I have only used nylon wraps on ferrules. My humble apologies.  I would like to try silk, but I am nervous that the translucent behavior of the silk will show the serrations in the ferrule, and won't look too good. How do other people handle this?  (Taylor Hogan)

I just polish the part of the ferrule that gets wrapped over after I thin the tabs down, even on blackened ferrules. At least this gives a nice background for the wraps. Most of my rods get wrapped in light cinnamon, which turns a medium brown when varnished and the ferrules show up a little lighter, but I think it looks good that way.   (John Channer)

You either use dark thread such as copper, browns, reds, black or else use color preserver so the silk won't go translucent.  (Darrell Lee)

I use a set of small Swiss files to create a parabolic shape (McDonalds Arch) on each of the ferrule tabs, and thin them as well at the same time. I do this before installing them and it takes about 10 minutes to do two males and a female.  These are fitted with the ferrule slits coinciding with the hex corners.  The tabs are then "tapped" flat with a small machinist's hammer.  All this is done before gluing them in place.  I do this because I think it creates a smooth stress transition between the relatively rigid ferrule and the relatively flexible cane.  It also looks good when wrapped and varnished.  (Ted Knott)

I learned a long time ago from watching and admiring the work of Gunter Henseler, a German Rodmaker, that you should clean up your ferrules as though they would be exposed and never covered with wraps.  Generally, when I use red on the wraps, I use red on the ferrules, if I use clear on the wraps, then I'll clear wrap the ferrules.  Silk (or nylon) wraps aren't designed to hide mistakes on ferrules, rather they serve two functions, holding the tabs in place and enhancing the beauty of what should already be a finely crafted fishing rod.

John Channer said it best.  Polish the tabs just as you would the rest of your rod.  Don't let those tabs fall below the standards that you set for exposed components, after all, your ferrule wraps should NOT serve the purpose of hiding mistakes!  Why should your ferrule tabs not be as smooth and perfect as your reel seat, your guide feet and the rest of your rod?  My opinion, they shouldn't be anything less.  They should be as close to perfect as you can get them, so there should be no reason to worry about using dark colors to hide them.  Anyone who appreciates fine rods will appreciate the fact that you aren't trying to hide your ferrule tabs under a color that doesn't match the rest of the rod.  This is especially true if you choose to wrap the rod in clear (white) silk.

As I posted recently,  my 14 year has his first rod near completion.  His ferrule tabs are pretty close to perfect and the tabs are 'clear' wrapped with red tipping.  Admittedly, he had a LOT of help with the wraps, but I made HIM dress the ferrule to what I thought they should be.  My opinion is that if a 14 year old can do it, anyone can.  All it takes is just a little extra time and when you're going to put 40 hours in a rod, what is a few more minutes to make the tabs look as good as the rest of it?  Tyler, my 14 year old, now has his butt section wrapped and the wraps sealed and they are just as clean as the ferrule wraps... no gaps in the Clear wraps and certainly,  no mistakes underneath, because when you're making a rod that you expect someone to pay over a grand for, you just do it right... you don't make mistakes.

Sorry if I sound a little Anal Retentive about this, but my idea of ferrule wraps has never had anything to do with using a color dark enough to hide my laziness.  They should be something that just stabilizes work that you are proud of having done.  (Bob Nunley)

Yeah but, yeah but... The hard part is cleaning them up after the glue is set. I don't care how careful you are, glue is absolutely, positively going to seep out from the edges, and binding thread fibers are  to adhere to the glue (I learned very quickly to use only white thread, which sorta disappears under varnish, but not entirely). Use dental tools to clear the adhesive from the serrations, and you will almost certainly  scratch the ferrule tabs. The scratches WILL show up under transparent wraps, especially if you have blued them. How does the successful rodmaker clean up the ferrules after gluing up?  Inquiring minds, etc.  (Bill Hoy)

That's easy, just sand the glue and thread fuzz off with 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper after you clean out the serrations. If you use Accraglas, don't clean the tabs off with lacquer thinner, no matter how well it works, the tabs will come loose from the bamboo. And how might I know such a thing you may ask.  (John Channer)

If you bind with fine wire, no fuzz.  (Peter McKean)

I clean the excess glue off with a dental pick, the little metal kind you can buy in a kit at  Walmart, and a small scalpel.   You can get it clean, usually, without hurting the tabs.  Well, now I have to qualify that.  I use Ferr-L-Tite for my ferrules and that cleans off of the polished  surfaces very easily.  If you use one of the epoxies or something similar, it may be a lot harder to clean up the tabs without screwing them up... don't know...

If I do scratch one that has been blued, then I simply use the a Q-tip with metal polish on it, repolish that area, reblue that area only.  If you're very careful and put the bluing compound on a bit at a time, clean it, a little more, clean again, etc. you can match the bluing on the rest of the ferrule and never see the difference.

