Small stream rods
Fishing very tight swims often for wild fish has become a popular activity and tends to demand short rods and light lines. The 2 piece 5ft rod pictured above and designed for 2/3 weight lines is a typical example.
Turned aluminium tube closure
The base closers for my rod tubes are now made in turned aluminium. This allows a slightly shorter tube and means that only the cap end has the timber insert. As I have had a request for an all aluminium cap end, this will soon be added as an option. Unless otherwise specified the cap insert is now gunstock grade Walnut.
Garrison style pocketted butt caps
I used to buy these in as a part finished item but having been let down by my supplier I have developed the techniques to make these in house. In many cases now it is only the snake guides that I buy in everything else is made in my workshop.
An interesting pair
These two rods were commissioned by a customer with very precise requirements, handles to less than 0.5mm accuracy, reel seats shaped to suit a range of specified vintage reels. Both rods are impregnated, one built nodeless the other hollow built. 7ft 6in #4 Payne 100 and 7ft 0in #3 GAM taper.
New inserts and reelseat
I've been stocking up on more nice burrs for reel seat inserts and the group of four below are interesting, particularly as there are only two varieties in the picture. The orange red item on the RHS is probably known by most as a typical Amboyna burr but the gold coloured one next to it is also Amboyna. Similarly the pair on the left are both Box Elder but very different. In the case of the Box Elder the difference is probably explained by a different impregnation resin being used but the Amboyna is not stabilised so I don't know, it is the first time I've come across the attractive gold variety.
The pictures below - as well as showing one of the nicest pieces of Spalted Maple I have ever seen - illustrate a solution to a problem that comes up regularly. The most popular handle shape remains the Reverse Half Wells, probably due to familiarity, and it is an easy choice for an uplocking reel seat as the flared cork accomodates the reel seat hood easily. However the classic cigar shape is also well liked but does not marry up easily with my normal up lock design.
The solution is to reduce the diameter of the hood by using a mortised insert and accurate machining but then to refine the radius of the mortised area to still give a good match to the curve of the reel foot. Still needs very careful cork turning but the result is neat.
Both of these rods are 3 piece 8ft 5 weights and they even have similar lightly flamed cane but apart from that they could not be more different in style. The black whipped rod is a Dickerson 8013 taper giving a smooth casting style and is fitted with all black components on an austere cork insert.
The rod below has a fast action with a swelled butt and is dressed with contrasting gold whippings, Amboyna insert and Nickel Silver fittings.
Both are stylish attractive rods.
This eminently usable rod packs into a tube less than 2 feet long. A very nice example it has a matt/satin finish on golden brown flamed cane.
The key to success with these rods is the right taper and short lightweight ferrules.
Yet more new ferrule material
Over the years I have used a variety of materials from Brass for classic rods, Nickel Silver for the majority of new rods and latterly Titanium and Bronze. All have different advantages and disadvantages.
I have now acquired a supply of a material that offers the best of most options with the most notable disadvantage being cost!
The material is a high grade nickel alloy - Arcap is the trade name. With a Nickel content of 25% it is much higher than the range of Nickel Silvers than are contained in the 10 to 18% range. Accordingly it has higher strength and better resistance to tarnishing. It is in fact usable in a Salt water environment that will rapidly destroy normal Nickel Silver.
Finished bright it is pure silver in colour with no yellow tinge and it also blues satisfactorily.
It is over twice as strong as the more normally available Nickel Silvers which enable it to be made lighter by closer tolerance machining, like bronze. Unlike Titanium it does not gall so a tightish fit is possible without seizing. Unlike high strength bronze it machines without problems of overheating.
I have now been using this material for a considerable time and it is now in general use across the range for its strength, reliability and durability.
The trial ferrule above shows the even slide marking developed after over 100 trial fits. The picture below is for colour comparison, from the top, Bronze, Nickel Silver, Arcap, REC reel seat (18% NS)
All that glisters may not be gold but these ferrules certainly look the part.
The pair at the back are standard bar stock nickel silver, those at the front are made from high strength Naval standard (NES 833) bronze.
It is an admirable material sharing many of the properties of nickel silver. It does not corrode even in contact with sea water but will develop the classic bronze patina if un-polished. It is an excellent colour match for flamed cane and with matching reel seat components and bronze guides can look very harmonious.
Like Nickel Silver it can be made to have a smooth fit as the material does not gall and the really good part is that it is around 50% stronger, so with closer tolerance machining can be made lighter.
Like standard ferrules it can be blued but it can also be given a bronze patina from new.
This form of bronze was used by Winstons on their cane rods for many years under the trade name "Duronze".
They will be offered as an option on all my custom fly rods.
By the way the Nickel Silver ferrules really are silver in colour but they are basking in the reflected glory of the bronze ones!
Just completing a James Ogden rod, the second that I have worked on. Numerous others lined up.
Reel seat inserts
Wood varieties available
The possibilities for reel seat inserts are endless and I am always adding new stock.
Current woods available from stock include:
Red Mallee burr
Brown Mallee burr
Amboyna burr, Gold and Red
Black Ash Burr
Box Elder Burr, natural and golden
I am also happy to source different varieties as required for any rod.
Now supplied as standard and also available individually. Turned from split cane as shown below or from selected close grained hardwood. Each stopper is turned and polished by hand before being fitted with cork that is individually turned and fitted to each ferrule.
The array shown above is part of a collection of Hardy style ferrule stoppers turned from Rosewood. Not surprisingly these are destined for a collection of fine Hardy fly rods.
Below is a modern twist, all split cane stoppers with O ring seals.
I have now started to make my own agate lined guides so that I can replace any style. Pictured below are a stand off butt ring and a Hopton style tip ring.
The frames are made from solid nickel silver joined throughout with high grade silver solder and the liners are genuine agate currently available in plum and white/clear.
Pictured above is one of my clear agate stripper guides. Made from solid nickel silver and featuring finely bezelled liners. See also the flyrod range page for more pictures showing some of the different frame styles available.
Now available with red agate liners, banded red agate, Jade and Moss Agate.
It has been very difficult obtaining excellent quality cork at any price but I have imported hand selected high grade shives from the USA.
To short circuit this roundabout supply route and ensure a good ongoing supply I have now imported cork direct from the factory in Portugal. These are flor grade and I will select from these to make my handles.
New reel seats - Nickel Silver
Two new additions shown above. A Garrison style pocketted cap and knurled ring set appropriately fitted to an all cork handle for a Garrison 206.
The other reel seat is again polished nickel silver but with a plain end cap and a morticed olive insert. A variety of end cap designs can be provided with knurled plain or other designs of sliding ring.
Blued components on this siding ring reel seat make a nice compliment to the Amboyna insert and the black tips to the whipping.
Restoration article for this rod in an upcoming issue of Powerfibers.