Saturday, January 22, 2011

Going Old School with Old World Craftmanship

 This post is a post completely different from any post I have done.  For this one I have gone old school with a work of functional art and although there is a drawing of a fly - you need to look closely at the rod case to see it - my drawings or paintings are not the highlight of this post.  No, for this post I am mearly wetting your appetite for a taste of the old world way of doing things and for an additional feature of this blog.
I have always loved and felt a connection to the past.  Back to an time when if you needed something you made it yourself or found a chap that had the skills to make it for you.  Occasionally you might see some new products in the outhouse as you search for suitable toilet paper in the Sears catalogue but for the most part it was a small business driven society where people relied on themselves and their neighbors for the things they needed.
A while ago - while struggling to pop the top on my pvc rod tube - I decided that it was time to invest in some 'real' protection for my rods.  The only problem was that just didn't like the look of the cases I saw in the stores.  Most were metal or plastic tubes that offered ample protection but lacked the style I was looking for.  What I really wanted was something classic.
Then it hit me as I was fiddling in my garage with some woodworking project.  Why not make one out of wood?  I toyed with a few drawings of square boxes and hinged cases but found the style to restrictive and cumbersome.  Once again the tube came to mind and drawing on my long forgotten knowledge of geometry I sketched out a hexagon style rod case.  As with any good idea, I soon found that this hexagon style case was not new to the industry.  In fact there are a number of wood shops on the web that offer this style of case to us fly fisherman.  The only problem was that what they wanted for the case was not what I was willing to spend.

So, falling back on my love of the past and those men of ingenuity, I set to work constructing my very own case.  My first attempt was a pathetic attempt at the concept of a hexagon case but I consoled myself with the idea that it was a prototype and returned to the workbench hell bent on improving the design. 
Well after numerous attempts and a lengthy process of trial and error I final got a design I felt reflected my vision of what an old school fly rod case should look like.  My first customer was a friend of mine that had built two rods for me for virtually nothing.  As a thank you to him I gave him the above pictured case, complete with hand rubbed oil finish, leather handle, real wood inlay, and a magnetically fasten cap that fully seals the case.  Of course what case of mine would be complete without the addition of a wood burned fly decoration.

In the end, what I have come up with is a beautifully crafted piece of art that could easily be displayed in ones den.  Unlike the cold metal or cheap plastic tubes readily available at any mainstream manufacture, I believe these cases could comfortably sit alongside any old world decor and be a showpiece unto themselves.  Sturdy hard wood and solid construction should protect a rod for decades to come.  If that is enough to wet your appetite then great. 
I have gotten so much enjoyment out of making these cases that I have been looking at making and selling them in limited quantities at prices appropriate to the time used to construct them and below the rate seen on the Internet.  In the future you will more than likely see more posts on the subject.  As these cases become available I will post photos of the details and prices on these original hand crafted works of functional art.


cofisher said...

I can't even begin to tell you Joel how you've captured the essence of what I love about fly fishing. Going back to a simpler time when so much of a man went into making fly rods, reels and yes, reel cases. Simply beautiful.

Anonymous said...

How many custom crafted, high quality Elk Hair Caddis would it cost for one of those? ;)

beautiful work! I'd like to see you design cars!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Glad I struck a cord with you Cofisher and Owl - Its going to take take quite a few and any car I design you might not want to drive. thanks again.