Binding thread fibers sticking to the ferrules aren't a problem for me.  I flatten the tabs to the flats of the rod with a small nylon faced hammer before I polish out.  When I glue them, I bend them in slightly, then work them on hot with the Ferr-L-Tite and the tabs just lay down.  The only excess glue I have won't end up on the surface of the tabs very often, usually only in the very small area between the tabs.  (Bob Nunley)

The serrations will definitely show through on light silk. You just have to get used to it.  (Martin Jensen)

One solution is to use non serrated ferrules. You thin down the part that would normally be serrated so that is just a few thousandths thick at the edge, anneal the edge, and polish.  (AJ Thramer)

When I first started making bamboo rods, which isn't all that many rods ago, I was under the impression that it was structurally necessary to "crown" ferrule serrations; not sure why, but I thought it was a durability/continuity thing.

The last couple of rods, I have just polished the tabs and tapered  them down very fine,  and I like the look much better. I still have this kind of thing that the serrations have to be there. Still not entirely sure just why.

So is there any reason at all for having the serrated tabs, other than tradition? Or, perhaps putting it another way, any reason for NOT having them? Assuming, I guess, that you don't like the look of crowned ferrules, in which case they obviously have to be there.  (Peter McKean)

As I understand it, it allows for a transfer of energy experienced from one section to another. The ferrules kind of create a rigid point in the rod and the tabs help to transfer some of the stress at this point. I like the tabs for that reason. Hope this helps.  (Randall Gregory)


I recently completed a 7' 6"  3 piece semi parabolic rod.  A short time after completion and test casting, (unsure of exact time frame), I noticed a white circular line below the serrated tab of the ferrule in the tip section wrap.  Upon closer examination I noticed a similar crack in the top of the mid section ferrule wrap in the same place. The rod flexes down to the butt.

Can this be repaired without removing the wrap?  Any and all suggestions are greatly  appreciated.  How does one anticipate and prevent this in the future?

I tried lightly sanding and recoating with varnish.  No good.   (Tom Todd)

This is very common, if you made separate wraps up to the ferrule, then over the ferrule, then don't worry about it. It will help prevent this if you feather the ferrule tabs out to the cane so they are very thin, it will also help to not use any form of color preserver. One other thing, end the wrap at the end of the ferrule tab wherever you can, if there is nothing there, there is nothing to crack.  (John Channer)

This has been known as 'breaking the varnish' as long as rods have been joined by metal ferrules. It has never been considered a defect and is much more common on two kinds of rods, slower full working actions and those that are used for fishing instead of investment vehicles.  (AJ Thramer)


Anybody got a better way to do ferrule wraps? I suppose there are three ways - wrap 1/4" of cane and on up to the ferrule shoulder; wrap 1/4" up the cane to the ferrule beginning and then make a separate wrap starting there and going to the shoulder; and wrap 1/4" cane and up to shoulder then back over first warp to starting point. I've tried the second and third but still get cracking.  (Jim Freeman)

I am trying a new process. The last three rods (which does not give enough time for conclusive results) I have wrapped from the ferrule shoulder to the end of the ferrule and a couple of turns further. I then finish these wraps with three coats of varnish, sanding between coats to get a smooth surface. When this surface is prepped I wrap from below the the ferrule entirely over the first wrap. I redid my Driggs River Special with this technique. While I haven't done a lot of fishing with it since, it is my yard casting rod and after SRG 2001 I spent a lot of time practicing. So far no cracks.  (Steve Trauthwein)

I have been double wrapping my ferules for some years now and it's a big improvement over a single wrap, however they will eventually exhibit the dreaded varnish cracking!  (Paul Blakley)


I just did a search in the archives on this problem and to my surprise there are only about five post. Is there a definitive answer for this fractures in the varnish at the ferrule?  How do the rest of you handle this problem? Do you just explain that cane rods will fracture in the varnish wraps with use?

I have seen a lot of rods from old time makers, many big names among them with these casting fractures. I would like to see a discussion on this and see how the rest of you are handling this or if you even have a problem.  (Steve Trauthwein)

It seems that that's one of those things that falls into the category of "s--t", as in "s--t happens". The only way I know of for sure to stop this from happening is to use unshouldered ferrules so there is no wrap over them, therefore, no varnish to crack.  (John Channer)

The cracking is due to a concentration of forces where the ferrule meets the cane.  The only two ways I know of to eliminate it is to sand down the ferrule tabs until they are to a foil thickness at the edges or sand them at the slits and make them "saw-toothed."  (John Long)

I have had that problem in the past, but I now place a short underwrap at the ferrule edge before doing the final winding if it must cover the ferrule edge. This has seemed to work in several cases.  (Frank Paul)

You wrap up to the ferrule and then do a wrap over that and the ferrule?

