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I'm looking at buying some drill bits for making ferrules and was wondering which was better, bits with 118 degree split points or bits with 135 degree split points?  I'm thinking the 135 degree since it will give me a slightly flatter hole in the ferrule.  (Bob Williams)

    For drilling solid bar use the 135 degree parabolic bits.  They take an aggressive feed but the swarf will come out in in one piece.  The enemy of ferrule making is heat and the swarf created by a jobber drill will enlarge the hole.  I use a parabolic for thru drilling then use auto screw machine length drills (use inch, letter, metric to leave .005" for the reamer).  After recently spending a day with Tom Morgan and Glenn Brackett at Winston I have also picked up a set of reamers that are .005 undersized and have started honing the female with a blind lap as is their practice.  Exceptional finish and they really pop.  (Jerry Young)


I'm Just getting into ferrule making and have not yet graduated from brass to NS. And I'm wondering if you guys with a bunch of experience making these things would pass on some advise on drill and reamer sizes you use.  ie: do you use under sized 'letter and number' size drills and reamers in 64th's sizes, or what?? Appreciate any help before buying sets.  (Don Greife)

    In the sixth edition of Power Fibers Thomas Ausfeld has a nice article on making ferrules. In his article there is a chart on dimensions he uses, reamer sizes are listed in decimal inches. To convert to 64th’s multiply by 64 -  ie. 0.203 x 64 = 12.99 or 13/64. Drill 1 or 2  64th’s under, then ream to exact size. Or use the decimal listing and buy reamers and drills accordingly. McMaster-Carr lists them both ways.

    Of course I've only made 1 ferrule so far, so take this advice as you will.  (Darryl Hayashida)


I'm thinking through the ferrule making steps for a #12 female ferrule.  The diameter for the female ferrule is 0.223 when using the Super Z specs.  0.223 is 14.27 64th’s, do you ream the hole using a 14/64 reamer or a 15/64 reamer?

Is the pilot hole drilled so that it is 2/64 smaller, and then ream to final diameter by 1/64s?  (Kyle Druey)

    I'm still a neophyte at this, but this is what I would do.  Drill the holes the bamboo is going into at 12/64ths if that's the size you want. The hole on other side on the female (where the male slides into) will be 2/64ths larger, or 14/64ths, so drill it first at 12/64 or 13/64ths and ream out to 14/64ths. You can  use a reamer 2/64ths larger than the drilled hole with no ill effects. Make sure you leave enough wall thickness for a 14/64ths hole of course. If you want, you can ream out to 15/64ths, leaving enough wall thickness again. That's the beauty of making your own. If for some reason you want to deviate from what's published, you can. The hole on the female that the male fits into can be any size you want - because you make the male that fits into it.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    It seems there is 'some latitude' in the dimensions for a super Z. I've run into the same question you pose and have decided that I will do it my way.

    Consider this for a size 12:

    D1= bamboo outside dimension
    Female pilot drill size =13/64"
    Female OAL = 1.765"
    D2 Outside Male/Inside Female SLIDE
              (reamer size) =7/32 (.218")
    D3 Outside female diameter =.263"
    D4 Female welt height = .285"
    L5 Female welt width = .070"
    L2F Female slide depth = .750"
    Width of water stop = .015"
    Female depth over cane = 1.00".

    This is the way I make a size 12.  (Don Greife)


I've been tooling up to make my own ferrules and was wondering if anybody has any suggestions or pointers or warnings. I have no experience as a machinist, but I've been piddling around with my grizzly 7X10, so I'm familiar with the machine.

I've studied the outline by Dave LeClair published in an older issue of Power Fibers, but it is very basic and assumes you know what you are doing in the first place (which I don't).

SOOO. I have a couple of questions:

1. would anyone care to publish a detailed primer?

2. is a reamer necessary for each size, or will one reamer fit several sizes? Which reamers would you suggest?

3. I've bought a fair amount of NS tubing in sizes from 11-15. I'm pretty sure that the wall thickness isn't sufficient to machine a welt on the female. Anyone out there know how to apply a welt to NS tubing?  (Bill Hoy)

    Tom Ausfeld has a very detailed primer in the upcoming Power Fibers (January 15, 2001). It includes his detailed step by step process and good pictures. He is a very accomplished rodmaker and ferrule maker. I was very impressed with his items when he visited me this summer.  (Bob Maulucci)


Several questions for the ferrule making members on the list - if you don't mind commenting.

I've been looking at the cutting tools I'll need to make ferrules and I am confused there are so many different types. I saw the ones that are just square bars of steel, I am assuming you have to grind the ends into a cutting tool. Hard to do since I don't know what they are supposed to look like to begin with.

Can I use those cutting tools with the triangular inserts? Or are they for something else (thread cutting?). Maybe I should use the carbide tools?

Is a parting tool really necessary, or can I use the point of one of the other cutting tools?

How do you form the tapered part of the ferrule?

If I try to make ferrules out of rod stock, what do I need to drill out and bore out the female side? I can see that drilling out the part the bamboo goes into isn't that critical, but the part the male slides into must be fairly critical, and I don't think a drill is precise enough. I remember someone saying I need a reamer - is a boring bar a reamer?

Thanks in advance for your help!  (Darryl Hayashida)

    A couple of good places to start are the  Varmint Al Site  and  Varmint Al has some pictures of some HSS bits sharpened for various duties.  Both URLs have a bunch of useful links also.

    For the drilling, I went to J&L Industrial.  They sell individual imported drill bits.   Not bad bits and cheaper and more important, you can get them in screw machine length.  These are shorter than the normal length you see making them ideal for use with the mini lathe.  The also have import reamers.  You need to buy 2 each of each size of drill you want.  I broke mine up into several orders.  You also need a reamer for each size.  I bought a set of three, a reamer and two drill bits for each 64th that I expected to build a reamer for.  Now why two bits?  The first is to drill the hole.  The second you use a Dremel tool to cut the taper off the point of the second bit.  It needs to be flat on the end with just enough angle to cut the tapered bottom of the drilled hole into a flat bottomed hole.  After drilling and flat bottoming the hole you have drilled, ream 1 or 2 64th larger.  The final reamer would be the inside diameter of the female and the Outside Diameter of the male so you would start the drilling at 1 or 2 64th undersize.  I use 1 64th but you may choose more reaming.

    Now look at Varmint Al's web page and check out the dial indicator mounted on the tailstock.  I preferred to mount a piece of angle al stock to the indicator and connect to the tailstock with a small C clamp.  This setup allows you to drill within a few thousandths, exactly the depth you want.  No guesswork or boring complete through with one of the drills.

