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I was gluing up some ferrules on a rod today and was confronted by the following problem. I use hot melt glue (Ferrul-Tite, sp?) and sometimes, if you heat the ferrule, as recommended, and slide it onto the glue, there can be a small tendency for the tabs to splay out from the blank. The glue sets so quickly, that it is hard to bind them down. The heat can cause the string to break or the edges can slice it because they are popping up. I have used the wire binding plastic ties to do this, but you need to be quick to do it with the hot melt, and I ran out of them earlier this week. While searching for some ties, I found a big wooden clothes pin, the spring clamping kind. I noticed that they have a round cut out. Sure enough,...(sorry, had to answer the door...guess who?) the clip fit perfectly over the tabs on the blank. I reheated the tabs just slightly to melt the glue, and I rotated the blank in the clothes pin, pressing the tabs down onto the blank. If you do it quickly, the setting glue will grab the ferrule tabs tight and they will be nicely set on the blank by the time you rotate the rod. Tabs done with no binding and no need to cut string or plastic ties off. No burned fingers either. I think this is a method worth further testing.

Anyone else have ideas on how to bind hot ferrule tabs?  (Bob Maulucci)

    After seating home and while still hot I squeeze the tabs gently with smooth needle nose pliers. I then just heat the tabs again and roll the tabs between my thumb and forefinger.  Works for me!  (Marty DeSapio)

    I don't use hot melt glue, but I bind the ferrule tabs down with fine craft wire.  You can really torque 'em down and it holds when you let up on the tension.

    It comes on a little spool, is gold colored and about 28 gauge, I guess.  (Frank Stetzer,  Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    I've used ni-chrome wire - a couple of wraps and twisted off. It is tough stuff and completely unaffected by heat.  (Don Anderson)


A while ago, I seem to remember a post about using a g***ite epoxy compound  to smooth the transition between ferrules and cane and between cork and cane to even out the wraps in these areas. I've had trouble  getting a nice smooth transition under the wraps between cork and cane.

Does anybody do this? What product and method do you use?  (Bill Hoy)

    I do on quads, and sometimes on serrations that do not cooperate. I use Flex Coat two part wrap epoxy in the syringes. I think it is a nice idea.  (Bob Maulucci)


I just glued my first set of ferrules on last night and I am not all that pleased with how they turned out. The tabs didn't flatten against the rod like they should have. I guess because I used cotton thread to bind them?

I glued the ferrules with Devcon 5-minute. Is there a way to remove them easily and cleanly without damage to the cane?  (Mike Mihalas)

    The 5 minute loosens easily with a bit of heat, like from an alcohol lamp.  It doesn't take much.  (John Kenealy)

    Heat and ice, as was said, and when you reset them, get some worthwhile epoxy, 5 minute isn't any good for ferrules. Use at least 2 ton, if not Accraglas or golf club epoxy.  (John Channer)

    Make life easy for yourself and use Pliobond. Super strong and easy to remove. It has held on ferrules for decades.  (Adam Vigil)

    Heat them gently, then put them in a cup of ice for several minutes. You will be surprised how little heat it takes. Do not overdo the heat or you will melt the solder joints (if your ferrules have any of those). You need a very strong thread to bind down the ferrule tabs. Kevlar works, as well as the ferrule tab binding thread sold by Golden Witch. Do not be afraid to really put the pressure on the tabs. You will need to clean the inside of the ferrules completely before regluing.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      Waxed Dental Floss works great too!  (Dennis Higham)

        Someone posted a brief message on this subject a while back. He (who?) recommended small electrical cable ties. I assume these are the ones with the slot on one end that you feed the tail end thru. I haven't tried it, but it looks promising. Does this work? I hate all those fibers embedded in the glue. Kevlar is strong, but it still leaves black fibers which have to be dealt with.  (Bill Hoy)

        Certainly when using an epoxy you need to bind the tabs down since it takes a while for the epoxy to set.  I've used Ferrul-Tite for ferrules and didn't have the time to bind the tabs down before it set up.

        Is it necessary to bind the  tabs when using Ferrul-Tite?  (Tim Wilhelm)

        I use fuse wire to bind down the ferrule tabs, and I find  that it works very well.

        There is no tendency for it to loosen as you wrap it and cinch it, you can put as much tension on it as  you like, and when you come to take it off there is no problem with undoing it, and there is no textile thread material left to be cleaned out from between the tabs etc. etc.  (Peter McKean)

        Picture hanging wire (cable actually) works well and allows you to apply more heat and tighten more, just by twisting the ends. Put one loop around the ferrule, holding both ends and slide the loop onto the tabs.  Put a second turn around, still pulling tight, and then twist the ends together.  (Reed Curry)

    When prefitting the ferrules I press the tabs flat to the bamboo by ironing them with a piece of keystock.  When gluing the ferrules the function of the binding cord is to hold the tabs tightly in place, not to "pull" them into place.  (Ted Knott)

      Wish I had read this five years ago.  Only on my last few rods have I finally figured out how to get the tabs to lie flat.  And here you go sharing it with the entire rodmakers list!  :-))

      I do basically the same thing as you,  with a cut off section of bamboo.  I very lightly tap it with a nylon hammer, to get everything good and tight before I bind it down.  (Harry Boyd)

        I do the same but use a piece a of cane with the enamel on. It presses the tabs quickly.  (Adam Vigil)

      Some ideas about getting the tabs to lie flat, it help immensely if you anneal the tabs of the ferrules, I pin the ferrule in place then reheat the tab area and roll the tabs onto the cane with a burnisher that is used for scrapers, I have also used the smooth part of a round saw file.  (AJ Thramer)


While working on setting some ferrules up for gluing tonight I was looking at the difference between putting the tabs on the flats and putting the tabs on the apex of the angles.  I thought that the tabs laid nicer on the rounded apexes  than they did on the flats.  Anyone's thoughts on this matter?

I have always put them on the flats but after what I saw tonight I may be rethinking this aspect of rod building.  If you have ideas on this give me (on the list) so we all can see what the general consensus is?  (Bret Reiter)

    I put mine on the flats, mostly because the first rod I ever stripped was a Heddon and that's how they did it. It makes sense to me, the whole idea of the serrations is so the ferule has some flex to it at the base, when you fold the tabs over the corners, it seems to me it would take away the designed flexibility. I either burnish the tabs flat with a piece of brass tubing, or squeeze the flats with smooth jaw needle nose pliers, depending on what sort of mood I'm in.  (John Channer)

    I've only done flats.  Can't compare.  (Ed Riddle)

    I've seen all types of tab placement. Including some perfectly horrible looking lash-ups by Leonard and Edwards.  As long as it's a nice, neat job, there does not seem to be any discernible difference on tabs folded over corner or tabs over the flats.  (John Zimny)

    I've tried it both ways, and I prefer putting the tabs on the flats.  I taper the tabs and flatten the ends, making for a smooth transition from the cane to the ferrule that very easy to wrap.  My first Garrison taper, a 212e, I tried it the way that's recommended in the Carmichael/Garrison book.  I had a hard time getting the tabs to make a nice crease on the corners of the rod, and wound up with more of a bump on the transition from cane to ferrule.

    I think there's a reason that Garrison used a heavier, brown silk for the ferrule wraps while using clear wraps on the guides.  It's very difficult to get the tabs to look nice when you leave them square and put them on the corners.  (Robert Kope)

      You can get the tabs to bend over by annealing the first .200 inch or so. Just protect the rest of the ferrule.  (John Zimny)

      If you don't taper the tabs down enough, you can always go the double wrap routine.  (Start at the bamboo/ferrule transition, wrap AWAY from it as far as you like, wrap onto itself and towards ferrule, finish up normally.)  (George Bourke)

    I put the tabs on the flats, too.  I have started using clear wraps everywhere, including the ferrules.  The tabs just look better on the flats.  (Hal Manas)


I just finished crowning ferrules for a rod and I was wondering if there is a more efficient way of doing it or in fact if it is necessary.  I have been using 600 grit sandpaper and the process is slow to say the least.  Ray Gould's book shows the use of a special Dremel bit but I haven't been able to find that particular bit.

