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Rod number three, made about 9 years ago, has found it's way back to me. I have been using rod number 4 as my general use rod since it was made. Both are 7',  "Sir D", two piece, two tip rods, made from the same culm.

Since I know how #4 casts - I've been using it for approximately 9 years - I'm going to cut it into a four piece, make aluminum ferrules for it, and see if the casting changes. This is the best way I can think of to test if making a two piecer into a four piecer will change the action.

The test I am thinking of doing is to cut and ferrule one tip section first and compare it to the uncut one - I will be able to switch back and forth to see the difference. Then I will cut and ferrule the butt section to see if that changes the action. I don't think it will since the "Sir D" is a fast action rod and the butt section doesn't flex too much anyway.

I have made 4 piece rods from 2 piece tapers before, but I never had the same 2 piece rod made from the same culm right next to it to compare. This will be an interesting experiment.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    This should be very interesting. 

    My prediction (I'm sure other's will chime in soon!):

    The biggest difference in adding ferrules will be on the tip section (stating the obvious).  Once you do that, I don't think you'll notice the butt section ferrule much (except it'll feel more balanced once the ferrule is added). 

    Overall difference:

    The rod will be slightly stiffer in the tip with a tad more backbone.  And, I don't think you'll like the way it casts as much as before adding the two ferrules.  (Scott Turner)

    The "Sir D" is a rather fast rod, and may convert OK into a three piece, but going to four pieces seems a tad excessive.  We'll all be interested to hear of your results, but personally, I'd be more than a little apprehensive about doubling the number of ferrules in a rod that's only 7 feet to begin with.  The rod will probably still cast the same line, but your action is sure to be slowed WAY down with that added weight, and it may feel a little "clubby" overall.

    But, who knows?  Everybody has a different casting stroke, and you may like it. (Bill Harms)

      The conversion has to be into a four piece since it is a two piece already, and I am going to use aluminum ferrules, which are one third the weight of NS ferrules.   (Darryl Hayashida)

        I left myself a little ambiguous there, didn't I?  I meant if one were "going back to the drawing board," one could probably convert the "Sir D" taper into a three-piecer.  In your case, however, there's nothing to do but either leave it alone or convert it into a nice (perhaps) pack-rod.  (Bill Harms)

    I've made 3 6 piece 7.5' rods on a 7.5' taper for a 5 wt that became a 6 wt It was a taper of my own design that I've used for years. The 6 piece turned out better than I expected. I fish it when I'm traveling a lot.  (Hank Woolman)

      Did you make any changes to the original taper to accommodate the extra ferrules? It seems to me that if the taper was unchanged and it went from a 5 wt. to a 6 wt. because of the extra ferrules, then the diameter of the rod needs to be thinner, where most everyone else adds to the diameter to "support" the extra ferrules.

      I'm finding out that existing two piece tapers can be turned into multi piece tapers with no extra bamboo added to the diameter. I'm still being cautious by saying I think faster rods will be the least affected though.

      I just finished changing an existing two piece "Sir D" into a four piece, and there is very little difference in the way it casts. It may be a little stiffer, but that could be my imagination. About two or three years ago I made a 5 ft. one piece rod that I liked so much (and it was easy to plane) that I made 8 blanks. A 5 foot rod was a little inconvenient to hike with, so I took one of the extra blanks and made it into a two piece. That worked out so well I took another blank and made it into a three piece, and it still casts pretty close to the one piece. I did use aluminum ferrules for the lower moment of inertia.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    You may recall my current project of taking an existing 2 piece 2 tip "Sir D" and cutting it into a 4 piece.

    I have completed making an aluminum ferrule and cutting one tip section of the 2 piece "Sir D". I have left one tip section intact so that I can interchange the two and compare.

    There isn't much difference between the two. The cut tip section sometimes feels to be a bit stiffer, sometimes it doesn't. Could be the length of the cast - on shorter casts it seems to be just a bit stiffer, but not on longer casts. Could be just my imagination.