    You may decide on buying a set of collets later on.  You can use the three jaw chuck for holding the ferrule but it is a tedious thing.  To much pressure and you deform the ferrule, to little and the material spins ruining the finish.  ER works really well for this type of work but with using collets you need to make a adaptor for each size.  Since the ferrules has the reinforcing ring on the female, you make an adaptor that is a tube with an OD greater than the ring diameter and about 3/4" long.  It's inside diameter is the same as the outside diameter of the female ferrule plus a few thousandths.  Just drill or ream (ream is better) and cut a slot lengthwise the entire length of the tube.  A screwdriver can be used to widen the slot slightly (increase diameter of tube).  Now this adapter will fit over the ferrule and can be held by the collet (or the three jaw chuck) so the other end can be finished.  My steps are this way (starting with a length of rod cut to the desired length for the ferrule).

    1st. Drill the female end to the desired depth, 1 or 2 64th" undersize.

    2nd. use the second bit to square the hole bottom.

    3rd. ream to desired diameter. (for the initial drilling, I use my 3 jaw chuck).

    4th. Reverse the blank and drill to the diameter for bamboo.  Use the second bit to square the bottom.

    5th. Use the 3 jaw chuck to hold the blank by the female end.  Turn to desired diameter for outside of the female ferrule.

    6th. Reverse the blank. A collet or chuck can be used at this time (also, the adaptor can be used but is not absolutely necessary as the wall thickness for the bamboo end is still thick enough to resist deforming or slippage).  Turn the female end of the ferrule to desired dimensions.

    7th. Reverse the blank, use the adaptor and place the female end in the collet or chuck and turn the bamboo to desired shale and dimensions; IE necked down and/or tapering.

    8th. I use a wooden dowel to finish the outside of the female ferrule.  I chuck a handy length of slightly oversize dowel in the lathe, turn on the lathe and (with a pair of leather gloves on) slide the ferrule on the wooden dowel.  The ferrule can now be spun up, sanded and polished.

    9th. To cut the serration’s, I use a slightly different method than most.  I also bought a couple of the small, thin jewelers or slotting blades.  I believe the ones I bought have a 1/4" mounting hole.  I turned an arbor out of brass that would allow the blade to be used on a Dremel tool.  Finished it looks like the cutoff tool and disk.  Now I chuck or use the collet to hold the female end of the ferrule.  The Dremel holding the slotting saw is mounted to the toolpost.  The milling attachment on Varmint Al's web page or other attachment (I have a block of aluminum with a 1/2" hole with a set screw that holds a Dremel flexible shaft.)  The lathe head is set at the desired point for a slot and the Dremel turned on and the compound slide is used to cut the slot.  Make sure to unplug the lathe before you start.  I have a bad habit of reaching for the lathe switch rather than the Dremel.

    10th.  Turn the chuck (collet) the desired number of degrees and cut the second slit.  You can cut 6 slots or if you measure and set up correctly, you can do it in 3.

    I think I am out of juice.  (Onis Cogburn)

      If you account for the tip of the drill and add that to the female depth (0.070-0.080"), you'll have a small space for an air pocket when the ferrule is put together.

      I Drill 1/64th under reamer size.  You can use tooling inserts and such but they aren't cheap.  HSS tools are very cheap and when you get the hang of it, there is nothing to grinding up a tool.  I made my own parting tool with HSS stock.  For the taper, I ground a tool from HSS to match the taper angle I want.  (Tom Ausfeld)

    I really liked the diamond bit tool holder and insert from Valentine. It left the best finish and you will probably never get through all 4 cutting edges on the insert. I have been using some nice Rousche cutters that Jerry Young sent me when a dirtbag utility guys ripped my Valentine off (thanks again Jerry). I think these new ones are ceramic. If you are going to

    sharpen your own, I think HSS is the best cutting edge. It's better than the carbide ones I have tried.

    I think a parting tool is a necessity, but you could probably make one from a tool blank. Either way. I think the proper height of the tool edge to the part is the critical part.

    For reamers, I have the straight fluted chuckable type. I ream two sizes up from what I drill. I do not make many ferrules anymore since I have a good source, but all the ones I have made came out nice using these tools. I use a Sherline compound slide to cut at an angle, but before I had it, sandpaper or a Swiss file held at an angle seemed to work well too. I recommend Tom Ausfeld's article for ferrule making from the January Power Fibers. (Bob Maulucci)

    Can I use those cutting tools with the triangular  inserts? Or are they for something else (thread  cutting?). Maybe I should use the carbide tools?

    I used to grind all my own cutters, but I use the indexable carbide inserts now and find it is easier and works just as good. There are a lot of different inserts out there, depending on what you are going to use it for. You want an insert with a slight radius on the point. You don't want a pointed insert, as these are used for cutting threads. I get mine from MSC. If you are interested, I can get the part numbers for you, along with the part number for the holder.

    Is a parting tool really necessary, or can I use the point of one of the other cutting tools?

    I use a small groove cutter for my cutting off of the ferrules. It is a small insert that mounts to a holder, also from MSC. They come in different thickness and length. They work better for me than making a cut off tool.

    If I try to make ferrules out of rod stock, what do I need to drill out and bore out the female side? I can see that drilling out the part the bamboo goes into isn't that critical, but the part the male slides into must be fairly critical, and I don't think a drill is precise enough. I remember someone saying I need a reamer - is a boring bar a reamer?

    A boring bar is not a reamer. You would use a boring bar when boring out bar stock for a reel seat. What you will need, is a lot of reamers. You will have to drill out the stock to remove most of the metal, then you will have to ream the female to size. You can only ream a couple of thousandths at a time. so you will need a few reamers for each size ferrule you want to make. You will need the appropriate size reamer for the size of the female you are making, along with two or three reamers in .002 to .003 in. smaller in steps, to work your way up to the finished size. That's one reason I like using the tubing to make my ferrules.  Although I do have a lot of the necessary reamers here in my shop. It is a lot easier making them with tubing. There is no reaming involved.  (Dave LeClair)


I'm in the process of giving ferrule making a shot. I have a 7x12 Homier lathe.

My questions are:

What do I need to cut the slits/serrations? I assume I need an arbor and a saw, size and number of teeth, I have no idea. Also need something to hold/index the ferrule. Is this a good opportunity to get a mill?  (Don Schneider)

    In my shop, I use a jewelers saw and arbor to gut my serrations. You can get them from MSC tool CO.

    Arbor #  08271322   cost around  $30.00
    Saw Blade #  73289100   cost around $5.00

    You should get more than one blade, as they break easily.  (Dave LeClair)

    I bought a saw arbor from Grizzly that is a kinda "fits all" size blades. It is not round and has eaten up several nearly finished ferrules. If you have a lathe you might consider making your own from 1/2" brass or aluminum. Decide on a saw blade you intend to use for ferrules and make the arbor to fit that blade. I plan to make one for myself.    (Don Greife)

    A simple way to index the slits is to use the 3-jaw chuck to mark where to cut the slits.  (Kyle Druey)

      Thanks for the tips. I almost picked up the Grizzly arbor when I was up there to their place in Bellingham the other day, what a candy store! Maybe I'll get one anyway and turn it down to fit my needs.