I have done a double wrap over very well thinned tabs and after extensive casting with this rod I see the beginnings of a casting fracture. I have also crowned ferrules and I have snug fits.

So far this approach (how much casting time on this rod), nodes under tabs and shoulder free ferrules are the new ideas. Any more secrets lurking out there?  (Steve Trauthwein)


In order to get away from the thread breaking at the ferrule tab junctions, to most of you wrap as shown in Garrisons book? Anyone have anything that keeps the varnish from cracking at that junction, or is that just one of the things we learn to tolerate?  (Jerry Andrews)

Nearly all rod wraps will eventually crack  (casting fracture) at the ferrule if the rod is fished enough. There are many theory's out there, as to what to do to stop the cracking from happening. Most are unproved and a theory at best. The only sure fire way that I know to stop the cracking from happening, is to leave the rod in the closet. I'm looking forward to the day that all my rods have a casting fracture at the ferrule's. It means that I'll be fishing a hell of a lot more then I have been. 

I thought I could avoid casting fracture's by preparing my ferrule's like Wayne C. does in his video. Wrong! I've now got a casting fracture on the three rods that I fish and cast the most. Martin Keene also addresses this issue in his book "Classic Rods and Rodmakers". Martin says the same thing in his book, so my statement does have merit. (Jim Bureau)

I have rods by Payne, Leonard, Orvis, Heddon, South Bend, Pezon et Michel, Hardy and others and most every one of them has cracks in the varnish at the ferrule.  I for one do not care one way or the other if this happens and in my thinking it is anal to worry about it very much.  (Bret Reiter)


The little white line where the ferrule wrap - usually at the bottom of the ferrule - cracks after being cast a while. Every single rod other than brand new has had that wrap cracked, and I was looking for a way to prevent it.  (Darryl Hayashida)

I've seen this fracture on two rods so far. Both had very similar stress curves. On the rods that this has happened to on other's rods, is there a similarity to the stress curve through the ferrule area?  (David Dziadosz)

I have read two possible solutions to this that I believe are the only real answers.

Glue the ferrule on sans tabs, thereby providing no leverage point on the thread (John Channer)

Wrap the tabs on the ferrule to the end of the tabs only (Wise Fisherman's Encyclopedia)  (Steve Trauthwein)

Or do as Darryl Hayashida suggests and buck the gospel and place nodes at the ferrule.  (Shane Pinkston)

Remember though - I do not heat and press my nodes. In my opinion doing that weakens the nodes. If you heat and press your nodes do not place them near the ferrule.  (Darryl Hayashida)

Can we assume that you double wrap at the ferrule and the crack still happens? I am pretty anal but haven't noticed this on my rods, I will have to check when I get home. I usually double wrap and taper off to only one wrapping layer (away from the ferrule). I am wondering if this helps the transition of stresses at the ferrule tabs.   (Andy Harsanyi)

I have tried double wrapping, and it does help for a while, but eventually even that cracks.  (Darryl Hayashida)

If you don't heat and press them then what do you do to flatten them?  (Larry Puckett)

Belt sander and a file.  (Martin-Darrell)

By the way, I don't heat and press my nodes. That weakens them and leads to more lifts and chips at the node. Remember, I am the one who advocates planing the enamel side flat.  (Darryl Hayashida)

I, also, plane the nodes flat.  (Hank Woolman)


I'm finishing up a restoration on an old rod where I replaced the ferrules.  I neglected to dress the serrations enough, so now the thread wraps leave the ferrules exposed. Not good at all. Is there anything I can use to make a smooth transition there? If I make a ramp with some glue will it show under the wraps? I really don't want to remove the ferrules and start over.   (Ray Wallace)

Just remove the ferrule wrap and using a jewelers file (or small file) taper the ends of the serrations down to the cane.  (Marty DeSapio)

I have found that when working with 2 part epoxies for making transitions for serration to blank it goes much easier if I use putty like epoxy. It allows me time to smooth using denatured alcohol. Once done allow to dry a couple of days, because of the color of the epoxy the color shift is not noticeable. Make sure you use glove to do this.  (Tim Doughty)

Like some others have said, you should be able to file the serrations while the ferrule is on the rod. I wrap one layer of masking tape around the bamboo where it meets the ferrule to protect the bamboo, then smoothly and carefully file away with a small file. 

If you don't want to file at this point, then another option besides the ones already mentioned is to do a 5 turn wrap up against the ferrule tabs and tie it off, then use this wrap as a ramp for your next wrap which begins just before this wrap, goes up over it, and onto the ferrule.  You can either seal it with something, let it dry, then wrap over it, or wrap over unfinished being careful to turn your wraps close together. 

