Thursday, April 10, 2014

Yasuyuki Kabuto of Kabuto Rods

When I profiled the workshops of various rod builders a few months back, more than one of the featured builders mentioned that they'd love to hear input from a universally respected Japanese rod builder and blank designer, Yasuyuki Kabuto, of Kabuto Rods.

Every one of the rodmakers I've profiled in the past regularly use Kabuto blanks for their work, and they're one of the most highly regarded glass blanks available. Kab is well known for his stunning stacked bamboo reel seats, and his friendly nature, to which I can attest!

(Translating the questions and answers from English to Japanese and back into English was a pretty long process, so any mistakes or unclear formulations are solely my fault!)

Yasayuki Kabuto

How long have you been rod building and do you have a day job as well?

I started rod building in 1999. The first rod I used was SAGE 9’0”#8.
I work in real estate business during the day, so I get to work on rod building
after I put my kids to sleep, 21:00~1:00. Since I'm not a full time rod builder, the
amount of production is limited. I barely have free time of my own and sometimes do
wish I had more time to enjoy a beer, watch TV and relax. But knowing the fact that there are customers waiting for a rod, and when I receive a letter of thanks, that's what motivates me and keeps building.

Do you work from home?

Yes, I do work from home. The room I'm using once belonged to my daughter,
and now my 5 year old daughter is begging me for have a room of her own, so I may have to move my work space to even a smaller room. The Japanese housing environment is as small as a rabbit house, so I adore a big working environment. But the good thing about a small environment is that (almost) everything is within reach!

What item on your bench sees the most use? The least?

The item I use most is my lathe, for grips and reel seats. The lathe I'm  using is made by Sherline from the US. You can't get them here in Japan, so I ordered from US. The only lathes you can get here are big, heavy and expensive. Therefore I choose not to use them.

Another item I use is a specific paint for blank painting. I use dipping when painting a blank.

I hardly use my wrapping bench,as I currently wrap by hand.. One you get used to it, it is so much faster than using a tool. I recommend hand wrapping because you can do that even by sitting on a couch.

What’s your favorite feature of your work space? And the least favorite?

My most favorite in my working environment is the climate. Hokkaido – where I live, the temperature is between 22 -25 °C (72-77 °F) and humidity is between 50~60% throughout the year.  The least favorite part is the size of  my shop– small.

Do you follow any specific routines or habits when working? Music, privacy,etc?

I prioritize safety when working. Besides being cautious when using tools, I also wear a mask when painting.  Secondly, I work quietly aso I don't wake my kids up during the night. I choose to work on the weekends when working on bamboo stacking.

I don’t listen to music. I feel that it's important to hear the sounds of the machines and tools when working.

Do you have any photos or posters on the walls to motivate or inspire you?

There is no space in my current work area, but if I move to a bigger space, I will be able to display more items.

Check out Kabuto Rods on Facebook and on the Web, and read about and see more of his work on the Fiberglass Flyrodders forum, and The Fiberglass Manifesto.

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