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I am building a quadrate for my second rod but I am not sure about some of the details:

Ferrules - Can square ferrules be purchased, if so where?  Or, do standard ferrules need to be modified and made square?

Binding - Should a Garrison style binder not be used?  If not, what are the alternatives?

Tip Top - I assume nothing special here other than rounding the blank where the tip top tube will fit, or is there another way?

Tapers - From what I have read if you convert a hex taper using equivalent cross section the resulting quad taper will be faster, if you convert the hex taper using stress the resulting quad taper will be slower.  Anyone have experience with this?  I converted a Para 15 taper using equivalent stress and I don't think I would not want it to be slower than the hex design.

Enamel - Is there a problem with removing power fibers when making the outer side flat?  Seems like more enamel will have to be removed than with a hex.

What else?  Any other advice would be appreciated.  (Kyle Druey)

    I am not aware of the availability of square ferrules, but it is possible to buy ferrules with four tabs.  Rush River Rods has nice ones.

    Some builders of quads have commented that the sections don't roll smoothly in a Garrison style binder.  I use a Smithwick binder; a Milward style four-string binder would probably be better.

    I usually square the tip top over a piece of square stock filed to a point.

    That fits with my experience.  I have compensated by choosing moderately fast action rods,  the powerful Dickersons for example, to convert by stress.  It has worked pretty good.

    You will lose some power fibers if you sand the outside flat, especially at the butt.  It is a considerable amount.  It is possible to sand the  flats and maintain the radius of the bamboo, I do this even for hex rods.  An easy way to accomplish it is to tape a piece of coarse sandpaper to a 2" diameter pipe and sand a concave curvature in a hard rubber sanding block. I have done the calculations to correct for leaving the curvature, and I think it is also in Bob Milward's book.

    Other advice, be careful of the edges of the strips, they are very fragile.  Be prepared to produce some extra strips, I usually expect to throw away about half the strips when building quads because a fiber will peel off the corner, or a scarf will chip.

    Good luck!  (Bill Lamberson)

    I assume others will also respond but I give you some information.  I'm working on my first two quads on a Morgan Handmill, milled 4 tips so far, starting on the the two butts tonight.

    1)  Square ferrules - Bob Nunley can provide squared ferrules, others make their own and round ferrules can be used if the ferrule stations are built up with something to avoid cutting into the power fibers.  I'll probably do round (turn my own) until I'm really happy with the quality of the blanks then I'll either buy squared quad ferrules from Bob Nunley or make my own.

    2)  Garrison binders won't work,  the quad being square won't turn - most people use a four string binder where the binding string is rotated around the blank. - Bob Nunley posted the other day he had an extra for sale - I bought mine from Skip Shorb, a list member

    3)  Tip tops - use round one large enough to fit over square and epoxy will fill gaps, rounding too much cane away will eliminate power fibers

    4)  Tapers and conversion - some good info available in Power Fibers web magazine

    5)  Enamel - I remove the enamel same as a hex - put in my hex forms and scrape with L-N 212 scraper prior to final planing

    6)  Quads are very tricky with the 45 degree angles, edges much shaper and easier to damage and  tearout at nodes much greater than hexes (I plan to make some nodeless quads later this summer to see if that improves things.)

    In general Quads and quad theories are a more of a secretive thing than hexes although the Rodmakers list has greatly helped with sharing of info.  In addition, the invention of the Morgan Handmill has given the ability to do quads to many more builders (like me) since the handmill can do hexes, quads and pentas without the need for separate forms and the Morgan Handmill list service has helped with the sharing of information.  (Bob Williams)

    Since the other questions have been answered, I'll just take on a couple. On the matter of taper conversion, I would suggest you stay away from the stress method. Stresses in a quad are much lower and the rod will be much softer. Hex D X .93 will give you equal areas, and the rod will cast the line weight, but will feel slower, at least on lighter, shorter rods. I will admit to having no experience with heavier rods. I have had better luck with D X .95 as the conversion factor, the rods having a feel closer to the hex, but with a big reserve of power. That may not be the case with a rod like a para 15, but If I were going to build one, that's where I would start. Worst case scenario, you wind up with a line weight heavier. All of this flies in the face of mathematics and theory, but that is what I have seen in my own rods and those of others.

