Tonkin Bamboo Info Page

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Peak Bamboo.
Mountain Grown Tonkin Cane.
Powerful.  Resilient.  Sustainable. 

Update 2/7/17: Retail Sales are live!

Update 1/19/17: We are humbled by the outpouring of support for Peak Bamboo. Thank you, all. It’s been a great week, and a busy one. I’ve logged a few 3 AM to 10 PM days trying to catch up on guides while managing the start of bamboo sales. No complaints. This is small business being busy. Generally speaking, we’re two days or so behind on invoicing folks and we try to catch up each time Nikki is in the shop. We’ve been 3-5 days behind on shipping, but that backlog is growing rapidly as we’ve had several large orders and many smaller ones come through yesterday and today. There’s only so many culms the boys and I can cut and pack around their academic schedule. We’ll use each weekend to make as much progress as possible, but please be patient. We’ve had confirmed orders from several countries and as far distant as South Africa. We’ve got folks signing up to visit Sycamore Mill on February 18th. That’s an Open Warehouse Saturday from 8 AM – Noon, but please email to reserve a time slot. Already, rodmakers are driving in from Ohio, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Destination Bamboo!

Strange as it may seem, we’re still accepting “pre-orders.” If you contact us for pricing, we’ll tack you onto our pre-order list and get you the full info package.

Update 1/13/17: Big Thank You! to all the fellows who have confirmed their pre-orders. Matt & I sincerely appreciate your business and your confidence. We can’t wait to hear what you think about the culms when you receive them. We are stacked up with confirmations right now, but we’ll try to reach out to everyone over the weekend. Please be patient with us. We’ll be doing more sorting, splitting, and sawing this weekend and the first few orders should ship Tuesday. Today we had three skids full of telescopic boxes and other packing supplies arrive at the mill, so we’re ready to ship from a supply standpoint. We have had numerous makers ask about driving to the mill to pick up their orders. That’s awesome and welcome. The first official open warehouse date is Saturday, February 18th, from 8 AM – Noon. We’re taking names and we will cut the list off at twelve makers because we don’t think we can handle more than that; if everyone shows up at once, we may be packed like sardines around the cane. Please let us know if you’d like to attend so we can get your name on the list. We’ll also have two open warehouse dates in April (none in March because we’ll be processing the second incoming load)…check the Peak Bamboo website for details on the contact page: and click the “warehouse hours.” The mill is stuffed to the gills with bamboo and there’s not much room to move, let alone select culms, so it’ll be sort of one fellow (or lady) at a time. I’ll help with the culms. Nikki will help with paperwork. The boys will do any splitting or sawing that is necessary. One of the girls may “mountain goat” as they say, in other words scramble on top of the highest rack to hand down culms. Steph will be there to back us all up and keep the coffee flowing. Bring rope and bungee cords to tie down your load!

Update 1/11/17: Added pictures of one batch of A+ culms. These are illuminated by bright light from two windows in the millhouse and appear almost white in the photos. They were randomly chosen from the A+ bin in terms of “quality”…we didn’t hunt for better culms, they’re just run of the mill A+…but did pull based on diameter, so you can see the range of sizes. Each of these culms would serve to make a beautiful, pale blonde rod. The culms are not utterly flawless, but with judicious splitting and strip selection I believe you could make a rod that is flawless in terms of color consistency.

Update 1/10/17: Today we’re finalizing our documentation and taking pictures. It will be imperative to demonstrate how nice this bamboo is and pictures will speak more clearly than all my words. Some of the pics are being posted here; some will be posted to the GW and Peak Bamboo Instagram pages; others will become part of the PDF collection we’re putting together. These PDFs, by the way, will be available on the Peak Bamboo “Read Me” page as soon as they’re ready.

Update 1/9/17: 1000 Culms. Graded. In a day or so we’ll start reaching out to the early makers on the pre-order list. Please be patient. If you’re on the list, we’ll get to you. If you’re not on the list, you might want to sign up for one of the remaining spots on the load one pre-order list, or for one of the many spots on the load two pre-order list. We won’t offer culms for sale on the GW website until we’ve satisfied all the pre-orders for the first load. If you’re on the pre-order list, expect to receive a form letter by email, along with several PDFs. Please take the time to read everything before making a decision. We are doing the bamboo business differently. We hope you’ll love the material and the way we treat you.

