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How hard is it to turn ferrule station by hand?  I just finished up my blanks and will be ready to do the ferrule this week, any help would be appreciated.  (Tim Stoltz)

    I've done many ferrule stations by hand. If I have my lathe set up for something special, I don't want to set it back up again, so I cut the stations by hand, using a file.

    Measure the inside length of the ferrule you are going to use, then mark your blank for that  length. Now, measure the length of the tabs on the ferrule and make a mark the blank were they start. Wrap some masking tape in between your two marks. This is where your cut will end. You will use a fine file to taper the cane from your last mark into the ferrule station.

    Using a medium file, start by making a pass down one corner, then the next and so on, until you've hit all six. Then do it again, on all six corners. Take your measurements every pass, until the corners are all off. If you still have to remove more cane, lay the blank on your bench and rotate the blank, while you use the file in a back and forth motion. File just a little, rotate slightly, file a little more, rotate, file, etc. Keep taking your measurements, until you get close to your final diameter.

    Then very carefully, use sand paper to go around the station and keep trying the ferrule fit, until the ferrule will fit onto the station snugly. You don't want a loose fit. It should go on with a little bit of a push.

    That's about all there is to it. Just take your time and keep measuring and fitting the ferrule until it fits. Just don't rush it.  (Dave LeClair)


I am just ferruling a 3-PC and the size of the blank where the butt ferrule goes is 0.255.  I  pressed the tabs on a 17/64 ferrule, and got it all ready to mount, but when I turned down the blank to fit the ferrule, it just knocked the corners off and less than half of the inner surface of the ferrule is in contact with the cane.  I don't have a lot of faith in a ferrule with this little contact surface with the cane, yet to turn down the rod for a 16/64 ferrule would cut into the outer fibers all the way around.  I see 3 alternatives:

  1. go ahead and mount the 17/64 ferrule and hope it stays put
  2. turn the rod down more and mount a 16/64 ferrule
  3. build up the blank and then refit the 17/64 ferrule

I'm leaning toward #3, but what would the rest of you do?   (Robert Kope)

    Use Accraglas and mount it as is.  (John Channer)

    Go ahead and mount the 17/64 ferrule. It's perfectly fine.  (Marty DeSapio)

    Of the three choices you offered, I would put choice #2 down in about the 30th or 40th position.

    I believe you will be just fine with choice #1 if you use a high quality, slow-cure, epoxy glue (like, say, Acragel).  After all, it is not the contact between metal and cane that makes for a strong ferrule join.  It is the glue bond BETWEEN the metal and the cane.  Some glue will work into the surface of the cane under the ferrule, but NO glue can work into the surface of the metal.  So, the tighter the fit (and the greater the contact area), the less glue there will be to give you the sheer-strength this joint needs.

    If you have half the cane (six rounded corners) actually touching the inside of the ferrule, this will give you a very tight and straight fit, with no room for movement.  The remaining inside space will then be squeezed full of epoxy, and should set up tough as nails.

    Choice #3 is just fine if you want to go to all the bother.  But once again, you risk a fit that may actually be too tight -- producing a starved joint.  (Bill Harms)


Got my ferrules today from Tony at Rush River and am ready to install them on the blank and need a little advice. (By the way if you haven't used any of Tony's reel seats or ferrules you should give them a look).  I am going to have to fit these ferrules onto the blanks by hand and wonder what the best way is to reduce the hex blank to a round blank so it will fit inside the ferrules. I measured the blanks and the ferrules and the flats of the ferrules are the same exact dimensions as the insides of the ferrules so as I see it all I need to do is remove the angles and do a little judicious sanding until the ferrules just slide onto the blanks -- correct? What have you found to be the best way to do these two operations (cutting then sanding) that will result in a perfect fit? (Larry Puckett)

    Perfect fit? Good luck! Before I made my home made rod section/cork grip turner (can't really call it a lathe), I used a sharp plane blade and scraped the corners off. Once I got the ferrule started on the end, give it a turn and you can see the high spots after you pull the ferrule back off. Use a file to touch up the high spots. Keep working your way back till the ferrule is fully seated. Before gluing it on put every thing together and sight down the rod to make sure rod is straight, through the ferrule area. Just in case you need to make any adjustments to get it straight. For some reason it was hard for  me to get the rod straight in this area, when hand fitting ferrules. You can also roll the sections on a bench top (like you do after glue-up) to help get it straight.