Secondly, it is worth it to crown them?  I crown them and then line them up with the flats.  Others seem to bend the thinned tabs over the ridges between flats and other books just show the thinned ferrule tabs lined up with the flats.    Is there any evidence to suggest that one method is better than another or does it boil down to aesthetics?  (Tom Mohr)

    I use a knife blade Jewelers file to crown  the ferrules. Clean up the crowns with 6 or 800 sandpaper shaped like a "V".  After crowning, slip the crowned end of the ferrule on a wood arbor. The ferrule is a slip fit but tight enough to be sanded without slipping. The arbor is made from a length of dowel. I use it in the lathe but it can also be done with a drill press. The dowel is spun with the lathe or drill press and the crown is filed a bit with a flat jewelers file. The file is held so it tapers the crown This will cut into the wood dowel a bit but it gives you an angle to work with on the other ferrules. After the tabs are filed down like you want them, Tear off a narrow strip of 800 sandpaper, just wide enough to sand the tabs. Turn up the speed and polish the tabs. You do have to be careful that you don't catch a tab and lift it. I find the tabs seem to stick in the wood arbor and seem to stay there. Remove the ferrule from the arbor and do any final cleaning up that might have to be done. I don't find doing the tabs bothersome any more.  (Tony Spezio)

    The Dremel bit, #7120, that Ray Gould's book refers can be seen here. You can buy it on-line if you can't find it at Home Depot.  (Don Schneider)


What seems to be the  favored  treatment of ferrule tabs (tapering, "crowning" etc)? Currently, I don't do anything to the tabs and they seem to work fine, but, as always, maybe there is a better way. Comments?  (Karl Hube)

    Mostly personal preference when it comes to treating the tabs.  I like just tapering, but other folks like to crown them.  Either way, you are thinning the tabs down, giving the ferrule to rod connection a bit more flexibility, which helps to mitigate the dreaded "cracking" of the finish in the wraps at the ferrule tabs.  (Mark Wendt)


Reading an old Power Fibers article by Bill Fink he claims to never use serrations and does not have a problem. Are ferrule serrations needed? Ya, I know the company line...blah,blah... What I want to now do serrations really work or is it another case learning the lemming way?  (Adam Vigil)

    I think the serrations are there to aid making a smooth transition from one object that is tapered and 6 sided to the 2nd object that is round and not tapered.  (Timothy Troester)


How many of you use a tiny bit of glue around your ferrule to bamboo joint to smooth out the transition there so wrapping the silk doesn't fall off the edges of the ferrule.  I've just not been able to get a clean job of wrapping over the ferrules yet. I've sanded the edge of the ferrule tabs and also position the "slits" over the edges of the bamboo.   It's just always a "pain in the arse" to wrap that spot.  I've been whipping a very small amount of epoxy over this spot and sand it smooth and don't have any grief.   Am I doing something wrong?  I wonder how many of you don't have a hassle wrapping silk over these spots.   Incidentally, I use Naples black over the ferrules.  (John Silveira)

    I sometimes have that problem but if I sand and polish the tabs thin enough I usually don't have issues.  Try making the tabs thinner.  (Brian Thoman)

    I use a jewelers file and file the tabs flush.  (Marty DeSapio)

    I save the final dressing of the ferrule tabs until the ferrules are glued to the blank, then I use the edge of a fine mill file to feather the tabs to the bamboo then clean up the file marks with 1200 grit sandpaper. A bit retentive I suppose, but it does smooth out the transition.  (John Channer)

    Just so you do not feel like a heretic, Milward describes doing just this in his book. He thinks that it helps prevent the "casting fracture" often seen in ferrule wraps.  (Doug Easton)

      I always put some glue on that spot, and when it starts curing, I rub it  between my fingers if needed to give it a smooth transition from cane to ferrule. In my opinion, I try to have a good idea of what other rodbuilders do, and then I do what I think is best or what suits me best. Part of the fun is inventing new ways of doing things. For me it is!!  (Geert Poorteman)


During our discussion on putting the tabs on the flats or apexes the question came up on why we have tabs at all. The question surprised me because I thought the reason for the tabs was to allow for tapering the blank from full diameter down to the ID of the ferrule. That is I do not sand at all where the tabs start and I gradually taper the blank down to where the slits end. The rest of the blank which is fully inside the nonslitted portion of the ferrule is fully sanded down to the ID of the ferrule. It just seemed natural to me that the tabs were there to allow for a slightly tapered section for a gradual transition to the solid and relatively inflexible section of the ferrule. I was wondering if most people sand the blank down to the ferrule ID all the way to the end of the tabs.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    Like you, I think the reason for the tabs is to allow a gradual transition from the full sized rod section to the inside diameter of the ferrule.  Can't imagine sanding the entire length of the ferrule down to the inside diameter.  Also, the tabs allow a gentler transition from the rigid ferrule to the pliant rod section.  (Harry Boyd)

      "Also, the tabs allow a gentler transition from the rigid ferrule to the pliant rod section"

      That was my assumption too so it would seem they should be on the flats not the apices. (Larry Puckett)

        That doesn't address the problem of the two tabs in the casting plane being broken off of the ferrule in the old rods I had occasion to unwrap. They were still there under the thread, but entirely separate from the ferrule. And once the tabs break, how gradual of a transition is it then?  (Darryl Hayashida)

          I guess the question to the group is how many others have found broken tabs when replacing ferrules. One occurrence in 1 million may be a fluke or poor preparation or weak metal, etc. But if this is a more common problem then it might be an issue to consider.  (Larry Puckett)

            It is common Larry.  (Ralph Moon)

            Fair enough.

            Of the 11 or 12 old rods I wholly or had a partial hand in restoring, about half of them had broken tabs. By the way, I didn't replace the ferrules - I didn't have the same type to replace them with. I glued the tabs back into place and wrapped over them.  (Darryl Hayashida)

          Isn't that still the same as breaking half of four tabs????  You still have NO TABS in your casting plane PLUS you've stiffened the action of your rod at the ferrule with "angle iron" (yes, I know it is really angle nickel silver).  Still looks like the less desirable option to me. (George Bourke)

      Exactly, so why put the less pliable slits on the flats in the casting plane as many have suggested???  I realize people's concern with metal fatigue and breaking the tabs, but doesn't putting the slits on the flats represent a more abrupt transition in thickness thereby defeating the purpose of tabs in the first place?  (George Bourke)

    I'm going to follow up on this as I think Darryl might be referring to my comment...

    Which brought me to the point (which may have been missed in my original question) that the slits represent a more abrupt transition in material thickness than the tabs do.  So, my question was if you don't put the tabs on the flats (at least in the casting plane), why bother having them at all? You can always turn down the edge of the ferrule for an easy thread transition (or even leave unwrapped without any unsightly tabs).  (George Bourke)

    The outside of the bamboo sees the highest of bending stresses, so one should expect that the ferrule tabs see considerable bending, flexing, and fatigue of the metal during casting as well. I would expect that poorly attached or old ferrule attachments would be subject to considerable separation between the bamboo and metal ferrule tabs because of failed glue, dried out bamboo (old rods) or other reasons. This I am sure would cause tab failure. I think it is very important to insure that there is a very tight bond between the ferrule tabs and the bamboo, so that both bamboo and ferrule tab move together during the casting process. I would guess this is why it is important to bind the ferrule tabs to the bamboo during bonding (gluing). I suspect that it is important that the bonding agent (glue) has good flexibility but securely bonds the metal tabs to the bamboo so they are one composite section. This should insure that the bending deformations and casting loads are shared  by the ferrule-bamboo joint.

    Just my engineering thoughts.  (Frank Paul)

      Your comment brings up a question for me:  from a fatigue standpoint, which of the metals commonly used for ferrules would be best-suited to this environment of constant flexing with both tension and compression stress?  (Claude Freaner)

        I seem to recall that resistance to fatigue is related to tensile strength, higher being better. Therefore, hard drawn ferrules should have an advantage over annealed. It seems to me, however, that the failures I have seen were the result of poor fitting and preparation. The tabs were poorly filed or ground, and there was an abrupt transition from thin to thick. This creates a notch effect, or stress riser. Anything that flexes will break first in such an area. The same thing applies to the cane, which is why the transition area from hex to round at the ferrule should be handled carefully, and strongly reinforced with thread. I worry more about craftsmanship than alloy and temper. I've gone over to the pointed tab on the apex method, which it seems to me makes a nice smooth transition.  (Tom Smithwick)

          From what I (think I) remember from material science, hardened materials tend to be brittle due to their crystalline structure (of the molecules, they tend to "line up" creating "shear planes").  The annealed material should hold up better.

          Of course, the professor I had for material science developed the silicon-impregnated aluminum Chevy Vega engine block, so you may want to take that into consideration.  (George Bourke)

      Interesting Frank, but most of the broken tips I have seen the tab is still very firmly attached to the bamboo?  (Ralph Moon)

        I guess I would agree that the ferrule tab maybe still attached to the bamboo in most cases. This would suggest to me that there has been a separation (maybe relaxation is a better word) of the ferrule from the bamboo, permitting excessive bending (load bearing or bending stress) of the ferrule tab in a fatigue mode or possibly a sharp stress riser at the ferrule/tab interface. My thought would be that the ferrule tab and ferrule try to carry a larger portion of the bending load than the bamboo and glue or binding material between the ferrule and tab.