Update 1/8/17: Thanks to all you makers who have recently requested slots on our pre-order list. Matt & I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your support. The better culms in this load are EVERYTHING we hoped for when we established Peak Bamboo. Even the best culms are still “realistic” culms…each has its warts, but the A+ sticks are pretty darn good for a wild-raised agricultural product, as you can see in some of the posted images. The rodmakers who receive these culms will be thrilled and, in the end, it will be your assessment that really counts. We’re now up to 124 pre-order slots filled out of 150 available. Most new pre-orders have been for 24x A+ culms. We are grateful for these orders, but we need to let everyone know we may not be able to fill all the A+ pre-orders because only about 20% of this load is falling into the top tier. I am grading hard. We have thousands of culms of A grade Tonkin, which is still great rodmaking material. If we reach your slot on the pre-order list and we’re sold out of A+, and if you really want A+ material, we can roll you into a lower slot on the pre-order list for the second load (very few folks have requested a position on this list so far); the second load should be here in sixty days or thereabouts. I’ve graded around 800 sticks and I’ll finish up grading the first thousand on Monday if all goes well. Next week Nikki & I will start reaching out to the first names on the pre-order list. Please be patient. The amount of work that this bamboo has created is overwhelming even with my entire family helping. We’re going to tackle each pre-order methodically. If we can clear the pre-orders by the time the next load arrives, I’ll be thrilled.

Update 1/6/17: We unloaded yesterday. Thanks to everyone who helped, kids and adults! Started sorting. Today I’ll sort at least 500 culms. So good to have this nice bamboo in the warehouse! Load two is due here in about sixty days, so we’ll say seventy five days.

Update 1/5/17: Today is the day. Delivery is scheduled. We’ve got a team lined up to unload the bamboo into the racks at Sycamore Mill. Tomorrow I’ll start grading.

Update 1/3/17: Hello Rodmakers! Well, no-one said this was going to be easy or smooth. Mr. Murphy got involved late this afternoon and some paperwork didn’t get properly shuffled, causing a snafu at the port. Everything is delayed one additional day now. The load gets loaded tomorrow and arrives here Thursday morning. Cross your fingers…

