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Has anybody ever had experience of reducing ferrule weight by removing sections from the female?

I thought of (a) milling out six or eight slots , full thickness, from the slide section or (b) fluting the wall  quite deeply, but not quite full depth.

Seems to me that properly calculated it ought not reduce the overall strength by much,  or at least by a less-than-critical amount, and should reduce the weight quite a lot.

The slotted model would also be easy to clean.

So has anybody done it? Comments?  (Peter McKean)

    I have been interested in reducing ferrule weight for some time but I would not go down the route that you are suggesting.  If I understand correctly you are advocating a number of longitudinal slots through the wall of the female ferrule in the slide area.

    In option (a) the hoop capacity of the tube is removed so I don't think it would work at all in option (b) the capacity requirement could be checked and the groove depth chosen accordingly but the weight loss would be small.

    I think you are correct to look at the female as this section is the heaviest but it is easier to reduce weight by changing the fundamental design.  Super Z ferrules are over weight as the slide section is a larger diameter than it needs to be and the transition length contains completely wasted material as it tapers down to the cane.  If you use a stepped down design the female can be the same diameter throughout, matched to the cane, and the weight determined by the required wall thickness.  The perceived difficulty is in the male section where the cane diameter has to reduce just before the slide but this problem is definitely perceived rather than real.  My experience is that if you have a length of at least 2.5 times the cane diameter before the reduction then they do not fail. Failure is always right at the start of the ferrule or in the length of the tabs.  The resultant male is slightly longer than a Super Z but the extra weight is small compared to the gains made with the female and the extra difficulty in fitting is minor if you use a lathe.

    All the above works no matter what material you use, for further weight loss use a slightly truncated design and lighter material.  A truncated, stepped down, titanium ferrule weighs so little it is negligible in design terms.

    If you make some slotted ferrules I would be interested to hear of the results.  (Gary Marshall)

      Other solutions may include building up the cane under the female ferrule and Duronze or cane ferrules.  (Robin Haywood)

        Using stronger materials does help.  Duronze may permit a reduction in wall thickness, I use NES 833 Aluminum bronze.  These sorts of materials also offer a similar fit to NS whereas Ti does not.

        Building up the cane under the female?  Are you suggesting replacing the tapered section of a super Z with cane?  This will give a slight saving but you are still using a larger diameter of female than is needed.

        Technically bamboo ferrules may give a solution, provided you can live with the looks, I can't.  (Gary Marshall)

          The only Duronze ferrule I have was made to the same dimensions as a nickel silver one as far as I can tell so is not all that much lighter. Does not Titanium gall rather badly on a Ti-Ti joint?

          We just used to build up the section under the female with slips of bamboo then reduce it to diameter, thus the inner diameter of the male was the same as the diameter of the cane under it, which was not therefore reduced more than necessary. The Swiss or straight through ferrules attempted to solve this but, apparently suffered stress breakage, although none of the rather few I saw or used did. I've not got to making any bamboo ferrules as yet, but I can see several snags ahead.

          The Japanese "One piece" design is rather appealing, but looks a little ahead of my rather minimal level of craftsmanship. As nearly all my rods are either experimental or for people who think that Nis is much better than brass I am using up all the Nis and then, if Rainer is still prepared to make them for me I shall probably restock with Duronze but may use bamboo ferrules on lighter rods if I can, as you point out, get the cosmetics to an acceptable standard.  (Robin Haywood)

            You only get the benefit of a different material if the ferrules are designed and made to optimize the material.  Simply put if you use a stronger material you can reduce the wall thickness and hence the weight.  This is not however a simple pro-rata of the permissible stresses however as failure may be by buckling if the wall is made too thin.  Changing from a 20 thousandths to 15 thousandths wall will however obviously save you 25% with little risk if your machining is accurate.

