We are not admitting anything but we have done a lot work to include a justifiable part of Finnish heritage into our XO rods. The only reasonable part was the wooden insert in the reel seat. We selected our native Curly Birch, because of its suitable structure and its long history as part of the Finnish handcraft industry. The material is protected against the elements and to tune the color towards a slightly darker.
Curly birch (or visa birch) is a genetic variety of the silver birch (Betula pendula). Its wood has curled grain, called "visa" formation in Finnish, an unusual growth form. At various places on the trunk and branches the bark is noticeably thicker than usual, and parts of the bark appear within the wood itself as brown spots or streaks. The wood is very decorative, at best resembling wooden marble. The visa formation is also visible in the tree's outward appearance in the form of bumps or pits in the surface of the trunk, excessive localised branching, and exaggerated twisting or narrowing. The formation usually becomes apparent at about 5-6 years old.
The decorative and extremely hard wood of curly birch has been used for centuries by local craftsmen. In the Finnish pavilion at the Paris World Fair of 1900, Gallen-Kallela's "Iris"-room with its visa furniture and other art treasures were a major attraction. Visa is both valued and valuable timber. Production of top-quality visa-timber requires expertise, and great attention to tree care and thinning.
Our premium XO rods are finished with a light but sturdy precision machined aluminum up-locking reel seat with a Finnish Curly Birch wooden insert, It brings out our heritage from the forests of Finland.
We started the XO project in 2013. The goal was to make a rod that exceeds all the rods we've made so far in every aspect. In this time we have tried and tested a lot of different combinations of materials and actions. Good enough was not going to cut it – it had to be as close to perfect as possible. We also wanted to add something that tells about our origins in Finland.