I've worked on some Hardy fly rods and Heddon baitcasting rods that had the ramp wrap, as well as some that were double wrapped at the ferrule.  (Chris McDowell)

I did something similar on my first rod.  I didn't get the ferrule serrations on the tips as thin as they should be. At that point I was too paranoid to file with the things glued to the blank, so I started the thread at the ferrule, wrapped 1 quarter inch toward the tip, then changed directions and wrapped up onto the ferrule shoulder (i.e. one wrap on the ferrule, and two wraps on the blank). Turned out great.  (Chad Boyd)


I'm about ready to wrap rod #2-#4 and have a question for you all. I'll be using  harvest gold tipped in black. After putting varnish on a few test wraps I find that  I'm going to get pretty clear wraps. My question is this, When you wrap over the ferrule ends would you use the same color, let it go clear and be able to see the ferrule, or would you use some other color and cover the ferrules? I'm guessing that using some other color wouldn't look right.  I can't picture it looking right anyway.  (Robert Hicks)

I've done it both ways and have been happy with both especially if the tabs look symmetrical. I believe however, most people would prefer not seeing the tabs. In that case go with your tipping color over the ferrules (black) and tip harvest gold followed by another tipping of black. That brings the whole thing together.  (Marty DeSapio)

I always use black at the ferrules, nylon size A. Basically, I always use guide wrap colors that are complimented by or tipped with black nicely: white/clear, brown, red, dark green, and orange and black variegated. I have even gone so far as to use a touch of Sharpie on a ferrule wrap  where a bit of metal showed through.

I cannot say that this is the absolute best looking combination, but it is practical, and I have had good response to the aesthetics of the rods I make like this. To me, it is not worth fussing over the tabs so they look good as well as being functional. Just tell them that black wraps will make them look thinner when casting!  (Bob Maulucci)

I guess I do just about the opposite of Bob Maulucci.  I tried one rod in Garrison's style - clear wraps on the guides and brown wraps of heavier silk on the ferrules, with the ferrule tabs on the corners of the rod.  I didn't really care for that.  I prefer to taper the tabs on the ferrules, put them on the flats, and wrap with 3/0 silk. I usually use a tan thread with no color preserver so the tabs show clearly.  If you take reasonable care in dressing the tabs and cleaning excess glue, I think this gives a smoother transition and looks really nice.

However, the method that Bob uses is widely used too, and lots of folks like the way it looks too.  (Robert Kope)


How about some advice on how to start wraps on a ferrule. I've been trying and this stuff is slicker than cow slobber on a wet doorknob. I've done wraps before on that plastic stuff but this Gossamer won't stay put. The tag keeps slipping around the ferrule. Does applying a coat of varnish or lacquer first give it something to grip?  (Larry Puckett)

I anchor the tag end with a tiny piece of low stick masking tape then cut the tag end off and remove tape when the wraps start holding, usually 3-5 wraps.   (Darrol Groth)

I take it that none of you wrap onto the bamboo? Or start at the base of the ferrule, on the bamboo, then wrap up as one would do a guide?  (Jaz)

I always felt it was a good idea to make separate wraps on the ferrule and the bamboo to help avoid casting fractures as well as to make it possible to replace a ferrule  without replacing the entire wrap.  I wrap the bamboo first, starting right at the end of the tabs.  The ferrule wrap is made last, and begins at the end of the tabs and moves toward the non-bamboo end of the ferrule.  (Harry Boyd)

Do you butt the wraps against each other?  Have you overlapped the ferrule wrap over the cane wrap?  That would defeat your goal of being able to work on the ferrule without disturbing the balance of the wrap, but I think it might make a transition to the ferrule easier due to one layer of  "build".  Any pros or cons?  (Greg Kuntz)

Yes, I butt the wraps against each other, but I do not over wrap either way.  I can see that it might be easier, but wouldn't look as nice.  The wraps on the cane and the ferrule are made pretty tight -- tighter than one might wrap a guide.  I pack them closely every few turns.  If the cane wrap is done first, and packed tight, you can push against it as firm as you please with the ferrule wrap and not have things come apart.

I like thin, unobtrusive wraps.  I use Pearsalls Gossamer on the guides, but something larger for the ferrule wraps, usually YLI or Gudebrod.  With the larger threads there would be an obvious difference between a double ferrule wrap and a single wrap of Gossamer on the guides.  (Harry Boyd)

When you make the cross over on the first turn of thread, wrap the tag end in four or five spirals around the ferrule.  Hold that tag end down with a thumb, and wrap as usual.  Works like a charm.  (Harry Boyd)

I leave a starting tag long enough to hold on to. The tag is pulled tight, away from the wrap as you wrap over it. It only takes a couple of wraps over the tag end to keep it from rolling.  (Tony Spezio)

Try wetting the thread,  gives it a  better foot hold.  (Dave Collyer)

