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They are ALL aluminum, which is not the cause of binding. That is the finish. You can avoid binding by NEVER screwing filters on all the way, and applying a very tiny drop of oil or wax to the threads when you get the filters. It will last for some time.
thanks for the advice - will try using wax or oil - any specific types you can suggest?
There is a definite difference between the finish between the 77mm WA Lee rings and the 82mm WA rings. the 77mm feel like metal, the 82mm are obviously aluminum. I've never had binding issues with the 77mm, but always seem to have issues with the 82mm rings. I have tried not screwing them in all the way, but occasionally have accidently still ended up having the rings being screwed in when rotating the lens hood, since most of the filters i use are thinner mount (B+W xs Pro). at times, the only way i've been able to remove the filters is by breaking the filter (filter wrench doesn't seem to work), which is expensive given the cost of these filters.