My Big Fan
By Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker
In my last article
"The Life of a Wife of a Rodmaker", I introduced my wife
Diane and two good friends Dennis Crockett and Richard Hunt. In
this article I would like to introduce to you my "Big Fan".
Yes, even with all the Lord's blessings, there is still one
Big Fan. I introduce my fan to you, I would like to share how
we met. As you may remember, in my last story Diane and I met up
with Dennis and Richard of Sacramento, where I was making my
first split cane bamboo fly rod.
After some long hours working with Dennis and Richard on
this 7' 9", 2 piece rod (you know; hand splitting, node removing,
cane staggering, straightening strips, taper working, hand
planing, heat treating, gluing cane etc,) it was time to
mount the ferrule, tiptop, snake guides, cork handle, reel
seat, winding check and the finish wraps. Dennis knew that
I had some experience in repairing cane rods, so he let me
take my blank home.
In my excitement I could not sleep that night. I just kept
thinking about my rod. Keep in mind that this was the first
rod I ever made. (A side note to the reader: I still have
this rod and for $10,000 it can be yours! When I die it
will be worth 2 times that much!) OK, OK, back to reality.
After some time I got to sleep. This was on a Friday night,
so this meant that the next day was, you guessed it, Saturday.
So what do you think I did? Yep, I went up to my workroom on
the second floor (Diane let me use a room up there for my
fly tying, and cane rod repair stuff.)
There it was. . . my split cane bamboo fly rod just waiting
for me to put my hands on it. I had placed the rod on a
rod-wrapping stand. I began to mount the cork handle and
place the reel seat onto the blank. Not long after, it was
time to began to wrap this baby, and yes, I did take my time,
after all this was the first split cane bamboo fly rod made
by my own two hands. This rod was a long haul.
I spent a lot of time driving to Dennis' house; it was about
one hour drive each way, and I never got there before 7:30 pm.
I would work on it until 11:30-12:00 am. Sometimes Dennis and
I would sit and talk until one am, even knowing that we had
to work the next day. It seemed like I was never going to
finish this rod. Let's get back to the table.
I spent all day Saturday working on my rod until it was finished.
Glory! I kept the rod on the turner till it dried, figured that
if I left it there for 24 hours it would be dry. As tough as
it was to keep my hands off of it, I did! The next day came
and I got up to see if my rod was dry, and it was.
Now it was time to show it off, so I called Richard to set up
a time when Dennis and I could come by to show him my new rod,
after all I was a student of his as well. We made a time for
that very week, I was so happy.
I came downstairs, with my new split cane bamboo fly rod in
hand. Diane was standing in the dining room when I handed
her my new rod. It was then when I met my "BIG" fan. Diane
lifted my rod to see the reel seat, not knowing that the
ceiling fan above her was running at full speed. This was
a 52", 4 blade, 3-speed ceiling fan from Home Depot. I don't
need to tell you that this fan of mine was trying to
engulf my new rod!
As she looked up, Diane's face was paralyzed with fear.
After my heart got going again, I pulled the rod out of
Diane's hand and quickly removed it from the ceiling fan.
Yes, Diane and I are still married today, and my rod is
still in use. My big fan? I'm sure it is waiting for
it's next opportunity.
Good days on the river! Yes, you can email
me. ~ Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker