Hello Fiddleback Friends, It’s been a while since I posted anything of substance on this forum. I thought the story of how the colored bullseye tubes came to be might be a worthwhile story to share. I went through my Fiddleback acquisition heyday from 2014 to 2016. I was buying something new at least three Fridays a month back then. My collection theme was almost exclusively centered around Shadetree burlap handles in every color of the rainbow. Late in 2014, Shadetree made a very small batch (one sheet?) of Red, White & Blue burlap. It had a red resin layer over a blue layer and white burlap fiber. I bought a couple of handle sets from them with the intent of using them on a patriotic themed knife. Ken Craggs was the GM at Fiddleback in 2014. He and I talked frequently about all things Fiddleback back then. I hit him up with the idea of using the R,W&B burlap on a knife. The only caveat was that I wanted a white bullseye tube and pins to compliment the patriotic theme. He told me white pins were available, but it was a no-go on the white tube. They were not available. Basically his response was like a paraphrase of the Henry Ford quote, “You can buy any color (tube) you like as long as it’s black (or brown.”). That is because the big manufacturers who make the foot long tubes that Fiddleback use only make those two colors. I wasn’t satisfied with the “no” answer, so I promised Ken I would find a way to get some white tubes one day. He wished me luck with that search and the topic was dropped. When my R,W&B Fiddleback dream was dashed, I hit up Dylan Fletcher to make me a 1/8” TT CPM 154 Esteban II with 1/4” white pins. It was a gem. (It belongs to one of my best friends now.) My unfulfilled promise to Ken that I would find a way to get some other colored tubes stayed on my mind for many months after that. I did a lot of internet research off and on to find someone who made more colored options. I basically repeated the research that Andy did years earlier and came to the same conclusion that black & brown were the only commercially available choices. My thoughts turned to having some tubes custom machined. I have worked in the aerospace manufacturing industry for 35 years. The first 16 years were in procurement of machined parts at major OEM’s and the last 19+ years as a quality manager for a high precision machining and grinding job shop. I ordered some oversize white plastic rods and tried to get our machine shop guys to run some tubes for me. No luck because running plastics means tearing down and cleaning CNC lathes (before & after) that are set-up for running metal parts. They were not interested in my side project. Another dead end. Weeks later I was walking through our machine maintenance area where I spied an old manual lathe that I thought may be my ticket to making some tubes. I had the maintenance guy show me the basics of running it. I order the correct drill and reamer for the ID and told the boss I was going to come in on a Saturday to do the machining. He laughed because the running joke at work was that “I add no value” there because I don’t run a machine. Yeah, I’ll show you boss-man… It was slow going machining and measuring the tube one at a time. I ended up with 22 tubes to send Andy to fulfill my old promise to Ken. A few months later at Blade 2017, I managed to pick up a Bourbon Street Skinner with one of the white tubes. More important than that to me was the fact that Ken Craggs was there to see that our discussion from years earlier had finally come full circle to fruition. That could have been a fitting end of the story right there. Instead, it planted a seed to find some high quality brightly colored G10 material that would match the colored pins Andy uses. Finding suitable bar stock material in the right size and color(s) is much harder than you would think. I had one false start months ago when the material I ordered turned out to be crap color-wise and structurally after I started cutting blanks. I ended up scrapping $80 worth of material and going back to the drawing board. After much internet research, I found a supplier with real G10 rods in colors that I thought would go well with some of Andy’s handle & pinstripe combos. I called the supplier to confirm that the outside diameter (OD) size was what they advertised it to be and consistent from rod to rod. The nice part about this material is that the OD is only .002” smaller than what I machined the old white tubes to when I made them. That saved me a significant machining step. Based on their confirmation, I ordered four each 1ft. rods to give it a go. I began setting up the same old manual lathe in the day after the material arrived. I applied some lessons learned from machining the original batch of white tubes three years ago to help make this batch much more precise and minimize scrap given the limited material I had to work with. The first step was setting a hard stop allow the blanks to be cut-off at a consistent length. The next step is center-drilling a starter hole on one face to guide the subsequent drill-thru operation.