Update 1/1/17: Hi Folks & Happy New Year’s! Brief (?) update this morning. Let’s start with the new image in the gallery titled, “Peak Thank You.” That pic shows a representative sample of what you might receive from GW & Peak Bamboo if you place an order. Every bamboo client will receive an envelope inked up – and thus made individually quirky – by Alex Gooding, my homeschool girl. The envelopes will contain small rod decals and hangtags (one each per culm), our Peak Thank You postcard, an array of coupons (quite variable depending on how many culms you order), possibly an invite to join the Peak Bamboo Pro Map (10+ culms), and bumper stickers…plus, alongside the envelope, every single maker will receive a Thank You package of guides from the GW vintage collection which come complete with a corresponding taper and some construction notes. We promise, we’ll always do more for our clients, treating you the way we’d like to be treated and thus delivering a peak experience! We now have a confirmed delivery date and time. The bamboo will arrive at the warehouse Wednesday morning. I have a team of a guys who are ready to help me unload the bales, and by the end of the day I plan to take a peek….and take some photos. Most likely I’ll update again and post images on Thursday morning before I start grading my way through the first thousand culms. What does this mean for GW Clients? First, while I’m working over the next two weeks, I’m wearing my Peak Bamboo hat so I will not be making guides, bluing parts, or doing much of anything with GW orders. You’re welcome to order, but please treat this short span of time like one of our family vacations and expect me to get on top of GW orders, in the order received, after we re-open on January 17th. Nikki will be doing inventory and helping me to process bamboo orders, so she won’t be here in the background working on GW orders. Going forward, until we make the decision to hire another staffer or two, please expect shut-downs at GW each time a Peak Bamboo load arrives. And all you rodmakers who pre-ordered Peak Bamboo, expect to hear from Nikki or myself starting in about 7-10 days…but please be patient if you’re not among the first twenty names on the list because it may take a couple weeks to email everyone. We’ll be emailing rodmakers in the order your pre-orders were received. This will you the opportunity to see the retail pricing, your discounted pre-order pricing, and some shipping guestimates earlier than folks who signed up after you…this is your chance to respond before others respond. You’ll be able to alter, cancel, or confirm your pre-order, but please understand two things….1) There will be a 30 day window from the date we email you in which you can take advantage of the lower pricing – that’s time to mull things over or chat with your spouse or hatch plots with your rodmaking buddies, but it’s not an open-ended offer to sell at discount; and, 2) Early birds will get this cane first….while we are contacting makers in the order everyone signed up on the list, we are shipping in the order that orders are confirmed and paid for. At most we’ll ship about twenty orders per week, so figure we’re already backlogged at least six weeks once folks on the list start to confirm. And what if you’re not on the pre-order list? You still have time. Right now we have 117 slots filled on the list, out of 150. During the timeframe that we’re filling early pre-orders we will continue to accept additional pre-orders up to that magic number: 150. We’ll only shut down the pre-order list for the first load when we hit 150 or when we satisfy the pre-orders, whichever comes first. Once we confirm all the pre-orders and have them out the door, we’ll post retail pricing and the pre-order price break ends for load one. However, load two is about to ship, so we are already collecting names for the second pre-order list. Same basic deal: get on the list and you’ll save $10.00 off the retail price on high-graded sticks. Unfortunately, with the threat of a trade war looming, EVERYONE with inventory in China is hastily exporting and the spaces on the container ships have doubled in price since this past fall – that was a tough hit when we confirmed our second shipment last week. This will very modestly increase the per/culm price on load two sticks. Next week we plan to confirm a lease on a larger space (not fancy, vintage digs like Sycamore Mill, just barren space…we’re keeping the mill, too), so we’ll have room to import at least twice as much bamboo from the 2017 harvest. If we sell out this spring or summer, don’t worry because we’ll have more bamboo arriving by late fall of 2017. With this much bamboo coming in, we want to give you a little bit of an idea for how we’ll manage it. Every high-graded culm, or the wrapper on every sealed bale, will be color-marked as the loads arrive. This color coding will allow us to track which year a culm was harvested, and with which load it was imported. Because bamboo is a natural product, and because curing occurs under the sun and is impacted by the weather, and for half a dozen other reasons tied to the variables of gathering a wild-harvested agricultural product, we will offer generalized descriptions for each load based on my evaluation of the first thousand culms in each load. Think of this as akin to vintage notes tied to particular batches of wine harvested from the same grape vines on the same land over time. Give us a few years and we may be able to go much further in sharing harvest details with you. We are also going to begin intentionally aging some culms here in the US. A small portion of each load will be earmarked for long-term storage in our climate-controlled warehouse space and each successive year after this year we’ll release some of this aged bamboo for sale. Of course you can accomplish the very same thing without paying us extra to age your bamboo….just buy a few more culms than you anticipate using and store it well. It’s like cellaring your own wine collection. Having two to three years’ worth of bamboo stowed in your own shop allows you to have full control over the storage conditions – primarily temperature and humidity. Having more bamboo than you need for a given year also gives you protection from the vagaries of the harvest, import restrictions, and all the variables that we’ll be hedging against as we develop our own excess inventory over the next few years. Having a small collection of “excess” bamboo also allows you, as the maker, more flexibility in selecting the right culm from your collection to complement the next rod taper you plan on crafting. On one hand, an avid professional might say you can’t have too much bamboo. On the other hand, there are limits…the harvest of top quality bamboo is limited; space is limited; expense is a limit. So, how much is enough? I think a prudent rodmaker will have at least two or three years’ worth of culms on hand, improving with age. I think a professional hedging his inventory against fluctuations in the market will have at least five years’ worth of bamboo stacked up because you shouldn’t trust the supply of the basic raw material on which your livelihood depends to blind fate (remember, fortune favors the prepared). So, realistically, for a hobby maker who crafts one rod each winter, three culms is plenty. For a gal making three to five rods per year, ten culms on hand is a good start. For a pro going through three bales per year, fifteen bales is a reasonable shop inventory. Then, once you have your basic inventory on your racks, you only need to add culms to replace what you actually used up the previous year, or to round out your collection if particular culms crop up that are of interest, e.g., large diameter culms, culms with long internodal spacing, particularly blonde culms, etc. By 2018 we’ll be helping the discerning maker by offering finer and finer gradations of bamboo…not just “A” or “A+” culms, but an A Grade culm from the third load of the 2017 harvest, selected especially for its long internodal spans and nearly flawless straw coloration. Each year we’ll continue to redefine the concept of Peak Bamboo.

Update 12/29/16: Customs says we have a clean load. Woohoo! The bamboo has been released from the customs hold. We’re only two hours from the port (with light traffic)…but the port is backlogged due to the holidays and our broker doesn’t expect a trucker to grab our load until sometime on Tuesday, January 3rd. We’ll keep you posted. Meantime, check out the photos of the hangtags which just arrived today. These are printed on luxuriant bamboo fiber paper, which is pretty cool! They’re top quality, a bit of Peak ephemera you’ll be proud to hang from your stripping guide so that your rod recipients know their rod was crafted from the finest bamboo available. We also received cases filled with coupons today, so we’ll have plenty of fun stuff to fill your thank-you envelopes. In anticipation of the bamboo arrival, Golden Witch will be shutting down on Monday January 2nd until approximately two weeks later. If you’re on the pre-order list, we’ll contact you as soon as we’re able. If you’re not on the pre-order list, please email….slots are still available.

