Preformed handle or indiv cork rings? - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 01-22-2002, 12:56 PM
linesides linesides is offline
Join Date: May 2001
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Preformed handle or indiv cork rings?

I am also building a rod this winter and have a Q: What are the advantages of preformed handles verses individual cork rings? I suppose if each ring is custom reamed the overall fit would be better (?)

Preformed sounds pretty simple and quick though.

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Old 01-22-2002, 01:08 PM
JimW JimW is offline
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FWIW - I went preformed thinking it would be one less thing to worry about. The reaming process was not easy with the one piece handle. I think rings would give you a much better contact with the blank (less epoxy) and you could custom turn the grip to your liking. I plan on going individual burled cork rings on the next rod. I'm curious as to the adhesive people are using to glue the rings together. I'm still not comfortable with the idea of turning the grip on the blank itself so I plan to drill out the rings, glue them up using a threaded rod and turn it on the threaded rod.
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Old 01-22-2002, 02:26 PM
DFix DFix is offline
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Jim, how are you going to shape a cork handle with a tapered center hole, on a straight shafted, threaded mandrel? you'll need a tapered mandrel - a dowel rod or other, if you don't use the blank.
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Old 01-22-2002, 02:35 PM
John Desjardins John Desjardins is offline
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Based on my limited experience recently gluing up rings for a fighting butt, my humble opinion is that a preformed grip takes less time to assemble.

Jim, use a length of drill rod (non theaded) to glue the grip on. It's a pain to get the threaded rod out of the grip when they are bonded together. You may even want to wax the rod to make it release easier. I used a urethane glue (Gorrilla)to glue the rings, but have heard that a very thin coat of epoxy is better. Bonding the grip to the blank I do use epoxy. Somewhere on the web Bob Petti has a very good description of how to glue and form a grip.

Also Dave has a very good point that I completely neglected when I first posted this message.
John Desjardins

Last edited by John Desjardins; 01-22-2002 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 01-22-2002, 06:02 PM
JimW JimW is offline
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Dave, Good point. I really hadn't thought that far ahead yet. I do know that I like the look and feel of the burled cork even if it is a bit heavier. One thought that comes to mind is masking tape like when you build up the blank under the reel seat. Looks like a little experimentation is in order. Anyone have any other ideas?

John, Thanks for the tips. I'll dig around for that site.

Linesides, Good thread.

I bet Todd may have some insight into how the master goes about it. Can you share it with us Todd or has Smitty sworn you to secrecy?
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Old 01-22-2002, 07:56 PM
saltRon saltRon is offline
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Handles and Seats

My sugestion for the fit of the handle is whether you use a preformed grip [ NO ALTERNATIVE] or glued up series of rings that you develop the fit after you have finished developing the profile or adjusting the preformed piece. It is a matter of using a round rat tailed file and [OR] sand paper on a split dowel and lots of dry fiting. Rings of narow masking tape are quit acceptable if you find that you had to open up the bottom end of the handle further than you wanted to for the final fit and position.

There is usually not to much of a problem with the fit of the reel seat as you are able to mount it from the bottom end of the blank.

------ My .02 saltRon
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Old 01-22-2002, 08:55 PM
artb artb is offline
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The preformed grip is the easiest way. I have done it both ways. Glueing cork rings is quite time consuming. I you waterproof Elmers glue to glue them together. I have tried putting them on threaded rod, and turned the grip in a lathe, and in a drill press, but you will never get as good a looking handle as the preformed one. I have also mounted the rings dirrectly on the rod blank, chucked the blank in a latheput some tape on the blank about the size of the collet you have available, and put a live center in the bottom end of the rod blank, then turned, and sanded the blank to the desired shape, works good, but still the handle doesn't look as nice as the preformed grip. Just my dime.
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Old 01-24-2002, 05:44 PM
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kush kush is offline
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The most difficult thing about rod building is the cork work (followed by a professional looking finish). It requires the proper equipment and something of an artistic touch or feel. I've seen alot of basement rods that were soundly constructed but had some bizzarre looking handles.