    The easiest way around the ferrule problem is to use an oversized truncated ferrule. Build up the ferrule seat area with cane or hardwood strips, and size the ferrule so you only slightly round the corners of the blank. It works and looks OK, and the weight is kept down by the short ferrules.  I would not have suggested a Quad as your second rod. You will find the strips have a tendency to wiggle in the forms and mess up the angles, also, the edges are fragile and will want to split. Keep the strips in the deepest section of the form as you work, and keep your plane very sharp. Straighten the strips as well as you can before planing, as this will help them sit well in the forms.  (Tom Smithwick)


I decided to post answers to the questions I received off list about the quad forms I built.

DK, Quad FormsBasically, its a three bar form made in much the same way the Penrose forms are made. You use the same procedures as outlined by Penrose, with the following modifications

1) All three bars of 0.75 inch  CRS are clamped together, draw filed, and drilled.

2) Each station has a doweling pin. The outside bars each have a set of push/pull screws located on the same side as the bar (they are on opposite sides with the Penrose design), with the cap screw and set screw on either side of the doweling pin.

3) To file the groove the middle bar is removed and the two outside bars are fastened together with the cap screws. A square mill file is glued to a wooden block that has a 90 degree trough routed in it.

4) After filing out the groove, assemble the bars  with the square, non-grooved, middle bar back in place.

5) I built a special 45 degree grooved tray for my Medved Beveler, otherwise you will have to make a special roughing form that has a similar groove as the tray.

DK, Quad Bed6) You can buy a Starrett 45 degree contact point for around $3 (MCS part number 58713181). You use the indicator and 45 degree contact point the same way as with 60 degree forms, the only difference is that the indicator reading (i) is exactly half of the desired groove depth (this will make sense if you work out the math)

    i = 0.5*(desired groove depth)

The only exception to this is if the desired groove depth is greater than the diameter of the contact point, in that case the indicator reading (i) should be

    i = desired groove depth - 0.5*(diameter of 45 degree contact point)

(again, do the math and it will make sense)

7) The dimensions for the forms and splines will be as follows

    apex-to-flat dimension = 0.5 * (flat-to-flat dimension)
    form depth = (((apex-to-flat)^2)*2)^0.5
    i = indicator reading for form depth (see 6 above)

8) These are 6' forms with 5" stations. Butt side starts at 0.200" and ends at 0.113", tip side starts at 0.113" and ends at 0.025", the slope of the groove is 0.00125" per inch. Not sure if the larger taper is necessary, but it made sense to me at one time.

That's about it. It was more time consuming than making 60 degree forms, but it wasn't more difficult. I probably left out some critical details, so drop me a note if you need more information.

Good luck.  (Kyle Druey)


Just finished my first quad blank on Tony's forms (Check's in the mail Tony!). Came out pretty good for my first, and  quite frankly, I don't see what all the fuss is over planing quads. I found it a most pleasurable experience and think it's actually EASIER than a hex. I used a Smithwick style binder attached to my lathe (easy forward- reverse, both hands free, variable speed, etc..) Altered my Medved style beveler to cut rough 90's and and across the board had two less flats to deal with. I love it!!!

Something tells me the fun is about to start. I need to ferrule this puppy and I was wondering if any of you would like to part with some wisdom regarding this step. How much cane is too much to be taking off the corners? If I build up the ferrule station with cane, won't this cause a dead spot in the action (deader than it is already?) Anyone trying step-down truncated on a quad?  (Eamon Lee)

    Use oversized ferrules. I have long been using Ray Gould's figures in determining the proper quad sized round ferrules.  (Bob Maulucci)

    I turn down the blank until a third of the flat down the middle is untouched. That is, the corners are rounded until a third of the flat is sanded (filed, cut, whatever you use) on both sides, leaving the middle of the flat untouched. The only problem with this is you don't know what size ferrule you need until you are done sanding the blank. I suppose if I had paid attention to what size I ended up with after measuring flat to flat I could tell you how much over you need, but sorry, I didn't. I didn't need to use any bamboo slivers to fill the gaps, the glue does enough filling.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    Brilliant idea, binder attachment for the lathe! I'll be making one this weekend, thanks for mentioning it. Too bad I don't have a 5' long bed on mime, I could attach the blank to the tool holder and have it pull it thru.  (John Channer)


Not a deep subject, but would appreciate hearing your experience with planing on quad forms vs. hex.  I am getting forms this month and wondering if I should be prepared for some surprises.  I expect to soak, rough bevel and plane to near final, dry then final plane the strips.  (Ted Godfrey)

    My only advice outside of normal planing is to make sure you work the strips slowly down into the more shallow grooves. It is easy to try to plane too much away at the tips. If they are unsupported, they will end up flat when they cant to the side and you plane the apex away by mistake.

