Insight Into Stripping Guide Frame Styles….
Four Frames – Insight into frame styles, with particular reference to our Vintage and Classic Wide series of agate & agatine stripping guides.
A little while back a client was asking about the four frame styles currently grouped under the “Classic Wide” guides. First, it is worth noting that the Classic Wide guides are a natural extension of our wide-ring vintage series guides. Basically the Classic Wide is the same group of bezels/frames, but using fresh cut stones rather than vintage rings…this really opened up the options in terms of both color and size. Whereas most of the vintage rings are Red, Red, or Red, and nearly all are 10mm OD, the new Classic Wide stones are available in a range of stone colors and in three popular sizes: 9mm, 10mm, & 11mm. Both “High” and “Medium” frames are the same basic frame style, so this gets confusing. If it’s a certain size frame and we use it for a matched guide ring size, it’s functionally a “high frame” because the stone sits high; if we use the same frame, but with a slightly “too big” stone, the stone sits lower, so it becomes medium frame, relative to that stone, at least for the large rings. But in our production sequence we have tooling for “high” and “medium” frames and so, in house, these designations point us to specific frame sizes of the same style. These names are an arbitrary designation and we know it causes confusion because our webmaster, who lives with this stuff, was so confused he needed a write up with a general description of the four major frame styles. Heck, it confuses us. Now that we’ve expanded to include a few 12mm guides in our line-up, we had to make a larger frame, so we have a standard high frame and a large high frame. One of these days the frames are going be numbered by series, and each size in the series will have a number that designates length & height. But we’re not there yet.
Here’s some text which might guide you toward a momentary bit of clarity:
Vintage Frame Styles/Classic Wide Frame Styles
– discussing the options
VHF – Vintage High Frame: The high frame is our standard frame for 11mm – 12mm guides, i.e., it’s a ‘normal’ height modern frame when used with larger rings. However, when using it to mount the smaller 10mm ring, the wings of the frame are squeezed in and thus slightly elevated, rather than spread out, resulting in a ring that is set a smidgen higher relative to the blank surface than most 10mm guides; the feet are proportionately longer, too. Due to the wider ring of the vintage series guides, I believe this larger frame balances aesthetically, but this is personal preference. Functionally, because the ring is set higher, there should be less potential for line slap between the stripper and the first snake when casting…but in the same breath I say this, I am fully aware that very few folks are making competition bamboo rods these days and that aesthetics are the larger driving force behind the bulk of component choices.
VMF – Vintage Medium Frame: The medium frame is our standard frame for 9mm & 10mm guides, so it’s the standard choice for ring diameters such as the vintage 10mm rings. Functionally, the frame is ideal, but visually I believe it’s a tad small when set against the wider vintage rings. The guide ring sits slightly closer to the blank than with the high frame. This and the VHF are the standard frames to choose from when you’re making a contemporary rod, bamboo or graphite.
VCF – Vintage Cradle Frame: The cradle frame is a more traditional frame design, having “pinched” wings that are reminiscent of the wings on a low frame, yet retaining the upright characteristics of the medium or high frame. This is a distinctly “vintage” looking frame, making it ideal for restorations or reproductions where this older aesthetic is desired, however some contemporary bamboo and graphite rodmakers simply prefer this frame style and use them on otherwise decidedly modern rods. As a side note, this same cradle frame is used for many of our wide wire bezel guides which feature the wire-bezels set into stones with a grooved circumference. The cradle frames are also used for the JM Special series of guides, which match a narrow, modern, ring up against this vintage appearance frame for a fine visual juxtaposition of contemporary and traditional rodmaking cultures. Last but not least, we chose the cradle frame for the new Hexagate guides….again, it melds a funky new look, the hexed stone ring, with an eye-catching bit of tradition, the classic cradle frame.
VLF – Vintage Low Frame: The low frame features “pinched” wings similar to the cradle frame, but the wing height is minimal relative the feet of the frame, so there is very little space between the guide ring and the rod. These are beautiful guides, yet are rarely used except for restoration work. If you’re making a new rod, yet you want the aesthetics to really call out, “age, history, & wisdom,” then use a low frame guide, reproduction ferrules, and wind on lots of intermediate wraps!
Note on light transmission: As far as light transmission goes, the wire bezel guides always look brighter because they’re picking up light on both faces and around the perimeter of the guide, but standard, enclosed, bezel guides only pick up light on the faces of the stone ring. This really makes a difference if you notice nitpicky details. The wire bezelled style (also used on the new Hexagate guides) is more vivid and the enclosed bezel style is more sedate, either of which is nice in general, but only one of which will suit your plans for your next rod.
That’s it for now.