Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly.  With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you.  Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old.  Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today.  Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.

December 13th, 2004

Cane Rods Tips and Tapers
By Ray Gould
Published by Frank Amato Publications

Reviewed by Bill Taylor

I am a student of cane rodmaking and a practitioner as well, so it was with great interest that I ripped open the pages of Ray Goulds second book Cane Rods Tips and Tapers. I must admit that even a "caniac" like myself was a little skeptical that anything significant could be added to the craft after so many books and articles have been published on the subject. I was mistaken. I should preface these comments with the statement that this work is not a title which a person would purchase to learn to make cane rods, rather it is a compilation of tips and tapers for the craftsman who is interested in the furthering of their craft. The amount of information available on cane rodmaking these days can be staggering, and Mr. Gould has again added to the bounty.

On the cover of the book we find a photograph of classic rods by the likes of Dickerson, Payne, Garrison, and Edwards. If you are unfamiliar with cane rods this means little, but to the initiated these are names whispered in reverence. Ray does a superb job of balancing the classic makers rods with modern building techniques, and demystifying certain processes involved in rodmaking. Sections that have been little covered in other works have been included in detail in this book. Including sections on maximizing rod performance, heat treatment and moisture control, ammonia toning, milling machine designs, quadrate rods, nodeless rodmakimg, and spiral rodmaking are included. Each of these sections are written in clear, concise language with detailed drawings and photographs that make the operations described easy to understand.

Some of you may be unfamiliar with the term taper. A taper, in this context is the dimensions of a rod at certain points that are fundamental to its action. Ray Gould in this book includes 334 tapers by my count, from 4' banty rods to 14' spey rods it is the largest compilation of tapers that I am aware of in one publication. Fly, spin, baitcasting, quadrate, pentagonal, spey, and bamboo over graphite insert rods can be found here. Tapers taken from classics as well as a generous amount of Mr. Goulds personally developed tapers are included. This is perhaps my favorite section of the book as I am continually looking to incorporate new ideas in developing rod models and searching for that "perfect" rod action.

Author Ray Gould Bamboo collectors and afficionados of classic rods will be happy to see photographs of rods by Dickerson, Payne, Garrison, Edwards, South Bend, Hardy, Pezon et Michel, Montague, Granger, Heddon, Leonard, Orvis, and Ray Gould. The book concludes with a section on understanding rod actions and also a glossary of commercial suppliers of tools,components, adhesives, and finishes for making cane rods.

This book has found a welcome home among my growing library of titles devoted to cane rods and rodmaking. It has already received the best compliment I can give any title on cane rodmaking as it already has its corners bent and bamboo shavings are imbedded in its binding creases. Ray Gould has written a great sequel to his first book Constructing Cane Rods and I again have replaced my skepticism with appreciation. ~ Bill Taylor

Cane Rods Tips and Tapers
Ray Gould
80 pages
Softbound (ISBN: 1-57188-308-8) $25
Published by Frank Amato Books

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