    At least that is what they tell me....(Bob Maulucci)

      What Bob said, and... planing down a thousandth for a hex is equivalent to removing 1.4 thousandth on a quad, in terms its effect on the pith side dimension.  On my hex forms I like to set the forms 5 thousandths under dimension, but on the quad forms I only have to undersize them by about 2 thousandths to get the same effect.

      The easiest way for me to plane on the quad forms is to place the strip in the middle of the form and plane the entire strip down to the forms, then move the strip up to the next station and plane the entire strip down to the forms again, then continuing to do this station by station until the strip is at its intended station (let me know if this  doesn’t make  sense and I will  try to explain it better :)).  As Bob said, if the strip is too thick and is raised up out of the form too far it will cant on you and you end up planing the apex flat!.

      Hope this helps.  (Kyle Druey)

    I don't know about planing quads in the adjustable forms, but with my Hand Mill, one of the trickiest things to watch out for is the edge that forms at the outer angles of the strips.  Protecting these areas is sometimes very difficult, since that angle is so acute.

    What happens on the Hand Mill would probably happen in planing forms too - excess downward pressure tends to cause some micro-shearing of the fibers along the outer edges.  This happens with quad strips more easily than with the hex shape, just because the 45 degree angle is so much more delicate than is the 60 degree angle of the hex.

    As a second concern with a quad strip , because it is equal across its flat to the full dimension of the rod (at any given station), these strips want to resist "nestling-in" with their mates when running through the binder. Hex strips presents little difficulty in this regard.

    Also, because quad strips are so "beefy"  in the butt section, they sometimes want to resist laying perfectly flat in the planing forms.  So, if they have not been  straightened perfectly, they may  plane out to dimensions, here and there, that are smaller than your intended "target."

    The adjustable quad forms may offer other surprises, but I wouldn't know. Anyhow, in general,  getting a really well-built quad is more difficult than any hex counterpart.  All the tolerances are just harder to nail down.  (Bill Harms)


Just a quick question.  When determining the correct size for a quad ferrule, should it be done the same way as for a hex ferrule?  IE:  x 64 ?   (Doug Hall)

    Rod diameter times four divided by pi. I have a spreadsheet that will do it for you if anyone wants it. So, for example, if your blank was .156 at the ferrule, your ferrule should be .199 or about 13/64. The credit for this goes to the great George Barnes. (Bob Maulucci)

    I like to size the quad ferrules as follows:   diameter X 1.41 x 0.80 x 64, then round up to the next size.  (Kyle Druey)


I recently purchased a set of Quad forms and am now requesting you guys help.  How Do I set the forms for depth?  What are the little tricks that I  will need to know  to build these four sided babies?  (Bill Taylor)

    Rush River Rods just sent me new tool this week for setting quad forms that he designed and machined. You can use it with your calipers to set the height and match both sides of the form identically. It is quite ingenious and simple. You can contact him at I have yet to use mine, but the concept is sound, and I think it is worth the small fee he is charging for it. ($25). Drill rods are a pain in the butt section to use, and I have never felt very confident about setting the forms as compared to my mill or Hand Mill until now. I usually end up making a test strip and adjusting from there, but then, how do you know what side the deviation is on?

    Another helpful thing is to make a chart of conversions in a spreadsheet. That way, when you know you want a .280 butt section you do not need to do the math to get the forms height. You can just eyeball the chart and get the right numbers to set the forms to. Half depth times .707. The Best of the Planing Form has a great article by John Irgens on quad forms and setting them.  (Bob Maulucci)

      Here is the math on Rush River Rods quad setting tool which allows you to set the depth of the quad forms.  The tool has a bar with a 45 degree angle on one end that sets down inside the quad form grooves.