            Yes Titanium does gall but if  the fit is just right it behaves OK.  As was discussed in an earlier posting the practical solution may be Ti female with a bronze male but this is both unproven and potentially difficult to sell.  (Gary Marshall)

              You remind me of the problem we had with tubing for racing bikes. As it developed its tensile strength increased but its stiffness stayed the same. It was easy to end up with bikes that were very light, adequately strong, but very bendy indeed.

              There is one in my famous piggery, awaiting conversion to a tricycle.  (Robin Haywood)

    No I've never done it.  The bending strength of a cylinder is derived from having continuous material around the walls.  Think "Hoop Strength."  If you cut longitudinal slots in the cylinder then you HAVE no hoop.   A cylinder fails in bending when the cylinder goes out of round and collapses.

    You would be better off to look at reducing material density (titanium) or total amount of material (truncated).  I've never personally weighed a Swiss type ferrule against the same size Step-down or necked male type but assumed, like Gary, that the necked male type would be lighter. I saw someone's comparison a year or two ago, Larry Tusoni (?), and they were VERY close to the  same  weight.   I  was  surprised.   The  longer  male  in  the step-down must make up for the weight savings in the smaller female barrel dimension.    Any one have some ferrules they could weigh to verify?   Same size obviously.  (Larry Swearingen)

      I have not got the figures to hand but I did a weight comparison as you describe some time ago and my step downs were significantly lighter than my super Z's.  However it does depend on the actual ferrule pattern.  I have not compared the proprietary items - presumably made to the published dimensions - rather my own generic types.  When I get a minute I will look at the standard numbers and see what that throws up.

      It is worth noting that if you follow the designs through, working on required slide length being some multiple of slide diameter you end up with shortened ferrules in the step down style due to the reduced slide diameter that is used.  (Gary Marshall)

    I have done some experimenting with this, being a long time crank on the topic of ferrule weight.


    The upper ferrule is a #13 CSE truncated. The blackened ferrule is a duronze female, made to the same dimensions, but eliminating the two layered soldered overlap.  The  Duronze  is 10% lighter to begin with, and eliminating the overlap got me another 5%. I have not played with wall thickness yet, but I think I could go to .012 without a problem, and get some more weight off, because of the strength of Duronze.

    The joined ferrules in the picture are a NS male with a Duronze female. This seems to be a great anti galling combination, the fit being the slickest I have ever seen. Even when fit tight, there was no tendency toward scratchiness. All this is only a few months old, so I can't yet comment on wear resistance, but I expect it to be good. The untreated Duronze has darkened a bit since the photo, but has a pleasing appearance. The blackening was done with BC Brass Black while the ferrule was on the lathe, and aerogloss was applied with a cloth while it was spinning. This removed enough of the black to allow just a bit of bronze to show, which I find appealing.   (Tom Smithwick)

      Here is a table of material properties of typical alloys that might be used to make ferrules.  The strength comparison is based on yield strength.

                            Weight     Relative     Relative     

       Densities          Oz.         Weight     Strength   
      nickel silver      5.03         1.00          1.00
      Duronze           4.48         0.89          1.16
      stainless st      4.58          0.91          1.00
      titanium           2.72          0.54           5.37
      brass                5.03         1.00           1.77
      aluminum         1.57          0.31          2.00  (Al Baldauski)

        Thanks for the info. Does this mean that brass is 1.77 times as strong as NS ?  (Bob Norwood)

        What does yield strength/relative strength mean in this chart?  (Don Schneider)

          Yield strength is the point where, when a material is stretched, it takes a permanent set.  That is, it becomes plastic instead of elastic.  If you design a part so that the maximum stress is well below the yield strength, then it is more likely to hold up under all kinds of conditions.

          In the case of a ferrule, if you exceed the yield strength of some part of the ferrule, you wind up with a permanent bend at the joint.

          The relative strength is the strength of one material compared to another.  In this case Nickel Silver is the standard against which the rest are compared, so titanium for instance, is about 5 time stronger that NS and about ½ the weight  (if machined  to  the same dimensions).  (Al Baldauski)

        As you know there is a wide range of property values amongst alloys within a type and even within a specific alloy with various tempers.

