Bamboo Tips - Tips Area
Hardware - Ferrules - Truncated

< Home < Tips Area < Hardware < Ferrules < Truncated


Over the weekend I began work on my first 3 piece rod. I'm planning to make the Payne 8 ft 6 wt listed in Howell's book.  In reading Wayne Cattanach's book this morning, he mentions that historically, truncated ferrules were used on 3 piece rods to transfer more energy than the standard version.  I assume that I can use normal length ferrules, but I would appreciate opinions from members of the list.

I bought a Grizzly 7 x 12 lathe this fall, in part so that I could make my own ferrules.  I've been successful in making a couple of sets using the directions and dimensions listed in the article by Tom Ausfeld (Thanks Tom).  Is there a source of dimensions for truncated ferrules?  (Mark Lenarz)

    Unless I am mistaken, the length of truncated ferrules is 1/3 shorter than the standard ferrules of the same dimensions.  Therefore, if a size 18/64 standard ferrule is 2" long, a size 18 truncated ferrule would be 1 1/3" in length.  (Harry Boyd)


I was talking to a rodmaker this weekend and he told me he like using truncated ferrules on everything. So once again the question comes up. Standard or Truncated? any real reason to use either or not to?  (Adam Vigil)

    Haven't seen responses to this yet but it's a great question. I'll add to it -- in a truncated ferrule, is it just the bamboo-mounting section that's shorter,  or is  the male/female contact also shorter?  (Barry Kling)

      The male/female slide (consummation) is shorter. Also the shoulder. Very nice on 3 piece. rods and 2 piece. rods 6' and under.  (Marty DeSapio)

      For a Super Z design is male slide = 3.8 * bamboo diameter.    So for a 14/64 the male slide would be .832" long, add to it a minimum of 1/4" for serrations and wrap that would be 1.1" (mine is 1.25")  for the male.  The female slide length is usually 4*bamboo diameter to accommodate the male slide and a small air space.  The bamboo side I usually keep it the same. So for that same ferrule the  female would be .875" +.875" + .03" (separator) = 1.78".

      So with that basic rule (3.8 * D) ,, all other dimensions kinda fall into line.  If I was to make a truncated, I would use something like 3 instead of 3.8. That said, I would not do this.  1 3/4" is not very big for 14 ferrule and when together its about 2.25".  I'm pretty sure REC's is longer if I remember right. Never seen CSE or Bellinger's so I can not comment. So to answer your question, the business end is what gets shorter, because you'll still need about a 1/4" for serrations and wraps, so the only place to shorten the male would be the slide.  So then the female slide could get shorter, so while you're at it shorten the bamboo side.  What to low limit is, I don't know.  (Tom Ausfeld)

        I worked mine off the print in this manner:

        First I took L1 (length of entire male ferrule) 1.210" then added L2 (length of slide engagement)  .700" then I did the old fudge factor for gas compression (.03 for 11/64th and smaller, .04 for 12/64 to 15/64 and .05 on anything larger) These are numbers I just came up with after looking at the print for awhile. (really the lengths were determined by the chamfer on the reamer that I was using at the time)  So my  female ferrules  end up  at 1.95"  long and  males  are 1.210" with a .700" slide length for a #14.  If you use the L3 + L4 off the print the ferrule ends up at 1.83" (1.49+.34).  I made a few of the short (L3+L4) and took them in to San Antonio to George's last year and had him look at them for his opinion.  After discussing the print that was at hand and a few other considerations we  came up with the L1+L2+compression space=Overall length of female.

        As far as I know all the ferrules that I have made to the longer size are all functioning well with no failures(including the few aluminum sets I have made in the past).  (Brad Love)

    I use truncated ferrules on 3 piece rods, standard lengths on 2 piece rods.  Why? Well, that's the way I've always done it.  I know that's not much of a reason, but it's the best I can do.  Seems like I remember Wayne Cattanach explaining why he was changing some of the ferrules he used on 3 piece rods several years ago, but I don't remember the explanation...  (Harry Boyd)

    I used REC truncated ferrules on three two-piece rods, one a 7'6"  and two 7'0" footers. I used them reasoning that they would be lighter (is that right, by the way?) and that the reduction in moment halfway up the light rods would make a positive contribution to the action, and interfere less with the flexion of the rod.

    I am not a good enough caster to know about the effect on the action, frankly, but I can say that I fish these rods a lot, one in particular, a Payne 101 copy, and they are standing up well, with no failures so far.  (Peter McKean)

    I seem to remember someone once saying that truncated are good for more light delicate rods but full size for stronger heavier weight ones. Perhaps something to do with either strength of fit to bamboo, weight of the ferrule, or stiffness affecting action. Hopefully I am not repeating what may have been recently stated.  (Andy Harsanyi)


I was wondering if there was any disadvantage to using truncated ferrules on a two piece rod vs. standard ferrules. It would seem to me that they would be an advantage because of their smaller weight and the fact that they allow more cane. Is this not true?