        Just my thoughts concerning your comment.  (Frank Paul)

          At the ferrule you have three different  materials:  the nickel-silver ferrule, the bamboo blank, and the glue itself.  The stiffest of the three materials would most likely be the nickel-silver ferrule.  Now, if you choose a glue that does not give at all, that area of the rod would flex pretty much as nickel-silver does eventually breaking as the metal gets fatigued. It sounds to me like the ideal situation would be to have a glue that gives a bit (like most hotmelt glues) such that the thin nickel-silver tabs aren't "trying" to flex as much as the bamboo.  Maybe the "old masters" used more pliable glues for a reason, pinned the solid portion of the ferrule to compensate for a weaker glue, and left the tabs "floating"???  Does anybody know?  (George Bourke)


I have a small problem.  I was thinning the tabs on a set of ferrules and I think I went a little to far.  The problem is I have a small chip taken out of 2 of the tabs and if I wrap it with a light colored silk and make it translucent I'm sure it will look like crap. I have never wrapped with a  dark thread using a color preservative, if I do this will it cover up my screw up?  (Mike Maero)

    Fill in the chips with a little five minute epoxy, sand it down and then wrap with the darker thread, will cover just fine.  (Chuck Irvine)

      If you use a darker thread, just use Varathane or a quick drying varnish and the thread will stay about the same color. You will not have to use any color preserver.  (Dave Henney)


I recently acquired a set of replacement ferrules for a short Heddon I'm redoing. Problem is, the ferrule set is unserrated and the original set is serrated. I don't have access to a workshop for the next 8 months or so. I would be willing to trade 2 silk furled leaders to the person who can slit these ferrules for me (2 males, 1 female). Email me directly please, if this is something you can help me out with.  (Bill Walters)

    Would the nickel-sized abrasive cutting discs for a Dremel work?  Anybody ever used those to cut serrations?  (Tim Preusch)

      I've tried them and have 2 comments.   First, the cutoff discs are a bit on the thick side (my opinion); second, with the slightest misalignment, they shatter and pieces go flying.  (Carey Mitchell)

        I assume you have a lathe.  Buy some slitting saws from a tooling supply house. Slitting saws are used for lots of stuff, including slicing the slots in slot head screw, for example.  They come in lots of diameters and thicknesses.

        Buy or turn a slitting saw arbor so you can mount the blade in your chuck or collet or whatever.  Make a fixture to hold the ferrule in your toolpost, or just machine a specialized tool post out of a block of aluminum with a chuck so that it may hold several different sized ferrules.  You can make a fancy indexing fixture so that you can precisely locate the slits, but eyeballing is fine.

        Support the slitting saw to then depth of the cut with washer-type supports.  Keeping the ferrule firmly locked into the fixture will help keep the saw steady.

        Watch it with Duronze.  (Chris Lucker)

      I have been a jeweler for some time now. The easiest way that I see to cut your serrations is with a small jewelers hand saw (looks like a coping saw but smaller) with a fine blade. The whole setup costs about $20 you see them on eBay all the time and the blades are only about $5.00 for ten of them  (Denny Dennis)

      I have.  They work but produce a wide slit.  The thin jewelers saws are better.  I bought a narrow one with a 1/4" hole and turned a brass arbor with a 1/8" shaft.  I mount the Dremel on the tool post and the ferrule in the chuck and cut the slits with the Dremel.  Works well.  (Onis Cogburn)


Does anyone have any tips for how to cut straight serrations in a ferrule. I have tried the Dremel saw blade in the chuck (as per Thomas Ausfeld), but can't get a straight cut.) I have resorted to hand cutting with a jeweler's saw, but although this is technically satisfactory it is not 'pretty'. Half the problem is probably how one 'hold's the ferrule while cutting?  (Stephen Dugmore)

    Have you tried mounting your Dremel tool on the toolpost and putting the ferrule in the 3-jaw chuck?  (Brian Creek)

    You may want to try this, it works for me. Get a hex 1/2" coupling nut and bore out the threads to 1/2".  Tap one of the flats for a set screw. Take a 1/2" nylon bushing and ream it to the size of the ferrule or a tad larger. I have several for different size ferrules. Slit the bushing length wise, insert into the coupling nut. Slide in the ferrule and tighten the set screw. With the saw on an arbor held in the chuck of your lathe hold the coupling nut in the tool post. With the cross slide feed the ferrule into the saw to the desired depth. You just cut two slits in the ferrule opposite each other. Back off, turn the coupling nut to the next flat and repeat. The flats on the coupling nut give you 60° separation of the slits.  (Don Schneider)

    I've always been lucky enough to be sipping on a cold beer watching Tony Young make my ferrules  :)   He has a fancier method now, but he used to put the ferrule in the chuck and secure the Dremel to the toolpost.  By rotating the chuck by sixty degrees after each cut, the job was done.  A bit of careful sighting up was all he needed to turn out really neat serrations.  (Mike Roberts)

    Couldn't something similar to a Miter Box be created if you don't have a lathe and Dremel tool and want to continue to use the jewelers saw?  Bushings could be created for different size ferrules to center them in the fixture. Separate fixtures could be created for Penta's and Quad's. I could see this working.  (Dick Fuhrman)


When I started making rods a year ago, as a hobby, I decided I would make more than 10 rods (I am on number 12), and so I purchased a lathe at the start. I learn fast and with obsession from books (I acquire and edit books for a living), yet half of my attempts with the ferrule making fail for one reason or another, mostly because I do them one at a time, re-experiencing part of the learning curve, instead of perfecting the skill that comes from immediate repetition. Still, I find the failure rate acceptable for a hobby, and I've never purchased a ferrule. I am getting my money's worth out of the lathe.  I have not had the patience yet to take the time and make a really good jig that allows serration to work.  So I taper the ferrule carefully, and after the initial cosmetic flaws, I now get a decent appearance without wrapping a serrated ferrule. I do, however, pin the ferrules, thinking that is more important than serration.  But I feel concerned, wondering why the dominant view is that serration is essential and the primary contributor to a long-lasting joint. (Given the number of rods that I have to fish, I will never know, but those who have a business have more data to know than I do.)   Then I noticed that Golden Witch is now offering non-serrated ferrules, and so my concern abates:   Others out there are using non-serrated ferrules. Beyond the book authors, perhaps there is a camp out there that thinks serration to be an optional cosmetic feature, rather than a mechanical requirement.   (Paul Franklyn)

    I suppose the use of serrated ferrules goes back to Hiram Leonard himself.  There seems little question in my mind that the serrations ease the transition from mostly rigid metal to flexible bamboo.

    I suspect the reason Golden Witch sells non-serrated ferrules is for those making quad's and pent's who need something other than 6 serrations.

    I don't make my own ferrules (made a few sets and decided it was cheaper to buy them than to make them at about 3 hours per set), but I've seen plans for several fairly simple serration setups.  The simplest was a hexagonal collet chuck available from most machine tool suppliers.  Install a slitting saw in your chuck and fit the hex collet chuck to the tool post.  From there, it's pretty evident how it works.  (Harry Boyd)

      I followed one of the simple plans and made a collet out of 1/2 inch hexagonal brass rod. It did not work well for me and I ruined 2 sets of ferrules, which took 3 hours each to make.  If Enco or the other machine shop vendors make a (reasonably priced) hexagonal chuck that I can mount in the toolpost, I've not spotted it yet online -- not exactly sure what I am looking for -- so I could use a hint on where to look. I take your point about the serration easing the stress.  (Paul Franklyn)

        If you are going to make a number of ferrules, make am indexing rig like I made. It would not be very expensive. The indexer is less than 30.00, the C5 collets are less than than 4.00 each on sale. Micro mark is closing the cross slide tables for the mini tool that would work for moving the indexer in and out from the cutting blade. Check out the article in Power Fibers. Not sure what issue it is in. The article is titled The Dedicated Slitter, I think it may be in Volume 12.  (Tony Spezio)

    Don't let that discourage you. Once you get set up and get the hang of making them it's less than an hour per two male set. A few evenings or a couple Saturdays making ferrules and I have enough for a year of rodmaking. Not counting time - after all it's a hobby and called a pastime - my cost is about 5 dollars a set. Ferrules and reel seats used to be my biggest out of pocket expense in rodmaking.

    Serrating ferrules is simple. Get some hexagonal rod stock, cut it into one inch sections and drill out the center in various different sizes. When you want to serrate a ferrule, find the closest size, one wrap of masking tape around the ferrule, jam fit into the hexagonal piece, clamp it into your tool post. Slit saw on an arbor in your chuck and you are all set. Cut down the center, clamp the hex piece on the next flat. cut, next flat, cut, and you're done.  (Darryl Hayashida)

      I did about the same thing using a coupling nut. Drilled out the threads, put a set screw near one end ( so it won't interfere when rotating the nut in the tool post), made some nylon slit bushing of various sizes. Put the ferrule in a bushing in the coupling nut, tighten the set screw, clamp in the tool post. The rest is the same as you did it.  (Don Schneider)


I'm beginning to wonder about the generally crowned tabs on ferrules. Most of the literature since Garrison talks about feathering the tabs and crowning them. Then, divided opinions on whether the tabs are bent over the corners or on the flats.