        I tried to choose alloys and tempers that I thought would be close to what might be used for ferrules so:

        • 6061T6 aluminum
        • 304 SS
        • 65-10 NS (H0 temper)
        • red brass (H1 temper)
        • titanium 6Al4V
        • Duronze D (H0 temper)

        There is a wide variation in reported values for a given alloy and temper so I tried to get an average.

        The idea of the chart was to get a “rough” idea of how material choice  could affect the finished product.  (Al Baldauski)

        About alloys:

        In the email to Tom, I listed the alloys I used for comparison.  And my intuition says the same as yours does. But there is such a wide range in properties amongst alloys that it is hard to pick which ones were used at which temper to make an accurate comparison.  I chose those that I thought were most likely representative of what would be used for this application but I could be wrong.  Additionally, I found conflicting data for a given alloy and temper so I chose values that were not at the extreme  ends of the range.  For instance, 65-10 NS had a yield strength range of 18,000 to 53,000 PSI for the same temper. I picked 30,000.  I found similar variations in the other alloys.

        Aluminum would be one of the best choices but galling is a terrible issue there.  Anodizing could be the answer to the galling problem but it builds up the surface and getting the right fit would be difficult.  (Al Baldauski)

          I have wondered about aluminum ferrules since measuring an original Paul Young rod with black anodized aluminum ferrules at Grayrock a few years ago.  I do not remember if the inside of the female was anodized.  If not, I suppose one could mate the female to the males???  (Harry Boyd)

            I know there have been ferrules made of aluminum but it makes me cringe!  Aluminum on aluminum is one of the worst candidates for galling and I don’t know that aluminum on anodize is any better.  It might be and that would be a solution, though lapping the female is more of a challenge.  (Al Baldauski)

              How about anodizing the female and lapping the male?  (Dave Norling)

                That would be the way to go if aluminum on anodize worked.  The anodizing process on small parts makes it difficult to get a uniform layer on the inside, though.  It would require a hollow electrode through which the electrolyte was constantly pumped to get good coverage.  Not impossible, but pumping chilled battery acid in the home is a challenging task.  (Al Baldauski)

                I guess I’m missing something here.  Why would you anodize  the male  and lap the female?  Why not anodize the female and only anodize the non slide portion of the male?  Better yet, since type 2 anodize adds  .0005 above and .0005 below the surface, anodize the whole male and then lap to fit the female?  Just surmising.  (Ralph Tuttle)

                  Yep,  that’s another way.  Lapping hardcoat anodize is a challenge, too.  (Al Baldauski)

                    Darryl Hayashida did a lot of experiments with aluminum ferrules.  He had some particular alloys and methods that worked well for him.  A search of the old archives will uncover them.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

                      Darryl Hayashida was using 7075 for his alum. ferrules.  (George Hills)

                      I have a gl*** rod from a custom builder (who started at Phillipson in Colorado) built for me in 1970  that has aluminum ferrule and while I no longer fish it often it saw several years of significant use (BC before children) and is still in fine shape.  My son has a duplicate that I had built for my father-in-law and it is also in fine shape although it has not seen the usage that mine has.

                      As I recall the ferrules were manufactured by Featherweight.   They are completely anodized with an O ring on the male slightly above the end.  I think  they were made obsolete by the Fenwick and spigot ferrule approaches that were becoming the standard for such rods.  They have served me well in both fresh and salt water.  If available I would use these without any misgivings about their serviceability.  There might be a concern about the color, these are red, but in anodizing I would expect that that would not be a real issue.

