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Does anyone varnish the ferrules to protect them?   (Mike Canazon)

    I know that Austrian Rodmaker Walter Brunner varnishes his ferrules after bluing. He bakes the varnish on the ferrules to harden it in some way, don't ask me how, but it looks very nice.  (Stuart Moultrie)

    Yes, indeed, 'though not those I leave bright.  Otherwise, the bluing just wears away -- and it doesn't seem to take very long.  (Bill Harms)


My search of the archives failed to come up with much in the way of a design for a mandrel for use on a lathe to polish NS ferrules, or a description of the polishing process and materials recommended. Can some of you'se guys help me out on these 2 problems?  (Don Greife)

    Use drill rod of appropriate size or do Like I do and turn drills around and use the appropriate size for your ferrule.  I bought a set of cheap "Jobber" Drill bits just for this use.  (Brian Creek)

    I used brass rod, turned down to fit snugly in the ferrule. I use sandpaper soaked with oil, grit - 220 down to 2000.  Then polish with 3m perfect-it fine and machine polish on felt.

    Actually, I do this in my drill press.  Mainly because its in the warm basement not in the cold garage where my lathe lives.  (Tom Ausfeld)

      In the Power Fibers article I see you are holding the ferrule in some fixture while slitting the tabs. What is it? Do I buy it or make it. Your article inspired me and I am getting my gear together to make some ferrules.  (Adam Vigil)

        As for the fixture, ha ha ha knowledge is power!!!  It is a piece of brass hex stock that when placed in my tool holder, the center is at the center of chuck rotation.  The center is has a 3/8" hole drilled in to it.  Then I took another piece of hex stock 1.5" long, (same size) and turned down a 1/2" of it so that it fits snuggly in the 3/8" hole.  Drilled and tapped a screw in the first piece to lock it down.  For male ferrules: In the second piece, center drill a hole slightly bigger than the ferrule piece you want to slit.  Go only as deep as the slide. I wrap masking tape around the ferrule so that it fits in the hole very snuggly, very little play.  Now line up the two hex piece, slit.  Rotate to the next flat, etc....

        For the female ferrule, I drilled from the back side of the second piece and made a tapered hole, wrap the ferrule with some tape so it fits in snug.  I have two female jigs, and three male jigs.  About two sizes per jig.

        I forgot to mention how I center the cuts.  I turn a small piece of brass to the size of the ferrule opening (i.e. - where the bamboo fits in).  Then I turned the tip really small, like .010".  When I'm ready to go, I insert brass piece, line up the tip to the blade, remove the brass piece and go.  I double check center on each cut.

        Now I'm sure there are many questions as to my explanation is weak due to being road weary.  Ask away, I'll answer them. I believe there may be an article in an early Power Fibers issue.  This is not my design, just my adaptation.  Thanks to the originator.  (Tom Ausfeld)

    I bought some rod at the local hardware store, cut off pieces from it, then turned them in collets to the correct size for holding the ferrules. I can use these to thin the ferrule tabs or to polish the ferrules while turning in the lathe, or I can use them out of the lathe to give me something more to hold on to whilst polishing on my buffing machine. The rod is very inexpensive, comes in three feet lengths, and available in a variety of sizes by sixteenths.

    For polishing, I use a variety of compounds, depending upon the extensiveness of the polishing, all applied with multiple sewn cotton wheels stacked against each other to give some width.

    I have an independent motor I use to turn the buffing wheels. When I polish something in the lathe, it is only to bring up the luster of an already highly polished part. Then I use a piece of polishing cloth, like from REC, held against the turning part on the mandrel in the lathe.  (Martin-Darrell)

      What holds them into the homemade collet?  (Adam Vigil)

        The collets are lathe collets that grip the rod for the turning. Collets tend to be more accurate than a chuck. The ferrules are a friction fit on the mandrels. I turn then so that they are a very snug fit. No pictures. Just imagine a .250 rod turned down to .1875 for approximately 1.25".  (Martin-Darrell)


Just 10 minutes ago I put a butt section in my drip tank and FORGOT TO MASK THE FERRULE.  The section is dripping as I write this and I'm a little stumped as to what to do...

What is the best way to clean out this ferrule?  Should I immediately soak it in turps?  Wait for it to dry?

Run screaming off a cliff?  (Joe West)

    I don't know what kind of varnish you are using, so here are two  answers.  For either a poly or a more traditional spar, I would first clean out the wet ferrule with a Q-tip and acetone.  Just do the best you can without disrupting the wet varnish on the cane.

