Tanago Rod Making

Laid down the bamboo for two tanago rods.  These will be the first bamboo rods I am making completely on my own, without my teacher’s instruction or he firing the bamboo for me.  Both are four-piece rods and are designed extra-small for the extra-small fishing at Lake Teganuma.  Click through for the full post.

The top photo was taken before straightening the bamboo.  A minor accident whilst firing it means although the upper rod in the photo has five pieces, it has now four.  This means both rods will, when put together, come to a grand total length of about 50cm.  Whilst this is a slightly ambitious project, it is the culmination in my rod-making study: learning to fire the bamboo, which is done entirely by hand and eye, using a traditional Japanese craftsman’s tool called tamegi.  It is without a doubt the hardest part of all Japanese bamboo rod making  and it is only now, three years into it, that my teacher has deemed me ready to start learning it.  We shall see how it goes.  Rods made from this type of bamboo use a special kind of tip which is made from a split cane that is filed down into size by hand.  I did a bunch of these today.

After filing down to a roughly round profile, the bamboo is then fired and straightened. 

These came out fairly okay.  When the time comes to fit them to a rod, they are filed down further and then fired again.

Photos showing before and after straightening bamboo; this would be used for the body of rods (sorry for the image quality).  The variety of bamboo is different, hence the different shape in profile.  Firing the bamboo not only straightens it, but also strengthens it by fully drying it out and extracting sap/oils from the wood.


4 responses to “Tanago Rod Making

  1. Adam, I look forward to following your progress of this build. This is something I hope to do one day as well. – Arlan

  2. Hi Arlan,
    Good luck with your rod-making.
    I shall post regular updates of my own efforts so please check back again in the near future.

    • HI adam

      Your posts are a breath of fresh air.
      I am going to try ‘tanago’ fishing in the UK and hope to make all my own gear.
      How do you make the traditional ‘long egg’ shaped handles on whole cane rods ? My guess is some kind of binding/thread/string. I have seen it done with the swelled end of the cane.

      any help very gratefully recieved

  3. Hi Jeremy,
    Thank you for reading and for posting your kind comment.
    You are right, the handle is made by wrapping the butt-end with thick thread or string to an approximate shape, then lacquering it so it hardens. It can then be filed/ground to the desired final shape.
    Hope this helps,

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