Also, if one has a reel seat with say a 15% smaller diameter than the rod butt, would reducing the cane at the butt make any different in the rod. It would seem not, simply because that portion of the rod is surrounded in wood and epoxy anyway.   (Jim Lowe)

    No, reducing the cane will make no difference at all, but if you reduce it in a sudden step you introduce a stress raiser at the step, so take the reduction down gradually over about 3 inches. It makes the corks a pig to fit. You do it by splitting them and taping the split until the glue dries, so accurate hole boring is necessary, but not hard, just fiddly, like everything else in rodmaking!  (Robin Haywood)

    PS:  If you have swelled the butt then the reduction won't cause even a theoretical hinge, but even if you haven't then I bet you won't notice.

    I'm curious. Why do rodbuilders use standard ferrules on two piece rods, but truncated ferrules on multi-piece rods? It would seem that the greater stresses are on the butt section of a rod, and that's where the stronger (standard) ferrules should be. Any observations? (Ron Grantham)

    As for the truncated ferrule bit, I will start off by saying that I have only used them on three piece rods. I have avoided them on two piece rods with the thinking that a really small ferrule (stiff), would be a bad thing. The "hard spot" would be more likely to make the rod snap there. I have used slightly shorter ferrules like Bellingers and Super Swiss with good results, but use full sized step downs or Super Zs for almost everything now.

    I am offering this as an alternative point of view rather than as theoretical advice.   (Bob Maulucci)

      Why wouldn't you be worried about this stiff spot on a 3 piece rod? I would think it would be more of a problem closer to either the butt or tip than directly in the middle.   (Jim Lowe)

        I would think the stresses would be more evenly distributed on a three piece. If you held a rod straight out in front of you, you have a heck of a lot more rod (weight) hanging off the end of a two piece rod after the ferrule. In a similar length three piece the butt ferrule is obviously farther from the tip, but even a truncated ferrule will  be several times bigger in size. In an 8 footer, I could live with a size 14/64ths regular ferrule on a two piece. I could live with 16/64ths and 10/64ths truncated ferrules at the three piece stations, but I would not want a short 14/64ths ferrule in the middle of the two piecer.

        Think of it like in nodeless construction. There is a sweet spot where if you make a splice too short it will pop open.

        I know of no commercial endeavor that had ever used super short ferrules on two piece rods and a lot used regular sized ferrules on three piecers (granted, it could be my limited knowledge on classic makers.)  All I can say is that I use regular length ferrules on two piecers and on those 1 in 20 rods when I make a three piecer, I use truncated ones. I have never tried a truncated ferrule on a two piecer, and I see no reason to use anything other than what I know works. The last two times I made three piecers, I sent the dimensions to Jeff Wagner, and he sent me what he thought was appropriate. They were truncated, so I used them.

        The more rods I make, I cannot help but feel that much of what guys are trying out there is just happy horse crap. Are you really going to feel a difference from using an aluminum ferrule or painstakingly making a bamboo one? Maybe (slightly), but in the long run, I don’t think it is worth it. If it is good enough for Mr. Payne, why shouldn't I be content to settle with what he saw fit to use?   (Bob Maulucci)

          I think you are right that the classic makers or production companies used standard   ferrules on all their 3 piece rods.  I cannot recall ever seeing a 3 piece rod from the classic era with truncated ferrules.  The concept of truncated ferrules may not even be that old.  What is the reasoning for the use of truncated ferrules in the first place?  Is it to cut away less cane because of the addition of a ferrule? IMO a truncated ferrule gives you less cane in the ferrule, which I believe may actually lead to a weaker ferrule station.  (Robert Cristant)

            You have illustrated my point better than I did. The only thing I might guess is that the small ferrules look neater on a three piecer. Thanks Robert.  (Bob Maulucci)

            I think truncated is a weight thing.  Less weight hanging out there that isn't storing energy yields a quicker response.  I'm sure one of the engineers amongst us can explain this much better than I.  (Brian Creek)

              I hope AJ Thramer reads this and elaborates, but I think he used to use  truncated ferrules exclusively, but many of those rods started to come back after several years with ferrule failure.  I think he now only uses regular length ferrules, and pins them, all based on his experience.   (Kyle Druey)

          I suggest that you take a look at Per Brandin's rods. You can poke around his web site here.

          I had the pleasure of meeting Per and seeing some of his rods the first time I attended Corbett Lake, 4 years ago.  Per will use truncated ferrules on rods if customers request it, but he prefers to use micro ferrules which are substantially shorter than truncated ferrules.  As I recall, the length of the slide is only about 2x the diameter.   He uses these on 2 piece rods, and said that he had never had a problem with one.  He contends that the micro ferrules, because of their light weight and the reduced length of the dead spot they create in the action, give rods more of the feel of a 1 piece rod.  (Robert Kope)

            I have never heard about the micro ferrules, and obviously I am not going to argue with Tom or Per. I simply think that I am finding it easiest to work around the classic parameters. I would rather do that then "chase my tail" as I did for about the first 4 years. I don’t operate on the same level and have the same success as these two. For me, it is futile.

