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My wife has arthritis, and sometimes her joints get really aching, and she has a little device that really helps.  Last summer, my granddaughter used her Grandma's GRAPHITE rod and seated it so tight that I was unable to separate it.  Now I have been known to take a year on stuck ferrules.  My thinking is that sooner or later they will give up and I will triumph.  No way on this rod.  So SWMBLT (she who must be listened to)  said why not try heat.  I was a little reluctant to grab my propane torch and sat there pondering for a half hour on what I should use.  Along came Pat and suggested I use her little arthritis reliever.  Presto in 30 seconds with NO effort the ferrules separated.  What is the gimmick?  A little bag 1 1/2 inches by 4 inches filled with rice.  Stick in the microwave for a bit and out it comes.  Not too hot, but hot enough and it retains the hear.  You know she even gets me out of computer hang-ups as well.  It works even better on metal ferrules.  (Ralph Moon)


I fit three sets of ferrules yesterday, and nearly pulled my shoulders out of joint yanking stuck sections apart. I never could figure out why you could put ferrules together, and then have them jam so hard before they were fully fitted. I now think the problem is galling, which is the tendency of metals to rub particles out of their surfaces in sliding fit situations. I finally figured this out because of a problem one of my customers solved at work. They were making metal belts for food processing, and having problems with a 300 series stainless belt dropping particles into the food. They solved it by going to 200 series stainless. It turns out that the 300 series will gall with sliding contact at 20 PSI pressure, while the 200 series was closer to 200 PSI.

I think what happens in ferrules is that in really tight fits the metal galls, whereas in a proper fit we are below the threshold of pressure where problems occur.

I can't seem to find a place to check the  galling properties of various alloys to research this a bit further. Anybody got a clue on this information or a comment on the theory?  (Tom Smithwick)

    I have come to the same conclusion, as well. It seems that this most often happens just as I am getting close on the fit, and it doesn't occur simply because I forced the fit. I've had it happen with normal seating pressure. A burr is raised on the inside of the female, and must be dealt with prior to resuming fitting. This burr cannot be felt at all on the inside. It's just there, and the scratch it leaves on the male may be readily seen. I've also come to the conclusion that the oxidation is what causes a well fit ferrule today, to not fit tomorrow.  (Martin-Darrell)

    I had this happen to a recent rod (wish I could learn from past errors!) and tried heat to expand the female ferrule.  Didn't work.  Then I remembered that cold will work.  I wrapped the stuck joint with a towel and ice.  After 5 minutes it easily pulled apart.  (Ted Knott)

    No hard evidence but I've experimented with a few different materials for ferrules. As I wrote just before some of the red bronzes do seem to stick amazingly well at the end of a day's fishing. I really like the look of phosphor bronze. It's a neat reddish color so I used it on a couple of rods that I use.

    One in particular can be incredibly hard to separate at the end of the day. I've dressed and re dressed the males to fit and still they jam.

    I don't want to take any more off for fear the ferrules will become too loose before the jamming stops which sounds contradictory but isn't because although you can separate them easily at first as time and the flexing they experience go by the sticking gets worse.

    I'd say it would have to be galling and I'm amazed Al can work at all because it's terrible for galling as a rule.

    I've used silicon bronze too. It doesn't seem as bad, in fact is pretty close to NZ but is a lot harder to work with.

    As far as I'm concerned NS is the least trouble. It's bronze too but has all the right characteristics. (Tony Young)

    I think you are on to something!!

    My Driggs had its first whole day on the water the other week. Do you think I could get it apart at the end of the day? -not a chance.

    I had to use a ferrule puller block, and it popped right off BUT BUT BUT.... I notice a black residue on the male. It was like a black greasy powder- maybe galled off metal do you think?

    I don’t think it was polishing compound, as I have been really careful about cleaning it, and I have had it together and apart maybe ten times for showing off/lawn casting purposes. I was really pleased with the fit.

    I think the fit was not as good as I thought, and a day's casting has worked the male and female together to a really tight seal. The high spots have been rubbed off and appear as the gray/black stuff when I finally separated the halves.

