Nearly 30 years ago, Bill Rebensdorf was fiddling around in his machine shop, working on a new idea. Having seen his son strapping up his fishing poles to his tackle box with a bungee cord, then strapping the box to his handlebars so he could ride his bike to the nearest fishing spot, Bill realized a need.
As a tool and die maker with a love for fishing, it became a quest to develop and design this new fishing rod clamp. He became so infatuated with the project, that his wife soon reminded him that he was depleting their savings by not working on the other jobs in the shop… after all he had 6 kids to feed too.
After many hours of his elusive spare time on the Bridgeport, and many incarnations of the product, he finalized a design and began working on the mold. During that process a need for a name came about. After a few considerations, “Fishing Rod Clamp” wasn’t going to cut it, so with it being a device, similar to a vise which would be holding the rod, the natural transition became evident and the Rod-D-Vise was born. He began having the parts injection molded and soon after, assembly and packaging became a family project. Even the artwork for the original packaging was done by a family friend.
Soon the opportunity came to showcase his products. He pounded the pavement for a bit, selling small quantities to local shops where he could. The next effort was at the Fred Hall Fishing, Tackle and Boat Show. The product was met with great admiration and the attendees were scooping them up. Unfortunately though, there were not a lot of shows of this magnitude locally and soon the sales were back down to smaller numbers. The power of the media did not exist in the way it does nowadays, so that meant knocking on doors. Since Bill didn’t have a lot of time to do that, he opted to make a working trip of their family vacation to South Dakota. He stopped at larger outlets and sporting good stores across the country, even going out of his way to stop at Cabela’s Headquarters. Unfortunately, people weren’t quite biting at that time and Bill soon found himself very busy with the machine shop, and needing to go back to work to take care of his family. Since that time, Bill had built a very successful CNC manufacturing facility and left his old idea sitting upstairs at the shop, in a box, amongst some dreams.
Move ahead 25 years later when Bill was near retirement and his sons Bill Jr. and Jim, had taken over the business. In transitioning the business into a new location, they came upon boxes and boxes of the Rod-D-Vise sitting upstairs, and it became very evident what needed to be done. Dad was getting older and knowing he would never really retire, they wanted him to get out of the shop and keep himself busy. The best way to do this was give Bill’s idea a new lease on life.
After a couple month’s effort developing new packaging, digital artwork, a Facebook page and a new website, the Rod-D-Vise is back on the market with a fervor. Bill Jr. and Jim brought parts home to their kids to assemble and package, just like the way they did it nearly 30 years ago. Keeping it in the family was what it was always about… a shared dream and an opportunity to work together.
After 6 kids and 50 plus years of marriage, Bill’s kids have an undying respect for their Dad.
“He didn’t always have time for all of us with working two jobs to support 6 kids, but he made sure that his spare time was family time. He taught us to work hard for what we wanted and to stand up for what we believed in. Now we want to repay him by bringing his vision back to life and letting him know what a great idea we always thought it was! We’d also like to see him actually “retire”, so we figured this was a great way to keep his hands busy…assembling and packaging, instead of leaning over our shoulders at the shop “supervising”. With the power of the internet, periodicals and social media, we’re going to give it our all!”
You can visit www.Rod-D-Vise.com or call (714) 758-5385 for more information. Dealers are also welcome.