I don't remember who might have asked earlier, but why don't you just wrap up the ferrule instead of down?  I find the transitions go smoother wrapping onto rather than off of the ferrules.  (Greg Kuntz)

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I tried the spit trick and that didn't do it for me, so I then stuck the tag down with a  tab of tape and it worked fine. I had a really good wrap going until I got to the tabs. There the thread kept falling off the ends of the tabs leaving a small gap and when I pushed the treads back together there was a small tip of each tab peaking out from between the threads. I then pulled off the thread and got out an emery board and filed down the tabs until I could drag a thumbnail over them without it catching. This gave me a nice smooth transition for the tab to the bamboo.  (Larry Puckett)

Try wrapping up the ferrule, it is a lot easier.  (Tony Spezio)

Am I missing something here? I've never in my life BEGUN a wrap on a ferrule. I always wrap up onto it. Wassgoin'onhere?  (Art Port)

But what do you do when you have a guide just below the ferrule - begin the wrap on the guide  and wrap down  it and then up the ferrule??  (Larry Puckett)

I basically do what Harry said; I wrap both ways. One from midway between and UP the guide, the other from midway between and UP the ferrule. The only tricky spot is where they meet. And it's not as hard to get THEM tight as it is getting the thread wraps together where they drop off the tabs.  (Art Port)


I just finished rod #9 and fished it hard this week.  The wraps were color preserved, built up with several coats of Gudebrod 840 and the rod was finished with multiple coats of Tru-Oil.  It turned out great.  However after a week of casting every area at the ferrule tab has a circumferential crack at the ferrule tab.  I now need to redo all these wraps.  Do you think if I went to flex coat it would solve the problem?  (Mike Brown)

I had the same problem with  Gudebrod C.P. with FlexCoat over it.  Several guide wraps cracked.  I thought it was an incompatibility between the FlexCoat and the Tru-Oil, but maybe it's the C.P.?  That was my first rod.  I quit using both C.P. (I also had a few blotches in the silk even with 6 coats of C.P.) and FlexCoat.  Now I use Tru-Oil on the rod and Varathane 900 on the wraps, no problems.  (Neil Savage)

Where are you able to get Varathane 900?  (Doug Easton)

I've had it a while, don't think it's made anymore.  It's still good, so I'm using it.  I got it from Golden Witch, but they don't carry it, and the manufacture has been taken over by Rustoleum (mine was made by "Flecto") so...  (Neil Savage)

I have been using the diamond poly oil base but don't think that it's as good as the old 900 I started with. Has anyone tried this  professional 900?  (Gary Jones)

Well, the cans are VERY similar.  Mine doesn't say "Polyurethane", but in the fine print it does say "interior".  My can says re-coat in 3-4 hours, which certainly sounds like a poly to me.  Regular oil base varnish used to take a lot longer to dry than that. Can't tell without trying it though.  (Neil Savage)

I had a nasty experience with wraps finished with 840.  You can find that discussion here.

Long story short, ALL the wraps cracked and I had to rewrap the entire rod.  Don't think I can recommend that product.  (Bill Benham)

Can I ask this. Did you crown and taper the ferrule tabs on the rod that the "casting fracture" is occurring????   (Wayne Cattanach)

I have yet to taper my tabs for fear of screwing them up but I will dive in and do it.  Having less surface area bending at the same point will probably fix this.  However, for the first 8 rods all the tabs have been thinned and no problems.  This is the first rod I have finished with Tru-Oil and my results have been better than dipping.  All prior rods have had the wraps finished with color preserver and built up with Gudebrod 840 and then dipped with spar.  Any suggestions on how to fix it without pulling all the ferrules off, crowning and rewrapping?   (Mike Brown)

I used a boat building epoxy because it’s less viscous than Epon.  I tried thinned Epon but got a blush in my finish probably because there was some solvent remaining in the epoxy.  The epoxy doesn’t act as a color preserver. Since I haven’t had any problems with spar varnish on my wraps or ferrules, I’m staying with that.  The only reason I tried CP was because of the shade of emerald green I was trying to achieve.  Due to the difficulties with CP I’m now willing to be more flexible in the color.  (Al Baldauski)

Someone (Harry Boyd?) posted a while back about U-40 cork seal being a good C.P. I wonder if it also has a cracking problem.  Any experience?  (Neil Savage)

I have tried several CPs and the best I have found is Aero-Gloss (airplane dope).  You can thin it with lacquer thinner.  It soaks into the thread very quickly with no buildup.  Two or three coats is sufficient (I use 2).  I then use spar varnish over the top.  It also makes a good head cement for flies if you don't thin it as much.  (Tom Mohr)

Sorry, but you can't blame me for that one!  (Harry Boyd)

Indeed, I found the post, it was Dewey Hildebrand.  He posted it last December.  (Neil Savage)


I ran out of all possible CP one weekend and was in the middle of a job and decided to use that. I has worked very well thus far, no cracking!  (Dewey Hildebrand)

I have fond that YLI #219 yields a nice emerald green on a blonde rod without color preserver. I coated it several times with well thinned Helmsman and finished with helmsman 3:1. I like green on blonde with gold or dark red tipping.  (Doug Easton)


It's something that comes up on the list every now and then.  The varnish cracks around the ferrule wraps.  I've had it happen a few times and always figured that the flex between the ferrules and the bamboo was sufficiently different to cause the crack.  I never paid much attention to it, because I felt that, beyond allowing moisture in, it really didn't do much for the structural integrity of the rod.

