I often get asked what is your favorite part of making bamboo fly rods? I typically respond by saying “fishing them”. My follow up response is simply “handling the cane”. There are many ways to experience the process of making a fly rod I choose to experience it without the use of tapering bevelers, gang saws, and a crew of craftsmen. The final result is typically a great rod of some kind either way. I just choose to experience the process in a more intimate way when it involves splitting, straightening, and planing. I have used all of the above mentioned equipment at one time or another but I feel when I do I have missed out on the real joy of making a cane rod. I always have accepted the merits of using more machinery but I don’t experience the same level of intimacy with the cane when I do. Experiencing every inch of a spline and its given nodes track around in my head at night like an endless ticker tape. After all we are not fighting cane monsters we are simply manipulating a raw medium to create a very useful artifact. The level of peer pressure I get to use more machinery is somewhat daunting but I suppose if it came to that I would probably stop selling rods altogether and just make rods for myself and friends. I will probably be eating my words when my orthopedic surgeon tells me my hands and arms are no longer operable. Oh well if the process brings me to my ultimate demise so be it. The words of Friedrich Nietzsche echo in my head often.
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you. ~Friedrich Nietzsche