Update 12/28/16: Load one is spending time with customs, but we expect it to be released in the next few days. Load two is being prepared for export. Our team in China sent over some images and we’ve added a bunch to the gallery on this page. What a change from the raw green culms to the cured culms! Load two is certainly looking nice. We now have 116 slots out of 150 filled on the pre-order list for load one; still time to join this list if you want to save $10.00/culm. We have nearly all the slots available for load two, so don’t hesitate to ask to get onto that pre-order list. As with the first pre-order list, you’ll receive a discount off the per-culm price. Please note that culms from load two will be slightly more expensive. Seems that every exporter is worried about the coming wave of tariffs and the freighters are full – and charging nearly double for space.

Update 12/23/16: They’re here! The Tonkin culms are in port. We’ll keep you posted as we clear customs and receive the bamboo into our warehouse at Sycamore Mill. Good timing….we just finished screwing together the last rack system this morning. We’re ready.

Update 12/19/16: Gotta love it. There’s a new ETA of 12/24/16. At least having this stuff in port on the 24th will be a fine Christmas gift after months of waiting as this bamboo made its Odyssey across several wine-dark seas.

Update 12/15/16: The arrival paperwork has arrived and we’ve been invoiced for wharfage fees. So far, so good! We’ll keep you posted here. What a time the next few weeks are going to be. Thanks to everyone for your interest and support…and your patience.

Update 12/8/16: It’s getting close! First, many fellows want to know why we haven’t set a firm date for releasing the bamboo. Let me explain by way of the ETA’s we’ve received from the ocean freight firm which is carrying the bamboo. For several weeks the ETA was 12/9 (that’s tomorrow as I type this)….then it was updated to 12/23 after a hang-up in transshipment in Malaysia. Yesterday a new ETA email was fired off indicating it would arrive 12/20, then a few minutes later that date was amended to 12/17. So when will it arrive? When it does. Better to have a stoic mindset about this than to worry about every change one cannot control. And when it does arrive in port, that’s just the next step on a journey that still involves customs agents and inland delivery. There is no choice other than to be patient and trust that it will all work out. Believe me, when it does arrive, we’ll be unloading that container into Sycamore Mill as quickly as possible. Only then will we open that first bale.

Next up…two thoughts on why you should still pre-order if you haven’t already. First: we will not be listing the bamboo for sale as a regular webstore item until after the pre-orders are all processed. Even though that list is getting long, with 102 pre-orders as of today, we still have 48 available slots and grabbing one will secure bamboo for you before it can be ordered through the website. Why would you want to be at the tail end of that long list and not just wait for the website to open up for business? Second: Because we’re discounting pre-orders. Right now we plan to offer a flat $10.00/culm discount for pre-orders. One stick or twenty-four, if you pre-order, then your price will be $10.00 less per stick than if you order through the website once that becomes a live sales tool. This is our way of thanking you for your pre-order, while also acknowledging that bamboo which ships rapidly as part of a pre-order has relatively little overhead expense tied up in each culm.

Other Benefits. This next bit will pertain to anyone who orders Peak Bamboo, whether by pre-order or through the website in a couple months when that is an option. Matt & I are working extremely hard behind the scenes to offer a large range of other incentives to Peak Bamboo clients. Here is a partial list:

1. Mugs. Those cool Peak Bamboo mugs that Matt designed will be available to everyone who orders Peak Bamboo, one culm or many. These mugs are heavy to ship, and they were not cheap to make, so this coupon will offer a free mug with your next regular Golden Witch order in excess of $250.00. This coupon will function “inside” the webstore check-out system. Restrictions apply. If we sell out, we’ll have more made, so you may have to take a raincheck on this deal if you’re not quick.

2. Cork. If you order high-graded culms in volume, we will be offering a one-time discount on a bag of 250 rings of cork in your choice of A+, A, A-, or B grade rings with the 1/4″ bore. This coupon was amended to include A+ rings after a howl of protest…but the A+ rings won’t last. 10+ sticks earns a 25% discount; 20+ sticks earns a 35% discount. This coupon will function “inside” the webstore check-out system. Restrictions apply. When we sell out, we’ll bring in more cork, so you may have to take a raincheck on this deal if you’re not quick. But, we promise, we will bring in more cork, though cork imported in 2017 will be slightly more expensive. Please be patient…