    Point is, if I have to really look for a difference the difference is small.

    Don't go willy-nilly cutting 2 piecers into 4 piecers, The reason I did this was because the "Sir D" is a faster taper, less likely to be affected by the change, and I used aluminum ferrules. Nickel silver ferrules might be too much added weight and affect the casting action.  (Darryl Hayashida)


Why are there so few 4 piece tapers mentioned?  I just scanned Hexrod and found one - a Phillipson Smuggler.  A 4 piece version of the Sir D was mentioned on the list several years ago.  Does the third ferrule really kill the action?  Or is it the cost of adding another ferrule?  Is anyone fishing a 4 piece taper that they would recommend (in the 7 to 8 foot, 4 to 6 weight category)?  (David Bolin)

    I've got a couple of South Bend 291's (7 1/2' 5 wt. 4 piece).  I really enjoy them.  If you can't find a taper for them online, I'll be happy to mic them for you.

    You can also pick one up on eBay occasionally for $200 to $300. (John Dotson)

      Contact Darryl Hayashida of this list. Darryl is the Master taking present tapers that he likes and making Pack Rods out of them. He even found Duronze for ferrules so that the ferrules would have the least impact on the action of the rods due to their weight. He ought to have a couple of tapers for you.  (Dick Fuhrman)

    A couple of years ago, Darryl Hayashida mentioned that he had made 4 piece rod based on a Sir D taper.  He used aluminum ferrules.  Following his lead, I made one as well, and brought it to a Greyrock gathering in 2005.  General comments were that it was a mite stiffer than a standard Sir D but there were lots of kudos on how well it cast.  The only drawback has been the ferrules.  I made them out of 6062 aluminum and they have had a tendency to stick.  Other than that, it is a nice rod.  (Mark Lenarz)


Why are there so few 4 piece tapers mentioned? I just scanned Hexrod and found one...a Phillipson Smuggler. A 4 piece version of the Sir D was mentioned on the list several years ago. Does the third ferrule really kill the action? Or is it the cost of adding another ferrule? Is anyone fishing a 4 piece taper that they would recommend (in the 7 to 8 foot, 4 to 6 weight category)?  (David Bolin)

    There is a FE Thomas 4 piece taper out there, it has been duplicated by a few makers over on the Classic Fly Rod Forum.

    Sante Guiliani has an original, it's a very smooth medium actioned rod. I forget whether it is 8' or 8.5' I believe it's a 5wt.   (Pete Van Schaack)

      Bernard Hills’ widow showed me a 5 piece pack rod Bernard had made for his cousin (?) back in WWII to take to Europe with him and it was (is) a sweet little rod. I have asked an acquaintance ( ;-) ) of mine to figure me out 2, 4 piece rods.  Maybe he will be nice (I doubt it ;-) he doesn't know that word) and put them on the list.   (Bret Reiter)

    Darryl Hayashida was the Master taking present tapers that he likes and making Pack Rods out of them. He even found Duronze for ferrules so that the ferrules would have the least impact on the action of the rods due to their weight. He ought to have a couple of tapers for you.  (Dick Fuhrman)

      Yes, I have been working at combining my interest in backpacking and fly fishing by experimenting with multi piece bamboo tapers. One of the major things I do is try to reduce the weight of the ferrules. Lighter ferrules reduce the inertial effects of having multiple ferrules on a rod when casting. The "flat spots" or ferrule sections of no flex can be compensated for to a degree by designing in a little more flex in the bamboo sections between the ferrules, and the aluminum ferrules do flex just a little bit in themselves.

      Duronze is 2/3rds the weight of Nickel Silver and it does do a good job of reducing ferrule weight, but for major weight reduction I use aluminum, which is 1/3rd the weight of NS. Aluminum is not as durable as either Duronze or NS, but like in backpacking anything in the Ultralight designation doesn't last as long or wears out quicker. Duronze is a good compromise for weight reduction and durability. Titanium is half the weight of NS, and should offer great durability, but the only place I know that sells them only makes one size. I haven't tried machining titanium yet.

