New Note 8/19/22: These Unique Items are selling steadily. If you see something you like, odds are that a few other folks have already written to me asking questions about any given item. If you want something, claim it and I’ll get it on hold for you pending your payment (you’ll have three days to pay the invoice). These unique items are first come, first serve…the first person to say I WANT IT gets precedence over all the folks who are emailing with questions. If you’re willing to commit, I’m ready to earn your business. On the flip side of this, please don’t be upset if you’re asking questions – and I’m responding while at the same time marking an item as ON HOLD, PAYMENT PENDING for someone else. You can always sign up as a back-up buyer in case the first buyer’s payment doesn’t materialize promptly.
On the more expensive ($1200+) art items that will be listed, I am willing to consider reasonable offers. I’d post the initial offer – if it’s acceptable to me – on the website and give other folks three days to beat the offer. Each time an offer is raised by $100.00, it sits for another three days – so, yes, an item could climb over my initial asking price. For framed art shipments, ALL shipping costs are your responsibility. I’m willing to order in Uline Art Mailers (padded boxes designed for shipping art)…these are very expensive, but may be worthwhile and they’re certainly re-usable when you move or re-ship the art.
Hello & thank you for checking out this page! Now that Steph & I have a better sense for where our semi-retirement is headed, I’m clearing out my personal collection. Items on this page are from my stash…corporate inventory in most cases, and in most cases stuff I hung onto for restoration work, or because they were part of our company history, or what have you. Now that we know we’re leaving the States, we are purging it all. Have fun! Lots more text to read if you’re interested…check below the items for sale.
Head’s Up: You cannot purchase these items directly from this page. I can’t afford to double sell them and deal with all the PayPal fees (yes, we get nailed on returns as well as purchases, so I’d be eating a lot of fees on any item that sold two or three times before I could mark it as out of stock). If you want an item, please email me through the website contact form and I’ll send you an invoice. After your payment is clear, I’ll mark the item as sold and I’ll keep each one posted so folks can see the sort of thing I’m getting shed of. Please Pay Promptly.
Head’s Up: To be completely transparent, some of these items are for sale on other venues, or they will be. If they’re headed to auction, we’ll mark them as ‘at auction’ once they’re in the hands of the auction house, and we’ll link the auction sale to this page. The auction items will have reserve prices set, so don’t expect wildly low prices. We can’t afford that. The prices listed here are firm (see the exception, noted above in the new note dated 8/19/22), and they’re fair….as evidenced by the fact that we keep selling things at our asking price. I’m trying to move inventory quickly, not cling on for the highest possible dollar.
I’ll try to add one or two new items each week. There are so many curious things in the shop…
Luckier 14.) Frank’s Painting
This original painting – it’s oil or acrylic, not sure – was painted in the 1980’s by Frank Raezer of Lancaster, PA. Frank’s passion was painting natural scenes. By day, he was the locally famous janitor at one of the schools I attended (I later learned that was his retirement job; he’s been an accountant for ages prior to that). Nicest guy you could ever meet. Back then, the school helped to promote Frank’s art career by allowing him to set up an art show in the school each year; in later years he participated in much bigger shows at Mt. Gretna and elsewhere. Anyway, I saved up my lawn mowing money and bought my first piece of art. This one.
Oh, ignore the coffee splatters…I saw them after I took the photo and they wiped right off. Clearly, this painting spent too much time on the wall near the coffee maker at Sycamore Mill, Peak Bamboo’s warehouse.
The frame is 14″ x 12″; the art is about 9.5″ x 7.5″.
$500.00 with free domestic Priority Mail shipping.
Lucky 13.) Sebastian’s Drawing –
Here’s a one of a kind piece of original art drawn by one of our clients, Sebastian S., in 2007. It features the Golden Witch Classic Rod Winder, Pearsall’s silks, a rod blank, and various other components. The drawing is approximately 11.25″ x 8.75″ on a sheet of paper about an inch larger on all sides. This appears to be a tinted graphite drawing (think: Graphitint pencils by Derwent). It’s colored, but the color is quite subtle. This drawing has been protected from light and will be mailed as it has been stored: slipped between two sheets of foam core board. This is a very cool piece of art to hang in your rod shop, especially if you’re one of the fortunate owners of a Classic Rod Winder.