    A few other hints: Don't force it when it starts getting tight (it's hell trying to get it back off)! Go slow and don't take off too much at a time. Use lots of adhesive and don't let it turn after it has been pushed on and the extra glue has been pushed out. Good luck and may the list be with you!!! (David Dziadosz)

    I solved the problem myself last night and have the ferrules on now; here's how. I grabbed a #17 Exacto knife blade which is chisel shaped and very sharp. I measured the depth of the ferrule and marked that on the blank with a pencil. Next I used the knife blade to removed very thin slivers of bamboo on the ridges, working from the area of the pencil mark towards the end. When I got the ridges down close to the thickness of the flats (I made a lot of measurements with my micrometer) I started testing the fit in the ferrules. I then got out some 400 grit sandpaper, wrapped it around the blank and started rolling it. This resulted in a very nice round shape and slowly reduced the blank to the proper dimensions. After a few minutes of this the ferrule slid right on and is a perfect fit -- straight as an arrow -- call it beginners luck. I guess the next step will be installing the guides and  the  joy of  wrapping with  Gossamer silk.  All my previous gr-----e rods had size A nylon thread so this should be a lot more fun.  (Larry Puckett)


I'm just finishing planing my first rod and have two questions.

1.  Does anyone have any suggestions for hand ferruling a rod as opposed to using a lathe?

2.  When gluing using CR-585 Resin from Golden Witch, should I heat set the rod?   If so, any suggestions for temperature and time?  (Jim Brandt)

    I see only one reply to your post in contrast to a dozen on other topics. So I hope I can help you out. To fit a ferrule by hand is time consuming but very easy. Measure the inside of the ferrule to the base of the tabs and mark that on your rod, then measure the total length of the ferrule to the end of the tabs and mark that on your rod. With a file start to slightly remove the corners of the cane and constantly fit the ferrule. Do this a bit at a time and move the ferrule up as you file. By slipping the ferrule over the end of the cane you will be able to see how much cane needs to be removed. Slowly file around the rod up to the first line and stop. This is were the ferrule tabs begin. You then can taper from the second line to the first to get a nice transition. This will take you at least 30 Minutes or more the first time. Take your time and fit as you go filing only a  little at a time.  (Adam Vigil)

      One of the common myths repeated in most rodmaking texts is that you need a lathe. You do not and many, if not most, home rodmakers do not have lathe's.

      As Adam says it is easy to fit ferrules by hand. I have done it for years and still prefer to do it my hand, even though I have a lathe now for making ferrules. (They are too expensive to buy in US dollars given the value of our south pacific pesos).

      Just to add to Adam's instructions on filing the ferrule area. Number your flats with a pencil from 1 to 6  before you start to file. Make these pencil marks about 1 " beyond where the ferrule will finish. Use a wide file, ideally slight wider then the ferrule depth to be removed. Then start on the join (ridge?) between flats 1 and 2 , and file say 5 (depending on the amount to be removed) equal length runs of the file off that ridge. Then turn to the next ridge and do the same, and around the blank until you have done all ridges. The important thing is to take the same amount off around all sides of the blank and this is where numbering the faces is essential as well as filing an equal amount at each location.

      It is not hard to do, it does not much longer then using a lathe by the time you set up and clean down,  and I still use this method even though I have a lathe (ever heard the stories about blanks flying apart in a lathe when cutting ferrule stations!).

      Incidentally I think I found this method in George Barne's book so would acknowledge him with thanks.  (Ian Kearney)

        When filing, do you move the file across the blank, or pull it as in draw-filing?  How do you hold the blank down on the work bench so that a ridge is uppermost instead of a flat?  (Claude Freaner)

          I have never understood these technical terms like draw filing. (S) . Maybe that is why machines like lathes terrify me and I consider they should be used as little as possible. Bill's broken thumb confirms my belief! I hold the rod section still and push the file way from me.

          I put the rod section in a length of old tongue and groove paneling which is 6" wide and has a false groove along the middle. This groove is a 90 degree groove and does not hold the rod blank perfectly but is good enough for me. On thinking about your question it would probably be better to use a router with a 60 degree point and run a groove down a smooth section of wood to get a tight fit,  but this would involve using a spinning, sharp, power tool which must be dangerous!   (Ian Kearney)