Looking at available rods:

  • Early Edwards: no tabs
  • 20s Edwards: no tabs
  • Bristol Edwards: no tabs
  • Bristol F-5, FB-12, FB-18: no tabs
  • Leonard 50 DF; 50 1/2 DF: if there are tabs they are 1/4 inch long
  • Payne 7'; 9' no visible tabs
  • 8' Winston from 1980s: no tabs
  • 9' Powell from 1980s: tabs that look like 1/4"

So I ask just how representative this is and if the search for stress transition is so important. I note that the older rods sometimes suffer from a small split at the ferrule end point in the varnish, risking the silk breaking, and this question is addressed in the Rodmakers archive. I have just revarnished such points in the past. I also re-mention that the two rods whose sections broke in casting were precisely a 3 piece Leonard and a 3 piece Edwards: both at the male ferrule of the mid section and where a node was very close to that ferrule.

Just how important is this feathering and crowning?  (Sean McSharry)

    For what my amateur opinion is worth, I don't bother with the crowning thing anymore.

    I do what I suppose you refer to as "feathering" in that I turn down the ends of the tabs until they are literally paper-thin.  The presence of tabs gives you a little bit of sort of "adjustability" to compensate for the fact that the ferrule is never exactly the right size for the bamboo.

    If you fit the ferrule well and neatly, the thin ends and the lack of feathering make it blend nicely with the shaft.  IMHO feathering tends to interfere with this.

    I like to have slits on the angles, tabs on the flats.  that way, the curve is sort of continuous around the whole 360 degrees, while  the slits on the angles allow you to fit it down really neatly.

    One man's opinion.  (Peter McKean)

      I am taking it that you mean that you meant "lack of feathering" was lack of crowning. I am somewhat persuaded that this is a suitable way. However, I imagine that other points of view will emerge!   (Sean McSharry)

        Yep, you're right.

        I meant "lack of crowning".  Late at night, got it wrong.  (Peter McKean)

    To me, feathering primarily is to facilitate the transition of the wrap from the bamboo to the metal on all four choices, no slits, slit, crowning and if you mount on the apex/flat.

    The other choice is concentration of stress points. I would think the highest concentration to the lease would be, no slit, slit on apex, tab on flat and crown point on flat.

    My choice is feathered crown point on the flat.  (Don Schneider)

      One reason for feathering (I think) is to make it easier to do the ferrule wraps.  Especially if you use Gossamer, the step is more than a thread thickness unless you feather the ferrule.  I have never tried crowning, I think it looks cool, but I'm nervous about ruining an expensive component.  (Neil Savage)

        I think there is more going on than just easing the thread transition. The more important factor is to handle the wood to metal transition is such a way that stress is not concentrated here when the rod is flexed. I have seen several of the old production rods that broke at the junction of the cane and an untapered, unserrated ferrule. The breaks were clean, with no splintering. Over time, the concentrated stress weakened the cane enough that it just let go. Either feathering or crowning seems fine to me, but I definitely want the serrations.  (Tom Smithwick)

          Gee, all at once I feel like a neophyte.  I know how I treat my ferrules, but you guys are making up vocabulary faster than I can assimilate it.  Feathering I know.  It is mandatory for the very reason Tom has pointed out.  Crowning?  I don't KNOW what you mean, unless it is making the V's as the serrations.  If so then I think that that too is mandatory.  Finally Garrison himself pointed out that the tab's must be over the corner of the cane.  Now that is my way and of all of the things I mentioned the most important in my opinion is the feathering.  My very first rod suffered from the same disease as that mentioned by Tom.  Finally are any of you talking about dressing the rod shaft to meet the ferrule?  (Ralph Moon)

            I'm pretty new to this and was hoping you can give me more insight on a few things:

            1. why do you think it is mandatory to "V" the ferrule tabs instead of just feathering?

            2. the reasoning for putting the tabs over the corners instead of on the flats.

            3. how does one go about dressing the rod shaft to meet the ferrule?  (Chris Hei)

              That was what I was moaning about Chris.  All of these years gone to waist  (whoops waste!).   As far as dressing the ferrules.  #l feathering is extremely difficult to do correctly.  Either the taper is too long and too thin in which case the ferrule is weakened and can fail.  If too short a taper or too blunt the rod breaks.  A properly feathered taper does the job with out separating the tabs.  However for most of us V-ing the tabs enables us to bet a smoother taper.  I really do not care for the piranha teeth on a ferrule, but I do do it sometimes (mostly when I am too lazy to do a proper feathering job.  As for bending the tab over the corner of the cane?? I guess that is something like the fact that I don't know how to use bait or spinning rods.  I never learned.  Actually I do it that way because Garrison said to do it that way.  I do think he had a method in his madness, however.  If the ferrule is not properly feathered, it will not bend over the corner and the maker has to redo (bad)  If the feathering is sufficient there is no trouble bending over the corner and when it is bound makes a better connection.  And for you guys who take umbrage at this, let me know and We can have some discussion on whether the guides go on the stiff side or the soft side.  AH HA I got you.  My rods never show a soft or hard side.  (Ralph Moon)

                Funny, I was just having a conversation off list about whether to put the serrations on the flats or on the corners.  I put the serrations on the corners, and here's my reason why.  Since we are looking for a modicum of flexibility where the ferrule meets the cane, wouldn't it be better to put the ferrule tabs on the flats, rather than bend them so that they fit the corner?  When you put a crease in the tab, it makes it harder for that tab to flex, just like a piece of corrugated metal doesn't bend very easily across the corrugations.  I would surmise that creasing the tabs may cause the metal to fatigue sooner due to the higher stresses on the crease than simply gluing nicely tapered tabs to the flats.  Since it is harder to bend something with a crease in it across the crease, I would tend to think that you might get adhesive failure sooner too, since each flex of the rod is going against a piece of metal that is harder to flex than one  that is glued to the flats, and the adhesive, in this case being the weaker material than the cane or the metal, is going to give way first.  I haven't done any scientific testing on this, more kind of a hypothesis.  What do you fellers think?  So Ralph, when you gonna make that hollow built rod?   ;-)  (Mark Wendt)

                  I agree with what you are saying about creasing over the edge making the tab stiffer, but, isn't the tab rounded from being turned on the lathe? This would increase stiffness as well. Or are you flattening the tab on  the flat of the shaft?

                  I put the ferrules on with the serrations on the corners and feather them as best as possible. How do you dress the ferrule station? Are you rounding it down or just enough to knock the corners off?   (Pete Van Schaack)

                    The tab does have some curvature to it, but it is slightly flattened out as the tip of the tab meets the flat.  If you bend the tabs around the corners, you are making the tabs stiffer than you would have if you slightly flatten, or have a slight curvature.

                    When I dress my ferrule stations it's kind of a two step process.  I generally "round" the cane from the end of the strip back to the point on the cane where the ferrule  serrations would end.  Then I take a file, and taper the corners of the cane so that the surfaces blend gently together.  About the only times I've gotten that little hairline crack in the finish is when I haven't tapered the ferrule tabs enough.  (Mark Wendt)

                  I'm with you on the method,  sorry Ralph.  I'll open up the slit on the tabs, crowning as pg. 107-109 in the Cattanach 2nd edition shows-thanks Wayne.  Then fit the female portion of the ferrule onto a mandrel and feather/taper the tabs with sandpaper strips while the setup spins in my Taig.  The mandrel supports the tabs which helps maintain control.  You gotta be careful, but it works well for me.  I'll get the tabs down to .002"-.003" about the thickness of a sheet of paper.  They are fragile but they are easy to bend and I think offer a good transition from the blank to ferrule.  It's easy to control with how much metal you're removing by using very thin  strips of  sandpaper (1/8" - 3/16") in the finer grits (had to say that). If it's not to my liking after glue-up, I'll touch it up in the lathe spinning with the blank.  (Brian Smith)

                  On my last rod, and I'm too embarrassed to say how long ago that was, I used a small triangle file to dress the inside of the slits. Then tapered the flats to fit the ferrule. It seemed like I could take less off of the corners. Tabs on the flats.  (David Dziadosz)

    I guess I'll just toss in my two cents worth on this one. I do believe it is worthwhile to V-notch the ferrules and to have thinned the end of the ferrule down just prior to V-notching. The rationale for this is that it provides for a smoother transfer of power from cane to ferrule and is less likely to cause thread cracking at the juncture between the ferrule and the cane after many cycles of casting. Where I depart from Garrison's practice is locating the V-notch on the cane. I place the V-notch at the corners thus the tabs are sitting on the flats. This tend to make a rounder rod at that point and works just fine. Remember too the trick of using two pieces of thread when wrapping at the ferrule as discussed by Garrison on page 166 of his book.  (Ray Gould)

