My workshop is in my home--my home is in the workshop.

Down the basement in my house in Northeast Minneapois is where cane, tools, friends, and family gather to form relationships. It is where my cane rods begin as a 12-foot culm of bamboo which is cut in half with a saw.

The halves are then split into narrow strips with a knife then are layed out on the bench, the nodes are staggered, and the strips are cut to length.

lugging bamboo


The strips have the pith sanded off and they are squared up. They are soaked for 3 days in water. The strips are then taken one at a time, the nodes straightened and most of the enamel is removed from the surface of the cane. Norlings They are then rough planed to about .050 oversize and bound together. At this point they look like a big pencil. The three bound rough planed rod sections are put in an oven and dried slowly and then heat-treated at an elevated temperature. Heat-treating affects moisture content at a molecular level and tends to reduce the tendency for the rod to take a set.

After heat-treating the sections are hand planed to their final dimensions.

The strips are then glued and clamped by binding them with string. When the glue is set the string is removed, the excess glue is removed and the blanks are sanded smooth. Ferrules are prepared and set on the blanks. Ferrules are hand lapped so that they go together.

Reel seat wood is glued to the butt and the cork rings are put on the shaft, glued and clamped. The butt section is put in the lathe and the cork handle is turned to final dimensions.
Guides are wrapped and coated with rod finish to “fill” the gaps in the thread and make them smooth. The rod is signed and numbered, and varnished, My varnish choice is polyurethane. It is rubbed down between coats, the reel seat hardware is installed and the ferrule plug is made.

A rod bag is sewn and hang tag is filled out. The project is finished.

And then the most satisfying part happens. The rods owner comes over, we string up the rod and go outside for a few casts. It is then that I get to watch the beginning of a life-long relationship.


Dolly   Dave Norling, rod maker, with CEO, Dolly


Dave Sr 612.618.1248  davidrobertnorling@gmail.com
Dave Jr 612.839.3947  fish.norling@gmail.com
Dave and Dave's Blogspot
two generations