      The easiest way to do a ferrule station in the lathe is to have a steady rest behind the head stock, two layers of tape where the chuck jaws hold the rod section, and use, ready for this....  Sandpaper.  Yup, you heard me right, sandpaper to turn the ferrule station down.  I spin the rod section at about 250 rpm, start with 60 grit, finish it off with 200 grit, and the ferrule station is done in just a few minutes.  I use a sandpaper strip about as wide as the depth of the ferrule station, wrapped around the back side of the rod section, and it works like a champ.  Stop every once in a while, check the fit of the ferrule, and viola! (misspelling intended...  Old movie joke...)  The ferrule is ready to glue on.  No exploding rods, and I can work up to the fit very nicely.  Shoot, you can probably even do it with a file, but I can control the sandpaper better than a long file.  The steady rest behind the head stock is the life saver for me, especially for the tip sections.  I just took to pieces of wood, drilled a 5/8" hole on one piece the height of the center line of the head stock spindle, and mounted that piece to a nice heavy block of wood so it wouldn't move around, lined the hole with felt, and it works like a champ.  No whipping rod sections, and the felt cushions the rod section against the side of the wood.  Cheap, like me, but effective.  (Mark Wendt)

        Keep an eye on that felt. When it gets old and fuzzy it may grab the corners of the cane and torque the tip into oblivion. You may want to try for something more slippery.  (Art Port)

          I used a ball bearing assembly from the local ACE Hardware.  It is mounted in a L shaped board.  It was under $2 and has an outside diameter of 1 1/8" and inside diameter of 3/8".  I build up the section with masking tape and use an "O" ring over the tape to make a snug fit.  Works like a charm.  (Scott Grady)

        But be careful the sandpaper doesn't get wrapped too far around the blank and grab.  Those blanks can be pretty strong.  I recently had the experience of getting my thumb pulled into the lathe, broke my thumb and pulled the thumbnail loose; it didn't hurt the rod though. (Bill Lamberson)

          I don't wrap the sandpaper completely around the blank.  At most it's only touching half the blank.  The sandpaper strip length is the width of the sandpaper sheet, and is held on each end with my thumb and forefinger widthwise.  I usually have the strip making contact with about 1/3 of the blank, so there isn't much chance of the paper grabbing and wrapping itself around the blank.  Plus, I'm running the lathe at a pretty slow speed.  I let the sandpaper do the work, doesn't need a whole lot of tension on the sandpaper.  The key is keeping the sandpaper fairly open.  (Mark Wendt)

        My steady rest is also 2 pieces of wood joined at a right angle and clamped to the lathe table when I need it.  However, I drilled it to take a cork ring which I then drilled out to 3/8".  Doesn't seem to need tape on the rod that way.  (Neil Savage)

          I only use tape where the chuck jaws come in contact with the cane.  The steady rest has felt wrapped around the inside of the hole.  (Mark Wendt)

            Probably works at least as well as the cork.  I was experimenting with different kinds of drill bit on cork, so had some with holes in it.  BTW, I found Forstner bits work best, even the cheap Chinese ones.  (Neil Savage)

              Yup, the felt even works well on finished rods...  (Don't ask how I know...)  Doesn't leave a mark on the finish.  (Mark Wendt)

                I still like a cork liner on the steady rest and then I definitely do wrap the rod with masking tape.  Generally it is a loose bulky wrap, so that it almost completely fills the hole in the cork.  No banging at all.  (Ralph Moon)

      Fitting ferrules by hand is no big deal and you don't have the mental anguish of wondering when the ferrule station is about to explode being driven by the lathe. I've done that and bird caged the whole blank as well so don't worry about it. Once you learn how it's probably the better way to do it and it's certainly safer for the blank.  (Tony Young)

    When using CR-585 from Golden Witch the heat setting regimen is this.  Find a room that's temperature is above 70 degrees and SET the rod sections on a flat surface for 24 hours.  You can then go about the fun jobs of scraping, sanding, and straightening.  (Bill Taylor)


What is the best lathe tool to cut the bamboo when fitting the ferrule to the rod?   I have tried a "flat" 3/8 inch wide "chisel" point but that tends to rip out fibers.  The 60 degree point seems to work best but requires a lot of work traversing back and forth, and then flattening with a file.  (Bob McElvain)

    I use the 60 degree point with a slow feed rate, and a decent rpm on the chuck.  You can get it surprisingly smooth.  The little machining lines don't hurt, and they give a nice gluing surface.  (Mark Wendt)

    I use a Carbide AR 6 on my 7X12 and an AR 8 on my 9X20. This cutter cuts toward the head stock.  I am not sure what speed I run the lathe, do it by feel. The cutter is slowly passed across the blank.  Normally I make two passes.  Get a nice clean cut.  (Tony Spezio)

