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Guide Longevity
Posted by: Earl Estrada (156.75.79.---)
Date: August 04, 2017 01:43PM

I cant seem to find any real good testing that has been done on the different guides and manufacturers out there, so I am curious about all of your use with the common guides on the market, how well they maintained their appearance, how well they maintain their inserts under rough use, and overall which guides are best for longevity?

So far, I have used are Fuji and CRB. I like the Fuji guides because some commercial rods I have bought had them and they certainly lasted many years, they are light, and they are stylish.

I like the CRB guides, and I like them over American Tackle, because they are cheaper. They both look identical, both seem to have a "pressed in" (ring lok) insert, and that style looks like it will last longer than the typical Fuji style ring.

I know there are others, PacBay, Aftco, Alps, Forecast, etc and I am curious on your takes for all of them.

Someday I would like to see (or do myself) a legit test, both in a "lab environment" and in the real world. If I had the money, financing, or sponsorship, I would already be on it! Since I live in a salty environment, and have a TON of friends who fish or own fishing charters, I could definitely stress test the @#$%& out of guides, lol.

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Lou Auret (204.16.161.---)
Date: August 04, 2017 02:40PM

The average commercial rod is used for 3 to 5 years then the latest 'shiny' comes along and everyone buys a new one.
I do a lot of guide replacements on commercial rods as i live in a poor town(Memphis) where folks still repair rather than replace.
I like minima 4 guides on my custom builds: cheap, very very light, good size rings and i have never had one fail and i buy them by the pack of 100.
Even with braid as that is all i use.
The minima 3 not so much, they do fail.
You find them on the < $30 rods in big box stores. They have a place.

I match the hatch so to speak on repairs. A famous citrus colored rod from a while back i loved as it was 20 guides a week in repairs.Nice hobby work that funded my building habit. They use nasty little guides with a foot guaranteed to get bent out of shape by an over eager bass fisherman and a rod locker.
Guides themselves would not wear out, they were torn out or bent and broke.
Inserts were fine.
Feet could decompose in salt when never rinsed off but a jumbo jet will do that too.
Its not size or brand its care.

The only insert failure i see are mostly tips smaller than 5 ring will fail regardless of material as somebody will reel up a swivel. hard. Repeatedly. Until it fails.
Again good for me and my income. I bet batson, Fuji, Amtak etc love it too.


I doubt you will ever need to build with guides that last longer than the current crop of guides will last.

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Matthew Paul (---.lightspeed.milwwi.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 04, 2017 04:01PM

I will give Lou a good amount of credence in his take on rods and longevity because of the latest and greatest thing that came down the line .
As for the guides when it comes to inserted ring guides they will all eventually fail not because of quality but mostly from abuse and improper care especially when it comes to salt water use ,
You see the people that get a fish on and reel it up till it stops and can't reel any more new to fishing adults and kids are famous for that and the tip top ring gets punched out and some times the first runner from the tip and you have the ones that let the guides rest on the side of the boat or against the pier rail. cheap guides are just that cheap they flex and bend the white rings pop out .
Then you have the better quality guides with good stainless frames and quality ceramic rings, they stand up better but there is no abuse proof guide made to my knowledge.
So I will suggest that you use the guides you like the most knowing that you chose what is best for you and your builds and customers needs.
the only other thing I can suggest when building for a customer is to talk to them and ask if they use swivels or leaders and then I automatically adjust the guide sizes IE the tip top and runners and use one size larger ring on them as the weight difference is so minuscule you can't tell the difference unless you use a grain scale as the total rod weight will change by a couple 100 's of an ounce and the action will still be the same. Some may disagree but I have done it and checked it on several builds done both ways smaller and one side larger and found not noticeable change.

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

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: August 04, 2017 04:41PM

I have used American Tackle, Fuji, Alps, stainless steel and titanium and have never had a legitimate guide frame failure (except one to be mentioned later) or ring pop out. I tend to use the higher end guides and ring materials. Since I am not a "commercial" builder, the quantity of rods I have experience with is miniscule compared to many on the forum who do this for a living and build many more rods.

I will make one comment about quality, and that is that the yield / bending strength of AmTak titanium guide frames is significantly lower than Fuji and Alps. I believe it is by design, but to me it is simply too easy to bend them, and I had one bend to failure. Plus a few that in handling the rods got a little bent, but could be reformed without failure.

Of course my rod users take a lot better care of the rods than many of the users of guide and charter boat rods. I see no justification for custom building for charter use. Just buy the rods as "consumables."