3. Arcane Components. 15% off a retail order of Select Arcane Components when ordered through Golden Witch. Everyone gets this coupon, whether you order one culm or many. We hope it will be enough of a discount to get you looking at our ACW parts – parts we design and make, or design & have produced to our specs. However, time is always the biggest constraint around here, so this offer is limited to the stuff I don’t personally craft…sorry, no agate or agatine strippers or the non-vintage hook tenders. But it is good for 15% off of ACW cork grips; ACW nickel silver ferrules; ACW ferrule plugs; ACW reel seat hardware (and, soon, complete reel seats…wood inserts are being turned!); ACW British, Microsnake, or Silver Snake vintage hook tenders; and ACW winding checks. There is no discount on bluing/bronzing of these parts…again, that requires my limited time. Thanks for your understanding. Anyway, this coupon is so “random” across the product line that you need to type the coupon code into the comments section of your on-line order when you check out, then Nikki or I will figure out which parts get the discount and we’ll issue you a refund. Yes, kind of backasswards, but you’re dealing with a guy, me, who still thinks typing is a high-tech skill. Cool thing…the more bamboo you order, the more of these coupons you’ll get so you can use them through-out the year. Restrictions apply. Limited to in-stock items. No rainchecks as stock goes up and down constantly.

4. DVDs. Everyone gets this coupon, whether you buy one culm or many. If you haven’t seen our DVDs “Making Bamboo Blanks” and “Finishing Bamboo Rods” this is a great opportunity to pick up that info and put it to use in your shop. As Ron Barch once said, these are worth the price of admission. Save $10.00 on individual titles or $25.00 off the set of two. Restrictions apply. We may get this one wired into the computer, but if not just type the coupon code into the comments section of the order form and we’ll issue you the appropriate refund. If we run out of DVDs, we’ll print more, so don’t worry about that.

5. Rod Tube Kits. We’re still working on this coupon, but there will be a discounted opportunity for you to sample one of our tube kits or cap sets. Everyone will get this coupon, whether you buy one culm or many. Restrictions apply.

6. Golden Witch. Yes, we’re going to do the unthinkable for our Peak Bamboo clients. If you’re a long-time GW client, you know we don’t discount, we don’t do sales, we don’t send out a daily plague of breathless emails stuffed to the gills with hyperbole…we’re just here when you need rodmaking supplies. Well, we’re going to break our no-discount rule in a grand fashion and offer a one-time coupon for a blanket discount on your next GW order. Not quite sure of the discount percentage yet…it won’t be too high, because our margins are razor thin on so many products, but it will be a discount on anything, including agate guides. It will max out at a particular dollar amount, so in that sense some restrictions will apply; the dollar amount may be variable based on how many culms you order…we’ll see. Please don’t be cruel and order ten agate guides. No matter what you order, please be patient…I think we’re about to get very busy and there’s one full-time, in-house, craftsman here at GW.

7. Peak Decals. Have you see the picture of that awesome little Peak Bamboo logo decal that Matt designed? We are including one decal per culm ordered. That’s the restriction…be careful, because if you bugger these up, then you won’t have them. Apply these decals to your rod, beneath the varnish, and you’ll have marked out your rod as one that is made with the finest bamboo available. We’ve had the samples created, but we’re still negotiating on having thousands printed….if we’re late getting them produced, we’ll mail them to you after the fact. Hopefully they’ll be in hand by the first week of January.

8. Peak Hangtags. Yes, we’re also printing up classy, durable, well-inked, hangtags. You can loop these through the ring on your stripping guide before you pass the rod off to a client or donation recipient – again letting them know you used the best stuff out there. Hangtags, because they’re so easy to remove, are more subtle than the Peak decals but get the same point across to your rod’s first recipient. If you want more a permanent association with Peak Bamboo, then don’t forget #8, the rod decals.

9. Peak Promotion. Have you seen the maps over on the Peak Bamboo website? Check out the Resources section here: . Hobbyist or Pro, we’ll help you promote your rodmaking. Before long, we’ll have ads in the general angling press as we draw in anglers to see who is making rods from Peak Bamboo. We’ll support you, with pride, because you’re supporting us. There’s room to grow the craft of bamboo rodmaking and we’re here to help. It’s our business, and it’s our passion.

Update 10/26/16:  The shop opens tomorrow, October 27th.  We had a great time down in South Carolina and now we’re gearing up for this bamboo to arrive.  The first load has shipped!  That’s exciting news, and oh what a challenge it was.  SNAFU.  You know what that means.  There was an international paperwork hiccup and Steph had to track me down while I was in a tree stand, nearly 700 miles from home and far from any wifi connection.  Now everything is settled and we’re all waiting for the freighter to arrive.  While I was gone, our pre-order list jumped up to 78 makers and over 800 culms.  Thank you all.  These pre-orders, even though they’re not firm, are helping to justify our decision to enter this competitive market.  We still have 72 pre-order slots available for this first load; we’ve also got plenty of slots available for our second load, which will arrive in the first quarter of 2017.