    There are two list members that make ferrule station cutting tools that work great.  Both of these are basically like Lyle Dickerson's tenon cutters that he made for cutting ferrule stations.  Dave LeClair and Brad Love both manufacture and sell these.   I own a set of both of their cutters and both are excellent.  I got Dave's first and after using the first one, I never even considered any other way to cut ferrule stations.  This is just TOO easy and cuts the stations perfectly in line with the centerline of the blank.  (Bob Nunley)


I have had very good results using Dave LeClair's ferrule cutters. They do a very nice job with very little sanding and the whole job is very quick. The quick part is the best part. No financial interest but Dave is a super helpful guy.  (Chuck Irvine)


I just shared my little trial with a buddy, thought I'd share it with y'all. I've done a good one tonight. I was getting ready to glue a ferrule. I already knew the fit was tight. It was a little tighter than I usually do. Then I scored the inside of the ferrule. I tried a dry fit before gluing. Guess what? It won't come off. Good fit, eh? It really won't budge. Short of using pliers and ruining the ferrule I don't know what to use next. Damn! I am afraid I will destroy the rod if I use pliers, too.  (Timothy Troester)

    Try chilling the ferrule with ice, then grip it with one of those rubber pads that are used to grip a jar lid and pull like heck.  (Ted Knott)

    Make a Ferrule Puller out of some type of wood (Golden Witch sells them already made). Drill a series of holes of different sizes in 1x stock. Slice the wood down the middle centering on the holes already drilled leaving a few inches uncut to hold the jig together. Place the jig in a vise and spreading the holes open select a hole that will work. Close the vise and yank the ferrule off. It will not damage the ferrule in any way.  (Marty DeSapio)

    Do you score the ferrule while it's turning in a lathe? If so, you might try unscrewing it.  When I fit the ferrules I score the inside in a lathe, and the tight fit you describe is what I go for.  I then unscrew the ferrule from the station, glue it up, and push it into place again. Depending on how you score the inside, the threads may have a bur that can be pushed over, but pulling back off creates tremendous resistance, unless you unscrew it.  You can use it to your advantage.  Give it a try anyway.  (Chris McDowell)

    Wrap an old piece of leather belt around the ferrule and then use the pliers to twist the ferrule off the cane. I use the leather trick all the time.  (Dave LeClair)


To fit ferrules, I use the lathe at high speed, with a super fine cut jewelers file to round off the edge, and then a few passes with the fine jewelers file, then 1500 paper, then polish compound, each time, and degrease with alcohol before trying to fit, each time, and keep the female ferrule cleaned out well. Take only a little at a pass. I've never over fit one yet, and comes out with a very clean pop. Rush River Rods ferrules require little work, and fit great!  (Jerry Andrews)

    This may have already been mentioned, but when using sandpaper on a lathe, it may be beneficial to back up the paper with a piece of metal (IE: a file) to give a more even reduction and help eliminate low spots.  (Mike Shaffer)


I just finished waxing up a new rod, strung up a line, and after about 10 minutes of seeing myself hooking big browns on the Roaring Fork next week, the line went limp. Kinda like somebody came in the room and shut the TV off in the middle of a great movie. I had the butt in my hand and there on the ground was the tip with the female ferrule. It was broke clean across the bottom of the female.

I fit this ferrule by hand and maybe took off a little more cane than I should have. It was an aluminum ferrule without serrations. I didn't taper the ends either. I didn't really think about it till it was down in the shop.

Any ideas on what the heck happened. the rod has been lawn cast on 3 occasions.  Should I put on different ferrules or do you think I can taper the female and try it again?  (Mike Canazon)

    Just a question out of curiosity, was it a Super Z design or a step down?  (Darryl Hayashida)

      It was 13/64 ferrule and it was Super Z, a friend who was showing me how to make ferrules a few weeks ago, made it for me.

      Last week after lawn casting at a friends house, I felt a little click as I was pulling apart the sections. I thought about refitting the ferrule but I never dreamed it would break like that. It was by far, my nicest rod to date and I was feeling good about bringing a rod to a gathering a letting people see it. It will still look OK, just  a little short.  (Mike Canazon)

    The little click you heard when taking apart the rod probably resulted in the failure... this is the Heddon syndrome. i.e. a classic failure of Heddons is a break at the ferrules caused by a loose fitting ferrule connection to the cane.  When the ferrule is loose like that is causes an added moment localized at the ferrule station, which places additional stress at that point on the rod.  The ferrule for a 2 piece rod is usually the region of the rod which bends the most and sees the highest casting stresses, now add to this the additional stress from the loose fitting ferrule and you end up with the cane failure.

