Shipping Rates, Terms, & Conditions

Overnight Shipping

We do not offer overnight shipping as a standard check-out option. Many “in stock” items are in stock only in terms of raw materials and must be finished out to client specifications; the typical order containing stripping guides, GW/ACW hook tenders, blued or bronzed parts, and other components of this sort, will have these items crafted and then shipped in the order received, with a typical turn-around time of 5-10 business days after the order is placed. We work tirelessly to get your orders shipped in a timely fashion and we appreciate your understanding.  We also understand that sometimes you may need an item ASAP…please email; if, say, you’re ordering a few hundred snakes and want them tomorrow, we’ll gladly work with you if the items you need are in the bins.  Our goal is to provide the best possible customer service, while respecting the orders that have come in before yours – their custom stuff gets made first, because it’s only fair, and it’s the way you’d want your order treated if you were already in line.  Thanks!

Domestic Priority Mail Small Packages Only*

  • $0 – $20 – Priority Mail: $8.95
  • $20.01 – $40- Priority Mail: $9.95
  • $40.01 – $100- Priority Mail: $12.95
  • $100.01 – $200- Priority Mail: $15.95
  • $200.01 – $300- Priority Mail: $17.95
  • $300.01 and up- Priority Mail: $19.95

$8 Surcharge above Domestic Priority Mail rates on any order that has 1 or more items that must be shipped by Ground UPS within the Continental U.S.; items that must be shipped by Ground UPS may not ship by any other method and may not ship outside the Continental U.S.

*In rare circumstances with exceptionally large or heavy orders, which includes every single order containing one or more culms of bamboo, or exceptionally valuable orders, we reserve the right to quote shipping charges and charge appropriately.  In most cases, domestic orders of small tools and components limit out at $19.95 for Priority Mail shipping or $27.95 for Ground UPS.

 International Rates**

  • $0 – $200 – International Priority Mail Flat Rate Box/Small Parts/Uninsured: $36.95
  • $0 – $200 – International 1st Class Mail/Small Parts/Uninsured/No Tracking: $24.95
  • $200.01 – $300- International Priority Mail Flat Rate Box/Small Parts/Uninsured: $24.95
  • $200.01 – $300 – International 1st Class Mail/Small Parts/Uninsured/No Tracking: $20.95
  • Large or Heavy Orders/Orders over $300 –  must be quoted

**Please note that International shipping rates are reduced for orders over $200!

Terms & Conditions

PLEASE NOTE: Terms & Conditions For Tonkin Bamboo Purchases Are Noted Separately, Below The General Terms & Conditions. Please scroll down…you’ll find the text.

SHIPPING:  We ship most packages the next business day after your order is placed.  However, if your order includes agate guides, blued components, custom jewelry components, or other custom items, please expect a reasonable delay so we can craft your item; typically this delay is 5-10 business days, during peak season (winter and early spring in the United States) it can extend to 10-15 business days. Custom products are not treated as back-order items, and this means we hold your entire order until the custom parts are ready to ship. If you need some non-custom items faster, please place a separate order for those items.  As above, we ship by Priority Mail, unless your order includes an item which requires Ground UPS shipping.  When we ship, we send a shipping notification through the appropriate service, which provides you with tracking information; however, please note that most international packages cannot be tracked – there is No Tracking for International First Class Mail; Priority Mail offers tracking to some, but not all countries. If you’re ordering internationally and you must have a tracked, insured package, we’ll gladly quote you using International Express or another option; these tracked, insured shipping options are very expensive, but sometimes necessary.

PRIVACY:  Your privacy is immensely important to us.  We will not sell or rent your name and address to any other company.  We will not share your name with any other client.  Occasionally a client may be hunting for a rodmaker or restorationist, or even another supplier of tools and components.  We will be happy to point folks in the direction of your business website, if you are another professional in the fishing industry, but we cannot facilitate individual contacts.  If you would like to learn the name of other rodmakers in your area, please contact your local TU or FFF group, or join one of the many rodmaking listservs on the internet. A growing resource for locating rodmakers and others affiliated with bamboo rodmaking, restoration, rod sales, and more are the several maps on the Peak Bamboo resource pages, which you can find here: http://peakbamboo.com/resources/.

CANCELLATIONS:  Please order carefully.  Once placed, we often begin picking your order within minutes.  Non-custom orders may be cancelled up until the time we send you a shipping notification.  Orders for custom products – guides, blued components, etc. – cannot be cancelled after 12 hours because we will very likely have started making and/or finishing your parts.  If the custom parts are fairly standard, e.g., a red agate stripping guide, we may be able to re-stock them for a 20% re-stocking fee.  If they are highly unusual, e.g., gold filled & blued reel seat hardware, they’re yours.  Please inquire if you have questions.

