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Does anyone have plans for internal ferrule stations?  I'm really interested in this system, but can't find a detailed explanation of what to do.  (Lee Orr)

    Yeah!  How do guys like Bjarne Fries and Marcelo Calviello get those HUGE swells at the ferrule stations?  Would one need to make some kind of specially swelled form?

    I saw Marcelo's article in Power Fibers, but do not understand how to get those swells.

    May I just say that those rods are SO beautiful.  (Joe West)

      Thanks to Bob Milardo and his index, I can tell you the info is in Issue 4, Issue 7:16-17, Issue 8:24-33  (Bob Maulucci)

    I have made 5 rods with internal ferrules. The last two are 4 piece travel rods. The recommended swell is .050 per strip.  I use a MHM so that is no problem. Plane it out then get the bed flat and use the flat cutter to made the female ferrule. I do not think that your swell has to be extremely abrupt but the more the better. Bjarne is using a milling machine to make his ferrule but you could even use a red devil scraper. I don't know how this would work with a regular form.  I have not had any problems using silk and regular varnish on my two piece rods but on my 4 piece I started used Mirror Gloss from Woodcraft. It is an epoxy and it has to turn for 8 hours or so and takes 72 hours for a complete set. But it only takes one coat and will super reinforce the ferrule.  According to Bjarne no adjustments to the taper are needed if you make a 3 or 4 piece and from the one 4 piece I have finished I would agree. I have a 4 piece penta glued but not finished. I think internal ferrules a great.  (David Ray)


If any of you guys are ever planning the pain and torture of making cane-cane ferrules, here's two things I've found in making The "Little Big" by Mr. Calviello.

#1  DON'T try to fit the glued but non-wrapped ferrules together as you WILL pop the glue joint.  I of course have no firsthand knowledge of this.  I think Mr. Fries mentions this quite vehemently

#2  Highest strength-size ration I've been able to find in scouring fly shops and catalogs is this "Roman Moser Powersilk" which I think is a MUCH thinner Kevlar than is usually sold.  I'm talking like 14/0-17/0.  You try doing the HUNDREDS OF wraps needed to cover the ferrule station and you'll probably be as batty and cross eyed as I am right now.

#3  I wonder if that shrink-tape stuff they use in graphite construction would be good instead of/under/over the thread wrap?  What about fiberglass cloth?  But, I guess one starts to get into a slightly different aesthetic--- away from the cane to cane thing.

Not the words of an expert, but hope this might help somebody.

Also, for anyone afraid of the .150 swells--- my Bellinger forms had no problem with them at all.

My next project is going to be a one-piece 8' rod with cane-cane ferrules  ;)  (Joe West)


After three months of deliberations I have finally completed a Bamboo Ferruled 6'3" 2/2 for a 4/5# line rod.

The rod was after all  surprisingly easy to  build (this is my 48th rod) and after following published instructions from Barnes and Calviello ended up using a bastardized technique that was somewhere between what the two gentlemen had advocated in their separately published instructions.

For those of you that may be interested the pictures of my finished rod are below. (Paul Blakley)

Blakley, Paul 01

Blakley, Paul 02

Blakley, Paul 03

Blakley, Paul 04


I have seen several photos of ferrules made of bamboo. This looks like an interesting project. Has anyone on the list had experience with making them or building them into the rod? How do they effect the action of the rod?  How do you keep them tight from expansion and contraction? Are they built into the taper or are they built separately then glued on?  (Denny Dennis)

    In summary:

    1) They make a rod feel like a one piece, very smooth casters.

    2) I seal the females with polyurethane varnish but some builders simply put wax on the males hoping that over a period of time the wax will impregnate into the female.

    3) The ferrules are usually built into the rod by swelling the taper at the end to give a circa 50 to 60 thousandths wall thickness depending on the length of the rod and the line rating.

    For more information read Power Fibers where you will find an article by B Fries on this very subject. You could also do an internet search for web sites by Marcello Calviello, Bjarne Fries and H J Schlecht for a few pics and ideas.  (Paul Blakley)


I'd like to hear from anyone making bamboo ferrules, especially the different methods being employed for determining the amount of swell in the tips, wall thickness' and taper changes to the butt section where the tip over butt method is being used.  Is anyone using a mathematical or scientific approach for determining the tip swell or butt section taper changes to convert existing tapers?  (Wayne Daley)

    If you count trial and error as "scientific" then maybe I can answer  some of your questions. Robert Kope is probably the expert on the  list right now. But then, this could be a closely guarded secret formula.  (Jerry Foster)

      No secret here, and I don't consider myself an expert.  I use 0.050 wall thickness and make no adjustment in the taper for the male.  I just leave the taper of the rod alone for the male ferrule and swell the butt end of the tip strips by 0.050.  Then mill the wall thickness to 0.050 on the female and glue up.  How's that for scientific?  (Robert Kope)

        Bamboo Ferrules seem to make the rod feel like it is a one piece rod.  I suppose it is because there is no transition of materials as in a  nickel silver ferrule. I have yet to give it full abuse to see how  the .030 wall thickness holds up. As Robert said .050 is probably a  safe number.  (Jerry Foster)

        Thank you for sharing your technique.  I'm curious, have you made the same taper with both NS ferrules and bamboo ferrules ?  If so, what are your impressions/observations on the differences between the rods?  Do you prefer the bamboo ferrules to NS ferrules?  (Wayne Daley)

      Thank you for replying.   Trial and error is my method at this point also, I guess that’s a natural part of experience.  What I'm trying to decide is whether or not to change the taper of the male end (butt section) smaller and not create such a large swell in the female end (tip section). Currently I'm using .070" as my wall thickness for the female ferrules on smaller rods and .085" on larger rods.  (Wayne Daley)

        Here is my current experiment. We'll call it a double taper, double  spigot slimline ferrule.

        Tip over butt..

        Tip: Interior: 3/4" at .030 over the butt dimension at the start of ferrule. 3/4" taper to .050 interior wall thickness. 1/2" at whatever the dimension is after the interior taper. (.060,-.070  typically)

        The outside is flat for 3/4 (.030 over)" and then tapers to the tip dimension over 3".

        Butt: at the start of the ferrule I leave it flat at the current dimension for the first 3/4". this aligns with the first 3/4" of the  female. Then the taper mirrors the tip inside dimensions..

