Upcoming Shop Closures & Order Notes – Please Read Carefully

New Note As Of 2/23/21. PLEASE READ OUR COVID-19 NOTE.

Thank you all so much for your support – it is immensely appreciated! We’re hard at work in the time of corona. Excepting our regular shop closures, GW & Peak Bamboo are open for e-commerce business. Like the rest of the world, many of our plans are on hold and subject to the whims of governments at home and abroad. We may be closed 4/2/21 - 4/12/21. And the next break will be dependent on another group of American artisans...when my new solo boat is delivered from Merrimack Canoes, hopefully in late May, I intend to go play on the Susquehanna for a week! Plan ahead, order ahead – it’s not unusual for us to have the “Patience” slider posted on the front page of the website and that means our backlog on custom parts is deeper than the usual 7-10 business days and could be stretched out three to six weeks. We are blessed to be EXTREMELY busy right now. If you email, please stick to business topics, e.g., "Fitting Ferrules" or "Guide Sizes" until we catch up. Whenever possible, please track your own packages using the tracking number that either the USPS or UPS should have provided you when we shipped; please understand every request to track delayed packages slows us down on getting the next maker's order out the door. Many packages are being delayed in transit, largely due to to Covid challenges so keep your tracking emails when they arrive and keep tabs on your packages directly through the shippers' websites. Thanks! While I do need to accomodate some family plans as we have the opportunity to travel, I expect to become more strict about five weeks of work with ten day breaks in the gaps between working spans. Please keep tabs on this text block as there may be other closures to accommodate random trips as well as two writing projects I’ve gotten involved with. All of you, and your families, too: Please Stay Safe & Stay Healthy!

The Chimpanzee.  Do not be frightened of the chimpanzee when it greets you on our behalf.  After many years of not doing a formal newsletter by email, we have established a Mail Chimp account.  Eventually we'll reach out to many (most?  all?) of our clients with an email asking you to opt in on future emails.  We'll also post some sort of sign-up page here on the website.  Our plan is to use the Mail Chimp's services rarely, so we won't inundate your in-box.  We'll do a little run-up to generate interest prior to opening The Atelier at Golden Witch.  We'll probably do some product announcements, e.g., 2020 Cork In Stock.  We might do a first-come, first-serve announcement that ten particular guides were listed in the Hydro-Welded Guide section.  We'll probably send out a coupon code now and then for folks who are willing to endure our emails.  Don't hold your breath waiting for our first email.  Tech of this sort isn't my forte, so when the time is ripe I'll type, which is my only - admittedly rudimentary - high tech skill, and then Drake or Matt will convert this blatherskite's word pile into a format acceptable to the Chimpanzee.

Telephone.  I respond, by email, to requests for a phone call several times each week. For better or worse, as mentioned on our Contact page, there is no phone in the GW shop and I haven’t done phone consults for years. I respond to emails every weekday morning that the shop is open and my responses to your questions often wind up on the GW site where they benefit everyone who is curious about similar products or processes. Once I  ascend into the turret, I’m making parts for the day - including our new Hydro-Welded Guide Frames  (the first large batch is in progress and photos & text will be added to the website soon). If you order bamboo for pick-up at Sycamore Mill, I’m happy to chat face to face if I’m working there (sometimes Drake manages the warehouse without me). If everything goes according to plan, you’ll have the opportunity to see a lot more of my hands this winter once Drake finishes editing our first several new educational videos for The Atelier at Golden Witch.

Departures.  First, you all know Pearsall’s silk supplies are dwindling rapidly. When the price of our regular inventory hits $12.95/spool, that means we have 48 or fewer spools. That’s our max price for GW’s original inventory. We did buy out one retiring rodmaker, so we have a very limited number of spools at higher prices. Sorry fellows, but we’re not planning to buy out any additional silk stashes. When this stuff sells down, it’s gone. Our A+ bamboo inventory is getting lower; once it sells out we will not bring in more bamboo until the A grade inventory is low, so if you want the good stuff, get it. We're having trouble acquiring and keeping Glace Cotton Binding Thread in stock....when we have it, buy it if you'll need it in the next year. Unless the manufacturer changes their mind, the torches are gone for good. Very sorry about that.

