12-01-2005, 09:04 AM
I was getting ready to do some winter projects, picked up a new T&T 14’ 9wt. blank, and thought I would put some of my two handed handle designs out for inspection and see what everyone thought. What do most people like in a two-handed rod handle?
They are from top to bottom.
1) 10’ 7wt. switch rod using burl cork rings, some thin gray gasket material for accent and rubberized cork rings on the ends for durability. (this is my newest creation)
2) Sage 12’ 5wt. spey using standard cork rings. (I love this rod but I don’t like the small back handles sage puts on there production rods so I did my own)
3) Anglers Workshop 12’ 7/8wt. using alternating standard cork rings and red burl cork rings. (this rod and the Lamiglas are to of my early experiments with burl cork)
4) Lamiglas 12 ½’ 6/7wt. using alternating standard cork rings and green burl cork rings.
5) Diamond Back 13’ 8/9wt. using standard cork rings.
P.S. Please excuse the dirt on some of them, they do get used. :)
12-01-2005, 09:05 AM
Some detail on the switch rod.
5 looks best to me. Stick to the essentials.
12-01-2005, 06:32 PM
I like a rear grip of 7"-7.5", which I know is longer than most. I also like the rear grip to be pretty much a uniform 1 1/8" in diameter with a mushroom but cap, and again I know this is larger than most like.
For the foregrip, I like a slight taper from reel seat to mid-grip and then a very gradual taper to the front of the grip with the grip being close to 1.25" at its widest in the mid-grip area with a diameter of around .75" at the front of it next to the rod blank. This profile is basically a very long and larger diameter version of the old half-wells style single-hand grip. I also like my foregrips to be between 14" and 18" long depending on rod length and line size. I also prefer to have my reel seats mounted so they are downlocking on a 2-hand rod so the reel weight is a little bit closer to the end of the rod to help ballance it.
Good quality cork (even though it is a bit pricey at around $2.00/ring or more) is the material I prefer to build my grips out of. Also I build my grips on the rod blank itself by gluing the rings to the blank and each other, then turning the grips the next day after the glue has dried. I really don't like the preformed grips for 2-handed rods because they are too short and too small a diameter for my tastes and I prefer a fairly large diameter grip.
I have seen some very nice grips that use burl cork for part of the grip and a few nice ones that had foam grip material in the grip along with natural cork.
12-02-2005, 01:15 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys. I think Bill is correct; simplicity is sometimes the greatest form of elegance.
Flytyer, Thanks for the info on the grip dimensions. I will probably use a combination of materials for the new grip on my T&T.
And speaking of preformed grips, the first two-handed rod I ever built was a kit that came with a very long preformed grip. I had to ream it out to get it to fit. When I finally got it glued into place it ended up with a few air pockets in it that I did not know about. The air pockets caused the grip to crack. I figured it out quickly enough. To fix it I got a hypodermic needle from my brother’s diabetic wife, filed it with warm epoxy, and injected it into the air pockets. That was about 8 or 9 years ago. Learned a bunch since then. Now I do it your way, glue on the rings and form them on the rod.
12-02-2005, 11:25 PM
Charlie, very nice work. I like a 24-25-26" spread depending on the length of the rod. I don't care so much about the length of the upper and lower cork.
I am more concerned with the position of the reel seat and whether it is uplock (< 14' rod) or downlock (> 14'). A 14' rod splits the difference. I prefer to favor balance by positioning the reel properly in the first place, not by adding extra weight with rubber or wood grips if it can be avoided.
I have reamed premade corks with care (can be done), then added 1 or 2 rubberized rings at the bottom and top of each section for looks, durability, and more length. Anglers Workshop sells some pretty fat stock grips (I like them fat). I made a lathe setup with my hand drill and a threaded rod, but my shop is stuffed with bicycles and a driftboat (no room to work!), and the lathe setup works only ok, not great. Hard to get it 100% perfectly in the round when spinning at high speeds.
How are you guys turning the big grips on the blank itself?
12-03-2005, 02:32 AM
It is very easy to turn spey foregrips on the blank. Use a dowel or drill bit that is small enough to fit inside the rod's butt end that needs 4-10 layers of masking tape wrapped on it to take up the space to produce a snug, but not tight fit. The portion covered with masking tape ought to be around 3" long so the butt end is well supported from inside. Then simply chuck the drill bit or dowel in a drill or rod lathe (I prefer drill bits because they don't flex) and put the other end of the blank in a rod support (I also wrap a couple of layers of masking tape on the blank where it contacts the rod support to prevent blank damage and scratches) and turn on the power.
Since it only needs light pressure to sand the cork down and form the grip, it is very easy to control the amount you take off and it is also very easy to keep the rod blank from heating up where it rests in the rod support by going slow, turning off the drill of rod lathe after each pass of the sand paper, and checking your progress.
I use 1) 60 or 80 grit to cut the cork to shape; 2) 100 grit for final shaping; 3) 150 git to start smooting the cork; and 4) 220 grit to put the final finish on the cork. It only takes about 15-20 minutes to shape both foregrip and rear grip with this method.
Not to dilute the great discussion on rod building techinque but Charlie, I really like the switch rod handle and that would be just the thing for a saltwater two-hander. I'll have to talk to you offline about that.