Update 10/19/16:  First, the GW shop is closed 10/18 – 10/26.  Please be patient.  We’re off taking a breather before all this bamboo arrives.  The office re-opens 10/27.

We’re up to over 700 culms pre-ordered by 68 makers, with several more makers working to determine how many culms they’d like to order.  The pictures of the bamboo show some amazing culms headed our way.  We’ll share lots and lots more details before too long, but for now it’s enough to say that our team in China was VERY picky.  Over half the bamboo harvested (nominally to our specs) for Peak Bamboo’s first load was subsequently rejected by Peak’s graders during our multiple inspections.   And all the rejected culms were left in China.  We really are aiming to only import great rodmaking bamboo.  Now the first load is sealed (that took place about a week ago) and fumigated (just took place this week), and the paperwork is being finalized as the load is finding its final berth on the big ship.

Matt & I are working up all kinds of fun stuff for you rodmakers!  Peak Bamboo will be issuing tiny Peak logo decals, one per culm, so that you can mark your rods as being authentic Peak Bamboo, should you choose.  These little decals will recall the “Genuine Tonkin” acetate labels that graced some early bamboo rods, but they’ll be smaller and more subtle.  Also, we’re working up Peak Bamboo hang-tags.  If you sell your rods, you’ll have a small, high-quality, Peak Bamboo hang-tag to loop through the stripping guide on each rod you put on the rack with any rod dealer or flyshop.  We want you to love the bamboo we import so much that you’ll be pleased to say, “yeah, this is Tonkin from Peak Bamboo.”  In turn, we’ll help you advertise, whether you’re a pro or a hobbyist.  Check out the Peak Bamboo resources tab and investigate the “Maps” that Matt has built.  We’re just starting to populate those maps.  Soon they’ll be teeming with rodmakers.

We’re also working up a series of coupons which will be included with the pre-orders.  These will include an opportunity to add a free Peak Bamboo coffee mug to your next Golden Witch order; several GW component coupons; tool coupons from a major tool manufacturer (more details in November); and more.  Further, everyone who pre-orders will receive a discount off of the firm retail price once we determine pricing.  This discount will recognize three things: a) you were bold and gambled on our bamboo as an early Peak Bamboo client, b) pre-ordered bamboo won’t sit in the warehouse long, so we have less overhead/carry-cost associated with pre-ordered sticks, and c) we really hope that once this bamboo is in your hands and YOU have inspected it, that you’ll give us a shout-out to your rodmaking friends, letting them know who is importing the best Tonkin for rodmaking in 2017.  Anyone ordering through the GW website, i.e., not as a pre-order, will be paying full retail.  If you’re a long-time GW client, you’ll know that we do not run a lot of sales.  Pre-orders, which will be available each year, are your ticket to lower-than-retail bamboo pricing.

Last but not least, I need to dispel a rumor.  Peak Bamboo, for all the wonderful interactions, business and personal, that both Matt & I had with Andy Royer, is not taking over The Bamboo Broker.  You never know what the future may hold, but as of this day I want it to be exceptionally clear that we have never suggested we were taking over Andy’s business.  When people have asked if we are selling The Bamboo Broker’s material, we have emphatically and honestly said, “no.”  We are importing entirely fresh material using our own supply chain.  Peak Bamboo, as an organization, sought its own way forward in China and we have a separate network, built from the ground up by us (Russ, Matt, & Chen).  We are not using the contacts Andy set up and thus we are not using Andy’s contacts to undermine The Bamboo Broker.  We do have a fine relationship with Candise, Andy’s widow and current owner of The Bamboo Broker, but our relationship at present is one of friendly, mutually decent, competitors.  If you’re the sort who worries about rumors, please step up and send an email to any of the bamboo importers.  Get your info straight from us at Peak, straight from Candise, or straight from any other importer.

Thanks again for all your kind wishes, and all your support.  We are very excited and can’t wait to start unloading the first container of bamboo.  Our hopes are high, and yours should be, too.