    Sorry this happened to you, I had a similar experience but on another part of the rod... a painful lesson to learn to see all your hard work laying in the wrong number of pieces before you on the ground but its not going to happen to me again!  (Kyle Druey)

      Yes a painful lesson, but one that has happened to most of us.  The good news is that once having screwed up so badly, you take special care to see that it does not recur.  It's called the learning curve.  (Ralph Moon)


I have a problem that maybe someone can put my mind to ease. I just finished winding my first rod and was waving it through the motions of a normal cast, when the tip end broke clean at the ferrule. Well, I blamed that on lack of strength from there not being any varnish on the windings yet. I repaired the break and finished the rod. I put a new reel and line on and went to a dream. For a while. then it broke again at the butt side of the ferrule this time. I’m not sure what the problem is now.

I am new to all this but I built my rod under the close supervision of an experienced rodmaker that himself has made several rods like the one in discussion.

The rod is a 5' 4 wt Dickerson. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  (Wayne Caron)

    I can't really say for sure what your problem is, but it sounds like the way the ferrule was mounted.  Was the ferrule serrated?  (Hal Manas)

    I wonder if you overcooked the strips during heat treating. Did you flame the rod? At what temperature did you heat treat? How thin did you rough plane before heat treating?

    My 6th rod a few years ago was a Cattanach 6042 6' 4 wt. I planed the sections down to .030" over final taper for heat treating, then heated them at 350 for about 15 minutes. I did two tip sections this way,  and both broke off clean during binding. On my third tip attempt, I rough planed down to about .200 & backed off on the heat treating - the rod turned our great! Several list members advised that I had "overcooked" the strips on the tip section, and the tests in the Milward book which came out later confirmed this.  (Tom Bowden)

    It sounds like to me that the ferrule size used was to small  causing the ferrule station to be undersized. You should never use a ferrule that is smaller than the distance across the flats at the ferrule station. Of course this is just an uninformed opinion.  (Marty DeSapio)

    It looks to me that the modified Dickerson you made, did just what it should. Looks like all the bending takes place between 10"--30" and it gets REALLY stiff after 30". This will put a great deal of stress right at the ferrule. I bet the butt feels like a big stick ? The original Dickerson 8014 has similar problems, it has a lot of bend between 30" -- 50", that's right at the ferrule also, but the butt does have some bending or flex at about 70" and maybe that's what saves it. Anyway, as you can see it is NOT a rod I would build. Did you say it's your first rod ? Might try a 7' Sir D, not the modified short one,  for your second.  (Bob Norwood)


I just glued up my first rod last weekend and I am getting ready to add ferrules to them. In the books I am reading it talks about using a lathe to do this. I don’t have one so I am wondering what I should do to fit the ferrules. Will doing this by hand work OK? Any tricks to doing this?

I have read the article by Dave Collyer on fitting by hand but thought others may have some input as well.

Someday I’ll get a lathe but until then…..  (Scott Wolfe)

    This might help so I will post it to the list.

    The first dozen or so rods I made had the ferrules fitted without a lathe. It can be done pretty accurate. First mark the blank for the depth of the ferrule less the length of the tabs. Start on one outer apex at this mark and scrape about five scrapes on the first apex with a single edge razor blade. Do the same on the next and the others till you do all six apexes scraped . Keep doing this and checking the ferrule  till you have a snug fit. Be sure to scrape the same number of strokes on each apex. You will see the ferrule end of the blank gradually get round. Keep checking to be sure the scrapes are level and not starting to taper the blank end. You might try it on a cut off piece and get the feel of doing it. After you do the first one, the others are easy.  (Tony Spezio)

      If you do what Tony says only start with the blank blackened with a marking pen it makes seeing your cut very visible.  (Dave Norling)

      I agree with this, except I recommend using the blade from a Stanley spokeshave without the spokeshave.  The blade is sort of square with a hole in it and about the size of a Triscuit cracker.  Aggressively sharpen it on a coarse oil stone (not water) to get a good hook on it, but not the scraper way with a piece of drill rod.  Drag the blade toward you.  You can get a half a thousandth maximum and it is easy to control.

