turtle Wax, Zymol etc. and buff it out to a nice shine a twice a year to further protect the finish and keep it looking new.
Following these simple steps above will ensure the longevity of your custom Split-Bamboo rod, keep it looking great and provide many years of good fishing!
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Latest update: April 7, 2018