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The Ultimate Duffus trap & (D)Evolution Of The Duffus Trap

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Regards the recent posts about the original Duffus trap being better than the later incarnations I gave my traps a good coat of looking at this morning. I've got a second generation Duffus, marked J. Duffus & Son, but not the Patent. It needed a bit of fettling as you would expect for a trap around 40 - 50 years old, but really it was only the wires that needed rubbing down and the usual mods made to the triggers as it was unadulterated when my mate gave it to me.








My mate who gave me this trap and some others including a similar, but unbranded Duffus type trap from the same era only did a bit of moling so they haven't had much work. Both are still working and could be used.


This Duffus trap is significantly different to the modern Flatpacks I've got. The most noticeable thing is that it is a lot narrower and has a steeper arch than the Flatpacks and other cheaper traps I own. Across the tape measure the Duffus is 60mm wide whereas the original Flatpack Ultimate Stainless trap is 70mm and the more recent version of this is a whopping 74mm across the arch. When I got these later traps I phone the company and asked if they had sent the right traps as they are different in size and finish to the ones I'd previously bought, but they denied any knowledge. The cheaper galvanised Flatpack that all you poor folk (and me in future) is 70mm across.




The internal measurements, i.e. the trapping wires are much the same, both around 55mm, the Duffus has a slightly wider profile towards the bottom. But for me, the extra width of the Flatpack means that I have to make the hole bigger above the tunnel to accommodate the trap body. In turf I usually grip the roots with my fingers and squeeze them back. In clay soil it means slicing it slightly wider at the top of the mole's tunnel or the trap will pare earth down inside the tunnel and the trap.


Now, I don't share Matt's view that the old Duffus is a better trap than the quality modern ones. The Duffus has a square bottom that to me is undesirable and the loop of the retaining wire isn't manufactured perfectly round and so is a pig to set. Incidentally this wire is opposite handed to modern traps and feels awkward when manoeuvring it under the trigger loop. The S/S Flatpacks I got about three years ago knock it into a cocked hat in my opinion. The wires are slightly wider, they run through the slots smoother and the trigger loops are more substantial. The more recent S/S Flatpacks however, are a pain because of the unnecessary width of the body.


Now everybody has a vice. Mine is in the basement bolted to a work bench and that proved to be the answer. Take one Flatpack Ultimate Stainless Steel Trap, place it in the vice, squidge it from 70mm to 60mm, remove from vice and you have the ultimate tunnel trap bar none in my humble opinion.



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hell of a good post!! and at last we have a good comparison in traps! i always bend the bottom 5-10mm of the trap down so that kill loops are touching it and they cant wobble about....if i could only find a way to make the trigger holes smaller............ :thumbs:

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as a side note...i would like to poke matt with a stick again about getting a load of traps made up for us to our spec...sorry :laugh:

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That's the first time for ages that anyone has wanted to poke me :laugh:


Anyway, I'd like to thank Nicepix for such an informative and well laid out post :thumbs:


I only wish I could agree with you :no:


Sadly, I'm strongly of the belief that the original traps have not been copied correctly. Every single change that's been made to them has been to improve the manufacturing process, not the trap :yes:


It's always the same; because the people that make them don't actually use them, they don't understand the importance of certain factors :no: The beauty of the original was that it was made by a molecatcher who know what was needed and why.


Having said all of that, I've not looked at the Flatpack stainless trap as yet :no: if they want to send me a freebie to review then I'll accept it happily (but they won't, :laugh: ).


The width and shape of the barrel is vital in my opinion; I'm still trying to fathom out why FP make a wider trap? Are moles in some areas bigger and fatter than my skinny little Exmoor chaps? Have moles caught the obesity disease that affects modern society, thereby rendering them bigger and fatter than the moles in the 1920's when JND invented the trap?


No, of course not.


One of the other issues is the size of the holes through which the trigger wire passes. The modern versions have that hole far to big; it allows too much 'play', thereby making the trigger less sensitive :yes:


Anyway, I'll maybe comment a little more later in the day when I've got some traps in the ground :yes:


In the meantime, thanks again to Nicepix, and if anyone reading this is in contact with a trap manufacturer like Flatpack, perhaps they'd point them in this direction? A bit of input from the manufacturer might be interesting :thumbs:

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I was disappointed with their response when I contacted Flatpack about the changes. The first lot I got were and are superb traps. The second lot were wider and had a more grey finish as though they had been galvanised. At that time they advertised three types of trap; regular, ultimate stainless steel galvanised and ultimate stainless steel. I order the latter. The company were a bit off hand when I asked them about the differences and when I ordered a third batch again specifying the stainless steel, none galvanised version I received the same traps as the second time. These last two batches are 74mm wide, not 70mm wide as the first lot. I notice now that they only offer regular and stainless, the galvanised & stainless type seems to have been dropped. So it might be worth asking them how wide the traps are before placing an order.


Incidentally, Frontbum sent me some regular Flatpacks last week and they are 70mm so it seems that it is only the ultimate stainless galvanised that were wider.


I've put some of the 74mm traps into the vice and made them into 65mm and some of the 70mm traps are now 60mm. I've had to re-tune them as the new profile puts more pressure on the retaining bars, but not enough to cause a problem.

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Not a mention of wire tension or diameter???


Not got the tools to check them. The pressure needed to set a modern Flatpack is more than to set the old Duffus as gauged by hand. And the wire looks thinner on the old trap and it is much easier to bend the triggers so maybe the temper or hardness is different too.

