“What is the most difficult process to make a graphite rod?”
I asked Hiroki Ishikawa, who took over the business from Kiyoshi in 2014.
“Not like the bamboo rod, there are few processes that need craftsmanship to make a graphite rod. I know fly fishers love the handcrafted things. They feel comfortable knowing their rods were made one at a time. That is why people still acquire the bamboo rod. I understand that feeling, and we are making graphite rods almost the same manner as when make bamboo rods. But the good news is we don’t have to cut and plane the bamboo cane each time but roll the graphite sheet around the mandrel. It is more productive than bamboo rod making, but still far from calling it mass production.”
“Okay, then let me ask this way. Which process is the most time consuming in all the process?”
“No doubt when we design the taper. It takes forever.”
Campanella is one of a few Japanese fly rod makers that makes the rod blank from the very beginning; design the taper, cut the graphite sheet and roll that graphite sheet around the mandrel. Most of the other Japanese rod makers do not do this process by themselves but consign the production to a chemical maker or contractor.
“I know it is easier to cosign the production of the rod blank to an outsourcer. But we are a fly rod company, I mean a true fly rod maker.”
I knew what Hiroki wanted to mention by “a true fly rod maker” but needed to know a bit further.
*This article was extracted from “Mostly Bamboo” by courtesy of the author.