        I have no idea of what I said. Without being a promo, this kind of dipsy doo is possible only because of the CNC Mill, I think. I  understand that this isn't much help.  (Jerry Foster)

    A good start would be to read the Fries articles in Power Fibers.

    For what its worth and  for your starter use wall thicknesses of 50 - 55 thousandths for two piece rods less than 8' with a female depth of 40 mm and an 80 mm swell and your ferrules will be just fine.  (Paul Blakley)


I am attempting my first bamboo ferrules. I use Gorilla glue. How do I keep the foaming action out of the female ferrule? Should I try a different glue?  (Joe Esther)

    I use Titebond 2 in my bamboo ferrules.  (Tony Spezio)

      Better make it clearer This is on my Quad ferrules where I use four pieces of bamboo. On the Hex ferrules, I just make the butt end a bit longer and use that cutoff to make the female ferrule. It is glued up with Epon like the rest of the blank.  (Tony Spezio)

    I use resorcinol on most all my rods and clean out the bamboo ferrule with a cotton bud before the glue sets.  (Paul Blakley)

    I use Elmer's ultimate glue (aka Probond polyurethane), and I have not had a problem. I do take some precautions though.  I wipe the flats on the inside of the ferrules before running the sections through the binder, and then I swab the inside with acetone after they're bound.   Once the glue sets up, if there is foam, acetone will dissolve it as long as you get to it before the glue cures.

    However, about a year ago, I made a hollow quad that was also glued up with Probond.  On my first try, the dimensions came out wrong and I couldn't use it.  I decided to see how bad the foaming problem was so I cut the butt end of the butt section off where I had left it solid under the reel seat, and was surprised that I can see right through the length of the whole butt section.  There's no evidence of foaming at all.  All I had done on that one was to wipe the inside flats off before running it through the binder.  (Robert Kope)

    I have used a hex socket tool to keep the female ferrule open.  (Tapani Salmi)

      Tapani is right.  I forgot to mention his trick with the Allen wrench.  Thanks for posting that, Tapani

      Allen wrenches make great scrapers  for the inside of bamboo ferrules.  They are hexagonal, come in a variety of sizes and are hardened tool steel.  After he first posted about this, I went out a bought cheap set of long handled allen wrenches.  If you grind off the end to leave a sharp edge it works great.  I've had a couple of cases where the ferrule was too tight, or the female was asymmetric, and with the allen wrench scraper, it's really pretty easy to control how much you take off.  Another useful tool is a sanding block made by gluing a small strip of sandpaper to an offcut from a rod section.  (Robert Kope)

        I have a question too concerning bamboo ferrules. Would they stand up to the extreme stress of spey casting in double handed rods?

        I have also been thinking. If we can make a ferrule by hollowing out a swell, would it be possible to make a bamboo ferrule entirely, by leaving the rod parts, butt and tip as they are, and by making a separate ferrule in bamboo which would have the dimensions of the rod part in the ferrule zone, tapered, but dimensions plus 3mm. I would then glue the ferrule on the rod and reinforce with silk, as usual. Anybody tried this?  (Geert Poorteman)

          I have made bamboo ferrules  just as you suggested, as a sleeve. I did this the simple way of making a 6 sided section, reinforced the ends  with thread and drilled it out for the size needed. The I put it on a mandrel, still with the reinforced ends and turned them round leaving a wall of about 40 or 50 thousandths. I then used sand paper to taper one end to blend into the rod.

          I used the wood hardener to strengthen the ferrule and wrapped in clear silk. I just glued it to the butt section. I have used two rods for several years with no  problems so far.

          I do not know if they  will handle the stress of a spey rod though. Give it a shot but keep a spare rod with you.  (Gordon Koppin)


This fall/winter I'd really like to attempt making a rod with an integrated bamboo hex shaped ferrule.  I've read Bjarne Fries excellent article in Power Fibers issue 8 several times.  Each time I read it I come a little closer to understanding his method.  He seems to use two sets of forms, a regular set, and then a swell set with what I think sounds like an untapered groove.  I've also read Tapani Salmi's web page describing the use of a nylon swell form and an allen wrench.

Does anyone have any other methods that they'd like to share?  Or any suggestions for further reading.  I'd really like to try an integrated ferrule not one that would be glued to one of the sections.  I saw a presentation at Grayrock where a CNC machine was used to make the ferrule.  Sorry to say that method is far out of my reach.

I have a basic set of planing forms.  They just have 5" centers so swelling might be a problem.  Making an additional set as described by Bjarne doesn't sound too tough if the groove is untapered.  (Aaron Gaffney)

    I also read Bjarne's article very carefully.  I made a set of forms that are short (48") and I put a tapered groove.  I figured it's no more difficult to do a tapered groove than an untapered one if you use Don Schneider's thread-cutting-tool, and triangular-file planes.  You just set the taper once and then adjust the depth of the cut with the planes.  I made one side of the forms for tips of 3 piece rods and one side for 2 piece tips and 3 piece mids.  On each side, when I finished the groove, I just cut the swelled part of the ferrule 0.050 deeper.  I was able to cut the step over about 1".  I think this makes planing the swells easier than Bjarne's forms.   You just set  the forms for  the taper  and  add 0.050 to the stations below the swell.

    Of course, you have to interpolate the taper to get the swell exactly where you want it, but that's pretty simple to do with a spreadsheet.  (Robert Kope)


ould whoever made the ferrules out of cane a while back post a note on how they're holding up to fishing pressure?   Also, the URL for the photos of the bamboo ferrules?  I thought the concept was fascinating, and was just wondering if any problems have developed.  (Claude Freaner)

    That was me, and they are holding up great.  Matter of fact, I have started selling the rods instead of just using them for myself.

    The original, a 2 wt 6 footer, did great and is now of the hands of an avid fly fisher in New York, who loves it.  I have since sold 4 that were ferruled this way on 4 wt rods, and not a single problem.

    I think there are some others out there that are using bamboo ferrules from time to time.  Would be interesting to hear what their experiences are with them.  (Bob Nunley)

    Here is another link to a Danish builder that uses a bamboo ferrule, interesting site and a good read. The guys name is Bjarne Fries (??I think??) . Here is the link.


I have studied the Power Fibers article by Bob Nunley quite intensely for the last couple of days.  It has held my interest for several months now, and I am about ready to give cane ferrules a go. So I was wondering if any of you have experimented with Bob's method and if you have anything to share about what you learned.