REFUNDS: We’re very easy to work with and truly want you to be satisfied with your purchase.  We are more than happy to make exchanges or offer a refund on non-custom parts up to 30 days after the date of purchase.  The exceptions to this rule are custom items (see Cancellations above) and vintage parts; vintage parts have a one week inspection period after they arrive at your location.  In either case, please email us and we’ll issue a Return Authorization Number that is valid for seven days (domestic) or 21 days (international).  You are responsible for prompt return shipping, unless we were in error when packing/shipping a part.  Many of these parts are fragile, so you must return all parts in a box, not an envelope, well padded and fully insured for the retail value of the item.

QUOTING:  This is about us quoting you, not financial quotes.  We reserve the right to quote your emails to the company.  Normally, we edit out anything personal, cut the quote down to size to fit the rotating “quote” block on the product pages, and edit minor typos…we never alter your meaning.  If we post without obtaining explicit permission, we only quote nice thoughts, nicely worded…pretty general, but sincerely appreciated, words.  In some cases where your quotes may be particularly extravagant, we will email for permission to quote your wording and it’s perfectly fine if you decline; these would be cases where you rave about a particular product in a vivid and memorable way…the sort of thing we love to hear, but which you may or may not want broadcast widely (e.g., “I want to wear your Hexagates as jewelry!”).   We generally protect your identity by hiding your last name behind an initial, and hiding your specific location behind your country; however, we will sometimes quote your full name and offer business contact information if you are an industry professional or serious hobbyist who offers services and/or advice/instruction within the rodmaking community.  If ever you resent the fact that we quoted your kind words, for goodness sake’s please send us an email and we’ll drop the quote, with apologies for our presumptuousness. That said, if you ask us a question that leads, say, to a ramble on our website, we will keep your name posted and associated with the ramble and/or specific, related product text. That’s fair in two senses. First, you helped your fellow rodmakers by asking a question we felt compelled to answer in some specific, detailed way that merited repeating more broadly and we want to acknowledge you. Second, to be perfectly blunt, posting the information as a ramble protects us in case the information eventually winds up being quoted, re-posted, used as the partial basis for a presentation at a rod gathering, or that sort of thing. The info we share through rambles is usually quite nuanced, and if all the details aren’t shared, the results can be less than ideal. Further, I am a strong believer in the notion of giving credit where credit is due. Coming to any perceived expert for information, if you receive the information requested, bestows alongside that knowledge a perfect obligation to be forthright about your source, unless your source requested anonymity. Whether you write to Golden Witch, or another rodmaker, an educator, a restorationist, an author…if someone shares material with you that you then use for your benefit and the benefit of others, please learn to say more than a mere “Thank you.” Learn to tip your hat. I do it all the time in conversation, and I’ll do it here by way of example. Thank you to my students and my clients – your questions push the limits of my own craft abilities and my knowledge on a weekly basis.  Thank you to my family, my staff, and my business associates who all help GW to function; you know who you are and how integral each of you has become.  Thank you to Skip Morris and L.A. Garcia (extra big thanks to L.A. !!) who, along with Dale Clemens and his team, Dick French in particular, got me off to a good start with graphite rod building. Thank you to Michael Simon & his buddy Michel Fontan, for insight into bamboo rods and feather inlays, respectively…and later the paintings and the article which Michael created and authored. Thank you to Michael Sinclair for restoration information and much more.  Thank you to Andy Royer for so much related to understanding bamboo and the bamboo marketplace.  Thank you to Daryll Whitehead for a debt of knowledge that can never be fully repaid, except by working inside this craft and doing exactly what he did: sharing knowledge. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it were not for Daryll. He’s so critical, I can say with a cracked smile, if you don’t like the GW project and everything that flows from it inside the bamboo industry, blame Daryll.  😉  If you do appreciate GW, thank him. There are innumerable others and if you and I talk and some particular topic comes up, I’ll do my best to say the name of the man who shared a bit of knowledge, or at least I’ll say, “oh, one of the guys who wrote to GW told me about that technique.” What I’m not is a self-professed expert. I know a few limited, contingent things that might be useful for others to know. I learned them by reading widely, listening intently, watching others more masterful than myself, and then playing in my shop. If I write something and you’re a jeweler, you might recognize a debt I owe to Tim McCreight or to Alan Revere…I’ve read so much of their work, that their ideas may subconsciously flow as my own when I’m instructing, so here’s my hat tip to them. If you borrow ideas, and you do, please tip your hat whenever you have the chance. Let’s build a community of shared knowledge, not a false archipelago of seeming experts all denying that just below the surface lies a vast web of borrowed understanding. To give some sense for the vastness, the previous sentence was colored by the book authored and titled by another, far more famous, angler, Ernest Hemingway. Specifically, “For Whom The Bell Tolls.” And his title was borrowed from a line of John Donne’s poetry, “never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.” Here’s Donne’s piece:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend’s
Or of thine own were:
Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Accept it or deny it, for centuries, nay, millennia, some have recognized what we all should. We rely on each other, so at the end of the day, we’re either borrowing and thanking and continuing to share, or we’re stealing.