      I read most of Garrison's book then returned it to the library.  I don't remember the "two thread trick" you speak of.  Is it possible for you to explain it briefly?  (Al Baldauski)

        Several have asked about the two thread wrapping technique at the ferrule. Garrison's system for this involves using one thread to wrap on the cane up to the edge of the ferrule and then use a second thread to butt up against the first thread and wrap up over the ferrule to the ferrule shoulder. The rationale is that the stresses change abruptly at the end of the ferrule due to the difference of stiffness between the cane and the nickel silver  ferrule and that a second thread will not break under those stresses. My experience however is that the thread doesn't actually break but the varnish cracks instead due to movement at that point. The most critical thing to do is to make the ferrule tabs very thin at the end so as to transfer the stresses smoothly and to fit the body of the ferrule to the cane very tightly (should have to tap the ferrule into place with a mallet).  (Ray Gould)

        Garrison recommended wrapping up to the ferrule tabs with one piece of thread and whip finishing there.  Then wrapping over the tabs with a second piece of thread.  The idea is that the end of the ferrule tabs is the point of maximum stress and flexing.  We frequently see cracks in the varnish over the ferrule wraps at precisely this point, and thus it is the point most  likely to have the thread break from use.  Using 2 pieces of thread, with a break in the thread at this point reduces the likelihood that the thread will subsequently break here.  (Robert Kope)

          As a non- builder (but soon, I placed my 1st order for 3 culms yesterday) I'd like to add what I've observed on the 200+ rods that I've worked on(ranging from minor repairs to complete rebuilds). Keep in mind that the vast majority of these rods were mass produced H-I's, South Bends, Montagues and quite a few Heddons. Almost none of these rods had any thinning of the ferrule where it contacted the cane. A full 70% of these rods had to have one or more ferrules replaced due to one or more splits in the ferrule itself starting at the point of contact with the cane and spreading toward the business end of the ferrule. I have yet to run into a rod that the cane had damage in this area (just lucky I guess). The ratio of damaged female ferrules was just about 2 to 1 over damaged male ferrules and was just about even amounts of nickel silver ferrules to plated brass ferrules! The couple dozen rods that had the ferrules serrated (or at least filed down to a nice taper with no serrations) had absolutely NO damage to them. Garrison must have been the only one doing it his way because I've yet to observe anything other than the tabs mounted on the flats and the corners evenly dividing the the split area. The E.W. Edwards that I'm currently restoring is between 80 & 85 years old and the ferrules on them are as sound as can be! It's visibly obvious that a good deal of time was spent on preparing and mounting them and that should prove how important it is to do this area of rod building carefully and properly.  (Will Price)

            I note also that the ferrules on Edwards, Edwards Bristol and Bristols have no slits but are feathered extremely finely. The ends are shaped precisely over the flats and fit exactly.  (Sean McSharry)

      I wrap beginning at the break between the end of the ferrule tabs and cane and wrap up the cane the length the tabs + ferrule shoulder then wind back over the first wrap and continue over the ferrule to the front end of the ferrule shoulder. There is no break in the thread. So far there is no break in the thread.  (Hank Woolman)


I'm getting ready to ferrule a couple of rods.  Though I've done the pintail routine before, I'm just wondering about a couple of things.  First, in what order do all of you process your ferrules?  Do you thin the tabs and then make the pintails or do you make the pintails and then thin the tabs?  Second, how to you keep the pintails even?  I used a small, triangular file and then sandpaper to do pintails before, but ended up having the tabs a little uneven.  Any tips on this?  (Todd Talsma)

    In the past I have filed the ferrule tabs to points and then thinned the tabs.  However, just the other night I followed the steps that Ray Gould outlines in his latest book on six sets of ferrules:

    1)  First I thinned the tabs by placing the ferrule in my Sherline lathe (I taped the portion of the ferrule where the lathe jaws would come in contact with the ferrule).  I thinned them using a small fine metal file, followed by a lapping file.

    2)  Once thinned I used my Dremel (held to my bench with clamps) and the #7120 tool bit (small grinding wheel) to cut V's in the tab slots.  I held the ferrules in my hand and moved the ferrule into the cutting tool (a little tough on truncated 9/64 males).  I did this very slowly making sure to keep the ferrule slots centered on the #7120 and cut as deep as the tab slot (I did practice on two old ferrules).

    3)  After all the V's were ground in the tab slots, I used a triangular file to make sure  all the tabs were filed/ground to a point.

    4)  I sanded the V-slots with 600 grit and 1000 grit sand paper (as in Wayne Cattanach's book).

    5)  Finally I remounted the ferrule in my lathe and sanded the tabs with 1000 and 2000 grit sand paper to smooth the outside area of the tabs.  Be careful to hold the sand paper lightly and not push too much into the points which could catch in the sandpaper.

    I found this way much faster than filing by hand. Thanks to Ray Gould for sharing the use of the #7120 Dremel bit in his book.  For anyone that orders the #7120 Dremel bit, the diameter of the shaft was too small for my Dremel so I added a couple turns of electrical tap to make it fit.  (Bob Williams)

    For what it's worth, I do it in this order; I thin the tabs first by cutting a thin strip of 600 grit paper the width of the tab serrations. This helps me avoid sanding and scratching any portion of the ferrule other than the tab itself.  After the tab has been thinned to about .002" I crown the tabs using paper again. I find the crowning (pintailing) goes pretty quickly once you have the tabs thinned. After the ferrule has been mounted and glued I usually go back and chuck the rod up and finish thinning the tabs on the lathe. This really helps me when I wrap the silk as the transition step between cane and 'boo is negligible. After the ferrule tabs are finished the entire ferrule gets buffed out with 4/0 steel wool. I blue my ferrules on the rod after this step.  (Mike Shay)

    I find it easier to shape the tabs first, while they are thicker. If you thin the tabs first they tend to bend away from whatever it is that you use to sand,  grind or cut them into the pointed shape.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    I posted something about this several weeks back. Use a plug in the end of the ferrule to keep the tabs from collapsing or catching the sandpaper while thinning the tabs on a lathe or drill press. Turn a piece of dowel down to the ID of the ferrule. The dowel is a bit longer than the ferrule so that I have a guide as to how much I taper the tabs. The end of the dowel is tapered beyond the end of the ferrule. It can also be done the other way around for larger ferrules by putting the dowel end in the lathe chuck or drill press jaws. The taper on the dowel will be beyond the end of the ferrule, between the ferrule and jaws. A second plug is used with six grooves in it to file the points on the tabs. This supports the tabs while  filing the points on the thinned tabs. On the end of this plug there is a small hole for a screw to pull the plug from the ferrule. Filing the grooves requires that the plug is flush with the end of the ferrule.  (Tony Spezio)

    I guess you could mark the tabs with sharpie and/or scribe to make the crowns come out even - at least give you a sense of where you're going.  I like the Dremel system.

    As for feathering or crowning first, I apply Tony's First Rule of Expediency:  "Why put work into it if it's going to wind up on the floor?"  (Darrol Groth)

    I thin the tabs first and then I crown them by putting a strip of fine sandpaper in my vise and placing the slits over it and dragging the ferrule down the sandpaper and off.  I do one or two pulls and move to the next slits.  I may go around two or three times.  You should understand that mine are not perfect, but they look OK and they seem to work.  (Hal Manas)

    Sometime around 1976-77, I was redoing a nondescript 3 piece by and from???.  It needed new ferrules.  The only source I could think of was H. L. Leonard (about 40 minutes up the road).  They were a little reluctant to sell them but I talked them into it.  Anyway, the serrated sections were already turned down and were nearly the thinness of heavy duty aluminum foil.  All i needed to do was shape the serrations with a pair of scissors. i wasn't as successful in doing the same tapering on my own last year but it seems to be the way to go.  (Roland Cote)

    I'm with you on the method, sorry Ralph.  I'll open up the slit on the tabs-crowning as page 107-109 in the Cattanach 2nd edition shows-thanks Wayne.  Then fit the female portion of the ferrule onto a mandrel and feather/taper the tabs with sandpaper strips while the setup spins in my Taig.  The mandrel supports the tabs which helps maintain control.  You gotta be careful, but it works well for me.  I'll get the tabs down to .002"-.003" about the thickness of a sheet of paper.  They are fragile but they are easy to bend and I think offer a good transition from the blank to ferrule.  It's easy to control with how much metal you're removing by using very thin strips of sandpaper ( 1/8"-3/16") in the finer grits (had to say that).  If it's  not to my liking after glue-up, I'll touch it up in the lathe spinning with the blank.  (Brian Smith)


While lapping a set of ferrules I bent a tab and it made a crease in it. Is there anyway to get that out?  (Paul Hamm)

    I have done this, as I guess has every person who plays around with ferrules.

    I got myself out of trouble, though I did NOT succeed in entirely eliminating the mark, by inserting a drill blank to size, tapping carefully with a small jeweler’s ball peen hammer, rolling firmly with a steel roller, and finally sanding with steel wool (0000).

