Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Northern California
There ARE specific mixtures for wax that are more recommended than other. Soft is good because you want to have it make a smooth thin layer. Bot super soft is probably not good either. What the wax does it lowers the high static coefficient of friction, and that is as helpful in modern rod/ferules as on old rods. But is a matter of taste, not a necessity.
As to some of question/comments raised by other posts, the static coefficient of friction is usually higher that the sliding coefficient, and this leads to the “stickiness” you feel initially when to open a jar for example. I think there are two things people who like to wax point to. First, with the static coefficient of friction lowered you can press the ferrule together as hard as you want and it will tighten in proportion to the amount of force you used in putting them together, and not “hang up” like a sticky jar lid. Once assembled you can twist them apart again smoothly, anD usually with the same force you used to put them together. The wax allows you in essence to rely on a known sliding friction and not on an unknown static friction. This is why it can help with both keeping the ferrules together AND getting them apart.
Second, with the wax the ferrules tend not to fail catastrophically like the jar lid suddenly coming undone. They will twist a little first with the wax, but with a sticky connection there is more of a chance when the two part come apart they will become very loose. That is the situation where you can break a rod at the ferrule. It’s not super common but it is the number one reason a rod can break while casting.
For what it’s worth I wax AND tape because I’m not that confident I can put enough pressure on the ferrule initially to make sure it can stand up to the large twist forces when spey casting with all the circular motions. You still need to keep an eye on things, but the tape also insures you will never break a rod even if it starts to twist and you are absorbed in another activity ... like fishing.
I’m another person that really likes the black Loon stuff because it is a soft mixture and easy to get a very smooth thin layer with your fingers. But I’m going to have to try the new stuff from Steve next time I get something from him. At any rate whatever you decide to use it will probably last you virtually forever, or until you loose it rather than run out.
The right tape will neither harm the finish of the rod or leave residue by the way. I know Tim Rajeff rails against tape, but that may be because some of the Echo rods have the alignment dots cheaply done on the outside of the epoxy finish, rather then under it. Those will slowly come off using tape, but otherwise he is actually (for once) completely full of it. The right tape is vinyl electric tape. The stuff I use on advice from someone who tested them (I think), is 3M brand 33+ electrical tape. I’ve used it many hundreds times on some of the most expensive, and some of the cheapest rods out there and there is zero effect on the actual finish.
“Gravity is a harsh mistress!”, The Tick