Today I got a chance to take a look at the problem, on a clients rod.  I was surprised that the actual problem crack wasn't at the junction of bamboo and metal, but about 1/32 to 1/16 ABOVE the junction.  The varnish over the actual junction was okay.

I "crown" my ferrules and lately have been working very hard to make sure they smoothly transfer from bamboo to full ferrule.  However I didn't check the outside of the ferrule to make sure it's smooth. 

I'm now thinking that the thread was moving against a sharp spot on the ferrule and eventually frayed. 

I'm not sure I'm happy with this answer. 

Has anyone else seen this?  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

Terry: I have certainly experienced the varnish cracks at ferrule junctions but never sufficient to leave a void that moisture to penetrate. I always put it down to the flexing of the rod not transferring down past the ferrule, since your e-mail, I  went to check my rods to see the extent and if it could be a result of the ferrule cutting the wrap, and can find no indication of that at all.

What I did notice however was that occurs either on the male side of the wrap or the female side, never on both.

Which I think again indicates that the ferrules are damping the action and hinging at the weakest point.

This has occurred on rods that I fished for several thousands of hours, and apart from the cosmetics, has no effect on the function.

I'm sure that someone out there has an explanation as to why this occurs, it might be due to the taper designs at the ferrule junction.  (Keith Paskin)

Several ideas I've come up with are:

I get anxious and test flex the rod before the varnish has fully cured!

I don't know if this helps, but I don't think I've seen the dreaded crack since I started wrapping the ferrule tabs with heavier thread with more tension. Plus longer cure time before test flexing the rod. I mostly use an antique 00 silk. When I come up to the ferrule tabs, I crank up the tension, I also make sure the tabs are glued down good to the bamboo. Other times I use YLI 3/0 thread. I'll get the same color shade in size A just for the ferrule tabs.  (David Dziadosz)

Disclaimer: My oldest rods only have six seasons on them.  They don't show cracks at the ferrule, but I've always done the ferrule wrap as a two-part exercise.  My serration tabs are sometimes crowned, but are always thinned to nothin'(!) and tightly wrapped after gluing.  The ferrule wrap itself proceeds from the tip of the serration tabs down the shaft a distance equal to the distance from the bottom of the welt to the tip of the serration tabs, and I wrap in the order and direction described.  The wraps last two years have been thinned-Flex-Coat-saturated and sanded before being varnished.  So far, so good!  The direction of the Flex Coat wrap over the tabs has been reversed, starting from the tab tips, now, and proceeding up toward the welt, since I have to spiral the thread away from the end of the wrap to tape it down 'til the epoxy cures, and I like to wrap both parts of the ferrule wrap at the same time.

Just one approach.  (Steve Yasgur)

Thanks for all the comments.  The crack was about 1/32" above the bamboo to ferrule joint, on the ferrule.

I, too, have always thought that the joint between the bamboo and ferrule was the culprit.

I always thin the ferrule ends, as well a crown them. 

I don't know how much moisture gets in through a crack in the varnish.  I do know that I've repaired several old rod sections that broke at the ferrule/bamboo joint.  Since they didn't break during years of use, I've always assumed something made them weak at that point.

Over the last year or so I've started flattening my tabs with a pointed long nose pliers, to help them lay flat on the joint.

Interesting thoughts.  Thanks again.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

I do crown, feather and flatten my tabs.

I wrap a three thread Tipping wrap right at the base of the tabs,   Then with the guide color thread, I wrap up and down from the tipping wrap The guide color thread starts at the tipping wrap both up and down. To finish, I add a three thread Tipping wrap on each end.   This actually makes four breaks in the finished wrap. So far so good. I use YLI 100 for all my wraps.  (Tony Spezio)


I'm curious what types & gauges of silk you use for ferrule wraps? Also, how do you wrap your ferrules; with a single or double wrap, or some other obscure method?

I like to see crowned ferrules through the wrap and I'm wondering if double wraps prevent seeing the crowns?  (Boris Gaspar)

I use one of two types of thread on my rods. One is an antique Gudebrod 00 silk that I crank up the tension when I wrap the ferrules.

