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Post 04 Feb 2020, 21:58 • #1 
Sport
Joined: 06/07/15
Posts: 85
Location: US-PA
Hi All,
I was reading a post in the rod photos section about a fisher blank/tribute to winston rods. the comment was made that that 7.5' 4/5 blank was one of the best glass blanks for a trout rod.
That got me thinking that the bamboo guys take a classic rod and make their measurements to produce copies/modern versions of classic bamboo.
Couldn't the same thing be done with glass? taking measurements and having some idea of the materials and cloth patterns used at the time to re- produce classic glass blanks?
interested to hear your thoughts on this matter.

Thanks


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 01:46 • #2 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 6726
Location: Holly Springs, NC
Could it be done? Probably not. We would have to reproduce far too much technology that no longer exists. The bamboo guys take measurements from across the rod flats and build a 'matching' rod. Imagine that the builder no longer had Tonkin cane, so he had to substitute something from the Boeing botanical garden. That plant may have better properties than Tonkin cane, but it won't build the same rod. That is the case with vintage glass.

Fiberglass and graphite were both technologies co-opted from aviation and military uses. Winston rod blanks were made with the best fiberglass material and methods ever - for that time (70s-80s). The high pressure curing techniques that worked for fiberglass were changed to methods better suited for graphite. High pressure curing bends and weakens graphite fibers. Resin systems were adapted accordingly. Now, the old raw materials are no longer produced.

A few years ago I brought my Sage SFL 580 (picture below) to a fly fishing show and pulled it out for Jerry Siem (head designer at Sage). He remembered those rods - he had a big smile on his face. He said there was no way that he could reproduce that rod now - the high pressure equipment was long gone.


Tom


This is an S-glass rod from Sage. Yes, that Sage. It was made with the same attention to detail as their early graphite. It is a marvel to see with the sunlight behind it.


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 10:35 • #3 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 11/25/09
Posts: 2269
Location: Livingston, MT
jgestar is correct, while we can still get woven e and s glass, the resin systems have changed completely and have changed the feel of the final product.


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 10:41 • #4 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/19/14
Posts: 3365
Location: USA - Illinois
Beautiful rod Tom! Great information! Time marches on.
I had the opportunity to acquire a 5 wt. Sage glass rod from that era, 7 1/2 footer IIRC, but went another direction. One of my many regrets/blunders I think. Anyhow, thanks for that very informative post.

John


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 13:14 • #5 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 12/05/06
Posts: 1340
Location: US-PA
Didn't Tom Morgan have Kerry Burkheimer reproduce the "Unity" blank for TMR and declare it spot on...?

With zero knowledge of the process, I'd venture that while it isn't as simple as measuring diameters, the right blank builder with the right experience could pull it off or at least get as close as possible; because I am of the opinion that even with bamboo, just coping a taper isn't everything.

If it was that easy, people wouldn't still be paying millions for a Stradivari...


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 17:02 • #6 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 04/12/07
Posts: 1161
Location: western Massachusetts
This discussion reminds me of the discussions on the classic forum about pre EPA, and OSHA and modern varnishes. Those regulations have made our air, water, and workplace safer and more enjoyable, so I suspect no one is going to try to replicate the old ways of building glass rods soon. But, is is fun to dream.


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 19:34 • #7 
Sport
Joined: 06/07/15
Posts: 85
Location: US-PA
Well thanks for the lessons folks. this has made me think about things even more and i wonder 1- are the classic rods that people say are some of the best based on the consensus opinion of on-water use by many people, or the mere internet parroting of one persons opinion, 2- how do the best classic rods stand up against the current glass rods and 3- does personal opinion about what suits me best trump all else in determining the best rods for the job (i think so!).

Best to all.


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 20:55 • #8 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 6726
Location: Holly Springs, NC
3 - YMMV, but nothing matters more to your fishing than what you like

2 - It depends on the rod and what you like. But some classics are as much fun to fish as modern glass. And vice versa.

1 - The best way to get a consensus opinion is to watch sale prices. Some rods sell for a decent price despite a seemingly steady supply. When many people vote with their wallet it means more than an internet opinion.