            I like the analogy about the Model T, and actually I wonder sometimes if our human nature is not to overcomplicate things. I first touched a real computer, a Mac SE, in the fall of 1988 or 89. I used it to lay out the whole newspaper at Canisius College. This computer could do everything that we needed, and by today’s standards it could not run even the simplest programs.

            Maybe reverting to the Model T is not such a bad idea? How many traffic fatalities did we have back then? Did we have as many terrible diseases before we created technologies to keep people alive well beyond nature's constraints? Would people rush off to fight wars if they only had swords or clubs? How would they get there?

            We only know we are unhappy when someone else tells us we are. I'll keep my ferrules until you guys start making them for me.  (Bob Maulucci)

          Once I was planing a 3 piece rod and I asked Jeff Wagner if he thought I could use a truncated  10/64 for the top ferrule and a full sized 13/64 for the butt. His reply was, wow, would that look strange. From the standpoint of stiffness and weight it made sense to me. I am still willing to try. Also, according to many theories you can divide the action of a rod into thirds. Each section adds its own character to the action. George Maurer suggests that you make up a set of different sections for mid butt and tip and to work out taper design by shuffling  them into different combinations. According to that approach the stiffness of the ferrules doesn't play much into the action of a 3 piece rod.  According to John Bokstrom's controlled modification theory the section of the full rod length from the point 10% from the tip to 60% contains the rod's "DNA." This puts the top ferrule into play in stiffness and weight but again minimizes the contribution of the butt ferrule in this respect.

          The advantage of using truncated ferrules on a 3 price would seem to be somewhat limited (mostly weight at the tip). I use step down ferrules  which may be a bit lighter than the super Z style.  (Doug Easton)

            Please do not attribute to me words that I have never said, much less believed. It's obvious that you misunderstood what Chris Bogart was saying in his "RodDNA" talk so to clear things up I'll give you the full story:

            I was excited when the Garrison book came out - I thought I'd be able to work out the taper for a new rod, knowing before I started exactly what the action and line size would be. Then I realized if I wanted to change the action by altering the stress curve values those new values would be empirical and thus the final result would be empirical. So I looked for a new way, one that would give me predictable results. By 1980 I had worked out the system I called Controlled Modification. Computerizing all this took several more years.

            To modify a rod I had to work out its database. This was 101 factors, (every one percent) each representing the ratio of the rod diameter to the value of an arbitrary straight line drawn from zero inches to the full length through two points, 10% and 60%. The 10% point was chosen to avoid minor changes in the tip diameter as suggested by Mr. Garrison on page 272; 60% to allow for swelled or non-swelled butts.

            The slope of this arbitrary straight line varies with the action of the rod and is expressed in inches per 100 inches. This is the RAV or rod action value.

            The value of the straight line at zero inches is indicative of the size of the line carried by the rod and is referred to as LWV for line weight value.

            These two values plus the length of the modified rod are the only inputs necessary to create a new rod with this program.

            Now you can see that the above, the database and the values, are what Chris Bogart referred to as a rod's DNA, a term he coined for his talk at Corbett Lake.

            However, there has always been a major shortcoming to Controlled Modification - I'm not a programmer, so for a rod to be subject to modification I had to work out the database the hard way, on large graph paper, a process that took about three hours for each rod and the reason there were only nine rods to be modified on my latest floppy. A few months ago I asked Chris to computerize this database formation. He did it in time for the Corbett meeting and his talk. Fortunately, Larry Tusoni, who has a program containing a huge taper bank, was also at Corbett and it didn't take long for Chris and Larry and myself to get together. The result is the RodDNA program with Controlled Modification on Larry's web site. (John Bokstrom)

              I stand here waiting to be flagellated with a 3 piece rod designed from a 2 piece rod that only wanted to be a one piece rod!  I am very sorry to have misinterpreted Chris's talk at Grayrock about your work . I have been playing with Larry's program and I am very impressed with the massive amount of work that has been expended on the program and model rod database. My interpretation of your statement below would be that ferrules do not enter into the calculation of RAV,  so I was wrong in saying that RAV can be related to ferrule number or position.

              Perhaps this list is a good forum for explanation and expansion on the controlled modification approach and its implementation in  Larry Tusoni's program.  (Doug Easton)

                A few hints on working with CM:

                The rod to be modified should be one that you have built yourself and carefully evaluated as to action, line weight and length. The modified rod should be built using the same techniques. If you change more than one thing at a time you can't understand the result of any one change.

                Changing the RAV is a good place to start; If you would like to make a faster rod, ADD .004 to .010 to the RAV. Don't go higher than .010 the first time. .004 will give a change that is slightly faster, .010 a change that is markedly faster. Try something in between so you will be sure to have a rod that is useable. For slower you would, of course, go in the other direction. After a couple of rods you'll have a handle on changing the action.