      Let's assume you have a station with a desired finished quad measurement of .212.  Divide the .212 in half to get .106.  Multiply the .106 by the conversion factor of 1.414 (1/.707 = 1.4144272) and you get 1.4992928, lets say for ease .150 (which is the depth that you must set you forms at).  To set Tony's form setting tool at the proper depth, you lower the brass bar so only .850 (1.000 - .1500) of the bar extends above the top of the tool base or 1.850 (2.000 - .1500) from the bottom of the tool base, which leaves .150 extended from the bottom.  Open the forms up, set the tool in the forms and adjust the screws until the tool is setting flush with the forms.  I think a light shining from behind the tool would assist in making sure the tool base is flush.  You must close the forms enough to raise the tool from being flush with the forms and then open them gradually until the base is flush.  Otherwise the setting could be greater than you desire with the tool setting flush with the forms. Once the groove is set on one groove of the form, set the tool in the other groove and repeat the same process to get  the base exactly flush with the forms.

      To check the math use the old Pythagorean theorem - A (apex) squared (106 * 106 = 11,236) + B squared (106 * 106 = 11,236) = C squared (150 * 150 = 22,500) and you should get 22,472 = 22,500, close enough.

      Without seeing the tool all the stuff above might see like gibberish, but the tool and how it is used is pretty neat.  (Bob Williams)


In some of my first quad tip sections there seems to be a "invisible" twist. The section is straight but it bends making some twist. I cannot see the reason by looking the blank and they are looking same as the non-twisting tips, but there certainly has to be some asymmetry in the individual strips? Is quad somehow more sensitive to some skewness or asymmetry in triangle shape because this has never happened in my hexes. I am hand planing and using a wooden form.  (Tapani Salmi)

    I always use my forms to check for straightness or a short straight edge on a particularly nasty section. I lay the strip on the forms and press them to see flex, etc....  (Bob Maulucci)

    I think what you are learning is that small imperfections that usually are not noticeable with a hex are magnified and noticeable with quads.  Any small crooks and sweeps not straightened prior to gluing will be much more visible.  This is due to the flats being approximately 1.6 times wider with quads versus a comparable hex.  Straightening your strips when making quads becomes much more significant!  You can count on these imperfections being magnified and noticeable throughout every operation in making your quadrate rod... wraps, ferruling, varnishing, gluing, etc.  Good luck, I hope you enjoy your new quad.  (Kyle Druey)


I was just sitting here, contemplating, <G> and realized I haven't seen anything on the list about putting ferrules on quad rods. (Subject may have been on the list, but I didn't see it if it was...).

When you put a ferrule on a quad, do you cut away the corners of the quad so it becomes circular with the diameter of the flats, or do you add 4 slivers of bamboo to build up the flats to the same diameter as the corners?   The first method would seem to me to cause a weak spot, while the latter would seem to make the ferrule much larger than really necessary...   Or, is it somewhere in between, knocking off part of the corners, and making the four sides into eight sides, then just filling the gaps between the 8 flats and the ferrule with epoxy?

Or do you make special ferrules with the end of the ferrule round, and the rest square?  If so, how far into the ferrule does the bamboo go - clear to the end (male ferrule), or just to the place where it turns from square to round?

Where do you get your quad ferrules?  I looked at all the suppliers listed on the Rodmaker's web site, but didn't see any advertised as being for quads, except at one site that offered ferrules with either six slots or four.  (Claude Freaner)

    Or, is it somewhere in between, knocking off part of the corners, and making the four sides into eight sides, then just filling the gaps between the 8 flats and the ferrule with epoxy?

    That's what I do.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    I multiply the station by 4 and divide by pi. I use that size ferrule and cut the stations (built up with bamboo cutoffs that are simply the ends of the strips flipped over and glue enamel side to enamel side so the apex faces up).

