Custom Fly Rods - How I build 'em & materials I use...!
The Fly Rods shown on this site were created by me with what I feel are the best high quality components to have on a custom fly rod since that is what the customer expects. Most customers will have no issue with purchasing a high quality product at a premium price because . . . . .,
------- It's the poor quality rods that cause the issues!--------
I do not have various levels of builds for the customer to choose from as I have only one...the best of what the customer wanted. I have had this option for years and it seems to work quite well. I prefer to set the design and construction standards and let the customer give me the other details that they would prefer for the purpose at hand that would be personal to them. . .then I make it all happen!!!
The Fiberglass Rod Blanks that I use for the builds on this site are from highly reputable manufacturers such as EPIC & CTS of New Zealand along with one supplier here in the USA from Bellwood, PA, Mike McFarland. Graphite/Carbon Rod Blanks are from both EPIC & CTS, plus only a few remaining from St. Croix. These manufacturers take great pride in their craftsmanship and are willing to guarantee its quality to be the best they can produce. SAGE graphite, WINSTON graphite as well as Blue Halo fiberglass can be built by special order. North Fork Composites, a Gary Loomis company, is another supplier I am looking into for both Graphite & Fiberglass blanks.
The FLOR grade cork for the grips is purchased in bulk and then hand selected from the lot for the specific build. The cork grip is assembled with epoxy adhesive, shaped by hand on a lathe to the customer's specifications.
Cork that is the best for high quality fly rod building is getting to be a rare commodity this day & time due to so many other uses for the same natural products. Thankfully, cork is a natural wood product, actually the bark of the Portuguese Cork Oak tree, and is a renewable resource, even though a rather slow one!
The Reel Seats are made by Joel Lemke and will look like jewelry once on the rod. The aluminum reel seat is then coupled with a piece of solid figured wood that has been turned in a lathe and hand polished to a high gloss. The wood and metal combination is as beautiful to look at as it is functional. On occasion for some of my builds, I will use a STRUBLE reel seat. As I understand it, Joel Lemke was one of the design engineers for STRUBLE several years ago. I like to keep my quality in the family when it comes to reel seats. ALPS makes a great line of triangular reel seats that I sometimes use on the heavier fly rods such as the EPIC 888!
The Snake Guides and standard tip tops used are made by Snake Brand and are the most consistent in manufacture, sizing and finish compared to other brands I have used. Snake Brand guides are 100% what I use on all my fly rods!
We can't forget the WOODS that are used with the Reel Seat hardware. Each piece of wood for an insert is vacuum stabilized with resin prior to turning and fitting to the hardware. No factory made wood inserts are ever used as each one I make is custom fitted to the hardware I have in stock before it gets installed on the blank. Domestic hardwoods such as Oak, Cherry, Maple, Desert Ironwood and Bocote as well as some "exotic" woods from around the world are also used for inserts. The exotic woods, as I call them, are African Rosewood (Bubinga), Indian Rosewood, Honduran Rosewood, Zebrawood, Cocobolo, Honduran Cherry and Indian Sheesham just to name a few.
NO WATERBASED ADHESIVES or thread finishes are ever used in the construction of the fly rods that I build...I don't build them to come apart!