About 15 years ago, I came across Hoagy Carmichael’s book about Everett Garrison, I got inspired and so the process began.
Today I still build in the Garrison style and generally use classic tapers developed by Garrison, Payne, Young, Leonard, Marinaro, and others. As I gained experience, I began to modify existing tapers to better approach my expectations and my client's fishing styles.
I generally build rods based on the buyers intended use. Then I propose a taper and action that is appropriate for their casting style and home waters. My rods are not limited to a select few designs. All my rods differ to some degree. While tapers may be duplicated, the details will vary according to my buyers interests. I also like to add my own influences. It’s more interesting and fun this way as opposed to building the same set of rods over and over again.
I also build rods for myself that I think have an interesting taper, length and action. Maybe another rod builder has told me about it or I’ve been lucky enough to see and fish it. These rods will appear under the “Current Offerings” section and are for sale.
All my rods are hand crafted from the finest available Tonkin cane. Every culm is hand split, hand planed and heat treated to bring out the best in color and action. Final planing, assembly and finishing is all done by hand. Finally each rod is fished to insure it meets my expectations and is a pleasure to cast.
All my rods are individually hand crafted, from start to finish, by me. I currently do not use any powered machinery to prepare the bamboo, but instead choose to hand split and plane each section in preparation for assembly.
Following is a general idea of the steps taken to fabricate your bamboo fly rod:
Cane selection-Only the highest grade Tonkin cane is chosen. Each culm must be straight, heavy, clean, and free of defects. This grade generally represents 10% of the imported Tonkin Cane available in the U.S.
Depending on the final rod coloration I desire, I may or may not flame treat the exterior of the culm. Blonde rods are not flamed while a darker color require flaming.
The culm is hand split, nodes sanded and straightened, and rough planed.
Sections are then set in the Garrison Node pattern, cut to length, bound and oven heat treated.
Final planing/tapering is accomplished by hand planing.
Sections are then assembled, glued, bound, straightened and hung in a drying cabinet at ~ 85 degrees for several months.
Each section is then hand sanded and inspected.
Final assembly includes:
Dressing and mounting the ferrules.
Adding the cork grip and winding check.
The guides, are wound with silk, and each wrap is color stabilized and varnished/sanded minimum 5 coats.
Varnish- 1 coat prior to start of fabrication and 2-3 coats after completion, heat cured as above, sanded after each coat, and a final polish.
Reel seats placed.
Final buffing and polishing.
Cast and fish tested.