                      If it would be of interest to anyone I can photo and measure (exterior only as installed).  Probably over the upcoming weekend as I have several conflicts over the next couple of days/evenings.  (Charley McNeill)

                        There is a fellow that sells them on a fairly regular basis on Ebay. They are either gold or silver anodized and never been used. If you don't watch Ebay contact me off list and let me know if you want me to bring it to your attention the next time he puts a bunch up for sale.  (Will Price)

                        I have some in their original  packages in Gold, Aluminum and Black, they were made by Featherweight.  (Tony Spezio)

              Would a thin lubrication (candle wax, e.g.) solve the galling problem, and given the apparent strength to weight advantages, perhaps be worth the inconvenience?  (Roland Cote)

                It possibly could. There’s room for all kinds of experimentation here!  As for me, I’m currently stuck on truncated NS.

                I guess I opened a can of worms pointing out the myriad material possibilities!  (Al Baldauski)

      I too like the looks of the Duronze ferrules. However, there is a thread in the archives where Darryl Hayashida was having difficulty reaming and drilling the stuff until he came across some type of cutting oil, the name of which escapes me.. Do you or anybody else out there find Duronze more difficult to machine than NS. It sure looks like the way to go since NS is getting hard to come by.  (Bill Bixler)

        Duronze poses more difficulty than NS. It heats up more quickly when drilling and reaming, and this can cause a warping problem with ferrules under size 13. Drills must be very sharp (sharp as new) to reduce the heat, and I have overheating or seizing trouble with any other type of drill than (well made) jobbers coated with black oxide.  I avoid typical steel or aluminum cutting fluids with Duronze, and have no knowledge  of Darryl finding a substitute.  (Paul Franklyn)

        Do you or anybody else out there find duronze more difficult to machine than NS.

        Yes, it is. As others have suggested, drilling seems to be the biggest issue. I just use high speed steel drills, but wound up getting a Drill Doctor to get them sharp enough. It works well and made a big difference. I also drill slowly with a firm feed, and back the drill out a couple times to clear the chips, and oil the drill. I'm just using Three in One oil, but have no doubt that a dedicated cutting oil would be better.

        I also ream about .005, and have no problem. I use a carbide tipped threading tool with a slight radius for turning the OD, running at high speed, and find it to be no problem.  (Tom Smithwick)

        I've mentioned on list before that it is a lot more tricky to machine than NS which is like cutting butter by comparison. There are tricks to it of course and the right lube makes a big difference but it's still not what you'd call easy. It tends to over heat easily especially in the smaller sizes and as far as I can tell you can't make the ferrules any lighter than NS because you can't take advantage of the higher strength because you can't make the walls thinner and you can't reduce the ferrule length either.

        Basically if you can get NS use it. Al bronze looks very nice and it's going to be stronger than NS if you use the same dimensions as you would for NS but I think you'll be hard pressed making them any lighter without a serious amount of trouble.  (Tony Young)

          I have found the same difficulties in drilling Aluminum Bronze, it overheats easily and then seizes.  I have found that very sharp drills help as does a slower lathe speed and as fast a feed as possible.  When reaming I take off less metal perhaps 5/6 thousandths rather than 10/12 which means buying some odd sized drills.  On the drill front I was caught out by the fact that many of my drills were titanium nitride coated.  The coating reacts with the bronze causing instant seizure.

          Dormer recommended high speed cobalt but  I  have found - as another chap pointed out - that black coated jobber drills are as good, at least whilst they are sharp.

          What cutting fluid would you recommend?

          On the subject of wall thickness I have less of a problem as this is determined by the external machining which is much easier.  I just use a sharp pointed cobalt tipped tool, modified from a threading tool with a tiny rounding of the point.  Accurate turning is no problem and achieving 15 rather than 20 thou wall thickness is OK.  I use the same tooling on titanium where it also works fine.  (Gary Marshall)

            I did  a search on the Tips Site and this was the page to which I was referring.

            Darryl was having the problem drilling and reaming Duronze and it was Don Schneider who supplied the information on the cutting oil which came from Grizzly. If Don is out there maybe he can chime in.

            This page contains information that refers to solid carbide drills that Darryl used to solve his problem.  (Bill Bixler)

              I talked to Darryl at the time and suggested he use a product called Energy Release that performed very well for me.