And here’s more than most of you wanted to know:

We ship via price-based rate tables. See the tables above to understand where your shipping rate will fall. Please contact us if you have a special case you need to discuss.  Customers get quite frustrated with shipping charges, so after many, many years of running a mail order company, we’d like to share a few thoughts.  First, all the shipping expenses are going to be paid for one way or another, i.e., by what is charged for shipping & insurance, or by mark-up on products.  We can’t stay in business if we lose money, so you want us to earn money on the products and you want us to break even on shipping expenses.  In order to use a simple price-based shipping table, we must build some shipping related expenses into larger and heavier products, for example the large rod wrappers, rod tube kits, etc.  “Shipping related expenses” is not remotely limited to postage or the Ground UPS fee, so you shouldn’t be miffed if we charge you $9.95 and you can see a $6.80 postage fee on the label.  We have an in-house reference table which allows us to select between paying USPS insurance rates (quite high, actually, but worthwhile for some regions of the country) or opting to self-insure packages, in which case insurance falls on us directly or indirectly, with small amounts being paid out of a reserve fund and larger amounts being dealt with by our business insurance; in some cases this self-insurance program accounts for the disparity you may see between the amount charged and the dollar figure you see on the postal label.  Thank goodness, very few packages are lost each year.  We’re also paying for boxes (in some cases, not other cases), packing material – the foam, the paper, the tape, the peanuts – which keeps your order safe in transit, and the labor to pack and process the orders.  As general FYI, Domestic orders are all insured when using Priority Mail or Ground UPS; International orders are NOT Insured, unless you request shipping by an insured method, in which case the rates roughly double.  Both the U.S. Postal Service and UPS raised their rates again in January of 2016.  We’re trying to keep our rates as low as possible, while not losing money, daily, on shipping expenses.

So many folks are used to seeing free shipping as a marketing gimmick in the U.S., that companies charging shipping are often glared at.  You, the consumer, need to understand how that works.  As noted above, you do pay for shipping.  If it’s not a line item on your invoice, then it’s built into the product pricing.  With inexpensive, and often poorly made, imported products you can have “low” prices and free shipping, but only because the margins on imported parts are insane (for you; they’re fabulous for the importer/distributor).  Another way that large firms cut their shipping expenses is by reducing labor costs.  In many cases, this means hiring minimum wage workers – in which case you get minimum wage service.  At GW there are shipping errors, but so rarely that they stand clearly in our minds and serve to caution us with every future order we pack.  With larger firms, errors are built into the process, and thus priced into the process – errors are business as usual.  Not here.  Also, some firms are now using robots; regardless of our thoughts on robots, this business is too small to even consider them as warehouse aids.  What does this mean for you?  It means the craftsman making your parts is often the fellow packing your orders.  It may mean the gal with a Master’s in finance has stepped away from an accounting role to pack your package, or write you an email.  Even the kids, who are learning to pick orders into the bins (among other company tasks), earn more than minimum wage, not as pay, but as household credits that they can use on approved projects: photography equipment, instruments, backpacking gear, hunting & fishing gear, art supplies, martial arts gear, books, and so forth.  You’re getting quality products that are made and packaged by hardworking, educated people, so please don’t expect free shipping unless you want to come volunteer your time at the packing bench for a year or two.  For our part, we all – kids included – volunteer outside the company, not within it.  Thanks for your understanding and support.

