Gathering of the Clan

A Gathering of Fly Fishermen
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 Post subject: How many boo makers?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:32 am 
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Dr.TB's boo making thread got me to wondering how many people are out there making bamboo rods either commercially or not. So?


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 Post subject: Re: How many boo makers?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:56 am 
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How many worldwide? Thousands. There are a couple hundred, counting hangers on, that follow the Southern Rodmakers. They have 50 to 100 or more at their gatherings in Arkansas each year. That's just the Southern Rodmakers. Doesn't count the other parts of the country, or Europe, Japan, India, Chile, Argentina, Canada, etc.

Here's a link to the Southern Rodmakers page.

http://southernrodmakers.blogspot.com/


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 Post subject: Re: How many boo makers?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:07 pm 
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Posts: 246
Colston,

I don't know how many but there are a lot.

There are several gatherings in the US.
Catskill gathering, Carolina gathering, Bamboo Bash (TN), Colorado gathering, Grayrock gathering (MI), Northern gathering (WI), a small gathering in Vermont, Eastern Sierra gathering, Bozeman gathering. There are probably more that I can't think of right now.

There's a big one in Canada too. The Europeans are big into it also. The Italian Bamboo Rodmakers Association is pretty large. There are a few big name guys in Japan making rods.

I haven't a clue as to the number of folks making rods. Most are hobbyists like myself while others are trying to make money off of it. Only a few are successful full time rod makers with successful being the key word.

I only make it to a couple bamboo gatherings a year but I'd love to go to more. Especially Grayrock and the Catskill gathering.

They are wonderful places to cast some really great rods. I also like comparing my rods to the works of others.


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 Post subject: Re: How many boo makers?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:42 pm 
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Brian,

My impression is that some hobbyists are making the best rods out there. It's a difficult process to scale to production and give the same attention to detail and quality. There are pros making great rods, but they are very expensive and you will have to get in a long line.

Personally, it sounds like a horrible way to make a living.

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 Post subject: Re: How many boo makers?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:51 pm 
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Location: Leo, IN.
Well, in our FF club of ~120 members we have one well known full time rod builder and a couple of hobbyists. The full time guy is always busy. He always has rods on order waiting to be built. Time from order to delivery is usually about 2-3 months. He does outstanding work.
The hobbyists are building nice rods too, but they are just one slight notch below the other guy.

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 Post subject: Re: How many boo makers?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 7:48 am 
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Dr. Trout Bum wrote:
Brian,

My impression is that some hobbyists are making the best rods out there. It's a difficult process to scale to production and give the same attention to detail and quality. There are pros making great rods, but they are very expensive and you will have to get in a long line.

Personally, it sounds like a horrible way to make a living.


Yep, you got it.

There are some hobby makers that are making some pretty outstanding rods. By any standards. With that being said, I would venture to say that the rods being made today are better than the rods of the classic makers, with a possible exception here and there. I don't like to use absolutes. We simply have better access to better materials and more/better information. Well....maybe the varnish was better back then. VOC restrictions has really done a number.

Makers of years back didn't share a whole lot of information. That was how they were making a living. I do believe that some were friends and did share some information. However I think that a lot of secrets were kept. People have x-rayed some old Dickerson rods and have found some of them to be hollow built. I found that a bit surprising.

Many makers made their own metal hardware. Ferrules, reel seats, and guides. Now it is arguable that their ferrules were better because you could make the exact ferrule you need to fit a particular taper.

Nowadays you can learn to build a rod from the internet or from a book. Not back then. You can browse the internet and order everything you need to get started in rod building.

I will never try to earn a living at making rods. I don't want that kind of pressure. But someday I might supplement my retirement.
I've got at least a dozen more years before any retirement possibility. If my rod making gains traction I might go semi-pro or maybe minor league.

If you want to buy a rod by a big name maker be prepared to shell out some dough and be prepared to wait a while.


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