                Line weight or LWV: You can change a full line size by adding or subtracting .005 or .006. If you wish, you can fine tune the line weight by using .002 or .003. Keep an eye on the 0" diameter so it doesn't go less than .0625 (Garrison p.272.)

                Length: Self-explanatory but stay within 3" or 6" until you have made this change a few times.

                If the rod you want to modify is in Larry's taper bank, select it and go ahead. If not, enter it and proceed. Poke around to learn how to enter the change(s) you wish and have fun.

                Finally, you can change any one of the three, any two, or all three at once, but until you have some experience limit yourself to one change at a time.  (John Bokstrom)

                  I suppose we should all be driving Model T Fords too? No offense taken from your post, Bob, and none intended in this reply, but ferrule weight does significantly affect the action and feel of a rod, and it's performance. If you don't think so, you would do well to avoid me at the Catskills this year, because I will have a matched set of 8 foot 4 weights, one with a ferrule, and one without. The difference in feel is very apparent. The rod I lifted the taper from was a 3 piece F E Thomas original, and was noticeably slower than the two piece version. In fact,  I believe the increase in speed between the three piece version and the two piece version is greater than that between the two piece and the one piece. I believe the differences are magnified in this taper because of its length and slowness, but the differences are real. Read again John Long's conclusions from the Grand Experiment. This was one of the issues we addressed.

                  For a long time there has been discussion of ferrule weight, and the so called flat spot induced by the ferrule stiffness. I have concluded that while the flat spot is real, it is not of much significance because any reasonable caster will soon compensate for differences in action. Weight, on the other hand, is a real issue that detracts from performance no matter who is casting the rod. I know there are fans of 3 piece rods out there, and I am not knocking them. They certainly cast well enough for any fishing situation, and if you like the heavier feel, so be it. If I wanted to cast distance, however, my rod of choice would have no ferrule, or a taped splice.

                  As you might guess from the above, I like truncated ferrules and often use them. As far as I can see, the only downside to them is that you have to fit them very carefully, as there is less sliding surface. A bad fit would greatly reduce their life span. I would certainly use them on a three piece rod, and see no reason not to use them on a two piecer either. Maybe the difference is slight on the two piecer, but I believe I can feel it. Then again, I admit to being a notable crank on this whole topic.

                  Someone is sure to point out that you can compensate for ferrule weight by increasing the taper a bit after the ferrule station, and that is correct, but now you have added the weight of the ferrule, and the weight of the extra cane. It will surely affect the feel of the rod.

                  Finally, I do not believe using truncated ferrules harms rod strength. I think the potential problem area with any ferrule is the hex/round transition. If you do this well, I don't think the length of the ferrule is significant.  (Tom Smithwick)

                    You are absolutely correct. Just because you have a lovely little two piece rod doesn't mean that you can take the same taper and make it into a three or four piece rod and have the same action/weight. I once made a 2 piece 7-ft rod that was .015" thicker at the butt than the original, and ended up with a rod that was an ultra-quick "dry-fly" rod. I ended up cutting the sections and adding two more ferrules, making it into a softer, slower 4 piece rod, although a bit heavier. That's design by trial and error.

                    My point is that rods have to be built, whether by trial and error, or by design, to accommodate the correct number and size of ferrules to achieve the desired action.

                    Also, all reels are not the same weight and each will have its own characteristic feel on a rod.

                    For each individual, the perfect rod will have the right combination of taper, ferrules, guides, reel seat, reel, and line. It's a delight when everything works in harmony.  (Ron Grantham)

    Let's ignore the rod action stuff, after all, every man sees it differently and look @ the ferrules themselves.

    Ferrules are used to join rod sections together. They are a SOB to fit and wear just by putting them together a lot. Why would we put ferrules on a rod that have very short males? They wear faster and will have to be replaced. I got some, used them and they wore out quicker.

    I use standard length Classics for 2 to 4 piece rods.  (Don Anderson)


I was wondering if anyone had any opinions of REC's Uniferrule or Super Swiss ferrules. I currently use Rush River's ferrules but need to pick up some truncated ferrules for a couple 3 piece rods. (Jim Lowe)

    I've used REC Uniferrules a few times.  They're quite nice, but I'm not a fan of one piece ferrules.  I could be wrong, but I think the Super Swiss from REC are purchased from Bailey Wood at CSE. (my personal favorites)

    But this begs the question -- why wouldn't you use Tony's ferrules?  His are usually shorter than CSE or REC standard length, aren't they?  I'm not sure he makes ferrules small enough for mid-tip joints on three piece rods, but if he does, they're already truncated.  (Harry Boyd)


I have dimensions from some of the CSE truncated ferrules I have used over the years.

I measured them as I installed them so dimensions should be within +/- .001 of the originals.

I also found an old XL file entitled Bolin_FerruleDimensions.xls which will calculate ferrule dimensions for either Full or Truncated ferrules.  The calculated numbers are pretty close to those I measured.  I suspect that the calculated numbers are theoretically correct and that my measured dimensions suffer from machining tolerances and measuring instrument resolution.

