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For those of you who make your own ferrules:

What size slit saw do you use for tabs?  Source?

Where do you find a #8 grobet file?  (Ralph Tuttle)

    I think my saw blades are .010 and .015.  I got them from J&L.  (Tony Spezio)

    1) .010" x 1" with a 1/2" hole, J&L Industrial.

    2) Jeff Wagner.  (Mark Wendt)

    Jeff Wagner or Bailey Woods (Custom Sporting Enterprises) handle the file.  (David Van Burgel)

    I use .008 in. jeweler's saw blade from MSC.  Part number 73289084

    The arbor you would use with that is # 08271314.  This is a 1/4 in diameter hole in the saw blade. I usually use my 3/8 diameter blade and arbor, but I can't remember the number for the saw  blade, but the number for the 3/8 arbor is 08271322.

    You will have to check MSC for  the part number of the 3/8 hole saw blade. The 1/4" saw blade will cut to a depth of  .250" the 3/8 blade will cut to a depth of .312 which is better for larger ferrules.  (Dave LeClair)

      Oops, Dave's recommendation is the one that I use.  He suggested those to me a while ago, and I forgot that.  (Mark Wendt)


I've just finished the second  blank and I must say, it came out pretty nice. It's flamed and I thought I wouldn't like it. but I was dead wrong. It has a nice mottled effect to it and it looks really neat. The measurements once again are on the money and I'm pretty happy with it.

I've made a second set of ferrules out of nickel silver for my first blank and they're coming along pretty nicely and now I've got to cut the serrations on the ends them and am not sure how to go about that. All I have is a lathe and no real way to index the cuts (I've no indexing head and to buy one I'd have to sell one of my children). I've inserted cut off pieces of rod into them and thought of marking the corners on the ferrules with something and just cut away, but I feel that it might not be accurate enough. So if there is a better way I'd sure like to hear about it.  (Ren Monllor)

    You can index the ferrule using the teeth on the headstock gear on your lathe.  UNPLUG THE LATHE! Tighten the ferrule in the chuck & use something in a tooth to hold the chuck stationary.  Make a wooden holder for a Dremel to be held in the tool holder. Use a slitting saw in the Dremel, cut the first two slits, rotate the chuck 30 degrees, cut the second pair of slits, rotate 30 more degrees & cut the final two slits.  Each time lock the headstock with something in the gear.  (Ron Larsen)

    Here's what I do:

    Slit some 1/2" masking tape lengthwise and wrap around top end of ferrule an exact number of times (2, 3, 4, whatever), insert a hex section of rod into ferrule and (sharp) pencil mark where corners of bamboo are. Extend pencil (or ink) marks to shoulder of tab area. Use 3 square needle file to mark each end of pencil/pen mark.  Use knife edge needle file to carefully file length of pencil/pen mark. AVOID filing into shoulder. (an extra layer  or two of masking tape, and holding file at angle to avoid knicking shoulder helps). Reverse knife edge (or three-square) file and file on inside of ferrule). Carefully remove any/all burrs on both side of slits). Further polish out inside of ferrule to clear of filings.  (Vince Brannick)


I am making a three piece rod (7643) and after making the ferrules I serrated the #15 ferrule and was about to do the same to the #10 but there is not a lot of material to serrate (diameter).  My cutter saw blade is about .018 thick and I think there would not be much left after the six slots are cut.  Any suggestions?  I’m at a standstill until I get this figured out.  (Mike Monsos)

    Cut three slots. (Vince Brannick)

    Get a thinner blade.  I've got one that's 0.008" thick.  From Enco I think?  (Larry Swearingen)

      I checked out Enco and found this blade .006

      Seeing as what we cut is very thin stock so to say can I just turn a piece of stock with a shoulder to fit the hole in the blade and thread a bolt to hold it on.  Do I need a arbor with a key built into it?  I’m not having much luck seeing a arbor that would look to work with this blade in their stock.  I guess I could just call them but I think I can make my own.  (Mike Monsos)

        You might also want to pay attention to the depth of the cut you’ll be able to make.

        Not saying that you haven’t, but just in case….  (Ren Monllor)

        BTW, Yes, you can probably make your own piece with a shoulder, if you can’t, you probably won’t be able to make a good fitting ferrule either. Not poking fun, just being honest. Think about it, you fit a ferrule to less than .001” to slide but not bind……see where I’m going with this?

