Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! The Carpenter Bros. will turn 6 yrs. old on their birthday in one week. This is a big time around our house. They have randomly asked to go fishing with me. They periodically ask to help me in my workshop. The most frequent request I get is to watch TV in the workshop while I work on rods. I have a lot to be thankful for this year!

Tomorrow I will be giving my father-in-law a new rod. He previously used the second rod that I ever made. However, after breaking it three times and losing one of the tips there wasn't much I could do anymore. I will say this rod is a lot stronger and thicker than his first rod. So this rod in the pics will go to him. Its not quite finished, but I can bring it home after tomorrow and put the finishing touches to it. I normally don't do wraps throughout the rod, but he saw a Bradford rod I sold about a month ago and he really liked it. The last pic is of the Carpenter Bros.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Nodes and Flaming

Today I worked on an order for a rod that was lightly flamed. When you look at the culms of bamboo you will see light and dark spots. When you sand off the enamel of the bamboo most of the real differences will come off. This will give the rod a more balanced color. This rod should end up as a light caramel color. This bamboo is currently at 6' long. I will cut it down to around 55" in order to line up the nodes correctly. 

There are two sets of culms in this picture. The one on the right will only have two sets of nodes on the finished sections. I will use this pair for tips. Since tips take most of the bending with the rod, I prefer to use the stronger pieces for that. When you are talking about a rod that is 8'4" long and only have two sets of nodes in the tip section that is pretty good. 

The second pair of culms (on the left) has more nodes and will be used for the butt sections. Since the butt sections have more material I prefer to use the pieces with the most nodes for these. I will be able to get two completed rods out of these four culms if all goes as planned. 

Right after Christmas I will be heading up to the Taylor River in Colorado to do some winter fishing. I have fished here quite a bit in the summer and this will be the first in the winter. It should be interesting. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Two New Rods (Update)

I have been working hard in the shop lately. I have had a good month with orders and can safely say I now have at least an 8 month wait. Remember if you have ever thought about ordering a rod the time is now. I will be raising my prices come Jan. 1.

In the pics you will see the two rods I first spoke about on Thanksgiving. One is a 8' 2 weight and the other is a hollow built spey rod. The 2 weight is turning out to be a great little rod. The weight is going to be right around 2.8 oz. The new grip shape is very comfortable. Its funny because I had never done that shape before, but it just took that shape from glueing the rings on. I like it so much that I am sure that I will do more like that.

The spey rod is coming along nicely. You can see that I have a great looking reel seat in mind for this rod. Also, the black rings that I will use as end caps on the grip. In the pic as well you can see one of the Carbon Fiber ferrules that I am going to use. This rod will be somewhat of a prototype, since I have never built one before. I hope to make a couple more this spring when I get my winter orders completed. I would like to get them out in the hands of spey fisherman so they can give them a going through and see what needs to be changed. If your interested give me a shout!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I would like to give thanks for all the support and orders that I have had this year. I have been very busy with orders and considering the economy I feel very fortunate for that. I am up to about an 8 month wait right now.

The pics below are of a rod that is about to go out. It is a 8'2" 4 weight. This taper is based on a Leonard I found once. I made it for a customer and he really liked it. Sometime after that he broke the rod. In order to make sure that he always had one with him he ordered two of them. This rod has a beautiful Koa reel seat insert. I am going to start offering this insert as a choice. I still feel that $750 for a one tip rod is a great deal.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Two New Rods

Today I started two new rods that will be very different from one another. The first will be a 8' 2 weight and the other will be a 12' Spey rod. I am currently finishing up the last two fall orders for customers and I am anxious to get these started before my winter orders need to be started. Over the next couple months I plan on doing a small write up each week on my progress on these two rods. If you don't have me bookmarked do so and check back each week to see the rods progress. I would also love to hear what you think about the rods.

The 8' will be for friend and fellow rod builder Doug Daniels. We were out in Island Park last year together and stayed together on the Harriman Ranch. He had brought out a spectacular 8' 2 weight quad that he had built for a customer. I was knocked out by it. We ended up doing some dealing and I ended up owing him a 8' 2 weight hex. My goal is for this rod to come in somewhere in the 2.8 oz range with a crisp medium action. Since I have changed the way I do things recently I have been working on this project and it hasn't come together like I want. I am hoping this time it does.

