Cosmos

I have a number of clients building affordable housing in the Eastern Cape. It’s still the Transkei to me. I grew up there and left before it changed so for me the name is frozen in time. 

Anyhow, we drove up through Pondoland mainly, slept over (read: drank beer) in Kokstad and the next morning headed in the direction of Matatiele. From there it was a hard beat up bad roads that seemed almost vertical until we topped the escarpment so close to Lesotho that even the local language was a dialect of what we’re used to lower down. 

On the way recent rains had brought out the wild cosmos flowers. I love these things. I caught some hurried photos and missed areas where there were literally acres of them in fallow pastures. The pics aren’t great but you get, you know, the picture. 

I just wish I had time to cast a fly. Next time…

  

  

 

  

   

 
 

  

  

  

     

  

   

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Sight

Some days you just want to give up. 

I left home at 04:00 this morning, slightly hungover, but keen for a fish. I planned to fish the farm Riverside in the Kamberg and was well excited to be going there as I haven’t been there all season. 

Crossing the bridge over the farm at the turn off to the farmhouse it was clear that they’d had some generous rain over night. Witness the photo below; this is just not possible to fish (for someone of my ability). 


I decided to head further up the road to the Kamberg nature reserve as it has some flat water above the old hatchery. 

As I arrived I could see that I was up against it but I spent a few fruitless hours fighting drag and frustration. 


I decided to pack it in and fish one of the dams. 

It was all pretty uneventful as a storm was brewing and trout become completely docile in the approach to a storm. It was (or is- I’m currently sheltering from it) one of those that threaten for hours before getting on with it. 

I noticed that in between totally calm periods the wind would pick up slightly and fish would snuffle around the margins. There was also some activity that suggested emergers and adult sedge feeding. I threw everything at them to no avail. 

After a few hours I sat down, lit a pipe and thought about it. Storms = flying ants around here. I tied on a #18 flying ant and sat and waited on the edge, hiding behind a convenient clump of reeds

After a while a fish showed itself. Fly into its path, beautiful head and tail rise, and, bang, a fair little rainbow. A 20 minute wait, repeat procedure. This time it snatched at the fly and I couldn’t set the hook. Another 20 minutes and success again.  

These fish are bred to be caught.  My daughter loves smoked trout and I am not one of these ‘if you don’t release it you’re a boil on the face of the sport’ guys. 

Sight fishing, especially after frustration, is wonderful. I wish every outing allowed it. The times when you are able to do it just make you want to go back again and again and again. The ability to use your head, eyes and hands and have it work out is just fantastic. 


Fire up the smoker. But for now the Lightning has passed and I see a swirl in the shallows. 

Target acquired. So glad I didn’t go home early. 

Completed Net

Here’s a picture of a completed net (refer my previous post on making them). 



I really like the grey mesh that my wife sewed up for me in record time. 

When you make something yourself it’s easy to get caught up on how it’s not exactly what you intended, it’s little flaws and such. But, if you allow yourself to stand back and say “I did this, it’s the only one of its kind in existence and I’m allowing myself to feel proud”, then, suddenly, life becomes really cool. 

This net is bound for a friend of mine tomorrow. He hasn’t asked and I haven’t promised one. He’s a good guy. We’re not very close but sometimes it’s also cool to just acknowledge someone for being a decent person. 

One day I’ll actually keep one for myself. My current net is a low-grade factory produced thing. The day I get my hand on some African  wild olive then I start my own net. 

Started With A Rainbow

I managed to squeeze a day out yesterday to cast a fly on the Mooi River. Up high, where its a few rod lengths wide, at best, with bigger pools here and there. 

It was a day full of changing weather conditions, rain and squalls. Not ideal. 

It did, however, start out with a beautiful rainbow. 


I even got a dozen or so fish and ended with quite a nice wild brown on my new rod. 


After the photo it was properly revived and it swam off unharmed but a little wiser for the experience. A decent fish on a dry fly is always rewarding and exciting. 

This is the pool it came from. 

I love it where the river runs over a lip and leaves you with a window into the river. My camera doesn’t really pick it up properly. 


All in all not a bad day out. 

Not a great day, mind you.  The kind that makes you want to head back at the first opportunity. 

On Experts

I’m getting weary of a world filled with experts. 

Let me clear up some possible ambiguity in that statement. It’s the experts and not the world I’m weary of. 

The study of fairly arbitrary subjects in infinite detail to the point that all meaning and value are extracted from them bores me. While I like to believe that I am, compared to many I meet better read and knowledgeable on a range of topics I have no burning desire to become an expert in any of them. To be proficient, yes. To pull them apart to their core and then to reconstruct them, no. 