Tom


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Post 05 Feb 2020, 21:15 • #9 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/19/14
Posts: 3365
Location: USA - Illinois
Yes, #3. Everyone has different opinions on what rods (or reels) they like/love. You ask for opinions, and you are getting them... No hard facts here, all subjective. I've done enough of my own homework, and have my own opinions based on my experiences. Do your due deligence.


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Post 06 Feb 2020, 09:12 • #10 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 04/26/06
Posts: 3830
Location: Northeast Of Heaven
Hello
I'm trying to keep out of this one honest I am.
Tight Lines And What Ever Blows Your Skirt Up Loops :lol
Andy M


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Post 06 Feb 2020, 10:36 • #11 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 04/12/07
Posts: 1161
Location: western Massachusetts
Not to break into an essay, the answers are:
1a. YES
1b. Somewhat lately
2. mostly superior
3. absolutely


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Post 06 Feb 2020, 11:17 • #12 
Global Moderator
Joined: 04/20/07
Posts: 7749
Location: US-ME
Glassmaster--trying to stay out of it, haha. Steady, big fella. I'll just say if they could replicate some of the best, they would, because there are unmatched benchmarks among them. On the other hand, I wouldn't mourn the lack of an identical current production counterpart. There is some darn good stuff out there today, plus utllity rods galore in fiberglass. Calling them "utility" rods is not a knock, either. Knockabouts, beaters, loaners, backups--good serviceable fly rods--these are also part of the beauty of fiberglass as a material.


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Post 06 Feb 2020, 12:45 • #13 
Administrator
Joined: 01/10/06
Posts: 6726
Location: Holly Springs, NC
The Glass Master wrote:
I'm trying to keep out of this one honest I am.
Andy M
C'mon on in Andy, the water is fine!

Andy's Odyssey with the Wulff rod blanks (one example thread can be found here) goes to show you can't always replicate a classic even with the original materials in your hands. Who's to say the classic didn't change during the production cycle? Which version of the 'original' do you have? A lot of things can happen between a blank coming out of the curing oven and the finished fly rod going out the door.


Tom


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Post 06 Feb 2020, 15:12 • #14 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 04/26/06
Posts: 3830
Location: Northeast Of Heaven
Hello
The Water Actually Appears To Be Running Exceedingly Low.

I thought this was a question about making modern versions/copies of classic glass rod blanks.

Whirlpool may have put it best,In My Opinion if the Classic Tapers And Actions could be replicated the best of them would have been.
Quote:
I'll just say if they could replicate some of the best, they would, because there are unmatched benchmarks among them

Most Classic Fiberglass Fly Rodders / Rod Makers Would Agree.

The Infrastructure The Original Fiberglass Rod Company's/Industry Origins Include The Development of The Chemicals And Compounds Formulated to make the rods.
They Invented and spearheaded the processes used to make the end product.
Each company had proprietary formulas and process,equipment specifically engineered for every aspect of the manufacturing of Fiberglass Fishing Rod Blanks.

Unless You Could Replicate the Infrastructural Base from where these Giants Of Industry Worked, It's Nearly Impossible To Replicate The Classics.

Yes It's True That Working With Classic 40 Some Odd Year Old Rod Blanks Can Be As Challenging, Not More Than Working With Blanks Fresh Out From The Oven.

With Classic Left Over N.O.S. Blanks You Are Limited To Working With What's On Hand,Other Important Issues Are Always Present,Reliable Supply,Quality Assurance,Storage Concerns,Packaging,Rejects,Blemished,Dirt,Contamination,Counterfeits,Price Gouging,Just To Name A Few.

Consistency is always a problem with the supply chain,be that 40 or 50 year old Classic rod blanks or Glossy New blanks being imported from Timbucktwo or Home Spun Blanks being made in the same room.

As A Rod Maker It's All In A Days Work To Meet Challenges,Overcome Them,Meet Your Goals,Produce The Best Product You Can.

I'm Glad To Be Retired and Getting Finished,My Days Of Finding A Room Full Of Fisher,REED, Or Sceptre Blanks Are Very Few and Far Between.
The Phone Calls Of Hey I have a Closet full of Sharpes Of Aberdeen Rod Kits how much can you pay ?
I was 16.

