Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by shawn k, Feb 8, 2007.
He doesn't roll the blanks. He designs them and has someone else roll them.
That's a fact. The blanks are rolled by CTS in New Zealand.
I've often mused about why it is that TFO's business model is so widely accepted by fly fisherman, while when companies like Ross and Winston go overseas they are shuned and dumped on by the FFing community. I have come to the personal conclusion that it is b/c TFO has always been forthcomming and open about their manufacturing practices while others have been less than transparent. Also, I'm sure it helps that the end product is of high quality and the savings are passed on to the consumer.
As a group it seems that FFishers are more socially aware than your average worm drowner. So I think its interesting companies like TFO have been so warmly embraced. I'd love to hear other's thoughts on this. Just cause I'm curious... This probably should have been a new thread.
It seems as though folks who object to outsourcing either have heartburn over jobs/work going over seas or think the quality suffers. To my knowledge, TFO has had its rods made overseas for as long as it has been in existence, or at least as long as its been fairly big on the national scene. People who buy TFO rods are looking for less expensive alternatives and aren't as concerned about fit and finish. Companies such as Ross and Winston have begun outsourcing more recently and those who object, likely do so on the basis of those jobs going overseas or believe the quality of the product has suffered. Just a thought.
He has CTS roll them for him. He still has to do the taper design though
The mantra of those companies for years was that the rods were made in the USA. For Ross, it appears that they even started a seperate entity "Ross Worldwide" to help protect that image. With Winston is another thing entirely. The were made in the USA, then started making rods overseas very quietly. All the while the quality started to suffer, but the prices remained very high....
It's pretty interesting to me how people value the rods built with cts blanks so much when compared with perhaps a TFO. Both rods are built overseas, but one is built by new zealanders, while the other comes from Korea. Does New Zealand have a deserved and long lasting reputation for top notch manufacturing of goods that I do not know about? What is the difference between CTS and TFO really? (besides what they say about themselves on their websites.)
Don't get me wrong. I have heard great things about CTS stuff, but I just think its an interesting social construct that has been developed about the quality of manufacturing between different foreign countries.
I think Meiser does some really awesome finish work. But recently I did not buy a Meiser because he used blanks that were built overseas. If not for my own rod building obsession, I would probably buy a Meiser finished rod from a Sage blank as he offers to do. I personally wouldnt buy a tfo either, although either rods might be the right choice for someone else. In fact I try to buy products from my hometown area if they are of comparable value (Vancouver,WA) knowing that these companies help my local community.
I'm not trying to flame up on this post, but I'm wondering if anyone agrees with my method of purchasing. Or if you disagree, how do you purchase your gear? price only? quality only? location? etc. Some of you might notice that the social aspects of fly fishing interest me more than anything else except of course my own enjoyment of the sport.
This sounds like a topic for another thread. :thumb:
"I find it interesting that St. Croix can develop their own tapers and designs, use local labor in the Wisconsin town they are located in, and still have a 2-hander built for the same $350.00 retail price without using sweat shop labor in a foreign country. I guess St. Croix is able to get along with less profit per rod. I wonder why TFO can't do this."
I've wondered a similar, but different thought. I wonder why Sage and Loomis can't do this.
I don't buy Loomis rods because I don't care for their action, and I don't buy Sage rods (with 2 exceptions) because I consider them over-priced despite their design innovation and hi-tech materials. I do not expect any agreement about the pervasiveness of marketing hype in the fly fishing industry, but my observations persuade me that hype in the main ingredient serving the industry today. Therefore I'm rather pleased with the influx of quality fly rods from offshore sources.
There are huge differences between CTS and the stuff from TFO. Materials, the kind of processes, the choice of tapers, etc. This isn't to say the Korean companys put out crap, but in general CTS is pushing out stuff that only other high end manufactuers can do (graphic scrim, multimodulus within the same section, etc...)...
To each his own, but in rebuttle, I'd say, I won't support local industries if the pricing/quality ratio doesn't justify buying from them. It's kinda like the late 70's early 80's auto industry. They were more expensive, lower quality, but damn, if you didn't buy American, you were unpatriotic. To whit, I'm not a huge fan of the pricing of Loomis 2 handers. With all of that said, if the price difference is a few bucks I won't sweat it. But if the price difference is larger, I say let the American spirit of innovation take place, and either push the cutting edge (Sage), or figure out how to do it cheaper....
Also, as a side note, Shimano owns Loomis, so if you are truly interested in American industries, you're pretty much left with Sage and St Croix.
I'm a big fan of supporting the quality local brands, but refusing to buy any imported fishing equipment simply to "keep American jobs" is the most minimal, insignificant contribution to the American economy you can possibly make. Look at the "Made in..." tags on your clothing, shoes, cars, electronics, dishes, furniture, etc. How much did you spend on those items versus a couple hundred bucks for a fly rod and how many of them have equivalent products that are made in the USA?
You know, I tried to get Burkheimer to build a couple of blanks for me a few years ago, but after being told they were a few days away from being finished for several months straight, I finally gave up and had CTS build them instead. I never did hear if he finished them or not, but my guess is he never even started.
Burkie == slow... He tries to keep production to around 500 a year. If you're not on the list, then the velvet ropes will keep you out. It's not to say he's a bad guy, to the contrary he's done a lot for the 2 handed guys out there. But in general his production can be considered Boutique rather than consumer, which is probably how he and his customers prefer it.
Exactly who I bought from last. Quality in a local business. Price was up there for the blank, but not too much more than any other of similar quality.
For me in the last couple of years I have visited gloomis' and burkheimer's manufacturing shops and have met the people who have built those rods. It kind of hit home for me that choosing to purchase from those companies helped keep those people in a job.
I think also that there's a little local pride in the fact that within about 20 mins of my neighborhood growing up there are three pretty good rod manufacturers (loomis, lamiglas, burkheimer). Maybe its that local connection that also drives my purchasing decisions?
Getting a rod from Burkheimer might take you a little time, but I had no problem when I ordered from him this last fall. Got my blank (and a few other components) within about 3-4 weeks. But, I guess it is hard to satisfy our fast food type of society.
While it is the exception, I've heard of folks waiting *months* to get a Burkie blank. I myself waited 3 of them while a supplier I buy from assured me that a production order he made was going to get filled by Burkheimer. He ended up waiting a total of 4 months for the blanks he ordered, but by then I cancelled. They still sold like hot cakes due to the wonderful quality, but still....
The problem I have isn't pressures for myself, but rathers pressures from the people I build rods for. I'm slow enough as it is, so I don't need additional delays in time due to late delivery of parts...
With all of that said, with a lot of time and a big budget, I wouldn't mind getting a Burkie to build on. It's just one of those things where the time to wait isn't something I can afford.
I would have been fine waiting for the blank if I would have been given an accurate estimate to begin with. Being promised 4-6 weeks, then checking in 12 weeks later and being told they would be finished the following week, then checking in again 3 weeks later and not getting any reply whatsoever isn't acceptable to me. There are enough other good rodmakers out there that I don't need to deal with people like that.
Your last sentence covers it all. Carry now 'retails' his rods through several large shops (flyfishusa, Kaufmann are two that come immediately to mind). His is not a huge operation in terms of staff, facilities, etc., but he makes an excellent rod from top to bottom of the range. To my knowledge, he builds all his own blanks in house.
Want to pay a bit more for pure 'eye candy?' Take a look at his new 'Vintage' series finish rods!:thumb: WOOF!!