David Bolin - are you the author of the XL calculator file ?

I'd be happy to forward engineering drawings for 10, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19 or 24 size truncated ferrules to the interested party.  I also have some of the dimensions for a 9/64 truncated but need to verify a couple of things before I'd call it a good drawing.  (Brent Nickerson)

    Yes.  That's my workbook.  I bought some of the last of Chris Bogart's tubing a few years ago and split it with Lee Koch.  Alan Kube taught us to make ferrules with the tubing.  Alan can recite all the dimensions from memory.  That was way over my head.  I had to put them in a spreadsheet.  The specs in that workbook are based primarily on the original Super Z dimensions (included on the "Z specs" tab of the workbook), but I think I fudged them a little based on some Golden Witch ferrules I had at the time.  The truncated version of the specs is just a guess based on stuff I read in the list archives.  They are 67% of the full length specs.

    Alan was showing us a simple way to make step downs from two sizes of tubing at SRG this year (maybe  three  including  the welt...can't remember for sure).  I have pencil drawings on a napkin around here somewhere.

    The tubing we're using was drawn specifically for the purpose of making ferrules.  As far as I know, no one has purchased a bulk order in recent years.  The last I heard, a minimum order was going to cost around $40,000(US).  I suppose ferrules could be turned from bar stock to those dimensions, but that's saying more than I know.  CAD drawings would be very cool.  I'm sure Todd would be willing to put them in the download area of his site.  I'd be glad to put them on my blog as well.

    Making your own ferrules probably isn't cost effective in a production shop, but I wouldn't know about that.  For a hobby maker like me, it's a fun addition to the process.  (David Bolin)

      Does someone have a workbook like this for step-down ferrules? I’ve been playing around with making step-downs for a couple of weeks and beginning to believing Garrison was right- they are inferior and of poor design.  A wall thickness of .0075 is asking to much of whatever metal you are using.  (Don Schneider)

        Download the file “Step_Down_Dimensions.xls”.  It’s an Excel file that has an automated drawing that updates as you choose a ferrule size in 64ths.

        Just enter a size in the yellow box and click ENTER.  (Al Baldauski)

        I have been making and using step downs on Coarse rods for years and also use them on some fly rods.  Not sure if I understand your problem, would you like to expand on the issues of concern?

        The basics for my step downs are:

        The female has the same ID along its length ie cane dia equal slide diameter.  Wall thickness dependent on material and ferrule size 15 to 25 thousandths.

        The cane entry to the female is the same as the female ID to match the cane, IE there is no step down in cane dimension.  Step down occurs under the shoulder of the male just before the slide.  ID under the slide is 2/64 smaller than the entry dia so the wall thickness is 1/64 or about 15 thousandths.  To ensure adequate strength in the cane at the step down position the length from entry to step down is set at 2.5 x entry diameter.  From my work such ferrules always fail at the cane outside of the ferrule never at the step down.

        The resultant ferrules use slightly less weight of material than Super Z pattern and are far less bulky looking especially in larger sizes.

        I have successfully made them with wall thicknesses on the male reduced to 7.5 thousandths, IE a 1/64 drop at the step down when trying for very lightweight ferrules with shorter shoulder design.  The key to doing this is to ensure concentricity of the bored hole to the outside and I do this by boring the hole right through the male ferrule and mounting the now open end against a revolving center before turning the OD on the slide.  The ferrule tab end is held in the chuck with a suitable drill in the entry to prevent damage.  If you follow this link and scroll to the bottom of the page you will see a typical set of step downs  made for a 3 piece coarse rod.

        If you go to the link below you can see what they look like on a 3 piece fly rod half way down this page, "Lightweight Special"  (Gary Marshall)

          The problem I’m having is at the step on the male slide. The dimension chart I’ve been using gives me a .0075” wall thickness on the male slide. I’ve made three ferrules out of aluminum solid stock, two of the three have broken at the step when boring out the male slide area. I haven’t tried your suggestion of boring the stock first and then turning the outside. I think the chart I’ve been using is wrong and the bore size for the slide should  be smaller to give a .015” wall thickness. What do you think?  (Don Schneider)

            The order of doing the machining is probably the biggest difference, I have always done the boring first when making ferrules.  I would not be that confident in my drilling accuracy.  I have bought ferrules with nominal 7 thousandths walls that have actually perforated during lapping so the holes were not concentric.

            I think 15 thousandths is a perfectly reasonable figure it just means accepting a 2/64 step but I don't really find that a problem in most sizes but it gets too much in the smaller sizes.  What I have done in the past for 11/64 and below is to compromise, use just a 1/64 step down and 15 thousandths wall then machine the female to match.  The female is then half way between a step down and a Super Z with the reamed slide end 1/64 bigger than the cane end.  The smaller set of Titanium ferrules on the pictures are actually made like this but you have to look closely to spot the subterfuge.

