Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

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kevinhaney1
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Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#1

Post by kevinhaney1 »

Sparked by a discussion on another thread, I asserted that cork handles on fly rods are undesirable because they deaden the feel of the rod, and that solid wood handles are preferred (at least by me) for this reason. I'm just wondering, what vintage rods are out there with solid wood handles? I know about the Heddon 60 and 65 Deluxes with the nice, checkered walnut handles (if anyone has one to sell, please contact me ;-). But I'm sure there are other ones as well. Right?
Kevin, aka The Greenheart Rod Guy

snorider
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#2

Post by snorider »

I had a very low end HI rod called the Comet which was actually a nice little tonka prince taper with a hardwood handle. However it needed about 8 more guides.
Leave it as it is. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. T.R.

jvh
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#3

Post by jvh »

South Bend made one, I think it was a model 55.
Vern

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para_adams
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#4

Post by para_adams »

I'm fascinated by the way a wood grip changes the flex point on a taper and how the makers adjusted their tapers for that. On my 8-1/2' 2f #60 the butt taper is much thinner than a later model 8-1/2' 2f #35 I compared it to. My #60 has a terrific kick in its flex and carries a long with very easily. I don't know if the thinner taper is shared across all #60s or just something unique to my copy.

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Gnome
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#5

Post by Gnome »

Kevin,

we have flirted with wood grips for a long time and in the 1880-1925 period you had mortissed grips with no cork by Landmann and others. The transmission of feel is so much greater with a solid gripped rod than a cork grip as you well know. The closed cellular composition of the cork dampens like few other substances known to man and in my view it was not that smart to wrap a tools handle and remove feel when that is the very ethereal thing we are looking for!!

Cork yuk!!!

solid wood hooray!!

Jeff

kevinhaney1
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#6

Post by kevinhaney1 »

Yes, if you just once cast a nice, lighter weight greenheart rod with a solid wood handle and matching silk line, you'll never go back to cork and the other modern newfangled stuff...

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kevinhaney1
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#7

Post by kevinhaney1 »

jvh, I couldn't find any information on a wood handled South Bend #55. I guess it must have been another model?
Kevin, aka The Greenheart Rod Guy

jvh
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#8

Post by jvh »

kevinhaney1 wrote:
09/10/20 10:45
jvh, I couldn't find any information on a wood handled South Bend #55. I guess it must have been another model?
I would not have bet on the model number, but I had fifty something with a wood grip. If the number was followed by a C it had a cork grip.
Vern

wrong66
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#9

Post by wrong66 »

South Bend's pre-war #57 and #357 had walnut grips. The #57-C and #357-C were equipped with cork grips.

kevinhaney1
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#10

Post by kevinhaney1 »

Thanks wrong66. They must be as scarce as hen's teeth, as a Google search turned up nothing on 57 or 357 walnut handled rods... Does anyone even know if there is a picture of them anywhere?
Kevin, aka The Greenheart Rod Guy

bluesjay
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#11

Post by bluesjay »

Hi Guys, I have a SB baitcaster with a wood [Walnut] grip.

Jay Edwards

AlexP
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#12

Post by AlexP »

I have a beautiful rod from Bill Critchfield with a buckeye burl grip. I love fishing it so much that Bill is building another rod with similar grip, different weight / length.

If you go to his site, caneclassics.com , in the gallery section you can see an example of a wood grip.

I cannot opine on the effects on the rods action with wood versus cork because I am pretty new to bamboo with very limited knowledge, but the feel and aesthetics of wood are great in my opinion.

Apologies since the OP asked about vintage rods, but in my limited search the last few months on bamboo rods I have not come across many wood grips rods, vintage or modern.

Tight Lines

Alex

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Seabowisha Salmo T
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#13

Post by Seabowisha Salmo T »

hello, . .i believe that most of the vintage rods having sheet cork facings as is found on "the hunter" rod, made by fred thomas who started out as woodturner, have essentially wood handles under the thin layer of sheet cork.
post sc: however, i understand that is not exactly what was asked.

regards, jim w ;)

jeffkn1
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#14

Post by jeffkn1 »

Seabowisha Salmo T wrote:
09/11/20 10:44
hello, . .i believe that most of the vintage rods having sheet cork facings as is found on "the hunter" rod, made by fred thomas who started out as woodturner, have essentially wood handles under the thin layer of sheet cork.
post sc: however, i understand that is not exactly what was asked.
Sheet cork was glued over a tapered wood form in most (all?) cases. Hunter grips were made with composite cork rings (think particleboard). They were most often found on rods between 1900 and 1910. When you see one that's clean you'll notice seams between the rings. The SD&G Victory is another trade rod model by Thomas that employed composite cork, but I'd be hard-pressed to say whether that was the case for the entire period they were produced (1894 to at least the Twenties). The Victory was one of Fred's earliest trade rods and filled in a gap left by the absence of Charles Wheeler's rods, as Wheeler got out of the trade rod business at that point (1894).
This detail photo is of a Thomas from Banjo's estate, a light 9' Calcutta rod (4oz 16/9 ferrules) with ring guides. It was missing the butt cap when I acquired it so I'll never know if it was a Dirigo or a Special. That's complicated by the fact that, while Specials often had two thread colors, there are early Specials out there with a monochromatic color scheme.
Composite cork really did hold up extremely well. The grip in my photo was cleaned with dish detergent and 1000grit wet/dry paper. Whether composite offered any advantage beyond cost at the time I can't say. My guess is that perceived cork quality must have become a marketing issue and resulted in its disappearance.
As for transmitting feel, they would all have been better with rattan, perhaps.

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Last edited by jeffkn1 on 09/15/20 09:24, edited 1 time in total.

imaterp02
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#15

Post by imaterp02 »

Mike Brooks makes/made grips with wooden inserts in the nose of the grip. Used different hardwoods. I’ve never seen one of his grips in person but they definitely intrigued me.

kevinhaney1
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#16

Post by kevinhaney1 »

Well, sometimes you just have to trust that the Universe will provide. After not being able to find any information on the fabled wood handled South Bend rods, I snagged a fairly nice 9' Model 55 on eBay for under $100. It needs a little work, but I'll let you guys know how it turns out.
Kevin, aka The Greenheart Rod Guy

jeffkn1
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#17

Post by jeffkn1 »

kevinhaney1 wrote:
09/15/20 21:25
After not being able to find any information on the fabled wood handled South Bend rods
From the 1938 South Bend catalog, you'll find that the walnut handled 55/56/57 models were price leaders selling for $3.50-$5.00 at that time, complete with fewer guides and cheaper hardware.



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kevinhaney1
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#18

Post by kevinhaney1 »

Well, at least I won't feel too bad if I break it.
Kevin, aka The Greenheart Rod Guy

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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#19

Post by Holdover »

A large part of why I fish bamboo (and fiberglass) is the feel. I would think an 8' 5wt one piece, wooden gripped rod would make me happy in that respect..

bassman
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Re: Wood handled bamboo fly rods?

#20

Post by bassman »

My Gnome companion set of course has mortised handles that are especially nice for my small hands. When we were building up the early graphite rods many steelhead runs and years ago we accepted cork deadened feel so we used to force the cork on with a lot of pressure to the point where sometimes one would explode. Then we'd sand it down thin and on some rods carefully carve out a spot to contact blank. Not looking for pretty but looking for the best feel we could get out of the new in town Sage and Lamiglas blanks Jim Kueten of Jim's baits in Duluth drove to the the factories to buy and then sell to us at great deals in his shop.

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