Joy Dunlap

Let me tell you a little about a rod builder named Joy Dunlap. Joy may be the oldest living, active rod builder. He’s 89 now and has some trouble with arthritis and other ailments, but he’s still “at the bench” as often as he’s able. He began building way back in the early 1940’s and has been involved in all aspects of the craft right on up to the present moment in time.


Joy probably created more notoriety for the “Robert’s Wrap” (spiral wrap) than any other custom rod builder over the years. No, he didn’t invent it, but he did popularize it. He’s built on cane (made his own blanks), steel, glass and graphite. There isn’t much about custom rod building that Joy hasn’t had a finger in at one point or another.


Yesterday I opened the mail to find a package from Joy. Inside were several articles covering a wide range of rod building topics. Some on history, others on techniques. These will be appearing in several near future issues of RodMaker.


As the “old timers” of the craft are getting on in years it’s important to remember that much of what rod builders are doing today, has been built on the shoulders of Joy’s generation. I’m glad he’s still around and “at the bench” as much as he can be these days.



Tom Kirkman



1 Comment

  1. Jim Mooney on July 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Joy is a talented rod builder and true gentleman. Good to hear he’s still building a few.