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I wonder if anybody has thoughts on making a three piece rod such as a midge but rather than use metal for the ferrules make the sections fit by using very long scarfs with hardwood bearing surfaces? I'm sure the scarf idea would work but how would you hold them all together? Sliding bands? Sticky tape? It could look somewhat tacky as it's just for my own use. I thought it might be nice to try to keep the weight down that way on such a short rod.  (Tony Young)

    I'm sure there are others on this list who have done so, but Morten Lovstad has built several scarfed-section rods.  He uses straight bamboo splices joined with electrician's tape ('round here, it's black and sticky).  Every time I cast one of Morten's rods I'm impressed.  (Harry Boyd)

      Scarfs work very well. I've tried a 15' spey rod with scarfed joints. On this rod it was a swell where the scarfs are, but it won't be necessary on trout rods. Several rods made in the UK used scarf instead of ferrules. Chapman still makes 'em. I've made a 7' PMQ with scarf which I glued together, made the rod a one piece. I find scarf suits quads best.....

      In the ol' days they used to wind silk thread to keep the rod together (usually for the whole season) nowadays electrical tape is fine.  (Danny Twang)

    I've done it a few times. It works fine, and the rods cast like one piece rods, IE. better than ferruled rods. I don't think the so called "flat spot" is the big problem with ferruled rods, its just the weight of the ferrule that's the culprit.

    I have glued a thin strip of cane to the back of each side of the splice and faired it in, but I think its only necessary to back up the fragile tip area of the splice. Electrical tape works fine, though many have been pleased to point out that its somewhat ugly.   (Tom Smithwick)

      My thinking too re. the ferrule and weight. On short rods like a Midge a single ferrule is bad enough but two is way too much. I'll do this and see. I expect it will be very nice.  (Tony Young)

        Why not use one or other of the excellent cane to cane joints discussed about a year ago? I haven’t tried them yet, but the concepts were totally feasible, and you can always overwrap with Kevlar if splitting worries you.  (Robin Haywood)

          The splice joint is very effective and simple to make. The only downside is the bit of extra time it takes to apply the tape, and the ugly factor, which is a matter of opinion anyway. I'm working on finishing a rod that involves the method Ted Barnhart wrote about in The Planing Form. He was kind enough to demonstrate the method for a few of us recently. It involves a graphite sleeve formed in place as a tip over butt ferrule. The method has a lot of promise, and will work neatly with quads and pentas, even Bill Fink's trirods, I think. When we have some experience using the rod, I'll report further on the method.   (Tom Smithwick)

            The but over tip bamboo ferrule I made for the Twisted Miss has a graphite insert in the female end and a graphite sleeve on the male end.

            It is very light and so far has worked fine. The bamboo for the ferrule is the butt section cut off, drilled to accept the graphite sleeve. The male and female sleeves were made from broken Graphite rods. (Tony Spezio)

            Well..............the best rods use a form of carbon fiber with the fibers disposed more radially than longitudinally on the female, this stops the tendency to split.

            It might make a neater joint than cane and I am no sort of purist about using carbon where appropriate, like under the handle. Sourcing carbon may not be easy, especially of the right sort, and your scrap bin has all the little bits of cane all ready to use!  (Robin Haywood)

    Tom Smithwick has built some multi-piece rods using electricians tape and they cast really well.  (Dennis Higham)

    Thanks to all who replied. I think I'll try thread. Gaffer tape was my fist thought but having sticky residue build up over a series of days isn't so good I think. We're all pretty used to wrapping thread though eh? [:-)]  (Tony Young)


Just wondering if any of the folks that may have tried a taped or wrapped splice instead of a ferrule could give me an idea of the right slope for the splice.  There's quite a bit about about spliced rods in the archives - hardwood or bamboo bearing surfaces, what type of tape, etc. - but I didn't see anything about what slope to use.  12:1?   Is Tom Smithwick out there somewhere?  (Bill Benham)

    Yes, I have used 12:1, the same splicing block I have used  for repair splices. It seems to be fine.   (Tom Smithwick)

    I have 2 turn-of-the century spliced-joint rods.  One has a fall of 3/8" in 5 1/8", the second has a fall of 1/4" in 4 3/4".  They're great rods!  (Dave Howell)


In the old days before ferrules, the fly fishermen would attach sections of their greenheart rods by mating splices and wrapping them. When they finished fishing, they unwrapped the rods for storage.  

