There are no doubts that Bamboo Ferrules are one of the most important innovation that in last 20 years has envolved the bamboo rodmaking world. So for sure a great thanks must be given to their two fathers: Bjarne Fries and Marcelo Calviello. With their work they opened the minds of a lot of rodmakers.
A lot of courage is needed to introduce innovation in the bamboo rodmaking world because it’s a very tradtional world that in some way could be compared to the world of the wine makers; in fact sometimes they love so much their work and the wine they make that they are not able to imagine the wine different from how the wine is right now. But unfortunatly (or maybe not) the story goes on and the wine drunk by Romans in the old age is not the same we drink today.
So both Bjarne and Marcelo had to fight a lot to make a lot of rodmakers but first of all a lot of fly fishermen like new believers of the bamboo ferrules world. Today we can assume that they succeeded on their will and bamboo ferrules are reknown and appreciated by the rodmaking world and the fly fishermen users.
To me one of the most beuatiful aspect of the rodmaking is the thinking about the taper projectation trying to move always ahead the limit of this wonderful material that’s the Arundinaria Amabilis and try to show how this material didn’t signed its time already but it can bring a lot of surprises in the modern fly fishermen hands.
So inspired by these premises let’s try to give a depeer look to the bamboo ferrules world.
In this brief article i want to focused on the Long Swell Integrated Bamboo ferrules. I’d like to underlined some thoughts made on them in the last few years, at least on the base of the experience i made on them as builder and caster.
To do this i’d start from those that have been reknown as the strenghness point of the Bamboo Ferrule choice:
- They are ligher
- They have a better trasfer of Energy on the rod action
- They are beautiful
- They are as strong as metal ferrules are
Ok let’s go easy trought each of them.
There is nothing to say: they are beautiful. The two or three pieces of a bamboo rod joined without the using of metal part or without the need to be tied (as in the spliced ones) is a thrue paradise for the eyes. On my taste the long swelled integrated bamboo ferrules are hugely more harmonium and beautiful than the ferrules made by the Danish Master Bjarne Fries, despite i consider them more effective in term of taper action (i’ll go deeper on this aspect later in this article).
Bamboo ferrules are really strong, no question about it. It has been hugely demostrated that if they are built in the right way they are wonderfully strong and able to fight also the most wild and big fish. Despite most the people thought the weaker element is in the male part and not on the female.
They have a great trasfer of Energy al along the rod lenght, because there is less interruption between butt and tip and beacause the materila is the same in all the rod lenght.
So now let’s talk about the weight of them, because on my view this is the point that must be investigated looking at it in a different way than it has been done until now. We should approach this theme looking at the rod as a whole system and not only looking at the ferrules themself.
The first point can be easily related to a question that a lot of people asked to me:
if we want to make a rod with bamboo ferrules starting from the taper of a rod with nickel silver ferrules the taper is the same?
Of course the answer is not at least talking about long swelled bamboo ferrules. In fact if we look at the tip of bamboo feruled rods we’ll see that the average lenght of the female ferrules is around 2”, but the total integrated swell swell starts at least 4”/5” before of the female, for a total of the swelled part equal to 6”/7”. This stiffer part of the tip has a great impact also on the butt part especially on the first 10”/15” of the butt (2” of the male part plus at least other 12”). Normally this is a very critical point because due to the more stiffness of the last part of the tip, this firs part of the butt must be increased to avoid that it bends too much giving to the rod a bad action.
After these two considerantions we can understand why the tapers between a standard ferrules rod and a bamboo ferrules rod cannot be the same. But these consideration are also useful to understand if in the reality long swelled bamboo ferrules are lighter than metal ferrules. Let’s consider a standard nickel silver ferrules Super Swiss. Its weight (male + female) is around 6 gr. For a 12/64 sized. To compare the real weight of a bamboo ferrules we cannot consider only the 2”+2” of the female and male, but we have to add to this the 5” swell, plus the increasing we have to add to the first part of the butt. If to this we add also the wrapping on the female, the 6(7 coats of varnishing needed ARE WE SURE THEY ARE LIGHTER THAN THE METAL FERRULES? Maybe yes but we are talking about 1 maybe 2 gr. no more. Another problem is related to the impact they have on the action of the rod.
For istance take a tip of a metal ferruled rod and load it manually. You’ll see that the tip (normally) will work from the beginning (tip top) until 2”/3” inches before the metal ferrules. If you do the same with a long swelled bamboo ferruled rod the rod will load until at least 5”/7” of the bamboo ferrules and this is due to the long swell. That’s why at the beginning of the article i said that the Bjarne Fries ferrules are maybe more performing from the rod action point of view. Now the question is: do we need the total loading of the rod? This is a good question but this is not the article to answer to it.
All the above thoughts brought to me to think about the WHBF (Widened Hex Bamboo Ferrules). I think they can improve some of the aspects described above and first of all they can:
- decrease a little bit more the total weight of the system;
- they can give a more flexibility to the swelled part;
- they can guarantee a better trasfer of the Energy alla long the casting plane;
- they can also reduce the twisting risk of the male inside the female part.
Why this system is lighter and more flexible:
- Because along the total swell (5”+2”) there is less material than in the classic hex bamboo ferrules.
Why they can guarantee a better trasfer of the energy on the casting plane?
- Because due to the wider side he rod works mostly on that direction
Whye they can reduce the twisting risk?
- In the standard ferrules if you look at the thickness of the wall you’ll see that is never less than the range 0,032 and 0,039. This choice is not due to the breaking problem. Bamboo can be strong enough also to go lower than this, but this choice is due to avoid in the long term twisting problems. The WHBF have the wider sides which are the sided where the rod bend naturally and this shape reduce the risk of twisting by itself.
WHBF fits also my aesthetical taste because if you look at the swell profile, you’ll see that it’s lower than the standard bamboo ferrules, and this feature add something to this choice.
I’m still investigating on them so for the moment i suspend any other evaluation. I’ll be back on the WHBF as soon as i’ll have some news to share.