Bamboo Tips - Tips Area - Section Lengths

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I am curious as to how makers on the list feel about all sections on a given rod being exactly the same length. I raise this question because of some tapers I've looked at, such as the Payne 102, where the tip sections are 48" and the butt 40" (at least according to the Maurer/Elser book). Do some of you average this taper out to make equal length sections? It seems to me this would change the action of the rod considerably. Is equal length sections a quality issue cast in stone, or is this just a peculiar design limited to only a few rods?  (Tom Vagell)

    That type of listing can be misleading until you know what it means.  The "swell to .350" means that the rest of the length, out to 48, is constant at .350.  You will see any rods that haven't been measured under the grip so the dimensions may not be known or are assumed to be equal to the largest dimension in front of the grip.  In this case note that it is listed as an 8' rod, but only 88" of taper is listed, that is what you are likely to see in the Rodmakers taper archive. 

    If a rod truly has sections of unequal length, it is usually designated by having an "offset ferrule".  (Bill Lamberson)

    I don't have the Maurer/Elser book in front of me, but I think perhaps you might be misreading that taper.  As far as I know the tip and butt sections of the Payne 102 were the same length.  If I'm mistaken, someone will chime in to correct me.

    Staggered ferrule rods, or those with different length sections, were popular in some parabolic rods like the French Pezon et Michel.  Some American makers may have done that as well, but different length sections has never been a really widespread practice.  That's not to say it shouldn't be done, only it hasn't been done particularly often.  (Harry Boyd)

    I like equal rod section lengths. Sometimes when I go on a short hike to a stream I carry my rod just in the rod bag. The handle section being the same length as the tip section protects the tip section.

    On the other hand, I can see some design advantages to a handle section being shorter than the tip section. The ferrule is in an area that flexes less, the ferrule is bigger, so if equal section lengths used a hard to get ferrule size, moving the ferrule down might make it a more common size. If I was a volume production rod shop I could make hundreds of the same tip section and for different length rods all I would have to do is cut the handle section. And I could use the same size ferrule on all the rods. Funny how in a lot of the offset or staggered ferrule rods I have seen the tip section is 4 feet long.   (Darryl Hayashida)


To calculate section lengths for a multi-piece rod, you must first determine the ferrule sizes, then simply add the desired finished length of the rod to the combined lengths of all the male slides (or the depth of all the female ferrules), and divide by the number of sections. This will give you the finished length of each section. You'll have to do the usual trimming of the tip section at the guide, and the other sections at the female ferrules.

Example (for an 8-foot, 4-piece rod):

Rod length = 96"
Ferrules: #19, #14 & #10
Standard male slide lengths: #19 = 1-4/32"; #14 = 26/32"; #10 = 19/32" (truncated ferrules would be a bit shorter).

The combined lengths of those three standard male slides is 2 - 17/32", plus the rod length of 96" gives a total length of 98 - 17/32"; divide that by the four sections and the finished length of each section works out to be 24-20/32".

This method works for ferruled rods with any number of sections, but it won't work on spliced rods because the length of each splice is directly related to the diameter of the rod. Heavier or lighter rods of the same rod length would have different section lengths.  (Ron Grantham)


I just bought a sweet sweet little (used) Pezon et Michel (circa 50's or 60's).  It has a serial number on it, but the specs (rod size as marked on the rod, number of tips) do not (yet) match up with anything on their web site.  I have passed the serial number to a friend in France and he will speak the language to the PM folks and probably find something out.

In the meantime, I got to thinking, even though this rod is marked as 7'2", it could be an inch or two off, depending on how you measured.   I was going to measure the rod myself and there was my first problem.

Typically are these measurements (written on the rod) for the finished product?  e.g., from top of tip top guide to bottom of the reel butt cap ?   or something in between.  Forbid they are just the cane itself, which of course is embedded into the grip at some point.  (Sue Kreutzer)

    Assemble the rod, and measure from the bottom of the butt cap to the tip of the tip top.

