PLANING THE STRIPS

Planing Strips to a Taper.

This is the heart of sweetgrass rod building. Planing bamboo down to the fine taper required is an art. Each one of the six strips that make up a tip section are 0.03125" thick on the small end. (see toothpick on left for comparison). You will have become one with the material once you achieve that goal. 

The most critical tool you will use planing the bamboo strips is a Stanley Block Plane. I inherited a couple from my Dad. Unlike me they will never age. The blade can be upgraded to a Hock Tempered High Carbon Steel blade. Sharpening the blade and keeping it sharp is yet another art. I suggest getting a King 1000/6000 grit whetstone.

Practice. Practice. Practice. With a bamboo strip locked down into the planing form start at one end of the form holding the plane with two hands and work the entire strip evenly. Repeat. Again. Planing is so about feel that you just have to dive in and give it a go. Good luck.

I'm holding 48" long strips for the the tip section and butt section. The tip section strip measures .03125" at one end and .117" at the other end. Butt section strip is .117" at one end and .144" at the other.    

How will you know when you've mastered planing? When you fill up a few bags with these.