Update 9/28/16: Wow – thank you! We’ve got almost 550 high-graded culms on pre-order from 52 makers, with more craftsmen and women signing up every day. Our first shipment of bamboo was inspected in China this week by Peak Bamboo’s Sourcing Specialist. It’s looking good! We’ll start attaching more photos now and in the coming weeks. If the weather remains nice, these culms should be loaded and fumigated by the second week of October. That means they could arrive here in late November or early December. Please note: The Golden Witch Shop will be closed for two consecutive weeks when the bamboo arrives. The owner/craftsman behind Golden Witch – that’s me – is also a founding partner at Peak. I’m obliged to stop working on guides and whatnot and get over to the Peak warehouse to unload this bamboo, then to grade through the first thousand culms. While I’m generating my report on the overall quality of this load, Peak’s financial factotum will be tallying the bills for importing the cane, and all the fees associated with delivery, customs, and so forth. Between the two of us, we’ll set the pricing for this load, both for high-graded sticks and sealed bales. Until the material is here and graded, we simply don’t know where the price will fall. It will be higher than what we were charging twelve years ago. We’re also running a series of meetings with shippers and exporters as we prepare to move this cane around the country, and around the world. Matt and I are really excited to share this bamboo with all of you. Our months of effort appear to be paying off and we believe that Peak will offer some of the finest bamboo that has been exported from China for rodmakers. Of course nothing is certain until the first boat makes port and delivers the Tonkin. Pins & needles, ladies and gentlemen….that’s our life these days. Again, thank you for your support of this new endeavor!

Update 8/27/16:  Pre-orders.  We’ve learned a lot already.  Rodmakers like yourself are fine with increments of 10 sticks when ordering bales (which have 10 sticks each); however, you prefer increments of 12 sticks when ordering high-graded culms.  Based on numerous requests, we’ve slightly adjusted the pre-order maximum quantity to 24 culms.  But that’s it, and we appreciate your understanding.  In order to have enough of this nice Tonkin to share around to numerous makers, the limit of 24 high-graded sticks is real until we have sorted the material and satisfied the pre-orders.  And so that we don’t over promise and under deliver, we’re limiting the total number of pre-orders to 150 for the first incoming shipment; pre-orders starting at #151 will be assigned to our second incoming shipment which will arrive approximately two or three months after the first shipment.  Part of the reason for the limits is that we’re also holding back a portion of the bamboo for the spring Pandamonium event and the fall “Bash.”  It wouldn’t be much fun to host a bamboo event and have none on hand.

Also worth noting, a pre-order for A+ cane cannot guarantee that we’ll have A+ material on hand when we get to your order number.  This stuff really is first come, first serve.  Once the A+ material is gone, we’ll have plenty of A grade…until that’s gone.  The good news is that Peak Bamboo is already planning expanded warehouse spaces so we can import a larger quantity of Tonkin from the 2017 harvest.

Update 8/11/16: Pre-orders! We won’t take a penny of down payment until we have this first load in the warehouse and we begin grading it. We can’t even be certain of our price until this bamboo is through customs, delivered to the warehouse, and the first portion is sorted. However, more and more rodmakers are requesting that we set bamboo aside for them, and we’re happy to do this. Nikki has created another spreadsheet – she’s the master of organization. In the interest of sharing this first lot of Tonkin around to as many of our clients as possible, we are limiting pre-orders to 20 high-graded culms per maker. If you need bamboo in larger quantities, we’ll be happy to discuss full bale sales of un-graded sticks. Getting your name on our list ensures that we’ll contact you, in the order pre-orders are received, to discuss quality, pricing, & delivery. We’ll give you a reasonable window in which to firm up your order if you’re still interested once the bamboo is in stock and a price is assigned to each grade. Thank you all for your trust and your business!

You can add your name to our pre-order list by sending us an email at Please title it “Bamboo Pre-order” and let us know how many sticks you’d like set aside (up to 20). We’ll confirm by email and we’ll give you an order number. This will be sort of like taking a number at the deli. When the bamboo is here, we’ll update this page at least once a week, letting folks know where we are on the list. For example: 23. If we’ve got this number posted, we’ve reached out to the folks with lower numbers and we haven’t yet reached out to 24+. Each week this number will change based on the number of rodmakers we’ve been in touch with and how long it’s taken us to cut & pack their orders. Get a low number if you can, but at least get a number. We won’t offer cane through the website until we’ve worked through the pre-order list. Just like with agate guide sales, it’s first come, first serve. Your understanding and patience is appreciated.

Also, the reserved parking signs have been hung at Sycamore Mill. These spots are for YOU during open warehouse Saturdays, so don’t hesitate to use them. Remember, the warehouse is only staffed on scheduled open days, or by appointment; we appreciate your understanding.