      By the way, I use one of these instead of my Lie-Nielsen 212 copy (or maybe pre Lie-Nielsen, because I bought it from Barry Kustin).  (Chris Lucker)

    I just use a piece of abrasive cut a strip wrap it around the end of the rod and roll the rod section back and forth along my leg, just taking it slow…. works fine  (Chris Spurrell)


I am at the point where I need to turn the ferrule stations. Could someone please advise me on what the optimum speed to turn the station is. My lathe has a minimum speed of 300 rpm and I am concerned this might be too fast? The last thing I want to do is snap the tip!! Also any suggestions on how best to support the delicate tip during turning would be appreciated.  (Stephen Dugmore)

    I use a file to fitting the ferrules to the bamboo.  The only thing you have to take care is that you file all corners regular.

    In my opinion you take a high risk when turning the tip in the lathe.  The tip section has to be perfectly straight and you must prevent it from wobbling under any circumstances.  If it starts wobbling while the late is running, start splitting bamboo for another tip.

    This is just what I feel, I wonder what others experience are?  (Markus Rohrbach)

      You can safely turn ferrule stations in a lathe if you use a small diameter ball mill rotating at high speed rather than a stationary cutter.  See my article in Power Fibers a while back.   (Dennis Bertram)

    Make yourself a V block the same height as the hole in the headstock to support the outboard ends of your rod sections.  Protect the bamboo from the lathe jaws with a few turns of masking tape, take care to have the start and the end of the tape on the same flat, then make sure that flat isn't under a jaw, or it will throw your section off center. 300 rpm is fine, I think I turn mine at around 1000 or so. This is a good time to find out if your sections are straight or not, if not,  they will wobble like mad, restraighten before going any further.  (John Channer)


I wasn't happy spending 30 to 60 minutes with a file to cut the ferrule station on a section, especially when they didn't come out very well.

I only build a few rods each year & they're always two piece, single tip.  Years ago I bought out the ferrule supply of a tackle shop that was going out of business.  They were all for two tip rods, consequently I have some extra male slides.

I took four of the sizes that I use (11, 12, 13 & 14/64ths) and used a pair of hemostats to twist the serrations slightly (it doesn't take much) & I flared the ends outward.  This gave me a cutter much like an untapered pencil sharpener.

What took me 30 minutes before, now takes me 30 seconds.

This probably won't do for you production guys (you'll need the professional cutters) but for us that only build a couple rods a year it'll probably last a lifetime.  (Ron Larsen)


I have been fitting all of my ferrules by hand and they seem to be a little crooked, no matter how careful I am with them.  Does anyone know where I can purchase a set of ferrule cutters for my lathe?  I don't remember where I saw them a while back, but I can't find them now.  (Todd Grisier)

    Golden Witch used to (and may still) sell Dave LeClair's cutters. You could always contact Dave directly. That MIGHT not be the problem though, but they are good cutters. Brad Love used to make a really fine set of cutters. You might be able to pick up a used set.  (Mike Shay)

    Mine is an old Atlas lathe, that used in the manner of Garrison's book really works well. Straight section and careful turning are the key essentials. Grind tool bit to cut wood, run lathe at moderate to fast rpm, and take light cuts ~ check with 'mikes' often and finish with 400/600 grit paper to slide fit with ferrule. Good luck!  (Vince Brannick)


How does one go about fitting the cane side of the male/tip section for a step down ferrule?  I did the best I could but want to know what everyone else does.

Here is how I did it:

Inserted a toothpick into the male ferrule and made a mark to determine its depth.

I then transferred this measurement to the cane.

I then slid the point of the toothpick down the inside wall of the male ferrule to determine how deep the widest portion of the male ferrule was.

I then transferred this measurement to the cane.

Next I masked off area past my second mark, the area that will fit inside the male slide.

I hand sanded this portion round the way it shows for standard ferrules on the tips page.

Once this portion slid inside the male slide, I removed my tape and placed it down further at my first mark so I wouldn’t be sanding past where the ferrule tabs end of the blank.

I preceded to attempt to sand only the area between the tape and the area that I had previously sanded.

Once the ferrule seated fully on the tip section, I quit sanding.

I by no means have a sharp ridge where the inside of the ferrule has a ridge from the step down.  I feel that it is a pretty good fit and will be good enough for myself but it seems there must be a better way to do this.  I guess if I had a lathe to chuck up the tip section, I could use a file to round over the cane and have a nice sharp ridge for the transition.

Secondly, what adhesive do you recommend for gap filling when mounting ferrules?  I usually use the flaming method with Pliobond but think I would get a better fit with something like an epoxy.  (Greg Reeves)

    First clean the ferrule interior thoroughly to get rid of any contaminants or other junk that may interfere with your fit.