    When I say that I didn't get rid of the mark, you would have to know it was there to spot it now that it's fitted and wrapped.  I DO know, of course, so it looks like the Grand canyon to me. (Peter McKean)

    Yes! I insert the smooth end of my small round file inside the ferrule and using it as sort of an axle roll the ferrule back and forth over the tab on the end of my planing form. This keeps the tab in in the same circumference as the ferrule. Does this make sense to any one? Do I need to redescribe it?  (Timothy Troester)

      Thanks for the help, as usual the list has helped.

      I inserted a drill bit butt end and rolled it out as smooth as I could get it. Finished feathering the ends and epoxied with 5 minute epoxy. Fit the male to female. I assembled two sections and wiggled a bit, then it happened - the tab broke off.  (Paul Hamm)

        It's now time to wrap with black thread. Use YLI 50 or YLI 100, and it will cover the mess completely. I had the same thing happen on a recent rod.  It was propped up while waiting for a winding check to dry, fell over, and a tab caught on a vice jaw. It has been fished hard this season with no problems. Black thread covers all. You may need two layers of thread, but it will be almost unnoticeable, and even less conspicuous if you put the broken tab on the bottom flat.

        I am far more concerned about your use of 5 minute epoxy. I would suggest removing the ferrules with gentle heat followed by ice, then cleaning and regluing with JB Weld, Golfsmith, or one of the many other glues available. Anything but 5 minute epoxy. I know that some makers use it, but so many failures are reported that most people avoid it at all costs, at least for ferruling.  (Jeff Schaeffer)


Does everyone crown their ferrule tabs?  How?  If anyone does not, I would like to see pics?  Also does anyone score the inside of the female ferrule?  (Geremy Hebert)

    Crown the tabs with a 3 cornered jewelers file. Score the insides? fine!

    MOST IMPORTANT! CLEAN the insides before gluing. With all the talk that has gone on about ferrules coming off and different glue types I'm betting the answer is residue inside the ferrules when gluing. A hint to the accuracy of this statement might be that things have been going fine and then ONE ferrule will come off.  I use an aerosol can of 3M brake cleaner scrub the inside with a little brush and a Q tip, dry with compressed air and do it twice. My thoughts after that are, most any glue will work.  (Dave Norling)

      I suspect also that TOO TIGHT a fit may not be the best plan with epoxy.  It's gap filling to some extent, depending on the particular kind used.  JB Weld for example has a lot of filler in it.  There has to be a bit of space or you have a glue-starved joint.  This is based on a lot of time spent on woodworking (my hobby for 40 years) and not specifically rodmaking.  (Neil Savage)

        For small ferrules that don't allow a Q-tip I've been using pipe cleaners.  (Henry Mitchell)

          If I may chime in here for a second, I too lean towards the notion that there might be residue in the ferrules.

          I'd like to suggest the use of acetone to clean the insides before the gluing process. The reason is that not only does it remove the residue, but it also evaporates within moments of being swabbed with a Q-tip. As a photographic equipment repair person we used it all the time to clean everything from metal parts to mirrors on reflex cameras without a problem. If the smell is bothersome, there are fountains to store it in, clearing up the problem of the smell.  (Ren Monllor)

            Besides that, if there IS any acetone residue, it will not be a problem to epoxy.  (Neil Savage)

    Some crown, some don't, but as far as I know, everyone thins tabs.  You may want to check the archives and the tips site for an answer to this question.  Come to think of it, there have been a couple of articles in Power Fibers dealing with ferrule tab preparation.  (Todd Talsma)


I have recently heard some conflicting info regarding ferrule placement. Everything I have read suggests that the ferrule tabs line up with the flats of the rod, serrations to line up with the apex's. Now I can not remember where I saw this, but the suggestion was given to center the tabs on the apex's and the serrations centered on the flats. Now, if the tabs are dressed down, the tabs will actually conform to the apex's when you bind them down during epoxying. Any pros or cons with either method? Also, are there any issues I should be aware of if I were to use a truncated ferrule vs. a regular size ferrule on a 2 piece rod? Other than adjusting the length of rod for the shorter ferrules? Okay, maybe I just need to have another cup of coffee and stop over analyzing things!!  (Paul McRoberts)

    Personally, I think it is hard enough to get the tabs to lay flush when they are centered on the flats, I can't imagine the trouble it would be to try to get them to lay down and take the contours if placed on the apexes.  (Larry Puckett)

      I've got a rod built by Eustice Edwards. The tabs are not crowned and they are on the flats with the serrations centered on the apex. Now if that method was good enough for one of the "old masters" it's good enough for me.  (Will Price)

    That was Garrison's suggestion, so you are not alone in overanalyzing things<g>. To my knowledge, he was the only maker from those days to do his ferrules that way, I've seen rods from most of the makers of those days except Dickerson and Gillum, all the rest had the slits on the corners.  (John Channer)


I'm working on my 4th rod after a slight setback and I am wanting to dress this one up a bit. I know there is so much talent out there but I don't know which direction to turn. What I would like is to have crowns machined into a set of ferrules. I'm not even sure I'm using the right terminology but I think you all know what I'm trying to say. If anyone has any ideas I would certainly appreciate it. The ferrules are 14/64 Super Z nickel.  (Wayne Caron)

    If you have a copy of Wayne Cattanach's book Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods, he explains the crowning process.  (Neil Savage)

    If you have Power Fibers issue 20, check out my article on "Crowning and Feathering Ferrules". Of you don't have it, maybe someone can send it to you. With the Adobe system I have, I can't extract the article from the whole issue.  (Tony Spezio)

      If you don't have 20, you probably don't have a bunch. Call Todd and order a set of CD's today! They can probably qualify as a "needed tool" all by themselves.  (Larry Blan)

        I second that, lots of valuable info there.  (Tony Spezio)


I have a question about ferrules. I am going to buy my first set of ferrules. Will be getting them from Rush River. They have listed four tab and six tab ferrules. Which do I need, are the six tab ferrules offered for those who use clear wraps and dress up the tabs?  (Jason Moody)

    4 tabs are for Quads and 6 tabs are for hex rods.  (Ken Paterson)

    I use Tony Larson's (Rush River) six-tab ferrules on hexagonal rods and "crown" the tabs.  Works great and the ferrules are very nice and can be easily polished.  (Tim Anderson)

      The great thing about Tony's ferrules is they are the only commercial source for quad ferrules. CSE will sell their ferrules without the tabs cut, but you need a lathe and the tools to make the quad cuts yourself.  (Scott Bearden)


Just curious, How do you mount ferrule tabs, On the flats or over the apex and why?  (Don Schneider)

    On the flats. Better fit. (Timothy Troester)

    On mine, tabs over the flats, and slits over the corners.  It's much easier, for me anyway, to flatten and blend in the tabs on the flats than it is over the corners.  (Mark Wendt)

      I've tried mounting the tabs both ways and like the looks and ease of mounting on the flats better. Mounting over the apex seems to me would stiffen the ferrule more and cause more of a bamboo stress point where the tab ends, where mounting on the flats would smooth out the stress. Just a thought. As for crowning, I think it is a waste of time. Why do you suppose Garrison recommended mounting the tabs on the apex?  (Don Schneider)

        Any way you look at it, the ferrule is going to cause a stress point one way or the other, since bamboo and nickle silver are two dissimilar materials.  Not sure why Garrison did the apex thing, probably just like crowning - cosmetics.  To me, crowning and mounting the tabs on the apex are butt ugly, so I don't do it.  I'd rather have the thinned portion of the ferrule tab lined up with the flats, since it's easier to blend in, and makes for a smoother transition from cane to ferrule.  The majority of the rods ever made were done that way.  Why mess with success?  (Mark Wendt)

          What are your thoughts regarding having the slit tabs at all instead of just the "round hole"?  Cosmetic or function/stress?  (Jim Rowley)

            Probably a bit of both.  I lean more towards cosmetics than function though.  The slits to make it easier to flatten the tab on the rod, which cosmetically smoothens the transition from six-sided cane to round nickel silver.

            Lets face it - with two dissimilar materials joined in a matrix, there is always going to be stress points that will build up when the rod is stressed by bending.  Nickel silver is never going to be as flexible as bamboo.

            If you want to eliminate the stress point, do like some of our other illustrious makers do, and make one piece rods.  (Mark Wendt)

          I was taught (by Wayne) that by crowning you create a transition of the stress point.  Also, the crown (or not crowned tab) goes on the flat not the apex.  In fact Wayne goes beyond just crowning and suggests that you also thin the tab as it moves to the "point" by turning by hand after creating the point so that the material gets thinner toward the end.  Did I get that right Wayne?  (Doug Hall)

            And back to my original contention, all you are doing is moving the stress point a fraction of an inch towards the end.  The stress point still exists - ie, the solid wall of the ferrule, with the underlying cane.  You haven't eliminated the stress point, just moved it, which in this case, really doesn't do a whole heck of a lot, and it wasn't moved a whole heck of a lot, if it was really moved at all.  The stress riser is going to happen where the flexible cane meets the inflexible (relative to the cane) nickle silver.