      I also like the idea of mounting a Dremel tool to the tool post. (another fixture to make). Seems like I spend more time building tools, jigs and exploring ideas than rods, but then again, that's the fun of all this. I also have more of an appreciation of the Old Masters. What tools did they have to work with - a "Swiss Army Knife"?   (Don Schneider)

        Don't sell them short. An old master is just that... a master of the craft. Many of them were master machinists, inventors, and excellent fly fishers. They invented and built good equipment and turned out more rods in shorter time than I could ever hope to.  (Steve Weiss)

    One more thing... a simple way to make a jig to hold the ferrules while slitting is to drill out small lengths of aluminum square stock.  I also have the Homier 7x12, and I used 5/8" square aluminum, 2 inches long.  Secure it in to tool post, and drill out the ends by chucking a drill bit in to the 3 jaw chuck of the lathe, you may have to push the dead center  on the other end of the square stock while drilling.  Drill holes that are 0.75 deep, with diameters of 9/16, 13/16, 17/16, and 20/16.  You end up with holes on each end of the jigs, with four different diameters.  Build up the ferrules with masking tape so that it fits in one of the holes.  After cutting a slit, just rotate the ferrule until you are lined up with the next indexing mark.  This is probably not the best explanation, I can send you some JPGs if you want a picture of the jigs.  I tried Dave LeClair's wonderful ferrule slitting fixture/indexer, but the jig doesn’t fit in the tool post of the 7x12 when a ferrule is secured in it.  Tony Spezio also has an excellent and simple design that is explained in a back issue of Power Fibers.  Good luck and have fun, making ferrules at home is a blast!  (Kyle Druey)


I have just purchased a Homier metal lathe and have started to make ferrules with it.  I have no experience with a lathe so any help would be appreciated.

The question that I have is if anyone with a Homier lathe is using a collet chuck and collets to hold the bar stock while turning and facing.  I would also like to know where you bought them and the part numbers if possible for the chuck and collets.  (Tom Peters)

    After much research (much of it from the archives of this list) and the recent thread on lathes, I have decided that I will probably purchase the 7x12 model when the time comes. What I have not been able to find are the dimensions of the base (footpad) of this model. Space is a premium in my "shop" and at about 90 pounds, it would be somewhat permanent in its location. Just how big is this baby.  (Bill Bixler)

      Approximately 28" x 10"  (Don Schneider)

    Go to Little Machine Shop for all of your homier lathe needs.  I deal with them and they are honest and fast. Check out there links page. You will need to check the accuracy of your chuck and tailstock. Do this by checking out the articles by Jose Rodriquez. Make sure you go to A collet chuck can be purchased from little machine shop or micro mark.  It is the most accurate method for small stock but you do not have to have it to make ferrules. I suggest you look at Power Fibers 6 for Tom Ausfeld’s article on ferrule making. It will show you what you need to know. Except info on the jig for slitting. As for chucking up ferrule parts after they have been machined such as a male when you are facing it I use a plastic soda straw and slit it to fit the ferrule for protection.

    For reamers and cutters jewelers saw etc. I use KBC Tools. I have one locally and stop in. But any good tool company such as Airgas or Enco will have what you need.

    I get my NS rod from Sheffield Knife Supply. They have 752 NS rod in 5/16 for a few bucks a foot. That will allow you to make ferrules in 14 down.  (Adam Vigil)

      Along with what Adam has posted, another good web site is Varmint Al's.  He's a gunsmith and reloader, but has some excellent tips on the site.  (Mark Wendt)

    I have just purchased a Homier lathe as one of my personal Christmas presents and have started to make NS ferrules on it.  The problem now is that the automatic feed quit working.  Has anyone had this problem with the Homier and what have you done to fix the problem.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    PS:  Miracles do happen at Christmas.  I have just about completed my first NS ferrule set and it even pops when I pull the male out from the female.  (Tom Peters)

      Did it just lock up? I had this happen, It split the gear. On the tail stock end of the lead screw there is a nut that is used to take up any end play on the lead screw. In the end of the nut there is a allen socket set screw.  This screw locks the nut on the lead screw. If this set screw came loose or was not tightened it will tighten on the lead screw while the lead screw is in use cutting towards the head stock. Will loosen cutting away from the head stock. When adjusting nut jambs against the lead screw support it will lock up the lead screw keeping it from turning. As a result on mine, it split the plastic drive gear.

      No real big problem, just a nuisance. Remove the end cover, the gear will be in plain sight. It is the 80 tooth gear right out in the open.

      Now about this gear. My son was going to Springfield so I had him get one for me from Grizzly. same gear on their 7X12 and 7X10. It cost 22.00. I had a fit, called Harbor Freight and the same gear cost 3.15, I ordered four of them at a total cost including shipping for just over 13.00 Had them in a week.  I compared them to the Grizzly gear and they are identical right down to the tool marks. 

      Hope this helps, I think this is one of the better 7X12 lathes on the market. More features and smoother than the others.  (Tony Spezio)

      Had a problem with the gear drive train not long after I got my 7x12. On mine, the problem was the sleeve on the idler shaft was longer than the shaft. Result, not enough end clearance when the screw to hold the gears on the shaft was tightened. Froze up and took the center out of a 80 tooth gear. Made sure the replacement shat and sleeve had clearance, lube & check often.  (Don Schneider)


Is there any way I can make my own ferrules with spending $500 on a lathe.  Or better yet can I do it with an investment of about $100?  (Lee Orr)

    I don't know what the answer to your question may be, but I can promise you that your $500 lathe purchase will more than double by the time you have tooled-up adequately and stocked all the sizes of tubing you'll need.  (Bill Harms)

    If you want to make ferrules to save money, that really don't work. If you want to make them just because, then a lathe is the way to go. Ferrules can be made without a lathe after a fashion using tubing that is hard to find any more. I was making  all of my ferrules but find it is more practical to just buy what I use on a regular basis. I still make what I need and don't have on hand.

    Tony Larson makes great ferrules at a reasonable price. It is less than my time and material.

    Just passing this on, not at all trying to talk you out of making ferrules though it may sound that way.