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date: August 04, 2017 07:55PM

30 years of use with no problems on even the light duty ceramics from Fuji and Pac Bay is not a bit unheard of in my area with no problems, or replacement necessary. The finish may be worn down to the stainless, but the guides are as sound as the day they were made.

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Tom Wewerka (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net)
Date: August 06, 2017 10:57AM

Just looked for the first time online at the CRB guides and they are priced right for sure. What I would like to know is they list them as standard, performance and elite. That really doesn't tell me much as far as to what ring is in them other than figuring the higher the price the better the grade of aluminum oxide. Does anyone know what grade they have in those guides and what would it compare to in Fuji?

Tom

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 06, 2017 12:20PM

Tom - For the CRB guides, standard grade uses aluminum oxide rings, performances grade uses titanium oxide rings, and elite grade uses zirconia oxide. All use 316 SS frames. I have not used them so I can't comment on quality vs Fuji guides. However, all ceramics are sufficiently hard to hold up to all types of line without ever grooving.
Norm

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: August 06, 2017 12:57PM

I agree on guides' performance, Norman, but not the same for tiptops. I've had the old Hardloy tiptops on the factory rods I was using before I resumed building develop grooves. Not at all unusual.

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 06, 2017 05:33PM

I have never seen a grove in a ceramic guide or tip top, The ceramic used in the tip top is the same as used in the guides. I know that you can not groove or scratch a hardloy guide. I have a bunch of salvage guides representing all of the common ceramic insert materials from Sic to aluminum oxide and everything in between. As a demonstration to show people how tough the ceramic inserts are, I have them try to groove the insert from a size 30 to 20 guide with a hacksaw blade or a metal file. They are surprised that they can not even scratch the insert. This convinces them that all the ceramics are 'braid proof'. These demo guides have been sawed and filed on many times over the years and are still unscratched. Try it yourself, it is a very good demo. I suspect that what you saw was not a groove but rather a crack.
Norm

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Tom Wewerka (---.bltmmd.fios.verizon.net)
Date: August 06, 2017 09:27PM

Norman Miller Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have never seen a grove in a ceramic guide or
> tip top, The ceramic used in the tip top is the
> same as used in the guides. I know that you can
> not groove or scratch a hardloy guide. I have a
> bunch of salvage guides representing all of the
> common ceramic insert materials from Sic to
> aluminum oxide and everything in between. As a

> demonstration to show people how tough the ceramic
> inserts are, I have them try to groove the insert
> from a size 30 to 20 guide with a hacksaw blade or
> a metal file. They are surprised that they can not
> even scratch the insert. This convinces them that
> all the ceramics are 'braid proof'. These demo
> guides have been sawed and filed on many times
> over the years and are still unscratched. Try it
> yourself, it is a very good demo. I suspect that
> what you saw was not a groove but rather a crack.
>
> Norm

That's a great idea Norm. I will use it at the shows this winter

Tom

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: August 07, 2017 07:19AM

So I wonder how my tiptops got grooved if they cannot be grooved? The duty cycle of tiptops is much more aggressive than that for guides, so a material that works fine for guides may not work as well with tiptops. Which is why I often use SIC tiptops with Alconite guides. I noticed my son's fly tiptop, made of the same material as the guides, has a few light grooves in it. The guides have no grooves. (wire)

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 07, 2017 11:08AM

Again I personally have never seen a ceramic tip top that has grooved, but maybe the tip tops I have seen are used in a different fishing environment. It is hard for me to believe that fishing line is more abrasive than a hacksaw blade or a metal file. SiC tip tops are harder than all other ceramics but are also very brittle. I have found them to crack more often than others. I prefer to use Alconite tip tops, they are hard enough, but are less brittle, weigh less, and cost less. To each their own as far as guide use is concerned. My experiences and tests have led me to believe that all ceramics are suffiently hard enough to resist grooving by either braid or mono for many years of hard fishing.
Norm

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: roger wilson (---.hsd1.mn.comcast.net)
Date: August 07, 2017 03:29PM

Michael,
10-4 on the use of a silicon carbide tip due to the avoidance of tip top grooving.

Remember, when working a fish, the tip top will often see a 90 degree change of direction for the fishing line. Also, the tip top is the first part of the fishing rod to see the line, as the line is being reeled back.

I think that often, grooving is caused by a braid, retaining bits of sand or mud - which act exactly like sand paper. So, if fishing in an area with muddy water and using braid, you can put a huge amount of significant abrading to the tip top. But, by the time that the lne gets around the corner - the potential for other guide wear is much reduced - compared to the tip top of a rod.

