A place to discuss tenkara nets. Techniques for making it, woods used, designs, etc.

Re: Woods

Postby jayfisher » Wed Oct 06, 2010 2:31 am

It'd be nice to know if the osage orange could work too (if it's possible to find the right branch shapes). Do you have any of these near you?


Unfortunately, I might be wrong but as far as I know, I don't have osage orange trees near. Since I'm up in Oregon, you're probably much closer to Osage country.

You make a good point that branching pattern is important. I'm starting to feel that, whatever the wood, finding the right tamo branch is something like a personal quest. The reward is not necessarily in finally finding "it," but more that in searching we become part of the world through every branch we examine.

In the meantime, while I search, I think I'll just order one of your nets. They're beautiful and I'm very happy that you chose eucalyptus, which also has a lot of meaning for me.

-Jack :)
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Re: Woods

Postby tnitz » Thu Oct 07, 2010 1:54 pm

I've gathered Osage Orange on the Snake River for bowyers (I haven't used it myself). I wasn't looking for the specific needs of netmakers at the time, but I would personally hate using it. It is quite true that it's a great bow wood and would have the resistance and resilience needed for the hoop and to avoid rot, but it's a fairly heavy wood and not pleasant to work with. It does have character, though.

I do agree that looking at bow woods is the right approach - those woods are already identified to have good compression/tension properties. While juniper is a bow wood, it's not known for it's ability to handle tension, those bows were most often sinew-backed, suggesting a wood best at combatting compression.

In that light, Pacific Yew would be a great wood for nets and is my favorite wood of all time. It's just hard to find and a victim of harvesters looking to cash in on medical uses.

As Daniel suggests, not all species are going to provide the right forms routinely. Some trees do produce whorls - others don't. Some have opposite positioned branches, others produce alternating branches. Many of the "whorling" species (where the trunk would form the handle with branches forming the hoop) are not very strong or rot resistant and you also have the issue of whether or not you want to basically remove the entire sapling to make a net. There's alot of "shrubs" that would make excellent nets (syringa, wild rose, etc) but don't usually produce the right branching forms.

As for juniper, I did look at alot of trees. I don't know the species I was looking at, but there is alot of it in SE Oregon and here in NE Oregon along the streams. It's also being targetted for removal in alot of areas as it is increasing it's range and creating uniform forest canopies. My present frame came out of an area where there is currently an active removal program going on. I also know the wood is highly rot resistant. There were alot of saplings that from a distance looked good but when I got closer the branches were too thin on trunks that were thin enough for the handle. I probably would have found such a specimen if I kept looking, but I found a juniper growing in a tough spot that had some unusual branch patterns and one of them was perfect so I took it. But as Daniel said, it took alot of looking.

One species that comes to mind that would probably provide a fairly consistent pattern is Douglas Fir. It's not a wood that usually comes to mind when considering rot resistance, but maybe I make too big a deal of that. It often produces sets of three terminal branches opposite each other and is relatively strong. I don't know how it would steam and it's a fairly brittle wood, but if you formed the hoop while green and let it dry into shape it might work - I really don't know.

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Re: Woods

Postby rsetina » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:05 pm

Thanks for all the info Tim. Very informative. I just wanted to comment on the last thing you said about forming the loop with the branches. My feeling is that as long as the loop is formed while the branches are green you shouldn't have any problem with them keeping their shape.

My Tenkara Rods:
13' Ayu, 12' Yamame, 11' with a conversion handle, and an Ito.

My Wife's Tenkara Rods:
12' Ebisu and 13.5' Amago, 12' Iwana with a conversion handle, and an Ito.
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Location: La Crescenta, CA

Re: Woods

Postby David » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:17 pm

I don't know if anyone has mentioned or tried grape vine. My wife is going to have me cut back or maybe remove some older growth and it may, or may not be a suitable material. Any thoughts?
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