Here are two details from the drawing:
$500.00 – with free domestic Priority Mail shipping.
12.) Greg Yoder’s Perch – Original Watercolor & Gouache Painting
This is one of the original art pieces we used as catalog cover art. Greg was a Lancaster County, PA graphic designer who painted wildlife in his free time…twenty years ago. Not sure what he’s up to these days. This lot gets you the framed Perch and a copy of the Golden Witch catalog on which it is featured.
The Perch painting is about 10″ x 6″. Framed, the piece is about 16″ x 12.5″. The art is in perfect condition. The frame has a few minor bumps from being displayed here and there, at shows and on various shop and warehouse walls.
$945.00 plus $50.00 domestic UPS shipping in the U.S.
11.) The Venneri’s Logo Sign – Hand Painted in Lancaster, PA
Back when we represented Bob Venneri’s world class reel seats, we had this sign hand painted from his logo image. It hung on our shop walls when it wasn’t traveling to fly fishing shows. What a cool, one-of-a-kind, piece of rodmaking history! This sign is about 30″ x 12.5″. The paint shows light scuffs from all the time it spent traveling, but the paint coverage is probably 98-99% intact.
$500.00 plus $100.00 for domestic UPS Ground shipping & insurance. It will be professionally packaged. Combine this item with Unique Item #10 and the shipping for both will be only $100 for the pair, domestically.
10.) The GW Antique Series Reel Sign – Hand Painted in Lancaster, PA – SOLD
The major and minor diameters on this oval sign are about 24″ x 18″. Like so much offered here, this is one of a kind and it saw use on our shop walls, and in our traveling booth at the fly shows, for many years. The paint is probably 98% good…there is a scuff on the bottom edge and some tiny marks of use elsewhere.
There’s a brief note on the back of the sign that I won’t share here. Suffice to say, the one who the sign was for said, “Nah, it hung on my bedroom wall for years; I’m done with that.” OK. So here it is.
$500.00 plus $100.00 for domestic UPS Ground shipping & insurance. It will be professionally packaged.
This sign, and many other items that will be listed on this page are priced firmly…until an undefined moment before the bitter end. When that moment arrives, I’ll pull the listings here and send the unique items to auction.
9.) D.L. Whitehead Guide Collection – Shadowboxed Agatine Guide Set
As it hangs on the wall.
At an angle to better show the guides it contains.
The back side.
A stunning piece of angling history in a museum quality presentation. Here are twelve agatine guides, all the same stye, across a range of sizes. Originally made to suit everything from baitcasters and flyrods up through tuna rods, these guides were crafted in Germany prior to WWII. This meticulously preserved and presented range of guides is ideal for the collector’s den and there is not another to match it in the world. The guides were polished, then hand-stitched to the acid free backing board and set under UV resistant glass.
To the best of my recollection, four of these unique, related but different, shadowbox displays were made and I believe each featured a different range of guides. Mr. Whitehead received one display in return for the additional three sets of guides. The GW shop, until now, retained those other three shadow boxes. This is the first I am offering for sale and in my estimation it is the middle ground piece. Once it sells, I’ll present the next (a smaller set of low frame guides), and then the final (an amazing collection of wire-bezelled agates).
This shadowbox is about 13.25″ wide x 9.25″ tall x 2.5″ deep.
$1200.00 plus $100 for professional packing, full insurance, and UPS Ground Shipping inside the continental U.S.; Three Day UPS is an option at added expense.
As a reference for value, these mint condition guides, if sold individually, would retail for approximately $540….increasing in value with decreasing size.
This is one of the material possessions I have clung to for about a quarter century and never expected to part with, but my kids don’t want the business. If I thought there was a snowball’s chance in Hades of GW selling to anyone as a complete corporation, this – and the other two shadow boxes – would have been sold as part and parcel of the entire company because they’re very much a part of GW’s history and its intersection with Mr. Whitehead. That’s not happening, so now the collection is being broken up. I trust someone will enjoy this set as much as I have.