    My theory for the moment until something else comes along.  (Dave Kennedy)

    How about this theory.  As the rod flexes the ferrules swell because of the heat generated by the inertia emanating through the rod, thus the male ferrule being on the inside has some residual movement, though slight that causes this phenomena.  Could be the reason why rods are hard to take apart by days end.  (Bret Reiter)

      Personally I think it's just galling due to slight movement. Any impurities just add to the problem. (Tony Young)


On Saturday afternoon trying to take my rod apart after fishing I pulled the ferrule off the bamboo.  Here 's the situation.

On both of my rods the ferrules seated together nice and easy putting the rod together to go fishing.  Then after several hours on the river they wouldn't come back apart.  On both my 8 foot rod and my Midge I had to pull as hard as I could and then some to get the rod unseated.  Luckily I only broke one out of 6 ferrules in doing so (the male on  the mid section of my 8' 3 piece).  I assumed I hadn't lapped them enough.  So this morning I got them back out, and before lapping I tried the fit.  Perfect.  They went together and slid back apart easy.

Does anyone else have this problem.  Ferrules that normally seat and unseat well, seem to stick after several hours or use.  If so what's the best way to get them back apart.  It was raining Saturday and the rods were wet.  Could that have played a part?  (Aaron Gaffney)

    Yes, they will stick after use if not dressed enough but it's a fine thing between too much and not enough. A snug pop is what you want, not a firm compression type fit. (Tony Young)

      For all of you who have had cold ferrules stick, try this.  Get a pair of the cloth gloves with the PVC covered fingers and palms at your local gardening store.  Keep them in your tackle bag until the next time your hands are cold and wet, put on the gloves to pull your rod apart.  You'll feel like your hands are glued to the rod - absolutely no slippage.  (Chris Obuchowski)

    Was it a cold day? I have noticed with the aluminum ferrules I make that when they get cold they are hard to take apart. Aluminum reacts faster to  temperature changes than nickel silver, but if it was cold enough the NS could have done the same thing. With my aluminum ferrules I hold them in my hand for about 20 seconds or breathe on them and the come apart easily.  (Darryl Hayashida)


I just received a rod with jammed ferrules.  The best efforts of two of us could not pull them apart.  I wrapped a gel freezer pack around the ferrule joint to chill it and left it in place for 15 minutes.  The ferrule came apart with an easy "pop". (Ted Knott)


I noticed that the local department store has a section now for rubberized non-slip shelf liner. This is great stuff to cut into 4"x4" squares for ferrule pullers. Wrap two of these around the rod when it is reluctant to come apart then give a straight-line pull.  (Reed Curry)


Tip #1.  I keep a pair of jar lid grippers handy,  the rubber disk sort, used to get a good grip on jar lids.  Use them to pull rod sections apart.

Tip #2.  Place the same two jar lid grippers under one end of your planing form to keep it from "slithering" about when planing.

Tip #3.  If you can't pull the two ferruled sections apart with the jar lid grippers, try chilling the ferrule joint with a frozen gel pack of the kind used to relieve joint pain.  I find 15 minutes of chilling and the ferrules disengage  with a  moderate pull (most of the time).  (Ted Knott)

    Excellent tips! Another great material is the soft, nonskid material sold in rolls for lining drawers and cabinets. A $3 roll will give you a lifetime supply. I use this stuff for any number of things. I cut it into 3" squares and toss two of them into my rod case. They positively will not slip when you are trying to take a rod apart.  (Larry Blan)

    A pad of material used as drawer liners in campers and as router pads in workshops also works well to keep the planing forms from sliding around.  I stapled some around a coupla short pieces of 2x4 and use them to elevate my forms a little bit.  Works great.  (Harry Boyd)


I am very new to this and in the middle of a very steep learning curve.  I am bit hesitant to expose myself, but here is my story from this last weekend:

I fished my new bamboo rod, my first bamboo that I had built under Chris Raine's guidance and finished at home. I was feeling particularly proud.  I caught fish on a beautiful rod I built by hand, using flies I tied by hand, etc.  Cool. 

