Settera Customs

Creating One-of-a-Kind Fly Rods and Custom Furniture in Highwood, Montana

Text by Shane Klippenes • Photography by Sara Young

“When you’re first married, young and broke, you can still have nice things if you build them yourself rather than buy them.”

Jake’s passion for music, graphic design, photography, woodworking, fishing and all things outdoors distilled over time, leading to the creation of Jake’s cottage industry in the shadow of the Highwood Mountains, near Great Falls, Montana. 

Jake and Kelli Jo Settera’s fledgling business bears the stamp of the faith, hard work, skill, creativity and character that was imprinted deeply during their upbringing from multi-generational, Montana military and farming families. 

Although Jake has always been handy with tools and possesses a master’s eye for detail, he “never thought of creating things as a job until it became one.”

Jake works on the family farm out of an old shop, which he is actively restoring in exchange for use of the space. The large, drafty building keeps the bulk of the weather out, while providing the square footage he needs to work on several custom pieces at once, and leaving room for everyday farm work and expansion. 

Montana craftsman, Jake Settera, feels at home in his dual purpose shop surrounded by the tools of his trade. Whether performing the detail work of wrapping fly rod guides (as above) or turning a piece reclaimed farmhouse into a unique and useful piece of furniture, the shop is a place where he’s able to block out distractions and focus on creating functional works of art.

The Fly Rods

The “Original Settera Custom”, Jake’s first “from scratch” fly rod build, still looks great and fishes well.

Fly fishing can be as much an art as it is a science, with practitioners of the fly casting culture coveting unique gear that portrays personality while functioning without flaw. After years of fishing the myriad waters in the mountains surrounding his home town, Jake discovered fly fishing when he and his bride moved to Missoula for college. 

Shortly after wetting his first fly, Jake was introduced to veteran fly fisherman and rod builder Dane Scott, who teaches fly rod building classes when not covering water in the Missoula area. He quickly saw talent and promise in Jake, and began using him as co-instructor for multiple courses. 

Taking full advantage of the adage that “there is no better way to learn than to teach,” Jake immersed himself in the process, becoming exceptionally skilled, while creating solid rods with cool vibes along the way. 

Now, years later, customers seeking a one-of-a-kind fly rod that functions as flawlessly as it looks, look no further than Jake’s unassuming shop. 

Function follows form or does form follow function? In the custom fly rod business, the two are impossibly intertwined, a paradox that Jake embraces and weaves into the process of helping customers choose each component of their custom creation. 

From the blank that acts as the backbone of the rod, to the handle design, reel seat material, thread color and eyelet style, every component of a Settera Custom Rod is selected by the end user, and handcrafted into a quality piece that the owner will be proud to use on local waters or hang above the mantle. 

The Furniture

An artisan’s eye combine with the skill of a do-it-all carpenter to create this one of a kind, hairpin legged coffee table.  Jake travels far and wide to save and reclaim materials like this well preserved ranch house door to use on his custom projects.

While friends and family had been requesting custom furniture builds and restorations for some time, low wheat prices were also responsible for the creation of the furniture division at Settera Customs. Seeking to find balance between finances, family, friends and ministry, Jake and Kelli Jo saw the creation of their business as a way to provide custom-order furniture to a rapidly expanding clientele while minimizing the impact of wildly fluctuating grain prices.  

From traditional pieces to funky tables that combine the modern look of iron hairpin legs and genuine barn wood tops, the Setteras have been working hard to keep up with demand. Kelli Jo provides her unvarnished critique on each project, keeping creative influences tight, while Jake

Locally sourced aromatic cedar provides the platform for this beautiful, yet robust island table, sure to be a focal point of the consignee’s kitchen.

procures the reclaimed wood and metal from local farms and ranches that produce the unique designs for which they are rapidly becoming known. 

Now that the word is out, Jake finds himself working full-time on a large project for a local real estate firm, building custom cabinets, desks, shelving, storage and art from “raw metal and reclaimed wood.”

Fully functional with unparalleled form, (function follows form, right?) his latest project will be completed summer 2017, and will showcase the best of both form and function. 

Designed from its inception to be a means of expression as much as a means to an end, Settera Customs is off and running. Jake has, in fact, proven that building it yourself is the best way to go!

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Text by Angie Windheim


Conservation is underway at the original Charles Marion Russell studio, pictured here, which together with the house is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The C.M. Russell Museum is currently raising funds to complete conservation and install a new exhibit to tell the story of Charlie and his wife Nancy for generations to come.

Charlie Russell Inspires Film and Whirlwind of World Premiere Events in Great Falls

Artist. Historian. Conservationist. Charlie Russell (1864-1926) is well known as the original “cowboy artist.”  In a new film documentary from Montana PBS, Charlie’s timeless message will go beyond the canvas to the big screen at the September World Premiere of C.M. Russell and the American West in Great Falls. 