Keep tabs on the bamboo and on progress at the millhouse by following the Golden Witch and the Peak Bamboo Instagram pages. Peak Bamboo images will be duplicated on the Golden Witch Instagram feed, but not all of them. We’re restoring four vintage benches, each with cast iron legs, to use for our chop saws and packing benches. The deep sink we found is an old porcelain double basin sink with steel legs. Some of the lighting is vintage (not all of it, yet). We’ve started gathering old oak & mahogany book cases and display cases for our showroom. It’s an exciting project!

Update 8/7/16: Golden Witch is pleased to announce that we are involved with Peak Bamboo, the new direct importer of Tonkin Bamboo. Check out Peak Bamboo’s website at:  We will retail Peak Bamboo’s high-graded, individual culms, with sales starting in late 2016 or early 2017.  Check back often to keep tabs on this exciting project!  Right now you can see some Peak Bamboo images in the gallery: building signs that will be posted over at Sycamore Mill, plus their new sticker.  You can also see pictures taken by the Peak Bamboo team in China – bamboo in the grove, sample culms, and the first of many piles of cut Tonkin cane from the 2016 harvest.  This cutting of bamboo will be making its way to Peak’s first warehouse, located at Sycamore Mill, a classic stone millhouse in rural Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  Over time, we’ll post more and more images of these culms in progress as they are trimmed, scoured, stacked in “teepees” to bask in the sun, and much more.

This page will change regularly between now and when we’re ready to sell the bamboo.  Right now, it’s enough to say we’re thrilled that we’ll soon be offering top shelf rodmaking bamboo again!  As we did previously, Golden Witch will be taking full bales and sorting the bamboo info four grades, A+, A, A-, & B.  Each individual stick will have a drying split imparted, to prevent random check splits.  Culms will be cut into halves or thirds for shipping.  Full length sticks, individually graded or by the bale, can be picked up at the millhouse during open hours or by appointment in the case of large purchases. We’ll sell individual sticks, slightly discounted three-packs, and our long-time favorite: the rodmaker’s sample pack.  We’ll also handle low-volume full-bale sales.  Arcane Component Works will handle large-volume bale sales.  Pricing will be commensurate with quality.  In the past, we always sold out of A+ culms within months of each shipment arriving, then the A, then eventually the A- & B would sell down.  Now we’re going to have access to a lot more bamboo!

For rodmakers who want to hand-select their own culms from the bins, Peak Bamboo & Golden Witch will offer an open warehouse morning one Saturday each month, from 8 AM – 12 Noon.  The open warehouse days will begin in 2017 after we have a sufficient amount of bamboo graded and in the bins.  This gives you the chance to select A+ culms that might be thinner in diameter, yet visually flawless, for a delicate three weight blonde; whereas the bass or salmon enthusiast might want A+ sticks that are particularly heavy-walled, and may be willing to accept a few visual flaws in return for massive diameter and depth of power fibers.

We will also be hosting two events at the warehouse (and warehouse meadow) each year.  Pandamonium! in the spring and The Big Bamboo & Glass Bash in the fall.

Pandamonium!  The last Saturday in April, beginning in 2017 on April 29th, there will be Pandamonium!  We love bamboo, and so do pandas, which is how this event earned its name.  This one-day event will celebrate the arrival of the previous year’s harvest of Tonkin Cane on American soil.  Come out to Sycamore Mill to pick up bamboo and chat with other rodmakers.  We’ll be posting details on a soon-to-be-disclosed website.  For now, save the date and figure we’ll be open from 8 AM – 4 PM.  Why late April?  Because PA’s trout streams will be open and the weather shouldn’t be frigid, so if you’re driving in from out of state, get your license and enjoy the local fishing.  Pandamonium! is a no-cost event.  Please let us know if you’re planning to attend.  We’ll get a list of names going.  Bring your big trucks, your roof racks, your rope, and your bungee cords!  Five hundred culms are being held back from the first container just for this event.

The Big Bamboo & Glass Bash.  There’s going to be a lot of info posted on-line about this event at and  For now, save the dates:  September 15-17, 2017…yes, that’s next year.  This will be a ticketed event.  In the 7 – 1/2 acre meadow behind Sycamore Mill, we’ll have upwards of twenty presenters, benefit raffles, fishing, casting lessons & competitions, vendors, food trucks (and nearby restaurants), live music both nights, and far more.  The biggest benefit of all will be having several hundred like-minded rodmakers milling around in one field for two and a half days, sharing ideas.  We’ll be holding back a fair portion of bamboo from the second container for this event, so bring your big trucks!  It’s going to be a fabulous weekend!


Peak Bamboo.  Powerful.  Resilient.  Sustainable.


Grown In China

Imported by Peak Bamboo

Sold by Golden Witch!