Classic Rod Building Equipment - Flyfishing
Golden Witch Technologies is an eclectic sort of business operated by Russ Gooding and his wife, Erica. As well as counting custom rod building, (cane and graphite) among their products, the firm also includes an art framing component, a book publishing segment and manufactures tools and components.
For those who are not familiar with Russ, you may want to take a look at his decorative and unique custom rod thread wraps. Russ is well known in the custom rod business for his beautiful feather inlays on fishing rods which are stunning in their appearance.
I recall that about 10 years ago, at a Custom Rod building seminar in Huntsville, Alabama, Dale Clemens, author of 'Advanced Custom Rod Building' and the seminar's anchor, had much to say about the beauty of feather inlays. Others have since taken this idea and used the techniques to create their own inlays. Russ has been recognized as a good authority on the technique, and his philosophy is to share his methods and teach others, not to be secretive about his crafting abilities.
If you build rods and are interested in the possibility of decorating your rods with feather inlays, you should take a look at a recent article by Russ that appeared in Rod Maker magazine. Detailed instructions along with photos are available. Some time ago, Rod Crafters Journal also printed an article on the same subject.
Not only is Russ a well respected rod craftsman. He also produces excellent tools in the classic fashion. I recently had the pleasure of seeing and using first hand his Classic Rod Winder and Alcohol Lamp. Not only are these items well worth their cost, simply by being in a shop will add a certain aura of that 'old time' quality and nostalgia.
Although alcohol lamps have been looked upon as being unsafe, when working with delicate materials, sometimes it is better to use a tool for which you cannot throw caution to the wind. By virtue of the need to be careful, when used properly, these tools can enhance your work and add to their quality. Certainly there is nothing unsafe about an alcohol lamp that is used properly. When I first handled my Golden Witch lamp, and read the story about how Russ discovers old lamps and converts them, there was a certain sense that this lamp had already done much work. It had its own patina that is individual to every lamp that Golden Witch offers. Not only did it work as well as Russ promised, it goes so well with my collection of old brass pieces including a home made fly reel and candle sticks hand crafted by my great grandfather 100 years ago or more.
Many professional rod builders today use lathes, upon which they can turn cork handles and support the blank while wrapping guides. In the early part of this century, many rods were wrapped using a Thompson Rod Winder. Basically, it was a device that held a spool of thread and clamped to a table top. Tension on the spool could was easily adjusted. There are still quite a few of these devices around. I still have one however it is unusable because it was cast from brittle metal. Golden Witch produces their own version of the Classic Rod Winder which improves upon the original in every way. Even the material from which it is made is favored for the manufacture of high quality tools. Manganeze bronze does not corrode as easily and is far more durable. As well, it also has a beautiful appearance that matches the company's alcohol lamps. Every part of the Golden Witch Rod Winder has been made with quality and usefulness in mind. The dowel which holds the thread spool will take virtually any spool available, and stainless steel has been used for the vital clamping and tensioning screws.
Owning a Rod Winder will allow me to wrap rods anywhere I want. It is a very handy tool that is easily transportable and offers a great deal of convenience. It is good to know that it is still possible to obtain such an item that is made to the highest degree of craftsmanship and quality!