The Price of a Cane Rod

One of the most common questions for people new to bamboo is “why are cane rods so expensive?” The answer is actually very simple. Anytime something is built from scratch whether it is a custom firearm, knife, or a bow it starts from nothing but raw materials and evolves into a very usable artifact of some kind. It is not made overseas, it is made in the USA, it is completely made by one persons hands, and the process has not been robotically mechanized. This typically means that many hours are spent preparing the materials, compiling the materials, and finally finishing the end product. Sounds so elemental but there are more steps in building a bamboo fly rod than constructing an automobile on a factory floor and it takes much much longer. Again there are only one set of hands touching these to be artifacts from start to finish. That being said the following should be considered:
The cost of electricity, mineral spirits, varnish, cane, stabilized wood, insurance, mixing cups, stirring sticks, coffee, bamboo, guides, planing irons, sharpening stones, vacuum bags, Advil, prescription glasses, three different kinds of epoxies, silk, nickel rod stock, maintenance of power tools, cleaning supplies, light bulbs, finger cotlets, sports tape, phone lines, long distance order phone calls, shipping costs, bubble pack, high quality rod cases, custom rod sacks, blades of all shapes and sizes, tape, string binder threads, q-tips, measuring cups, maintenance supplies for lathes, maintenance supplies for mills, pvc tubes, silica, rags, respirator masks, boring bars, drill bits, router bits, sand paper of many grits, the minutiae list goes on and on and I have not mentioned the “T” word.... time. This would all be thrown in a different light if again the process was mechanized but for me it is not.

I have always said “if time was something I could purchase I would buy chunks of it and go fishing” Time is the most costly part of making any fine cane fly rod.
~Clint Bova