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While shopping for the hardware  for #1. I found lots of sites that sell sterling silver bands and rings for cheaper than the NS Sets that are available, and in a lot of different styles also. Are there any problems that you all know of using sterling silver as opposed to NS? I plan on using a cork spacer and two rings for the seat, and wanted to add a flared wooden butt cap to that but cannot find anything like what I want. Seems pretty simple to make. Do most makers use a cap and ring for cork spacers? If using two rings do you just form a larger cork ring at the butt to keep the rings from sliding off, or is there another approach.

a finger size 6 ring = .650"
                      6 & 1/2 = .666"
                      7 = .683"  (Shane Pinkston)

    Isn't sterling silver softer than nickel silver?  I seem to remember having a sterling silver ring once, that deformed after a while.  Also, it tended to kind of "glaze" a bit, meaning that it didn't stay bright and shiny for too long.  It was still silver, just required some buffing with a shirt, or whatever, to get it to shine again.

    If nothing else, it ought to be good for conversation on the river: "You have nickel silver hardware, huh?"  Sniff...  "Well, that's good for those types of rods... Mine, of course is sterling..."

    Just kidding.  (Jason Swan)

      Well, actually this is a coincidence, I just went to the jeweler to collect two butt rings I had made for big two handed rods. I found agate rings in Nbi; and though they are far too big for trout rods, I thought they should suit the two handed rods I want to make. So I went to one of the Senegalese jewelers here and gave him a pic of a agate butt guide asking if he could make it in silver. I gave him a tiger eye ring.  Tiger eye is not agate,  but it  is a  stone  with  a yellow-brown smoky color. Real nice. So he made the ring and it looked real nice. He soldered a silver band the size of the OD of the agate and fixed the feet on it. The stone ring is glued in the ring. Looks real nice. So I asked him to make two more, a green and a red agate. Nice job on these too. The rings cost like a bit over a US$ and the silver rings about 11 US$. Not cheap, but nice. Some people talk about jewelry on the rods, well this IS jewelry!! (Geert Poorteman)

        Wow!  I'll bet those are really nice.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  (Jason Swan)

        Sounds great with  the tiger eye, especially with the reflection it gives out at difference angles. Have you tried to fish with it yet, I'm asking because I am wondering how it will wear (tiger eye is a little softer than Agate, I think)  (Andrew Chan)

    My experience with this issue is limited, but I will tell you what I have seen in hope of getting other folks to comment on this. I think cork spacers are very elegant, and the silver rings sound interesting. Post a URL where we can look at them if you would.

    1. I see no reason why you could not use sterling silver rings. After all, we go to great lengths to polish up our hardware to make it look like sterling.

    2. Most cork spacers seem to be associated with two sliding rings rather than a cap and ring. But this is not a hard and fast rule. If you want a light colored wood with a cap and ring, consider a butternut spacer.

    3. You can use a larger cork ring at the butt to keep the rings in place, but you need to obtain a butt cap to hide the end of the rod (golden witch has them). Note that on some Winston rods they made no attempt at all to hide the end of the rod, and you could see the butt in cross-section by looking at the end of the handle. I am certain that you could figure out a way to shorten the butt or glue an extra ring on the handle so that the rod end is hidden. I have seen this done on hardwood reel seats but never on cork. As a side note, many of the Orvis rods with cork spacers had a flat mortise on the spacer. Looked a bit weird to me.

    4. Doing a cork handle that runs smoothly into a cork spacer is harder than it looks. There aren't any designs in  rodmaking books that you can copy. I ended up trashing a couple of these before I got even close to the look I wanted. Check out rods on eBay for examples.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      To hide the end of the rod, I put a piece of cork on a wooden dowel and put it in an electric drill. With sandpaper, I turn a small mushroom shaped button. Some measuring to make it fit to the cork spacer and then I glue it at the end of the rod. Easy and looks nice.  (Geert Poorteman)

        I have done this as well, but another really nice, decorative touch to allow the end of the blank to be seen.  Sand the last, "button" cork flush with the bank end, and carefully apply four or five thinned coats of varnish just to the end-grain of the cane.  This "wicks" in pretty deeply and will give good protection.  I did this on a friend's rod about 15 years ago, and he just loves to show off that little cross-section.  (Bill Harms)

