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Anything That Can Go Wrong..Did!

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I have been messing with the rod that will not be made. Anything that can go wrong, went wrong. Having messed up the first set of ferrules, I vowed to make the second set perfect. But it was not to be. As I lapped the male, it simply would not fit. It would go on, and then stick for no apparent reason. This went on and on, with numerous trips upstairs for two handed assistance, and at one point I put the butt in a vise. Then of course there was pulling the ferrule off entirely, but that will not be mentioned again. Reglued and let it sit.

Later, I got out my magnifiers, and looked at the male. It had some strange deep gouges that were pretty uniform around the diameter. Did an inspection of the inside of the female, and found bits of metal sticking out that were messing up the fit. So I did what you should never do - I got a piece of steel wool on my Dremel, and polished the inside of the female. The male went right on, and came off with a nice pop. Go figure. And this was one of the high-end ferrules to boot. My arms are sore from yanking on the thing all night.

The real lesson here is never throw a blank in the trash, and then fish it out. The rod remembers and you pay.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I voiced a similar complaint several months ago, and have also heard from a few other fellows who encountered this same problem with ferrule fit.  I never got the issue resolved, but I'm pretty certain that the galling is not caused by improper mounting or lapping techniques.  I believe the problem is in the alloys themselves.

    I don't know who the actual manufacturers of nickel silver tubing (or rod) may be, but I strongly suspect that quality control is the problem. Certainly these manufacturers do not have our ferrule fitting interests in mind when the batches of nickel silver are made and drawn.  I'd be willing to bet almost anything that the "formula" varies widely from batch to batch, as well as the actual process of drawing the material out to the various sizes.

    I know little-or-nothing about metallurgy, but I do know that the quality of the alloy affects how the material will machine, or accept a lapped surface. I'm wondering if it's possible that an inferior nickel silver alloy can contain minute areas (molecules, even) that become casehardened as the surface is worked, causing the galling that we sometimes experience.

    In any case, I've also heard others resolve the situation as you have done, Jeff, by doing a final honing with steel wool saturated with a fine, gun oil.

    Jury's still out.  (Bill Harms)

    I think the lesson actually is:

    • Think thrice
    • Measure and check twice
    • Act once!
    • I promise to remind myself I said that next time I am in a hurry and cut corners.

    The fourth line is never,  ever, assume anything.  (Robin Haywood)

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