View Full Version : Partial List of Rod Makers
This information is copied from a post by The Gnome in reference/rebuttal to one of those incorrect glossy publications we all love to read and think hold true statements and actual facts. As you see stated by Jeff, his own list would include several other makers. Jeff does have a very impressive traveling collection of rods and if given the opportunity you all should try and see it. His post follows.
Here it is boys with my thanks to Horsesho on The classic fly rod forum as I stole his list of current makers Mine is too disjointed at this time and much larger due to its inclusion of expert hobbyist makers etc.
The preamble by The author contains two very misleading and wrong statements
"CHIEFTAIN HOWARD - A master commercial bamboo fly rod builder - one of only two in the world - has brought his craft to a shop on the bank of the Arkansas River. Bernard Ramanauskas, 37, keeps alive a dying art. Simply put, he combines his own construc..."
The first part I must take you to task on is the statement of there is only two master makers in the world.
Mike Clark of Lyons Colorado is a Master Maker. Daryll Whitehead of Oregon, Bob Taylor New York, Wayne Maca Beaverhead rods, Marcelo Calviello Of Argentina and the list of Professional Makers in the united states reads like this;
and you can easily double that if you cover the whole world.
I am a professional rod maker who has made my living at the art for 8 years now but I have been making or restoring rods since 1974.
My second point would be;
As a published Author on the history of rod making I think I am qualified to make the statement that it is not a dying art but is in the middle of a rebirth that has us in the golden age of bamboo rodmaking right now. There are well in excess of 30 amateur to expert class rod makers here in Colorado alone and I am sure that number is well on the low side. And if you multiply that by say 40 states you start to get the idea of how many makers are out there granted those numbers will contain many hobbyist and I use that term only in the respect to the fact that it is not a source of income but their work is on the level of any of the past masters. I can make that statement from a basis of knowledge that comes from owning one of the premier collections of antique to modern fly rods in existence.
Jeffrey L. Hatton
Gnomish Rod Works
Author of Rod Crafting;
A full color pictorial and written history of rod making from 1843 to 1961
04-01-08, 10:19 AM
Dam what a post- somebody got took to the woodshed.
04-01-08, 12:02 PM
With people in the world taking what they read to heart and not taking a moment to ponder what they read and make an effort to constructively analyze the facts, can you blame the guy? You have one craftsman that has touted there are only two “master craftsmen” in the world. Can you imagine the outrage of being publicly down graded by a fellow craftsman? If I was a craftsman of his caliber, then I would set the record straight too.
04-01-08, 03:38 PM
I guess a few definitions are in order to support such a claim. First off, what dictates that one has reached "master maker" status? Does it take a certain number of rods built to reach this level of expertise? Or is it the number of years you have been at it? Or if the first rod one ever builds comes out absolutely perfect, does that make this person a master rod builder? Hmmm?
Secondly, he uses the adjective "commercial", which can mean a lot of things as well. If I build and sell one rod in my lifetime, I guess that might classify me a commercial builder? On the other hand, if commercial builder means that one builds bamboo fly rods full time for a living, then the number of folks classified as a "commercial builder" drops dramatically. I have heard that there are currently 300 or so full time bamboo rod builders working in the US today. I am sure there are hundreds more that build rods part time to supplement their income. And then there are the simple hobbiest who build a few rods a year for the fun of it and maybe sells them to friends or family to further fund his addiction.
Very interesting post!
I would think that the 300 number you heard was probably referring to the full time AND part time guys who make and sell a rod here and there. On Jeff Hatton's list of "professionals" he names just 58 makers and a fair portion of those have other jobs as their primary income or are retired from previous jobs. I would think that the number of guys actually making a full time living from bamboo rodmaking would be somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty or so if I had to take a guess.
04-01-08, 08:36 PM
I tried to make a living making rods and it's just not as easy as it seems, (even with a well known maker, and a very well known "name brand". ) My Wife works, and we still couldn't do it and live the way that we wanted. That being said.... I think that people look at the price of a bamboo rod and say.. "oh my"...not knowing how much work really goes into one. Then there are the people that will drop 2k on a rod just because it came from a "known" maker.
I don't know what Jeff did in his former "profession" but I'm very sure it wasn't making rods. To make a living making rods it takes a ton of publicity and a ton of know how. (not saying Jeff doesn't make a fine Rod) And there just isn't enough of that around to say I have done this my whole life..... if you break it down that way...then there are very few that can say,... " I pay the bills, and have paid them my whole life like this"...around.
