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I am wondering if others are having the same type of straightness problems that I am.

It seems that I can get my blanks straight (of course everyone probably has their own standards for what straight is, eventually, before I am ready to turn the ferrule stations.  I turn the ferrule stations on the lathe and can get fairly accurate and straight ferrule station.  Then I glue on the ferrules.

What happens next baffles me... it seems that when I am done lapping the ferrules there will only be one particular way the ferruled sections will line up straight.  If I line them up in any other flat-to-flat combination then the rod is no longer straight.  Anyone else experience this?  I'm not sure if I am doing something wrong or if this is what most have to deal with.  (Kyle Druey)

    Yes!!  Ferrules aren't perfect! I lap my ferrules before I glue to the blank so I can move things around. there are several variables here and it can make a difference. I don't know why!  (Timothy Troester)

    I guess it is because the blanks are not straight at the end part, that is around ferrule station on both tip and butt. It happens if you straighten the blanks with shorter leeway such as two inches or less.  In straightening blanks, it is difficult to find and correct the bend which is very near to the edges.

    It is one of the alternatives which I always do, is to have longer leeway (4") for ferrule side of the strips.   Straighten with longer blank and cut out the leeway.  So far, my rod is straight when connected even if different flats are matched together respectively, by this.

    And now, it is a very good way of finding out if the rod is straightened correctly, to connect and see the rod by changing a flat one by one.  (Max Satoh)

    Check your tail stock for alignment.  I think there is where your problem is.  (Tony Spezio)

    Don't cut the blank to size until you're happy it's straight where the ferrules will go. It's much easier to see if it's straight that way and also a lot easier to fix if not.  (Tony Young)


I was fitting a new ferrule (fitting the male to the female; both are mounted on the rod sections), and apparently the female is not a uniform ID.  I have no good way to measure exactly,  but it has a taper getting a little smaller in the final 1/4 inch.  Anyway I ruined one male trying to get it to fit.

Does this happen often?  I've got an extra male; should I try to get a taper on that or toss the female & start from scratch?  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    CSE offers prefitting of ferrules for a nominal fee.  This is a great option if your less than happy with your results in fitting.  (Chris Raine)

    Did you use a reamer as your final step when making the ferrule?  (Ren Monllor)

      I didn't make the ferrule; I bought it.   (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

        I have only come across the problem you describe in a severe form with home made ferrules that were reamed with a hand reamer rather than a machine reamer.  Hand reamers have a longer taper lead than machine reamers and so cannot form a fully cylindrical finish in a blind hole.  Even with machine or chucking reamers there can be a short lead and I have found it sometimes on proprietary turned from the solid ferrules.  The way to obtain a fit is as follows:

        • Start lapping the male until it will just slide into the female over the first 1/4".
        • Measure the diameter of the lapped male very accurately with a micrometer.
        • No part of the male slide must be made smaller than this diameter.
        • Continue to lap up the slide and check fit the male until it won't go any further, checking all the time that the diameter is not being reduced below the measured diameter.  As you now know the length of the tapered section from you first trial this is easier.
        • When the tapered section is reached stop working the upper section of the male slide and instead go back to the first part of the male and re-work this area until the slide fits the whole way, in other words form a matching taper on the male.

        It can be helpful to mark the male with a permanent marker occasionally before fitting, where this is scraped off completely shows the high points and with a tapered female this will show as a clear ring near the base of the male.

        As you can see from the above the procedure is a pain.  Although I am usually too lazy it is a good idea to check the female before starting to lap the male by making a test slide.  Turn a length of NS to just over the female diameter and lap the end 1/4" to a good fit now turn off the rest of the "slide" area to below this diameter leaving only perhaps 1/8" at the end the correct diameter.  This can then be used to test the female, ideally it should slide full depth with little or no alteration if it stops solidly well before the bottom then you know you have a problem, if you then reduce its diameter until it fits full depth you have the dimensions of the tapered section.  (Gary Marshall)

          I think the problem Frank had with his ferrule was that there was most likely a small burr around the female opening causing the ID at the opening to be just a little smaller than the ID farther down into the barrel.  So that when he lapped the male to fit the female opening it was too small when it was seated all the way into the barrel. I had that happen to one of my first few rods.

          I finally figured out what was going on and lapped the female interior just a little with some 600 grit wrapped around a wood dowel to remove the burr or whatever was "obstructing" the opening. Since then I've always lapped the female interior slightly with the wet or dry 600 before I start fitting the male.

          Works for me anyway.  (Larry Swearingen)

            You are probably correct. I have noted this a number of times with REC ferrules. It's a right ba------ if you dont spot it.  Sounds a good idea of yours  (Gary Nicholson)

            I had a similar problem with the second set of NOS Cortland ferrules I got off eBay. But the burr (or metal chip) was near the bottom of the female ferrule. The sandpaper on a dowel method worked for it also (I used a drill bit for the dowel since it was a 9/64 ferrule).

