Now for all the pretty.

Looking for a way to set my rods apart aesthetically from the teeming masses. Discovered enameling on copper and am creating very liberal interpretations of fishy patterns on the slide band reel seats and keepers. Maybe not the traditional presentations Garrison might have approved but then WTF!

The reel seats and slide bands are 3/4" copper pipe caps finished with Thompson Enamels. Enamel comes in powder form sprinkled onto the metal then fused with a 3750 degree Map-Pro Gas blowtorch. Fun.

I use a variety of assorted exotic woods for the reel handles: Bocote, Bubinga, Padauk, Purpleheart, Black Palm, Granadillo, Spalted Tamarind, etc. Hand turning from 1 1/2" square stock.

Gave the rod 4 coats of diluted-by-half spar varnish. I wet sanded with 2000 grit paper between each coat. For now I am varnishing the rod blanks before wrapping guides.

Tried brushing the varnish on but only got drips, streaks, runs and bubbles. Came across yet another Rube Goldberg device that fixes this issue. Got a rotissery motor and rigged it up with a stand and simple pulley to sloooowly retract a rod section out of a PVC tube filled with spar varnish. Works like a charm.

I've really gone down the rabbit hole now and am making my own snake guides. Wrapped the snake guides, agate stripping guide, tip-top guide, and Z-ferrules with Pearsalls and UTC silk thread. Delicately painted the wraps with two coats of Epifane varnish.

If you’ve put all that effort into building a bamboo rod you would probably not be too anxious to just throw it in the back of your pickup unprotected. A rod sock and PVC rod tube protects it nicely.