8.) Guide Rings – Assorted 10-Packs
OK, if you want some of these to go with the raw frames listed further below, please email and I’ll send a PayPal invoice. Quantities are limited – in the case of the fluted agates, figure about ten 10-Packs of each stone when listing starts. All of these are approximately 10mm O.D., so they’re perfect for the frames below. The vintage porcelain rings are sold in 20-Packs, so half the cost per ring and they’re already bezelled.
Moss Agate Rings – Fluted. $100/10-Pack. There’s a pretty wide color variety in this batch.
Orange Banded Agate Rings – Fluted. $100.00/10-Pack
These fluted rings are relatively easy to bezel in the home shop. You simply wrap them with 0.040″ Nickel Silver Pinning Wire (available elsewhere on the site), solder the bezel closed, then solder the ring into the frame. Tip: put the solder joint for the bezel at 6 PM on an imaginary clock…if you try to hide it by positioning it near the frame solder joints, the heat of soldering those joints will pop the bezel joint. Yes, there are ways to manage the trick of burying the first joint inside the second joint, but start easy and traditional. Most pre-WWII German guides that featured fluted stones had an exposed solder joint in the 6 o-clock position. No instruction provided. Eventually I’ll write a book. For now, check out jewelry tutorials on making jump rings, soldering, and so forth. You’ll learn a lot!
Vintage Porcelain Rings With Brass Bezels. $100/20-Pack. Twice the bang for your buck…great rings to practice your soldering technique! These bezels polish up beautifully, and they blue beautifully. However, as with ANY sheet bezel, even our modern ones, it’s not too terribly difficult to polish through the bezel, so work quick and get the bezel out of the path of the polishing wheel or you’ll be staring through a hole in the sheet metal into the side of a well-polished patch of ring material.
7.) RAW/BULK Inventory
This one is just a link to the appropriate page. Head on over to find bulk seat hardware, ferrules, ferrule plugs, and turning stock (with more to come):
6.) GW’s Custom Agate Burnisher Heads
AVAILABLE – SELLING, BUT NOT SOLD OUT
Here’s a project that never came to fruition. Long, long ago GW contracted with a fellow from Nepal to make custom agate burnishers. They were awesome. Some of you may have one. The tips were “lipstick” shaped, thus presenting, with a turn of the wrist, a flat, a gentle edge, or a fully curved surface. When this source dried up, we took to selling another brand of agate burnishers – three styles, all decent, none ideal for our purposes as rodmakers. Eventually I took our drawings for the agate burnisher heads to one of the lapidary artists we work with – a cutter and polisher of stone rings under normal circumstances. After some play with sizes, I opted for a modestly scaled-down version of our original tips. We cut the tips long, so that they could be deeply set into a ferruled handle. We carved a ring into each, so that when set into epoxy within the handle, these tips would never wiggle fore or aft during use. Some months later, I received the batch. Perfectly cut & polished to brilliant perfection – ideal for burnishing the finest silk wraps on the most delicate of bamboo rods. That’s when I got busy with merely keeping up with orders and these tips languished.
The plan had been to turn a batch of handles from a lightweight wood with a connection to our tradtional craft. Spanish Cedar…but quilted Spanish Ceder just to bump the visual impression of the tools. Each handle would be just a few inches long, narrow at the neck so it could be grasped with a few fingers, but swelling into a ball that could be nestled in the cup of a maker’s palm, not unlike an engraving tool. Each handle would be drilled 1/2″ deep to accept the butt end of the agate tip. Each tip, prior to being epoxied in place would have the sunken butt end roughed up with a diamond bur for added tooth. Once each tip was glued into each handle, we’d add a ferrule…and the design wasn’t settled. Either we’d work up a batch of our Broad Winding Checks scaled to fit these burnishers, or we’d wind the ferrule’s span with close turns of nickel silver pinning wire. One way or the other, the ferrule would be yet another hat tip toward the craft for which these burnishers were intended.
Well, all that never happened and now it’s too late. I’ve bagged up these burnisher tips, five to a pack. Most packs have one of each stone/color: Red Carnelian, Natural Amber Agate, Moss Agate, Black Onyx, & Okapi Agate. Some of the agate burnishing heads are highly figured, some are not. The final few five packs are not evenly divided because we had more Carnelian (i.e., Red/Orange Agate) and Natural than we had of the other stones.