Oh, then there’s the part where we wind up “compensating” you for your shipping expenses.  What?  Well, it’s not a one-to-one thing, and it’s not on every order, but GW regularly ships “freebies.”  Our long-time clients have come to know and love the freebies.  Usually, they’re minor items, like hook tenders.  Sometimes, when we get a new product in from a supplier, or we design and craft a new guide, they’re big.  We’ve shipped ACW grips and guides as freebies.  There’s no pattern, no rhyme or reason, to what you’ll get.  If you are the first person to order after we finish up a photo shoot that relies on prototype items, you might get one in your box.  You could place a huge order and get nothing, though this is quite rare.  You could place a tiny order and get a hook tender worth more than our profit on the spool of silk you just bought.  Freebies are our way of thanking you for your business, introducing you to products you may or may not have tried before, and building a community of client rodmakers.  That community is what allows us to give away the freebies.  Remember the part above about how nothing is free?  Well, neither are the freebies.  But they’re not something, like product and shipping, that you pay for “directly.”  They’re the part we pay for out of profits.  Freebies comprise the bulk of our advertising budget.  How often do you see a GW ad in a magazine?  Not frequently.  We do a little intra-industry advertising, but not much.  Mostly what we do is send out samples with paid orders and count on you all to use them, or trade them, or give them to a new maker in your TU or FFF group.  You spread the word.   If you’re happy with our products and our service, it’s you folks who get out on the internet and cheer us on.  That’s how other folks discover us.  So, our advertising, such as it is, relies over 90% on our clients’ good cheer and willingness to refer other rodmakers to our website.  In return for not having to spend a fortune on magazine adverts, we turn what had been our advertising budget around and use it to fund freebies.  Most of these go out individually to paying clients.  Sometimes a package will ship to a rodmaking group.  There are minor rules.  You have to live with the luck of the draw – no requests on Freebies.  You have to place an order – except for rodmaking groups we support, we don’t ship freebies for free.  And if you can’t use a freebie, please don’t throw it away…donate it.  Thanks!

Tonkin Bamboo Terms & Conditions – Please Read & Understand Before Ordering:

These terms and conditions are shorter than the End User License Agreement that attends all the technology you sign off on with a dismissive click. They’re more interesting, too. And, if you don’t agree to these terms, then you simply can’t buy bamboo from us. That sounds awful, but we mean it in the nicest way because we want to be up front with you about the limitations of your purchase and your rights upon making a purchase.

Peak Bamboo Tonkin Culms

You, the rodmaker, are paying me, Russ Gooding, a partner in Peak Bamboo and the owner of Golden Witch Tech., Inc., to grade this bamboo. I charge for my time, which is built into the price of our Peak Bamboo culms, and I stand by the grades. However, grading is the subjective act of defining limits on a continuum without place markers. The grade is my subjective response to the nine attributes I consider with each culm. We have created a separate document discussing these nine attributes.

Graded culms are not replaceable or refundable based on your subjective impression of them. Bamboo is a natural product. We sell it and ship it on an as-is basis and all bamboo sales are final. If your package is insured, and if the package was lost or damaged in transit, you may make a claim for the loss or damages through the carrier and we’ll help you through the process. We suggest you inspect the material immediately upon arrival and make the claim while the driver is still standing at your doorstep. Otherwise, the bamboo is yours after it leaves our company. If you’re not happy with the quality of the bamboo, please either purchase a higher grade of bamboo or vote with your wallet and shop with one of our competitors in the future. There’s no harm in this and we still welcome you as a Golden Witch tool & component client.

Expect mold. Especially if you are an international client, and even more so if we ship to you by ocean freight, the bamboo will experience a mold bloom. When the bamboo arrives, mix up a solution of bleach and water and wipe down your culms immediately to remove any mold, then dry the culms and store them well. Please be careful when wiping the culms down…the edges of the drying split, and the tiny remains of leaf stems in some leaf nodes are both extremely sharp and will cut you if you’re not careful.

Should you prefer, we absolutely and cheerfully invite you to visit our warehouse, Sycamore Mill, on a scheduled open warehouse day. Come be that kid in a candy store, enjoy a free cup of coffee or tea, and peruse our selection of graded culms. You can sight down them for straightness. You can heft them. You can nitpick them. You may pick your culms, full-length, from those we’ve sorted into the big racks, or you can grab cut culms from the bins. Either way, taking a peek at our racks filled with bamboo will inspire you…so many rods, all waiting for their craftsman.