At the end of the day, I could not get the rod apart.  The ferrule was stuck tight.  So there I was pulling hard to get them apart, being careful not to twist since I knew that could explode the 6 strips.  My hand slipped and my thumb ripped a guide off, tearing into my thumb.  S#!%%.  Now I am going to have to rewrap the guide and revarnish.  But I still couldn't get the rod apart.  I thought (stupidly as I am sure you know) that maybe if I heat the female ferrule it would expand and they would come apart.  I did so with my alcohol stove on low (nice gentle heat.)  I pulled.  Pop.  The female part came off the bamboo,  with the male still stuck in it.  Oh, double S#!%%.  THEN I remember that the 5 minute epoxy to glue the ferrule on is heat sensitive just so it could be removed if repair is necessary.  So now I also have to remount the ferrule, rewrap the ferrule with silk, and revarnish.  But the ferrules were still stuck.

I actually had anxiety dreams that night -- about being at work in my underwear and caught in a crawl space (I have a good dose of claustrophobia.) Funny how the mind works.  I was having trouble with something recreational but my anxiety was expressed in a totally different arena.

I had brought  extra guides from Dunsmuir, one in each size, just in case, since I wrapped, varnished and final dipped the rod at home.  So when I got home from this weekend I dug those out, found the right size, and laid it out on the dining room table while I slit off the silk wrapping on the broken guide and cleaned up the bamboo for remounting.  I reached over to pick up the guide and it was gone.  Just gone.  I could not find it.  Not on the table, not on the floor.  I actually got down on my hands and knees and hand brushed the entire dining room carpet and could not find it.  More S#!%%.  Next day, I found the guide on the kitchen floor.  It must have been carried in on my clothing or something, and I couldn't see it until the sun was out.  So I picked up the guide and decided I needed to put it in a zip lock so it wouldn't disappear again.  As I was getting ready to do so, I put it down on the counter.  No, it didn't disappear, but when I picked it up, my fingers twisted and it sprung out from between my fingers. Ping, ping.  I heard it drop on the floor AND WAS GONE.  I went over the floor with a microscope (so to speak), including under the dishwasher and stove.  I swept the floor.  I looked everywhere.  Gone. Sooo STUPID!

Anyhow, I did get the ferrules apart and last night remounted the female, wrapped the silk, and put on the first coat of varnish on the wrap.  All of which were learning experiences as they did not go easily, but eventually got done.   And I have ordered a new set of guides -- extras in each size which I can use anyhow on my next rod. 

I am realizing that my definition of "perfect rod" is changing.  It is not going to be the flawless rod my imagination created.  It is going to be my record of learning, perfect in that it will uniquely reflect my successes and disasters.  (Dan Zimmerlin)

    Put the rod behind your knees.  Grasp the rod firmly outside of each knee and push your knees out. Use your legs to pull the sections apart as they are much stronger than your arms and will not twist the sections.  This works well for plastic rods too.  (David Gerich)

    The tightening is a fairly common experience. I think there is a consensus on the list that freshly lapped ferrules oxidize and get tighter. I carry a bit of steel wool or fine sandpaper in plastic bag in case I forget to dress the ferrule before leaving to go fishing. I think that most rodmakers (myself included) are so paranoid about overlapping that they stop lapping when the ferrules are far tighter than they need to be.

    I liked your story about the missing part- I am glad that I am not the only one this happens to.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    Aha! I can tell you just exactly when you will find that guide. Make a trip through the room barefooted, without giving thought to the guide in advance. I guarantee you will find it! Uh, that is what I have been told, at least. I certainly have no personal knowledge of anything of the sort.  (Larry Blan)

      Sorry, but that only works for fish hooks. I've tried it for guides with no success, but I have found every last fish hook I've ever dropped on the floor of my tying/wrapping room <g>. BTW, Dan, welcome to the wonderful world of rodmaking, as you just found out, Murphy's Law rules the shop.  (John Channer)

        I tried something once to confirm your theory.  I dropped a whole box of hooks on my shag carpet.  Picked them all up and then kept hooking skin and socks for several weeks.  Finally got fed up and went to the emergency room to get the last one.  Never happens with guides though.  (Ralph Moon)

    So I picked up the guide and decided I needed to put it in a zip lock so it wouldn't disappear again.  As I was getting ready to do so, I put it down on the counter.  No, it didn't disappear, but when I picked it up, my fingers twisted and it sprung out from between my fingers. Ping, ping.  I heard it drop on the floor AND WAS GONE.

