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Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

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

Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby Stephen McGowen » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:34 am

I find tenkara tamos to be beautiful and fascinating. I think the fascination comes from the clever manipulation and use of the natural material and the beauty of the selected material. One nice characteristic is that considering the tenkara environment of small fast water and small fish just about anything will work in net design. Strength is not an issue, one can use any wood you choose.
Daniel mentioned that he saw several asymetric and elliptical tamos in a shop but they were shunned because most tenkara fishers feel that the circle is the strongest form. He also mentioned an elder fisher that incorporated a tamo on the end of his wading staff. I think that is were I'm going next as I need/use a wading staff more and more of late. I just can't figure out how it would work!
My first two tamos were made of wood in the Japanese style. They were unsatisfying somehow. I have come to the conclusion that it is because, as a non-Japanese, I made "false" copies. To resolve that, the third tamo, pictures of which are on the Tenkara nets blog here. I'm trying get pics of my first two tamos, which I no longer have, to post here for your delight and amusement.
My point is that you should not fear giving it a go. It is not hard to do and you might even get a useful tool on your first go. The posts of Japanese tamos on the blog will give you give you an idea of the style and design parameters and the "required" characteristics. That is your "launching pad."
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Re: Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby Stephen McGowen » Sat Jun 19, 2010 6:59 am

Like most things in life, making tenkara tamos is a paradox. A craftsman would use the best of his abilities and skill to make a strong and useful product. The tamos I've seen appear, to me, to be made by people with a unique ( but somehow common to them ...paradox) sensibility to the "spirit" of the material being used. Perhaps a Shinto quality.
All living things have built in weaknesses. A weak spot in tree branches is where the branches grow out of the stems. As trees age they work on this but at the stage neccessary for tamos they can be weak. One thing I noticed from studying Daniel's posts is that the Japanese hoops were stouter than the material I selected for the first two I made. The first two hoops came in at around 9 " in diameter.....small but definitely in the tenkara range. I felt, but did not know for sure that to go larger would compromise the strength and resilience of the branches I had. I figured they would be perfect for small streams. But of course when you encounter a fish that needs a net , REALLY needs a net, the tamos are not proper. Again , paradox. I felt they were an affectation rather than a useful tool.
The third tamo I made had a hoop of stainless steel rod and a handle of a deer antler spike. The net is a Brodin replacement net. Much serendipity in this one. Daniel and I were communicating about tamo construction and he really got me thinking. I made the tamo from material I had in the workshop, even the net. The antler alone weighs more than the steel hoop and the hoop weighs about the same as I remember the entire wooden tamo's heft. The antler tamo weighs about the same as a Brodin Ghost net float tube model that I have ... a good "feel" to its heft.
I started to bend the rod round and got called to the phone. When I returned to the bench, the light made the partly bent rod appear elliptical. I considered this to be a message from the "Tenkara spirits" and went with it. And besides , fish aren't round anyway.
It works well. Its angled and assymetric handle works both right and left handed. On its test flight I caught exactly two fish and used it in once in each hand as a test. Sadly, neither fish required the use of a net. The first wooden tamo's hoop vibrated in the heavy spring flows. Of course I shouldn't have tried to land the fish in that velocity anyway.
Wood that has been cut is still "alive" even after being cut and dried. That hoop you form is always going to want to return to its original straightness. An experienced maker can plan for the tamo's future but much care is required on the owners part. Never leave it in bright, direct sunlight for long periods of time. Never leave it in your car in hot weather. You should treat the rest of you tackle the same way, especially lines and tippets. By all means use it on the stream whenever you can , however!
Geese, this post is way long ! I'll continue at another time. I'm going fishing .
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Re: Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby jbenenson » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:36 pm

A very common tourist item in New Mexico is the Native American dream catcher.
dreamcatcher.jpg
dreamcatcher.jpg (29.79 KiB) Viewed 11260 times
Tamo size hoops are very common. Often the circular hoop is prefabricated metal ring, but here is a link to their traditional construction: http://www.nativetech.org/dreamcat/dreminst.html I am going to look for one already made to which I can attach a handle and a net bag or I may get some streamside willows and try making one.

