Cork rod grips [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Cork rod grips

wedge head
09-11-2003, 02:18 PM
I am thinking about custom building a rod for myself and I was wondering if anyone can advise me the best way to construct and turn/shape the cork grip. I thought that I could maybe somehow use my electric drill to spin the rod but I need a method of holding the rod whilst it spins and also a method of safely holding the blank in the drill chuck. Does anyone know how this can be done. As this may be a one off, I didn't want to buy a lot of expensive tools and jigs. Thanks.

09-11-2003, 08:03 PM
You sure can use a drill. I used a 4' pc of 2x6 for the base. Put 1' pc of 2x4 on one end and mount the drill to it with large hose clamps, like the kind used for duct work. A couple of pc's of all thread some more scrap wood that is drilled for the rods and some roller blade wheels or sliding door wheels, the kind that come on a bracket. Use some nuts to adjust the height of the jig so that it is in line with your drill chuck. Make sure you put a good bit of masking tape on the blank where the wheels come in contact with it. Put a 6" 3/8 dowel in the chuck, turn on the drill and shap the dowel so it fits in the blank, tape it on (duct tape works well here) Now you're ready to shape that grip.

Good luck.

09-11-2003, 09:23 PM
You can also get some threaded rod, place it into the drill, and then add a nut and washer to each end of the cork to hold the cork while shaping the grip. As you mount the cork to the threaded rod, put some glue on the cork faces to glue the grip together and when you are finished shaping it, let it set a while for the glue to set up and dry. Then ream the center of the grip to fit the blank and glue it on.

Either this method or the one JimW wrote about works well, and neither is expensive either.

09-12-2003, 08:33 AM
I highly recommend shaping the cork on the blank. Glue it up in a treaded jig, scrape off the excess epoxy before it dries. Don't use 5 min epoxy, use the 2hr stuff, it's waterproof. let it dry for a day or so, ream it and fit it to the blank. After mounting the reel seat, load up the cork with epoxy and slide it right down the blank, wipe down the blank with no lint paper towels. let it dry for a day or so. Now shape your grip. The problem with shaping the grip before placing it on the blank is you can get an off center hole. Just the way I was taught, I'm sure the threaded rod in the drill would work.

wedge head
09-12-2003, 05:05 PM
Thanks Jim and Flytyer - that's a great help.

Is epoxy the best glue to use on the cork? I thought it might be a bit hard when it comes to shaping the handle.

09-12-2003, 06:18 PM
Use the threaded rod and washers to really crank it down. Most of the epoxy will sqeeze out.

wedge head
09-13-2003, 01:00 AM
Thanks Jim

I'm going to give this a try.

03-15-2005, 03:38 PM
U-40 rod bond's (IMHO) the best epoxy to bond reel seats to blanks. Use a scotchbrite pad to scuff the area up under the cork/seat.

Nooksack Mac
03-15-2005, 09:58 PM
I've made and shaped something like twenty fly rod grips the old-fashioned way. After the epoxy between the single rings of the rubber band-compressed handle has dried, I cover the adjoining reel seat and the blank above the handle with several wraps of hasking tape, for protection against slips. Then I sit with the butt section in my lap. I start with a coarse wood file (which cuts away any protruding epoxy in a stroke or two) and rasp away, turning the blank after every three strokes. I work free-form, stopping frequently to test the feel of the emerging grip. (You can remove more cork, but it's hard to put it back.) You can shape any style of grip you want, including those that include "burl" (compressed wood chip) rings and custom indentations for thumbs or palm pads.
When you've got it near the proper size, switch to sandpaper wrapped around a paperback novel; first coarse, then finer paper. I can't match the polished-woodlike finish of commercial grips, but what I end up with is smooth, good-looking, and comfortable.
I also use preformed grips. I have no preference, but some of my favorite rods have manually shaped grips as described above.