    If you are using a poly that needs additional coats before the undercoats dry all the way, then finish the rod and do the final ferrule cleanup with acetone or Formby's  Finish Remover  and a Q-tip later.  Be sure to mask off what you need to protect.

    If you are using a more traditional varnish that allows you to apply additional coats most anytime, let your first coat dry hard, and do the Formby's or acetone clean up on the inside of the ferrule and outside too.  Then proceed to complete the rod as usual.

    As long as you have a water seal in the ferrule, you haven't really created that big of a problem.  (Chris Lucker)

      I have NO acetone. I do have PVC cleaner which is a mix of MEK and acetone.  Any reason not to use this?  (Joe West)

        That will work.  (Carey Mitchell)

    Let the varnish dry.  Mask off the bamboo and use varnish remover to clean the ferrule.  Use some polishing compound to blend the sharp edge left by the tape.  (Ted Knott)

    I would just let dry and then clean everything with denatured alcohol.. Don’t stress on it.  (Dave Henney)


When I varnish a rod. I tape up the ferrules using 3M masking tape.  After the last coat of varnish has hardened, I try to cut a nice even edge to the varnish using a razor blade before removing the tape.  Nonetheless, I sometimes still end up with a ragged edge to the varnish. What do you do? Any suggestions are welcome.   (Mark Lenarz)

    Use scotch tape, electrical tape, or plumber's Teflon tape. Just a wrap or two at the edge, then the masking tape over the rest of the ferrule. I extend the masking tape spiral past the opening of the female and pinch it shut. If all else fails, you can feather the varnish edge with a Dremel and soft  brush. This is easy to screw up, but worth a try if you don't want to redip.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I have had success using Teflon pipe tape (the white stuff) around the edge of the ferrule.  It is very thin and leaves almost no ridge.  You can use the masking tape for the rest of the ferrule.  (Ralph Tuttle)

    I'm with these other guys. Teflon tape is ... wonderful! I usually just wrap the whole ferrule and seal the end with masking tape or a cork and masking tape.

    Varnish will get under the Teflon but it's no big deal. It will not set up under the tape. Varnish as normal and hang over night. Peel off the Teflon and wipe the ferrules with thinner and a paper towel and that takes care of the residue. The exposed varnish on the rod will have already skinned over and won't be harmed (still knocking on wood).  (Mike Shay)


For those of you that make ferrules, how do you ensure a smooth finish on inside of the female slide?  I have tried 4x steel wool and 1500 grit paper, but am still getting minute scratches on the male slide when I pull it out. Any tips out there?  (Louis DeVos)

    You need to use a reamer like this in the appropriate size. (Wayne Caron)

      I should have clarified.  I do use reamers for the slide.  Thanks.  (Louis DeVos)

    I wrap some 0000 steel wool around a small drill in my Dremel, being careful that there is no protruding drill steel to damage the ferrule; I have enough wool that it is a tightish, or maybe snug is a better word.

    Then I push the switch to about 1/2 way and poke it in CAREFULLY - sorry to the bloke who thinks that is rude. It's not meant to be - and move it in and out till the thing is polished.

    I do this before i fit the male to the female.  (Peter McKean)

    I use blind hole laps and a 0-2 micron diamond polishing paste to finish out the inside of the female. This may be a little overboard... you could probably EASILY get by with the 2-4 or maybe even coarser diamond polish, but I just bought the 0-2 first time I did this and it leaves a mirror finish inside the ferrules. Be sure and get the one with HEAVY diamond concentration. The 0-2 laps are a 14000 mesh equivalent... that will put a MIRROR finish on the inside of the female. The Yellow, 2-4 s an 8000 mesh finish... still a VERY high polish.

    The Diamond paste, in 5 gram syringes costs about $17  a syringe... that will literally do hundreds of ferrules. It doesn't take much at all on the lap to do the job.

    The laps are about $7 to $8 each and you don't have to have that many. They cover 2 sizes of ferrules each. Once you buy a set, the bronze laps that screw onto the ends of the holder are cheap... only $3 or less each. I strongly suggest you buy a set and a couple of extra laps for each size.

    You can get all of this from MSC.

    If you don't solder in your water seals before you lap, you can get by without using blind hold laps. You can use Barrel laps which are made to go all the way through the tube. (Bob Nunley)

      Ah good, I was hoping Bob would chime in here.  He showed me those laps when I was out at his shop last October.  Unless you have a Sunnen Hone machine, these little laps are the cats meow.  (Mark Wendt)


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