            All this is the real plus of making your own of course, make to suit.  By the way, even if not through boring I still do all the drilling first then all the outside machining then part off.  (Gary Marshall)

            You’ll see in the step down chart that the wall thickness was held to 0.020 inches throughout the sizes.

            I have a chart from the Super Swiss patent which shows the wall thickness held at about 0.018 inches throughout the sizes.

            I think that anything less would be a strength problem except in the smallest sizes and 0.0075 is way too thin.  It  may  have  been  a  misprint  and  should  have  been 0.0175 inches.  (Al Baldauski)

              I think the spreadsheet I was using had a formula logic error making the bore in the male slide to large. Your spreadsheet looks fine. The reason I got into this in the first place I’m playing with a 3-piece taper and thought I’d also try using aluminum  stepdowns, size 10 & 16/>

              To be more cost effective, not time effective, I often use home made aluminum ferrules when  playing with a taper because I don’t know where I’m going to end up.

              Thanks again for your spreadsheet.   (Don Schneider)

              Your comments on strength open out the debate going well beyond the original concern I think.  Personally I would be interested to hear from others designing and making ferrules as to what wall thicknesses are being used?

              I have three basic observations, firstly the original Super Z table that I have appears to be based on the use of tubing.  I have no idea on whether the results were ever tested for strength or analyzed but I assume that they stemmed from the available tubing and validation by test of time.  It actually makes no reference to the material used although this may be specified elsewhere.  In other words this table and similar ones are a good starting point when designing ferrules to be turned from bar stock but not a limitation.

              In a Super Z ferrule the wall thickness of the male is not really limited by strength as the full cane section is effectively maintained.  In other words it is a cane ferrule with a metal running surface.  Those who turn off a significant amount of cane will actually be utilizing the strength of the ferrule so this is not an absolute.

              A step down is obviously different.  At the entry to the female the cane section on the male has been reduced and at this point the metal acts compositely with the cane and so the thickness and strength of the material used is significant.  I have always been happy with 15 thousandths in this location only going lower when using high strength materials.

              Female ferrules are another ball game again..... (Gary Marshall)

                As I understand it, drawn nickle silver tubing is stronger than turned bar stock of the same dimensions.  I assume the wall thickness would need to be adjusted accordingly.  (David Bolin)

                  Machined ferrules vs. Drawn Ferrules

                  My thoughts ~ Let me say at the outset, that I have made (machined) some ferrules from solid stock. I like the idea that the moisture cap is a part of the machining process, and I don't have to be concerned about a thin disc being soldered in the exact correct location, or of its being forced out of position during assembly of the ferrule on the rod shaft. Howsomever ~ The Wright McGill ferrules, designed for use on their early glass rods, touted among other attributes, that their ferrules were "made from hard drawn German Silver and in our opinion, the finest Rod Ferrules made". The many Granger rods still in existence and still in use attest to that claim. And the truth is that since my first (hand-split bamboo) rod finished in 1982, most have utilized these same Wright McGill ferrules and all have performed without any incidence of failure ~ despite the wall thicknesses of the ferrules not exceeding .012".   (Vince Brannick)

                    Sounds like a very good ferrule to me.  Interesting to hear of an example where a mass producer has such confidence in the design and material as to manufacture considerably thinner than the norm.

                    If such material were available at fair cost now there would doubtless be more people using it.  (Gary Marshall)

                Regarding ferrule wall thickness:

                Have you ever made or do you have any thoughts on the larger size ferrules to be used on a Spey rod ?  I need to make a 25/64 ferrule for a rod I'm making now. I had planned on using the same design philosophy as when using 1/64th tube. Any thoughts on scaling up that far using the same wall thickness as was used on  much smaller ferrules?  (Larry Swearingen)

                  I have made ferrules in that size before but on coarse rods which are used much less dynamically than a Spey rod.  as I understand it there are also torsional stresses to be considered on Spey rods as well.

                  For the general coarse rod ferrules I have tended to use a 20 to 25 thousandths wall thickness and this has been OK even using low grade 12% nickel silver.  For rods expected to be more heavily used I have used the Mark IV (Richard Walkers Carp rod) reinforced design that adds material in the area of maximum bending in the female ferrule.  The following link takes you to my Coarse rod page and the ferrules I am referring to are right at the bottom of this page. The band in the central area is made 40 thousandths thick.

                  The only failure I have experienced on these larger ferrules has been splitting promoted from the ends of the ferrule splines caused I think by a combination of cane expansion and stress concentration.

                  If I was making the sort of ferrule you describe I would use a good grade material HT bronze for example or at least 18% NS.  (Gary Marshall)

                Let me see if I can shed some light on this subject. I have a large stock of original Z's, and Halstead Ferrules. I will check the thickness today for you all and post the results. I do remember the thickness seems to be in the .0156 to .018 area for most sizes, however some of the larger sizes 22, and 23's are thicker. Also, if  you  are  concerned  with weight --- stay away from Z's, they are much heavier than step-down's by a large margin.