      I do have a few 4 and 5 piece tapers, but I don't think they will cast very well if you use NS ferrules. The other problem in multi piece rods is the cost of the ferrules if you don't make them yourself. You could have $200 just in ferrules on a five piece rod.

      After all that being said about taper design for multi piece rods, I cut an existing Sir D into a four piece (I had to sacrifice the second tip to make all four sections equal), and it has become my favorite backpacking rod. I used Duronze for the two new ferrules, and left the existing NS ferrule on. I will eventually replace it with a Duronze ferrule, but I was in a hurry to get it completed for a Golden Trout Wilderness camping trip.

      So, seems to me, as long as the original taper is on the faster side, existing 2 piece tapers will make good 4 piece tapers. Maybe I should also qualify it more and say using light ferrules.  (Darryl Hayashida)

        I read your post on the 4 piece SD recently.  I've printed it on paper.  I'll probably give it a try.  Regarding ferrule weight...are you using truncated ferrules on your multi piece rods?  Have you experimented with graphite ferrules as an alternative to aluminum (I assume those would have to be home made...wasn't there a Power Fibers article on that a while back?  (David Bolin)

          I don't use truncated ferrules, but they aren't full sized either. Another advantage to making my own.

          No, I have not tried graphite ferrules, but I am working on a bamboo ferrule. (Darryl Hayashida)

            I've caught up on all the aluminum ferrule threads in the archives.  You've done a lot of work on this.  Thank goodness for the archives.  I made a decision today.  Deciding on a taper is a really big deal to me.  I only have time to make 3 or 4 rods a year.  I stress out over the taper decision.  So here's what I'm gonna do.  I've got that cane split for two 3 or 4 piece rods and two 2 piece rods.  The 2 piece rods are going to be for my daughters.  They won't use them much,  but the rods will be ready for the grand kids.  Those are going to be 2 piece Sir Ds.  The other two are going to be 4 piece Sir Ds.  One with nickle silver truncated ferrules and the other with aluminum.  If I can get them all done by SRG 2007 (10th anniversary gathering), we'll cast them all side by side and see how perform on the water.

            It'd be pretty cool if some of the other SRG folks would build a multi piece trout rod (7 to 8 foot, 4 or 5 wt) and bring it to the gathering.  Maybe we could all agree on the best possible pack rod...or maybe not.

            Darryl...load up your pack rods and join us on the mighty White river in October.  Bring a Sir D with bamboo ferrules.  (David Bolin)

    I've got a couple of South Bend 291's (7 1/2' 5 wt. 4 piece).  I really enjoy them.  If you can't find a taper for them online, I'll be happy to mic them for you.

    You can also pick one up on eBay occasionally for $200 to $300.  (John Dotson)

      I would like to add the taper to RodDNA if you don't mind so if you can mic it I would appreciate it. 

      Also, please indicate the other rod attributes like:


      size/style of grip and reel seat

      color of wraps and tipping

      guides and placement

      etc.  (Larry Tusoni)

        Here is the info on the South Bend 291.  This is measured from 2 rods I have, over varnish.


          at the base of the tip top

          5"     .102
          10"   .124
          15"   .135
          20"   .152
          21.5" .160  (above the male ferrule)

        1st mid

                  .162 (below female ferrule)
          5"     .175
          10"   .192
          15"   .208
          19"   .210 (above male ferrule)

        2nd mid

                  .215 (below female ferrule
          5"     .232
          10"   .250
          15"   .274
          18.5".295 (above male ferrule)


                  .307 (below female ferrule)
          5"     .328
          10"   .365

          Notes:  Marked, South Bend 291 - 71/2    Stainless

          Reel seat - positive lock (DL with brown alum. spacer)

