Hook and Hackle Company is offering half-off (with free shipping) on their Xi series blanks. I've never built on them. But I ordered a couple just to see what they were like. http://store.hookhack.com/New-Xi-Rod-Building-Blanks/product...
The 6'6", 2wt Xi Series blank I ordered arrived in today's mail. It is a beautifully-finished blank that the website describes as "medium fast", but which I'd rate as "fast" on the basis of a not so scientific "wiggle test" (rather than The Common Cents System). But that was exactly the action I was hoping for, given that I've built on Bateson's 6'6", 2wt blanks before, and they really are "mediums", even though the mfgr describes them as "mod-fast". The H&H website gives the blank weight as 0.8 oz. My gram scale confirms that estimate (24g), which is what the Bateson blanks weigh as well. But here is the kicker. With a 50%-off discount, the H&H costs the same as a Bateson, but is a far better blank, so much so, I did the really crazy thing of ordering a second one just now, plus one of the 6'6" 2 wt in the FTX series. (I love short rods. They are perfect for tiny creeks and native cutthroats.) The 10'0" 3wt I also bought (and also described as "medium fast") is a noodle of a blank, a real disappointment, though, maybe, eventually, a very serviceable rod. I just don't know at this point, and won't know, until I've taped on guides and thrown some line. Also, I've never bought a Czech-style blank before, and maybe I'm asking of it something for which it isn't intended. (Live and learn, right?) On the first order with them, I was offered free shipping. This time around, there was an $8.95 charge. Who knows? But I didn't argue. http://www.common-cents.info/
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