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)

Spare Tips?

Written by : Posted on January 3, 2016 : No Comments

Spare Parts:  Please don’t expect me to notice if you forget to order enough snakes or tips for your rod, or if you ordered something that is entirely untraditional, even garish.  I am neither a mind reader nor a dictator of fashion.  I don’t second guess rodmakers on the snake & tiptop quantities they order because a lot of folks make single tip rods (and some still order ferrules in whole sets to have that spare male on hand); also, many makers use snake patterns that I would never dream of using, e.g., at the extreme end of unusual snake habits, one fellow only orders #3 snakes.

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Rod Finishing Tips

Written by : Posted on December 28, 2015 : No Comments

clarityFinishes are the key to a good-looking and long-lasting rod if you use the proper techniques.

Experiment! You’ve got to experiment to see which finishes will suit your temperament as a rodmaker as well as the peculiarities of your environment: temperature, humidity & the like.
All of these affect results!

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We Buy Vintage Silk Threads!

Written by : Posted on December 28, 2015 : No Comments

Rodmakers, restorationists, & collectors, Golden Witch is actively seeking to expand our line of vintage silks.  If you have a collection, we’re interested in buying it. Our purpose is two-fold.  We are seeking to develop a more complete “library” of old silk spools so we can better match vintage colors with contemporary offerings for those times when you need a very close match on either a restoration or a reproduction.  We will also resell vintage silks when they are available in sufficient quantity.  Please email us at info@goldenwitch.com to discuss your collection.

How to Order Ferrules

Written by : Posted on December 27, 2015 : No Comments


A) For straight (or truncated) ferrules:equivalent to the Inside Diameter of the ferrules where they mate with the wood at the ferrule stations and NOT the ID of the female where the female accepts the male slide.

B) For all step down, restoration step down, or reproduction ferrules: equivalent to the Outside Diameter of the male slide or, by necessity, also equivalent to the Inside Diameter of the female where the female accepts the male.

Guide & Line Size Reference

Written by : Posted on December 27, 2015 : No Comments

Ever sit and scratch your top-knot for hours trying to determine what size stripping guide to use on your creation?

Here’s a rough guideline:

  • 8MM 2-3 WEIGHT
  • 9MM 3-4 WEIGHT
  • 10MM 4-6 WEIGHT
  • 11MM 6-8 WEIGHT
  • 12MM 8-10 WEIGHT

For real silk lines, drop one guide size.

Introducing the ACW Silver Snake Hook Tender

Written by : Posted on December 27, 2015 : Comments Off on Introducing the ACW Silver Snake Hook Tender

SIlverSnakesBlueBrightNew from Arcane Component Works, we’re pleased to offer Silver Snake™ Hook Tenders. Like so much of what we do at Golden Witch and Arcane Component Works, these tenders offer rodmakers a new twist on a trusty old component. Silver Snakes™ are crafted from solid nickel silver wire.

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The GW Nickel Silver Hook Tender Series

Written by : Posted on December 26, 2015 : No Comments

TendersHook tenders, or hook keepers, tend to be a dime a dozen; well, perhaps a dime apiece back in the day when our coinage was silver. Generally, they are an inexpensive piece of bent wire or, at their fanciest, a thin saddle of bent sheet metal securing a loose ring.

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Regarding Burnishing

Written by : Posted on December 22, 2015 : Comments Off on Regarding Burnishing

We devote so much space to variants on this single tool because it is the one tool that makes the difference between professional and amateur thread workmanship. Many talented amateurs wrap as well as the fellows who do this for a living, but then they put finish on the wraps before taking the time to burnish each wrap (and each flat of each wrap on cane rods). Different burnishers work better for different rodmakers, but no rodmaker should be without one or two that feel good in the hand, are highly polished so that they don’t tear the thread, and are kept clean so they don’t mar the thread with oils, old finish, &c. This is one more example of the unavoidable fact that good tools used properly can make a real & perceptible difference in the quality of the rods to which you sign your name.

Eliminating Thick Glue Lines in Cork

Written by : Posted on December 11, 2015 : No Comments
  1. I use and recommend TiteBond II wood glue for glue-up. 

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Reel Seats by Golden Witch

Written by : Posted on December 8, 2015 : Comments Off on Reel Seats by Golden Witch


Have you ever been fly fishing over a rough & tumble cascade, casting, drifting, and retrieving your fly, landing the occasional fast river fish, then casting again? Did your reel wiggle loose?

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