A rod maker does it for the love of the craft...not to pay the bills...for the most part. I'm not sure how many out there pay the bills with rod making...but I bet the number would be less than 30. In a year or so, I hope to "pay the bills" with rod making. My wife should be able to land a good job and I can maybe pay the mortage ;)
BTW, no bash on anyone here... do what you love...and if you are able to make some money doing it.... **** good thing!!
**** editing stars ********* ;)
Dam.... with an N to all of the above ;)
one of those incorrect glossy publications we all love to read and think hold true statements and actual facts
You might be giving "THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAN" a little too much credit!:D
There was no credit to Chieftan it was a rebuttal that Jeff posted. The Chietan was way wrong as publications can be and a lot of the time are, either by the interviewer or the person being interviewed. If you want the article in question I'll try and find the link.
Here is some background on Jeff for those that aren't familiar with his work or collections. If you read the post he took the posted list from another source but from his personal knowledge feels the numbers would greatly increase. Jeff, Todd, and Harry have recently started to collect an acurate more updated list of makers, but they won't ever have them all, only as acurate as making contact with them allows.
Following is an email reply by Jeff to yesterdays comments on NGTO. Jeff has been around the block a few times, so his number speculation has some validity to it. Probably many who have been interested in bamboo history have Jeff's book.
I have been in the Fly fishing industry for almost 30 years and 10+ OF THAT HAS BEEN AS A PROFESSIONAL RODMAKER. With 7 years in business for myself and 3 of it in the late 90’s as the corksmith for SCOTT rods, And I am still making rods commercially and will be for at least 3 years as that is my backlog right now.
I admire Bills work greatly. And as far as my time whether full or part time with rod repair and restoration and building goes back to the mid 70’s so I have a wee bit of experience in this business and a wee bit of knowledge about it.
For Mr. Hicks; I have paid my bills as a Professional rod maker for 10 years now and I will pay them for at least 3 more as that is my backlog right now. And I woul;d like to invite him to come spend some time with the gnome and see wha=t abd where my knowledge base lies.
Author , Rod Maker, Artist, trout bum and that is what I have done for the last 27 years
I knew exactly what you meant... just making a joke lest this thread get too heated.:cheers:
Jeff's appreciation for my work doesn't go unnoticed, for as he mentioned, he knows an awful lot about these rods we all love... and love to fuss about, so much. Also, stylistically he is a rodmaker after my own heart who has no qualms about giving a rod a little extra aesthetic attention ;)
Also, for those that don't know, Jeff's book "Rodcrafting" is an excellent reference as it shows examples of rods spanning over a 100 years. I use it in every class I teach as a stylistic reference for my students.
In regards to Jeff's list of "professional makers" I wouldn't, and didn't, argue a bit. When I said I'd make a guess of 30 or so I was referencing specifically Buck's statement of
currently 300 or so full time bamboo rod builders working in the US today
Not Jeff's list of "professionals" but Buck's reference to "full time" rod makers. Clear as mud?
I think I've finally come up with the best litmus test for the "professional" versus the "hobby" rod maker... ask the IRS!:bang:
04-02-08, 06:40 PM
Dear lord... rodmakers are a touchy bunch. After re-reading what I wrote I guess I can see how Jeff may have taken offense. None was intended for sure. I'll contact him myself on the matter.
Jeff is well known among the world's rodmakers and is the first to wish the best to others whether they buy a rod or have limited or complete experience or desire in rod making from beginner to master.
I don't think Jeff took any offense to any comments, he just clarified his background and knowledge on the subject and in the business. He like many have been at the rod making business/tradition awhile. He also has gone coast to coast to attend the most well established gatherings for years.
I doubt that Jeff would have even used Horesho's list if he didn't know it was accurate wih a minimum of makers and had a need to save time.
My whole point was to say there are a lot of rod makers out there, regardless of what you might read or see posted. Some of these makers are very active, some not. The article in question, just like some posts would like to let you believe there are 2 at the level of the one interviewed. Several rod makers took offense at the article and Jeff just threw out a list. From searching for other interviews and videos by the maker being interviewed IMO I would say it was more the maker than the journalist who painted the inacurate picture.
By the way Jeff is in the process of writing his second book, close to press if not on the way. I believe it will have an updated list of makers, but there have already been dozens in the US alone that have said they were left out and won't be listed. The number is huge, but there isn't anything to bind them collectively except the love of the tradition.
04-14-08, 03:05 PM
methinks this place looks and sounds more like clark's everyday ...........
04-15-08, 05:18 PM
I was thinking the same thing DD ;).
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