Arrivals.  Our Six-Section Pie Splitters - the most popular configuration - are finally back in stock, again. Limited supply as always, so get one if you need one. If you need particularly nice bamboo, check out our Select Cut A+ Culms which were recently posted to this site. These are all 6' sticks, the best 6' cut from culms that should have been A+, but which had an unfortunate flaw on one end or the other. What's left in the 6' we kept is damn fine bamboo. Our 2020 cork order has arrived! The A+ material is better than that in the 2019 batch (while still being very realistic for rings in this day and age - not perfect, but very nice!), and the No Bore rings are exceptionally nice (but very limited in quantity). The most exciting thing to keep your eye on is our Hydro-Welded Guides - made start to finish in the Golden Witch shop. We'll also be opening a new section of the webstore devoted to pre-made guides featuring these Hydro-Welded frames....guides you can have shipped immediately as non-custom rod jewelry, if you order them while each batch, or individual guide, is available. During the Christmas break, I made about thirty guides that will be listed either the Founder's Series or the Franken-Stone series. These Hydro-Welded Guides are the first non-custom, light production guides to bear the Golden Witch name (all our other light production guides had been tagged with the Arcane Component Works brand). Speaking as the maker, these are the guides I've been working up to my entire career. Finally, watch for more Pigments of the Earth to tint your grips!

Missing Emails.  If you think we’ve ignored an email that you sent, please check your spam or junk file because we diligently respond to all customer emails (many emails have gone astray recently). Thanks! Head’s up…Yes, we’ve moved our offices and small parts inventory. For the time being, our basic contact info has NOT changed…same P.O. Box for ferrule replacements & silk matching. Keep tabs on the contact page and we’ll update info as needed. We’ve posted Moving Sale prices on the Peak Bamboo inventory – stock up, have fun! We have not yet secured warehouse space for the bamboo in our new location, so the bamboo sale prices will hold until we get the stuff moved, however long that takes.

Custom Parts & Special Orders.  Please order custom products – agate guides, anything that must be blued, that sort of thing – at least four weeks prior to the start of any future shop closure if you want the order shipped with utter certainty before the closure; custom orders with shorter lead times may be completed, and often are, but no promises. Orders with only non-custom items usually ship the business day after you place the order, even in the run-up towards a shop closure; we hustle to get your orders out the door and in your hands. It is worth noting, by way of explanation, that one of the US guide making operations has closed down. I was busy at the bench before this happened, but now I’m swamped. This means you must plan ahead if you want guides because I rarely ship in less than two weeks and it often ranges up to three or four weeks. The prices will be rising slightly on all custom items as part of my effort to both find a better work/life balance and to stock up on parts for what looks like a busy year ahead. One of our good clients pointed out that we didn’t have a straightforward method outlined for making special orders. Please see our Contact page or our Shipping Policy page for new details on Special Order items.

Combining Orders & Shipping Rates.  Please take the time to read our shipping policy page linked at the bottom of this note. In brief, we do NOT combine orders. Please don't be the maker asking us to combine orders. If you forget to order something, even if you figure this out one minute after you placed an order, please place a separate order and expect to pay shipping on that separate order. Please don’t complain about shipping prices. The craftsman making your guides and many other parts is the same fellow spending hours at the packing bench. If anything, rates on heavy items and small orders are going to go up. Free domestic shipping is available on orders over $500.00 in small parts (think: cork, ferrules, & guides...not rod tube kits and not bamboo, either) and lots of makers take advantage of that; this free shipping deal was a trial program that we’ve kept because it benefits both parties…free shipping for you and reduced paperwork & packing time for Nikki & me.

Freebies.  As many of you have noticed, we’ve switched up our freebies over the past couple months and now we’re sending out scads of vintage parts, mostly all-metal tips and guides. I realized I’ll never sell through the half million or so guides (really, that’s not an exaggeration) taking up room on the GW shelves, so I’m giving many away. My hope is that when you receive something that’s a little oddball relative to the normal parts you order, you’ll be inspired to create a rod that fits the free components. Try making a boat rod, a trolling rod, a casting rod, a spinning rod, a coarse rod, or a light flyrod that can benefit from teeny prong tiptops. Please don’t throw the vintage parts away – they have real, practical, value in our world of angling craftsmen and women. Trade them. Gift them. Help them find a home on custom crafted tackle. Giving away thousands of dollars’ worth of inventory may seem like an odd way to stay in business, but I’m gambling on the fact that when you put these parts to good use, you’ll need ferrules, silks, cork, and more. We’re going to give away parts until they are gone, which will take years. Sorry – no requests on freebies. If I have to dig for particular items, they’re billed at retail.