    Determine the interior dimensions of the ferrule.   I use Pin Gages. That will give me the diameters to turn (with my metal lathe) the bamboo down to. It isn't necessary to have a sharp ridge where the ferrule necks down.

    I use a Depth Gage (toothpick is fine) to mark out the lengths that you turn down.  I'm careful when the diameter is getting close as it only takes 2 thousandths undersize to make the ferrule fit too loose. With a micrometer and accurate dimensions to work to you don't need to test fit until it's done. You can count on a good fit.

    Where the ferrule tabs are crowned I use a slightly rounded mini file from a Swiss set to taper the corners out.

    Pin Gages are accurately ground steel "pins" or "plugs" that you slide into a hole to measure to a thousandth the diameter.  The size will be etched on the pin.  I have a set that measures from 60 thousandths to 250 thousandths. An Ebay purchase that was about $40 IIRC.

    Anyway, That's how I do it now.

    The first few rods I made I used a wood lathe with a 3 jaw chuck and a small file to fit the ferrules and I only used Swiss style with no neck down on the male.  (Larry Swearingen)

      I use Brownell's AccraGlass gel. It's what gunsmiths use to glass bed rifle stocks. It does a good job of filling any loose space. Mix as per directions. Unlike a lot of epoxy, it takes about 24 hours to cure.

      Like Larry said, be sure to degrease (alcohol works) the the inside of the ferrule and the end of the blank or it may not stick.  (David Atchison)

        After I clean my ferrules and before I glue them on the stick, there, I rough up the inside of the ferrules where the stick goes. I use a small triangle file and rough up under the tabs and gouge I spiral down the inside of the ferrule. If you rough it up enough you about half to screw it on the stick.  (Timothy Troester)

          I haven't done step-downs yet, but to rough the inside of the ferrules I use a diamond burr on a Dremel tool. Using epoxy I want thee to be something that really holds. Don't turn the tool off until you've inserted it, don't remove it until you turn it off. Keep a thumb or finger on the on/off switch. If you're holding the ferrule in your fingers it gets hot very quickly, preventing you from getting too deep into the wall of the ferrule. So far anyway. I also will roughen the ferrule station of the blank.  (Henry Mitchell)

    That's the method I used to use before I got a set of Dave LeClair's ferrule cutters.  You can also use an depth mic, or a real old fashioned tool, (which I can't remember the name of for the life of me - it looks like a miniature version of the base of a depth mic, but has a thin bar that slides down the middle of it and is locked in place with a set screw) to transfer the measurements.  But the toothpick is pretty darned accurate too.

    You really shouldn't be "gap filling" when it comes to an adhesive for mounting ferrules.  That adhesive will eventually compress from the forces applied to the rod section and the ferrule and the adhesive will let go.  You should have a very slight snug fit for the ferrule to the cane.  (Mark Wendt)

      Thanks for all of the replies.  Once I get a lathe, I will have to get some of the ferrule cutters as I see this would really get a nice fit and sharp ridge over the step down inside the ferrule.  I do have a good fit that is snug when slipping the ferrule on dry but was just concerned over the gap that will inevitably be where I have a rounded over corner going from the 12/64 diameter under the tabs to the smaller inside diameter of the male slide.  It may be insignificant.  I usually use Pliobond but have read that it is a contact adhesive and needs to have a tight fit.  I was wondering what adhesive would be for a more snug than tight fit.  (Greg Reeves)

        This is what I have used as long as I have been building rods with great success.  (Joe Arguello)

        Don't worry about that rounded corner, that's what you want anyway. Sharp corners in places like that aren't a good idea anyway, a rounded corner will disipate stress better tha a sharp corner will.  (John Channer)

        I've been using Rod Bond U-40 on all my ferrules, as well as on my grips, reel seat hardware, tip tops, and grip and winding checks, and it seems to work pretty good.   It's a very thick epoxy, so it won't run, and you've got a good long working time with it.  It's epoxy specially formulated for rod work.  Epoxy, like most other two-part adhesives, generally requires small gaps in order to maintain it's strength.