            I use a small hole gage to check the female ferrule bore for size and uniformity. The set I have is advertised as accurate to at least 0.001" but I think its good to around 0.0002" for measuring and indicates a change in bore size to less than 0.0001". A hole gage not only shows where burrs or chips might hide in the bore of the ferrule but helps speed up the lapping. I can lap the male ferrule within about 0.0002" of the female bore size, just checking it with a micrometer, before I have to switch to finer grit paper and polish and check the ferrule fit for just that last tiny bit of ferrule fitting. This can be a time saver if the male ferrule is one to two thousands oversize to start.  (Joe Hudock)

          Errrm, wouldn't it be a hell of a lot easier just to ream the female the entire depth to the correct diameter?  (Mark Wendt)

            Thanks for all the ferrule advise.  Unfortunately I don't have a lathe, set of reamers or even a micrometer that is accurate enough to be much help in fitting.  I guess that's one problem with being a hobby-level builder: you might not have the tools to bail yourself out when these things happen.

            I've been unable to see or feel a burr with a q-tip.  All I know is that the first 1/2  inch fit well with a little sanding, but the last 1/4 inch just wouldn't go.  I kept working on that last 1/4 inch until the basketball game was over, and by then the male was wasp-waisted and still didn't seat. If I'd a used my brain a little...

            Thanks again for the help.  Its always valuable to know how to do something even if you don't have the means to do it at the moment.

            Now I'm hoping I can get the ferrule off without damaging the blank.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

              I just use strips of various grits of sandpaper, starting with around 600 if the male won't hardly start at all and finishing with 1200 and fine steel wool.  I just twist the section by hand, nothing fancy. What I do pay attention to is where the marks are after the male starts to seat about half way. If you wear 3x reading glasses while you fit your ferrules you'll see fine scratches from the female, sand them off and try the fit again, if I'm not seeing scratches up to where the male is seating then I know I have to work the end of it some and not the top, if that makes sense. I know I've had a bunch of ferrules where the opening of the female was a tiny bit bigger than the bottom, but it has never really screwed me because I just fit the males to allow for it.  (John Channer)

            Where can I find a good set of reamers? I see little machine shop sells two different sets made of HSS, but wouldn't carbide be better? They are out of stock anyhow, but I was just wondering where others have bought theirs and which ones they would buy.  (Scott Bearden)

              Grizzly has individual or sets of Chuck Reamers by 64ths plus over/under sizes.  (Don Schneider)

              MSC  (Ren Monllor)

              I wouldn't buy a "set" of anything.  Usually you'll either pay way too much for a good set, which will include sizes you don't need, or you'll get a cheap, cheesy set that won't last and probably aren't accurate.  Just go online to either J&L, MSC, McMaster-Carr, or any of the good machinist supply places, and order the individual sizes you need.  If you happen to make a one-off size later on, you can order that individually too.  Same goes for drill bits, taps, and dies.  There's a lotta junk out there in the "sets."  (Mark Wendt)

    I would take an OD measurement of the male and get a chucking reamer a couple of thou. smaller than the male. Ream out the female then finish the male to size.  (Ren Monllor)

    The female ferrule is a cylinder.  Fitting the male to the female can be a little tricky. When I started making rods I reduced the OD of the male using 400 and then 600 emery paper. I sanded the male with a small piece of 400 between my thumb and index finger and rotated the rod with my left hand. I would work my way up the male side until the ferrule would enter completely. I would finish it off with the 600 and would get a nice snug fit that would produce a pop. It is a slow process and you have to pay close attention to where it binds and be careful not to take off too much.  All this is done with the ferrule glued to the blank.

    Lately I have chucked up the bamboo section with the mounted ferrule in the lathe and turned it at slow speed lapping it with a mill file. I have to test fit many times to get a good fit.  Hope this helps.   (Morten Lovstad)

      I just want to add that I clean the male slide when complete with fine steel wool (0000).   (Morten Lovstad)

        I have used a method similar to what Morten describes and it is also the method Rolf Baginski describes in his book.  Particularly important is working your way up the male slide with 400 and 600 grit paper so that the fit is achieved step by step.  Yes, you do have to test time after time, but that is still much cheaper than new ferrules.

        I happen to lap the ferrules before gluing them on the rod and use a wood lathe for the process.  A simple wooden dowel fitted to the male ferrule can be held by any sort of chuck (I use a drill chuck) and spun at a fairly low speed.  Thin strips of 400 and 600 grit wet and dry sandpaper work well.  The sandpaper strips should be thinner than about 1/4 the length of the ferrule slide.  Final polishing with 0000 steel wool works nicely.  About the only thing that happens after gluing a pre-lapped ferrule onto the blank is that it might tighten up.  Despite that, the pre-lapping has brought it so close to proper fit, that a little reworking will restore the fit.  (Tim Anderson)

    Sounds like the reamer didn't make it all the way to the bottom.  Do you have a reamer handy of the same size as the female ferrule?  You might be able to chuck up the female and take the reamer all the way to the bottom.  Is the ferrule already mounted?  (Mark Wendt)

    Some time back Denver Dave put a really good tutorial together about putting ferrules on a blank and fitting ferrules together (I think) by hand.  As I recall, it was a very good and informative presentation.  I'm not sure how to find it on the web, but it might be on his site.  (Hal Manas)

      I believe Todd has it on the tips site.  (Timothy Troester)

        Yep, right here.  (Todd Talsma)

          Thanks again for all the ferrule advise.  I believe Mark Wendt was probably correct that the female was not lapped all the way to the bottom.  I was not able to find any burr that was causing the trouble.

          I decided to try to make the second male slide fit the female.  Gary Marshall & John Channer gave the advise of marking or in some way determining where the 2 are binding (I just twisted & watched where the rubbing was), and it was at the tip of the slide.  I kept on working that area and now have a good fit.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)


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