    You've learned one of life's great truths. Guides are like flies, they disappear all over the place.  I've left a lot of flies in trees.  But the guides?   Who knows where they go?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    Ping, ping I heard it drop on the floor AND WAS GONE.

    I was restoring a Vintage Boat Rod, just got in the rare Tunnel Guides and taped them to the blank. As I lifted the blank it hit the Ceiling Fan and Ping, ping I heard it drop on the floor AND WAS GONE...

    Well... It's been 8 years and I have not found the guide yet.  (Dave Collyer)

    Been there, done that.  Except for the disappearing snake guide trick(s).  I could tell you about spending days searching for a pillar screw from a Vom Hofe reel, though.

    Here's a recommendation - go by someplace that sells kitchen supplies and buy one of those rubber pads used to open jars.  Cut it in half and put it with your gear so you'll have it when you're done fishing for the day.  From personal experience, I can tell you that these don't work too well  if you leave them at home.  I use these to grip the rod as close to, if not partially on, the ferrule as possible. Pull in a straight line.  Works every time.

    Another thought.  A while back I had Bob Summers refinish a Paul Young rod for me.  New ferrules were included.  Mr. Summers sent a flyer with the rod that suggested that if the ferrules seemed tight, to rub a little dry Ivory Soap on the male before putting it together.  It helps a lot when it's time to take the rod down at the end of the day.  The ferrule always seems much tighter after fishing.  Anyway, if it's good enough for Bob Summers, then it's good enough for me.  I keep a little cube in my vest, tucked into a little plastic bag.  (Bill Benham)

      Another trick to get stuck ferrules to let go , the one i always use, with success, is to squat down, legs a little bit apart. Then you put the rod behind your knees, the ferrule between your knees. Grab the rod just outside your knees, and pull sideways, combining the force of your hands with the force of your legs. Don't do this inside the house, as the rod will part and then some. It sounds a bit weird and also looks so, but its very efficient. You can develop a great force in a straight line. 

      Another trick is to grab the rod with both hands, as if you were going to pull the two parts apart normally. Then you ask a friend to do the same, and combine your forces. Don't start pulling each at another end of the rod!!!

      Soap is a good trick, but its one I reserve for loose ferrules, which I humbly have to admit I sometimes end up with after an intense adjusting session. (Geert Poorteman)

    So, I'm convinced that there are such things as gremlins.  They steal fallen screws, guides, taper sheets, car keys, and single socks.  I lost a whole set of TiC guides for my last rod.  Had 'em one moment, then they were gone  the next.   There were in a zip-lock bag, as well.  Dang gremlins had put them on my bed stand under an old book and I didn't find them for months!

    For stuff lost in carpet, though, I bought a cow magnet from the local feed store.  Two, actually.  Roll 'em around the floor and they often pick up the stuff I drop. 

    Having said that, wanna know what your wife REALLY thinks of you tying flies in the family room?  Wait 'til your little girl turns up with a size 16 dry fly hook snagged in the toe of her sleepers!

