Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Rodsmith's Guild

Truth told the number of artisan and notable cottage fly rod builders (bamboo and fiberglass) has grown over the past few years which is certainly interesting given the economy we have been living in.  Most of the fly rod builders that I speak to routinely haven't noticed much of a slow down at all in regards to a depression and instead have waiting lists of those that would like blanks or builds.  This speaks to their work as a craftsman.  

Recently The Rodsmith's Guild unveiled their new website and have issued this press release which I am sharing in this post.  A guild like this is a good thing and is a measuring stick of sorts for builders and also a reference for those looking for a truly special fly rod.  

From The Rodsmith's Guild press release...

A new trade guild for those involved with the fabrication of fine fishing rods has been established in the United States of America, and is now open to individuals from any country. 

The Rodsmith’s Guild officially opened to the public on the sixth of January of this year, and is established to distinguish tradesmen of the rodsmithing industry.  Current and founding members already include some of the most highly respected individuals in the industry, but the guild is open to individuals at any skill level.
David Shumway, creator of the Rodsmith’s Guild states, “From the consumer’s perspective, the Rodsmith’s Guild is designed to provide a clear means of identifying qualified tradesmen to consider when commissioning work associated with these trades.   And our vision is to promote the tradesmen and trades of rodsmithing, and to have them viewed as professional skills, even if those skills are only being applied as a hobby.  I think that’s why you find the caliber of individuals that you do as part of our membership.  They see what the guild can bring to elevate these trades, and so they want to be a part of it.”
The Rodsmith’s Guild recognizes three rodsmithing trades:  Designer, Maker, and Builder.  The difference in these trades is defined by what work is actually performed relative to the rod blank, and irrespective of what material the rod blank is made from, or what type of fishing it is designed for.  
Mr. Shumway explains, “A Designer is a tradesman that establishes the design and fabrication parameters of the rod blank.  Makers actually fabricate the blank itself, and Builders assemble the various components into a completed rod.  So it doesn’t matter what the rod is made from, or what it’s made for.  Everyone’s welcome.”
An individual can be recognized as a tradesman within one or more of these trades, and an individual that is considered a master tradesman in all three trades is designated within the guild as a Master Rodsmith, which gives the Rodsmith’s Guild its name.
Titles are awarded to individuals by members of the guild within each recognized trade(s), and each title is representative of the individual’s expertise in that trade.  An individual with no or limited skills in a trade can become a member of the guild as an Apprentice, while those possessing qualifications and skills in a trade are awarded either a Journeyman or a Master title.  The main differentiation between the latter two of these titles being, the Master tradesman will have effectively taught others the skills and knowledge of their trade.

It is a pleasure to see many of the fiberglass fly rod builders that are profiled on T.F.M. to also be involved with The Rodsmith's Guild.
For more information please visit The Rodsmith's Guild website.  

Please contact David Shumway by email if you have any questions. 

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