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I had Steve commission one of his Quantum 10ft 8wt single handers for me last season.
Steve's craftsmanship is impeccable, the rod is gorgeous, however the true gem is the blank itself :smokin:
Extremely light in hand, very responsive and she loads from the butt upwards. The grain window is surprisingly large, 275-400 grains. The upper tip section has quite the authority to lift a sunk line and manipulate high density tips. She is very sweet and delicate when she wants to be too. This past fall she gave me beautiful loops and soft touch downs with an old SA #8 Steelhead Taper :smokin:



During the call out process, Steve asked me if I wanted the handle to be like a switch rod or like a single hander. I asked for an extended front handle (9") and a small 2.5" butt grip (fighting butt). As you can see, he nailed the handle for me, fits like a glove :D

Steve custom built an iScandi 299gr @ 21.3ft and it's a match made in heaven :)
I also have an OPST Commando 325gr which works very well and a #8 Wulff Ambush 290gr @ 20ft that is excellent too. The old SA Steelhead Taper was a bonus find in my tickle trunk of lines. It brings me back in time when I first started steelheading. I'm thinking of getting a DT8 for that old school kick ... I think this rod would love it and so will I.

Steve's your guy, he's got these single handers nailed :smokin::smokin:


Mike
 

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I just love the look and feel of “burnt burl” cork that Steve uses on a lot of his handles and shown there. I have one Bob made that is just gorgeous and I have laid out something similar for a 7wt “Baby Eve” I’m going to do when the mood hits. But the more delicately mottled stuff, which is actually the cheaper “inferior” stuff, to my eye leads to the most beautiful results. Does anyone know where to find it? All the stuff I have found on eBay seem to be the “good” stuff. ... Now that is a sentence you will not hear often. :)
 

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A good source for cork is Rodcork.com"...great selection and prices.
I'm considering this new Brookstone burl, with hints of red, blue and green for my next build. I think it will really pop with a couple of coats of spar varnish.
...and the above are right...you won't do better than Bob M. or Steve G.
 

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Burkheimer makes a single hand spey model and can extend the lower grip. I currently have the 8wt model on order through Puget sound fly co in Tacoma. The standard lower handle is 1.75 in. The one I'm getting is about a half inch or so longer. I tested out the 7 and 8wts, pretty sweet tools.


Here's what the handles look like. The rods are 10'4"
 

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I just love the look and feel of “burnt burl” cork that Steve uses on a lot of his handles and shown there. I have one Bob made that is just gorgeous and I have laid out something similar for a 7wt “Baby Eve” I’m going to do when the mood hits. But the more delicately mottled stuff, which is actually the cheaper “inferior” stuff, to my eye leads to the most beautiful results. Does anyone know where to find it? All the stuff I have found on eBay seem to be the “good” stuff. ... Now that is a sentence you will not hear often. :)
Not sure that I know what you are talking about here Mr. Bot ??
Would you happen to have a photo of the "delicately mottled stuff" ??
Would really be nice to see a handle fashioned from it too :D


Mike
 

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I'm willing to bet he's talking about burled cork, which runs about 55 cts per 1/2" ring, compared to flor cork, which runs over $2/ring. Top flor is over $2.50, which I'm sure is what Mr. Meiser uses, since I've never seen filler used in his cork...not many builders you can say that about.
 

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I was going to post some pics but was afraid it would be bridge too far in terms of hijacks, but since that boat seems to have sailed and is now half way to Bermuda ...:)

Here is a pic. I’m talking about subtile differences in burnt burl cork like on Mikes handle. But the mottling is absent on his handle. All the stuff I have seen Steve use on my rods and other of his builds I have seen seem to be like what they call “premium” type on the eBay source I use, where they brag about how uniformly dark it is. He uses it a lot on the upper part of the grips. i assume this is for better wear, but it is kind of a distinct trademark look for him.

I believe this stuff is made by “toasting” cork bits and gluing them back into a composite. I assume that if some less toasted stuff gets mixed in due to “sloppiness” that makes it potentially “inferior”. But this would obviously be only in appearance and not in any difference in physical qualities.

In the pic the upper grip is one of Bob’s custom rods, below that one of Steve’s, and below that the rings I got a few times on eBay. It is of course %100 in the eye of the beholder, but I find the delicate “imperfections” in the in the Meiser handle shown especially lovely. And even though this kind of “cork” is already way cheaper than regular cork of any grade, it seems like the more mottled stuff is less valued and usually cheaper than the more uniform stuff. I got a few of the kind I liked once, but when I decided to do a whole spey rod handle I realized I didn’t have enough. Obviously you want to use stuff from the same batch in a single handle, but if this effect is considered a blemish maybe they tend not to make a lot. I even got some stuff that has more spidery marbling - even cooler - but again only a few rings. :( I assume that how you form the composite would effect that. For example in the handle below most of them are lined up parallel.