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I squeeze mine to 60mm :thumbs: but I've found that it can affect the speed of action due to the friction on the barrel from the catching loops :yes:


I just had a look at the Flatpack site (and sent them a message to read this), and it seems that all of their barrels are now stainless :yes:


The very first batch of their traps I bought (about 8 years ago) rusted in no time at all :no: they weren't interested, so I' haven't bought any since, although I understand they sorted out their 'finish' issues :yes:


As Mr Wasp says, the other startling difference twixt old and new is the quality and thickness of the wire :yes:


I only hope that Flatpack don't go down the Bethel Rhodes route of fobbing off any criticism of their traps by saying that they still sell plenty :no:


On a side note, I heard (or read) on the grapevine that Killgerm are getting lots of traps returned lately. Perhaps BR will listen to their biggest customer when they are told that they just don't cut it anymore?


Also read somewhere recently that trap manufacturers aren't interested in producing traps that work well :no: it seems that they want people to fail with them, throw them aside and then buy a few more further down the line.......


Great thread BTW :thumbs: I'm off to set some traps :thumbs:

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At long last a very thought provoking thread - unfortunately I cannot offer much substance to the discussion as I have no specific evidence why changes were made to this very effective trap, apart from that manufacturing costs, and modern materials each play an important part in the decision making process of trap production these days

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Great post nicepix, I though the flat packs had changed a bit. The newer traps did seem wider to me so that confirms it. I've always squidged in the sides on all my duffus anyway - but as Matt says, you're limited by the wires to an extent.


In addition, the newer FP's I bought were tempremental out of the box. Many of them would fire after 30 seconds of being set. The hook at the top of the trigger seems a couple of mm shorter than the old ones. Luckily with a pair of pliers (in the pouring rain I might add), I got them all into a serviceable condition.


They still have enough power, I've had no problems catching moles - but overall they're disappointing compared to the last lot I bought a few years ago - which although regularly used are still in A1 condition.


I use the standard galv ones. Will see how the new shells weather in but they look like they have a different finish/grade of galv? Maybe this is an improvement, maybe not though?

Edited by outandabout

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I'm still not sure what or why any adjustments have been made to ease the manufacturing process. Perhaps Matt could explain?


As an aside, a friend who hails from the Keighly area and personally knows the gaffers at Bethel Rhodes asked me if I wanted any traps bringing back last year as he was driving over for a short holiday. I didn't want any, but another guy asked him to bring three or four for him to use in his garden. Apparently he got the traps for three quid apiece direct from the factory. I haven't seen them so can't comment on their quality but I intend to have a look when I'm next passing.


I'll also be keeping an eye on the regular Flatpacks that Frontbum sent me as it would appear that they now have S/S bodies and it is just the wires that are galvanised rather than S/S, or that's how I read it.

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That's interesting. The new ones had been sat in their box in the back of the van for a while, I bought them some time last year and only just needed to use them.


These don't have a stainless steel shell on them, but maybe they've updated their range in the meantime.


Will be interesting to hear your thoughts on the BR's. I can order them through killgerm, but from what others have said (mentioning no names :laugh: ) I'd be wasting my money

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Personaly,...I think things are getting a wee bit too technical..........


Mind you,..I'm a dumbo, so I would say that... :laugh:

Edited by Phil Lloyd
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Well i can tell you, that i have fallen out of love, with the half barrel mole trap,.......lol You guys have highlighted very well, all the problems,we have with the fairly recent & current crop.I have probably purchased 150 plus , of the 'bethel' type ,the last 15/20 year. Sadly, the last box i got sent (a while ago,now) the traps were 'substandard'.Previously, i could "tune" them to a satisfactory standard, but the last ones were more difficult.Disappointingly, any other 'samples' i received,from other manufacturers, werent any easier,for ME personally, to 'adjust' either.It really is about time that a manufacturer, should be interested enough,to consult with professional moletrappers, & finally come up with a trap, that is truly, 'fit for purpose' Ideally, for me a trap that needs no "tuning" ?, (cause im not a fan, of having to spend hours, tinkering with traps,...lol) It also wouldnt bother me too much,if i had to pay , a bit extra,for the finished product, either,.....lol

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Personaly,...I think things are getting a wee bit too technical,.mind you,..I'm a dumbo, so I would say that... :laugh:


I think it is patently obvious, that manufacturers and suchlike, seem to suffer from a definite lack of quality control..

Leaving out the obvious Far Eastern culprits,..it would appear that even UK trap makers , get their measurements wrong from time to time.

Regarding the Bethel Rhodes Duffus ,..well, I was lucky in that I purchased a good quantity of a pester ,.bound for Ireland....so, his price reflected the journey he had chosen to make, to the mole free Emerald Isle.. :whistling:

His loss, my gain...shit happens, etc,.etc.. :laugh:


My traps are working well,.no probs at all,.but I believe what my fellow molecatchers have said, and I'll not be getting any more.

Regarding the FlatPack Duffus,..well, once again, I purchased a batch from the beginning,...and to be honest, they are real narrow feckers,..almost original Duffus look-a-likes ?

So what has gone wrong,.how did they get made,.. so wide ?

My problem with the first Flatpacks was that they were stiff and awkward to fettle,.

I found everything about them to be robustly made and they reminded me of a pre-war car,..real hard steel,..nothing flimsy about them..

BUT,..I found them difficult to set fine,.they were powerful enough,. but their sheer power often fired them off when bedding into a run. In short, I lost faith in them...

Still got a large quantity though and I'm using them every day,..I suppose it just took me a while to adjust...


It would be a good thing if a group of us were to get together,.or sponsor a brave and honourable man, to get this Duffus business sorted , once and for all..

Lets get the Trap manufacturers all singing from the same hymn sheet,..cos with all the various Duffus traps doing the rounds,..my head is spinning.... :laugh:


B&Q and would have sold you a shed load at a good price too.....At one time they filled their Irish stores with Mole traps and "repellent", and even cut the price as they weren't selling! :laugh:

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