There was a bit of a gap in the photos because I got a bit carried away with the sanding and smoothing - I think you can see why though - there's a noticable change in colour of the metal but the joins are smooth and perfectly workable - i.e. the ali rods don't sand/smooth at a different rate than the parent metal.
I thought this would be possible with them but never actually envisaged a result like this. I'm loathed to clout it with the hammer to see how well it stands up to stress but I suppose if it's going to go on the motor it needs to be able to withstand a few knocks. The fast lane of the M1 isn't where I want to find out it doesn't like being jolted around ;-)