The more mottled stuff has been harder to find on eBay in large enough quantities, and a lot of times it can be difficult to even tell from the pictures. Possibly they only consider this as stuff for accents and don’t make large uniform batches of it. I don’t really like the look of the extreme cases where they have done this on purpose, and with a vengeance. Sometimes they call that stuff “zebra” cork. It is a subtile mottling due to what I assume are quite small (but not as granular as the more uniform kind) bits of different lighter shades of stuff mixed in with the rest. The overall effect on a whole handle, like Bobs handle above, is just lovely and it feels alive. No comparison. But maybe you would have to actually see the handle in person.

I do realize it is a bit nuts to care about this stuff, but it is addictive.
 

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... Got it <> That's Burnt cork ... Between Gary, Steve and myself <> We buy these rings by the thousands.

All of our cork is bought directly from Portuguese growers.

I'd say that in every batch, there will be a percentage that will have the lighter colored cork granules dispersed amongst the darker.

Some batches will have more than others, and we've found this typical for the manufacturing (and marketing) of this cork composite material.

Stop by the shop the next time your in the area Mark, and you can pick through our bins and select what you want.

Meiz
 

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Bob, that makes sense. Possibly the sources on eBay just don’t sell the burnt stuff in bigger batches to “civilians”. Since I have apparently become very finicky about it I will definitely come take a look next time I’m in the area.
 

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I know this is a follow up to a 6 month old old thread, and to a semi-hijack at that, but here is the final result I got using the cheapest grade of what is sold on eBay as “burn burl cork rings”. This stuff even has small and rare bits of what looks like was unburnt cork in it along with many other shades. I like the effect on a whole handle better than the uniform dark brown of the high grade stuff. In any case even the good stuff is a lot less expensive than cork. It is also heavier, but I like a relatively thin handle, and on a reasonably long rod it actually acts as a slight counter weight since virtually all of it is below the rod’s center of mass.
 

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Well done, that looks awesome :smokin:
How was turning those rings compared to regular cork rings??
Is the material hard to work with??


Mike
 

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Well done, that looks awesome :smokin:
How was turning those rings compared to regular cork rings??
Is the material hard to work with??


Mike
In a word, “uggh!”

I was using a drill and a couple of those adjustable roller thingies - exactly the setup in the video below. I guess the product info is in there somewhere, but I’m not %100 sure you can still buy these. No doubt it could have been done a lot quicker with a “real” lathe.

It was pretty hard, but in retrospect I think a lot of it was psychological. I have turned many cork handles on this thing, and for regular cork you can basically do the whole thing in minutes. In fact the main worry in that case is to not go TOO fast. I would say I maybe spent a few hours doing this starting with 40 grade sandpaper. With this setup I felt like I just had to be very patient and delicate whittling it down. Anyway, it was worth it if you like the “burnt burl” material. I had my initial doubts but having finally finished I would do it again.

I don’t know why the “burl” is in the name they sometimes use for this stuff - maybe it is because of the irregular grain that is not even a grain, or maybe it is because it is hard. But I did manage to buy the irregular, cheap stuff in a large enough uniform batch on eBay.

Originally I had meant for the bottom of the lower handle to be smaller, like the Beulah onyx one I like, but when it got to that point it felt so good in my hand I just stopped - I didn’t even care about the epoxy line still showing a bit. For me that feeling of “fit” is one of the real payoffs of doing your own.

I used rubber (first time) for the slender black accents between the other accent pieces and I will probably look for something else next time. It is easy to work with but I still felt like using them with epoxy and wood glue is pretty iffy.

 

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My buddy in Livingston Montana had Steve Godshell make a rod for him. Not cheap but says it was worth every penny.
 

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My buddy in Livingston Montana had Steve Godshell make a rod for him. Not cheap but says it was worth every penny.
They are actually an economical choice within the category they belong in, which is in IMO the highest eschelon custom designed and built rods. His custom designed blanks are of comparable quality to the Burkheimer, Meiser and Anderson blanks. His single hand blanks, for example compare very well to the similar actioned Burkheimer DAL blanks that cost around $550. His are $300-350 last time I checked. His builds are also of the highest quality, but a reasonable bargaIn within that category. So I guess it depends on your perspective whether he is “pricey” or “a great deal“.
 
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