        The gap where you've rounded over the lip at the step down should be insignificant.  (Mark Wendt)


What am I doing wrong?  I have had two rods break right at the ferrule. I slightly score the blank where the ferrule mount ends, so I can get a clean line for the ferrule station.  Not deep but, I do score it on the apexes.  I have had one break on the male side and one on the female.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.  I have been lucky has I have been able to remove the broken section out of the ferrule and reinstalled the ferrule.   So the rod is a couple inches shorter but, it still works.  Both have been with 11/64" ferrules.  Looks like I have plenty of power fibers.  I am so confused.  (Pete Emmel)

    Don't do that! Least ways I would not. The length between the bottom and top on the slits should be a transition area in my mind. Maybe someone will come up with some more suggestions.  (Timothy Troester)

    Scoring it at all creates a weak point that will start fracturing and eventually break (as you found out). I've scored bamboo like that to make it easier to break it when I was using it for other purposes. Marking where the ferrule station ends with a pen and then sanding to that point is a much safer way,  in my experience.  (Bill Walters)


Does anyone have a  source for high quality Ferrule Station Cutters?  (Bernard Elser)

    The only source I know of is Dave LeClair.

    The cutters are of very high quality,  and unlike other monopolists, Dave is a really good guy to do business with. (Tom Smithwick)

      You are 100% correct Mr. Smithwick.  Dave is a rare commodity these days.  Honest and hard working. And his wares are worth every penny.  (Gary Nowak)

    Have you tried Dave LeClair to see if he has any in stock?  (Will Price)

    Ferrule station cutters are cool, but you might want to try this  first.  (David Bolin)

      I’ve used this method on my last three rods and I’m happy with the results. (Mike Monsos)

    David LeClair has hit a home run with his new "ultimate ferrule station cutters."  I recently purchased a set (to replace a previous model) and used them on a few rods.  These new cutters are very well made, quick, accurate and very simple to use.

    Most importantly, the cutters produce excellent results:  The ferrule stations are concentric and the cane-to-ferrule tab transition is  near seamless.   When a  rod is  assembled, the line-of-sight from butt to tip is much straighter [versus having used other station cutting methods].  

    In my opinion, well worth the cost.  (No financial interest.)  (Bernard Elser)


Just wanted to let you know I received the latest version of the ferrule station cutters with Dave's New Design of individual cutters and holder.   Wow these are the Cat's Pajamas...  I had his older set, the one with the cutter brazed on the tube and these new ones are light years better. This is the best set of tools made, follow his instructions and you can do rods in 1/10 the time. These cut faster as compared  to the normal lathe turning of the shaft end...    I called him last week and got them this Friday, made a few cuts on some blanks, this new set of cutters is sweet.

Note... He only builds them once a year....    Tight Lines.... (Dennis Stone)

    Thought I might add my comments to yours.  After a long time wondering whether it would be worth doing, I bought myself a set of Dave's cutters.

    I have no experience of previous models, so cannot offer any comments about that, but let me say that these are the bee's knees!  Not that long ago I was fitting ferrules by hand with a file  and some sandpaper, which surely left a lot to be desired, quite apart from being pretty well impossible to mount concentric with the shaft.

    Then I decided that maybe after all putting the blank in the lathe might not inevitably destroy it, so have been turning the station on the lathe.  Better.

    But with these cutters, it is just so easy.  I would recommend them to anybody who is thinking about buying them.  (Peter McKean)

      And as a follow up,  they make mounting step down ferrules so simple, even a cave man could do it...  (Mark Wendt)

    I was one of the folks who prodded Dave into making the ferrule station cutters again last year, and I got one of his complete sets.   I fully agree with the post below.  They really are the cat's pj's.  Thanks Dave for a tool very well made, and worth every penny!  (Mark Wendt)


I've had this blank  and ferrules on the table for a few months now. I turned down the ferrule stations months ago, now the ferrules won't go on, my guess is the heat and humidity. Should I just wait it out for a more temperate day/time or try refitting by taking off some more bamboo?  (Pete Van Schaack)

    Should I just wait it out for a more temperate day / time or try refitting by taking off some more bamboo?

    Most likely what happened is that you glued up soon after heat treating, and the cane took a few months to come back into equilibrium with the atmosphere. If that is the case, refit the ferrules. If you have stored the sections in an unusually humid place, put them in a drier spot for a couple weeks and see what happens. I think it's best to store the planed or glued up strips in the same place you store your rods.  (Tom Smithwick)

    If you plane it down some more, when the humidity drops, and the bamboo shrinks, it will pull loose.  I'd suggest heating the ferrule up a bit, not enough  to discolor it, but enough to get it to expand, and see if you can't slide it on. 

    On the other hand, if you haven't varnished the blank yet, you could stick in in your oven. at low heat, and try to dry it out some.   By low temperatures,  I mean 110F to 115F.  (Paul Gruver)


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