          I've done that once, on a scrap piece, to see how it looks and yes, it looks very good. Maybe I can try this on one of my next rods.  (Geert Poorteman)


Does anybody know a source for "cheaper" Garrison style reel seat hardware?  Specifically I'm looking for a pocketed cap, sliding ring, and a cork check.  I'd like to try a cheaper set to see if I like that seat style.  (Lee Orr)

    I use a cap meant for welding as a stopper on gas and water copper piping. I use the brass ring that has some utility in the fitting business unknown to me. I have made a dowel to widen one side 8° and another to make a pocket in the cap. The ID is 22 mm. It is maybe not as fancy as NS hardware, but it works and it is not ugly... at all!  (Geert Poorteman)


My question today deals with reel seats.  I'm sure this is a question that deals with personal preference - but I would sure appreciate your opinions.

My first rod is going to be the PHY Midge and I've decided to go with a cork reel seat with sliding bands - so I have no real question there.

The other two rods are going to be Sid D's.  One for myself and one for a Christmas gift.  What is is the "proper" type of reel seat for this taper.  I realize that there probably isn't a proper seat, but I haven't seen a lot of cane rods (a few of Alex Wolff's that look beautiful). 

I also haven't cast a lot of rods.  My only experience is with hoods and locking nuts.  For those of you who fish your rods a lot, do you prefer locking nuts, cap and ring, or slide bands?  Why?  I'm probably going to go with a walnut reel seat.  How well do the cap and ring, or slide bands hold the reel?  Do they come loose? 

Finally, do you have a favorite source for reel seat components?  I've looked at REC, Golden Witch, and Rush River.  I'm sure there are others out there that I just don't know about.  I'm hoping to turn my own wood spacer from some Walnut that I have.  (Aaron Gaffney)

    You're correct, this is largely a matter of opinion.  I prefer cap and ring seats on anything smaller than an 8.5' 6 weight.  The seats are lighter than screw locking reel seats and do a good job of holding small to medium sized reels.  If your sliding band seat fits properly you should have no problems with a 7' 4 weight.  I have only used dual sliding rings a coupla times.  On any filler other than cork they don't seem to hold as well as I like.  Not so with cap and ring seats.

    Several times I have bemoaned the fact that there are few really nice looking (IMO) aluminum reel seats available.  Were there a nice looking aluminum seat one would save enough weight over nickel silver to make it attractive.  If you really want a seat that does a great job, use a Fuji composite seat with the plastic insert in the sleeve.  It does a better job of holding a reel than anything on the market.  It's ugly as a mud fence, though.

    Manufacturers?  I like Bellinger, REC, Venneri, Larson, CSE, and some Struble and a few Golden Witch seats - not in that order.  I use a custom cap and ring seat on all my smaller rods,  and screw-locking seats from some of those mentioned on longer, heavier rods.  Browse through the web sites of some bamboo rodmakers and see what catches your fancy.  You'll find something you like.

    One final word.... don't scrimp on your reel seats (or especially ferrules!) for your first rods.  Chances are good those early rods are going to be around a long time and you'll wish you had spent the extra $10-30.  (Harry Boyd)

      Pacific Bay this year began offering a locking nickel silver seat that is very light weight and nice to look at. The wood spacers are well done in rosewood burl or tiger maple. The hood under the cork is anodized aluminum, which helps with the weight. You saw one at SRG on my 5 wt rod with the Thramer taper. Cabelas has them for $17.  I've not seen anyone comment on them  since they appeared five months ago. I've been pleased with the first two.  Here is the link if it comes through; otherwise go to the rod building section under flyfishing at Cabela's.  (Paul Franklyn)

      I agree with Harry. I really like the look and simplicity of a cap and ring. My first couple of rods I put screw locks on because that's what I was used to getting from manufacturers of the "other" kind of fly rods.