We are not in the business of selling bales. While I do most of the writing, Matt summed up this issue best. “Grab bags are for factory seconds and last year’s model. Peak Bamboo is quality oriented, first and foremost; selling by the bale does not allow for us to implement the quality control that you, the rodmaker, deserve. And though it may not seem so on the surface, ultimately, purchasing by the bale costs you more. There are other resources available for bale purchases, but if you want quality assurance, Peak Bamboo is here to serve you with our selection of high-graded culms. ”

If you buy A grade material and you’re not happy, we suggest buying A+ material with your next order. And/or re-orienting your expectations. Bamboo is a natural material and it is not flawless. Every single culm of A grade material will have some modest combination of flaws, not limited to: a bug hole or two or more, watermarks, mottling, an undiagnosed stain, a kink, curvature over the length, lack of sufficient heft, a jealous green hue when golden straw is preferred, excessive heft due to residual moisture, a butt diameter that is slightly larger or smaller than ideal, an unfortunate split, splinters, recalcitrant and very likely mummified bamboo bats, a growers mark, etc., etc. You’re not paying us to magically eliminate all the potential flaws in a given stick of bamboo which grew wild, year after year, on a Chinese mountainside. You’re paying us to deliver the best of a wild-raised agricultural product. Please be realistic in your expectations, and that means you should expect some flaws….or think of them, perhaps, as beauty marks, accentuating the otherwise lovely reaches of cane, gently ringed with nodes, each culm promising to harbor within its walls one glorious fishing rod. As I type this, I’m thinking of Michelangelo’s “Prisoners,” his half-hewn statues which demonstrate how adept he was at the creative removal of material. Believe me, he worked around some flaws in his marble and still created masterpieces. You can do the same with bamboo that has a freckle, or bug burrow, or some other blight.

If you buy our A+ material and you’re not happy, then we simply cannot please you and you should shop for bamboo elsewhere in the future. We’ll still respect you. We hope you’ll respect us for trying our very hardest. We know that even the A+ sticks are not perfect. If you must have perfection in your raw materials, this really is a matter to address with the deity of your choice and is far beyond the purview of we mortals. The best that we can do is deliver bamboo that has been thrice sorted in China, shipped here, and high-graded by a reputable rodmaker and component supplier. After much labor, sorting and sifting, the culms we present as A+ are not perfect, they’re just the best we can find within a given load from one annual harvest. They are worthy of your finest efforts. We stand by that.

Thanks for your understanding and, we hope, the chance to earn your business.

On Politely Dealing With People….

I’m taking the vast liberty of including a note from a client here, along with my response; both edited for clarity. Our client remains unnamed in what follows. You already know mine, and that’s enough. The background is that this gentleman (and I mean that term sincerely, as you’ll discover) ordered ferrules that he hadn’t intended to order. There were several emails that went back and forth trying to sort out what went wrong with his order. As I’ve written elsewhere, we do make mistakes, though they are fairly rare because we pick orders into a bin (first check) and we carefully wrap and pack the orders into your box (the second check). Because we do make occasional mistakes with orders, I always approach frustrated clients with the notion that we made an error, then I work to sort things out.

Here’s the gent’s final email on the subject of this order:

Russ, You’re right on what I ordered. I’m good – I can use what I have for my three piece and any left overs I can buy halves and make up the difference. I read some of your stories about customers on the internet and boy are those true stories. Everyone today wants to blame everyone else for their stupid mistakes. I’m a perfect example, thinking you sent the wrong things where I was the buffoon who ordered incorrectly. Again thank you for being to nice about the whole thing. A reason why I will continue to order from you. (signed)

And here’s my reply note:

Good morning,

Hey, I’m glad Nikki & I packed up and shipped the “right” parts, i.e., the stuff you ordered at any rate. And that you have enough components on hand to finish out this rod, which is great.

Working the retail end of this craft ‘industry’ has its challenges, but it also has its rewards. Thank you for investigating at your end, and for your kind note last evening as well as your continued business! For what it’s worth, you were also kind in how you approached this – decent language along with your offer to buy any extras that we had shipped. Believe me, decency is sometimes in short supply. Nikki had to listen to a phone message earlier this year that would have made a sailor blush, apparently because our wholesale (Arcane) website doesn’t accept direct orders and, instead, urges retail clients to visit retail sites like Mud Hole or Golden Witch. The string of vulgarity that fellow unleashed was almost humorous after the third time through trying to decipher what his problem actually was. My tongue is not perfect, but usually I’m cursing myself for errantly torching a fingertip on the opposite hand or something along those lines. In dealing with others, Kurt Vonnegut said it best through one of his characters, Bluebeard I think, “Vulgarity is the collapse of eloquence.” The point of this being, you & I are all good. I like working with nice people even when there are confusions/errors. Do enough business with us and someday we will ship you the absolute wrong parts on a time-critical rod – might be 100% our goof, or it might be a mis-labelled part in a supplier’s bag (11/64 ferrule in a bag labelled #10/64….or #1 snakes in a #1/0 bag – that happens a lot), but that’s still our responsibility. We’ll appreciate your patience with us when that happens.

I sincerely hope you’ll find a way to travel up to our gathering in September of 2017. It would be good to meet you face to face and shake your hand.

Enjoy your day,

Russ