Caught in the excitement of hosting a World Premiere movie, the Great Falls community and C.M. Russell Museum are preparing to Raise the Roof for the Russells.  Two days of fun-filled events lead to the free and public Mansfield Theater screening on Saturday, September 9.  Charlie fans are invited to enjoy gallery openings and dedications, a lively auction benefiting The Russell House and Studio, and a Chuck Wagon Barbecue. Those looking to experience a touch of Hollywood can even attend a VIP Access Party to meet special guests who will share their passion and stories about the film.  

“In Great Falls, Charlie’s chosen home, we are immeasurably proud of The Russells. It is an honor to be able to launch this film and be the first to share Charlie’s treasured story and the true spirit of the American

Location Scout Jim Combs (r) helps producer Gus Chambers identify landmarks that reveal where CM Russell composed some of his paintings. Photographed by Paul Zalis

 West with the world,” said Tom Figarelle, C.M. Russell Museum executive director. “Our community is energized and dedicated to hosting a wonderful celebration, and we hope visitors and residents are as excited to be a part of it as we are.”

Montana PBS brought an impressive team of talent together to create the documentary. Academy Award winner J. K. Simmons will narrate, Bill Pullman will voice Charlie Russell’s illustrated letters and assorted writings, and Kathy Baker will voice lines from Nancy Russell’s memoirs. The film was created by Producer/Director Gus Chambers and 

Producer/Writer Paul Zalis. William Marcus and Aaron Pruitt of Montana PBS are Executive Producers.

C.M. Russell and the American West showcases the life and art of Charles Marion Russell. Viewers will follow his arrival in Montana as a youth, his apprenticeship and work as a cowboy on the open range, and his self-taught, almost explosive growth into an iconic American artist who affected generations. Charlie’s body of work was panoramic and modern and notable for its sensitivity and reverence for the land, wildlife and its Native people.

The C.M. Russell Museum will be open both days offering the opportunity to be inspired by Charlie’s art, original home and studio before being inspired by Charlie’s story at the premiere.





More details and ticket information at

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Fictional Fantasies of Friends

Fantastic Superheroes Save the Day!

Text by Mary Ellen Hendrickson and Photography by Jesse Martinez

Great Falls author, Ryan Acra, is sharing his first book with readers and local public schools, encouraging children and adults to “be open.” “Don’t block off the magic of life, dreams and joy. Be present!”

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CM “Chip” Jones

Making a Splash In Life And In Art

Text by Kay Bjork and Photography by Ali Spoon

CM “Chip” Jones does art much as he lives life – with a sense of adventure, experimentation, learning, sharing – and with an incredible amount of humility and generosity.

Jones showed an interest in art at a young age while growing up on a small ranch on Miller Creek south of Missoula. It is easy to trace some of the elements that formed him as an artist and as a man. He often sketched and did art projects for hours. He says, “When I was in the 4th grade I drew the same horse over and over again.” When he and his two brothers received wood burning kits for Christmas he wore out his and then his brothers’ when they didn’t show interest in using them. He developed his love and appreciation of the backcountry and wildlife through time spent with his dad who was a packer and the inspiration of his neighbor John Craighead, famous American conservationist and wildlife biologist. These two fundamentals merged as he began to do artwork with a focus on wildlife.

Artist Chip Jones created a unique art form through what he calls splash bronze, a form of three-dimensional sculpture.

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Tree Treasures

River Bottom Restoration Furniture with Andrew Bishop

Text by Kay Bjork and Photography by Jim Wells

The Russian Olive tree means different things to different people. To the 1900s 13876587_920972534695488_1624390110191627639_npioneers it was precious shelter from wind and sun in the eastern plains where nothing else would grow; to a biologist, an invasive species that chokes out native trees and to hunters and fisherman, a bush-like beast with a knarled trunk and nasty two-inch thorns. To Andrew Bishop it is a treasure chest waiting to be opened.

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Colors of Our World

A Glimpse into the Artistic Journey of Karlie Kafka

Text and Photography by Holly Matkin

On a desolate stretch of Montana backroad, just before the dim hues of day crest the eastern horizon, the telltale banging and clanging of a rolling horse trailer usher in a new morning. At an hour when the idea of activity seems asinine to most, Karlie Kafka is taking one of her six horses to the foothills of the Bear Paw Mountains to get a head start on what she calls “a day at the office.” Riding through the rolling hills as the radiant sunrise climbs over the mountaintops, it becomes easy to understand how such inspiration can make a person feel overcome by the need to create.

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