The Native American dreamcatcher may not be a traditional Japanese tamo but it's traditional where I live so why not put it to a new use?
--
I would like to have the modest contact with the nature in hope of continuing the beautiful streams forever

Yoshikazu Fujioka
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Re: Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby Stephen McGowen » Sat Jun 19, 2010 1:03 pm

I liked the link. I have a friend in south Dakota who is Santee Souix. He said he never heard of dream catchers until they showed up in the tourist shops........then , in practically the next breath , he said he makes them for sale to the shops ! Some are quite beautiful despite their possibly dubious history. Mandala -like.
Willow would be an excellent choice for a tamo. Very flexible and resilient. A clear finish would make it look like bleached bone. It is inherently weak,so go bigger on the branch sections. Think robust.
Get to work....post some pics.
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Tenkara net mesh

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:51 pm

The mesh used in tenkara nets are very fine, and the holes are between 1.5mm and no more than 3mm. One of the main advantages of these fine meshes is actually in protecting the fish, the fine mesh, even though the nets are handmade and have a small knot, will "craddle" the fish and not harm it much. The fine mesh will also keep your hook from getting tangled in it. The finer the mesh the better, but of course harder to make and more expensive.

I'd strongly discourage making one based on the dream catcher pattern, primarily because it'll be very hard to make small, uniform holes. If the holes are too big the knots will harm the fish, if they are not uniform the mesh will likely be damaged relatively quickly. There may be resources out there that talk about making a mesh. But, while I think making a frame is doable, I kind of think that making a mesh is incredibly hard.
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Net size

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Sat Jun 19, 2010 3:56 pm

Tenkara nets are typically rather small in diameter, up to 10" in diameter. For Ayu fishing they use a larger net (12 -13") because the net is used to catch the fish in the air as it is pulled out of the water.
The branches that make the frames on my nets are 0.32 and 0.35" in diameter. However, they are VERY strong, and I can confidently catch about any fish size in them (I had a 16" in one). I know they were dried for a very long time and a few coasts of paint applied, so maybe the process made them pretty sturdy even though they are thin.
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Re: Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby ischua » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:59 pm

I won't be wronged I won't be insulted I won't be layed a hand on. I don't do these things to other people. And I require the same from them. (From the movie The Shootist staring John Wayne)
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Re: Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby rsetina » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:15 pm

ischua wrote:A place to find supplys
http://www.jannsnetcraft.com/landing-nets-seines-traps/



Thanks for the link!
Rick

テンカラ。小さなストリームのシンプルさ。
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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Re: Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby Daniel @ Tenkara USA » Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:58 pm

For sake of simplicity, I may also recommend the measure net replacement bags, with them you can just zip them on to the frame:http://www.themeasurenet.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=42
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Re: Tenkara tamo design ideas and thoughts

Postby Stephen McGowen » Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:17 am

I think we are off to a good start here! Daniel and Adam ( tenkara-fisher.com) have found the links that provide all the info that we need to complete a tenkara tamo. ( see Good Links in this section)
The public library has all the steaming and wood bending and finishing info.
A few final thoughts before you start......The evergreen species are the prefered woods for this project methinks. Deciduous species will work and perhaps be stronger but they are harder to manipulate.
Try bending the opposing branches that will make the hoop BEFORE you cut the branch from the tree.
Respect private property rights! If you start with disharmony you'll end up badly.
I'm interested in making a few more... particularly the combo wading staff/tamo Daniel mentioned seeing in Japan. After two days of random thinking on the matter I still can't figure how it would work.My wife had a brilliant idea...."Why don't you just duct tape your small net to your wading staff and go try it out.? " We are a good combo ...she sees the forest while I'm looking at the trees ( to paraphrase the old expression).
My experience so far tells me not to start again until I get the proper tenkara tamo nets ( for cosmetic purposes). I used a Brodin net on my antler tamo and it works just fine. That tamo pleases me in away my first two didn't as it is a western take on an eastern idea. It is an homage and it is honest, not a copy. Sort of a" work in the manner of."
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