    You can get a good metal lathe for just over 300.00.  (Tony Spezio)

      Ferrule making for us with little or no talent presents the kind of challenge we need to keep us out in the shed and away from things going on in the kitchen. Even the "cheap" lathes are costly and require a significant amount of maintenance and realignment. If you've never run a metal lathe before, by all means buy one and learn to use it through the school of hard knocks. Honestly, it is a lot of fun and I've found, adds a lot to the joy of rod making. Now, this may well sound like I've been there, done that, and really know what I'm talking about and am some what of an authority on these subjects.  Well, the facts are that the longer I struggle with these things, the greater is my understanding of how little I know about them. It's fun and by all means try it. Today I made a set of ferrules from rod stock, that have a beautiful snap when pulled apart. Now that is a rarity for me.  (Don Greife)

    In Milward's book he outlines a method to make ferrules from brass tubing.  Seems inexpensive and simple to do.  (Kyle Druey)

    Basically there are two different ways to make a ferrule. Soldered together tubing and machined from solid rod stock. You don't necessarily need a lathe to make a soldered tubing ferrule, but some of the steps will be easier if you do have one. Of course you do need a lathe to machine a ferrule from rod stock. As someone said previously you don't  really save money making your own ferrules, especially if you will make only a few 2 piece rods a year. Making your own does give  you more options in sizes - for multi-piece rods the tip section ferrule can get down to sizes not readily available, and you can make a ferrule in different metals - I make mine out of aluminum and sometimes 642 aluminum bronze.

    My recommendation - Buy your ferrules unless you are going to be using ferrules in volume, or want them in odd sizes or different metals. Or not if you want to make them for your own satisfaction of making them yourself.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    I would have to agree with Bill and Tony. If you want to make a decent metal ferrule, it's going to cost you. However, If you are making rods for yourself, you might want to consider an alternate scheme. There should be a lot of stuff in the archives on making bamboo or composite ferrules. Two schemes that I can recommend are Ted Barnhart's graphite/bamboo ferrules, and the taped splice method. Both work nicely, and are functionally excellent in terms of casting performance. Either method can be pursued with minimal cost.  (Tom Smithwick)

      I have two articles in Power Fibers that include bamboo ferrules. One on the Twisted Miss and the other on the PMQ.

      They work just fine, and are different.  (Tony Spezio)

    I do think it is possible to make 'cheap' ferrules. You need NS tubing and you have to turn down the tubing so it fits snugly into the tubing one size bigger. You can fairly easily do that with a drill (I do!!). You can even make a welt, though I don't bother and haven't had any problems since. Welding can be a bit more difficult, but I have glued a couple  of ferrules in stead of welding, and it works...

    Look for the tubing...  (Geert Poorteman)

    If you are making a few rods then the better buy to save money is Rush River’s ferrules or golden witches field grade ferrules. Both run about $30 a set. So for $100 that is 3 sets of ferrules which means 3 rods. That should keep you busy for awhile. But, if you want to have the ability to make reel seats as well as ferrules a lathe is the best investment. The lathe itself is a hobby and is great when you no longer feel like pushing a plane. The best part is if you need something you just make it.

    There is something special about the "sole authorship" of a cane rod.  (Adam Vigil)


Can anyone give me some hints on adding witness marks to ferrules?

Both retrofitting to existing rods, and adding to new rods if possible.  (Nick Kingston)

    I'm not trying to be sarcastic when I ask -- what's the point of witness marks?  Each flat and each corner of a bamboo rod serves as a witness mark, albeit removed by an inch or two.

    Were I to attempt to place a witness mark on the ferrules, I think I would use a tiny hammer and small punch to place a dimple on the welt of the female and the barrel of the male.  (Harry Boyd)

      I agree with Harry.  Due to the nature of ferrules on bamboo rods witness marks aren't very effective. They can be decorative (If a bit graphity) however.

      In addition to a small punch mark (So small that it is functionally useless) on the welt, you can scribe a line on the male using a lathe and a threading bit. Blue the ferrule, then polish of the bluing leaving it in the groove, then clear coat. Looks tacky to me but some like it.

      You can file a small SHALLOW groove in the welt using a safe file used for cutting screw heads on guns. Blue and polish as above.

      If you make your own ferrules you can solder a matching welt, or larger diameter tube on the male. Mark as above. This does make for effective witness marks, but is gonna get you in trouble with traditionalist.

      If you wrap your thread up the barrel of the female to the welt (Like Winston does) you can use all of the methods that the graphite guys do, A spot of paint, feather inlays, weaves etc. Some people like it.

      I have seen all of the above done.  (Dave Kenney)

    I've never done it, but have you considered a center punch used for marking metal for drilling.  You know, it's a device with a pointed tip. You put the tip where you want it, push the handle and at some point it "pops" and will hammer in a little dent.  Any good machinist or metal worker will have one to try out.  It wouldn't surprise me if you can buy ones with different punch strengths, maybe even adjustable punch strengths.  (Rick Crenshaw)

      Just info on the punches. They are called automatic punches, All three I have are adjustable.  (Tony Spezio)

        Just a comment as to why use witness marks. There are some rod makers who select a certain set of flats upon which to mount the guides, it's called "synchronizing the rod." This is the process by which the "spine" of each rod section is determined and thus dictates where the guides should be placed. See pages 7 & 8 of  "Tips and Tapers" for how to do it. In that way if and when a rod is refinished the guides can be placed back on the proper flats.  (Ray Gould)

          I'm just a novice at this but it seems like that's making things way too hard.

          If its the "spine" you're concerned with you should be able to find that easily enough anyway.

          If you're going to refinish a rod and not remove the ferrules you probably won't remove the grip or reel seat, so why not mark one of those instead?

          As a mater of fact,  if your reel seat insert is mortised you have the orientation for which flats the guides go on immediately.

          That way you never run the risk of deforming or weakening the ferrules.  (Joe Behar)

    Regardless of what is used, automatic center punch or small hammer and punch, you need to make sure that when marking the welt you don't deform the female ferrule.  I think you'll want to have the ferrule assembled before marking.  Even then, if you are a little too enthusiastic, you might find that the female will go out of round.  (Tim Wilhelm)

    The best  way to give your ferrules witness marks, is to get an automatic center punch. Make sure the tip is sharp. Place the point of he punch were you want the mark and push down on the punch. The punch will automatically strike the ferrule.  They are usually adjustable for the amount of force you want it to punch.  (Dave LeClair)


Would anyone happen to have a suggestion for a ferrule slitting blade to use in a mini lathe. I used a Dremel cut off wheel on my first one and thought it was a bit thick at .024 thousands. Any help would be appreciated. I also would be interested in the site for the Dremel ferrule grinding wheel that Tony was asking about.  (Floyd Burkett)

    Here's the one I use - it's 1" diameter, and is .100" thick.  It does require a mandrel, which is mounted in the headstock chuck on a lathe.  You can see the blade here at MSC.  (Mark Wendt)

    I use around a 1 1/4 diameter jewelers saw blade, with a thickness of .008 to serrate my ferrules. I use this in my lathe. The part # for the saw blade is 73289084, this is the 1/4 in diameter hole in the center.  The part # for the  arbor is 08271314.  These are from MSC.