    I am using the four serrated Super Swiss ferrules from Tony Larson (round ferrules).  I have swaged many sets using punches from Jeff Wagner, and while I do feel it is worth the effort, I am using the pre bought ferrules until I am out of them. Soon I will begin again to make all my ferrules, and then I will swag them all.   (Bob Maulucci)

    Actually that is close to what I do. I round the corners leaving the middle third of the flat untouched and fit a ferrule to that. Before I made my own ferrules I added a 64th or two to the flat to flat measurement for the  ferrule size.  (Darryl Hayashida)


Quadrate rods are getting my interest. First of all I really like the way they look. I have had the pleasure of casting one last Sunday and I very much liked the action of that rod too. So I have done a little research the past few day's and I would like to get an opinion of you guy's.

When we talk about bamboo rods the first thing that comes to mind is a hexagonal rod but when I talked to the man who's rod I played with last Sunday he kept telling me there is nothing better than a good tapered quadrate rod. Is it just personal preference or is there some truth in his words?

He said (and some of this info I found on other peoples web sites too) that quadrate rods:

  • deal better with loading than hexagonal rods
  • cast more accurate
  • have a smoother, wider range of power
  • correct casting faults
  • are significantly lighter

If all of these "statements" are true then why do people stick to hexagonal? Is this because they are "easier" to make because of the problems with ferrules and quadrate rods are more difficult to plane? Or is it just because some people like to have something different and tend to think they, for instance, load better just because they want to?  (Danny Heus)

    I often think the hoopla over four sided rods is similar to that with silk lines.  Quads are definitely harder to build.  Bad four sided rods as bad or worse than bad hexes.  There are few good quad tapers floating around.  Conversion from hex to quad only kinda/sorta works.  Round ferrules don't fit square blanks.  And the list goes on and on.  Silk lines aren't "better" than plastic lines,  nor are they worse....  they're just different.  Silk lines don't go through guides easier.  They don't float higher.  They don't lift off the water more easily.  They do handle wind a little better, but they require many times the maintenance and investment of plastic lines.  Not better, just different.

    To top it off, your friend's list of glowing praises for quads are all blatantly false.

    • Quads do not deal better with loading than hexagonal rods.  Good casters deal better with loading than bad casters.
    • Quads are not more accurate.  No rod is or is  not accurate.  Casters are or are not.
    • Quads do not have a smoother, wider range of power.  Quad A may have a smoother, wider range of power than Hex Z, but that's not because the quad geometry is better than the hex.
    • Quads do not correct casting faults.  Casting  coaches help. So does practice.
    • Quads are not significantly lighter.  Apples and oranges.

    Having probably put in more than my two cents worth, let me state clearly that I have cast some great four sided rods.  Not many, but some.  And I have some great friends that think all the statements your friend made are true.  I don't agree, but I'm still friends with those who are mistaken <g> in their praise of four sided rods.  (Harry Boyd)

      I'm pretty much with Harry down the line on this, with the possible exception of strength to weight ratio. That said I have one quad that I truly love, but I attribute this to the fact that this particular rod works for me, rather than any inherent superiority of the format.  (Len Safhay)

      I mostly agree with you.  A couple of exceptions.  I think that a hex tracks better than a round rod (especially a hollow hex) and a quad should track better than a hex.

      Your experience with silk may be impacted by the climate you fish in most often.  Silk lines only provide some of the benefits you deny if the line is relatively fresh and not soaked.  That won't last long in high humidity.  With care, it can last several hours in a dry climate.  If you really want to enjoy silk, you'll just have to move out west with us.  :)   (Jerry Madigan)

      2.    Quads are not more accurate.

      I've thought about this one a bit and it seems like a hex with apexes at 90 degrees to the casting plane would give the rod more stiffness in that plane and therefore encourage the rod to flex in the casting plane which to me would enhance  the accuracy??   (David Van Burgel)

    deal better with loading than hexagonal rods

    Given that the cross-section is different, quads respond differently to loading, but whether it's "better" lies in the eye of the beholder...  :-)

    cast more accurate

    There may be some subtle theoretical difference in that quads tend to track along the plane of the cast better, but the largest part of casting accuracy lies with the skill of the person behind the rod.

    have a smoother, wider range of power

    Does seem so, but how much of this is intrinsic to the rod, and how much can be ascribed to the difference in feel, I cannot say.

    correct casting faults

    Hahahaha!  :-)   I don't know of any rod that will "correct" one's casting faults, as the cause of them exists separate from the rod...  :-)

    are significantly lighter

    Rather depends on how much weight difference you call "significant".  The cross-sectional area is somewhat less, and thus a quad is usually a bit lighter, but I don't know that it makes that much difference.  Certainly, more weight could be saved via reel selection, etc.