The problem with this study of minute detail is that you lose the feel for them. The sense of wonder that attracted you to them in the first place.

That a certain amount of detailed study is required for many disciplines or vocations is a given. It’s not really that of which I speak. Although, having said that, I have  friends who are surgeons and somewhere in their quest for knowledge they have certainly forgotten that they are physicians. I feel though that somewhere they’ve lost the sense of humanity that probably once inspired them. Perhaps they keep it hidden in order to protect themselves from what can be a painful occupation. 

I truly shudder when I see what are gentle pursuits being over analyzed, deconstructed and thoroughly demystified. Ok, not demystified but at very least having almost every bit of pleasure wrung from them in favor of mastering them and making them our dominion. 

You see this in art. If you need a book to be told how and why to appreciate a piece then something is wrong. Art should be pleasing and challenging or it should be balanced and soothing. What it shouldn’t be is appreciated because some proclaimed expert said it should be. I enjoy a great deal of modern art and very little photographically correct art so it is not that I just like a nice picture. 

Wine is the same. Music also. It moves you or it doesn’t. I don’t need a guide to tell me what I should taste or hear or feel. It is an intuitive process of appreciation. Certainly one can be guided and may develop a feel for more complexity; but just not for complexity’s sake. 

Nothing removes the pleasure faster from my trout fishing reading and fishing than an expert who analyses every aquatic environment, insect, water temperature, etc in order to make minute adjustments to techniques. Is there merit in knowledge? Yes. Is there an advantage to be gained? Absolutely. 

My problem is that when you listen to or read these expert discourses you will not hear about the quality of the experience. It becomes about a technical dominance over nature. There is hardly a word about that rush of blood when a fish rises to an imitation. Nothing about the sound of water dancing over a stream bed. It’s about the size of the fish, the description of the equipment and an attention seeking discussion of the technique used. 

Do these experts catch more fish? Probably. Do they enjoy the experience as much as the rest of us? Maybe, but for different reasons. Do they catch more fish than the experts of preceding generations of lesser informed experts? No. No, they don’t. I’ll guarantee you that they have a lot less fun than the rest of us. (Well me, anyhow.)

I wonder whether astrologists still stare up into the sky in wonder and childlike awe. I doubt it. 

Surely experts feel the weight of expectation on their shoulders? I’ve never asked one because I don’t hang around until the Q&A bit of the presentation. You’ll find me at the bar pretty early on in proceedings. 

I don’t want to be an expert. I distrust people with all the answers. The evolution of our species has proved that whatever we’ve elevated to the point of being an absolute truth is debunked later. Nowadays it’s debunked in a fortnight on average. 

Am I suggesting that we shouldn’t specialize? Not at all. Our species had a natural inquisitiveness. It is why we have endured. 

I just think that in some endeavors we need to remember why we wanted to do them in the first place, then slow down, breathe, look around and allow your spirit to dominate. 

Because, if you’re going to be there then be all there. 

Don’t Say That Word

This isn’t going to be easy for me to do, but I need to express myself on something that really bothers me. I’m uncomfortable doing this and I hope I can get my point across. 

I suppose the best way to do it is to just speak my mind while trying not to be politically correct. 

I get extremely annoyed and upset when I hear the word ‘nigger’ being used in conversation. I cringe whenever I hear it. 

I can’t understand how this has become ‘cool’. It just blows my mind. I know, don’t tell me, I’ve seen the Richard Prior video where he explains it. I reject this explanation with contempt. 

I don’t really do political correctness. I think it’s stupid and mostly just protects the sensitivity of those with fragile egos. I understand, and respect and protect, that comedians are social commentators who use shock to get the attention of their audiences. When this crosses over into everyday behaviour it becomes untenable. 

As much as I don’t do PC I also don’t do hate speech, belittling and racial superiority. That I am offensive there is little doubt. Get over yourself. Everyone is always so offended by everything. It’s as though one harsh word will challenge their right to exist. 

I don’t attack the person, I attack ideals, norms, convention, habit, paradigms; these are grist to my mill. I don’t think that because you disagree with an idea that I have you are against me or that I should feel dimished by it.  

‘Nigger’ is just a horrible term. It takes an entire group of people and relegates them to a place where they are considered sub-human. It reinforces the fact that for thousands of years people of colour were considered less human than white people. 

When you use it colloquially, even between black people, it reinforces the sub-human paradigm. 