                Having made ferrules both ways, drawing tube and machining barstock I must comment that the tubing ferrules I feel are superior. While one needs a good set of dies to use tube as the basis for the ferrule, one can make a ferrule from barstock which is relatively inexpensive compared to precision drawn CCA 752 18% N/S and 15%.

                They perform well, but overall are heavier and hard to maintain proper thickness when machining.

                The barstock has it's own set of problems, many times the alloy is for a better word, lacking --- and will not blue properly. I believe there was a problem with some REC made ferrules with this, I heard something to that effect.

                Concerning the water plugs ---- pretty rare for one to come off. If you have that happen better check your soldering, you are screwing up somewhere. Btw, if you make your water plugs from barstock ---- machine a step in them, about .010, that will push fit inside your males, solder that then turn off excess on outside. That makes a stronger connection and a bunch easier to do. My borescope reveals the Super Z was constructed that way, you can clearly see the tool marks on the inside of the males.

                The Z design I believe came to be to overcome the problem of ferruling the "new" fiberglass rods ---- kind of difficult to ferrule with step downs.  (Jed Dempsey)

                  I checked the Super Z's from 10/64 to 24/64 They did not vary by much the low being .0165, and the high was .021. Most were .017 or .019 in wall thickness. I think the deviation below .017-.019 could be caused by polishing or just a small difference in the tube from the Mill. Discovered that there were a few truncated Z's. Has anybody else seen a stamped Z that was truncated? I don't remember ever seeing a short one on a rod.  (Jed Dempsey)


Question about ferrules - when to use standard and when to use truncated, and what are the advantages/disadvantages?  I'm sure you all have opinions, and a few might even be the same.  Just thought I'd get some conversation going on this rainy day in drought struck CA.  (Tom Key)

    The quick answer is truncated for three-piece rods and standard for two-piece. And if truncated work on heavy three-piecers why shouldn't they work in two-piece rods, saving weight and inhibiting flexion less?  (Henry Mitchell)

    I’ve never used a truncated ferrule so that’s way I did not respond to your question earlier.

    I’m sure someone will chime in.  Patience, young apprentice, and a bamboo Jedi, you shall become…..the Force is with you….  (Ren Monllor)

    I use the truncated ferrules when I build a 3 pc. rod on the butt to mid sections because they match more closely the length of the regular ferrules on the mid to tip sections. Simply for looks!  (Joe Arguello)

      I just zipped by your web site and saw of what you speak. The ferrules look really nice on that three pc..  (Ren Monllor)

    I have only used the regular because that is what I was told to use on a 2 piece rod and I can’t think out of the box.  I may try a truncated on a 2 piece but I’m scared I will get shunned by the inner circle.

    Only kidding about the out of the box thing and the inner circle.  I have yet to build a 3 piece rod so I have not used the truncated ferrules.  The only reason is that I have read that truncated were best used on 3 piece rods and standard were best used on 2 piece.  (Greg Reeves)

      Not to muddy the waters on the ferrule issue but Tony Larson says his ferrules are half way between regular and truncated.  I have been using these for no other reason other than I met Tony and liked dealing with him.  It seems less metal is good.  (Jim Sobota)

    I think it’s a matter of preference.  I’ve only used truncated ferrules, including on an eight foot, two piece, spinning rod that I use on Steelhead this November.  It was a light weight rod that REALLY flexed when I had one of those brutes on the ferrule survived through 23 fish.  So did the bamboo, by the way.  Landing a 10 to 15 lb steelhead bent that rod a full 90 degrees through the ferrule down into the butt.  (Al Baldauski)

    Thanks to all who responded to my whining about ferrules.  Seems that the majority "generally" recommend regular ferrules for two piece rods and truncated for 3 and 4 piece rods.  Of course, as would be expected from this austere group, there are those who advocate using whatever one has on hand.  My only regret is that I did not ask this question sooner because my last three rods have been 3 pc 8'-4" rods on which I used regular ferrules.  The good news is I'm currently milling 3 pc #4 and haven't yet ordered the ferrules, so truncated they will be.  (Tom Key)

    Here's the difference between Larson, CSE truncated and the extra short ferrules I like.


    (Jim Lowe)


Why do they recommend truncated ferrules on a multi piece rod but, not a two piece rod?

Are truncated ferrules weaker then regular ferrules?

Would you use truncated on a big rod?

