I finally managed to get them off. I worked on it last night, I took a needle and felt around the bottom of the female ferrule in the butt section. It turns out there wasn't a wedge in there after all, just some fuzzy debris that looked like old lint. I checked around for a pin, nope, no pin. So, I gently heated over my stove (I have a ceramic stove). The stove was set to low and I turned the rod every 10 minutes or so. After 30 or 40 minutes the ferrule just slid right off. Whew! That was a learning experience. OK, I've got everything apart now and it's time to start the refinishing. Thanks again.