The other is usually YLI silk. I like to use 3/0 on the guide feet and trim wraps. When I wrap the ferrules I like to use the heavier 00 in the same color as the 3/0 and crank up the tension. The color is usually close enough between the two sizes, that it's not noticeable.

With both methods the guide feet shows through the wraps. I don't know if the heavier tension does anything helpful on the ferrule tabs, but I like to think it does!  (David Dziadosz)


Finished my first rod a few months ago and finally had a chance to fish it.  After the outing, noticed the tip section ferrule wrap had a circular crack around just above where ferrule tabs meet the blank.

I heard this happens, but was not expecting it after the first use.  The ferrules were crowned & feathered, glued on with 30 min. epoxy and bound while drying.

Any suggestions on what I might have done incorrectly?  (Mark Wayne)

I don't believe that you did anything wrong, this has happened to me on several occasions too. I have tried leaving the rods for several weeks to  ensure that the bonding of the varnish to silk to rod is not compromised by flexing too early.

I can find no rhyme or reason, I now accept that it sometimes occurs, about 30%, and make sure that I apply this wrap in two parts ferrule is separate wrap to the cane wrap, therefore if any movement occurs, it does not fracture the silk.  (Keith Paskin)

Has anyone conducted a study, with regards to finish cracking, against what kind of glue was used for the ferrule bond? I have a couple of rods that I used Polyurethane to glue the ferrules on with and I've never had that problem, but I did when I was using Devcon 5 minute epoxy. I'll bet the guys that use Pliobond also don't suffer from cracks in the finish around ferrules.  (Bill Walters)

Guilty! My ferrules are always glued with 5 minute epoxy. I will try different next time What is recommended? (Keith Paskin)

Powerbond, from the Bohning Co. - polyurethane - recommended by Jeff Wagner, no problems with the last 20 sets of ferrules applied to various rods and repairs. No financial interest.  (Steve Yasgur)

I have used Devcon 5 minute always and have never had a crack. (Timothy Troester)

I had this happen on a rod that I'd put in an auction.  I wanted to make it good for the person who'd bought it.  (a customer of other rods)  When I removed the thread, the crack wasn't at the location I'd expected, but was on the ferule tabs.  I Not only crown my tabs, but feather the ends.  I believe the edge of the ferule, caused by my feathering cut the thread enough to cause the problem.  I now make sure that my ferule tabs have no sharp edges...  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

Just one more reason to build bamboo ferrules right into the taper. Haven't had one split, delamination, or crack the finish yet... knock on... uh... bamboo... :)  (Mike St. Clair)


In an effort to improve the results of my rod making I am trying to eliminate or minimize the "cracking" on the finish on my ferrule wraps in the future.  I'm seeing a distinct separation of the finish on the wraps on my ferrules at the tab ends after the rod has been fished for a considerable time (ferrules are slit, crowned and tapered very thin, attached with Rod Bond).  I'm using silk thread with multiple coats of Helmsman Spar Varnish thinned about 30% with artist Turps on my wraps and rods.  Is there some wrapping technique or finish for my ferrule wraps that would eliminate this frustration?  I'm guessing the flex of the bamboo and the rigid nature of the ferrule is the issue as I have had no trouble with the guide wraps.   If it makes any difference I have been making 4 and 5 wt. rods at this time.  (Mike Monsos)

I changed the way I do ferrules about 5 years ago and have had no problems since.  That doesn't mean it will always work. First, I fit the ferrules a little tighter than I used to.  I have to push pretty hard to get them on.  I use ferrule tight hot melt glue (don't think that matters).  I think this is important in eliminating "flex" at the tab/cane juncture, which may contribute to the cracking. Next I wrap my ferrule wraps and seal with flex coat epoxy thinned slightly with isopropyl alcohol.  Finish the epoxy with varnish like the guide wraps. I think the epoxy is a little more flexible and thus does not crack like the varnish alone can.

Just my opinion on what works for me.  (Scott Grady)

Thanks for the information Scott,

I'm thinking that a more flexible coating or base coat could very well be the answer.  I just was not sure about compatibility of flex coat and Helmsman Spar Varnish over it to keep everything  looking the same as the rest of my wraps.  My ferrules do fit pretty tight; it takes a reasonable amount of force to fully seat the ferrule on the bamboo during glue up. (Mike Monsos)

I agree with Scott on this one. Although I use Threadmaster instead of Flexcoat. Haven't had a crack since I started using epoxy on the wraps. Haven't had any shimmers either.  (Will Price)

I have been doing a double wrap method that seems to help. I start the wrap right at the tip of the tabs and wrap away from them for say 1/4" and then wrap back and onto the ferrule. I have so far done this only on a couple of rods and no cracks so far, even after some days of heavy distance casting with one of them.  (Mike McGuire)

Rod # 1 was wrapped with a single strand of thread the full length below the tabs and over the tabs. I had used a water base varnish . After one season it showed a crack in the finish.