I think I know the answers to these but, I am looking for corroborating evidence.  (Pete Emmel)

    A guess here is that the weight X the distance from the butt  (Moment)is operative here in terms of affecting rod action.  I would guess the truncated ferrules would weigh less and reduce the moment compared to the heavier full sized ferrules used on a two piece rod.  I don't have the numbers here to see, but if someone else does, I'd like to see if this WAG makes any sense. I would add these up for a beginning, but also the angle off the dead straight rod could also be taken into account as a way of seeing the effect of a longer rod and what happens during a cast.  (Dave Burley)

      My deflection program shows that a truncated ferrule (two piece rod)  bends the rod the equivalent of an additional 1/3 line weight compared to no ferrule.  A standard ferrule = 2/3 line weight.  The more ferrules the greater the effect.  (Al Baldauski)

    To answer the second part of your question:

    I don't think that a truncated ferrule is weaker than a standard length ferrule. I have no corroborating measurements but it stands to reason that at some point using a longer ferrule adds nothing to the strength of the joint. Think about it.  Once the bamboo is INSIDE the ferrule a little ways , how much good does it do to have more length of bamboo?  Aside from additional glue joint strength. I think this is why the traditional Leonard/Payne type Necked Male Ferrule work. There really is a pretty short section of full diameter, or nearly so, bamboo before it necks down to the smaller diameter that goes the rest of the way into the  ferrule.

    Truncated Ferrules are a little more difficult to lap to a good fit however. You don't have as much length to work with and the fitting is more exact.  With a standard length ferrule you have some "wiggle room" and if you get a little loose in the first part of the fit you can still make it work.  (Larry Swearingen)

      but it stands to reason that at some point using a longer ferrule adds nothing to the strength of the joint.

      I think the ratio of length to diameter of 3 to 1 is about ideal when designing a ferrule.  I make the female bamboo to metal socket 3 to 1, then add the length of the serrated tabs. So the round portion of the cane is 3D long and the hex to round transition is about 1D long. The length of the male slide is 3 times it's diameter. I don't have scientific proof for the 3X formula, but I have seen it referred to in various places. In woodworking the maximum strength of a mortise and tenon joint is achieved when the tenon is 3 times longer than it's thickness. I believe that lathe manuals suggest that the shortest piece of rod that should be gripped in a collet is 3 times it's diameter. It seems to work out, for me anyway. If I'm trying to absolutely minimize weight, I'll go with 2.5 X diameter as the ratio, but you have to fit with care. As Don suggests, the less mating surface you have, the faster the ferrules will wear out.

      I would also consider the taper when making the ferrule decision. A full flexing taper like a Garrison will react more to ferrule weight and stiffness than something like a Dickerson which is steeper to begin with, and also has a step up in taper from the tip to the butt.  (Tom Smithwick)

      I've been using "micro" ferrules for two years now with no issues.   (Jim Lowe)

        Do you find any difference in the action of the rod, anything like what Al Baldauski found in his deflection tests?  (Bob Brockett)

          I can't really say. I haven't used them with a rod that I had made before the switch.   (Jim Lowe)


Truncated ferrules are lighter than the standard Super-Z, but apparently strong enough for 3 piece rods... so why not reduce the swung weight on 2 piece rods by using the truncated ones?  (Larry Lohkamp)

    Truncated ferrules have never failed for me, yet the idea scares me, but then I wear both belt  and suspenders. (Timothy Troester)

    Lots of folks do, and I've done that before.  It just doesn't quite "look" right though.  (Mark Wendt)


I made a set of truncated ferrules that were a little too truncated on the female side. They were already fit when I figured it out. I started making a new set, and just for giggles I tried the existing male in the new female. It slide almost all the way in and came apart with a satisfying pop. Was I just incredibly lucky this time, or is it frequent that males are interchangeable?  (Larry Lohkamp)

    I would expect that if you used the same reamer on the new female as you did on the old female.  (Mark Wendt)


Rumor has it that the truncated ferrules create a smaller dead spot, correct?  Soooooo....if truncated ferrules work so well on three piece rods why don't we use them on two piece rods?  Is it because the truncated ferrules are shorter and will come apart easier while casting?  Don't know if they come apart easier or not, just speculating.  (Pete Emmel)

    I was just up on the fly only section of the Trinity last weekend, using a 3-piece rod with truncated ferrules, mostly fishing soft hackles on the swing. When I do that, I do a lot of single hand spey casting because it's pretty efficient in terms of keep a fly where there are likely to be fish.  The rod didn't come apart, but the sections twisted and annoying amount with respect to each other. The fit of the ferrules was pretty good -- nice pop when separating. them. I think I might have been better of with regular length ferrules playing that game. Of course there's always the tape solution, but it's kind of ugly.  (Mike McGuire)

    It is my historical view that larger ferrules were used on two piece rods because of the larger section (mass) in the tip while three piece rods have smaller sections (mass) so they used the truncated ferrules; this permitted the ferrules to provide adequate suction force to keep the tips from flying off. Today, the quality of the ferrules being made probably lets either truncated for full length ferrules be used on any rod - just this old guys opinion.  (Frank Paul)


Site Design by: Talsma Web Creations

Tips Home - What's New - Tips - Articles - Tutorials - Contraptions - Contributors - Search Site - Contact Us - Taper Archives
Christmas Missives - Chat Room - Photo Galleries - Line Conversions - The Journey - Extreme Rodmaking - Rodmaker's Pictures - Donate - Store