The "X" designation for leaders/tippets Compromised?? - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 01-14-2007, 07:31 PM
chromedome chromedome is offline
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The "X" designation for leaders/tippets Compromised??

I recently purchased a spool of tippet made by a leading supplier labeled 1X. I've always believed that by definition this material should measure 0.010" in diameter, or at least be much closer to 0.010" than the diameter for the next X designation. The material on the spool measured 0.011" in diameter almost exactly. To me this is a product that is seriously out of spec because in reality it is 0X in size, again by definition. I then tried to get this same product from a very well known mail order/online supplier. Again it came to me as exactly 0.011" in diameter. Yet a third order for 1X tippet of another brand from yet another retailer was even larger in diameter than 0.011". A common thread here is that all material was made in this one same foreign country whereas some earlier bought tippet, that was in spec, was made in the USA.

On top of that, I came across an article on this new and improved tippet material from a well known, respected supplier where they are promoting this improved tippet material. They basically are saying the new stuff is so good in a certain X designation that they can make it a little thinner (and still call it 5X). I read that and said "WHAAAA". Specifically they say "As an example, previous generation 5X fluorocarbon measured .17 mm in diameter, whereas (the new and improved) 5X measures .16 mm." Hmmm! Now just by definition, 5X tippet is 0.006" in diameter. By my math, correct me if I'm wrong, this turns out to be 0.152 mm. So the unnamed supplier, while boasting of being able to decrease diameter size, is still selling an over sized product at .16mm. But to me that's not the worst part. It appears that this supplier doesn't see the connection between the X designation and diameter even granting that there is surely a +or- tolerance on the diameter.

It seems to me that if the trend shown in these observations continues we'll have an eroding in the meaning of the X designation and a degree of chaos in being able to rely on the X designation for knowing the diameters of our tippets.
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Old 01-15-2007, 11:17 PM
Smolt Smolt is offline
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Why use the X designation at? Just put the accurate diameter measurement and breakage strength on the label and be done with it. My $0.02., in inches and mm,
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Old 01-16-2007, 12:10 AM
chromedome chromedome is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smolt
Why use the X designation at? Just put the accurate diameter measurement and breakage strength on the label and be done with it. My $0.02., in inches and mm,
I'm assuming you mean "Why use the X designation at all?" So are you saying that just because a mfgr puts data on a spool of tippet he shouldn't have to stand behind that data? If so, you're just the kind of customer every shady business man dreams about.

Oh sure, I'm going to go through and start relabeling all my tippet material so a mfgr can continue with this shoddy practice of wrong labeling .
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Old 01-16-2007, 09:19 AM
JR SPEY JR SPEY is offline
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I think what Smolt was saying is that the X designation is archaic, and I tend to agree. If the manufacturer puts both the actual diameter and an accurate strength designation on the spool I don't see how they can be accused of "shoddy labeling." My guess is that there are a large number of flyfishers today who don't even really understand (or even need to understand) the X designation. Most of us who've been around awhile have come to depend upon it, but with so many types of materials today the X doesn't tell you anything you can't determine by knowing the other two pieces of information.
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Old 01-16-2007, 10:05 AM
Smolt Smolt is offline
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Thank you JR Spey.
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Old 01-16-2007, 02:56 PM
chromedome chromedome is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR SPEY
I think what Smolt was saying is that the X designation is archaic, and I tend to agree. If the manufacturer puts both the actual diameter and an accurate strength designation on the spool I don't see how they can be accused of "shoddy labeling." My guess is that there are a large number of flyfishers today who don't even really understand (or even need to understand) the X designation. Most of us who've been around awhile have come to depend upon it, but with so many types of materials today the X doesn't tell you anything you can't determine by knowing the other two pieces of information.
OK, so maybe its mainly us old guys who still think in terms of "X". And sorry if I offended anyone. And maybe I'm not getting my point across. On a typical spool of tippet you will find the X designation, diameter in thousanths of an inch, and strength written on the label. The X designation matches the diameter so there's nothing shoddy so far. Lets say for an example of what actually happened that on the label a diameter of 0.010" is shown with a designation of 1X. Where the shoddy comes in is if you then take and measure the diameter of the tippet and find it to be significantly greater than 0.010", and especially if the measurement goes up to the next X designation of 0.011" or 0X or even more as I have seen in some cases. Since a diameter of 0.011 will obviously be stronger in strength than a diameter of 0.010, a user of this material could be led to believe they have stronger tippet at the desired diameter if they just go by what they read on the label.
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Old 01-16-2007, 03:14 PM
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interesting discussion

Although I can be anal retentive about some things in flyfishing, when it comes to leaders and tippets I am a simpleton.

I buy maxima leader spools in graduated #test from biggest to smallest, skipping a few down in the real light sizes (where they increment by the pound) and try to make reasonable step-downs based on the 60%/20%/20% rule.

I have never used the X system in my life, although I understand what it is et al - however if someone could explain the benefit of using it I will gladly adopt it.
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