Naturally, I also have spent several hours going over Bjarne Fries hexaferrule article as well and believe it or not the similarities and differences in the two systems are beginning to make sense to me so obviously I have the same questions about his system as well.

Any input you gentleman can give me that would save me reinventing the wheel would be helpful.  Nunley used one impregnation system and Fries another and I have seen posts in the past extolling the virtues of each so I won't pester you too much on those issues when I can go back to the archives. I am more interested in building shortcuts or variant techniques or improvements you may have discovered. It's been since July 2002 that these articles were published and there must be something new to share.

I was wondering if anyone tried to work out a variant for making cane ferrules using the MHM. I have this wild pipe dream that it might be possible to create a ferrule swell in the tip sections using the flat cutter head thus creating the beginnings of a female hexaferrule. Perhaps Darryl Hayashida might have some useful insight to share with me.  (Dick Steinbach)

    I have made the FIBH ferrules on one rod and I am really impressed.  I think the hexagonal ferrule (like Bjarne Fries and Marcelo Calviello make) is superior to the round one that Bob Nunley developed for several reasons.  I like the positive alignment of the guides, and the fact that it is part of the rod rather than spliced on.  I used Minwax wood hardener to impregnate the ferrules and don't have any real opinion about different impregnation methods, at least as far as bamboo is concerned  ;-) .

    Lacking a mill to machine the wall thickness of the females, I improvised one using my drill press and a $30 cross-slide vise from Harbor Freight.  That worked adequately, though it took a while to get it set up to achieve the 0.050" wall thickness I was after.

    I recently purchased a MHM with the intention of using it to make bamboo ferrules with the flat cutter (as you suggest), in addition to hollow building, making quads, and other operations that are more difficult without a mill.  So far, I'm still on the steep part of the learning curve where the MHM is concerned, and haven't yet finished a rod.  You don't need to stop at the beginnings of the ferrule with the handmill, you can make the whole thing.  I do recall reading that there is one MHM owner who is routinely making hollow-built rods with bamboo hexagonal ferrules.  I don't recall who that is, but you may be able to find him in the archives of Handmill list.  (Robert Kope)

      Marcello's rods show up every once in a while and I have seen him post on this list several times. I do hope he responds to this post as well.  His  stuff is just extraordinary and if he would add anything to what I now have I would love it. 

      Although I made a half dozen rods with my MHM I feel like you (still a lot to learn).  I will make some posts to the MHM list to see what I can find out from them. Keep in touch, I will be happy to share!  (Dick Steinbach)

      In the marine industry such as the popular "West Marine" supply stores there's a product I think it's called  "Git-rot" or

      something of that sort-  it's a very "Wet" epoxy designed to  soak into wood of all types used in boat building that have gotten dry rot  -  this epoxy soaks into the wood by capillary action and I can tell you  through experience that as you brush this stuff on it seems like the wood just  drinks tons of the stuff up .    Might be a great way to  impregnate the bamboo ferrules ....  soaked with epoxy should toughen the  ferrules up significantly .......     (John Silveira)

    Bamboo ferrules are not all that difficult.  Build the tip with a flare sufficient to allow for a .050" wall in the ferrule  cavity.  Lay the strips out partially taped just  as you would to apply  the glue.  Use a file or sanding block to cross cut at 90 degrees to the  strips, i.e., across the inner points of the strips until you have a flat  section of strips. Stop at .055". Roll the section as you would to bind and you  have a hole the mimics the rod. Wrap the ferrule area with tape and dry fit the  butt section. Make fine adjustments using a scraper. Once a good fit is achieved  with the tape, bind  and glue  the section.    Clean  the hole  with a  Q-tip. Wax the butt portion with candle wax and insert it into the tip. When it  is almost dry separate the tip from the butt. After the ferrule has been 100%  wrapped with silk and at least one coat of varnish is dry rejoin the sections  with the same indexing as prior to separation. I no longer use a  hardener.  No doubt about it -- these ferrules are very good.   (George Rainville)

      You sure make that sound easy! And your instructions are quite clear; how long do they last before showing signs of wear? How deep do you insert the male? Thanks a lot!  (Dick Steinbach)

        If you are doing a 12/64, use about 1 1/4" of male  slide; about 1 3/8" for a 13/64. This is a judgment thing. As to wall  thickness I am sure that .025" was much to thin because the rod would wiggle  apart in 5 or 6 casts .Because of the wax lube wear has not been a problem.  Anyway a thin coat of varnish, super glue, or wood hardener will close up the  tolerances. One thing not mentioned is that there is no reason to make a  tapered fit. Straight walls work fine and they don't  stick the way a taper will.  (George Rainville)

          Has anyone tried making the butt section the female and the tips the male?  Seems like it might save some work and might work well with the rod taper.  (Jerry Madigan)

            It can be done but the ferrule must be glued on instead of making it one piece with the tip. Usually the cut off from the butt is about right. Drill it to the appropriate size and fit the tip. It is a quick and easy way that allows you to make one ferrule with multiple tips.   (George Rainville)

    I'm wandering on the slope of the female part of a cane ferrule.

    Suppose the female part (tip end) overlap the butt on 2 inches, and that you decided to end the swell on the tip five inches from the bottom. The total length of the female is 7 inches, is the slope linear over those 7 inches, or is it parallel on the two lower inches and linear on the five others?

    Or do you use some different slope (non linear).

    Any idea? how do you proceed?  (Jean-Claude Lebraud)

      Why would you want to make the ferrule that long?  The ferrule is a dead spot in the rod's action, and adds weight to the rod.

      I have only made a cane ferrule on one rod, but here's what I did:

      I used a wall thickness of 0.050" for the for the ferrule, a depth of 2 inches, and used the taper of the rod for the taper of the ferrule.  So I added 0.050" to the taper on the bottom 2" of the tip strips.  I extended this taper for another 1/4" and then made the swell over as short a distance as possible.  In my case that worked out to 1 1/2". This taper is sigmoid, not linear, because the cane has to bend smoothly going into and coming out of the swell.  So the total length of the swelled portion of the female ferrules is 3 3/4".

      My understanding of Bjarne Fries method, from his article in Power Fibers, is that he uses a step, the height of the wall thickness, in his planing form and lets the bamboo determine the length of the swell depending on the size of the strips.  I made my own planing form and cut the swell in the groove over as short a distance as I could, but it's not a step.  My forms have the 0.050" swell over about 1 1/2 inches.   (Robert Kope)


For those of you making/have made bamboo hexaferrules how many winds of silk do you do the females with, one layer or multiple?  (Paul Blakley)


For those of you that have made BOBFS/FIBH  type ferrules do you use a tapered male/female or a parallel male/female ferrule?