    Don't scrimp on the arbor, if you use a cheap one, the blade will wobble and give you a very bad looking ferrule. You want to you a good arbor like this one.

    I also use #73289100 saw blade with a 3/8 center hole and #08271322 arbor for that saw blade.  If you do a lot of large ferrules, you may want to go with the 3/8 set up.  (Dave LeClair)


OK, here is what I have down to make ferrules:

- Chucking reamers (I'm going with 10-13/64th to start)
- center drill
- A travel indicator with base
- drill bit stops (looks like I can make these?)
- A cutter for the tabs

Sound right?  (Lee Orr)

    I use the super Z ferrule size chart for dimensions needed for each size ferrule.

    Starting with the male I use a centering bit so I know my drill bit will start exactly on center.  Then I drill this out ... without using a reamer.  In fact the only time I use a reamer is for the female.

    After drilling the hole I chuck, from the tailstock, a bamboo dowel cut from my ferrule cutter that will fit exactly into my X/64" drilled hole.  This helps stabilize your metal while you turn it down to size.

    Now I am ready to turn to size using my round nose cutter and automatic feed.  I try to get this within .003 and make sure you measure ferrule ends and the middle so the male is true.

    Cut male from bar stock.

    For the female start out the same way as male.  After realizing final outside dimension cut off from bar stock.  Put tape on ferrule and put it in the 3 jaw chuck turning it so you can drill out non bamboo side.  Drill it out and use reamer.

    With my dowel inserted for reinforced strength, I place male ferrule back into head stock, no tape.  I turn for final filing using the finest file I own constantly checking final dimension with caliper and then using female ferrule for final fit.  As you know thickness of smoke determines a good Vs. bad fit if I might paraphrase Wayne C.

    I made a fixture out of hex brass that is drilled out to accept ferrule and it has a recessed screw holding ferrule in place.  I use tape to protecting ferrule finish, I insert fixture into tool post.  I have a quick release tool post which works great.  Now I can feed my ferrule into slitting saw and after cutting once I then rotate the hex brass for the next cut.  It works perfectly for all three cuts.  (Doug Alexander)

      Do you use any cutting fluid during the process?  (Steve Weiss)

        I did but not anymore.  The only time I felt it was necessary was reaming the female ferrule.  Now I just take my time and feel the cut and operate the lathe at a fairly quick speed, (I'm guessing at 850 RPM).  When drilling I will drill about half way and back the bit out, remove shavings and then proceed.

        I use Duronze and do not know if other metals require cutting fluid.  (Doug Alexander)


I'm looking to make the ferrules for my first rod blank and I'm kind of lost here.

I went to the tips site and read and reread Brad Love's page on ferrule making.   I'm making a #13 ferrule for my first rod and then, if it works out, I'm going to make an 11 and a 17 for the rod blank I'm presently working on.

First thing: Drill bits. do I have to grind the square tip on the drill bits?  If so, what do I do, just grind it square?

Secondly: For the reamers. Do I have to have reamers made for me or are these puppy's readily available? I looked at the MSC catalog and couldn't find the reamers with the exact dimensions for the Super Z measurements I have (gotten from Brads page). 

I've got everything but the reamers and the square tipped drill bits.  Can I get some feedback on this???  (Ren Monllor)

    I have been fairly successful using just a drill bit, but what made an amazing difference is using an expandable blind hole lap. Blind hole laps are cheap ($5 - $7 each) and they sell replacement barrels for a couple dollars. I used the yellow lapping   compound   for   soft   metals.   Got  everything  at  (Darryl Hayashida)

      Reamers come in fractional, wire gage and letter sizes. A reamer isn't really necessary for the cane end on the ferrules, but for the female slide I would use a reamer. Drill with a .005-.010 undersized drill then come back with the reamer. Use a center drill to spot the hole, and as others have suggested use stub length (aka screw machine) drills.

      To find the reamers  you  want,  go  to or and search for reamers. From there you'll want to select "chucking reamers" and then you'll have a drop down list with the sizes. It should give you the size (#, 64th, Letter) and the decimal equivalent. Choose the reamer the closest in size to the middle of the tolerance zone.

      As for getting a flat bottom on the holes, you can certainly grind the end of the drill bit flat. I do it all the time and use them in materials like titanium. Grind the end square to the drill then grind away some of the web of the drill bit so the cutting edges reach the center.  (Mark Wendt)

    I have started to make my own ferrules, so I will try to give you my humble experiences.

    Try to look for reamers in fractions. You will need 13/64 for where the bamboo enters the ferrule and 15/64 for the female hole.  I just square the hole with the reamer. Buy short drill bits. Short as possible. They are straighter and don't bend as easily as the long ones. I have also cut down the shank on my reamers. I'm gonna try use a drill bit instead of  a reamer in the future since I have very high quality drill bits. I couldn't measure any run out or difference in the diameter from the stated dimension. If it was any, it was less than 0.01 mm. Would like to hear it if anybody have made ferrules with drill bits instead of reamers.  (Tom Simarud)

      I think you will quite dislike your ferrules made with only drill bits.  Drill bits, no matter how short, nor how well the ends are ground, will never drill a perfectly circular hole.  They will always wander a bit.  The use of the reamer serves a dual purpose - first to ream out the hole to the correct size, and second, to make the hole about as round as you can get it.  You could lap your male ferrule perfectly, but if your female ferrule is out of round, you'll never get the fit you'd get with a reamed hole.  (Mark Wendt)

        How about the blind hole laps Darryl recommended? They look like they'd do a good job and a cheaper as well.  (Wayne Kifer)

          Not sure.  Haven't tried those tools before.  I was looking them up on the J&L Industrial web site, and the finest measurement shown was only down to the 32nd of an inch.  Darryl, do you have any that go to the 64th of an inch?  (Mark Wendt)

            I finally purchased a drill rod from MSC (quality wise has a deep scratch half way down one side of the bar, no problem can use the other half) in order to adjust the tailstock. Chucked up the drill rod and it's about .0025 out. I then removed the chuck and went to the spindle plate; at the hole rim it's about .001 out and at the raised lip that the chuck sits around, it's about .0005 out.

            Would grinding the jaws get it any closer to zero? Is it worth doing in order to make ferrules, rod components and reels?

            I'd love to have it running as close to dead on as possible, but I do get real anal about precision. Am I being a putz or is my putziness justified?