            How long are the tabs/crown points?  The first stress riser is probably going to show at the point where the slit/crown split ends.  There will be smaller stress risers under the tabs/crown points but the first bigger one will happen where the metal is solid all the way around the cane.  Its just the nature of the beast when it comes to statics and strengths of two dissimilar materials that are asked to work together to perform a job.  (Mark Wendt)

              I agree with what you are saying but I think that the key to my point that differs with what you are saying (and possibly to a very minor degree) is that instead of the stress point being at one specific point, it is transitioned form end of slit to end of tab.  You are not moving the stress point but rather transitioning it.  (Doug Hall)

                Yes, you are moving the stress riser, but slightly.  A stress riser is always a "point" on a material where the stress is concentrated the most.  Stress is hardly ever (I'll never say "never"...) distributed evenly across a material that's under stress.  The stress riser is on the cane, not the ferrule.  The cane is going to break long before the ferrule usually does, unless there's a flaw in the material, or the nickel is over stressed.

                How long are ferrule tabs?  Usually about a 1/4".  A small length.  And folks that tend to use the full ferrule tab taper them from the end of ferrule slit down to the end of the tab.  The amount of material you are taking away when crowning is not very much when you consider you are removing most of the metal from areas that will be thinned down anyway.  (Mark Wendt)

              My non-engineering understanding of this is that the stress we are talking about is shear stress. If so surely there has to be more shear stress acting on the ferrule end if is square? Shear stress must surely be lessened by slitting the ferrule, to create tabs, by thinning the tabs and by tapering the tabs, thus dissipating the shear stress rather than concentrating it? Correct? If so then the square edge is surely more likely to fail than the crown even if the difference is negligible.   (Steve Dugmore)

                I will also add that the failures that I have seen in my 20 years have been mostly cracking in the wrap finish.  I have never seen true failure in the cane.  (Doug Hall)

                  Just wondering on these classic rods that many of you have repaired, own, or just examined, is there a great variance in the length of the tabs themselves?  Length of the slits?  How would longer (or shorter) tabs effect things, if at all?  I have seen some older rods with NS ferrules sans slits, but would anyone even consider that anymore?  (Bob Brockett)

                    Most of the tabs on classic rods are under 3/8" long but few are shorter than 1/4".

                    As for no tab ferrules, I think Stephen Kiley just announced a new "old style" ferrule that he's going to start making for his rods, no tabs. From what I've seen on classic rods, I don't think he'll have any problems with them. (Bob Nunley)

                  I've done repairs where the cane has broken off in the ferrule.  most of the breaks I've seen were down inside the ferrule below the ends of the ferrule tabs.  (Mark Wendt)

                    My seventh rod failed exactly this way. About 1/4" inch inside the ferrule from the end of the tabs. I don't know what caused this, I use Dave's ferrule station cutters and make a smooth gradual transition on the blank from this point to the tabs. It was a 8013 5 weight, and it broke while casting. I do not crown the tabs, but I do thin them for a smoother transition to the cane.  (Tom Vagell)

                      Could have been a weak spot in the cane.  Did you flame it?  I did that with one rod and overcooked the cane, made it a wee bit too brittle and had a snapped tip right about the same area where you mentioned.  (Mark Wendt)

                        No, it was only heat treated, not flamed. I forgot to mention it broke under the female ferrule. I still have the ferrule sitting on my bench. I've thought about cutting it down the middle length wise to see what I can learn, but I doubt it would show anything above the break.  (Tom Vagell)

                          Interesting.  Mine broke on the male ferrule.  Most of the other breaks I've repaired were on the female ferrule though.  (Mark Wendt)

                        I had the same thing happen with a Dickerson 8014 that I made.  I know I overcooked it but finished it anyway.  Now I have a repair to do.  (Greg Reeves)

                You've got shear, you've got tension and you've got compression. Remember, there's a matrix involved here with cane, nickel silver and the adhesives.  Your biggest stress riser, whether the ferrule is tabbed or crowned, is where the slits/crowns stop, and where the solid round of the ferrule begins.  (Mark Wendt)

    I have been noticing lately that some makers are not crowning their tabs (something I think should be done).  How many are doing it vs not.  (Doug Hall)

      Never crowned a tab.  Never seen a Dickerson, Payne, Garrison, Leonard, Heddon or just about any older classic rod with crowned tabs.  Other than the novelty of seeing pointy ferrule tabs, never quite saw the utility in doing that.  (Mark Wendt)

        I'm with Mark on this. I thin the tabs down but don't crown them. To repeat, I've worked on a lot of classics and collectables and never see those crowned. (Bob Nunley)

        Not looking to start world war III over to crown or not to crown but.... Wouldn't crowning ferrule tabs remove a stress point on the rod?   If the rod is allowed to flex more in that location seems to me there would be less of an acute bend point.  I am probably not explaining myself too well, am I?

        Personal note: I have crowned the ferrules on every rod I have built... so far.  I do smell a build with uncrowned ferrules coming up.  I just happen to like the look of crowned ferrules.  (Pete Emmel)

          I think it's a cosmetic thing is all.  All you've done by crowning is maybe moved the stress point a fraction of an inch closer to the thicker metal.  Same amount of bamboo meat under the ferrule.  (Mark Wendt)

            I dropped a ferrule on the floor (concrete) on one of my first rods. Dinged up the tabs a bit, so for me me I crowned out of necessity. I liked the looks, and have been doing so ever since. I see no other reason to crown the tabs.  (Bill Bixler)

      Crowned the ferrules on the first hundred rods or so, then asked myself "Why?" and stopped doing it except on special request.  Better or worse? Neither.  Just saves the hassle of crowning them and of getting the tines all even and nicely tapered, and it was a hassle sometimes.

      And to answer the other question, tabs on the flats, slits on the angles. Usually.  (Peter McKean)

        For me it never was much of a hassle.  Takes maybe 15 -20 minutes.  In fact I have had every student crown their ferrules and that's over 35 classes of 6 students per.  I also like it for the better look.  Just me I guess. (Doug Hall)

      I crown tabs ala Wayne Cattanach's recommendation

      I like the look of the crowned tabs. I also think the argument that crowning and thinning the tabs eases the stress transition at the junction between bamboo and ferrule convincing - even if it is insignificant in degree.

      I don't crown tabs on quad ferrules and must say I find getting a smooth wrap over an uncrowned tab more tricky than over a crowned one. I find the thread on the uncrowned tabs slip off the edge of the tab more easily.  (Steve Dugmore)

      I crown and feather mine, glue on on the flats. I think it relieves the stress and I like the looks when finished. I use translucent wraps on the ferrule tabs.  (Tony Spezio)

    I split and crown all my ferrules, believing that it will spread out the stress at the juncture. How much difference does it make, who knows...I don't. After investing quite a bit of time on each rod made, another 20 or so minutes ain't gonna make a hell of a lot of difference in my day's schedule. Besides it looks nice and shows a little more effort on my part, which is what the customer wants to see anyway....  (Ren Monllor)

    FYI. For those who want to Crown Ferrule Tabs the Dremel Part# for the diamond bit is 7120.  (Don Schneider)

    As an engineer and a rodmaker I absolutely agree that the we have a stress point where the cane meets the nickel silver. What I don't agree with is that it is a significant stress point and that crowning tabs is something that's needed to reduce those stresses. Crowning, Apexing, etc, is purely cosmetic. If a rod fails at a ferrule, it wasn't excess stress that caused it, it was bad taper design (winging it on the taper). Slitting tabs is, IMHO, much the same... cosmetic.

    I have a circa 1930's Leonard, two early Heddons, and a 1920's divine the shop and the UNCROWNED ferrules are still there, and most of these rods only have 4 slits on the tab section... just enough to allow the NS to be pulled down flush to the bamboo. None of these rods had failures at the ferrules.

    If there were any doubt left in my mind, I'd get out the 1888 Basset Rod, NO crowning... can't because there are NO slits for tabs. Also, this obviously well fished rod is full length.

    So, in all the classics I've restored and repaired and all that I've owned, I didn't see crowned tabs, and rarely, on rods older than the 60's, did I see 6 slits/tabs... usually 4. Also, Those rods rarely fail at the ferrules. When you find short rods, 90% or more of them are short on the TIPS, not at the ferrules. That tells me that there is no trend or evidence that would give me any reason to think it's necessary to crown tabs. Plus, I figure Jim Payne knew what he was doing, and he didn't crown them, so Bob Nunley, while I do try some strange things at times, is not going to crown except in special circumstances (clear wraps is my ONLY special circumstance).