Closure Math.  I tend to work non-stop when the shop is open, so I sincerely appreciate your understanding during those times when I shut down to spend time with family, especially now that the boys are out of the house and, frequently, far from home. You may notice a trend here, a new work rhythm that I’m experimenting with so I don’t burn out. Rather than pretending to take weekends off, which rarely happens, I bundle my down time and skip town so I can’t work. Despite appearances, this means the shop is only sealed up about 86 days per year vs. 124+ days per year if I actually didn’t work on weekends and took four weeks of vacation, plus Federal holidays, to match my wife’s vacation time. I offer the math because a few folks have noted that “it seems like GW is always on vacation.” Generally speaking, the shop will be open for 5-6 weeks, then closed for a week with a ramp-down Friday and ramp-up Monday on both ends of the closed week although that sort of neatly planned closure doesn’t always pan out. We’re closed on most major U.S. holidays: New Years, Ground Hog’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, & Christmas. Everyone involved here – Matt, Nikki, Drake, & I - appreciates your business and your patience with custom orders. Golden Witch & Peak Bamboo couldn’t do what we do without you.
Please see our Shipping Rates, Terms & Conditions Page for general shipping Q&A.

Hello Rodmakers & Restorationists!

Welcome to the home of Golden Witch – your custom rodmakers’ supply house since 1998. We specialize in classic components for bamboo, fiberglass and graphite fly rods. Look around!

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The Latest Ramblings

Quad Guides

Written by : Posted on April 28, 2020 : No Comments

I’ve been sitting on a half-conceived ramble about making quadrate guides for a long while. Simmering. Cooling Off. Cogitating.

Please take this ramble as I intended my original emails within this post to be taken. Take the words as helpful, as informative, as well-intentioned, and as an honest summation of why it is completely impractical for Golden Witch as a company, or for me as an individual craftsman, to offer quad guides. If you’re patient, if you read to the bottom of my longest email located near the end of this post, you might learn something worthwhile about tackling craft-oriented problems. Or not.

Here is Matt’s imaginative rendition of the elusive quad guide.

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Written by : Posted on March 19, 2020 : No Comments
My son, Angus, wrapped a used mask from his new day job around our bust of Aesculapius, a.k.a., Asclepius, the Greek god of the healing arts. The bust is a plaster cast of a marble head excavated from the Temple of Jupiter and it – the century-old cast – was used by a Philadelphia area art college until they stopped teaching traditional, Bargue-esque sight-size, drawing courses. We discovered the bust at an antique shop and picked it up for home-school art classes. These days Aesculapius watches over a corner of my office, our apotropaic charm against Covid-19. (The previous statement has not been evaluated by the FDA; use such charms against disease entirely at your own risk)

New Note 9/25/20. Time flies when life is extra chaotic! This brief note is just to let everyone know that we are back to running open warehouse Saturdays once a month at the Peak Bamboo mill house. For any given month, we’ll arrange the date with the first interested maker, then as other makers express an interest in visiting, we’ll figure out the time slots. Normally we offer 30 minute pick-up windows with 15 minutes of buffer between the windows. You might arrive to find another maker strapping cane to a roof rack, but rarely are there two makers tripping over each other in the warehouse. Space is very tight between bamboo & tools, which is why we were doing appointment windows even before Corona afflicted the world. We have no mask requirements. Wear one if you feel better doing so, or don’t wear one and you’ll fit right in.

New Note 5/16/20. Hey there, we’re still ticking along here in Pennsylvania – healthy and busy. There’s a bitter dispute between our County level government, which claims we’re re-opening on Monday the 18th of May, and our State level government, which has condemned the County-wide rejection of PA’s onerous shut down regulations. At present, GW remains open as an E-commerce business. We are now scheduling curbside pick-up of bamboo orders. This is a nothing-fancy way to save on shipping if you’re local enough to drive to the warehouse, but we are not yet having clients inside the warehouse, so you don’t get to pick your culms.

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The Latest News

The GW Bamboo Torch, Reviewed by The Planing Form

Written by : Posted on November 7, 2018 : No Comments

The Planing Form


Product Review:  Golden Witch Bamboo Torch

Kirk Brumels reviews the GW Bamboo Torch.

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GW Ain’t Just for Bamboo

Written by : Posted on February 9, 2017 : No Comments

The Fiberglass Manifesto

Cameron Mortenson, over at The Fiberglass Manifesto, has featured GW in a blog post.  Killer.  Thanks, Cameron!

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Take a Peak at The Planing Form to Read About Bamboo

Written by : Posted on October 27, 2016 : No Comments

The Planing Form

Peak Bamboo is in The Planing Form, Issue #161 October/September 2016.

Read the article in PDF format here.

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Peak Bamboo is in Angling International

Written by : Posted on October 5, 2016 : No Comments

Peak Bamboo is in Angling International

Peak Bamboo is in the October 2016 Angling International magazine.  Read about us on page 26 of the online issue!