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Discussion Starter #1
I just finished reading the article on Derek Browns favourite 15' five piece spey caster. I was first amazed and then baffled. I need some help to understand why a 5 piece rod would be anyones favourite .
The finest spey casting rod ever built was the greenheart. while they were often built in 3 pieces the joints did not have furrels but were splices held together with tape. This meant that the rod behaved as if it were a single piece.
With graphite joints every joint produces a hard spot at the joint which reduces the ability of the rod to bend as a single curve.
The reason for this behaviour is that hollow graphite sections bend by converting the circle of the rod cross section froom a circle to an elipse. At the piont where a joint occurs there is a double wall which virtually means that an elipse cannot be created therefore the furrel becomes a short straight section which is incapable of bending in conformity with the rest of the rod.
To make matters worse these stiff spots in the rod produce extra strains immediately above and below the joint which necessitates the rod being made heavier to offset these forces.

If we create a rod of five sections we have 4 of these unbendable points. Can anybody give me a resonable explanation of why we would want a rod with such a characteristic . ignoring of course the obvious 'it makes a shorter package for transporting.
And can they explain the mechanics of creating such a rod.
:eyecrazy:
 

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Hooked on Salmon
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Hello L A,

My Thomas&Thomas 15' 5 piece is about the sweetest casting rod I have owned. That is more important than it being an easy carry on piece of kit.

"Tight loops"

Per
 

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LA's points are good ones. clearly, the ferrule junction has been a problematic area in rod design for some time, expecially in single handed rods, where the "flat spots" are much more readily apparent. several strategies have been employed to decrease these flat spots, resulting in less impact on overal rod action.

sleeve ferrule designs have focused on minimizing the amount of overlapping material, but are fundamentally limited by the fact that there is a significant amount of the junction where wall thickness is doubled, and normal oval hoop deformation during casting is decreased. scott has used hollow flex-matched internal ferrules with minimal overlap to acheive excellent flex characteristics and feel throught their single handed and spey lines of rods. low profile sleeve ferrules have also been developed, with varying degrees of success. solid internal ferrules actually increase focal strain...

a radically different approach has been used by kerry burkheimer, who uses extremely long low profile sleeve ferrules. in his spey rods, this theoretical design flaw actually works to advantage, he clearly has some of the sweetest casting graphite rods available.

i think that no graphite rod will ever match the feel and casting characteristics of greenheart, but unfortunately, these rods are extremely hard to come by. partridge-of-redditch still makes some single handers, but no two handers (per ole at partridge). custom greenheart speys are apparently available from a very limited number of boutique builders, but i have heard the asking price can approach $2500 USD.

from a practical standpoint, i think graphite is clearly here to stay, and those lucky enough to cast and fish with greenheart have something the majority of us will never have!

i think that a more practical issue with 5 and 6 piece rods is the fact that even if the rod's action and feel are sweet, there is the additional problem of imbalanced swing weight. it has been written that alexander grant apparently attached brass buttons or rings on the butt of his big rods so that they balanced well under the upper hand. i (and my acromioclavicular joints) would much prefer a rod that balances well, regardless of numnber of pieces, with a sweet progressive action, to one that doesn't. i can certainly understnad the effort to increase portability of a rod with our travel-oriented society, but a five piece rod strikes me as weird. if you want to break the rod down to move to another piece of water while on a pontoon boat, or to stick in the back of your pickup truck, an even number of pieces makes eminently more practical sense.
 

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Asleep at the Reel. . .
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Greenheart and Lancewood

I have had the opportunity of holding and flexing -- but not fishing -- two rods made from Greenheart with Lancewood tip sections. One was an 18 footer, the other a wee 16 feet. They were four piece models which were secured to each other by using strips of thin rawhide wrapped around the mated splice. They were -- to put it plainly -- quite awsome rods, at least physically speaking. Wood is good, and those beauties literally oozed character and charm.
But more to the point; If I understand the curmudgeonly Mike Maxwell correctly, I take it that his theory behind his Spey rod design is directly related to the casting characteristics embodied by those ancient Greenheart beasts. I think he termed it "self weight momentum" or some such -- loosely meaning, that once you got the rod's mass moving, it would make for a smooth powerful cast. So, the question is: does a Maxwell built graphite Spey rod approximate the casting characteristics of Greenheart? If they do, and that being good, why don't we hear more accolades for a Maxwell Spey rod?

Cheers!
 

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JD
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Derek Brown vs Mike Maxwell

The two could not be further apart in rod actions. Mike Maxwell did have a hand in the design of the current Lamiglass Spey rods though. So when you hear a comment on the Lamiglass rods maybe you are really hearing Mike Maxwell?

JD
 

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Bud,

You suggest the "greenheart" being the finest spey cast rod ever. Please provide those of us youngsters with your insight. I have the understanding that as with the rods of our era, some greenhearts had their strengths and weaknesses. I look forward to having the opportunity one day of casting a greenheart rod and forming my own opionions.