    If all of these "statements" are true then why do people stick to hexagonal? Is this because they are "easier" to make because of the problems with ferrules and quadrate rods are more difficult to plane? Or is it just because some people like to have something different and tend to think they, for instance, load better just because they want to?

    Quads are different, and have a different feel.  That feel resonates well with some, and not with others.  Same can be said for slow Vs. fast Vs. parabolic actions, and even different tapers within those action categories.

    If you think you like quads, experiment with them, by all means!  You may want to investigate two-strip (aka "Poor Man's") quads. They can be a bit "interesting" to plane, especially tip sections, but the construction method is forgiving enough that even if your work is less than perfect, IMHO, you can turn out a pretty decent rod. My first rod was a two-strip quad, and I have no regrets going that route.  (Todd Enders)

    When we talk about bamboo rods the first thing that comes to mind is a hexagonal rod but when I talked to the man who's rod I played with last Sunday he kept telling me there is nothing better than a good tapered quadrate rod. Is it just personal preference or is there some truth in his words?

    Personal preference, this is a silver bullet.

    deal better with loading than hexagonal rods
    cast more accurate
    have a smoother, wider range of power
    correct casting faults
    are significantly lighter

    In theory and on paper you can come to these conclusions, but in the end its up to the caster to make it reality.  I think quads are the casters rod.

    If all of these "statements" are true then why do people stick to hexagonal? Is this because they are "easier" to make because of the problems with ferrules and quadrate rods are more difficult to plane? Or is it just because some people like to have something different and tend to think they, for instance, load better just because they want to?

    1) Personal preference, you can never refute this, either you like it or you don't.

    2)  Quads are a PITA to make.  In particular, tapers are difficult to design and develop, ferruling has a unique set of problems, and when you make quads you become a "naked rodmaker"  :)  since all imperfections are magnified by the larger flats... there is nowhere to hide!

    3)  I think quads are more demanding of the caster; you can't be a sloppy or lazy caster and expect a quad to perform.

    I know many others will disagree, but you asked!  Have fun.  (Kyle Druey)

    I make many quadrate rods. I have tried a lot of Edwards and also modern quadrate rods from John Zimny, Bill Harms, Robert Kope, Joe Perrigo, Tim Zietak, (and many others). I like the light in hand feel, and I also think that the quadrates have a nice range of power. However, with quadrates being harder to make well, many avoid trying to make them.

    I think that there is nothing keeping a hexagonal rod from being as good as a quad. They have different feels, but it is ultimately the designer and maker that creates a good rod and not geometry alone. It is sort of like some maker's theory on nodeless rods - if they are able to add stiffness, why not simply adjust the taper on your noded rod?  Granted, there are some theoretical reasons for which geometries are better in an engineering sense, but it is also hard to beat the hundreds of years (among all classic and modern makers) of rod design that has proven which hexagonal tapers work well.   (Bob Maulucci)

      I have one of Bob's quads. I, and all that have cast it, are amazed by the power of the rod. Whether that is due to it being a quad, the taper, or some Voodoo Bob preformed over the rod, only Bob knows. Rarely have I seen a hex of similar size and line weight throw line like that. Then that may just be my casting style/ability.

      Oh yea, my flies always go where I want them to with this rod, no matter where I am looking or casting. <g>  (Rich Jezioro)

        I hope no one takes this as a flame;  it is not meant to be, but I think you guys are wimping out.  I am not a fan of nor do I desire to be a fan of quadrates,  but I think you all should be aware, that from a scientific point of view quadrates  are lighter, have the lowest aerodynamic profile and the lowest stress factor of all other configurations including round.  To extol their virtues by claiming that you like them better is hardly conducive to winning converts.  When you got it flaunt it!!!  (Ralph Moon)

        Incidentally, I am only conveying to you what someone more knowledgeable than I has put to the test.  If you have not read Don Philips' The Technology of Fly Rods your education has been sadly neglected.  It is a must read book for rod makers.


