Ceramic ring guides

#1
Hi All, it’s been a while since I last built a rod and I’m getting confused with all the new guide options. In the past I have typically built my rods with single foot Fuji ring guides. Now I see at least three different types of rings being offered for these guides (SIC, Alconite, and Concept O). Does anyone have any experience with these materials? I was leaning toward Alconite as the SIC are three times the cost. Also, does anyone have a formula to translate the guide size (I.e. 4, 4.5, 5 ...) to the inside diameter of the ring. Any comments would be most welcome as I’m about to start two trout rods built on St. Croix blanks.
 
#2
SiC provides the smoothest finish and is the hardest material. I believe they are completely irrelevant for fly purposes. If a ring breaks or in the remotest chance it grooves you can just replace it. SiC guides will not improve shootability.
O guides just use a different ring mounting mechanism. I have never lost a ring in a fly rod so no idea if this will help or not.

More important is the guide material - options are solid titanium, titanium plating, stainless steel. I use solid titanium strippers (American Tackle Virtus Light) and chrome snakes (Snake brand) for my rods that will see saltwater use.

I haven't seen a Fuji page that lists guide dimensions but here is an AmTak one:
http://www.americantackle.us/guidestitanrl.html

NIRLF-5
A: 2.61 mm B: 5.46 mm C: 7.17 mm Weight: 0.125 gm Ring ID: 3.06 mm Foot Length: 7.22 mm
  • Height A from bottom of the foot to bottom of the ring ID
  • Height B from bottom of the foot to top of ring ID
  • Height C total guide height
 
#4
Alconite will be fine. It is the ceramic ring that companies like Sage uses. I would use a SiC guide for salt water applications where fish take long hard runs into the backing (Tarpon, sharks, sailfish etc). The backing is abrasive and would wear out a softer guide faster. American Tackle Virtus uses Nanolite which is equivalent to SiC. American Tackle would say that it is harder or even the hardest ceramic guide out there. If you're building trout rods, I would use regular snakes. Using a single foot ceramic guide in place of snakes is overkill. If you were building a tarpon or sailfish rod that would be another story. There is no conversion chart for snake guides to single foot ceramic guides that I know of. You will have to eyeball it.
Tight lines
Keith
 
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