Ok, you say, what’s happening here is that black people identify themselves as underdogs and use it to show a sense of belonging; they understand that the world largely still regards them this way and by using it they remind themselves to fight against it. Actually, you could probably say this more eloquently than I have and it would make more sense. You know what I’m getting at though. 

I fully get the fact that the use of the term was designed to make white people cringe. Prior and company used it intentionally to draw attention to the life of the black man in America. They wanted us to cringe. They wanted us to think twice. 

Self mutilation, attempted suicides and dangerous behaviour are ways of ‘acting up’, of drawing attention to oneself. They say “Look at me. Look AT me. I am in pain. I am hurting. Why don’t you understand?” Self mutilation shows us physical pain so that we can understand that there is an underlying emotional pain. It also says “I don’t care about myself. Nobody else does and neither do I. Look, I will cause myself harm to myself to show you that you are right not to care. But please make it go away.”

That Prior and his ilk used the word intentionally is patent. He tries to explain it. You may feel that he even does a good job of it. I believe that the use of the word comes from a place much deeper in his subconscious than that and that it is a wild and necessary cry for attention. 

At some point the use of the word crossed over from being a statement of protest or to draw attention to a shared societal pain and found its way into mainstream language. This is where I start to become very concerned. 

There is a social group that has accepted the term as describing them and has designated it ‘cool’. It reminds me of those biker groups with names like ‘Outcasts’. They are no more outcasts than any one of us. Because the world accepts them as being different they have embraced it. They’re no different to you or I. They just live a different social paradigm.  

The problem with accepting the term is that it brings with it a world of unintended consequences. These may sound like an overreaction but, as I’ve said previously about using the word ‘hate’, what you think is how you behave.

Firstly what using this word does is to reinforce the paradigm that black people are an inferior race. It does this for both white people and black peopl who use or hear the word. It is an acceptance of the word and the paradigm that it describes. 

Secondly, it makes it easier for the word to be used in the wrong way. Let’s rather call this the way not intended by the colloquial use of the word. Any way that it’s used is the wrong way but now what does that white person mean when he says “how you my nigger”? Can you be sure he’s using it to identify with you or that he’s being derogatory? This has to incite racial tension. Racisism is racism. 

I can keep going on with examples ad nausium but my third, and biggest, problem with the colloquial use of the word is that it is a disabler to what I believe is the proper raising of my children. 

The world is so full of prejudice and intolerance and I am trying as hard as I might to teach my children tolerance. How can they practice tolerance when they see people that they look up to and consider cool using horrible, horrible hate speech? They imitate these people. So if they become ambivalent to the use of racist terms where will it end?

I don’t believe that if you are a celebrity you have some sort of obligation to be a shining example of good values to the world. No, I don’t believe this at all. I love rock ‘n roll too much for that. I do believe, however, that nobody should disseminate hate speech and that if you have a very large, very impressionable audience then perhaps you do have a responsibility to mind your actions. 

There is infinite space in this world for rebels. Just rebel against injustice. You won’t run out of causes. You have no risk of looking ‘mainstream’. You can still piss off leaders and governments and parents and religious leaders. I encourage you to do it. Get up, stand up. 

I think this argument is really simple. All you have to do is to be a decent person. 

Decent people don’t use that hateful word. 

On The Subject Of Imaginary Friends

I have an imaginary friend. I never had one as a child, but I have one now. I’m not sure he’s so much an imaginary friend as much as my inner voice. Either way, he’s a right bastard.   

Some corporate trainer (I lie, it was my psychiatrist) tried to tell me about ‘your inner moderator‘. The voice inside you that tells you to tread carefully, to be rational, to slow down, that you’ve had enough to drink, that you should pull your trousers up; that sort of nonsense. It’s that part of you that after an argument points out that you were irrational. The bit that helps you see the other person’s point of view. The last vestige of your inner caveman that tells you that despite your attempts to imitate a cork you should stay away from the tar pits.  

It’s the adult part of you that speaks to you and points out reason.  

Apparently you are made up of a parent, a child and an adult. You should be an adult to the world, a parent to your children and, from time to time, allow your inner child to run free. Anyhow, that’s the theory. It’s a good theory too, if you have the stomach for such things. My corporate trainer has LOTS of time for these theories. At a week’s honest wages per hour I would also develop a taste for not-very-simply-explained-we’re-all-out-of-time-let’s-shedule-a-dozen-more-appointments theories. 

