Okay so recently I started getting into writing the whole blog thing as a form of communication with fellow outdoors people. I’m surprisingly enjoying it. I am not a writer or big reader really. I had never read a blog of any kind til about a year ago. Since then, I have become a habitual reader of a select few. One of those is a dude I just happened to meet through Facebook named Dave Hosler who runs Pile Cast. I like his style because he writes how he wants and stays true to who he is. I’ve reached out to him on a few occasions for help on streamer flies (his strong point) and computer crap (his chosen profession). He has always been overly helpful. That goes a long way with me.
One day while checking out his stuff, I saw a mack daddy pedestal base for his Regal. Since then, I’ve noticed several other friends sporting them. It’s a huge chunk of granite. Crazy. All I knew is that I had to have it. I asked him for all the info, and he informed me it was done by this guy named Andy Schmidt. He’s a jack of all trades kinda guy. His Michigan based company is called The Granite Fly. His website provides a pile of different bases to choose from. Basically, you have three sizes to choose from: small, medium, and large. Seein’ as I have only one hand to work with, I am often jerking the vise around trying to crank down on some flies. Not having that other hand to hold the vise in place is a hindrance I don’t enjoy. But I do not like c clamps because you can’t move the vice around when you want. So I’ve just dealt with it.
I went on the website and picked out which one I wanted. There are probably over a hundred different bases to chose from. No two are the same, so you have a unique piece guaranteed. I narrowed it down to a large base that had some nice color and cool circles in the rock. I called Andy up to make the order and he was a real down to Earth kinda guy. About a week later, I saw a package on the front doorstep one evening. As I walked up to get it, I was trying to remember what I had ordered. I remember real quick when I went to pick it up. This thing was heavier than the average package.
When I opened it up, I remembered the words Andy said to me, “The pictures don’t do them justice.” He wasn’t liein’. And neither do mine.
The Regal fit without a hitch and the base passed my crank test.
Clear bottom protectors are put on with epoxy to protect your work surface from scratches. And you can see my unique base number there at the stem hole.
Another huge plus to the base is you don’t have to worry bout epoxy dripping. If you mix your own, you can even use the base as a mixing surface.
I wanted to call him back after using the vise to ask few questions. I thought it was such a cool idea that I wanted a little bit a background. He described how it all went down. He moved to Michigan and met a friend who is a contractor. In 2007 they were tying together and he saw his friend using a small pedestal (Andy was using a c-clamp). He watched how the small base moved around as his friend tied and thought a bigger aluminum base would be nice. Not long after that, they got together to tie again in the friend’s garage and Andy saw a piece of granite. Light bulb…. He asked the friend how to cut and polish granite and went to town. The video on his website is that same chunk of granite. He started acquiring broken and rough pieces and started working on it. He soon realized it was difficult and tedious to smooth grind. Plus it could always shatter and all. So he shapes them up but leaves them “rough”. The efficiency this way is about 1 out of 10 bust up.
Fast forward a year. It’s 2008 and he takes some to his first show, The Midwest Fly Fishing Show. Struck out big time. He took 100 but only sold one, and traded one. But here’s the really cool part: the sold one was to Matt Zudweg. Matt is the talented artist that did my Virginia decals. The one he traded was for a giclee print from the famous Derek DeYoung.
I asked him if he does anything else with the granite. He makes cedar stump base tables with granite tops. Most range from $400-800. He starts off with the Michigan white cedar trees.
Then he forms the table top.
And the result is a one of a kind granite table.
He also runs Schmidts River Adventures where he takes clients out on river floats. I asked him if he ties, and he said yes- to fill my box ha ha. If you’d like to purchase any of the bases, you can go to his site and pick one out. There are also some fly shops that sell them listed on his site. You can’t beat the price he has on these things. The bases are only $65 before shipping. My shipping was only $13.90, which is crazy considering the weight.
I asked him if he’d like to say anything. He emphasized the importance of word of mouth. So I encourage y’all to send this info to anyone you think might be interested. He’s got a really good business approach: “Everything we buy is inferior now. We pay more and they last less. My granite bases are durable”. Support this guy with his stuff cause these things are sweet!