Archive for the ‘May 2012’ Category


This year, 2012, RodMaker Magazine celebrates its 15th anniversary. Looking back, RodMaker brought many “firsts” to the rod building craft. I’d like to mention a few of them here.

1998 – RodMaker becomes the first full size publication for custom rod builders. RodMaker also becomes the first custom rod building publication available by subscription, outside of any organizational requirement. RodMaker is also the first rod building publication to mail in a protective cover.

1999 – RodMaker becomes the first rod building publication to introduce a full color cover and photo gallery.

2002 – RodMaker becomes the first rod building publication to mail in a protective cover, replacing the clear mailing bag introduced previously.

2004 – RodMaker becomes the first rod building publication to sponsor a large scale custom rod building event, the International Custom Rod Building Exposition, now preparing to enter its 10th year.


2005 – RodMaker becomes the first rod building publication to host a yearly reception/party for its subscribers, all at no extra charge beyond the subscription price. This yearly event has continued each and every year since.


2008 – RodMaker becomes the first rod building publication to include a decal of the International Symbol for Custom Rod Building. This large (5-inch) vinyl decal was included, free of charge in each of the Volume 11 #4 issues. (Decals are still available from RodMaker, free of charge – )


2011 – RodMaker becomes the first rod building publication to print entirely in full color.


There are a lot more little things RodMaker can be proud of – 1/2 point larger than industry standard type and leading for easier reading, staple binding so the magazine lays flat for use while following instructions for an article, the lowest price per issue of any rod building publication, the list goes on and on.


Hopefully there will be many more firsts in the years to come. By the way… the Volume 15 #3 issue mails this coming Tuesday. RodMaker was the first and remains the only rod building publication to mail on time, every time!


Tom Kirkman




A Fun Time

I have been fortunate enough to fish all over the world. I’ve taken Blue Marlin (a 650+ pounder), Tuna, Swordfish, Cobia (a 72 pounder), Wahoo, etc., etc., but my favorite fishing is fly rodding for smallmouth bass on mountain rivers. I like being in the water. I like the fight of a smallmouth on a light, 5-weight fly rod.

This past weekend was spent in Virginia where Rodney and I took well over 150 fish between us in. The largest was about 6 pounds, although most were around 2 pounds (photo), and simply none under a pound. The water was clear and high, tremendous flow, but the fish apparently found it to their liking. The best part was that all were very solid, fat little fish that put up a tremendous fight on the fly rod. They appear to have been feeding quite well. Water is still a bit cool (62F), but this only made them fight harder and longer.

There are bigger fish in the world, but few are as much fun for the effort involved.  And yes, all were released quickly and in good shape.

Tom Kirkman



RodMaker Wood Turning Seminar

On May 5th, 2012, rod builders with an eye on learning wood turning met at the RodMaker Offices and Shop in High Point, NC. With one exception, all were first timers at the lathe. And with that one exception, none of the others even owned a lathe.


Master wood turner and wood turning teacher Morris Schlesinger instructed the students on a multitude of the craft’s aspects including tool sharpening, spindle turning, sacrificial morse taper mounts, boring, sanding and more.

Each student had access to a lathe for the entire 7 hour session (45-minute lunch break). Two were still turning as we began the clean up that afternoon. To say the students enjoyed the class would be an understatement.

There are few things more valuable in terms of learning a craft than hands-on instruction from a master at the craft. Morris is more than just a master wood turner, of course, he understands and enjoys people and his easy going demeanor and pertinent quips and tips added an additional and valuable element to the class.

As testimony to the quality of the turnings produced by these mostly first time turners under Morris’s instruction, many of the turnings didn’t require sanding – Morris’s instruction on the proper use of the tools produced surfaces that were butter smooth. Some students even spent time practicing their “bead and cove” work – not usually something a first timer would attempt nor succeed at on their first day at the lathe.

Expect to see Morris at the 2013 International Custom Rod Building Exposition next February. And there is some possibility, that we may stage another wood turning class here at RodMaker later this Fall.


Tom Kirkman




Expo Update

Spent the day in Winston-Salem visiting the Benton Convention Center again. We have set out the floor plan and have included a casting lane this year.


I also spent some time touring the main hotels and have to say they are very elegantly appointed and well equipped with about every amenity you can imagine.  Great restaurants, pools, spas, workout rooms, valet parking, etc.


Much more to report, but I’ll save it for later this week when I have time to write a more detailed account of the many new and exciting things that will be a part of Expo 2013.


Tom Kirkman