    Some makers do not include the ring of the tip top in their measurements, so your results may vary just a little.  (Harry Boyd)

    Measurements are from top of tip top to bottom of butt cap with the rod joined together. Production rods are sometimes within 1/2" or so of the stated length. I  remember having a P&M rod that was sold to me as a 7'2" but actually measured 7'. I believe the tip and butt were equal length. It was a sweet 4/5 weight.  (Marty DeSapio)

    Rod length is not an exact science, but close. Measure the assembled rod from top of the tip top to bottom of the butt cap and that should be close to the stated length.  (Ray Gould)

    Rather than measure the assembled rod, I suggest measuring from the bottom of the butt cap to the end of the female welt, then add the length of the male ferrule above the slide section to the end of the tip top tube, or the tip top loop, whichever you prefer.

    There are so many rods that do not seat the entire length of the male slide because there is some future wear allowed for.  Also, it is a hassle to handle a nine foot rod and a measuring tape at the same time.  (Chris Lucker)


I'm in the process of making a 7'6" three piece and need some guidance on cutting the sections to length.  So I have three 30" sections, how do I compensate for the ferrules?  I'm mostly worried about the middle section as I can fudge around the butt and tip.  (Lee Orr)

    I seem to recall that Thomas Penrose had a very comprehensive article on that very subject.  I don't recall where, but I will bet that some one on the list can point you to it. (Ralph Moon)

    And here you go:  (Todd Enders)

    It depends on your ferrules. Your butt section and the mid section are going to have the extra length of the overlap of the female side. Your tip section won't have a female ferrule.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    Here's a simple formula that works for any rod: take the desired finished length of the rod, add the length of all male slides, and divide by the number of sections. That gives you the finished length of each section, including the ferrules. Trim each section to length accordingly.  (Ron Grantham)

    I did the math on getting the cut length exactly right a while back. It looks a bit complicated, but if you put it in a spreadsheet it's pretty simple. It can also help to draw it all on a piece of paper, labeling the parts of the rod to see that it makes sense - you'll see that the sections are all about 1/3 rd the rod length. All the other terms are just corrections for the ferrules, tiptop, butt cap etc. It is probably overkill, but will give you a rod exactly the right length, with the sections exactly the same length if you do it right.

    You can also do a test cut on a thin piece of dowel (fitting the ferrules and taping the tiptop in the right place), as a sanity check before you cut your blank. Also, if your unsure, leave the top and bottom sections a bit oversize till after you mount the ferrules as you can always cut them back after mid section ferrules are mounted. Much harder to add more on though!

    *** 3 piece rod ***

    Butt section (B)

    B = R/3 - 2*(S/3) + s/3 - F - b

    Center section (C)

    C = R/3 + S/3 - 2*(s/3) - M - f

    Tip Section (T)

    T = R/3 + S/3 + s/3 - t - m


    R = Total finished rod length

    S = Ferrule slide length (large/bottom ferrule)

    s = Ferrule slide length (small/top ferrule)

    M = Moisture plug thickness in male ferrule (large/bottom ferrule)

    F = Moisture plug thickness (including any void between the plug and end of the fitted male ferrule) in female ferrule (large/bottom ferrule)

    f = Moisture plug thickness (including any void between the plug and end of the fitted male ferrule) in female ferrule (small/top ferrule)

    b = butt cap thickness

    t = amount added by tiptop loop & barrel end (usually 3/8")

    *** For completeness, here is the info for a 2 piece rod ***

    Butt section

    B = R/2 - S/2 - F - b

    Tip section

    T = R/2 + S/2 - M - t


    R = Total finished rod length

    S = Ferrule slide length

    M = Moisture plug thickness in male ferrule

    F = Moisture plug thickness (including any void between the plug and end of the fitted male ferrule) in female ferrule

    b = butt cap thickness

    t = amount added by tiptop loop & barrel end (usually 3/8")  (Nick Taransky)

      I used Penrose's formula, it works. But what I do is figure the mid first, tips and butts have a little leeway for adjustment once the mid is cut, unless it's too long your stuck. Figure out your mid then the tip and butt.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    You can find my worksheet for this at the "software" link in Rodmakers.  (Jerry Madigan)


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