The Spey rod is for friend and reel builder John Paullus. At one time John was the single largest holder of Carpenter Bros. Rods out there. If you are reading this and you haven't seen the vise he built for me scroll down and look at it. It is a real piece of work. The Spey rod will be a 12' 8 weight 3 piece rod. I am still working on the ferrules and haven't decided yet if they will be made of fiberglass or Carbon Fiber. It just depends on how fast he wants it. With the system I am using for this I could probably try both on before finishing out the rod and see which one I prefer.

Today I flamed and split them. Here are a couple of pics to show what it looks like so far.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Carpenter Bros. 2.0

The last few months I have been working and thinking about how I could improve my rods. I suppose all rod makers think this way, but maybe some don't.

What started me on this quest was my trip out to the Henry's Fork builder's gathering last summer. I was speaking a prominent builder who I consider to be a friend. We both had 8'6" 3 weights at the gathering and were letting people cast them. He picked up my rod and began to cast it. I think as all builders do I hoped for praise. Well, it didn't come and I started to think my rods weren't very good. He started explaining why his rods were better or at least that is the way I took it. For the next period of time I was formulating what the builder said and how I could improve my rods. Basically I felt he was saying that my rods weren't very good.

Several hours later a gentleman asked me if I was Cris Carpenter. I said yes and he asked if I would come over to his group of friends. They were casting my 8'6" 3 weight and loved it. I felt like a ton of bricks had been lifted off of my back. I felt vindicated.

I felt this way for some time. My friend the prominent builder didn't mean any harm by it, in fact he was just trying to help me make a better rod. After I got over the incident (the ego can be a hinderance) I started to realize what the builder had said to me had some merit. There were things I could do to change my rods for the better without changing my tapers or basic philosophy of how I make rods and this is what I have started doing.

The first thing I am doing is using Micro Ferrules. Only a couple of builders use these and they sell their rods for over $3000 (mine are 1/3 of that ;-). This is done for a couple of reasons. The main thing is weight. I have working with fiberglass and carbon fiber ferrules for some time. However, I haven't ever been satisfied with them enough to put them into production. The MF weigh almost the same as my CF ferrules and they look a whole lot better too!

My grips are changing as well. They will be thinner and smaller. I will stay around 11 or 12 cork ring grips. If a customer has a specific request for more I will accommodate that request. Looking back at pictures of my rods some of the grips look "clubby".

I have also started putting length and weight on my rods. That is followed by the date in which the rod was made.

My tips on my rods are getting bigger. I liked to stay below .060 on my tips, but I will be going over that for now. Why? because my butts are getting slightly smaller. I will go into that in a later post. Just think "Parabolic".

This is a rod I have just completed as a prototype for the ideas I have expressed in this post. I have been using some walnut inserts in my reel seats to enhance the color of my rods. This rod is an 8'4" 4 weight. The total weight on this rod is 3.39 oz. That's with the walnut insert!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rod of the Week

I am slowing starting to catch up on my orders. I started four new rods last week as I try to finish up several orders. With the new rods I have started there are going to be some changes with how I do those. I am very excited about these changes and I think that they will be a big improvement for the rods. I have stated before that I am trying to stay around the 3 oz. mark with my longer rods. The changes I have made will allow me to do this without using fiberglass or carbon fiber ferrules.

This rod will be going to Singapore shortly. Its a 8'2" 4 weight hollow built rod that is based somewhat off of a leonard taper. The reel seat insert is the last piece of a small collection of a Maple burl that I received about 2 years ago. It didn't have a single black line in it anywhere and was just totally different than any thing I had ever seen.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New Vise

I just received this vise from my friend John Paullus. John is a great machinist! John was behind the Carpenter Bros reels. I hope to have a new series of reels sometime in the future.

I haven't tied in several years, but I have big plans to start this winter. I am probably like most tiers I have enough materials to make enough flies for the rest of my life. Maybe if I ever get caught up on my orders. :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rod of the Week

Over the next few weeks I will be posting pictures of rods about to go out to their new owners. This rod is an 8'2" 3 weight. I really like this taper and its one that I haven't made before. It's definitely one I am going to have to make for myself! It has the new Circassian Walnut reelseat with it and I think it looks great with the dark flamed cane. One downside to the walnut seat is the weight. It weighs double what my lightweight seats weigh. However, the looks of it far out weigh any weight issues.

I hope that you can see the details of the finish. I use a high density satin finish on the rod itself. Then on the wraps I use a marine grade high gloss to set the rod off just a little.