I am currently on with my first effort with this method of construction and any advice would be appreciated.  (Paul Blakley)

    I'm working on my first set as well. In questioning Marcelo Calviello, I believe it is parallel. He makes the tips with a hollowed swelled butt.

    I made my female on the butt with extra pieces of bamboo, it's experimental and on a PMQ, so the fact that it is square would allow this. I planed everything together in two's. It's ugly, next I need to wrap it and and fit the tip.

    If it works I'll have a two piece "Brush Hog" 6' 6wt.  (Pete Van Schaack)

      Yes, the female hole is parallel and a little more longer than the butt. In the male you can do a little taper. This allow that if at one tine the ferrule loose their fit you can go into the female hole a little more.  (Marcelo Calviello)

    You probably already know this, but there are several articles on bamboo ferrules in Power Fibers online magazine. They are is issues 4, 7, and  8.  Issue  4  is  by  Bob  Nunley,  7  and  8  are F.I.B.H.   (Floyd Burkett)


I'm wondering of those that create bamboo ferrules, what they use to tip the male ends of the bamboo and what they use for a water-seal in the female ferrule.  Do you construct your own, or do you purchase them?

Has anyone tried using a spigot ferrule setup with Bamboo?  (Wayne Daley)

    I use sections of graphite from old rods to make the female insert and the male collar on hex rods and just the bamboo for the square rods.  (Tony Spezio)

    How do bamboo ferrules compare action wise to metal ferrules?  I've got to think that they would make the rod feel more like a one piece. 

    How do they hold up?  Do they have a tendency of breaking?  Coming apart? 

    Why don't you hear more about them?  My experience so far with rodmaking is that metal ferrules are at best a PITA.  They're hard to fit to a rod, hard to fit to each other, expensive, and kind of temperamental. 

    If bamboo ferrules don't harm the action of a rod and don't eventually break, why wouldn't everyone use them seeing as they're practically free? (Aaron Gaffney)

      My first bamboo ferrule is about 5 years old. It is not my regular fishing rod but it has been cast a lot and has been at several Gatherings where it was cast by a lot of people. So far no problems with it and the quad bamboo ferrule I have on my PMQ.

      I make my hex bamboo ferrules from the butt end cutoffs. The quad bamboo ferrules are made  from four pieces of bamboo that have been run through a thickness planer and glued together like a box alternating the edges of the of the glue joints. I think Todd has these on his web site. I will have a hex and a quad rod with bamboo ferrules at the Catskill Gathering next week.  (Tony Spezio)


I just finished fitting my second rod (1st fly rod) with an integrated bamboo ferrule and wanted to post on my progress.  The fitting went much better this time around as I made some adjustments to the butt taper with what I learned the first time around.  Took about 10 minutes to fit the 1.5" ferrule.  Fits beautifully.  Nice and snug, but not so tight that I have to really tug it apart. I'll order guides this week and hopefully give it a test cast in a couple of weeks.  Seems to waggle really nice though - really light.

A couple of questions.

(1)  On my first bamboo ferruled rod (a spinning rod) I sealed the inside of the female and the outside of the male with a mixture of poly glue and acetone.  However, this rod is impregnated (sorry Darryl H.) so I'm wondering if I still need to seal the ferrule.  I impregnated for about 36 hours in a Daly's formula Mike Brooks posted on another board.  What are some opinions, will impregnating be enough to seal the ferrule, or should I also try to seal it with the glue/acetone mix?

(2)  I'd like to try the guide spacing regime that has been posted about a few times.  Placing guides every 5 inches and adjusting to match the rod as necessary.  A couple of questions on this.  What size guides should I use?  I'll be starting with a lot more than I end up with?  The rod is a 7'2" 5 wt.  How do you attach the guides so they can be easily moved?  Tape?  (Aaron Gaffney)

    For what it's worth I seal my females with a few coats of varnish that I apply with a cotton bud swab.  (Paul Blakley)


Does anyone who builds rods with Bamboo ferrules have a good taper for 7 to 7 1/2 ft. rod.  (Joe Esther)

    I'm working on my third bamboo ferruled rod, so take this for what it's worth. 

    I contacted Bjarne Fries, who wrote a power fibers article on bamboo ferrules, and he said to just take the taper as is.  For example, if you wanted to make a 7' Sir D two piece just use the two piece numbers from Wayne's book.  This is what I did for the first rod I made, a 6' spinning rod for my father-in-law.

    For the next rod that I'm working on I've tried something a little different.  (I'm waiting for hardware and some different finish so I haven't tested it yet).  I built a 2-piece Driggs River.  I used the numbers for a 2-piece Driggs, but then since the bamboo ferrule weighs less than a metal one I hollow built the but section to .080.  My thinking was that if I converted the 2-piece into a 1-piece the butt numbers would be smaller, so instead of making it smaller I just hollowed it out.  We'll see.

    I'm also working on a 6'3" 2-weight from Wayne's book.  This will also have a bamboo ferrule, for this one though I've just used the numbers as is.  By the way, it's amazing how small a 6'3" 2 piece tip is.  I thought a strip height of .035 was small, .028 is lots smaller.

    Also, when it comes to hollowing out the bamboo ferrule part, I was much more accurate on my second attempt than my first.  I used a couple of shims, a chisel (thanks Harry), and a razor blade.  I was able to achieve a wall thickness of .047 with almost perfect accuracy (some were .0465 or .0475).  (Aaron Gaffney)

      Thanks for the great information. Would you mind elaborating a little more on your method of making bamboo ferrules? Your last paragraph seemed very interesting.  (Joe Esther)

        My method for making the ferrules is basically the same as that described in a Power Fibers article by B. Fries (here's a link).  I made a few minor adjustments.  He makes integrated ferrules, not sleeves.  Since I've only done this three times and have yet to cast a rod with a bamboo ferrule, take this for what its worth.

        I made a new set of wooden swell forms as described in the article.  I've been shooting for a wall thickness of .047".  Based on my swell forms, my swells in the tips (all three that I've made) take place over about 1.5" and then the ferrule itself is about 1.5" in length.  The taper on the butt side remains unchanged.  Setting the swell form takes some time, but I'm getting quicker and I'm hoping the fit will also be getting a little better.