One’s inner voice or moderator is an important and intrinsic component of being a well rounded adult. As I’ve yet to meet a well rounded adult as far as I’m concerned the jury is well out. 

My inner voice is nothing like that though. Hell no. He’s the one that suggests I have another drink, take corners faster on my motorcycle, tease small children and the infirm or play my guitar more loudly. He never lets me back down from a dare or say goodnight at an appropriate time. He has me insert my contact lenses after applying aftershave (“how bad can it be?”) and encourages me to lift the lids of boiling pots without protection (“just do it quickly”). 

Mostly, when he’s not encouraging me to rip holes in the best efforts of my board of directors, colleagues, the clergy, politicians, boy bands, celebrities or ‘the experts’ he chides and derides me. 

“You cast like a blind man trying to find a light switch.”

“Good God, lose some weight, fatty.” 

“You ride like a pussy, get your knee out.” 

“Jeez, you drew THAT? Are you going to ask your mom to stick it on the fridge?”  

“Hey, everyone, look at that guy stuck under the bar in the bench press section.” 

“No wonder you don’t have friends; you’re a bit of a knob.”

He’s not a nice chap. But most often he’s all the company I have so I keep him around. 

His name is One-Eye-Jack and, if you haven’t worked it out already, he’s a son of a bitch. 
Why One-Eye-Jack? Let’s just say when he tells me I cast a fly line like two blind fools trying to perform a particularly difficult bit of the karma sutra on a doorknob he’s not entirely inaccurate. 

“Jack”, I said determinedly, “there’s a slight downstream breeze and you’re standing behind my right shoulder. Move away.”

“Ohhhh forrrr heeeeaven’s sakessss”, he replied with no small measure of exasperation, “get on with it. Those fish will move upstream for the purposes of some good loving as winter approaches and it’s already late spring.”

“Come on buddy, move a rod’s length onto the bank. Please.”

“Cast. The. Effing. Fly. Already.”

An eye makes a very odd sort of plopping sound as its ripped from its socket by a large hopper imitation. Not an unpleasant sound, mind you. If you can imagine a yo-yo breaking through the surface a stiff custard from within  the bowl you would be within the ballpark. It’s not the sound of a startled frog entering a stream either; although that is a pleasing sort of a plop. No, it’s more resonant. The custard and yo-yo is pretty accurate. P-llll-op. If you are familiar with the power stroke as a component of the fly cast you can easily imagine the hook setting on the tow-in and the plop as the acceleration of the power stroke begins. 

Now Jack never much liked me. Following the incident leading to the extension of his name he positively despised me. I told him it is always advisable to wear glasses when casting or being around those who may be casting. 
“Jack”, I’d say, “put your glasses on, this is dangerous stuff this piscatorial flogging. Personal injury is a well documented facet of every piscatorial endeavor.” But, alas, my words were to no avail.

“For the love of everything holy would you get over your fear of looking silly in front of, talking to or being in the company of strangers and GET A CASTING INSTRUCTOR! Hire an effing guide. Anything.” P-lll-op. “Catch it in your net. Catch it in your bloody net! A good ophthalmologist will save it.”

A good opthomologist would probably have been able to save it as the stream we were fishing is high up and pristine in condition, free of agricultural and other human interference. Despite the drag on the eyeball resulting from it’s trailing optical nerve it was sipped off the surface, neat as you like, by a trout in a textbook head-and-tail rise and was never seen again. 

One-Eye-Jack has never forgiven me. 

…………………………

While I’m not one to write fiction I could, with sufficient encouragement, tell you a few more tales about my misadventures with One-eyed-Jack. Why don’t I leave you to tell me? Seriously. Or is this pushing it too far?

Knocking Out A Few Nets

I mentioned before that I’m trying my hand at making trout nets. I’m not much of an artisan. I’ve sort of made it up as I go along. 

I’ll update this over the next few days. 

Here’s (for what it’s worth) my process. 
I’m making smallish nets for stream fishing. I hardly ever fish stillwater, but I suppose that at some point I’ll build a long handled, wide symmetrical net. 
First I Work out a shape. I like asymmetrical nets because they help to land the fish on-stream. The handle in the pattern looks strange because it is broadened up by the frame where they join. It takes some thinking about. 

I try not to copy existing nets too closely. They’re all much the same though. In the background is a net already in clamps. I can do about eight handles and first strips in a day. I mean, if I wanted to. I don’t. 


The strips of wood will be steamed and clamped into shape on a piece of old board. 

I’ve designed a little clamping mechanism that works fantastically. There’s a little piece of ironmongery available at hardware stores that is both externally and internally threaded. It probably has a name. 