Anybody try this old method of attaching rod sections?  (Reed Guice)

    I  have sometimes used a wrapped splice as an alternative to a ferrule for quads.  I’ve not used them on a hex or penta.  I have also permanently spliced them into a one-piece rod by gluing the splice with resorcinol and wrapping over it with silk thread.  (Bill Lamberson)

    No, I've never tried it but have been tempted too. I'd think it would be as close to a one-piece rod as is possible to get. I've read that you can bind a splice with black electrical tape ? Anybody know more about this ?  (Larry Swearingen)

      Anybody know more about this ?

      I've done it a number of times on both light and heavy rods. It works fine. It is as close as you can get to a one piece rod, although some of the cane ferrule guys are getting very close, too. Electrical tape does work,  as does the clear tape that hockey players use.  Of course, it is not as convenient as a ferrule, and some object to the looks. On the other hand, it's a rugged system and very functional. There should be information in the archives. There are a couple photos here: 

      Smithwick, Tom Scarf 1

      Smithwick, Tom Scarf 2

      Taped up and ready to fish. It takes about two minutes to put the tape on.

      Smithwick, Tom Scarf 3

      A tapered dowel is lashed to each side of the splice when in storage.

      That particular splice is reinforced by gluing a strip of bamboo to the back of the cut splices.  (Tom Smithwick)

      I know of at least one modern day rodmaker who offers spliced joint rods - Per Brandin. The cheapest price for a rod on his web site spliced or ferruled was  over $3000  and he had a wait list of 6-7 years. He recently announced that due to his age and the size of the wait list that he was no longer accepting orders. Yes Larry, black electrical tape is the most mentioned method of joining them although I believe that Brandin includes a small ring to go over each end of the joint before taping to provide extra strength.  (Will Price)

      One quite easy method for a scarf joint/splice joint is described here.  I have used it both for spey, one-hand salmon and trout rods.  (Tapani Salmi)


I'm working on my first splice joint ferruled rod. My experiments have shown me that plastic electricians tape seems too stretchy and that friction tape holds well, but looks a little funky. I read somewhere that someone mentioned that the "tape hockey players use" works well for securing splice joints. Being a southern boy, I don't know what kind of tape hockey players or what they use it for. I seek enlightenment from my northern brothers as to just what the heck hockey tape is, where you get it and if the manufacturer may call it by another name.

If any of you have experience with splice joint ferrules, I'd love to know what you are using to secure them.  (David Atchison)

    I have made one rod with this type of ferrule and use a small diameter waxed cord.  (Scott Grady)

    You need two things from the tape. It does need to be stretchy, and the adhesive should not be strong enough to pull off the finish or leave a bunch of residue.  I used electrical tape for years, stretching it firmly when applying. In warmer weather, I used a second piece of tape to double wrap the center of the splice. The hockey tape is a bit firmer, and a better choice, I think. I think I have an extra spool I can send to a poor ice deprived Southern boy.  (Tom Smithwick)

    I have been guilty of promoting the use of hockey tape for spliced rods, but have found out that it isn't UV-proof. It will come off in pieces and leave gunk on the rod. Electrical tape, which comes in various colors and is weatherproof and UV-proof, is the better choice. Stretch it as you wrap it but let the last few inches relax before sticking it to the rod -- that will prevent the end from pulling off. I use spliced two-handers almost all the time for my steelhead fishing and, after a two-week trip, the electrical tape comes off cleanly and easily. Duck Products used to make a clear electrical tape but they have discontinued it. I now use a brown tone that blends with the rod wraps.  (Ron Grantham)

    I learned that splice joints are even lower tech than I thought. I like it! and that almost any tape will work in a pinch, meaning I can use whatever is handy at the tailgate of my truck. I will probably get some clear hockey tape or red (to match the wraps) electrical tape just for show. Believe it or not, hockey tape is actually available and on the shelf  (probably next to the surfing supplies) at an athletic store less than 2 miles from my house in northern Arkansas. Whoda thunk it!  (David Atchison)

      By the way, the electrical tape will work, just needed to overlap the wraps more than I started out wrapping it.

      I've completed (well, almost anyway, need 1 more coat of varnish) 2 splice-joint ferruled rods so far and a 3rd one is almost done (blank ready for wrapping).  The 2 that  are almost  done have been test cast. They seem to work really well. They flex thru the splice like 1 piece rods. All 3 are short, light rods. The next one will be an 8', 6 wt. I hope to have it done in time for SRG.  (David Atchison)


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