        Once the strips are tapers you hollow out the ferrule section.  I wish I could send you a picture bu my camera isn't working.  This hollowing was rough on my first try, but I changed methods and it worked much better on the second rod.  I used spray adhesive to glue some plastic shim (an old CD case) cover with some really thin brass sheet to a piece of glass (searched around the house one night with my calipers after everyone had gone to bed until I found something that would make the .047" I was looking for.  There are two pieces of this shim separated by about 3/16".  I mark the length of the tips to be hollowed (the 1.5" of the fitting part of the ferrule plus about an inch extra)  and stick it to the glass between the shims.  Then I use a 3/4" chisel (Harry Boyd gave me this tip sometime ago and it works great) to plane off the apex of the strip.  This gets me to about .003 over my target, I then scrape with a single edge razor blade until I hit my target of .047.  It sounds crude, but on this last rod I was able to get all six strips hollowed to within .0005 of my target in less than 10 minutes.

        After that its glue up pretty much as normal.  The only thing I would say is that you want to use a glue that gives you plenty of time.  I've used both Probond (PU) and URAC on the first 10 rods I made last year.  I thought the URAC would set to fast for this so I used Probond.  Worked great.  Bind the swell area of the ferrule and the ferrule itself by hand really tight to get the swell to close, then bind the rest as usual.  All three rods I've done this fall/winter have turned out arrow straight, no straightening necessary after the glue dries.

        The article describes the finishing process well.  On the rod I'm working on now though I'm going to try something different.  On the first rod I sealed the ferrule with a mix of Probond and Acetone.  This time I'm going to try impregnating the whole rod in a Mike Brooks sauce before I even wrap the ferrule in silk.  I'm just waiting for some Daly's Ship and Shore to arrive. 

        Anyway, long winded response, but I'd be more than happy to answer anything.  Maybe I'll finish this rod up and find out its a real dog and scrap the whole process.  I hope not though.  I like the look of the ferrule.  Plus its free.  And I hate fitting ferrules.  (Aaron Gaffney)

    One BAD taper is the 7'6" PHY Perfectionist with an integral (Fries type) ferrule. Both myself and another list member have built one and they are awful.

    On the other hand I have made a PHY 6'3" Midge with the same ferrule and it's a winner!

    Strange things these bamboo ferrules, almost as though they need tapers of their own to justify the method of ferruling?  (Paul Blakley)

    Garrison 206.  (Robert Kope)


As previously noted, I have made some experimentation on different rod building techniques.

I wanted to construct an easy to build cane ferrule and resulted in this.

I have two rods ready - not very ugly at all. No experiences on durability or swelling / jamming problems etc yet. Any comments?  (Tapani Salmi)

    That was very innovative thinking on your part!! Thanks for sharing and I saved that one for future reference.  (Will Price)


While assembling my "6610" it struck me that I could make a bamboo ferrule by cutting the ferrule stations as I would for metal ferrules and then boring a hole through a remnant piece of a butt section twice the length of the ferrule stations, with the hole the same size (10/64"), and mount that onto the butt of the new rod and simply inserting the butts of the tip sections into it. I can't imagine that others haven't tried this but I haven't seen it done. It isn't glued on permanently yet as the corks won't fit over it, but it looks like it will work. As is it looks a little bulbous and I'm thinking of sanding it down a little smaller, but I'm not sure how far I can go without making it too thin. It's projected to be a 3-weight.

So, has anyone tried this? successfully? If so, how thin do you think the walls should be? I'm preserving the hex configuration and will wrap it for insurance.  (Henry Mitchell)

    Made the first one that way about five years ago. Also used it on the Twisted Miss. I used a short length of Graphite rod for a sleeve on the male end and a insert on the female end on that one. Will be glad to send you some photos.  (Tony Spezio)

      So how about doing a swell on the ferrule end of the butt section then bore it to accommodate the tip section,  I'm not  into this type of build, but perhaps I can issue this as a challenge to Denver Dave! Just the man for the job! He he (Joe Arguello)

    .045 wall thickness will be plenty and a full length wrap will hold it together. You might try 2/3 slide and 1/3 glue area. It seems to be enough. Lubricate with wax and fish.  (George Rainville)

    Often in the past I've thought - why not bamboo ferrules?

    Did a little research and found it had been done by some fellow over the pond. Can't remember where but it came off Todd Talsma's web site. Unlike your application, the tip is swelled for a length of 1.5 in. and hollowed before gluing to fit the butt hex shape. At gluing a hex allen wrench of appropriate size is inserted in the hollowed out section of the tip to form and accept the butt after  wrench is removed. I imagine this must be done before glue fully cures. Can't recall the thickness of the female walls. That is critical. Also, glue type was not specified. I think Epon would work best.

    This one is on my to do list. Please let me know how your solution works. (Mike Tracy)

      That's interesting, and probably a sounder approach. I think that this is what Marcelo Calviello, the Argentine maker does.

      This rod is being made up of rejects and leftovers, and, it is a 3 weight. The bamboo ferrule was just a what the hell? bit of cerebral flatus. My guess is that the tips will fail at the junction of the round and hexagonal portions of the tip as it exits the female ferrule. On rethinking I should have cut 11/64" ferrule stations rather than the 10/64" stations that blank would have normally gotten, ending up with a almost-hexagonal peg in a round hole. If the male fails on one tip I'll put the N/S ferrule on the other. If the female fails I'll replace males and females. If the butt breaks just below the ferrule I'll regret putting a decent reel seat and grip on it.

      In two weeks the West Branch salmon will cast their vote.  (Henry Mitchell)

        All of the info I've seen calls for a minimum wall thickness of .070". I'm pretty sure that I saw Marcelo say that also on one of his posts either here or on Classic Fly Rod Forum.  (Will Price)

          For rods up to 8' in length you will find a wall thickness of circa 55 thousandths to be the optimum. Thinner walled ferrules will flex and become loose causing the sections to separate. Thicker walled ferrules look very very ugly and are just not needed.  (Paul Blakley)

            I have made nine tips in the last month while playing around with  research and development of aesthetically and functionally pleasing and  useful cane ferrules. My experiments touched on heat treatment  colors, methods of making jigs to do the job, impregnating,  adhesives, wall thickness, casting characteristics, wraps, etc.

