I’ve always used snake guides on my bamboo fly rods that have a bronze finish. I’m not fond of a chrome finish on guides, and the bronze finish blends very well with the color of bamboo. Unfortunately, bronzed guides are no longer available so I’ve been working for the past couple of weeks to do my own bronzing on my guides. The early results are looking very promising, but I still have a little more testing to do. So far, I’ve come up with a very slight bronze color, all the way to almost black, playing around with time and temperature in the bronzing solution. Here is an example of my test samples:
I recently discovered a great new wood for reel seats on my rods. Kingwood is a member of the Rosewood family. It’s one of the hardest of the rosewoods, and as such, can be a little challenging to work with. But, with very sharp tools, it turns well on my lathe. It has a little more of a purple color than most of the rosewoods along with many black streaks in it. Once it is finished with a nice oil finish, the purple turns into a deep red color, let’s call it a “Cabernet” color! Here is what it looks like once it is finished.
I got out on the Lower Deschutes River yesterday for a day float with Mary Ann, and our good friends Alice and Mike, who are both guides from West Yellowstone, MT. Mary Ann, Alice, and Mike took out their two hand rods and chased steelhead for the day. But, I was more interested in looking for the larger rainbows in the Deschutes River with my 9′ 0″ 4 wt bamboo EuroNymphing rod. I had some great action with small #18 and #20 mayfly nymphs, with several fish in the 15″ to 19″ range landed. My 4 wt rod managed these larger fish very well, and I never felt I wasn’t in complete control. And the sensitivity of the rod made it easy to detect the light takes on these small flies. I even hooked a nice steelhead momentarily on one of my small nymphs, but after a few head shakes, it easily broke my 4X tippet…not sure how well my 4 wt rod would have handled that fish.! Here are a few photos of my day.
I often get the question of what router bit I use to cut the mortices on my wood reel seat inserts on my bamboo fly rods. I’ve found one that works pretty well from Rockler (www.rockler.com), a Convex Edge Rounding Bit…Item No. 22597. I also had another question about how I hold the reel seat insert to make the router cut. I’ve come with a simple solution….I’ve routered a 5/16″ slot in a piece of melamine, and then notched out the area where the insert is held. I put the insert on a 5/16″ threaded rod, which then fits down into the slot in the melamine. The edge of the melamine can then slide on the router table fence to make the cut.
It was busy in the workshop last week as I was conducting my bamboo fly rod building class for two great guys (Mark and Jeff) who came up here from Davis, California. First we got them on the Fall River to test out some bamboo rods to figure out what taper they each wanted. Funny…they each like the same rod, my 7′ 6″ 5 wt Progressive Action Signature Series Rod…so that is what they each built. We spent 7 days going through the bamboo rod building process. They each had strong woodworking backgrounds so they took to the rod building process well. Their rods came out great, and they are now back in California completing the final finishing steps on their rods. Here are a few pictures of our week: