Bamboo Tips - Contributors - Beard, Tyler

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I claim to be a Texan, but some might accuse me of fudging a little on that when they find I was born in Michigan. I wasn't there long (9 months), and what time I spend there has potential to have had good effect upon my rod making ventures, as my birthplace is Traverse City. If that city's bamboo-rod-crafting heritage rubbed off on me, well, then I'll take my status as almost-Texan. Being an almost-Texan means I'm not living near any good tout fishing. Being a West Texan (Midland to be exact), that means I'm not near any good fishing at all! That I claim to be a fly fisherman while living in the West Texas desert is a tribute either to my stupidity, the overwhelming power of the pleasure in fly fishing, or both. Because I can so rarely get on the water I "fish" by making rods.

I came to bamboo rod making via what is likely a fairly typical route: building a few graphite blanks up. I found the process a little dull, and too paint-by-number. I had for some time before that been hand crafting tobacco pipes, and the satisfaction I found is starting with raw materials and turning them into a beautiful and functional object was not satisfied in graphite builds. The natural progression was to bamboo. Not only did it satisfy the start-with-the-raw-materials itch, but bamboo, as this group know all too well, has such an allure. It was the summer of 2008 that I got started, and I had my first rod done by Christmas. The second rod was done by February, and then I packed up my shop for almost a year. Just today I took my third rod out of the string. I love it.

I will not be cranking out 20 rods a year anytime soon, as my lovely wife needs a little help with our five young kids. My little church might find some uses for me too in between preaching sessions every Sunday. My God, my wife, and my kids are a delight to me, and if my rod making ever gets in the way of any of them, it will go. For now though, they all tolerate their quirky husband/dad, and I even worship on occasion out in the shop with my plane in hand and God's raw material in the form.

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