© Tapani Salmi 3/2003

In addition to six strip construction of split cane bamboo rods the four strip construction QUAD rod has become popular. It is little lighter in weight (more powerful) compared to the similar taper of six strip (HEX) rod. It has especially been built by rodmakers equipped with power bevelers and mills but not so frequently by hand planers. I wanted to try the QUAD construction.

I wanted to build a wooden (maple) planing form. The quad construction requires two separate forms (grooves), one for the "right" and one for the "left" edge of the strip because the strip is not symmetrical like the HEX construction. I could not find very much information about this topic in Internet of from the Rodmakers list. Clearly there could be several different possibilities to make the form (a-c, see the figure). After some thinking I decided build the form type C in the figure.

The groove B is filed about 1 mm (0.04") wider compared to A. Groove A is adjusted according to the taper (I use a test strip to adjusting) and thus groove B is some wider. After the initial planing of the strips to the approximate shape I first plane the strip in groove B to have the other edge to the absolutely correct 45 degree. Then I turn the form and make the final planing in groove A to the correct taper. Thus there is only one adjustment of the form (groove A) to have the right dimensions. I am used to measure the width of the strips instead of the height with the digital caliber. I did not have any problems with breakening of the sharp corners - perhaps because I soaked the strips for 3 to 5 days prior planing. I add an additional 6 percent of dimension to the taper to compensate the soaking effect and plane the strips to final dimensions when wet and heat treat the strips thereafter. The wet strips shrink about 5-6 percent in width / height in my soaking - heat treating procedure.

There are some clear disadvantages in the QUAD structure compared to the traditional HEX: the ferrule has to be of a special type or over-sized. The outlook of the rod is not as usual and some think it is uglier. I, however, like the action of my quad rod - I have build a quad construction of PH Young Driggs river special with the commonly used 0.93 conversation ratio in taper dimensions to get the same area / volume of cane in the rod as in the six strip rod.

Here you see a quad rod coated with gold leafs (actually brass leafs, 12/2006).