These burnishers would have been priced at $100.00 each. Now I’m selling the five packs of burnisher heads for $100.00/pack. If I was buying a pack, I’d practice on the Natural Agate…it’s entirely functional, but the least beautiful. Perhaps that one becomes your back-up burnisher tossed into your traveling tool kit. Then I’d pick a favorite from the remaining four tips and make a showpiece tool for your wrapping bench. The other three? You could make three burnishers to sell or to gift to rodmaking allies, or to donate to a rodmakers’ conclave.
Get ’em while we’ve got ’em, because we won’t be making more.
5.) GW’s Abbott Node Press
SOLD – Thanks!
Tim Abbott, brilliant rodmaker and tool designer, created the ultimate node press. To the best of my knowledge, not many were made. This tool is heavy duty! It weighs in a bit over 20 pounds with the included wood base (used with a pair of clamps to temporarily attach the Node Press to your work surface). Comprised mostly of steel, with two pairs of solid brass balls which serve to add mass to the two handles….give them a spin and, very much like weighted hand wheels on a top quality wood-working vise, they keep the handle spinning until each respective jaw cinches down on the strip of bamboo. One jaw presses the strip in from the side, smoothly eliminating doglegs at the node.
The other jaw applies force top-down to flatten the node – minimizing nodal lumps and bumps to make your node filing easier and to minimize the fibers removed during node filing.
In turn, this means your apparent nodes in the finished rod will be decidedly shorter. Worth noting, the upper (mobile) jaw of the top to bottom portion of this dual-action press is cambered so that it does not have sharp jaw edges which might score the upper surface of your bamboo. Tim thought of everything! This is a supremely fun tool to use. Necessary? No. You can, as I did for years, rely on a vise. Still, Tim’s Node Press is just the bee’s knees when it comes to having a tool that does one single task extremely well.
This thing is fast, too. Not merely handle-spinning fast, but get flat and stay flat fast. All the steel in this press acts as a wonderful heat sink, rapidly cooling the heated node as the node is being compressed. By the time you’ve cinched both jaws into place the node is as flat as it’ll get (until you give it a little kiss with the bastard file) and it’s cooled back toward room temperature, so it’ll stay flat when you move onto pressing the next node.
If I were not walking away from rodmaking, I would never let this tool out of my shop. As it happens, the only way to get where Steph & I want to go (exploring the world from a base camp in the tropics), means I have to let go of cherished tools.
This tool has been used. It is so well made you could hardly say it’s worn. More like broken in and ready for the next maker. Over the years in the GW shop it got some specs of rust, which were then removed. On one hand, you could lubricate the tool more heartily than I have, but I didn’t because I can’t abide lubricants near anything that is going to see adhesive, like strips of cane. The brass ball handles have a perfect patina. As a single caveat, which is not a functional issue…if you jam the lower jaw (side to side strip straightener) too tightly when closing the jaw, the press fitting between the jaw and the spindle on which the jaw is mounted can separate once you retract the spindle….not to worry…just apply backwards pressure with a finger or two as you start to withdraw the jaw and all will be well; when in active use the pressure of the spindle driving the jaw into the bamboo keeps everything in place.
$2500.00 plus insured UPS Ground Shipping (estimated $60.00 east of the Mississippi; $80.00 west of the Mississippi). Continental US Shipping Only.
4.) Russ’s Classic Rod Winder With Vintage Silk
SOLD – Thanks!
Check it out…last of its kind! This is my personal Classic Rod Winder. It’s still got a partial spool of Gudebrod on the spindle from whatever I last wrapped with the tool. Also as part of this package you’ll get a full box, twelve spools, of my favorite silk: Pearsall’s Gossamer in Classic Chestnut. And I’m adding just enough of my other favorite silk to wrap one classically styled rod: Belding Corticelli, Size A…two spools of Cognac & a tipping spool of Flame – the old B-C box is included, but it DOES NOT match either of the two colors mentioned here…still a cool piece of history to set upon your shelf. $550.00 includes domestic shipping and insurance.