            Thanks for any suggestions you may have.  (Ren Monllor)

          In order to really ensure you are checking your headstock, you should be chucking the drill rod  in a collet in the headstock itself, rather than mounting it in your chuck.  If you're using a 3 jaw chuck, you're going to have some built-in run out due to the nature of the chuck.  Grinding your chuck jaws will work only at the dimension you've opened your chuck jaws to when you do the grind.  You'll find that if you chuck up different sized pieces, you'll have differing amounts of run out.  For the most accuracy, you should use either a collet chuck system that mounts right into the morse taper of your head stock, or a 4 jaw chuck.  (Mark Wendt)

            The bottom hole laps are even number and can be adjusted +15%.  Through hole laps are adjustable and overlap each other. I've never tried to make a 13/64 lap out of a 14/64, might work. However Grizzly has reamers by 64th's that do a decent job.  (Don Schneider)

              I saw they were adjustable, wasn't sure how much though.  I think Darryl had mentioned using the blind hole laps in place of the reamers.  (Mark Wendt)

                The +15% adjustment is more than enough to get to the next bottom lap size 64th.  So, you only need the even number laps.  (Don Schneider)

            The ones I got are expandable by up to 15%. On the odd size that I can't expand up to, I get the next size larger and turn it down on the lathe. The expandable blind hole laps I get at McMaster-Carr have replaceable barrels.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    I'm kind of new to the ferrule making as well, so I wouldn't take this as gospel but here's what I've found by trial and error (mainly error).

    On the bamboo ends of the ferrules I just drill it out and leave the ends with a slight v bottom, REC have this on all their ferrules and they sell it as a plus point. On the actual, metal to metal join I us an end reamer so the female end has a flat bottom.

    As for reamer sizes Metric ones work out better on some sizes. For a number 13 ferrule D2 is between 0.233 and 0.242 just about 15/64. If you go metric 6mm comes out at 0.236 and a 6mm is a lot easier to find in England any how.  (Luke Bannister)

      This is an interesting point... if you are not selling your ferrules and are just making them for yourself, you can use whatever sizes suit your fancy. x/64 is just a standard, right?  (Carl DiNardo)


How do you square off a drill bit and sharpen it for ferrule making?  (Ren Monllor)

    You will have to dress your grinding wheel first to make sure it has a square edge. Then grind the point off the drill until it's flat on the end. Then grind the web down so the cutting edge can reach center. (Mark Shamburg)

    I use two types of drills for drilling our the ferrules.  First, I use a normal drill to drill to the depth (measured off the drill point).  Then I have one of those brad point drills that I picked up in Home Despot.  I grind the brad point off of it, then grind the bottom of the drill flat.  I then grind the cutting edges on the flutes, leaving a tiny gap in the middle, so that it effectively turns the drill into a non-center cutting two flute end mill.  I finish the drilling out with that drill.  (Mark Wendt)


I'm looking to buy a set of inexpensive reamers for making ferrules.

I saw this set at McMaster-Carr.

p/n  3008A1

You'se guys in the this  sufficient for  most ferrule making? Or should I be looking at something else?  (Mike Shay)

    IMHO the set would be more than sufficient but if you're only doing rodmaking with them you'd probably be better off to buy individual ones in the sizes you're likely to need.  The set has several that seem kind of small for ferrules.  (Neil Savage)

      OK...first  thank you all who bothered to look and reply. I appreciate it.

      So the info is only slightly conflicting. LOL (how unusual!)

      If a reamer is only designed to remove a few thousandths at a time, is .015-6" to big a jump for the reamer? This set at which I'm looking is in 64th's graduation. Too big a jump or will it be OK? I can take the time to buy individual pieces as needed but just trying to save some time and get a neat, nifty, little, metal index to keep them in.  (Mike Shay)

        I've never had any problem removing 1/64 with a reamer in NS, Aluminum, Mild steel or cast iron.  I predrill with a 64th under final size and then ream with final size.  (Larry Swearingen)

        I’m going to throw in my 2 cents worth….

        As Neil suggested, it’s what I do….

        I purchase  as I need, I also ream the cane end of the ferrule, and more times than not, it doesn’t fall on a */64th measurement. Does it mean a larger expenditure on my part? You bet. Does it leave me with a better fit? You bet. Do I have more control over the end product? You bet. It really is up to you in the end, as to what your end result will be. There’s a thousand and one ways to skin a cat.  (Ren Monllor)

        So the info is only slightly conflicting. LOL (how unusual!)

        Here's some more. I would also suggest you buy just what you need. Personally, I drill the bamboo holes to size, and just ream the female. I drill about .005-.010 undersize. So for each size ferrule, I use two drill sizes and one reamer. If your lathe is level, and the centers are lined up, reaming is a no brainer. Drilling an accurate hole is a bit tougher. My advise would be to take the money you were going to put into the reamer set, and get a Drill Doctor sharpening rig. That way, your drills will always be sharp, and the points will always be centered.  (Tom Smithwick)

          I second what Tom S. said.   Brand new non-Chinese drills are SMOOTH.  I've got a really cheap Chinese set I use for really rough holes.  Some of them aren't even straight! You can actually see how much wobble they have. Actually that's mostly in the smaller sizes, like 1/8" or thereabouts.  The larger sizes 1/4" and up and the letter sizes seem to be pretty straight but have bad, from the factory, sharpening.

          I knocked my 115 piece set, (fractional, letter and number size) set off the bench one time.  Almost every single drill came out of the hole it was in.  {:>(    Took me an hour to get every one back in the correct hole and even then I'm not sure I got it right.

          I bought a set of Cleveland drills in 1/16-3/8" size and later got a set of Triumph #1-60 number size set.  Both US and well made. I already bought a dozen #61 (0.039") for pinning with 40 thousandths NS wire so don't need the smaller number sizes.  #61-80.  (Larry Swearingen)

        I'm not sure but I think you could buy the individual reamers and a nifty metal box and still be ahead.  Of course if you're fortunate enough to have more money than time (unusual these days I think) the set would be quicker.  (Neil Savage)

        When I think of 64ths that is the bamboo end of things and I drill them without reaming.  I purchased the best set of drill bits, measured in 64ths that I could afford for that end.  I only ream the female ferrule and that is sized per Super Z ferrule chart.

