Hi Russ, The ferrule puller arrived today and it is so much more beautiful in person! I’m glad I ordered the “deluxe” version. And thanks for the samples! … Warmest regards, Anthony F. (USA)
Back in the day, Daryll L. Whitehead improved the ferrule puller that had been conceived by Everett Garrison. Mr. Garrison’s “handy little ferrule removing device,” wound up receiving a leather hinge strap and a split handle after D.L. Whitehead was done with it. We manufactured and sold these WFPAs for years and years. Now, the Whitehead Ferrule Puller/Adjuster is the first wooden tool we’re re-inventing as we move, item by item, through our catalog with the goal of applying all we’ve learned in the past couple of decades.
Let’s start by describing the basic tool in terms of design & function, then we’ll get around to the recent improvements. The central element of our tool is a 15” walnut paddle that has ten holes cascading from large to small in tight increments. These holes will comfortably grasp ferrules ranging from approximately 8/64 up to 20/64 without marring the metal. This tool is capable of performing at least four tasks, none of which include disciplining your progeny. First, when trial fitting ferrules while turning down ferrule stations, you can remove stuck ferrules with ease. Second, when removing hot ferrules during restoration or repair, this tool will save your fingertips from a scalding. Third, when mounting ferrules, it is imperative that your tabs lap over either the flats or the corners. Some schools prefer one way or the other; we prefer to fold the tabs over the corners and line the tab slits up with the middle of the flats, but other makers disagree. No-one, schooled or un-schooled, wants their ferrule tabs randomly placed. Use this tool to align a tight ferrule’s tabs during glue-up. Fourth, did you lap your males a little too much, making for a (barely) sloppy fit? Use this tool and your vise to gently, ever so gently, compress the female ferrule. This is a technique which, when used with judicious moderation, can help to salvage the fit of old rods whose ferrules have loosened up over time. Be careful and work slowly.
Now we’re seizing the day and improving the tool Daryll designed. For these tools, we are working with a new woodwright. This man is an avid flyfisherman, and the father of a rocky mountain bamboo flyrod maker. He has the problem solving mind of a fanatic woodworker, a passion for flyfishing, and he deals with two persnickety rodmakers on a regular basis. That’s a good combination. Here’s what we came up with. First, the leather hinge strap on the original tools tended to stretch over time, making the tool less easy to use. We replaced the leather, traditional as it was, with non-stretch black nylon webbing. The look is more modern. The tool is more effective. Second, the brass screws on the original looked nice, but given enough time in any shop with a bit of humidity and the brass screws turned green. We opted for stainless screws, and stainless washers. Pay close attention – our woodwright did! – and you’ll notice that the Phillips Head screws are “clocked” – each head is turned to match every other head, with one slot perpendicular to the long axis of the tool, and one parallel. Details matter.
For this Premier Grade WFPA, our woodwright took a cue from the beautiful laminate handles of traditional flyfishing landing nets. The inner jaws of this tool, where the ferrules are grasped, are crafted from Purpleheart. And this accent isn’t purely visual. The Purpleheart is even more durable than the walnut, making for a tool that looks exceptional and has an inherent toughness that the most active rod shops will appreciate. Further, because the woodwright knows the best tools should be well cared for, he has urged his wife, the mother of the bamboo flyrod maker, to sew a fine flannel sack for each Premier WFPA. You can store this tool in a drawer, and not worry about it suffering the nicks and pings of scurrilous circumstance.
Walnut Body; Purpleheart Jaw Lining; Nylon Hinge Strap; Stainless Hardware; Flannel Sack.