October 17, 2011

A Treasure Trove...of Thread

To say my wife sews is an understatement.

About the time I started this blog, my wife started her own business called The Diaper Bag Wrangler.  Over the years she's created a lot of different handmade items, and has grown her business pretty nicely considering it's pretty much a one person show run from our basement.  

I pretend like I'm the "eCommerce Manager" and help her out with website & blog stuff from time to time, but honestly, she does it all.  Not to mention she kept the whole thing running while she was going through chemo for breast cancer.  Amazing is the only way I can describe that woman.

Anyway...the other day she brought a milk crate full of thread into the house.  160+ spools.  It was gifted to her from a friend that had a family member that was no longer going to use it.  It was quite the score for her, and while I was impressed by the sheer volume, I really didn't think twice about it at the time...

This weekend, I was in the basement...excuse me, I mean her studio...and was admiring all the thread she had since stored in some shelving on the wall.  Walking toward it, and upon closer inspection, I noticed this:

Yes that Gudebrod.  You know the fly tying and rod building thread that was synonymous with quality for the better part of the last century...all 160+ spools!

Gudebrod also happened to be a local company, operating out of Pottstown & Philadelphia since the late 1800s.  Unfortunately, (as noted here), time and failed diversification was not kind and Gudebrod had to shutter its doors permanently a little over a year ago.

Now while most of this thread really isn't for fishing use (these mongo sized spools aren't fitting on my bobbin), it's pretty cool to take a look at these as they clearly come from several different periods in the company's history.  Some of the spools are even wooden, although I don't know if that implies age, function, or anything like that...

Just a little something for the fly tying folks out there, you  know, since I haven't shared anything from the vise in a while...


  1. I used to have a sewing business years ago before I couldn't put a fly rod down. Hope she keeps a few of the wood spools in storage. It's always fun to have those antique items and its a perfect compliment to the grandmother's sewing machine!

  2. See what happens when you explore your own house? Kind of neat to see that stuff. I didn't know you were a man of the bench-and-vise. Very cool.

  3. That is indeed a treasure trove. You know, you could use any of the threads The Diaper Bag Wrangler is willing to share. People tied flies for thousands of years before they had bobbins. Cut off a foot of thread and use a little wax so the thread wraps will stick where you put 'em. The thread is probably much thicker than you're used to, so use no more wraps than absolutely necessary.

  4. I've tied bucktails without a bobbin when I forgot it... Never even cut thread, just unwrapped 10in or a foot and snagged it into the catch on the spool. Away I went. Might want to beeswax it.

    Come to think of it I could use that heavy tread tying bucktails!

  5. Forgot to say that I enjoyed the post and the Pottstown nostalgia.

  6. You mention KC's "studio" in the basement, remember Apple and HP started in the garage.


  7. Sorry, but it'd be a cryin' shame if so much as a millimeter of that GB thread made it into a fly. Save that for rods; there's nothing else like it. And I've looked.

  8. if anyone wants some spools , contact me! kc@diaperbagwrangler.com