Ramblings Category

The Ramblings, or Rambles, as I tend to call them, are just that: someone, usually me (Russ) droning on about this or that aspect of rodmaking. They may be short, sweet, and to the point, but they tend to be long-winded, peripatetic, amalgamations of practical insight tinged with snark, goading you, the rodmaker, to an appreciation of detail in your own work and the work of others. A given ramble might include bits of emails we’ve sent to individual rodmakers, snippets torn from old instruction sheets, quotes from the Oxford English Dictionary, strange tales, errant memories, soapbox stances, dead ends, and places from which you can begin anew. Good luck navigating it all. There is no editor.

“Hello Russ, I’ve been reading some of your ramblings on the website. I am so glad I found you – you write so well, they are very engaging and I am learning all sorts I didn’t understand before. Thanks very much” – Nick E. (United Kingdom)

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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COVID-19

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 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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Bamboo Bicycle Frame!

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

Bamboo Bike Frame

Karl Nielsen (@woodbikenielsen and @kidcalifornia on Instagram) got with us on the construction of his custom bamboo bike frame. Using Peak Bamboo, carbon, various woods and a lot of patience and elbow grease, he put together a real beauty.  We think you’ll agree; check out the specifications and pictures in the PDF to get your juices flowing.  Let us know how we can assist you with materials and know-how for your next bamboo project!

Read the PDF here.

Ferrule Advice

Written by : Posted on October 25, 2017 : No Comments

If you have the least question about ferrules – if you’re new to ferrules or only moderately experienced – please, please read this information at least once. I promise, it will help to prevent mistakes and misunderstandings. Thanks!

Welcome to the Golden Witch Ferrule Advice Ramble! I need to let you, the rodmaker or restorationist reading this page, know that I have lost clients because of ferrules. Ferrules are finicky, challenging, yet almost invariably necessary and worthwhile little beasts.

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Making Bamboo Chopsticks

Written by : Posted on May 18, 2017 : No Comments

Making Bamboo Chopsticks

Chopsticks. Love bamboo & Asian cuisine? You can craft hexagonal bamboo chopsticks. For novice rodmakers, they represent a good way to practice setting up and using a planing form on something arguably less important (and intimidating) than a first set of rod blanks.For every maker, chopsticks represent an incredibly useful way of productively using scrap bamboo from the rodmaking process. And what a teaching tool, too, for those who may be curious about how rods are made…each chopstick’s cross-sectional end grain shows off that hexagonal “how-to.” Keep a set in your back pocket at rod shows. Use them at dinner as a conversation starter. Hexagonal chopsticks make wonderful gifts for anglers and non-anglers alike. Thanks to Jeff Evans for sharing his idea and his taper!

Read the PDF article here.

 

Bamboo Rodmaking for Beginners

Written by : Posted on May 5, 2017 : No Comments

In 1997 or so, Frank Armbruster of Colorado Bootstrap published a Free Report on the basics of how to build a bamboo fly rod. He advertised it in the classifieds of a popular national fishing rag for the price of one SASE and a couple of unused stamps. Our own Matt West responded to that ad, and that was the first day of the rest of his life. 

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Attribution, Thanks, Continuance

Written by : Posted on October 17, 2016 : No Comments

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.

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Bluing, Bronzing, & Clear Coating

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

Bluing, Bronzing, & Clear Coating For Rodmakers

BB & CC, or, Oxide Finishes and Protective Boundaries

 

Scope.

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,

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Just a Few Guide Notes…

Written by : Posted on April 26, 2016 : No Comments

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.

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Making Silk Fly Lines

Written by : Posted on March 22, 2016 : No Comments

Furled silk fly linesSpecial Thanks to Daniel Klepac for taking the time to put together a tutorial on how to furl silk fly lines!

Before fishing lines were braided, they were furled. Horse hair, some sort of grass and silk were the materials of the day. The difference between the silk line I made and how most furled leaders are made is the number of legs. Most furled leaders have two legs (strands). My silk line has three, this results in a more round shape.

The bits and pieces of “how to” were gathered from the web, nothing copyrighted or proprietary. I think most folks avoid silk lines due to cost of commercial lines, upkeep, and lack of DIY. I’m going to do my best to explain the process, if anything doesn’t make sense or you have any questions…let me know!

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