          6" comficient grip

          Dark olive wraps with red tipping

          HK - strap and ring (closed)

        Guide spacing - Tip top, 61/2, 13, 20, 26, 38, stripper at 53.  (John Dotson)

          I order for me to look at the taper, I would need the measurements of the assembled rod measured from tip to butt. Maybe some time you might get a chance to do this. If you do I will send you the plotted taper and a graph of what it looks like.  (Bob Norwood)

            Starting from the tip and at 5" increments, the 291 measurements are:

              tip -   .92
              5 -     .102
              10 -   .120
              15 -   .136
              20 -   .153
              25 -   .160
              30 -   .175
              35 -   .198
              40 -   .208
              44 -   .210 (above ferrule)
              45 - ferrule
              47.5  .215 (below ferrule)
              50 -   .226
              55 -   .245
              60 -   .270
              65 -   .290
              70 -   .306
              75 -   .330
              80 -   .370

            ferrules are at 22.5, 45, 67.5.  (John Dotson)

    I have made some four piece rods. Two of them are useable in four or three piece configuration. They are both 8' and the seconds piece can be removed to make them three piece 6' rods. Moreover, I made the handle a spinning rod taper where I can put the reel on the bottom, to use the rods as a fly rod and also on top of the rod so I can use it as a spinning rod. The 8' rod is useable for float fishing and as a 6' rod it's a spinning rod. Or a short fast fly rod. I intend using it as a camping rod. The tapers I used are parabolic fly fishing rods. One is the Sharpes Fario where I removed 6 inches from the butt. It's a very powerful parabolic rod, and the 6' rod is fast.  (Geert Poorteman)


About two months ago there was email traffic on the subject of 4 piece backpacking rods.  Darryl Hayashida wrote about converting a 2 piece Cattanach 7042 into a 4 piece.  (I kept the email in my files.)  I am now finishing up rod #2 and #3, both being ready for guides.  So I was considering starting on the 4 piece, mainly because I love hiking into the small streams in the High Sierra and it would be great to have an appropriate bamboo. 

I was wondering what was involved in converting from a 2 piece to a 4 piece.  Do you simply plane the standard two piece taper, then literally cut it at the appropriate places, and trim, for the extra ferrules?  Or is there a more sophisticated approach?  Any other adjustments to be made?  Or just use the standard parts and techniques?

Obviously I don't have a lot of experience, so any advice would be appreciated, even if it is to tell me I am not up to the task.  (Dan Zimmerlin)

    What I would do is graph the rod. If the rod is a straight taper it should work out OK. But it may jump up a line size. You will just have to try it.

    Not that I am an expert on 4 piece rods.  (Gary Nicholson)

    I have made 4 rods that I cut into 4 pieces. As a starting point take a fast taper and used that. I have done it on a Dickerson 7613 and Perfectionist with very good  results. It slows the rod down and adds flex.  (Gordon Koppin)

    I think I may have started that thread a few months ago.  I just finished my first 4 piece.  It's a 7ft, 4wt progressive taper with truncated ferrules.  It hasn't been fished yet so the jury is still out, but it feels really good on the lawn.  I hope to finish another one based on the Sir D and have them both at the Southern Rod Makers Gathering.  I'll eventually build the two piece version of both to fish them side by side.

    I tweaked the taper to get a similar stress curve (actually deflection curve...but that's a different story) from 2 piece to 4 piece.  I had to increase the original 2 piece taper about 3% from the butt through the third section to compensate for the additional weight of the ferrules.  The tip remained about the same.  That worked out fine for me.

    It seems to me that the rod will have a slightly slower action if you use a 2 piece taper as is.  The swing weight of the additional ferrules has a more noticeable impact on the action of the rod than the stiffness of the ferrules.  I expect you would be pleased with a 4 piece SD with no modifications to the taper as DH suggested.  A little extra swing weight can work to your advantage.