      Although I don't run down to the river any more, I do like to just drop my reel in the cap and slide the band on. No hassle with trying to unscrew the aluminum hardware like I have on my model 50. I once had to take a pair of pliers to it to get the reel off.  (Mike Canazon)

    The real seats that I prefer are made with an internal taper on the cap and ring. Golden Witch has some of these and so does Struble (the D-27). The internal taper really locks onto a reel foot securely. I have actually gone fishing with just the wood insert glued onto the rod and the components just fit onto the reel. Nothing came loose all day long.

    Bellinger is working on getting their new lathe up and running and will be working with individual makers to design unique hardware. they will have the capability to machine these internally tapered components.

    I have not used a non-internally tapered reel seat on any rod for at least the last two years and never will (OK maybe I shouldn't say never).   (Jeff Fultz)

    Harry's input is right on - especially the last part about not scrimping on your reel seat. Five years from now, the $30 you save with a cheap real seat won't mean anything. You want to pick up one of your rods and think, "Wow, I really made myself a nice rod."  (Tom Bowden)

    I also prefer the cap and ring reel seats w/ an internal taper. (David Van Burgel)

    My last 2 rods were Sir D tapers and I used uplocking hardware from REC and turned the spacers myself from walnut on one, and cherry on the other. They turned out well and fish great. I have never used the caps and sliding bands but I intend to try it on a future Sir D and see how I like it.  (Bill Bixler)


Does anyone sell or know of someone who sells a flared real seat insert?  I am looking for an insert similar to the one Rush River used with their sliding bands at the link below.  They sell the hardware but not the insert.

Flared Reel Seat

(Matt Fuller)

    Why not just email Rush River and ask him?

    There's also Bellinger and Bob Venneri.  (Mark Shamburg)

      I talked to Tony's wife today and she confirmed that he does not make those.  Tony was out of town but she was going to check with him to see if he knows who might.

      Venneri is a good idea.  I need to check with him. It looks like Bellinger just sells the complete seat.  (Matt Fuller)

    Unless you roll your own, why not just get the whole set from someone that does. I would think it would be tough to make an insert without having the bands to measure or match the insert to. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm wanting to make a double band reel seat, mortised, flared, and a hex nickel silver button on the end.  (David Dziadosz)

    REC Components sells them with the hardware included. They are fairly pricey IIRC.  (Will Price)


Does anyone know who might sell the piece of NS that goes between the cork handle and the reel seat?  What is the name of that thing anyway?

I have bought some cap and sliding bands but they did not come with that other piece.  (Matt Fuller)


Any ideas on where to purchase reel seats? I am still very much in the learning stage of rod building and would like a source for moderately priced reel seats.  (Bill Gates)

    Check w/ Jeff Wagner for nickel silver and aluminum seats and/or hardware from Struble and REC that should fill the bill. (Steve Yasgur)

    You could also try Rush River Rods.  Good folks, high quality, very reasonable. (Bob Brockett)

      Absolutely agree!  Rush River offers bar stock ferrules in half, full, and 3-piece-rod sets, and cap-and-ring and double-ring sets, as well as unfinished spacers/fillers.  I've bought all three with great satisfaction.  He also sells wonderful reel seat filler blanks for those of you rollin' your own.  As a side note, if you're looking for a rail gun for bench rest competition, Tony's your guy!  (Steve Yasgur)

      I have been using reel seats from Chet Croco at Bellingers for the last couple of years, and I really like them; especially his Cork Core seats for special rods.  I still use some from REC, too, and have no complaints either with the product or the service in either case.  (Peter McKean)

    All of the "usual sources" will have inexpensive to moderately priced options.  I have purchased them from J Stockard, Jann's Netcraft, Hook & Hackle, Mud Hole and others.  PacBay and American Tackle offer some of the least expensive options.  This one from Jan's Netcraft is listing for $9.59.  I've used it before and found it quite satisfactory.  (Paul Gruver)

    I'm a Struble dealer and can work you a good deal on anything Struble makes. Reel seats, agate stripers....... Feel free to contact me off list and we can talk.  (Frank Drummond)

    Also check out J Stockard, the have nicely made components for a steal.  (Chris Obuchowski)


Is there anyone other than REC that sells a pre-made Garrison style pocketed cap and ring real seat?  (Greg Reeves)


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