I have received numerous orders lately for 1 tip rods. This is an affordable way to purchase a new rod. Right now I am charging $750 for a 1 tip rod. This includes hollow building. I am working on some quad blanks as well. I will have one this fall that is a one tip rod if you are interested.

Also, I will be starting a series of rods that will be 8'4" and 8'5" in length. These rods will be based off of EC Powell tapers. One thing that will be interesting with these rods is that I will be using micro ferrules on them.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New reel seats

I just returned from two weeks in Colorado. I really enjoyed the cooler weather and the chance to fish on the Taylor river. I didn't catch a lot of fish, but did catch several 20" fish.

I have just purchased some Circassian Walnut reel seats. These are EXTREMELY hard to find and I know have four of them. They look excellent with darker flamed rods. They will be available for an additional $125. I tried to take a picture that would do them justice, but I was not successful. These are the nicest looking reel seats I have found.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

More pics from the Henry's Fork gathering

Here are a couple more pics that Tim Anderson was kind enough to pass along. Yvon Chouinard talked about his Tenkara fishing and passed around his fly box. He tied some amazing soft hackle flies. It really has made me want to start tying again. I will probably tie some up if I could get caught up on my orders!

Here is a pic of Per Brandin, Leon Hansen, Carl Otto, Chris Moore and myself comparing my 8'6" 3 weight to Leon's 8'6" 3 weight. I have said this several times in previous posts that Leon makes a very nice rod. I learned quite a few things again this year from him and I hope to incorporate some of those things into my rods.

Friday, June 29, 2012

A pic from Colorado

Ray Maudsley forwarded this picture along of his Carpenter 7'11" 4 weight. He caught this nice 19" rainbow on a river he doesn't like to tell anyone about. He has told me numerous times that there aren't a lot of fish, but the one's he does catch are very nice. Thanks for the picture Ray!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Henry's Fork Builder's gathering

I just returned from the annual Henry's Fork bamboo rod builder's gathering held at the Henry's Fork in Idaho. As usual, I met a lot of nice people and saw a lot of great rods. One of the people I met was Yvon Chouinard. He is very passionate about fly fishing and seems to be a great ambassador for the sport. 

Here is a picture of the Henry's Fork river. I got to wake up to this view every day and go to bed with it. I got to fish to rising fish on the last day there and what an experience. 

Here is a rod that I acquired during the gathering. Its a 7'9" 5 weight made by Doug Daniels. I think it might be the easiest casting rod that I have ever cast. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

3rd generation of Carbon Fiber ferrules

The first two rods that I made with carbon fiber ferrules were spigoted style ferrules and both of those rods did not hold up to strength tests I performed on them. Both of those rods broke. This style of carbon fiber ferrule is being used by several other builders. Yesterday I stepped out back from my house and caught about a 10 lb. carp and the rod did just fine. However, there is a mild set in the tip that I will get around to fixing someday.

Next week I am heading out to Last Chance ID and will give it a weeks worth of fishing out there. These ferrules weigh about 1/3 of what nickel silver ferrules weigh. The ferrules in the picture are 3 1/2" long. I think with further design I can even get them down shorter. The company that makes this tubing also does custom orders and right now I have on order material that is 50% CF - 50% fiberglass and special type of E-fiberglass.

The rod in the picture is an 8'5" 3/4 weight. In order to get the ferrules right the lower weight rods have to become of a parabolic nature. When I stepped out to cast this rod with a 3 weight line it was easy to cast 50'-60' into a mild breeze. I then put a 4 weight on and it took on a wonderful parabolic action that also allowed for long cast at a much easier pace. It also handled a 5 weight line as well, but I could drink a cup of coffee between back cast and forward cast. This rod weighs 3.25 oz.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rod 3 of 3 going out this month

This is a 8'3 weight hollow built rod that is going to a customer in Maryland. It has a nice medium fast action and weighs 3.24 oz. Its a flamed rod with bright silver hardware. I am still getting more orders for 3 weights than any other type.

I am getting ready to head out to Last Chance, ID here in a couple of weeks. Then I am taking the family to Colorado for a couple of weeks. So during the next couple of months I will be cleaning up the shop and trying to get ready for a big building spree starting this August. I am still waiting for Andy Royer to get his shipment of new bamboo in so I can order for the next couple of years. I only have enough right now for my next 4 orders.

I am planing on making some rods in the 8'5" 5 weight range this winter based on EC Powell tapers. If I use my carbon fiber ferrule system I should be able to keep them under 3 oz.

Please feel free to give me a call sometime to discuss bamboo rods!