Well I am at the lacquering stage of building my bamboo rod. This is an essential technique which strengthens the joints of the rod and also makes them waterproof (raw bamboo will of course swell if wetted, and deform the rod). Japanese lacquering is a difficult technique and not made any easier by the fact that the main ingredient, a plant derivative, is actually poisonous and allergenic. Luckily I turned out not to have an allergy to the lacquer – called urushi in Japanese – although I did not expect to be as I have no other allergies at all. Straight out the tin the lacquer also smells utterly foul, almost exactly like vomit; it is applied with a special brush made from human hair. Anyway, the lacquering is an ongoing process.