Bamboo Bonzai

The Life of the Wife
Of A Bamboo Rod Maker

In His Service Worldwide By Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker

In my last three stories, I covered the love, pain and joy of bamboo. At this point in time, I will be covering the life of the wife of a rod maker.

Yes, this story is about my wife Diane, and her love for her bamboo rod maker. It all started back a few years ago when Diane and I went to return a video back to our local fly shop. It was there where we met bamboo rodmakers Dennis Crockett and Richard Hunt of Sacramento, California. I talked with Dennis and Richard for a bit, and before I knew it, Dennis asked if I would like to make my own split cane bamboo fly rod.

Much to my surprise, Diane jumped up and said,"Yes" for me; she knew my hearts desire was to learn how to make the ultimate fly rod. As the day went on, I scheduled my first lesson with Dennis. Diane saw that the rod I made was the beginning of something extraordinary. She knew that this would not be the only rod I was to make.

My Wife Diane

As with most of our wives, they see things we don't see.

Diane set aside finances at every opportunity possible. This allowed us to pick up hand tools along the way, supporting my hearts desire to become a split cane bamboo fly rod maker. Diane gave up personal needs for herself to help get the items needed to make what was the next of many rods.

Not soon after, a two-car garage became a workshop for building split cane bamboo fly rods. As time went on, we began to collect things, like the old time barber chair that sits in the corner awaiting the next visitor or friend that comes to sit and watch the process of making our split cane bamboo fly rods. Off to the left of the barber chair is an old wooden desk that at one time I'm sure was sitting in a big beautiful new home many, many years ago. It sits holding all the tools and material needed for tying the occasional fly. Alongside of the tying desk is a ten-drawer oak chest where fly tying materials are stored.

As I look on and around this two car garage turned workshop, I find a certain romance that fills the air. . . or is it the smell of bamboo baking in a unique oven that at one time was a kerosene heater that kept cold hands warm? I look also and see the "Tonkin" cane poles lying across the open rafters where at one time was a place for personal family items.

This place is truly a rod maker's heaven. The light is just right above the worktable where the shavings of bamboo drop to the floor as the rod maker hand planes each strip of cane to make the perfect fly rod.

To my wife Diane, Thank you for you continued support.

Good days on the river! Yes, you can email me. ~ Michael K. Villa, Rodmaker


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