In 2016, David Weingold and I drove to Winnsboro, Louisiana to attend Harry Boyd’s 2 1/2 day rod making class. In 2 1//2 days you make a bamboo rod blank from scratch and leave with the finished blank with ferrules attached ready to complete at home.
I have always wanted a fine bamboo fly rod. However at $2000 or more, they were out of my price range. So I did the usual, I bought several books on bamboo fly rod building and read them. Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods by Wayne Cattanach and Fundamentals of Building a Bamboo Fly-Rod by George Maurer and Bernard Elser were both helpful. Also the classic A Master’s Guide to Building a Bamboo Fly Rod by Everett Garrison and Hoagy Carmichael was benificial. I decided I had the ability but I did not have the equipment. Special items needed include, a planning form, planes, micrometers, beveler and a number of other speciality items. The cost of the equipment needed exceeded the price of several complete bamboo fly rods. What is a fly fisherman to do?
If you just want the experience of building a bamboo rod and don’t know if you will ever make another, take a class. You can complete a fine bamboo rod for half the price of buying one. Harry Boyd of Boyd’s Rod Company provides two, five and the 10 day masterclass in his workshop in Winnsboro, Louisiana. Harry provides all the equipment needed. The two day class includes: Selecting the cane, Flaming for color, Splitting the cane, Beveling the cane, Hand planing each strip for taper, Gluing the rod sections, and installing and fitting the ferrules.
Harry is an excellent instructor and very tolerant of his pupils even if they have never built anything before. He guarantees that every student will leave with a finished blank.
I took the blank home and added the handle, reel seat, guides. I am very pleased with my rod and have fished it often. Will I make another? Don’t know yet. David and I are slowly collecting the equipment needed. I have built a beveler using a router and I am working on a binder. I’ll post pictures of these later.