“The Orvis relationship became the horsepower within the company that enabled him to pursue his other passions — which was to make bamboo fly rods, bamboo fly rod making equipment and fly reels,” Croco said.
From reel seats to bamboo rodmaking equipment innovator
From reel seats, the company then expanded into manufacturing rodmaking equipment. Bellinger benefitted from a friendship and proximity of , one of the most sought after fly rods in the world. One of the first tools Al made for bamboo fly rod manufacturing was a glue binder. Whitehead used it in one of his rod making classes. Pretty soon Paul French, Russ Gooding and other rodmakers were all buying a Bellinger glue binder.
Friday morning’s bamboo fly rod making class had Paul prepping his “bonus strips” for a second tip. Paul had made such great progress during the week that he decided to make a matching tip for his bamboo fly rod! This happens on a regular basis, and is happily accomodated by Raine Hollowbuilt Fly Rods.
“Every one of these pieces of machinery is for sale,” Croco said, swinging his arm to include all of the machines in his small machine shop in Albany. “Part of our business is promoting the craft. Creating more bamboo rodmakers is a good thing for bamboo rodmaking. So we teach people how to make blanks as efficiently as possible, just like Daryll taught me all those years ago.”