Good luck

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Earl Estrada (156.75.79.---)
Date: August 07, 2017 03:30PM

Thanks everyone!

I am not sure they are Minima`s (They look like single foot versions, maybe DynaFlo?), but I bought a Steelhead Rod, 9' Ultralight from Gander about 10 years ago and used it for Salmon, steelhead, and pike when I was in New York. I must have caught 40+ salmon, and 10+ steelies, and 20 or so pike. I used 8lb test braid, THE WHOLE TIME, and never got any grooves. As well, i never had an insert pop-out on me either. Loved that rod, and the guides FAR exceeded my expectations. Because they did not look like ceramic, I expected it to last a season, at most.

So, what is it that causes the guide frames on commercial rod guides to break in half, usually along the upper portion of the guide ring, and then the guide ring falls out? Is that just cheap metal, or thin metal? Is that why better guides like the ones on my Gander mountain rod or Fuji's won't fail as often? I am just a bit perplexed I guess.

Thanks everyone for all the replies!

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 07, 2017 05:32PM

Minima guides have a hard chrome ring insert that has a Vicker hardness of about 1000, if they are PVD coated their hardness will be higher than this value. For comparison, SS has a hardness of about 400, aluminum oxide is 1200-1400, Alconite is 1300-1500, Zirconia 1000-1400, silicon nitride is 1400, Nanolite 1800, and SiC 2200-2400. SiC is by far the hardest of all inserts, but in my option this amount of hardness is overkill, SiC is also more brittle, heavier, and more expensive than most. All of these inserts are sufficiently hard enough to resist grooving for years of hard use. The exceptions might be if one is fishing waters containing high levels of quartz particulates; quartz has a Vicker hardness of about 1400. The Minima hard chrome inserts are groove resistant, and have the added advantages in that they are crack resistant, very light, less prone to pop out of the frame, and are inexpensive. I believe that most guide frames fail because of bending, and rebending them back in shape. In my option, if a guide becomes bent it prone for failure some where down the line. The guides that someone uses is a personal preference, and it is one of the things that make a custom rod custom.
Norm

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Michael Danek (---.mskg.mi.frontiernet.net)
Date: August 08, 2017 07:48AM

Norman, I can see why your preference for Alconite tiptops may be the optimum solution. I've used them on tiptops also, and I have never experienced a grooved one. I have used SIC thinking it was the best. I've never broken one due to its brittle characteristic. I think in the future I'll try more Alconite. I think, however, you are over-simplifying things by focusing on Vicker hardness for particulates in the water and assuming that as long as the tiptop ring is harder, it won't groove. It's not only the hardness, but how many cycles of "stress," or "exposure" are encountered. In my opinion. Good discussion.

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 08, 2017 11:09AM

I agree Michael, Vicker hardness is only one characteric involved in guide ring choice. However I think hardness is a major factors for resisting grooving. All of the various ceramics differ in a number of characteristics and hardness is just one. Other characteristics include fracture resistance, specific gravity (wgt/unit volume), smoothness, heat dissipation, and price, just to name a few. Fracture resistance is important because the higher the fracture resistance then thinner/ lighter the ring can be made. Smoothness and heat dissipation are important for protecting the line, and price is important for protecting the pocket book. There are trade off for each of the different inserts.
Norm

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: woody osborne (---.dhcp.hckr.nc.charter.com)
Date: August 08, 2017 03:41PM

ceramics can indeed get grooved. ask muskie fishermen. i replaced a rod's worth years ago for a friend. grooved terribly from cortland line.

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Re: Guide Longevity
Posted by: Norman Miller (---.lightspeed.jcsnms.sbcglobal.net)
Date: August 08, 2017 04:48PM

Because it was a rainy and slow day today, I wasted some time by looking at a box full of salvage tiptops that I accumulated over the years. So in complete disclosure, I found two old aluminum oxide guides that had groves in their rings out of 173 tip tops I looked at with my magnifying glass. So I can now say that some ceramics can groove. All of these 173 tip tops were inexpensive aluminum oxide, with some hailoy and hardloy tip tops thrown in. All of these guides looked like they were well used, showing various degrees of corrosion, dirt, and frame wear. So I admit that some ceramics can groove. I also looked at all of my personal rods (over twenty) and all of the rods I have built for my neighbor (again over 20), Most of these rods have Alconite tip tops with some having SiC, Nanolite and Durolite rings. All of these rods get well used and none showed any sign of ring grooving or wear. This is far from being a scientific study but I concede that grooving does occur, albeit at low levels. However, I still believe that most tip top inserts are sufficiently hard to give you years of hard use before failure.
Norm

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