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Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Joe Johnson (76.8.209.---)
Date: May 18, 2017 02:55PM

I've come to a point in building rods that I realize that more expensive does NOT necessarily mean better or even higher quality.

So many of the labels that are used to describe rod parts and blanks are completely subjective. (This has been covered ad nauseam... )

However, I'm really confused by so many people being completely sold on ceramic guides vs. hard chrome. This is one question that doesn't seem to make sense to me. I understand that the frames and their design make a huge difference, but ALL of the ceramic guides that I have used have failed. The hard chrome inserts have yet to fail once.

Full disclosure: I'm an avid bass tournament angler and I'm rough on my equipment due to heavy usage. But, there's a lot of guys a lot worse than me and I'm really confused at the loyalty that ceramic inserts have.

So my question is "why is there so much loyalty to the ceramic guides in any flavor?"

I'm very interested in your opinions and experiences.

Thanks

Joe

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Matthew Paul (---.lightspeed.milwwi.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 18, 2017 03:53PM

I personally never had any rod I have built for my self or a customer with ceramic guides fail
the hard chrome guides have been around for ever and yea they have made some improvements to the rings but they still ware and groove especially if you choose to use mono line the braids don't do that or at least I have never heard any having them groove with braid.
>>>if your popping the rings out your really abusing your equipment IMO or they just aren't the right guide selection for the rod purpose.<<< I build a lot of heavy duty rods for fishing Muskies and never has a guide fail as I use the right guide for the propose that the rod is used for. I use a lot of ring lock style guides they are built for hard duty type rods yes you make some sacrifice because they are a bit more in weight and that comes in to play for lighter weight rods as it will/could change the desired action.

The best day to be alive is always tomorrow !!
Think out side the box when all else fails !!!
Wi.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 18, 2017 05:17PM

I replace guides all the time where the ceramic insert has either popped out or cracked. These includes guides of all brands both single foot and double foot guides. It may be that Southern bass and inshore anglers are harder on their gear than anglers from more northern climes. Or we just have more rods in the boat making accidental breakage more likely. In any case, the major advantage of ceramic guides is that they will never groove, their disadvantages are that they are usually heavier and more prone to have the rings popping out or cracking when abused. Hard Chromed ring guides tend be lighter, and the ring does not pop out or crack when abused, a disadvantage is that the rings are not as hard as ceramic rings, and thus may be more prone to grooving over time. There are trade offs involved with both types of guides. I use both types of guides depending on what is wanted by the user. Over the past few years I had a bunch of bass anglers have me replace their ceramic guides with hard chrome Minima guides and so far have not had any complaints. The minima guides do give the rod a lighter and more responsive feel that most anglers like. The only way to come close to matching the lightness of the Minima guides is to use titanium framed guides. In addition, the Minima hard chrome ringed guides are relatively inexpensive. In some cases, replacing a SIC or Torzite guide can cost more than an entire set of Minima guides. Both ceramic and hard chrome ring guides work very well for bass and light inshore fishing. There are proponents for both types of guides. Down here loyalty to ceramic guides tends to be breaking down in favor of Minima guides.
Norm

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Mark Marshall (---.dhcp.gwnt.ga.charter.com)
Date: May 18, 2017 11:43PM

Do you use Minima 3 or Minima 4s?

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 19, 2017 11:30AM

Minima 4s.
Norm

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 19, 2017 12:02PM

I think REC guides would also be a good choice. They are more flexible than the Minimas, so you could abuse your rods even more. The tournament guys I have dealt with break their rod blanks more than anything with an occasional messed up guide.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.adr02.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: May 19, 2017 02:56PM

Sounds to me like a clear case for using what works for the duty cycle being imposed. I have never had a ring fall out. I've cracked one tiptop ring. My son fishes much more than I with rods I've built for him, all ceramic, and not one failure. I have friends who bring their rods to me and it looks like they've gone to war with them. Sounds like my son and I can use ceramic ring guides and my friends need Minimas or similar.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Joe Johnson (76.8.209.---)
Date: May 19, 2017 03:01PM

Mathew,

Funny thing is, I am constantly repairing rods for people and the problem, almost always, is the ceramic guides.

Mind you, these aren't the rods I've built, just production rods of all flavors. Maybe muskie guys aren't as rough on their equipment, but I doubt that too.

Again, I'm trying to figure out why ceramics are so highly touted. If grooving is really the only issue, I can't help but think that hard chrome is the way to go. Not just Pac Bay Minima 4s, the Airwave guides vs. Microwave guides both are great but one is 4 times as expensive and is easily twice as fragile. (not the frames, just the ceramic.)