        Good luck, you can do it.  (Ren Monllor)

        This is what I use here in my shop. MSC # 08271322 3/8 arbor and #73291080  .008" saw blade. You want to use a good arbor, not one of those cheap ones. They wobble and will not cut a good slot in your ferrules.  (Dave LeClair)

          Thanks or the information Dave.  I went ahead and ordered a couple of blades from MSC, the one you listed (.008) and another that is .006 thick same diameter and center bore.  I’m going to turn a arbor myself when the blades arrive and try to save the $42 cost of that unit.  I can make my own ferrules so I am sure I should be able to turn out an arbor now that I see what they look like.  (Mike Monsos)

            Another possible solution is to cut 4 tabs, and file them to a point.  Two of the points are mounted on apexes, the other two on flats. I did this recently, and it looks good and seems to function well.   (Tom Smithwick)

    If you cut six slots at 0.018, your tabs will be about 0.064 wide.  (Al Baldauski)


For those of you that make ferrules, what have you found to be the best way to slit ferrule tabs?

Any help/guidance most welcome.  (Paul Julius)

    If you can get a hold of it, I wrote up an article in Power Fibers on a ferrule slitting jig.  Todd can correct me on this if I grab the wrong issue, but I believe its in Volume 19, pages 6 - 12.  (Mark Wendt)


Someone asked how to go about slitting ferrule tabs. There are probably a bunch of ways. I discovered that if I shimmed up my lathe tool post .040, a 3/8" bar would be  centered with the lathe. I also found that the chuck that came with my Sherline was threaded 3/8 X 24. So I got a 3/8" hex aluminum bar, cut it about 5" long, turned the end of it round and threaded it 3/8 X 24. So the hex shank of the bar gets clamped in the tool post, and the slitting saw goes in the headstock. The ferrule goes in the chuck. Center the saw with the ferrule and lock the cross slide in place. Now saw to the desired depth by advancing the tool post, back it out, loosen the hex shank and rotate to the next flat, then make the second cut. Repeat the procedure for the third cut, and you are done.

Smithwick, Tom Slitt

I would think this could be set up some way or another with just about any lathe. There is no force involved in this, so if you had to set up some sort of wooden fixture or adapter, it would be fine.   (Tom Smithwick)


Does anyone have a simple jig for cutting the tabs for ferrules for a 5 sided rod?  I have just used a drilled out piece of hex brass rod held in the tool holder of my Sherline lathe for hex ferrules. Don't think anyone makes 5 sided rod though.  (Pete Bates)

    Do it in your lathe.  My mini-lathe has a 45 tooth gear on the headstock shaft.  With the ferrule in the chuck make a mark on the housing at one of the teeth, cut the ferrule with a Dremel mounted on the cross slide, turn the chuck 9 teeth...etc.  (Ron Larsen)

    PS: unplug the lathe

    Use the same method, except use a cutoff piece from the butt section of your penta.  (Scott Grady)


A simple ferrule slitting tool can be made very easily to use on your lathe. All you need besides the slitting saw and arbor is a threaded rod coupling nut and some nylon bushings. Buy a large enough coupling that you can drill out the threads to accept a 1/2" diameter nylon bushing. You can buy the nylon bushings at the same hardware store. A 1" long x 1/2" bushing size should work well.

  • Drill the center hole in the bushings to fit the different size ferrules
  • Slit one side of the bushing.
  • Drill the threads out of the coupling nut with a 1/2" drill.
  • Near one end and on one flat of the hex shaped coupling nut drill and tap for a set screw.

To use:

  • Place the ferrule in the appropriate size bushing.
  • Place the bushing & ferrule in the coupling nut and tighten the set screw.
  • Hold in the lathe with the tool post.
  • Cut the slit in the ferrule.
  • Rotate the coupling nut to the next flat in the tool post and cut the slit.
  • Repeat till you have all of the slits cut.Told you it was simple.... (Don Schneider)


All right, I'm getting ready to take the plunge and start making more of my own components.  The main reason is my selfish pride and wanting to do more myself.  Second reason is it seems to be getting harder to get components in a timely/ reliable manner.  Just waited three weeks to find out that the uplocking reel seat I needed was out of stock.  To top it off they finally sent it, but the insert was for a wedding band seat.  Time for me to start making my own seat inserts, seat hardware and guides.  Eventually I want to give ferrules a go and that finally leads me to my reason for posting.

Finally the question(s):  Is it a necessity to have the slits in the ferrules?  Stress relief, in other words avoid the rigid point where the ferrule end meets the blank? Or just a way to crown the ferrule tabs?  I figure I can find the proper slitting saw and do it, but I am smelling the need for and indexing head.  Although I am sure there is a way to do it using a lathe and a homemade rig to hold the ferrule.  (Pete Emmel)

    Well, here's one way to hold and index the ferrules, you will also need the 5c collets of the appropriate size and a sliting saw for your Bridgeport/milling machine and the tooling to hold it, (kurt vise) and a holder to hold the saw blade and .............well you get the idea!

    Sometimes it's more cost effective to simply find the parts you need and stock up, that way instead of several thousand dollars in tooling, you could get a pretty extensive inventory for maybe a few hundred!