This may be a silly question, but why do quad planing forms come as a set (left and right)? Or did I misread the Wagner web page?  (Paul McRoberts)

    Examine the geometry of hex, quad and penta sections, hexagonal rods are the only ones that can be made on a forms with one groove. Any other shape requires 2 grooves, one left side and one right side, because there are 2 different angles(actually 3, but one is made automatically) to be planed.  (John Channer)


I have done may things now already in rodmaking and am now tempted to try four sided rods. I think I have a good idea about how they are made. And there are tapers around too. I believe (but I have not yet done a proper search in the archives) that there are also formulas for changing six sided rod tapers in 4 sided tapers. But first things first, I need forms. I think I understood that four sided rods are made in forms consisting of three pieces, one in the middle and the two  on the side  with a filed form in them, adjustable to form the V. Strips are planed alternatively in the right and the left V. But how do I make the forms? Any tutorials on this on the net somewhere? Anybody having experience? I will make my forms in wood.  (Geert Poorteman)

    As soon as I get a round tuit ...

    I will try to make some quad forms in steel in the same way that Wagner does.  He makes a separate form for left and right strips, adjustable independently.

    It would be great to hear about appropriate maximum and minimum depths for the butt and tip groove.  (Grayson Davis)

    Sorry for the following, I just couldn't resist commenting.  In life we all need to see a little more humor to lighten the daily load and I got a chuckle out of Grayson's use of "a round tuit"

    "a round tuit" - I've being looking for "a round tuit" in my shop for a couple years now, at times I've seen it scurry throughout my shop, sometimes when I think I'm close to getting my hands around it, it slips away from me again.  It sure is an elusive rascal.  We all know that a quad tuit, pent tuit and hex tuit are all useless, it just has to be "a round tuit." Hopefully I will get "a round tuit" this weekend, at times it can be the most useful tool I have for building rods.

    I have a set of Jeff's separate bar quad forms and they are excellent forms, far superior to the three bar set of quads forms I initially owned.  (Bob Williams)

    You'll find something related to the topic here.  (Tapani Salmi)


What are the pros and cons of making a quad rod?  Are there any good web sites on the subject.   (Alistair Dunlop)

    The pros, as I see it are aesthetics only, they look different and have a higher resistance to torsion so they track truer when casting ( I think I am correct on this one?)

    The disadvantages are they are a lot more harder work than hex rods and you need a special set of forms with TWO sets of grooves. Details about the forms needed were published some years back in the 'Planing Form' by JK Wheeldon.

    That said, I have made quads by gluing the strips to a tapered wooden form and then planing the strips to the shape of the form. I believe Tapani Salmi once published the basics of how this works on his web site?  If he is reading this perhaps he will chirp in with the correct spelling of his name and details of his simple forms.  (Paul Blakley)

    You might try the two strip (PMQ) quad that Richard Tyree came up with several years ago. I made several on a linear taper that I like. I have two articles in Power Fibers on this if you are interested.  (Tony Spezio)

    Check this out.  (Paul Blakley)

    Still some pros: more challenges for year 2007 when working with hand tools! Some tips.

    Some results.

    Salmi, Tapani Golden QuadYes, it is coated with gold leafs (or actually brass leafs!).   (Tapani Salmi)


I'm getting ready to make my first 4 strip quad. Are the forms set to the full depth of the strip rather than 1/2 like on hexes.   (Tony Spezio)

    The depth of the form is the  dimension of the short sides  of the strip. The long side of the strip, which is equal to the  thickness of the rod, lies on the 45° angle side of the groove. The  length of the short sides, which is both the depth and the width of  the groove is .707 X the long side. If you have depth gauge with a  tip ground to 45°, you can use it to set the depth of the groove.  Make a drawing of a cross section of the forms, and this will make  sense to you.  You can also use the drill rod method using the  formula in George Barnes' book.

    Being math challenged, on the few quads I built, I just used test  strips to set the forms.  (Tom Smithwick)

      As Tom says, use test strips by making a first strip as a sample, slow as you go, using it to calibrate the forms in progress. Usually you can use the test strip to be included and glued up in the rod if you wish, or just put it aside for future work. This works for penta's also and even hex, would you believe? Seems to me that using test strips rather than depth gauges gets you there faster because it picks up on your individual planing style.  (Bill Fink)

    I don't build quad rods, but I've been trying to help Tony out setting his.