I really am trying to see the ceramic side of this argument, but it feels like a "this is the way we've done it" type of argument.

Please continue to give me reasons why the ceramic is superior.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.adr02.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: May 21, 2017 08:40AM

Let's suppose you get more responses supporting ceramics? Since you've had bad performance from them, what are you going to do with the information? Start using ceramics since they work for others? Not likely.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Joe Johnson (76.8.209.---)
Date: May 22, 2017 04:24PM

Well the whole point of asking questions is to see what's information is out there. I certainly am not in a position to be hard headed when it comes to fishing and especially rod building. This board, in particular, has been EXTREMELY helpful to me in understanding many of the nuances of rod building.

For example, I just fixed a Quantum Smoke rod. The customer specifically asked for ceramic guides because he felt the hard chrome was rough on his leader knot. Personally, I don't have any issues with my leader knots, but he was very sure that hard chrome was cutting down on the longevity of his leader knots. So it's something to consider, I might not see it that way, but it doesn't mean it's not a valid reason.

Anyway, sorry if i irritated you with this line of questions.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Geoff Staples (---.wavecable.com)
Date: May 23, 2017 02:27PM

Hi Joe,
The case for ceramic as I see it is: Ceramic rings are harder and smoother, providing a lower coefficient of friction. They provide less drag (noticeable or not) and an overall smoother feel to a rod by passing knots easier etc. The biggest plus for me personally is that ceramics don't wear line down very fast. I've got several rods with metal ring guides and I can tell you first hand that they do wear down the coating and fibers of braided lines much faster. The same with mono, you will loose that new clear glossy finish from the line much quicker. The metal rings do provide the benefit of increased durability making them a good choice for charter boats, or those who are rough on gear. I hope this helps.

Geoff Staples
www.batsonenterprises.com

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (172.58.43.---)
Date: May 26, 2017 09:54AM

As a rod builder/repairer we can see lots of ceramic guides damaged, for one reason there are far more rods out there than without ceramics, if even a fraction of one percent get damaged, that's still a considerable number. Many of my repairs also have a damaged frame that isn't always seen by me right off as it's a mute point by than, and I get a lot of crushed frames which would be that way no matter the ring material.
Than there is the quality of the guides, seem to see a lot less damage on higher quality builds, but that could be in part to people protecting their equipment better as they buy up.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: Joe Johnson (76.8.209.---)
Date: June 05, 2017 11:38AM

Thanks for the reply's. I appreciate the well thought out responses. I really just thought I'd try to shake a little more information out of the experience of the builders here. As I mentioned, I'm in no way an expert on everything with rodbuilding.

As a side note I stepped on a rod this weekend and broke a dbl footed minima guide, one of the first builds that I did 6 years ago. Nearly brought a tear to my eye.

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Re: Hard Chrome insterts vs Ceramic inserts
Posted by: David Sytsma (---.dhcp.klmz.mi.charter.com)
Date: July 06, 2017 02:49PM

Here is my issue. I build a lot of saltwater rods, many which get used on long range boats. For years I haven't had any problems but now some of my builds are coming back to me with rusting guide frames. From asking questions, I'm discovering that most of the rusted frames have been subjected to lengthy stretches of use without attempts to periodically rinse the rods off with fresh water or using de-salting compounds like Salt-A-Way. I use Fuji MN guides most of the time because they have always performed well. The guide feet get ground prior to mounting as is customary. In the latest issue of Rodmaker there was an ad from Fuji that they are releasing a frame material that is 5 times more corrosion resistant than stainless at an Alconite price. So I called Anglers Resource to inquire. Here's what the representative said: Yes, they have that material, it will be released for distribution after ICAST, and it's only available in the K series. The representative then asked if I ground my guide feet; I said yes, it's what you usually need to do to get a good thread transfer up onto the guide foot when you're wrapping. The rep then said that if you grind the guide feet on anything other than titanium guides, you're removing the coating, exposing the frame material, and it WILL eventually rust in a salt environment. That obviously includes the new Fuji frame material. Even if you are meticulous in assuring that the tunnels are filled and the feet are fully encapsulated, the risk is always there.

I'm considering using a different brand of guide, both in titanium and stainless steel material for saltwater usage. Freshwater isn't really a problem environment most of the time. I've got it narrowed down to about four manufacturers, one that pre-grinds their guide feet, which I assume occurs prior to the coating process if the guide is stainless steel (obviously titanium isn't an issue with foot grinding; it doesn't rust). What I would like to know is if anyone has had any issues with any manufacturer more than another with rings popping out. Obviously I can't call them and ask. If you can't drop names on this site, ask me to unhide my email. I appreciate your thoughts and experiences.

Thanks.

Dave Sytsma

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