I'm sure Many of Fiberglass Blanks and Rods Being Made Today are every bit as Nice as some of the Classics.

My Hats Off To All The Folks Here In The States Rolling Blanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes I'm Going There, Isn't Anything Wrong With Made In The U.S.A.
Support Your Local Rod Maker/Builder As Well.

I'm honestly out of the loop, most of the current stuff I haven't even had the opportunity to try out,we haven't had a decent glass Clave in the Northeast for years that I've attended.
For Me A Decent Clave Is One Where You Have A Deep Representation Of Classic And New Wave FiberGlass Lined Up Ready To Cast.

Not A Commercial Agenda,An Opportunity To Make Informed Choices.
Being Able To Cast Rods Side By Side.
The Event We had In V.T., The last Time We Saw Rat Face.
We had and excellent cross section of rods.

After The Puddles Dried Up.
It Came Down to Fisher 9' 5 Weight and Anglers Roost 8' 5 Weight.
The Fisher Best Over All,The Anglers Roost Best Bang For The Buck.
Others Mileage May Differ.

Lots Of Interesting Stuff Shook Out In The Green Mountains.
People May Claim The New XYZ Matches The Classic XYZ That Don't Mean It's So.
Marketing.
Again Others Mileage May Differ.

Now I'm not well enough to get out like I once did,I can't spend the time to do all I once did for the Fiberglass Fly Fishing Community.
Besides the 100+ Classic Fiberglass Rods I brought to the gatherings,everyone would have the opportunity to try a rod before they sought one out, back when Fiberglass Wasn't Considered To Be Any Good.
Most all of those Rods Are Gone,along with them also my suit cases of reels all lined up for all those rods are nearly empty now as well.

Back in the day we really had some Crummy Fiberglass,Not So Good Fiberglass,Good Fiberglass,Really Nice Fiberglass Fly Rods and Absolutely Amazing Fiberglass Fly Rods..

John You Got Off Easy 3,2,1 See What Happens When You Try To Mind Your Own Business,I Guess This Should Really Teach Me.

Classic Rod Makers Make Classic Rods No Mater The Material !

If Your Going To Start Replicating Classic Blanks Tom, Might I Be So Bold As To Suggest You Start With Silaflex ! You Still Like Them Right ?
I Have A 7'6" 2/2 Attributed To Vince Cummings I'd Like You To Look At As Your Control Sample.
You Could Roll Them Wet And Bag Them In The Sunlight In The Driveway. ;)

Tight Lines And Forget The Rest Classics The Best Loops
Andy M

Edited 2/7/20
Realized my original comments were slightly inappropriate,since the strokes I tend to ramble n rant a bit more than usual. :)


Last edited by The Glass Master on 07 Feb 2020, 08:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Post 06 Feb 2020, 15:20 • #15 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 1640
Location: South of Joplin
Anything that could be made in 1960 could be made today. There are bound to records, notes and drawings left about somewhere. An example is the Harnell equipment hauled to Oregon a few years ago and never put into use there, that guy had had all the factory tools, machines and notes that Jean Harrington used for decades. I doubt the resins would be that hard to obtain or duplicate, they may still be in use for less technical purposes such as boat building or auto body work. The simple fact is there would not be a big enough market for such goods as to make it profitable, there wasn't a big enough market in the 1970s to make continued production profitable.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the worth of a fly rod is just as subjective.


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Post 06 Feb 2020, 19:42 • #16 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/27/16
Posts: 1573
Location: US-IL
I agree Trev.On the local fishing boards that even have a flyfishing sub forum i have been rediculed and insulted for even mentioning i prefer glass rods over carbon.They act like i have twine tied to the tip and dunk crickets or something,I did find out some of these experts are in the tackle industry so there is that.The only person i know who uses glass flyrods lives 80 miles away .