Someone on the list mentioned breaking up the wrap at the tabs. I now make a 3 turn contrasting color wrap right at the base of the tabs on the bamboo. Then make a wrap up the tabs with the guide color then the three turn tipping wrap. Below the wrap at the base of the tabs, I make a 10 turn wrap the color of the guide wrap and a three turn tipping wrap. On two tip rods, on one tip, I add a second 3 turn contrasting wrap in the middle of the 10  guide color wrap, this is to identify the tips. I leave the tag ends on the three turn wraps about an inch long. This is so they can be pulled tight if they should loosen up. I also wet the three turn wraps and pull them tight, wetting the wrap holds it tight. A drop of water on your finger will do it. The tags are cut off after the first coat of varnish sets.

I use Helmsman, don't thin. Apply the first coat heavy. Let it turn for a short time. While turning, wipe the wrap with a pad of Bounty paper towel applying some pressure on the wrap.

This pushes the varnish into the thread. After a few hours, cut the tag ends apply a second coat from the can and let it turn for an hour or more. Within six hours apply another coat and let it turn for another hour or two. Let dry for a couple of days then steel wool  the wraps with 4/0 steel wool. If needed, apply another coat. Steel wool that coat in a day or two. To finish up the wraps before draining the rod, I buff the wraps with a Sally Hansen Sand  Turtle using the Green side. Steel wool lightly again , wipe down and they are ready for the final dip.

There are a lot of other ways but I am completely satisfied with the way I am doing mine and have not seen any cracks at the ferrules. The wraps are filled and smooth. (Tony Spezio)

Thanks for the detailed response Tony,

I was wondering if you use a lighter gage thread for your trim wraps compared to your main wraps.

I think I’m going to combine your method of separating the wrap into at least two maybe three individual wraps with Scott’s suggestion of thinned Flex Coat for the first layer to complete the ferrule wraps this time and see how it holds up.  (Mike Monsos)

This topic has been discussed, cussed, and still can't figure out why and how it happens! It's not the taper. I don't think it's really the finish, nor the adhesive. I've often wondered if it could be flexing the rod before the finish has fully cured?

I usually use an antique Gudebrod 2/0 silk thread. I place a guide at the end of the female ferrule, the tipping is at the end of the tabs, then I crank up the thread tension and wrap up and onto the ferrule tabs using the same thread as the guide wraps.

When I use YLI  thread I use  the thinner  thread (100? about 3/0?) for the guide wraps. For the ferrule tabs, I switch to the thicker thread (50? about size A?) and crank up the tension. I use the same color number for both sizes of thread. The color is usually close enough to not be a noticeable difference.

Then I wait and wait, till I can't stand it anymore before flexing the rod and the finish has fully cured! I guess by using an epoxy finish, it does cure a lot faster than the polyurethane. I use either Ace spar or Helmsman. I wanting to experiment with shellac as the base coats because it dries really fast, but afraid it might be too hard of a finish.?

So, there we go, we still don't know anymore than we did! LOL!  (David Dziadosz)

This problem seems inherent to the use but may be more cosmetic than anything else.  In 2008 I made the obligatory pilgrimage to Montana and stopped by both Winston Rods shop and Sweetgrass Rods. In the Winston lobby most of the bamboo demo rods had the cracked varnish at the ferrules. That was not too pretty for marketing demonstration purposes.  At the Sweetgrass shop the fellow who did a lot of wrapping (Thomas Simirud, I think) showed how they are wrapping the ferrule tabs right up to the point where the tabs end, without continuing the silk onto the cane.  (I don't recall if they were still wrapping the whole ferrule.) That seems like a good way to avoid an unsightly crack in the wrap.  I've done it a couple times since, which also means not continuing a wrap from guide to ferrule, and can't sense any loss of ferrule strength. And of course no cracking of varnish after I fish a rod heavily.  (Paul Franklyn)

I used to get this cracking but generally do not since I have adopted another technique showing to me by Marty Mass. This technique only works when the wraps are not translucent so the ferrule does not show through.

The technique involves using a thin strip of brown "butcher paper" which has glue on one side. The glue is wetted and the paper strip carefully wound on to cover the lower part of the ferrule and the top quarter inch or so of the cane section. once it is dry it can be sanded smooth and then bound over the top. The paper forms a smooth base and a transition between the ferrule and the cane.  (Ian Kearney)

If you want to have translucent wraps over the ferrule tabs, Bob Milward has a method for covering the tabs with clear epoxy before wrapping; its in his book p131.  He actually builds a transition with epoxy between the ferrule and cane.  Personally I'm satisfied just to get all the guides on the same flats, most days. It takes all types.  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)


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