In my opinion, while the preformed handles do look like they are easier, they often get tricky. The 1st rod I built I put individual corks on and shaped it by hand - a pleasing, vaguely familiar repetative action, but not really that effective. The next 2 or 3 grips were pre-formed, I didn't like the quality of the cork and it was difficult to get a satisfactory fit. even using the recommended tapered reamer (a section of rod blank coated in glue and rolled in quite rough grit) which I found was very effective on individual corks. Eventually I made my own rod lathe based on a drill and a custom designed roller assembly. If I get really motivated I'll try to put some pictures up here so you can see. For my money you cannot beat the individual corks glued to the blank and turned on a lathe.

As for glue, I've always used 5 minute epoxy and never had problems. For those who don't have access to a lathe there is another option. You can take your glued handle assembly to a custom rod builder and have him turn it to your specs - a very effective and relatively cheap option. To find one of these guys check with your local flyshop - I know Michael and Young has at least a couple of custom builders.
Tight lines - tyler.

Still Living Large!
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Old 01-25-2002, 08:17 AM
DFix DFix is offline
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I started into a very lengthy dissertation on grip tapering and sizing the other day, only to be told I wasn't logged into a thread when I went to post it. The mechanics of forming and fitting a grip with home based tools and techniques is very easy, yet time consuming, in a wordsmith way. In my SPARE TIME TODAY:eyecrazy: I'll try to put it together and post it. Meanwhile, find a golf club you don't mind taking the head off the shaft; that'll be step 1.
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Old 01-25-2002, 08:30 AM
admin admin is offline
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If your dial-up connection times out that will happen.

Hit the back button and highlight the text, then right mouse -> copy the text. Either paste it into a notepad window or just re-connect and paste it in a new message window.

In any case, you can salvage your typing by hitting back, then copying the typing into a notepad window.
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Old 01-25-2002, 10:16 AM
DFix DFix is offline
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Sorry, admin - this only seems to take a minute or less to happen. It doesn't matter if it's lengthy or short - it'll probably happen with this one as I post it, and I've already figured out the copy/paste part to salvage the stuff. I just don't get the aggressive cookie thing Sean mentioned a while ago.

Yup, I was right - it did it just like I said.
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Old 01-25-2002, 11:01 AM
Tod D Tod D is offline
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Smitty took us through the entire cork grip process at last Sunday's class - from gluing up the cork rings, to shaping the grip on the blank. Don't think he'll mind if I pass along some of his comments and "shop secrets" :

· Creating the grip
· Use flex coat rod building epoxy (long cure, not 5 minute);
· Grip "form" consists of a threaded mandrel, w/ wingnuts & washers at either end;
· Smitty's process is straightforward: stack the requisite number of cork rings on the mandrel (e.g. for a typical 7" fly rod grip, 14 rings), gluing up one side of each ring, taking care not to get epoxy on the mandrel. Fasten down the washers & wingnuts & let dry.

· Afixing the grip to the blank
· Good deal of trial & testing involved. Smitty uses a combination of drill & rattail file to ream out the hole. (As Dfix and others have mentioned here, I don't think it much matters if you use a preformed grip or a build your own. Either way you have to ream out the inner hole to get it to fit the blank). Smitty went slowly here & tested the fit repeatedly.
· Once rough fit is established, if necessary use masking tape liberally to build up/even out fit.
· Use flex coat epoxy to glue the unfinished grip to the blank. Smitty did this PRIOR to shaping the grip. (As others have already posted, I imagine that once you've established the grip/blank fit, you could remove the grip, mount in on a threaded mandrel, shape it, then attach it to the blank)

· Shaping the grip
· Smitty has utilitarian set up: a craftsman drill, mounted upside down in a lathe-type adapter, with the power cord running into a foot pedal (as used on a sewing machine). Process is slow and deliberate. Uses 60-80 grit sandpaper to start, & keeps a close eye on how much he's taking off. Once general shape is established, move to higher grits to finish up the cork.

Not surprisingly, Smitty's grips came out beautifully. Very attractive, very solid looking.