            So far I have come up with an inexpensive dedicated trim router based  machine that cuts the wall thickness accurately and consistently. I  will eventually post pictures/plans on the tips site.

            Little rods like these definitely require thinner walls than .050  both aesthetically and functionally. So IMHO Paul is absolute right  on with his observations and the numbers he suggests. For these  little fellers I have been using fifty thousandths but plan to try some  down to forty thousandths which of course reduces wall thickness. Keep in  mind when you wrap that adds weight and thickness and those are not  always a good thing. On my first one I made two years ago I used  Kevlar thread for strength and too much thick varnish: strong but ugly.

            I wonder if somebody has any information on the tensile strength of  various wraps.

            Cane ferrules look overwhelming in terms of bulk at first, but once  the rod is wrapped and hardware is in place that effect is reduced. I  plan to eventually try white silk for an invisible wrap that shows no  bulk and would draw less attention to the swell.

            Once the technical & aesthetic bugs are ironed out I think these  ferrules will become  very popular for obvious reasons. For those of  you interested there have been at least two makers featured in  Power Fibers.  (Dick Steinbach)

              Some experiments with bamboo ferrules can be found on my web site, including Allen Wrench key method.  (Tapani Salmi)

        The even simpler approach was to round off the ferrule stations normally, then dip them in wood hardener for a bit. The actual ferrule was a bit of built cane of suitable length and diameter, hardened and with a hole whacked through it  to match the diameter of the stations.

        Before Christmas I hope I shall have at least cobbled up a sample of this to test, but at my normal glacial speed I'm not sure exactly which Christmas.  (Robin Haywood)


If I want to build a certain taper but replace the ferrule with a bamboo ferrule, how do I adjust the taper dimensions around the ferrule stations to accommodate the bamboo ferrule?  With all this talk about flat spots and stiff spots that are caused by NS or metal ferrules for that matter, I think my next project may be to build a rod with bamboo ferrules.  Do I need to adjust the taper dimensions or should I just build as is?  (Greg Reeves)

    It’s my OPINION based on computer simulation that the bamboo ferrule will reduce you total ferrule weight by about ½ which will be equal to stiffening the action by about ¼ line weight.  I think the stiffness, flat spot, is negligible.  I’d build it with no modification.  (Al Baldauski)

      In the bamboo ferruled rods I have made, I used Frank's Hexrod to convert my standard tapers into one-piece tapers.  The taper for the one-piece rod is then just divided in half where the ferrule will be.  The only further modifications necessary for the butt section is to make a straight section for what will become the male slide.

      For tips, I then start my swell 2.5" from the big end of the (MAKE THAT TIP) butt section.  Over 1.25" I usually swell to the size of the butt section plus .100".  That allows for a wall thickness in the ferrules of .050".  The female ferrule itself has an opening of 1.25" in length.  Other than the swell for the ferrules, the tip tapers will not change from two piece tapers.

      Doing things this way has resulted in rods that cast amazingly similarly.  At SRG for the last two years I've shown off two rods made from the same culm, with the same components, etc.  Only difference is one has metal ferrules, the other bamboo.  Everyone can feel the difference.  Some prefer the bamboo ferrule, some the metal ferrule.

      Two more things.  First, this seems to work best in two piece rods.  When I converted a three piece, three weight rod to bamboo ferrules, it became a four weight.  A quite nice four weight, but definitely a four rather than a three.  Second, I've seen and cast quite a few of Marcelo's rods.  He has modified his taper design over the years and now uses shorter ferrules than in the past.  But they still seem somewhat longer than necessary to me.  Chris Bogart has made some neat changes to bamboo ferrules as well, and I think he's onto something.  (Harry Boyd)

        For an example, let’s say I’m making a 6’8” 2 pc rod.  That would give me roughly 40” sections.  My planing forms are built on 5” centers.  Would I be adding too much weight if I made the swell at the 35” station to the 40” station and then had the ferrule extend out from 40” the desired depth of the male?  Meaning my swell would be over 5” instead of 2.5”.  I would really like to build the ferrule into the taper but I may have to build the bamboo sleeve type ferrule because of my planing forms.  (Greg Reeves)

        There is makers doing just that and getting very high prices for there work. See The Classic Fly Rod Forum.  So the answer is yes. You need to sart some were. Honesty I started going just that. If you need to make is shorter you need different forms.  (Gary Nicholson)

            Or you can modify your forms for 2.5" stations to better accommodate swells. Just a thought.  (Scott Bearden)

    I personally feel that the whole Bamboo Ferrule thing is mostly "hype." I've never cast any of Marcello's rods but have cast a couple of North American made bamboo ferrule rods.  Must admit that I didn't see anything special or no shaft of light down from the heavens illuminating my semi covered skull.   {:>)

    I did see a photo of Marcello's partner fighting a fish with one of their rods and you got a very good foreshortened  view of the rod's bend. There was about a foot long "Flat Spot" in the curve of the rod. It seems to me that they build up the taper entering and exiting the ferrule area.    So to use a lighter weight material for the ferrule they expand the thickness of the taper over some distance equals extra weight and extra stiffness! So what has been gained by that?   I think some fly casters are very susceptible to the power of suggestion. 

    Also I can't believe that a bamboo ferrule will stand up to the same abuse that a NS, Duronze or Stainless Steel ferrule will.  (Larry Swearingen)

      The bamboo ferrule has to be made as short as possible .Or its next to useless.

      The swell on mine are less than 1. 1/4 inches.  See the picture below (Gary Nicholson)

      Nicholson, Gary Ferrule

      As you know there was a write up and pictures of a New Divine Rod finished out by Michael Sinclair that was made by Chris Bogart who makes 2 of the models for the company. With the 3rd model made by Wayne Daley (who I believe is a listmember). The buyer wanted the rod built with bamboo ferrules. Sinclair wrapped the female ferrule with Kevlar thread which I'm sure you are aware that Kevlar cloth is used to make bullet proof vests. Now I haven't tested it but I'm sure the same bullet that is stopped by Kevlar will go right through nickel silver. Just how tough do you want it?  (Will price)

      My bamboo ferrules are built into the taper of the butt and run about 1-1/2" deep for rods up to 5 wt. (The ferrule taper is about 2-1/4" of the end of the rod, using a swell.)  They curve through the ferrule and do not exhibit near the "dead zone" metal puts in a rod. I've never had a tear out, as they are wrapped in Pearsalls and epoxied. The rods are impregnated, eliminating the need for varnish, so they usually have epoxied wraps as well.