              Some time after we talked I tried to re-order and was unable to do so. Called the company, by this time the company had been purchased by another. Although they owned the formula, they had no intention of continuing the line. They only wanted the name of the company for their company/product which had nothing to do with cutting fluid.

              Tried to find out what was in the product but they wouldn't say. I haven't been able to find anything else that works as well.  (Don Schneider)

                Hi Everyone: The product is available at Energy Release for $7.95 a can. (Larry Downey)

                  That's good news.  It was about 3 years ago when I talked to them last, they must have changed their mind. Think I'll order some and try it out in case they have changed the formula. The can looks the same. The old product had a slight odor and a small curl of smoke coming off the bit in use. If it is the same, it's the best cutting fluid I've ever used.  (Don Schneider)

          Everyone talks about ferrule weight, except in the tip of a three piece, it might be just piffle.

          Stiffness might be a bigger factor in casting, particularly because they influence several inches on either side. A step-down bamboo ferrule makes sense. Just maybe.  (Jerry Foster)

            I tend to agree with you.  You can see the differences in stress curves and in my deflection curves but how many among us can tell the difference? Arbitrarily, I looked at a Garrison 202E with a standard ferrule vesus a truncated ferrule and the difference in deflection at the tip is only 1/2 inch during casting.  When I changed it to a three piece rod the tip deflection was only 1 inch greater than a two piece rod with a truncated ferrule.  (Al Baldauski)

            Everyone talks about ferrule weight, except in the tip of a three piece, it might be just piffle.

            I agree that the tip ferrule on a three piece rod makes a significant  difference, much more so than changing ferrule weight a little on a two piece rod, But I also believe that the results you get depend on the type of taper. If you have a smooth slow progressive, variations in ferrule weight loom large. The same differential applied to a Dickerson type taper might be little noticed.

            As I have suggested before, static deflection does not tell this story. It's the momentum of the swinging ferrule weight that makes the difference.  (Tom Smithwick)

              My comments on rod deflection versus ferrules is based computer calculated dynamic deflection which takes into account the assumed acceleration of a rod during casting.  And yes it does show less difference on a faster rod.  (Al Baldauski)

                Does your program use the tinsel strength (MOE) of the ferrule material of the ferrule material, or just its weight?  (Jerry Foster)

                  My program calculates deflection based on the acceleration of all the masses involved, hence ferrule mass, and the resultant moments created.  There is no provision for whether the ferrule has stiffened the 2 to 2 1/2 inches where it's mounted.  (Al Baldauski)


From anyone with a decent scale and any brand of ferrules, the weight for each male and female separately.  In grains or grams or ounces. 

If you have several of the same size,  weigh them all and divide them by the number to get a better average.

If you already have the weights as a set I will gladly take that information.

Same thing with tip tops, guides and strippers.  (Ralph Tuttle)

    CSE, step-downs.

    12/64     female, 51.8 grains. male, 39.5
    13/64     female, 57.1 grains. male, 45.8
    14/64     female, 72.3 grains. male, 54.6
    15/64     female, 77.0 grains. male, 59.5
    16/64     female, 84.6 grains. male, 64.6  (David Atchison)

    Golden Witch 14/64

    female: 5.4 gms
    male: 2.4
    male: 2.4

    CSE 13/64

    female: 3.8 gms
    male: 2.1
    male: 2.2

    Rush River 13/64

    female: 4.2 gms
    male: 2.3
    Male: 2.3  (Henry Mitchell)

    Here’s what I got, Weights are in grams.


    10/64   F  3.0
              M  1.2
    11/64   F  3.5
              M  1.5
    15/64   F  5.6
              M  2.7

    Tony Larson (RUSH RIVER)

    12/64   F  3.6
              M  1.8
    13/64   F  4.0
              M  2.2
    14/64   F  5.0
              M  2.5


    9/64   F  3.0
             M  1.1
    15/64  F  7.0
             M  3.0
    18/64  F  9.0
             M  4.2


    15/64  F  6.7
             M  2.9  (Mark Heskett)


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