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Post 06 Feb 2020, 20:26 • #17 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 05/19/14
Posts: 3365
Location: USA - Illinois
Depending on where you live, I may be closer... or not. :D :hat


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Post 07 Feb 2020, 12:44 • #18 
Master Guide
Joined: 04/27/07
Posts: 614
Location: Missouri
I have to agree with those that say this is subjective, some believe there is that one rod that when cast the heavens open up and it casts like no other rod? That's simply not true, there are amazing classic rods and amazing newer glass rods. The newer glass rods aren't better or providing a much greater casting/fishing experience than the older versions they're just different, maybe lighter, prettier or whatever? New designs, new materials, whatever its a flyrod take it fishing and continue to use if you enjoy owning it.


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Post 07 Feb 2020, 17:22 • #19 
Sport
Joined: 06/07/15
Posts: 85
Location: US-PA
I am certainly enjoying this discussion. i started it mostly because i have never fished one of the classic glass rods - a couple wonder rods and a fenwick 7.5" 6 wt i built as a kid are as close i i can say i've gotten.
i do like my Steffens and a lamiglas "spring creek" 7.5' 4 wt that i made up. -
i did cast an old phillipson that i didn't care for.

I think the key is to have fun with whatever you use. I recall my days as a kid with a cheap berkley rod out of a barrel - but those were great fun times with my dad and grandpap and i am focusing more on having that kind of fun now in my old age.


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Post 10 Feb 2020, 08:26 • #20 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 02/26/14
Posts: 2772
Location: US-MN
I agree Kbobb! My first "good" rod was a Berkley Cherrywood spinning rod with a Garcia Cardinal reel, that my Dad got me after I graduated from the Zebco 404 (I skipped right past the 202). Good times!


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Post 11 Feb 2020, 16:52 • #21 
Guide
Joined: 02/04/18
Posts: 198
Location: US-MN
Until just recently never was able to replace my cherrywood spinning rod with one I liked, it got broken in car doors three times, the third time it just wasn't the same after repair. Two year ago picked up a Conolon 4star spinning rod that is the best spinning rod I have used, then this winter picked up two Royal Javelins that appear to be the same blank as the 4star, haven't got to try them yet but hoping they are as good. Funny thing about that cherrywood, it was the cheapest rod on the rack at sporting goods store as my rods had not gotten packed for the trip up north and still remember the guy at the counter saying how they had "much nicer rods for just a few bucks more."


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Post 15 Feb 2020, 22:15 • #22 
Guide
Joined: 11/27/14
Posts: 316
Location: US-NC
I think modern versions of classic glass can be made to feel pretty darn close. I think many blank makers decide not to because it just isn’t profitable when some of these great vintage rods often times fetch prices on eBay less than the cost of a quality made in the USA blank. Also if someone says they based a rod blank on a classic there would be a lot of nay sayers and negative comments unfortunately. There is folks that ask for a modern rod that is similar to a vintage fiberglass model to me I find that person is not putting down the classics but hold in very long high regard but to some on here they take it the other way. I like both modern and classics. I built a Fisher 7’ 4/5 last year which imo is amazing but also find my Barclay 79GP is incredible.


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Post 16 Feb 2020, 00:14 • #23 
Glass Fanatic
Joined: 11/06/17
Posts: 1640
Location: South of Joplin
I don't know really what would constitute "classic" in a mass production era, and synthetic material.
But vintage 'glass in usable to excellent condition is readily available at less than the cost would be to reproduce. I rescued a fair condition Wonderod today $10, I imagine it will fish as well as new rod. It is the first yellow Wonderod I've seen.


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Post 04 Mar 2020, 14:26 • #24 
Sport
Joined: 02/18/18
Posts: 96
Location: US-TX
This is a very interesting topic...thank you. For the record, Glass Master your perspective and expertise is very much respected and appreciated. There are classics still out there and classics being made today. It is our good fortune.
Carl


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Post 04 Mar 2020, 20:40 • #25 
Guide
Joined: 08/19/16
Posts: 142
Location: Brazil
Comparing classic fiberglass fly rods in brands and models that are long gone from the market is an interesting exercise for the imagination. It might be more realistic and productive to consider a classic brand from the ‘60s and ‘70s and some of its more well-known models to similar models in the same brand that is still made today: Fenwick.


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