I fix it through a block of wood and screw this down to my board. 


A bolt through the clamp holds the stops in place against the form. They are quickly adjustable with an electric screwdriver. Small adjustments are made by hand.  

I mark the board and just use aluminum nails as the form. There’s not a lot of pressure on them so you don’t need to get overly fancy. 

At some point I’d like to glue a sheet of stainless steel to a board and drill the shape of a few nets into it permanently. Then I can use steel dowels and change patterns really quickly and easily. 

The handle is part of the form and I cut it with a jigsaw early in the process. 


Making a template and doing all this with a router would give a perfection. I don’t want perfection. I want it look like someone made it by hand. It needs to be rustic (for want of a better word). Also, I tell myself this because I’m really lazy. 

Here is everything set up for the strips to come in. I screw the handle in place at the point where it will ultimately be drilled out for a lanyard. 


Then I steam the first strip of three. In this case it is American White Ash. The middle strip will be American Walnut. 

I stole my wife’s pressure cooker and I’m using an old downpipe as a chamber. It’s not ideal. The heat causes it to collapse. The pipe, that is. The pressure cooker works excellently (no collapses yet) with the exception that I get dirty looks. I’ll scavenge a steel pipe from someone sometime. 

Also, if you ever do this please wear gloves. Steam is a bastard. 


As you can see I don’t have a workshop. I’m not the most popular guy around home today. 

Around eight minutes under steam is fine for ash. It bends well. I’ve used mahogany subspecies and they need half an hour of steam. It’s hot work. 
When it’s been steamed long enough I have to get it into the clamps quickly. One of those verimark hand held steam cleaner things are great to get stubborn pieces supple or to get them to take really tight bends. 


When the wood is cool it pretty much holds the shape of the form. I glue it to the handle with waterproof glue separate from when it’s in the form. 

The handle pulls it into shape. I like to glue it out of the form because as the wood relaxes as a result of its memory each net is slightly different.

I also put in a tiny stainless screw on each side. It will be hidden by the next layer. I just feel more comfortable. That first strip, despite being steamed, is under a fair amount of tension. The screw isn’t needed, but I just feel more confident knowing it’s there. 


The untidy strips running past the handle will ultimately be shaped back to feather back into the handle neatly. 

The next strip will pull the out-of-square edges around the radius nicely into line. 

A few hours in the clamps to ensure that it stays stuck to the handle and it’s time to add the next strips. 

Adding strips I pretty much do by hook and by crook supported by much grunting and swearing. I just bind it to what is already there with parcel string. I haven’t found a better way yet but I need to bend my mind towards finding a better method. It’s messy work and there has to be a better way. 



In the top left corner of the pic above you will see my fine Irish pipe that I received as a birthday gift in the magnificent city of Prague. 

There’s a few hours of drying time required and I’m going to spend at least part of that time toking on that fine pipe. Oh, and packing away the pressure cooker. But, for now, a Heineken and a pipe. 

Cheers. 


A quick note on wood. 

For the handles look for something full of burls and cross grain. Sure, its a bitch to finish, but it’s really beautiful. Look in the bin at a local shopfitter or joiners shop for this sort of thing 


For the strips / frame of the net look for lumber with nice parallel grain. It must run parallel to the edge of the board or it will split when it’s put under tensile force when bending it. (First picture, below) If it is wavy or runs at an angle to the edge it will split. (Second picture below)

Obviously these pictures are of the edge of the board. On the face of the board just look for a pretty grain. 



I love wood. 

Continued:

I’ve now got the third strip into this particular net. To remove the parcel string I make a long cut right round the radius of the net and rip it off. 

There’s a lot of glue mess everywhere at this point. The edge I clean up with a piece of 80 grit sandpaper. It’s fine for now because while it does scuff up the wood the next strip hides it. Also, the ‘key’ provided by the rough surface helps in glue adhesion. 
A storm has hit and my workshop is unusable.  I’ve moved onto a nice cup of tea. 

When the glue has set (not cured, that takes a few hours and it’s an important distinction) I’ll check whose watching and quietly move the piece into the oven at 60 degrees to really cure it nicely. Half an hour should do it. You don’t want glue to set too rapidly. It gets really brittle and reduces its life. 

I use a waterproof cold glue. I suppose I should use cascamite or resorcinol or something. I’m too lazy to track it down and anyhow I have a lot of faith in modern glues. It’s a niggle at the back of my mind but I’m sure it will be fine. 