For the record, I opted to go with a pre-formed Full Wells grip on my 1st rod. Decided that the primary advantage of building my own (namely, being able to create a 'custom' fit) is more than outweighed by time & dust-savings offered by a pre-formed grip. Maybe next time…
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Old 01-25-2002, 01:04 PM
DFix DFix is offline
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Location: Salem, MA; Deerfield, NH
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Okay - let's do this - see all notes as listed above by Tod.

First. Glue rings on threaded rod, compress, dry - FlexCoat.

Second. Shape grip BEFORE removing from threaded mandrel; leave enough end cork to trim to length after fitting to blank.

(this is the windy part I mentioned earlier)

Third. Measure blank diameter at bottom and top of finished grip position. Transfer measurements to equivalent (approximate) positions on club shaft, figuring in enough difference in thickness (translation: width, diameter) to accommodate next step.

Cross-wind double faced tape on shaft. Spiral mount rough grit (60 to 120 grit) Emery Cloth over double faced tape, in opposite direction to rotation of shaft. Chuck shaft in turner. Slide grip over smaller tapered end. Support small shaft end with live center, vee brace, etc.

Power up turner. Begin inside tapering of grip with gentle side motion, ascending along taper toward bottom measurement. Don't hesitate to back grip down shaft and occasionally clear cork dust. Continue until inside taper agrees with markings, as compensated for with emery cloth. NOTE: - In truth, the emery cloth shouldn't add more than .032 +/- to the total diameter of the mandrel; you'll put this on the rod blank with two turns of tape, anyway.

Remove and fine fit to blank. Cut grip to finish length. Cross-wrap blank with double faced grip tape; epoxy and position.

I suppose a tapered file chucked in a drill is as convenient for whomever.
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Old 01-25-2002, 10:10 PM
lrods lrods is offline
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Posts: 2
Talking rings versus pre-formed

Rings versus Pre-Formed?
it is a matter of what the fisherman likes.If he likes any of the pre formed grips then buy a flor grade preformed grip for it is quality and the mess is not there as it is with the Individual rings.However if you have huge hands or a deformity or something else that effects the grip on the rods I would build the grip to fit a customers hand.I once built a rod for a two fingered man and the grip he chose was rings sanded and sealed to fit his hand.I only recommend 2 ton 2 part epoxy as it holds up too 30 below and 120 degrees which is within the range of all fishing applications as well it does not cure and crack over time as the 5 minute epoxy does.Plus it gives great time to work a reel seat if you are only working one rod at a time.So if you don't like the shapes of pre-formed go with rings and shape it down.but when using rings remember too wipe all excess epoxy from out side the rings/Use clamps for smashing the rings together and get all excess epoxy from the outside of the rings using acetone in a do not want to be sanding through all of those high build epoxy spots.Lrods OK I HAVE TO EDIT SO HERE IT GOES:
How many of you have had a Lamiglass rod or G.Loomis rod that the reel seat has come loose on or the cork grip?Do not tell me that it has not happened because I live in there back yard and I repair hundreds of there rods each year.AND THE REASON? Very Poor epoxy Habits and or Glue(Lamiglas) Once again these rods are designed to fail after 3 years of moderate use.We knock out close to 3000 rods per year and we believe in Devcon 2 ton epoxy as we buy it in the 40 pound tube from the factory.overruns and drips etc are easy cleaning with a bit of acetone as we sand and seal all cork before the rod ships out.Remember happy customers always come back.....

Last edited by lrods; 01-26-2002 at 02:10 PM.
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Old 01-26-2002, 05:32 AM
artb artb is offline
Join Date: Jan 2000
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Here I go talking about epoxy again. Check out Devcon packaging if you don't believe me. On their 5 Minute Epoxy, resists Water, Yes. On their 2 ton, Waterproof, Yes. At one time I had problems with flies I made using 5 minute. I contacted Devcon, and they told me 5 minute is not waterproof, and to use their 2 ton. At that time I told them about a site that had a discussion about epoxy, when they saw how many people was using their 5 minute, they told me to keep out of it, let everyone use what they want.:eyecrazy: On the other hand Ducco 5 minute is waterproof. I have used just about all glues to hold handles on rods, and haven't had one loosen up yet. To glue cork rings together I use Elmers Waterproof, using epoxy, and if you get it on the cork it is tough to get it off.
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