Author: Russ Gooding
New Note 4/7/20. Hi Folks…please be sure you read the notes below this one as I won’t be repeating previous, but still important, info. Our county, Lancaster, is now under something like a ‘shelter in place’ lock down. Thankfully, the US Postal Service and UPS are both operating, so nothing has changed for the business. We’re still making and shipping product, and shipping bamboo from our warehouses. We are extremely grateful to all the rodmakers who are sending orders through the shop, keeping the company, and thus a few individuals, above water. Still, sales are down from normal – as anyone would expect in the time of corona – and that fact has brought on an enhanced bamboo sale. Here’s the sale details:
“12 for 10” – Starting 4/7/20 ONLY on the A Grade 10 Pack, and ONLY if you order the culms cut in half, not thirds, you are welcome to request “12 for 10” in the comments section and we’ll ship you twelve sticks when you purchase a ten pack. If you don’t request the spare culms, please don’t expect us to ship them because we’ll assume you didn’t want them. We can’t offer this deal if you order thirds because the spare culms are too bulky for the boxes. Yes, you’ll pay a smidgen more for UPS Ground shipping if you choose 12 for 10, but not much since the box size isn’t changing, only the weight on a package that is already ‘oversize’ by UPS standards. Why are we doing this? Because we have literally tons of A grade bamboo still in the warehouses and this virus lock-down is hurting sales. We need to create a win-win scenario for our clients and ourselves in order to drive enough bamboo out the door to keep paying the leases on two warehouses. Your order of a ten pack of A Grade bamboo will actively help Golden Witch & Peak Bamboo to keep our corporate head above water in the time of Corona. Don’t forget, when you order ANY ten pack of bamboo, you get a better coupon set in your Peak Bamboo “Thank You” pack, including one for 25% off a bag of cork. We make it easy to recoup the shipping costs on your bamboo when you use the coupons we send. Yet another win-win situation. This extra “12 for 10” sweetener for the bamboo sale will be in place only until the lock down lifts across the country and our sales bounce back to something approaching normal. Domestic, Continental U.S. sales only for the 12 for 10 offer.
New Note 3/24/20. First and foremost, please take care of yourself and your family. As anyone with first-responder or wilderness adventure training knows, the most important thing in an emergency is to keep yourself safe. This is not selfishness, it’s practical. If you are not physically able to help yourself, you are also unable to help your family members, your neighbors, and your friends. If you are in part the country (or the world) not yet suffering from lock downs, please take the time and spend the money to build yourself and your family a buffer. If you don’t have it already, you should immediately buy several weeks worth of supplies for normal living – advance spending on stuff you’ll use up, not wasted spending on a lifetime supply of toilet paper. I’d also suggest buying seeds, seed potatoes, and whatever else you need to get a garden started. We planted seeds and put them under lights yesterday. Here in Pennsylvania we are under a partial or total lock down, depending on county, and the grocery stores are more or less depleted, depending on which store you visit and what product you think you need. Steph & I can tell you that we have seen ZERO evidence of this virus in our corner of PA…news stories, yes, but no-one we know has been afflicted…yet we are seeing the effect of the virus on society and these effects are very real. Even if you’re in the ‘it’s just a flu’ mindset, please make an effort to prepare for bare shelves at the grocery. After you and your family have food security, then, yes, we’d love to earn some of your business, but your family must come first.
After some hesitation because of the potential penalties, we are back open for business under the provision of the Pennsylvania order that allows the continued operation of e-commerce businesses even during the shut down of all non-essential businesses. Though there is some dispute, we may also be allowed to operate under the provision that considers “Fishing” businesses to be open because they are essential; food is certainly essential and you can catch a fish with fishing tackle…we think fishing is also essential because it gets folks outdoors in the fresh air and sun, and yet it is a largely solitary endeavor…what better way to engage in social distancing while exercising (wading can be serious exercise) and while providing food for yourself and your loved ones (yes, even die hard catch & release fishermen may want to bring the stringer along in the time of Corona). Anyway, we’re open for the time being. Please pay for your orders using PayPal so we can make prompt refunds if we’re out of stock on an item (more details in the 3/19/20 note below this). Please understand that some of our supply partners are facing difficulties sourcing or manufacturing their products. As I type this, silks from Asia and metal guides from Asia (snakes, some all-metal strippers) are in short supply and cannot be restocked at all in certain cases. To give one specific example, as of today Pacific Bay has had their operation entirely closed down by Washington State government, so they are not shipping orders even if they have inventory. Suffice to say, this is a challenging time. On the positive side, we have substantial in-house inventory and may be able to supply your needs.
If you order, please understand that between the time you place your order and the time we ship your order, the rules in Pennsylvania may change. Six counties, thankfully not Lancaster County where we are located, have come under “shelter in place” rules. If that happens here, we’ll keep making parts to fill orders, but we may be unable to ship (even this is iffy, because if the Feds keep the Post Office open, we may be allowed to call for pick up). Really, we’re just taking one day at a time and hoping we can remain a viable business until this plague lifts. Your support, patience, and understanding is vastly appreciated! -Russ
New Note 3/19/20. We’ll update any time we have more info to pass along.