3.) Vintage German Silver (nickel silver) Guide Frames – 10 Pack or 100 Pack
AVAILABLE – SELLING, BUT NOT SOLD OUT
So, you want to make guides now that I’m taking a sabbatical? These frames will get you half-way there. I have several hundred of these, and all more or less the same size – ideal for 10mm rings, but they’ll work with anything from about 9mm to 11mm. In style, these are the basis for our Standard Frames…which means that with judicious tweaking, and depending on what ring size you opt to install, these might serve as a Medium, Standard, or High Frame frames. Fun stuff to experiment with! Tweak the wings with fingers or padded pliers or pliers with nylon jaws (or form them more professionally with either dies and a soft hammer, e.g., a dead-blow mallet with nylon faces, or go production-oriented with a die & hydraulic press); file the feet to final form; solder in your ring; polish to perfection. Watch the webstore and this page in particular…I’ll be adding some pre-bezelled rings and/or some fluted rings to which you can easily add a wire bezel (this is far easier for the home guidemaker – in most instances – than adding a sheet bezel to an unfluted ring).
These frames are Pre-WWII German made….incredibly high quality. Approximately 1.355″ long from foot tip to foot tip; approximately 0.420″ tall from the bottom of the feet to the top of the wings; formed from wire about 0.048″ thick. They were, hands down, the best frames I had in the shop until I developed our second generation Hydro-Welded frames. They polish beautifully (be careful polishing guides…those feet are SHARP and they can catch in a buffing wheel very easily). You assume all risk for your shop products and processes.
Lots of 10 frames $200.00 plus shipping/insurance at regular GW rates. Lots of 100 frames $1550.00 and that includes domestic shipping & insurance. If you asked me to make comparable frames using our Hydro-Welded process – matching in wire weight (comparable to our sturdy HD guide-weight frames) with rough-formed feet – I wouldn’t touch the job for less than $30.00/frame, so these prices represent a very sound value, especially in the bulk pack.
Every rule must have its exception. I have enough of these frames that I created a stand-alone page for them and you may purchase them directly through the webstore, at least until I get low – at which point I’ll drop the 100-Pack option and only sell 10-Packs. Buy now for best pricing.
2.) Pearsall’s Silk Spool Box by Arne Mason & Golden Witch
SOLD – Thanks!
This is a gently used leather spool box which comes complete with three dozen spools of Pearsall’s Gossamer Silk in more or less rare colors, including Highland Green, Purple, & Hot Orange. In addition to the two dozen silks pictured in the box, this lot includes one full box (12 spools) of my favorite: Pearsall’s Gossamer in Classic Chestnut. This gives the buyer a total of 36 mint spools of Pearsall’s, plus the storage box, which I’d classify as being in Very Good condition…just a few dents/scuffs from being in use on my wrapping bench for almost two decades. The leather box is professionally crafted and is stamped with the Pearsall’s ‘box’ logo, the Golden Witch logofly, and Arne Mason’s signature impression. Arne modeled this spool box on a vintage box I discovered while antiquing (and he vastly improved its structure and durability in the process); we probably sold a dozen or two of them over the years they were offered, so there are not many floating around. A sweet piece of rodmaking history, along with a great stash of out-of-production Pearsall’s silks. $1200.00 Firm. This price includes free domestic shipping & insurance.
1.) Pearsall’s Vintage Gossamer Silk – Black
SOLD – Thanks!
10 Spools of Vintage Pearsall’s Gossamer are available as a single lot. Elsewhere on the site we have ‘new’ PGS Black on plastic spools listed at $100.00/spool and it’s sold out. That price is only half a joke because I’ve had makers offer insane prices per spool, if only there were some to be had. Well, now that I’ve committed to retiring from making and restoring rods, I don’t need my little stash of tipping silks which I picked up in a trade. $550.00 for the lot. These spools are New, Old Stock…unpierced labels on the wooden spools and all the spools appear to be fully wound. If you’re the first to request this item, I’ll send you an invoice through PayPal. Domestic shipping & insurance is free with this purchase. The price is firm. It’s a fair price for these extremely rare spools.
March 27, 2022…here’s the original text for this page before I started to get stuff listed: This is the space where I’m going to list single items of considerable interest and determined value. What sorts of things? Signage. Art. Display pieces. Display racks. Rod tube racks. A collection of vintage silks. A collection of vintage ferrules. Piles of curious guides & tiptops. Tools a rodmaker might need, want, or covet. Rare & Unusual angling books. Quite simply, if I’m going to retire alongside Steph, so we can enjoy our time on the water, I need to do one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done: relinquish my collections. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I’ll never achieve the full HDT because I can’t imagine letting go of my general woodworking tools, or most of my library, but I can, and must, get rid of shop stuff that won’t fit where we’re headed.