        If you look on Ebay there are usually odd size new reamers offered.  In fact I just received a .254 solid carbide reamer, for a size 14 ferrule, my current project, for $13.50.  (Doug Alexander)


I am looking at making my own ferrules, but I would like not have to spring for too many different reamer sizes. Reading in the tips, I see people have used blind hole laps to get to final dimension. My question is how much material can one remove with one of these in a reasonable amount of machining time with commonly used ferrule materials? It would be nice if it were 3 or 4 thousandths.  (Mike McGuire)

    You need the reamer to get the out-of-round hole round caused by the drilling operation.  A blind hole lap will just lap the hole with the same out-of-roundness (izzat a word?)  If the female ferrule stays out of round, you'll never get a good male to female fit.  Pick the three most common sized ferrules you'll be using, and buy the reamers for those.  Then, as the need arises, add to the set one at a time.  Reamers aren't that expensive, even for decent ones.  (Mark Wendt)

      If you are going to purchase reamers I would recommend buying taper shank reamers (Drill bits too).  If your tailstock mounted chuck is anything but right on you (mine wasn't) will have a tough time getting the hole bored straight and true.  The TS reamers and drill bits cured that problem or me.  (Mike Monsos)

        I wonder if a boring bar would work?  It might be hard to get one to be stiff enough though.  (Neil Savage)

          Or small enough.  A number 9 or 10 ferrule has a pretty small opening on the female ferrule.  (Mark Wendt)

      What I am looking at is lapping a reamed hole up a few thou. If I want to do Super Z ferrules in sizes 11 through 14, the D2 numbers (the critical fit numbers) are

      11  0.207
      12  0.223
      13  0.238 -- the number in the table at is 0.233 and it must be wrong if the wall thickness is to be consistent with the other sizes.

      14  0.254

      Now then

      13/64 is 0.203, 0.004 under D2 for 11
      14/64 is 0.219, 0.004 under D2 for 12
      15/64 is 0.234, 0.004 under D2 for 13
      1/4     is 0.250, 0.004 under D2 for 14

      So if lapping 0.004 is reasonable, I only need 6 reamers, hence my question.  (Mike McGuire)

        You got me a little confused.  Are you going to use a lapping hone, or a reamer?  Two completely different machining operations.  (Mark Wendt)

          Reamers are available in .0005" increments, so get the correct size in the first place.  My $0.02.  (Neil Savage)

            p. s., I got mine here   Do a catalog search for (for example)   .207" reamer.  Do not put a leading zero in the search.  (Neil Savage)

          The idea was to drill, ream and then lap to final dimension. That would get beyond the problems with lapping a rough drill hole. What I noticed is all through the table of Super Z dimensions, the D2 dimension is 0.004 larger than an x/64 series reamer. The question then is whether that final 0.004 is a reasonable amount to lap.  (Mike McGuire)

            When I turn my ferrules, I usually leave the male ferrule about .002" - .003" over the dimension of the female.  I use straight reamers, and lots of cutting fluid when I ream out the females, and the end result is pretty smooth.  I follow that up with some 0000 steel wool after I deburr the lip of the female ferrule to polish it up.  When I lap my male ferrules, I'm using Grobet pillar files and finishing up with 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper, 0000 steel wool, then polishing on the buffing machine.  Based on how long it takes me to knock down .002" - .003" doing it that way, you're going to be doing it a long, long time trying to remove .004" by lapping unless you are using an extremely coarse grit to lap with.  (Mark Wendt)

              I hesitate to get into this as I draw my own tubing..

              Unless you are trying to compete with CSE, Make the female and lap it.  Then make the male to fit. It doesn't matter if it is -.003-+003 from  the spec. Those are just numbers. They will be your own ferrules anyway. The only thing to be aware of is wall thickness. If they are around 1/64 (.015625) you will be OK.  (Jerry Foster)

                That was what I was thinking to.  I make my females first(two to five at a time, Saves me set up time), then turn the (two to five) males accordingly matched to a "mate".  I'm new at making ferrules but mine are working fine so far.  (Mike Monsos)

                That makes a lot of sense. Just sticking with x/64 reamers I would only be thin on the wall of the male ferrule by about by about 0.001 out of 0.016. I wouldn't think that would be troublesome since the tip section would be fully inserted in it. Lapping to the nominal size might be an  experiment for later.  (Mike McGuire)

              I do not make my own ferrules so you may take this or leave it.

              The Super Z spec is based on manufacturing the ferrules from stock tubing.  The reason the D2 dimensions are larger than the nominal 64ths numbers is to allow for the natural I.D. tolerance on the tubing which may run a couple of thousandths either way.   If you are making ferrules from bar stock then just ream the female to the nominal 64ths diameter and fit the male to match.  Keep the wall thickness close to the spec and you will be fine.  You don't need to buy a bunch of special size reamers or laps.  (Rick Hodges)

    Get the reamers. They are only 10$-$15 each for the size you need. Get them as you need them.  (Jerry Drake)


I was just wondering what, if any difference there is between using straight fluted reamers vs. spiral fluted reamers. The reamers I have now are all straight, but I'm going to purchase some additional sizes soon. Would it make any difference one way or the other?  (Floyd Burkett)

    The Spiral Flute Reamer should give you a finer finish due to no possible chatter. I have only one spiral flute reamer in 25/64" and no straight flute reamer to match that size so I can't do a first hand comparison for you. If you're buying them one or two at a time I'd go with the Spiral jobbies.  (Larry Swearingen)

    I just picked up some myself.  The machinist that sold them to me, explained that the spiral reamers work like a drill bit and remove swarf and shaving from the (bind??) hole.  The straight flute is designed for thru reams where the reamer can come out the other side.  This was after I explained to him what I was making.  Now I'm new at this machining stuff but it made sense to me and he made the sale.

    Take this info for what it's worth as it is second hand from a machining newbie.  (Ron Elder)

      I just copied this off the Dormer site:

      "The most common types of reamers have a left-hand spiral because the main applications involve through holes requiring chips to be pushed forward. For blind holes, reamers with straight flutes or right hand spirals are recommended."

      The one point I don't recall seeing in this discussion is to ensure that chucking or machine reamers are used.  Hand reamers can be used in a lathe but leave a slightly tapered hole, in the time honored fashion I will leave you to figure out how I learnt this......  (Gary Marshall)


Can anyone recommend the type of drill bit recommended for use in Duronze?  Thinking about ferrules and reel seat caps.  (Pete Bates)

    Contact list member Doug Alexander. He made some Duronze cap and ring sets and some ferrules for me. All of the ferrules he makes for his own use are Duronze as well, so he can tell you what tools and bits you need.  (Will Price)

    I've turned a dozen or so aluminum/bronze ferrules and a few cap and ring sets. I just use ordinary high speed steel. I prefer bright or black oxide for drills. Those yellow colored ones don't last any longer for what I do, but if you get them cheap they'll work fine. I've seen solid carbide recommended for drills and reamers, but I don't see a  need to spend that much for a semipro maker like me.  (Larry Lohkamp)

    The best drill bits for making duronze ferrules are Cobalt parabolic 135 degree split point drills.

    The 135 degree point gives a much better shearing cut. The split point reduces the force required to cut (which leads to a more accurate hole). And the parabolic flute design gives extra room for chips and allows you drill deeper before having to clear them.