    Good luck with that ferrule.  Same thing happened to me on my first rod.  I swear it fit perfectly when I prepped it.  Then, a month later, when I finally got around to using it, it stuck!  I'm not sure how they did it, but I'm sure the gremlins are to blame for that, too. (Jason Swan)

    This might also be a time to mention the need to wipe ferrules clean and dry before joining the rod. A single little piece of grit or tiny bit of moisture can cause the described misery. On the subject of soap, I prefer coating with dripless candle wax then wiping it off with a rag. I have had some ferrules stick both in the shop and on the stream and mostly I cannot tell you why they finally came apart. Sometimes sitting the rod on the roof of the car in the sun while you stow your waders warms it enough to separate (one should check the rod prior to driving back to town). Sometimes when you put a rod together warm and fish it in cold weather that is enough to make it stick. When this happens to an acquaintance of mine he will pee on the ferrule. I do not advocate this. I do believe the soap or wax trick will help keep ferrules from sticking.  For what ever reason I am incapable of separating a stuck ferrule by the described technique of behind the knees. I hold the butt section with my left hand at my hip and push the tip section away with my right hand. If the rod is slippery or my hands are cold I do have some rubber patches cut from an old inner-tube. I do not believe I ever separated a stuck ferrule while angry or frustrated nor with a tugging contest with another hefty fisherman. Patience, calmness and glaring turned to staring, prayer then incantation is your best bet. Why when I failed all day yesterday to pull the sections apart yet today they slide apart with ease remains a mystery to me.  (Timothy Troester)

    There is a method.................

    Almost impossible to explain.

    Two people cross hands on the rod so the right hand pulls back and the front pushes forward. 

    Looking up from the rod the order of hands is:

    1) your right, pulling

    2) your partners left, pushing

    3) ferrule

    4) your left, pushing

    5) partners right, pulling.

    I think it might originate from the Kama Sutra.  (Robin Haywood)


What is the easiest way to unstick the metal ferrules?  A friend has a rod together and is unable to separate the tip and butt section.  Is it ice or heat to the female ferrule which will do it?  He is currently streamside on the Bitterroot, and e-mailed the question to me.  (Walt Hammerick)

    Two man pull if you are on the stream.  But it must be done correctly.  My wife sewed me a little bag of rice about 2-3 inches wide and about 5-6 inches long.  Rather loosely packed ..Put it in the microwave for a few minutes and wrap the ferrule with it  It really works but not on the Bitterroot.  (Ralph Moon)

      Ralph's two-man pull and Don's behind-the knees technique can both be improved if you use rubber to grip the rod firmly. Pieces of inner tube, jar openers, and rubber gloves all work well.  (Tom Bowden)

    Place the rod behind your knees. With your hands outside your knees grasp the rod with your hands and push out with your knees & legs. This gives you a lot of leverage and most importantly results in a straight pull.  (Don Schneider)

      I have found something that gives a very good grip on the rod sections, will work streamside (even on the Bitterroot!), is cheap, and will allow you to unstick almost any ferrule.  Buy a roll of the nonskid drawer liner that is made of foam rubber/plastic (kind of a waffle pattern with little holes), cut two generously hand-sized pieces of it, and use those pieces between your hands and the rod.  The stuff grips so well, with relatively little pressure, that a straight pull is easy.  (Tim Anderson)

      Back to back they faced each other, grabbed an end and pulled together.  That'll do the trick.  (Tony Young)

      The best one-man pull is done as follows:

      Treat the rod as if it were an arrow you were shooting from a bow.  Hold your left arm extended outward, and with your left hand grip the rod, palm upward, with your fingers just a bit forward of the stuck ferrule.   Your right arm is bent, elbow horizontal, and you grip the rod, palm downward, holding it as if you were drawing an  arrow back to shoot. The point is that both arms in this position have little ability to move more than a short distance apart and are naturally aligned.

      I agree strongly that a rubber gripping pad or glove is of enormous assistance,  and I always try to carry those myself.  (David Zincavage)

    The Best way is to keep fishing,  till they come apart on their own..."-)

    May not work but you will be happy...  (Dave Collyer)

    You can put a great deal of force on the ferrules with the behind the knee technique or with the two man technique, so much force that you can pull them off the rod or at least displace them.  One problem then becomes two!

    When I have had the problem,  I have run hot water (from the tap) over the female for a few seconds.  You can limit the flow to the female end.  Then try in line separation.  Sometimes takes a few attempts but it usually works.  (Ken Rongey)

      I find the best think to grip the rod with is a router mat.  (Gary Nicholson)


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