Project Vision

To begin, I would like to reiterate my vision for this design project. My goal was to create a handmade rod that could balance the “naturalist” aesthetic with functional requirements. In the end, I wanted to fabricate a rod that I could marvel at the visual and reliably go use on the water for a day of fishing. My vision was that the rod would serve as a tribute to the original bamboo rod anglers and craftsmen, whom relied on these design methods centuries ago.

  • Naturalist Aesthetic
  • Functionally Sound
  • Budget of about $100-$200

Functional and Artistic Goals

Functional Goals

  • I have yet to test the rod on the water but will ASAP!
  • All the rod’s components seem to function as intended, and the action when roll casting the rod is very smooth. The bamboo actually has a very nice soft, snappy action to it which will be great in smaller streams.

Artistic Goals

Overall I am very pleased with how the overall aesthetic developed in the final production of the bamboo fly rod. Although there are somethings I would consider doing differently next time, I believe that I captured the “naturalist” aesthetic well in the current rendition. My goal was to make something that was a rod that embodied elements from both the organic design movement and the arts and crafts movement. Below are a couple images from Winston Rods (https://winstonrods.com) highlighting a couple of my original inspirations.

  • Organic Design:
    • Highlighting organic shapes and textures with the natural bamboo rod blanks
    • I spent the extra couple bucks for agate stripping guides (in lieu of ceramic) and this gives a beautiful red  hue to the bottom two stripping guides.
  • Arts and Crafts:
    • Focused my efforts (and patience) on the wraps and finishing processes to ensure the desired visual appeal. I then opted to use a clear epoxy to finish the wraps such one could still see the red, silk wraps below the cured epoxy.
    • Could have purchased a motorized wrapping stand but I wanted do it all by hand, to really feel and understand the process.

Design Improvements for Future Iterations

As I had mentioned previously, I am very happy with the final product, however there are a couple things I may consider changing for another iteration of this design.

  • Reel to match the rod’s aesthetic (this was thwarted by cost…)
  • Attach reel seat last (added weight while wrapping)
  • Turn the end of the blanks in a lathe for mounting the ferrules. The process of filing them down was very time consuming and not very exact.
  • The correct rod fabrication equipment, primarily a rod building stand, would have accelerated the wrapping and finishing process of the build.

Next Steps

  • Finish fabricating the extra rod tip. I ordered enough components to fabricate an extra tip section. I had intentionally left it halfway complete such that I could show the interim steps at the project expo. Now I will finish fabricating the extra tip…just in case!
  • Hit the water!

Lessons Learned from the Project and the Class

-Between this project and my Upcycle project, I have learned how to strike a more of a balance between the functional and aesthetic elements of a design. Now the next step will be to translate this balance into my professional design project work.

-This effort allowed me the perfect opportunity to pursue a passion project that I had wanted to design and create for years. Despite almost zero knowledge of how to design and fabricate a bamboo fly rod, it was simply another example of “nowhere to go but up”!

-Moving forward, I would love to share this experience and the knowledge gained in an effort to encourage others to try something similar in his/her own unique vision.

Thank you for reading!

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hunter Miller
    May 10, 2017 11:47 pm

    I love fly fishing too. Was out on boulder creek earlier today! Your project looks great! I just have one question… When can I get one! Looks really great. I think you have a future in making fly rods!!!

    Reply
  • Levi Cortright
    May 10, 2017 8:47 pm

    I love fly fishing, I have gone to Alaska a few times to partake in the hobby. I wish that I had made my project something that I could use in my life. I like the idea of getting a reel to match the aesthetic. Have fun using this thing.

    Reply

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