    Here's a good example.

    As for reel seats, the  drill bit is much less important, assuming you'll be boring after drilling.  (Mark Shamburg)

      For all of you machinists amongst the group.

      When creating a 12/64 ferrule do you drill to 11/64 and then ream or just drill to 12.  I have been using a spot drill followed by one size less then reaming.  What’s the best approach?  (Ralph Tuttle)

        For the cane side I just use a center drill and one drill bit. So if I'm making a 12/64 ferrule I go straight to a 3/16" drill bit. For the slide on the female, I drill about .010 undersized and follow that with a solid carbide boring bar.  (Mark Shamburg)

        You always want to drill smaller than your reamer to give the reamer   enough   metal   to   cut  into  to  get  rid  of  the out-of-roundness created by drilling. 1/64" less is usually pretty good for the sizes of reamers we're working with. There's a whole complicated formula in the Machinery Handbook for determining the perfect size drill to use prereaming, but for ferrule work, a good rule of thumb is 1/64 less than the reamer diameter.

        Nota bene: reamers will not straighten a drilled hole that has wandered. Also, do not reverse the direction of the work piece with the reamer still in it. Bad for the reamer. And use plenty of cutting fluid, even on nickel silver. Makes for a cleaner reamed hole, and extends the life of the reamer.  (Mark Wendt)

    I use solid Cobalt drill bits with high speed steel reamers.  (Doug Alexander)

      Thanks Doug. I have no training in metallurgy, metal shop or woodworking, or rod making for that matter. So everything is learned from books, videos and the kind help of folks who take the time to answer questions. The journey of learning is enjoyable, especially when it ultimately relates to fishing, and you know how  guys are.  We like toys and tools.  (Pete Bates)


For those of you making your own ferrules.

  • Are you using collets?
  • What ones, 3C, 5C or other?
  • Do you need every 64th size?
  • Any suggestions?

This will be the last items I need to start making my own ferrules.  (OK, I just want them)  (Scott Grady)

    I use ER-40 Spring Collets, I am a self taught machinist so for what information I am giving you, keep that in mind. I chose this series because it seemed to offer a "greater range of flexibility" than the other series of collets. My thinking on this is that since we are working with thin materials and such tight tolerances that it might give you a bit more "evenly spaced" control of the clamping pressure applied to the work. I would like to here more about this subject from the other makers.  (Don Green)

    Depends on what you have for a lathe. A South Bend and you can use 5C. There is the biggest variety and availability in that size. If you have one of the Chinese lathes, then it isn't going to swallow a 5C, and getting a 5C collet check with a MT-3 shank is not going to be easy. LMS has one for $200, then you get to buy the collets. For that kind of lathe you want a MT-3 to ER-X collet chuck. 'X' being as small as 16 if you only do ferrules, at least 32 if you want to do reel seat hardware. LMS has the ER-32 chuck and set of collets for $170.

    I tuned up my chuck to a mill of run out and get by with it just fine. Having made a few ferrules now, I'd appreciate a collet system, but I'll probably live with the chuck and spend my money on good reamers and laps.  (Larry Lohkamp)

      Like you said, it would be hard to find a collet chuck to fit the MT 3 shaft. I have an Enco 9X20. Here is what I did. I got a piece of 1/2" steel plate for 5.00 from a local steel place . It was about 5" square. Cut off the corners, drilled and tapped holes to match the holes in the face plate on the lathe. Bolted the steel plate to the headstock faceplate. Faced it off and recessed the center of the plate to the size of the center collar on the face plate. Reversed the steel plate so it was flush on the faceplate and attached it back on the face plate . Faced off the other side leaving a collar to center the C5 Chuck, turned the outer part of the steel plate round, drilled and tapped the holes for the C5 chuck in the steel plate. The main thing is to be sure all is centered.  (Tony Spezio)

      You can get a collet chuck for most of the Chinese lathes. I know the Smithy's, Grizzleys and Harbor Frieghts are very easy to fit to the "Knuckle Buster" type collet chuck, but many of them just won't accomodate a draw bar. Here's a newer one that will fit many of the Chinese Lathes for 5C.

      Collet Chuck for Smithy

      Of course, there are many  options... ER40s, 8s, 20's 32s, etc, ES, R8, and the list can go on for hours! But, the most common, and cheapest to buy collets are the 5C's. The closer (chuck) may be a little higher, but not always. The ease of getting and price of purchasing 5C collets far outweighs the price of the chuck, or the mild cost of adapting a chuck to another lathe... of course, these are too big for really small lathes, and for those, I'd suggest one of the ER Series chucks and collet systems, but for a moderate to large lathe (20 in. C or more) I wouldn't consider anything but 5C's.

      Another advantage, for 50 bucks on eBay you can buy a 5C indexing head. Indispensable for making many parts. I use one to slit my ferrule tabs. Go price an indexing head for a ER32. I don't believe you'll find one, even used, for the kind of price you can get one for a 5C.  (Bob Nunley)

    I use DA100 series collets and a DA100 collet chuck.  This was recommended to me many moons ago by Dave LeClair.  They're available I think in sizes from 1/64" up to 36/64".  When I use it, it's mounted in a 4 jaw chuck and dialed in to dead nuts.  (Mark Wendt)

    Going to collets was a big help to my results. I have a 7x10 Harbor Freight lathe for which I got MT3 collets from The Little Machine Shop in 5/16" and 3/8". These are the two sizes of the stock material that I use. With these I can cut the male O.D. and the female I.D. which are the critical things to get right. Any other operations that I can't do in these collets can be done with the three-jaw chuck with no compromise in the function of the ferrules.  (Mike McGuire)

    Yes, I'm using collets for part of  the work. All that I have currently are 5C's. A friend of mine has a line on some collets for the Unimat, which are E series, but that hasn't come to fruition yet. My little Unimat, after much tweaking, has less than a half a thousandths runout, so it will cut ferrules just fine, but still want collets for it. Anything to get more accurate saves time.

    I have every size from 5/64ths through 21/64ths and that covers everything you'll ever need to make ferrules up to size 19 (need one 2/664ths larger than your largest size to make the welts).

    I'd recommend going with 5C collets, as they are cheap compared to some of the other collets. One set I looked at, the collets were upwards of 35 bucks each, and the 5c's cost between 5 and 8 bucks each, depending on where you get them. I get mine from MSC. Also, get a couple of Emergency Collets that you can drill for doing things like making the welt. See Chris Raine's GREAT tutorial on making ferrules and you'll see where having a half a dozen emergency collets will come in handy, especially making the welts.

    Only suggestion, going back to the last paragraph, really study Chris Raine's video tutorial. It is, without a doubt, the best tutorial of any kind that I've seen on making ferrules. (Bob Nunley)


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