      There's more to it than "the power of suggestion", I can assure you. The ferrule doesn't come loose, either... as can metal ferrules.  (Mike St. Clair)

        Forgot to tell you.  The bamboo ferrule is in my view stronger than any metal connection. When you fit a metal ferrule you need to make the bamboo round  to fit the ferrule removing power fibers. The integrated bamboo ferrule removes nothing.  (Gary Nicholson)

          You do not have to make the bamboo round.  Letcher Lambuth book "Anglers Workshop" suggested building up the flats and turning round to the size of the apex to apex dimension.  (Scott Grady)

          I'm not commenting on the Bamboo Vs metal ferrules, because I don't know anything about bamboo ferrules.


          he reason you can round off the bamboo under a ferrule is because the ferrule IS the strength.  

          Generally ferrules have always been a problem because the flex of the bamboo ends at the ferrule and starts again on the other side.  There's a lot of stress at those points.   I believe it's one of the reasons for the milk bottle ferrules that some companies used.  It allowed the ferrule to flex a bit.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    On the IBRA website, to the page "articoli" you can make the download of article "DIMENSIONING BAMBOO FERRULES", it is my personal system in order to plan the bamboo ferrule.  (Alberto Poratelli)


I just finished up fitting the ferrules on an integrated Bamboo on Bamboo Ferrule.  I really like the fit but want to know what I need to do to coat or protect the end of the male from splintering.  I thought that I had plasticized the ends of the strips by soaking them in a slurry of acetone and Plexiglas for a couple of days but I don’ think that did much.  When I was trying to fit the male in the female, one of the apexes started to splinter.  Now I am concerned that this will continue with repeated use.  Should I dip the male in SPAR or something else to coat the male?  If I did that, I would have to sand down the male so the added thickness of the varnish or other coating would not mess up the fit.  What should I do?  (Greg Reeves)

    I have always wrapped the males with white Gossamer and used a thinned coat of Flexcoat. It has never let me down so far. If unwrapped, yes it can separate. (Not splinter, tho...?)

    You can wrap the length, or do a base, mid and end wrap. If you want, you can use colored thread and do it as part of the main wraps, but I use the full wrap to insure it will not separate, then wrap over it, you can't tell the difference.  (Mike St. Clair)

      Are you talking about the female or the male?  I overwrapped the female with thread and epoxied but that is fine.  What I am wondering is the male?  When inserting the male into the female, one of the apexes started to splinter from the share edge.  (Greg Reeves)

        Keep in mind that I have not made any BOB ferruled rods yet but I read of one rodmaker impregnating the end of the male slide with super glue and then sanding to a snug fit.  (Will Price)

          OK, too early for me to figure out male from female, I guess... I meant FEMALE ferrules.  (Greg Reeves)

    I have an integrated bamboo ferruled rod that I've fished for three years.  The male is "painted" with thinned polyurethane glue and then sanded to a snug fit.  The apex of the male is not flat, but tapered to match the taper on the inside of the female.  I think this helps prevent the splintering you've mentioned because there's nothing on the edge to "catch".  Also, once everything is fit well the outside of the male is rubbed with soap.  Helps it to slide better.  (Aaron Gaffney)

      I have made these ferrules and have not had a problem in 4-5 years. I dipped the male in wood hardener and have not had a problem. The male is snug in the female ferrule so I do not think it is as fragile as the outside edge of the female bamboo ferrule.  (Gordon Koppin)

    I have made several cane ferrules and If the fit is really loose to begin with then a layer of wraps on the male tip would increase the circumference, but what I like to do is put a thin shaving of cane on the inside walls of the female. Glue it in place using the male as a wedge till the glue sets up.

    I try to get a coat of varnish on them prior to the final  fitting of them (that's both the interior of the female and the outer surface of the male). I test fit them to be sure I don't have a jam before letting them dry and I round over the male tip to match the configuration on the inside of the female. When the varnish has hardened, then I tinker with it to finalize the fit.  More or less varnish brushed on or sanded off helps to make the adjustment. 

    When everything is cured I like to use a little bees wax or paste wax is good or even crayon but not soap.  I don't know if the super glue, wood hardeners, Plexiglas, etc. is really necessary. It may be like wearing suspenders with a belt??

    I hope that makes sense and helps.  (Dick Steinbach)


For the record I had two attempts at producing the integrated slimline ferrule.  As per Alberto Portelli's streamlined ferrule design. The first, like I have stated, flexed at the ferrule and the ferrule became loose in a very short space of time. This could be clearly seen when the rod was under extreme load.  The last attempt sheared longitudinally down the male section (not down the glue line) but, again I can only attribute the ferrule was under extreme stress and simply was not up to the task.

From a personal observation I think the ferrule has some design faults.  As above, without reinforcement the ferrule is weak. Internal reinforcement could be the answer here but if it is taken to the extreme the ferrule will become non flexing and it turn will be no better than the standard bamboo ferrule, leaving aside the aesthetics.  Other problems are sloping shoulder = placed to reinforce ferrule against shearing force imposed on ferrule were it returns back to blank wall.  It solved one problem but creates another the fact that the female has to fit up to a very steep slope and has a very real tendency to slide away from the shoulder and again became loose. I think a ferrule fitting up to a ramp shoulder is not good engineering. If anyone tried to produce one and has any measure of success I would like to hear please.  (Gary Nicholson)

    I haven't built one yet, I was going to try to figure a way to incorporate the female into the butt section, as I use on my standard bamboo ferrules. The ones I make still have considerable flex at joints, but I've never experienced a failure on a wrapped one. I wonder if a more gradual reduction, instead of a steeper "ramp" might not maintain more strength. (Again, you have that sloping fit, but maybe it can be made up for in the more gradual tapering... and eliminate the loosening problem.)

    Did you use a handmill? Just curious cuz it seems like it would be really easy with one. That's what I use for the "big-butted female" ferrules I make.

    I'll have to revisit Alberto's designs and think about this... I LOVE the way they look in the photos, and Larry Tusoni saw them in Italy.. he was really impressed with them. I don't recall if he cast it at all, tho.  (Mike St. Clair)

    For those others who are following this, the posting that Gary refers to on Clark's List (there are a lot of posts to look through) .  It shows my latest rod using my modification of Alberto Poratelli's ferrules.