    Based on my first 4 piece, the only negatives are the cost of the additional ferrules and the time it takes to mount them correctly.  I really worried about mounting the ferrules.  Every male and female (6 total in the case of a 4 piece) has to be mounted      straight.  If two come out slightly crooked at different joints, you've got a really crooked rod.  I ended up with one slightly crooked joint.  But it's not enough to worry about.  I built a photo album of building that rod that includes a brief description of most of the steps in the process.  Just click on the rod making album link on the lower left side of my blog page if you're interested.   (David Bolin)

      I really enjoy the ones I have made into 4 piece rods. I used fairly fast tapers and did not make many adjustments. It does slow the rod down a bit and makes it flex more but they can be very pleasant to cast.  (Gordon Koppin)

    Thanks all who replied.  I think I have a handle on how to proceed. I am going with a modified Cattanach 7042. (Thanks Darryl Hayashida and Bob Norwood.)  And plan to use truncated ferrules as suggested.

    I flamed the culm yesterday, but won't get to splitting until next week.  It is all fun.  (Dan Zimmerlin)


I have just finished a 4 piece 7’6” 4 wt. rod that I’m not really satisfied with the action it has (a little soft in the base).  I’m thinking that if I change the taper of the base section and make a new one I might be happier with the rod.  Is there any way to get the rod bond to release the cork grip and reel seat I have on the unsatisfactory base section?  The price of cork rings today makes me want to try to save the components if I can.  (Mike Monsos)

    You can probably get the seat off with the plastic bag and boiling water trick, but you will most likely ruin the cork. Let me suggest an alternate. Build a 3 weight tip for the existing butt, and the new, heavier butt for the existing tip. That way you will have two faster rods, and nothing is wasted.   (Tom Smithwick)

      Hmm, that’s an idea.  I had thought about just using the top three sections and making a nice 3-4wt 5’6” creek rod also to salvage the best of the rod’s taper(I haven’t had a chance to test that theory with a line though).  I’ll most likely make a new base section and try to learn more about taper formulas in the process and consider the idea of another tip for the original base section.  I still would like to have saved the grip and reel seat though.  (Mike Monsos)

    I think you will be able to rescue the reel seat, but not the cork grip. I have tried this last year on one of my rods and I did OK with heat on removing the reel seat but the cork grip comes with a solid bamboo core after gluing and that is difficult to remove. Some other folks may have some better ideas on that issue.  (Frank Paul)

    Get in the habit of test casting your rods before you put the cork and reel seat on, I have the butts with cork on them in the corner of the shop to remind me to do just that. If you're going to trash the butts anyway then you can drill the bamboo out of the cork and the insert, just be careful to follow a straight line.  (John Channer)

      A new lesson learned for me that I will not forget.  (Mike Monsos)

    I have built two 5-piece rods from tapers that Tim Abbott designed / recommended.  The 6wt was published in the Planing Form - sorry don't remember which issue.  Tim sent me the taper for the 4wt later.  Both use truncated ferrules from REC.  -  Thanks Tim

    I've taken a number of Dolly Varden up to 24" with the 4wt. and Coho up to 12# with the 6wt.  Both survived well.  Both are a real pleasure to cast.

    I've also built a number of 4-piece rods from 5wt to 9wt.  All used truncated REC ferrules.  The only problem I've had is with the some of the ferrules coming off.  I used the same glue that I use on standard length ferrules (no problems loosening from the cane) so I suspect that the reduced length of engagement may be the problem.  I now pin the ferrules on my 4 and 5 piece rods.

    I've taken 100's upon 100's of Coho in the 12 - 18# range with the 8 & 9wt rods and really enjoy fishing them.  I made one 9wt that landed a number of Taimen up to 47-1/2" with no visible rod problems.

    I also made a Para 15 in 4-piece.  Just built the blank and made it 4-piece / truncated ferrules with no taper adjustments.  Works fine.  Landed 40-1/2" Taimen with this one and a few smaller Coho.  (Brent Nickerson)


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