Hello Golden Witch & Peak Bamboo clients. At this point, everyone knows: The Corona Virus is up-ending all our lives. My adult sons have both lost their jobs, but still have some pick-up work as bamboo orders roll in. Thank you bamboo buyers! My high school girls are out of school, officially for two weeks. My wife’s job as a public school administrator is contingent on whether or not the state determines that she is an essential worker – and if she isn’t, well that would mean the kids aren’t going back to school any time soon. Around us, folks in the construction industry are laying off staff because their clients are calling a halt to work. A friend in the graphics arts business has had clients tell him to stop working on their projects. Everyone is starting to hunker down.
Attribution, Thanks, Continuance – The Ramble
This ramble concerns attribution, as well as certain liberties we take here at Golden Witch. If you write to us through the contact form on the GW website, or through any of our business emails, you may be quoted – we attribute your name to your words. If you’re a nice person, this won’t bother you. If you’re a bad apple, well, so much the worse for you. There’s also a bit of soapbox grandstanding on the themes of acknowledging debt, saying thanks, and teaching others as the only true path forward.
Bluing, Bronzing, & Clear Coating For Rodmakers
BB & CC, or, Oxide Finishes and Protective Boundaries
This ramble will be limited to cold bluing suitable for the home shop or low volume custom rodmaker’s shop. There are several points worth noting. First,
Just a few guide notes for now….
On Sizing Tiptops: Here’s some basic info you need for synthetic and bamboo blanks. Tips are sold in nominal 64ths of an inch, by one-half/64 increments, e.g., 3.5/64, 4/64, 4.5/64…you get the picture. To fetch this nominal size from the blank on your bench, you need to do math.
Inking Signatures…On Pre-Varnished Blanks & More
This ramble is going to start off with a simple question and a response by Russ. We’ll probably add more detailed information over time. For the moment, this is a good example of why we don’t take tech questions over the phone – because responses evaporate as they’re spoken – and a good example of how we will respond if you email us. It might take a day or two, but if someone here knows the answer, or can guide you in the right direction, you’ll get a thorough response. Eventually, it is highly likely that your question will be the stimulus for another ramble, like this one, and that way many makers can benefit from the time it takes us to respond. Really, it’s good for everyone.
I forgot ask you for some advice earlier, hope you don’t mind – I’m working on a pre-varnished blank, and wondered what the best way to go about signing the rod might be. I’m a bit nervous about trying to scuff the area and sign, would hate to possibly damage the blank. Also not sure if I could just sign directly on the finish as it is. Thanks for any suggestions – very appreciated!
Finishing For Transparent/Translucent Wraps – Let’s make one thing clear….
There is a difference between transparent and translucent. We need to define terms. Yes, I know this is rather elementary, or, worse, pedantic, but considering how often I see folks writing about “transparent red wraps,” the difference between transparent and translucent is worth exploring. In addition to being a Luddite (really, I’m not – it’s just that I appreciate the high art of old fashioned technology as much or more than I appreciate new-fangled things, like websites and my kids’ dueling nano-drones), I’m also, according to my tech-addled children, a word-nerd. The most prominent book in my library is the Oxford English Dictionary…not the eye-numbing “Compact” edition with its micrographically reproduced text and the reading glass in the slip-case, but the twenty volume second edition that takes up two shelves within my largest barrister.
Bamboo Blank Adhesive Options – A Particularly Brief Ramble
Regarding adhesives: we don’t sell any adhesives for gluing up bamboo blanks. A long while back we sold blank adhesives, but we learned the hard way that any delamination could wind up costing the company a good client, despite blank adhesives being a product we had no control over after they left the shop, i.e., storage conditions, usage past expiration, application technique, cure temps, etc. Blank adhesives were a low dollar, low margin product with very expensive ramifications. Guys can handle cutting off a few wraps that went sour, re-wrapping & re-varnishing; but when a blank delams, sane fellows blow their gourd. Not being copraphages, we don’t need that sort of mess on our plates. We offer no usage advice except this: follow the instructions of the adhesive manufacturer because they have a vested interest in your success and their usage advice is tested over both time and a myriad of applications. This said, we don’t mind sharing current sources.
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.
Golden Witch Rod Tube Kits – The Ramble
After an absence of several years, the GW Rod Tube Kits are back, in both the Classic (flat top) and Antique (dome top) options. These things are fantastically expensive to produce to this level of quality, and the margins are quite slim despite the retail price tag, which is why these are not offered through our sister wholesale company, Arcane Component Works. If we sell through this batch quickly, we plan to make more and perhaps the product line can become self-sustaining. If these sell slowly, it’s the last time we’ll make them because a slow churn on this initial re-investment in tubing and cap sets means that the inventory dollars will be better off invested elsewhere in coming years. Intending no drama whatsoever because this is a simple yea/nay choice on future inventory based on its value to the company, let us be blunt. If you like these tube kits and you want them to stay in our line-up, don’t count on someone else to purchase enough to make it worth our while. We’re not talking thousands of tube kits. If a few hundred rodmakers each bought two kits before the year was out (that’s 2016), they’ll most likely stick around as a product. If we receive a host of very kind, and entirely welcome, emails saying how nice the kits look, but the sales don’t tally up with the praise, they’re gone. That alone should be an incentive to grab a kit or two while they’re here. There’s a nice circularity here…your personal incentive to snag a tube kit while they’re available, compounded by the number of good rodmakers out there who might need just one or two of these kits in a given year, becomes the modest volume we need to ensure that they are available for years to come.