    But there is that "I can do it myself!" attitude that many of you suffer from...........not me..............really I'm not like that....... honest!  (Joe Arguello)

    No Indexer needed. See issue # 3 of Powerfibers. (Tony Spezio)

    I'm not sure your real question has been addressed. Are slits in ferrules a necessity?  Opinions are likely to be varied.  I don't know of any real testing here, so much of what we think is going to be quite educated suppositions which may be just as valid as real world testing.

    Some well-respected rod companies do not slit their ferrules (for example, Orvis). A good friend and respected rodmaker in the PNW makes his own ferrules from bar stock but does not slit.  Those who do not slit ferrules today are usually quite diligent about progressively thinning the ferrule material as it moves toward the bamboo end.

    I do think splitting the ferrules accomplishes more than allowing us to crown the ferrules.  More rods are made without crowned ferrules than with, even when the tabs are slitted.  Making a way for stress to be more gradually relieved than an abrupt transition seems a good idea.  Problems with nonslitted, and unthinned ferrules are well documented in cases like the 8' Heddon 2F rods.

    If I were to make a recommendation it would be to slit the ferrule tabs.  That assures at least some transition from relatively stiff metal to relatively flexible bamboo.  It's not so hard to do, as others have shown.  (Harry Boyd)

    I have written up a page on how I slit and crown ferrules. It owes something to Dennis Bertram's article in Power Fiber and something to some ideas that Don Schneider put out on the list. But it's enough different, I think it worthwhile putting it out there.  (Mike McGuire)

      Very good article, good job on the fixtures. And thank you so much for sharing this with us.  (Joe Arguello)


What saw blade do you ferrule makers use for the serrations?  (Frank Caruso)

    I use a #08271322  arbor with a #73291080 jeweler's saw blade  3/8 hole/ .008 thickness

    These are from MSC Tool Company.  (Dave LeClair)


What thickness saw do I need for serrating ferrules?  (Larry Lohkamp)

    Funny that you should ask this question right know, I have always used 0.010" with success but today I tried switching up to 0.020" thinking that it would make crowning easier. That being said  I am now just finishing up a new female to replace the one with the torn out tab, glad it was the female and not a pre-fitted male, I am going back to 0.010" slits.  (Don Green)


I have been slitting ferrule tabs with little cutoff wheels, but think I'll step up to a saw for the next batch. How fast do you all run your slitting saws? SFM would be nice, but I still remember enough arithmetic to figure from diameter and rpm.  (Larry Lohkamp)

    I run my lathe at about 2000 rpm, I use a 1.25 inch diameter blade that is .006 thick.  It cuts very clean on the feathered ends of my ferrules.  (Mike Monsos)

      I am not so sure that speed makes that much difference, I also use a 1.25" x 0.010" thick blade and run it at 400 r.p.m. I think that the rate of feed into the the saw is probably more important than how fast the blade is turning. That being said I would not go much thicker than a  0.010" blade, I once tried a 0.020" blade and it was an immediate disaster.  (Don Green)

        I do feed the ferrule into the saw real slow.   I have two blades, one is .006" and the other is .008",  I started off using the thinner but now I'm starting to use the .008 more.  It makes it easier to get a more aggressive sandpaper strip in the slit for crowning.  The only issue I have run into is a four piece rod I made and the smallest ferrule I made was pretty tricky to serrate.  (Mike Monsos)

          I have a (very) old Atlas lathe with a milling attachment. Using a length of hex stock, with a brass adapter, the piece to be slit is introduced to an .008" slitting saw, by first 'touching' the outer surface of the part, (or holder, or whatever), and moving half the distance, establishing 'center', and then registering contact with ferrule end. Slits are (typically) .250" deep, so lowering the ferrule some distance below the piece, and then feeding-in the slit depth, (.250"), the saw is then positioned to make a 'climbing' cut, (rotating clockwise), which eliminates the tearing hazard. The saw blade 'speed' is arbitrary ~ think 'semi-fast'. The feed is also pretty much whatever 'feels' good. I simply raise the piece up through the saw and back down (not even really necessary), rotate the hex holder one flat and repeat.(twice). Caveat: if you prefer to make the intermediate cut with a down-feed, remember that the saw teeth will then be conventional milling, but with semi-fast cutter speed, and such a thin saw blade, there should not be any problem of tear out. It's really quick and neat.  (Vince Brannick)

    I dug out my Machinery's and it looks like Aluminum/Bronze should be cut around 60-100 SFM. The 400 rpm speed is close. The faster motors are running at 600 SFM, but the low chip load from slow feed, and the small amount of material being removed seem to allow the saw to cut without burning.  Thank you all for some actual experience in the matter. I remember seeing Tony's article in the past. Maybe its just getting old, but I seem to find it increasingly hard to remember where I have seen things.  (Larry Lohkamp)


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