Archive for the ‘April 2011’ Category

TTW Post Event Review

TTW has just published their post-show review of the recent International Custom Rod Building Exposition. Copy and paste the following URL into your browser’s address window to read it:


Navigate to page 26 for the specifics.

Important Project

In June, RodMaker Magazine subscribers will have the opportunity to participate in an important project on behalf of the custom rod building industry. Stay tuned for details in the Volume 14 #3 issue, due out in mid to late June!

Tom Kirkman


Military Insignias

Within the past few days I was looking at this framed set of Navy Wings and it occurred to me that many rod builders might like to have weaving patterns available for the various U.S. military insignias.  I know that many builders receive requests from veterans for military themed rods. To that end, RodMaker will begin a series of articles detailing weaving patterns for these insignias in either the Volume 14 #3 or #4 issue.

Some of these insignias have changed slightly over the years while others have remained the same. We’ll do a bit of research and where changes have been made we’ll be sure to include the specific era when each variation was current.

Tom Kirkman


Upcoming Issue…

Sorry I’ve been away from the blog for a week or so. This is a magazine “week” when I’m busy preparing another issue for the printer. Things get pretty hectic as the deadline approaches and with everything else I have to do some of the items that aren’t absolutely pressing have to be dimissed for a few days. Sadly this blog is one of them. But I’ll be back next week with several new entries.

On another note, the update to the magazine format takes another huge step with the Volume 14 #3 issue which I’m preparing now. It’s a big issue – our largest to date. Look for it in your mailbox around the 3rd week of June!

Tom Kirkman

Business 201 – Paying Your Fair Share

There are costs associated with doing business. Those who are not willing to incur that cost, or worse yet, those who attempt to hang that cost on someone else, have no business being in business.

Advertising theft has become rife in today’s business world. Previously it was fairly difficult to steal advertising outright. The advent of the interent, however, has changed that. You don’t have to look far to find companies or persons who utilize various internet web mediums (forum, blogs, etc.) to interject mentions of their product, service, event, etc., without bothering to pay a fee in exchange for the benefit they are attempting to receive.

Sometimes this sort of thing is partly innocent – the perpetrator has simply not stopped to consider that the owners of the medium being used have bills of their own to pay.  But more and more often, unscrupulous types are wantonly marketing their products and/or services on internet mediums knowing full well that they’re stealing.

When confronted, these types always have an excuse. As the owner of I’ve heard all of them. Stuff like, “We do business with another advertiser of yours” or “We’re not making any money, we’re just trying to help the rod builders.” These and a hundred other excuses are nothing more than attempts to rationalize why their marketing and advertising costs should be borne by someone other than themselves.

I spent roughly $25,000 on advertising for the Expo this past year.  I believe it was money well spent. Not once did I attempt to steal advertising, anywhere. I expected to pay for every bit of it and did. On one occasion a forum owner told me it would be fine to mention the Expo on his website even though I wasn’t a paying sponsor. I refused and insisted he accept an advertising fee from me before mentioning the Expo on his medium. I did this because it was the right thing to do. He wasn’t getting a free ride and not in a million years would I expect him to provide me with one.

If you’re in business and wish to market a product, service, event, etc., do the right thing – respect those folks who have spent their time and money to produce effective marketing venues. Always pay your fair share when using those mediums. Good business ethics demand nothing less.

Tom Kirkman


Business 101 – One Secret To Success

Very often I hear comments to the effect that such and such a company or person “supports” the International Custom Rod Building Expo. This is absurd. No one has ever supported the Expo – rather, it is the Expo that supports the craft and the industry. In fact, this is the secret behind it’s success.

The harsh economic reality is that no company nor person can afford to attend and display out of a desire to simply support the event. In order to stay in business, companies have to make money. In fact, the one great fallacy held by many rod building event promoters is that the companies in this industry can afford to continually invest in events that offer them little to zero chance of seeing a return on that investment.  No matter how much they might desire to do so, They won’t. They can’t.

This, then, is the secret to the success of the Expo. It is perhaps the only rod building event where companies can expect, and generally do, see an excellent to outstanding return on their investment in travel and exhibit fees. Whenever I have someone tell me that they attend and display in order to “support” the Expo, I smile because I know better. They’re not here to support the Expo – they’re here to take advantage of the tremendous marketing, advertising and sales opportunities that the Expo offers them.

Tom Kirkman


Format Changes

The Volume 14 #2 issue of RodMaker hit the mail earlier this week. It contains the first of some important changes to the overall format of the publication – most notably, the addition of full color on every page. The Volume 14 #3 issue, to mail around the first of June, will complete the bulk of the format changes and hopefully elicit the same sort of positive feedback which I suspect the issue currently in the mail is about to.

So now the question is, where do we go from here? RodMaker already offers the most bang for your buck. Most of the new methods and techniques come from RodMaker and you get it six times per year and for less money than other rod building publications which come publish far less frequently. There seems little reason to do more. And yet, for many years I’ve wished we could offer a monthly publication. There is so much rod building information contained in the articles stockpiled here that there’s just no way I can get the stuff published as fast as it comes in. But, attempting to publish twice as many issues in a year requires additional time that isn’t presently available. Therefore, we’ve recently begun to look at some alternatives that might offer us the same thing albeit in a different way…

The current magazine is 40 pages (due to our limited advertising space this is the editorial equivalent of most 100 page publications). If I were to keep the publishing schedule as is (bimonthly) but add another 8 page signature, we’d have a 48 page publication, effectively allowing for a few more ads but more importantly, quite a bit of new space for additional rod building information.

I’m leaning heavily towards going this route. Now we just have to see what those additional pages add in weight and what effect such weight will have on the postage required for mailing. The one thing I don’t want to do is raise the price of a subscription. RodMaker is already twice the magazine for one-half the price, but if I can make it an even better value, then I’ll do so. But I won’t raise the price.

For now, enjoy the new look and style of the magazine over the next couple of issues and look for an announcement about a size increase towards late summer or early fall.

Tom Kirkman


2011 Expo Presentation

Those of you who attended the 2011 International Custom Rod Building Exposition may remember viewing the slideshow presentation that was playing in both the Atrium and the main exhibit hall. It’s become a very nice presentation and includes almost 150 high quality photographs. Total running time is now over an hour. Chapters include: 1. Custom Rod Building History, 2. Custom Rod Photographs, 3. Custom Rod Builders.

I have made copies and am happy to offer them to any and all that would like to obtain a copy for themselves.

I will ask you to pay for the CD, envelope and postage, but we’re only talking 5 dollars. That covers the whole deal.

Send your check or MO for $5 to: RodMaker, PO Box 1322, High Point, NC 27261. I’ll get it in the mail ASAP.

Tom Kirkman

P.S. One note about the CD slideshow presentation – it is a work in progress. I continue to expand it each year.  I often receive questions as why I left out this or that person. The fact is, I haven’t left anyone out – the portions on Custom Rods and Custom Rod Builders contain every photograph sent to me by custom rod builders. If anyone is missing, it’s because they did not send me any photos to use in those portions. If you wish to be included next year, get those high-res photos in now! Contact me for details.