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I confess ~

After much consideration I figure to take the heat and confess that I have been fooling around with stainless steel parts on several rods. Yep! it's the truth and I enjoy the results. Not the ferrules they remain nickel silver. The line stop, the cork stop, on occasions the rings, and the butt/bucket. 303 stainless steel turns on the lathe like butter. Very easy to work with, quick to buff, it can be dulled or brought up to a high surface. Accessible and a modest price. It all began after I ran out of 3/4 SS end pieces that Tony Larson kindly sold to me. It was a small amount and didn't last long.

I now have NS round bars and round tubes which allow me to make a choice, NS Vs SS. The contrast of the metals are a warm cast with NS and a blue cast with SS. Both are attractive, and are close enough in value and hue to exist next to each other.  Both accept knurling, and glue well. Both work well. I am concerned that SS may gall so I still use NS for ferrules. It would be interesting if some one more advanced than me made a ferrule out of SS 303 and determined if it would be possible to use ferrules made with SS 303.

Have I violated a precept of tradition? Is it like using epoxy instead of hide glue?

I would be thankful if other members who use SS would respond. I enjoy the working with either metals.  (Richard Kevorkian)

    Just shows that one should not presume, I always thought of it as difficult to machine and too heavy, it seems it might not be. Anyway, the researching zeal is applaudable, well done.  (Robin Haywood)

    I would be thankful if other members who use SS would respond. I enjoy the working with either metals.

    I have some 304 stainless tubing .687 ID X .750 OD that I've been using to make reel seat rings and butt caps. It looks quite nice on a lightweight rod. Stainless is about 10% lighter than NS, and much stronger. The only downside is that there is no practical way to blacken it. I think that Duronze is a better choice for ferrules. If you wanted to try the 303, you would have to fit the ferrule pretty slack to avoid galling. I would think a SS female, and a NS male would work fine, however, and save some weight in the process.  (Tom Smithwick)

    South Bend used stainless ferrules on many of their rods, the ones I've worked on were fine, they fit well and didn't seem to gall.  (John Channer)

    Tom Smithwick was playing around with SS findings.  SS will gall.  I think Tom was going to play around with a bimetal ferrule, one half being SS and the other a dissimilar metal.  Not sure if he's gotten around to doing that yet.  Any progress Tom?  (Mark Wendt)

      Any progress Tom?

      So far, just one set, made with a Duronze female and NS male. It's a couple months old and fitted tightly, but slides together and apart very slickly.  (Tom Smithwick)

        Ah,  so you haven't played with the SS half yet?   (Mark Wendt)

          Nope - I'll get there. I've been overwhelmed for months with getting my house ready for sale, and packing to move to the new one. Nothing happens easy in this housing market. When the details are worked out, I'll post the new address, etc. It ain't a pretty process, but I'm going to have a great workshop where I'm going, if I survive the process of getting there:-(  (Tom Smithwick)

    I think Jerry Drake in Indiana may have used some SS at least in one part of a ferrule.  He may have used something else in the other part to prevent galling.   I think he's out of town fishing at the moment.  (Larry Swearingen)

      You are right, I was out of town fishing. Had a pretty good week too.

      I indeed have used stainless steel for ferrules. Both stainless/stainless and stainless/nickel silver. I was not dissatisfied with both the female and male parts being made of stainless steel and I had no trouble with the combination in any way. I did change the male to nickel silver and I am happy with that too.

      As far a galling goes, all of these metals run dry together will at one time or another gall. I am in the camp that thinks you should lubricate your ferrules.  Don't slosh on the oil or grease, just a very thin film. Use paraffin. Rub on male slide, spread around and wipe off with thumb and finger what will come off, wipe the rest off with a cloth. Like waxing the car. You cant see the thin film of wax on your car and you shouldn't see it on your ferrule.

      For those who like black ferrules, there are industrial processed to blacken the stainless steel. Probably too expensive for use by rodmakers needing only a few pieces.

      With prices of nickel silver being what they are, Stainless steel for at least the female makes sense.  (Jerry Drake)

        Try dry soap from a bar.  (Bret Reiter)

          Bars in WI don't serve soap, mostly just beer!  (Scott Grady)


For those who expressed interest in using stainless steel as a alternative to nickel silver. I recommended the use of stainless steel 303 because of it's easy to machine. Another option to consider, is stainless steel 416 which has a slight advantage over ss 303 as it also machines a bit easier. I would suggest whichever costs the least is the one to choose.  (Richard Kevorkian)


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