There’s a two part ABE (liquid one face, aerosol on the other face) glue that I have used on a guitar I built but I suspect it dries and cures too quickly for this. Maybe when my skills improve I’ll give it a try – that stuff sticks like shit in a woolen blanket. That’s a technical description and there’s no need to try it yourself to prove its veracity. 

The nice thing, if your woodworking skills are as iffy as mine, about thick sticky glues is that they fill gaps really well and hide a multitude of sins. On that point (while I dispense wisdom) the strongest and hardest and best filler that you’ll ever use is bicarbonate of soda and super glue. Sprinkle a bit of bicarbonate into the space you want to fill, add a few drops of superglue and sprinkle more bicarb. It will harden in around five seconds. It gets so hard you can file it down. Amazing. Just don’t use a tube at a time – its wildly exothermic and I started a piece of wood smoldering with it once. But use it. Trust me, it’s unbelievable on wood, aluminium, steel, etc. I even fix torn finger nails with it – you can buff it down until it looks like glass. 

I’m thinking I might stain this net. A very light blue will work nicely. Tradition sê gat. I’m going to need to sleep on it though. Also, don’t use coloured varnish. It is, to not too technical, shit. Use a spirit based stain and then varnish over the top of it. Coloured varnish is just, well, shit. I might even make it green. Who’m I kidding? I’m so colorblind it really doesn’t matter. Either way, I suspect this one is getting colour. 

While I wait for glue to dry check out my new trout fishing pack mule. None of this hiking a hundred miles stuff for me anymore. Did I point out I’m lazy?


Continued 

I left it to cure overnight, cut off the string and it’s ready for trimming and shaping. 

A divinity that shapes our ends, rough hue them as we may. 

That’s Shakespeare. My mom would be proud. 

I just clean it up a bit to see where I want to cut it. I’m not a great planner, I work on feel. 



A bit of trimming with the jigsaw and it’s starting to shape up nicely. 

Some light sanding and it’s starting to look really pretty.

Not bad joints if you consider its done with parcel string. 


To be continued… 

Ok, my family is out and that has given me some time to sand this thing. With the sanding 90% there I put on a quick layer of sanding sealer. 

It picks of the loose hairy bits of grain and hardens them. When they dry it’s easy to knock them off. 

It also shows glue marks theat need to sanded off – mostly where I feathered the frame into the handle. 

You also get a nice idea of how the wood grain will look when done. I like ash. It’s unpretentious with a strong grain. 

The net is hanging outside to dry now. It’s dark, but you get an idea of the grain. 


There is some sanding to be done. I really don’t like sanding but in an hour or so after drying (going to steal some oven time when nobody is watching) it will be ready for finishing coats. 

Between finishing coats don’t use sandpaper. Use a good made for purpose steel wool. Woodoc makes a really fine one. The stuff for pots has all sorts of coarse bits in it and they’re scratch and ruin the piece. 

I use woodoc polywax sealers exclusively on my wood work. They don’t leave a horrible plastic, shiny finish and because they are wax based you can make things look like new with their penetrating oil. That stuff is great for leather, oilskins, etc. It’s waterproof and stops mould and fungi. When the piece looks tatty you can also apply it generously and use a light bit of steel wool to take off the dead coating. Use almost no pressure. 

A scotchbrite abrasive pad is also a winner. 

Continued 

Ok, sanding has been done and the first coat is on. This post pretty much ends here. 

All that happens now is that it will get more TLC with steel wool, another two coats and it will shine up (not gloss). The wood will develop much of richness and the rest will develop over time.

The photos look as though it, particularly the handle, is full of lumps and bumps. I promise it’s not. It’s just how the very pronounced grain looks when photographed (by a bad photographer). 

After that it’s just a case of having the bag down by the local tailor (she thinks I’m nuts), holes drilled around the edge and a groove put around the edge to protect the ‘bag’ that I’ll put on with thin Dacron. 

That’s the boring part. 

Incidentally, I have tried to weave the actual net part before. It was ok. Neat and serviceable. It’s tiresome work and I prefer a soft nylon type material that is gentle on the fish. 

Sorry, last thing. I didn’t stain it blue. I’ve got another one in clamps that will get stained. Also, most nets are dark with light laminations. Mine is the other way around. This gentleman prefers blondes. 

So thats how I do it. 

My next project is a hollow bodied aluminum guitar. Look up a guy named James Trussart to get an idea. Should only take a few weeks, tops. 

After that, in the cold of winter, a bamboo fly rod. 

I can’t wait.