Only items for which I have a fixed sense of value for will be listed on this page. Items of questionable value – and here I mean questionable upper end value – will wind up at auction. I may revive our eBay account which has lain dormant for years. I will be listing lots on The Angling Marketplace – I just set up that account. I will also be sending a modest truckload of vintage oak furniture to a local auction house later this year. On the off chance that you desire an office full of classic, turn-of-the-previous-century, office furniture, please email. I’m ready to let go of a large desk, small flat file (used for storing hang-tags), at least two of three oak filing cabinets, and perhaps more. Having little affection for the modern, most of the small parts in the working area of my shop are stored in a mixed collection of vintage oak and steel cabinets – and nearly all must go. I’ll work up a separate auction page to give website visitors a sense for the sorts of items that are up next (and already gone as the auction history builds) through the auction houses. If you’re local, check out Craig’s List for Columbia, PA. Steph & I have started to purge vintage items from both the old Sycamore Mill warehouse and from our household collection; right now there’s one of my sturdy shop benches listed, the chalkboard from the mill, a heavy-walled aquarium from the 60’s or thereabouts, and plenty of other stuff. Once you find items listed by “Vintage Russ,” you’ll know you’re onto the right pile of goods. I can thank Drake for my CL nickname – and I don’t think he was referring to the objects listed with Craig.
Please know that each unique item you bid on or purchase helps Steph & I as we transition into retirement. She’s got a solid pension, having worked a real job for 25 years. As a perpetually self-employed fellow, I’ve got almost nothing – except a vast pile of stuff and a successful company to sell. In the end, my primary contribution to our retirement funds will be built upon the decision to let go. This is very, very difficult for me. As one gentleman rodmaker knows, I’ve been wishy-washy about this change – ready to sell bevelers and other items, then not, then ready again. The decision is now final. I’m selling. Then sailing. Steph & I are moving on; more details will be posted elsewhere on the GW site as tenuous notions become more fixed. In early April of 2022 Steph & I start our first formal sailing classes with the Coast Guard Auxiliary. I grew up sailing with my grandfather, but rarely have sailed since he passed. Steph grew up on the water, with her off-shore angling father. While we won’t live on a boat initially upon retirement, that is one of our longer-term goals. Steph would love to cruise in the Caribbean. I’d enjoy that, too, but I really want to emulate – perhaps with his help – Drake’s sail across the Pacific. I hear that the fishing is beyond compare – Edenic – in the waters off the uninhabited island of Boddam.
And, no, I’m not selling my macaw bottle opener. It just seemed like an appropriate image for where this is all headed. Cold beer in tropical waters.
Accckkkk! It’s burning a hole in your hand…
Oh, look at that. Easter Eggs. You found the first one. Since you were kind enough to read to the bottom of this page, here’s an Easter Egg for you. If you place an order for over $250.00 in merchandise – exclusive of custom items and shipping charges – please request “Easter Egg #1” in the comments section on your order form. Imagine you buy a handful of ferule sets and rod wrapping silks, which are quick for me to pick and pack – and now, as a thank you, you can claim an Easter Egg. Easter Egg #1 is a free GW Rod Sack (our choice of size and colors – and it will be an oddball conspiring – with fate? – to induce you to make a rod outside your norm – something tiny, something huge, something single-piece, something utterly unexpected). Limit of one Easter Egg request per order unless I change the rules later, and your order must meet the minimum requirements for the Easter Egg you are requesting. And, to be brutally clear: YOU must request a specific Easter Egg in the comments on your order form, or no one here, which is mostly me, will know you discovered the good egg. As this final year moves on, I’ll add other Easter Eggs around the GW website. Maybe I’ll go add another one right now, tucking it where you least expect it, yet can best use it. Good time to start your hunt! Easter Egg #1 ends when the oddball rod sacks are gone. There are only about a hundred of them – so few they could easily disappear in the next month if makers are paying attention to this Easter Egg.