    Having built two "successful" rods based partly on Alberto's design, I think I can answer some of Gary's questions.  First, my rods have been tested with extensive casting, but have not yet been fished.  How well they hold up to the next trip to Montana is to be seen.

    As for design faults, well, every ferrule has design faults and Alberto's "Streamlined" ferrules are, of course, no exception.

    The ferrules are best lubricated with beeswax which has a sticky character and helps keep them from sliding apart.  The shoulder needs to have a lower slope than some of Alberto's drawings suggest.  As for splitting longitudinally, I wrap both the male and female with silk to give hoop strength.  In my case, the spigot extends into the male end of the section and the wrapping goes a bit past the spigot's end inside the section.  The female part of the ferrule has single silk wrappings over much of its length, double over most of the shoulder area, and triple wraps near the mouth.  I bed the male ferrule in the female with epoxy using a mold release compound to produce a perfect fit.

    The spigots on my version of Alberto's ferrules have a carbon-fiber core.  The rod I am presently building will not have bamboo mantles on the spigots which will be bare carbon-fiber rods.  What are the advantages of my version of Alberto's ferrules?  Rod flex goes through them as one would expect and two ferrules are possible without adding any swing weight out towards the tip of the rod.

    How will my ferrules hold up?  That remains to be seen.  Fortunately, as an amateur builder, I do not need to keep customers satisfied and have the freedom to experiment as I wish.  Should others try such ferrules?  That is entirely up to the individual.  If you want to be sure of what you produce, by all means, stick with nickel-silver ferrules.  (Tim Anderson)

      Just to be clear I am in fact referring to my experiences with the remake of Alberto’s Slimline ferrules Not the excellent work of Tim Anderson’s reinforced slimline ferrule which is completely structurally different and addresses in my view some of the problems both me and Tim have both experienced.  (Gary Nicholson)

      I have been interested in self ferruling for a while and my intent is to make the next rod with it. I have a few thoughts about the Italian efforts. Foremost is that the sample size (as usual for our efforts) is much too small to build a process with. I think that it was presented as a proof of concept, rather than a standard construction practice. The Italian bamboo may have been stronger than usual, or the bamboo of the problem ferrules may have been weaker than usual. The Italian bamboo may well have been much stronger than usual and we will never be able to achieve similar wall thicknesses on a routine basis. The fact that it did work once points us in a direction that I think should be pursued over hybrid systems.

      Not wrapping the female ferrule is probably optimistic. The plastic rod builders regularly wrap their ferrules before stressing the assembled blank. Some claim that a properly designed plastic blank will not fail, but the recommendation remains to wrap before testing. I should think that we would do the same. The question in my mind is whether to use nylon for its stretchiness or silk for it lack there of.

      The construction of the male in the Italian self ferrule  may be more complicated than needed. Making the taper to the ferrule section a full 5 inches would make its layout on the planing form and construction much easier.

      I have done some initial investigation of self ferrules used by the plastic manufacturers. They seem to (at least in the ones I have been able to measure) be doing a swell into the female, and a reduction into the male of several inches.  I haven't tried to model that in RodDNA or Flexrod yet to see what that would do to stress and flexure curves. Would 10 inches taken away from the taper to accommodate the ferrules destroy the action of the taper so badly that it couldn't be recovered? The plastic ferrule appears to be tapered rather than straight, and sometimes longer than we are using with the Italian method. I have found .007/inch as an average taper so far, and lengths twice the Italian recommendations in some of my spinning rods. One other big difference between our efforts and what the plastic engineers do is that the plastic self ferrule does not bottom out or register on a tip or steep taper. Because the plastic rods are naturally hollow, the tapered ferrule connection spreads its force over the length of attachment.

      My package from GoldenWitch has arrived, so back to making rather than thinking.  (Larry Lohkamp)

        Having made two rods based on Albeto Poratelli's design, I think I can safely say that the proportions he suggests are acceptable.  Please see my previous note which discusses silk wrapping over the ferrules.  Alberto presented his design to the public for the first time at an international rodmakers' meeting in Sansepolcro, Italy in May 2008.  I was there and had the chance to look closely at his rod with the new ferrule.   I saw nothing to indicate anything special about the bamboo.  Larry Tusoni was also there and can, perhaps, give his impressions.

        After Alberto made his presentation, a small group of Swiss rodmakers (who were also at the Sansepolcro meeting) soon built rods using his idea and I have not heard any negative results.  They did mention that they would be trying to make it slimmer.  Bjarne Fries, one of the foremost builders of bamboo-ferruled rods, had a chance to inspect and test one of the Swiss rods.

        My use of a separate spigot set into the male part of the ferrule simplifies the construction of the male ferrule.  I use a Morgan Hand Mill which makes that process even easier.  (Tim Anderson)

        With regards to measuring a plastic rod measuring the dia is not an efficient way to understand what is going on with carbon or any of the composite rod making techniques, yes this works fine with bamboo which is made of one material and has a known tensile strength or PSI.  What you cannot know is what compound taper was used and if other carbon cloths were interwoven in the make up of the blank wall.  Unlike Bamboo just because the taper is reduced in diameter does not always signify a significant reduction in ultimate tensile strength.  (Gary Nicholson)


For those of you who are also working with bamboo ferrules... When you wrap the female, do you finish the wrap with epoxy, or is varnish strong enough. I have a pretty good system for finishing with with varnish, but every time I try to work with epoxy it shimmers. Sometimes I could swear that the shimmers form days after the application, but I'm not sure what kind of chemistry could do that.  (Larry Lohkamp)

    Go with whatever gives you the best finish. the strength is in the silk, not the finish. just wrap the entire length of the hollow plus a little.

    I've found  it to be easier to break the wrap into short sections (3/8 to 1/2 inch) butted up next to each other than trying to do it in one long wrap.  (David Atchison)

    You might also want to consider Kevlar thread if you're worried about the strength.  (Will Price)

      Or extra fine GSP fishing line/tying thread which is finer in diameter the tying thread is white but can be colored with a pen or by laying a layer of colored thread over the top.  (Nick Kingston)

    I use silk and varnish with the last 10mm of the female given a double silk wrap. I got this idea of the second wrap from either a Fries or a Calviello publication and I don't think anyone has made more bamboo ferruled rods than either these two.  (Paul Blakley)

    Why not just soak the hollowed ferrule in super glue for an hour or so after its wrapped. Use white thread and it'll end up transparent. Thanks Tony!  (Don Peet)


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