    I'm not trying to stir up a storm, just stating MY opinion and what works for ME. (Bob Nunley)

      Garrison recommended binding tabs over the 'corners'. So, that's why I (attempt) to do that. Find it not so easy as laying them on the flats, but can envision the admittedly remote, possibility due to flexing, of stress developing at the bases of the tabs which might occasion a (longitudinal) fracture in the ferrule. The ferrules designed for glass rods, used by Wright & McGill, purportedly obviated the need for tabs at all, due to the thinness and taper of the winding portion. Nonetheless, in using those ferrules on my bamboo rods, I do fashion tabs, and even crown them ~ with no failures (yet). One other thought. I have seen some older rods with 3 tabs, and really believe that such merits some consideration. In fact, have actually made several that way, and find no reason not to like.  (Vince Brannick)

        Garrison may have recommended binding the tab over the apex but he surly didn't practice it. Forget about what you read and look at the pics posted in the book on how to mount ferrules. He turned his blank down on the lathe (LeClair had not yet invented ferrule station cutters LOL) and the blank under the ferrule was round with the apexes lined up with the apexes not over them.

        Are slits necessary then? A.J. Thramer (over 2,000 rods built) says no and he doesn't slit his tabs. They are thinned and annealed, nothing else. I'm sure if he was experiencing failures because of his method he would change it. That's more than enough empirical evidence for me.

        Crowning is a nice cosmetic touch but I only do it on rods that I want to gussy up cosmetically.  (Will Price)

          Having been 'upbraided' for the commentary regarding Garrison's purported preference for folding the tabs "over the corners of the hexagon" (quote, text p.117), I'm obliged to agree that the illustration on p.119, does indeed show the tab ends in line with the corners, and not over the corners. However, the discussion has been relative to where the slits are placed, and the illustration does clearly show show them to be on/in line with the flats, NOT  the corners. My understanding of Garrison's rationale was the advantage in having the glue lines under the tabs. With respect to 'crowning', my reasoning for that is to remove the sharp corner edges of the tabs, which may dig into the bamboo.  (Vince Brannick)

            So, yer replacing the "sharp" corner edges of the tabs with the "sharp" pointy ends of the crowns?  (Mark Wendt)

              Yeah, sharp, but very thin!  I get them pretty rounded with the diamond bit then I put them on a ferrule dressing mandrel (that's cane-ese for a piece of 3" drill rod) and sand them down very thin, paper thin, to transition to the cane without a bump. Do the same thing on the uncrowned tabs.  (Bob Nunley)

                Sheesh.  You're one-upping me.  You're using actual drill rod.  I just mount the drill bit I drilled it out with up in the chuck and slide the ferrule on that... (Mark Wendt)

              Perhaps I should have mentioned my 'crowning' as slightly radiused on the end, providing one rounded end rather than two sharp corners on each tab.  With respect to the rabbit theory, Mr. Garrison may have been thinking of the flexure stress at that location (being an engine ear, rather than a sorcerer).  (Vince Brannick)

                Ah, okay, so you've got a sharp rounded edge then... (Mark Wendt)

            You are absolutely correct that Garrison showed and advocated centering the serration tab over the glue line, i.e., half the tab on one flat, half on the neighboring flat.  (I always wondered if he thought he was "reinforcing" the glue line, but who knows?)  (Steve Yasgur)

              I always thought that was rather silly, since the ferrule tab is usually between .250 and .375' long, while the rest of the ferrule that the cane sits in is usually well over 1.000" long.  What portion of the ferrule would exert the most influence on a glue line, hmmm?  For an engineer, Garrison depended on quite a few rabbit feet for his rods...  (Mark Wendt)

      No disagreement, but I always felt the reason for the crowning and thinning of the ferrule was to make it more flexible and gradually lead up to the most rigid point on the rod, where the rod has two pieces of metal , the male and female ferrule.  (Dave Burley)

        Except, you have full thickness of the metal quite a bit before you have any overlap of the male and the female ferrule.  Look at a male ferrule, either step down or Super Z.  Full metal thickness happens well before the slide starts.  On a female ferrule - step down - full thickness happens below the water seal for almost the entire length of the cane, minus the ferrule tabs - on a Super Z it's even thicker yet where the waist begins expanding below the depth of the female slide where the water seal is.

        Ferrules and cane don't usually break in the area of the slide (unless the slide areas have piss-poor design, a fault in the material or it's been beaten in a car door or something).  The cane breaks where it typically sees the greatest stress, not out at the tips of the crown or where the ferrule tabs end.  (Mark Wendt)

          No argument, just commenting on what I thought the reasoning was behind this. Trying to give someone a break. (Dave Burley)

            I have no doubt that your reasoning is sound, that crowning or cutting to an apex along with thinning the tabs does, indeed, spread the stresses out over a longer distance.  Does it need to be?  I don't know, and after I'm dead there may be some rodmaker out there scarfing joints on my rod and  cursing me for not crowning my tabs.  In truth, although I think crowning might distribute effective stresses (and strains on the surface fibers of the rod), I don't think it's enough of a difference to justify crowning. 

            I SEE NOTHING WRONG WITH CROWNING!  There is absolutely, in my opinion, nothing wrong with doing it, and as I said, on clear wraps, I do crown as a matter of cosmetics, but I just don't think that there is enough effect on the amount of stress at the tabs to make it necessary thing to do.

            Now, this is the kind of discussion this list is supposed to be about!  I'm late getting back to the shop because of this, but I do like this exchange!  I've got over 100 more strips to press nodes on, so I'll be back tonight and check this further, but am interested in what everyone's take is on this.  (Bob Nunley)

              Perhaps I am the guilty party for the crowning . . I advocate it to transcend from rigid to flexure in the ferrule to bamboo  to help prevent casting fractures in the wraps of the ferrule . . here again our individual  backgrounds  lead  us  to  different places . . I saw a lot of casting fractures in the used rods I had access to some 30ish years ago when I was gleaning knowledge . . a lot of South Bends and a few Youngs and several Neumanns  . . and because I am a simplistic person it made sense . . just as shortening the feet of guides helps in reducing fractures and failures there as well . . AND for me . . It makes keeping my wraps tight vs falling off the edge of the ferrule . . I would hope this falls in the category of . . “Things to debate with beer in hand when it is raining too hard to fish."  (Wayne Cattanach)

              I mentioned earlier that I crown my tabs only because I like the look, it is discussions like this that will make me change my mind. Despite the cool looks(IMHO) of crowned tabs, there are several reasons not to crown that go beyond engineering terms. Most of all to crown tabs is a flat pain in the ass. Getting the sand paper in the slits to start the crowning process, thinning down the tabs, binding the tabs down after glue up, getting the glue out from between the tabs after removing the binding cord, one tab will sometimes pop loose, are all reasons why I think I will stop doing this.

              I do remember in an early issue of Power Fiberswhere there was a tutorial on an alternate method to dressing the tabs. In this you show how to use a triangular file to dress the tabs into points and I was wondering if you still use this method? Do you find it easier than crowning? Thought I might try this  one day, but if I will face the same issues as I do when crowning ... why bother?  (Bill Bixler)

                Actually instead of the triangle file, I use a diamond bit for a Dremel when I point the tabs or crown them, these days. Harry Boyd turned me onto that and actually brought the first bit to me. Can do a ferrule in about 4 or 5 minutes once you get used to running that Dremel tool!  (Bob Nunley)

                  I have been using a 220 grit sanding disk with a Dremel type tool to crown my ferrules. It's thin -- get's into the slits easily. It's abrasive only one side, so it doesn't cut on the adjacent tab as you work on one. In particular I use a mini-tool I got from Harbor Freight which they sell for $10. (no personal financial interest) It's palm size and makes the whole process very controllable and precise and quick.  (Mike McGuire)

                  You can simplify the process of crowning ferrule tabs by first cutting out   the   excess   with   a  small jewelry-type shear like this one.  People who are really good with the shear don't have to do much more than touchup afterwards.  I am not in that group, which may be why I am concentrating on spigot ferrules!  (Tim Anderson)

    As to the question of failures due to crowing vs slitting. The only rods I have seen a number of failures at the junction of the females are Uslan 5 strippers. They were not slit or crowned at all and quite a bit of wood was removed to mount ferrules. All the above factors combined in too much stress at the junction of the ferrule and bamboo and tended to cause failures/cracking and breakage.

    Bob Nunley pointed to some important facts ------ most "classic" ferrules had only 3 or 4 slits and a few had none at all, but they for the large part are 6 sided and don't impart the higher stresses of a 5 sided rod. Also on the "classics" you will see the tabs feathered to almost razor thin, in most cases, they they are formed around the joint and hand filed giving a nice smooth blending on to the cane. Also they were double wrapped with 2 layers of silk over the tabs.

    Some methods just stand the test of time.  (James (JED) Dempsey)


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