I know that Grant spoke of the merits of particular rods and how useless others could be. It appears you have only described the positive aspects or experiences of greenheart, what if any weaknesses can you share with us?

thanks for your insight

andre
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi Andre: Obviously nostalgia plays a big role in my memories of greenheart rods. My earliest experience with such a rod was the 18' rod belonging to my grandfather which was assembled at the beginning of the season,hung on racks on the verandah of his summer cottage ,and was taken down on occasion to fish the falls pool at Kirks Ferry on the Gatineau River in Quebec.
While I had been fishing since the age of five I was not permitted to touch the greenheart untill I was about 13. It was heavy, I mean really heavy. There was no way you could overpower such a rod .It`s weight forced you to make a smooth slow swing. once the rod was started swinging it seemed to keep swinging on its own.
Indeed the weight of a greenheart was its greatest weakness.A full days fishing required much stamina.
Like all solid wood rods they varied greatly due to the material ,its seasoning and the workmanship that went into it.They could be wonderful or awful. Greenheart as its name implies was a naturally grown piece of wood with its central pith intact. While I am not certain of its species I have been told that it was an African species known as Black Wattle. These trees grow to tremendous heights in just a few years .Black wattle plantations of 4 years of age are as much as fourty feet in height Because the stems are very long and smoothly tapered and because the pith was intact it was perhaps the first natural composite rod with a very light fast grown pith surrounded by a sheath of slower growing long fibered woody cells.
Slow natural seasoning was of course essential I suspect that stems might remain in the loft for at least five years before being worked on.
Great skill was required in the shaping of the rod to insure that the woody sheath was shaped with equal widths and densities of material surrounding the pith. This uniformity could resist any tendancy to take a natural set. I have never witness the shaping of such a rod but I suspect it was done using hand scrapers .A very slow and painstaking job. but even so it was important to store such a rod carefully on racks which supported it evenly and in a location where it would be free from the direct heat of the sun
Obviously the care required in handeling such rods was another of its deficiencies .I doubt that we would put up with that feature today. This was doubly so in terms of the care you had to give in drying ,greasing and storing the silk lines.The basic finish of such lines being some secret mixture of linseed oil and varnish had to be replaced with great care from time to time.
All in all a far cry from the efficient tools we have today. While I from time to time extole the merits of earlier times I recognize the many benefits of modern materials and technology.
If anyone knows of a really good desription of the entire process of making a greenheart rod I would be most appreciative if they would post a reference.
 

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BULL DOG!!!!
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Hello L A, In the book the Salmon fly by Kelson it shows a picture of greenheart to be used for rods and the diam of the trunks is at least 4ft. Is it possible that these were whittled down to a rod from these logs or were several rods made from one log?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Subject: Derek Browns favourite Winston 15' Rod

Hi Bruce: You wrote:Hello L A, In the book the Salmon fly by Kelson it shows a picture of greenheart to be used for rods and the diam of the trunks is at least 4ft. Is it possible that these were whittled down to a rod from these logs or were several rods made from one log?


This surprises me no end,the term green heart implies that the pith and center of the tree are alive. As a tree grows to larger sizes the outer tissue known as phloem is alive and a conductive tissue however the inner wood becomes xylem and is no longer a conductive tissue and is in fact dead. The only way the pith and inner wood could be green heart is in a sapling stage .
Saplings of very uniform quality are usually produced by a process called coppice in which adventicious buds at the cut stem phloem are stimulated to produce sapling suckers.
I have only had occasion to cut crossections from a very few greenheart rods and examine these under a microscope however in all cases the central pith was clearly evident . i doubt very much that this could be done by sawing up a large log.
this becomes more mistifying all the time.
 

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Bud !!
There was no pith in any greenheart rod.As with Cedar,depends wher you get the wood from ,either the outer growth or the inner. I only wish i still had Dave Zincovitch's(DZ fro m the salar list ) -e-mai l address .He was quite the expert on Greenheart , and refuses to use anything else on a Salmon river.
I'll e-mail Hoagy B. Carmichael and see what he says about greenheart.
Cheers
Brian
PS: Hardy used to sell Pith helmets " for pithing around in"
 

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Bud
Just gotrboff the phone with someone who has make more than a few Greenheart rods.He confirmed my suspision that heartwood was used Although some DID use spline sections and glue them together the more popular (also his ) was to split a section off, trying to get as straight as possible section and then ,as you mentioned ,hand shave/plane it down to a round section. the second secret to a good Greenheart was in the binding . To get a stiff rod he would bind the rod in a diamond fashion .IHHO(and mine) pith ,although it would lighten the mass, will soak up glue detracting from the initial lightness.
If I was to make one ,I would spline sections a la Cane and run a cotton cord up the middle to make it stiffer .
Makes a nice rod that is not suitable for dry fly casting,and don't expect to cast as far as carbon fibre,and remember these things are friggin heavy
 

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Steelhead Dreamer
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Derek Brown Favourite Winston 10/11 wt

As anyone cast this rod? If so with what line? What did you think of it? Thanks.
 
J

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I've cast this rod and so have several of the serious speyfishers in the Milwaukee area at a Spey Days event awhile ago. I felt it was an excellent casting rod, but was too heavy overall and especially too tip heavy for me. It required a reel of over 16oz empty to balance the thing properly and that just made the total mass more than I could handle. It is roughly 50% heavier than my Loop Blue series 15' 10/11 and I get by with an 11oz reel with the Loop. For those who are still young and verile, or in way better shape than me, you might like the db. As for me, I sold it less than six months after receiving it.
 

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Pullin' Thread
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I have cast the Derek Brown 10/11 and liked it except for its small diameter grips. This is the same thing I don't like about the 8/9 DB. Like the way it casts, although it is quite different than the T&T's that I have fallen in love with. Sure wish Winston would produce it with a larger, meatier cork and lower the price a tad so mere mortals could afford the thing. Used to be able to buy a pretty good car for that much money.
 
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