    I keep reading that you want a 45 degree point on a depth gauge to set the forms.  Is that 45 degrees "included angle" or "half angle"? 

    It seems to me that you need a 90 degree included angle point wide enough to contact the slope on the beveled side of the form and the right angle edge on the other side of the form.  Then the setting would be "desired width of rod divided by two multiplied by .707".  (Ron Larsen)

    After a while, Ron emailed me about this and said that some of this wasn't quite correct, see issue 28 of Power Fibers for more information.

      I recently completed quad forms (in wood; my all-polypropylene attempt failed because the plastic groove was cut too erratic) and then I built an Edwards #25 quadrate (4 wt).  The dimensions were right on spec when I followed the instructions from Kyle Druey in the archive:

      6) You can buy a Starrett 45 degree contact point for around $3 (MCS part number 58713181). You use the indicator and 45 degree contact point the same way as with 60 degree forms, the only difference is that the indicator reading (i) is exactly half of the desired groove depth (this will make sense if you work out the math)

      i = 0.5*(desired groove depth)

      The only exception to this is if the desired groove depth is greater than the diameter of the contact point, in that case the indicator reading (i) should be

      i = desired groove depth - 0.5*(diameter of 45 degree contact point)

      (again, do the math and it will make sense)

      7) The dimensions for the forms and splines will be as follows:

      apex-to-flat dimension = 0.5 * (flat-to-flat dimension)

      form depth = (((apex-to-flat)2)*2)0.5

      i = indicator reading for form depth (see 6 above).  (Paul Franklyn)


I have made several  hex rods and blanks and my procedure is to use a star splitter and then band saw the strips to .175 for tips and .250  for butts.

Now I would like to try some quads and was wondering what size I  should cut the strips to. I generally make small rods 7' or less.  Should I use the same sizes or something slightly wider?  (Dick Steinbach)

    The equivalent strips in a quad rod are appr 1.62 X wider than in a hex rod and the height of the strip is 0.93 x height of a hex strip.

    Using this EXCEL spreadsheet you may calculate any "mass equivalent" quad, penta or octa rod from a known hex taper and calculate eg swelling due to soaking or extra diameter due to hollowing:  (Tapani Salmi)

      It makes a difference if you are building a 2SQ or a 4SQ as well.  On a 2SQ, the strips need to be a good bit wider because you'll be squaring them up.  The butt end needs to be at least .300" on a 4wt., and the ferrule joint of a 2-piece needs to be .200", more or less.

      Tapani, I've been wondering why someone didn't create a spread sheet with the formulas embedded like that.  Now if you add the 95% ratio as well, it will be a really useful tool.  (Paul Gruver)

        As  some rodmakers  prefer the  ratio 0.95  instead of  using the mass-equivalent 0.93 to convert from hex to quad I have modified the spreadsheet. Now you may choose the ratio (value A6) as wanted.  (Tapani Salmi)

      I really appreciate your help. I did something like Tony did. I rough  planed a bunch of strips and could see right away without gluing up  etc. that they would be too small and I didn't want to waste any more  cane.

      I don't have any math background other than sixty years ago, nor do I  have Excel so Tapani's tip to multiply by 1.62 should put me in the  ball park.  I figure .250 x 1.62 =.405 and .175 x 1.62 = .283 so I  figure if I rough saw to those dimensions I should be all right. If  not somebody please hit me with a 2x4 before I go too far.   (Dick Steinbach)

        If you go to you should find a free download that will run Excel and Word programs.  It's by Sun Microsystems, and at least on my PC, it works fine.  Mine didn't come with MS Office either.  (Neil Savage)

        Richard and anyone else interested in geometry; Get a Construction Master calculator and read the book that comes with it.  All of the calculations for any shape we use for fly rods can be expressed in terms of rise and run, which are basic roof calculations, broken down into it's simplest terms it is the use of the Pythagorean Theorem to figure the sides and angles of triangles. You can do it the hard way with pencil and paper, but the CM calculator is already programmed to figure all the various angles and dimensions given any two of the necessary dimensions, which we always know  or can figure anyway.  (John Channer)


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