Turing cork

Discussion in 'Rod Building' started by Derek Day, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. I plant to take my first crack at turing my own cork for a handle and was just fishing for a little help. I plan to turn the fore grip on the blank and the rear grip (for a switch rod) on some sort of mandrel using a drill for the lathe

    First question- what type of glue do you guys use to glue your cork rings together?

    Second question- Is turining it on the blank a bad idea, I want the snuggest fit possible for the grip, and I assume the best way to do it is to ream out the cork rings individually and epoxy them strait to the blank. I just have the sneaking suspicion that I'm diving in over my head for my first handle crafting experiment.

    Anything you guys could come up with in the way of advice would be greatly appreciated--even if it didn't pertain direclty to my questions.

    Thanks, Derek
  2. I'm kind of curious as to what you mean by "fore grip" and "rear grip". Ar you talking aobut a grip for a spinning rod? I used to use Epoxy but I found that the epoxy is a lot harder than the grip and after use, I ended up with ridges. I'm using Elmers wood glue now. Seems to work fine. There are a lot of similar glues, titebond I, II, III etc. I don't see anything wrong with turning on the rod. I like doing this. I'm guessing that the reason you are not going to turn the rear grip is because the end will be covered with cork? If you can figure a way to end up with an open end or a cap for the rear grip then then the whole thing on the rod. Otherways either way will work. YOu don't need a "killer" snug fit on the rod either. I have put on lots of cork and shimmed up with masking tape. I'm not talking a lot of shimming, usually no more than a few wraps. We are talking about handles that are still fine after 15 years so so I would say it's a proven method. What you do want is to have the end cork snug though. All the rest can be shimmed. If you do end up shimming, do it one (wrap of tape) at a time, from the skinny end first. This way you can custom fit the shim tape. Slide the handle on to test fit, remove, put some tape on at the first loose spot nearest the skinny end, slide the handle on and test the fit, then repeat to the end of the cork. I leave at least 1/4 inch space between tape wraps so the glue has somewhere to go . When you glue it on, let it dry a full day or a little more.
  3. I would suggest that you use the adhesive specifically designed for this job. Namely Flexcoat Rodbuilders Epoxy Glue and mount the individually fitted corks as outlined in Fiberglass Rod Making pages 100-104. This book which is still the finest available is in paperback and can be found online as used for as little as $5. Or the article on Basic Rod Repair in Fly Tyer magazine, Spring 1988, pages 78-79. I can email you a copy of the article if you can not find the magazine.

  4. I made one grip on my own for a fly rod. I have a length of threaded rod, about 16 inches, on which I put a large washer and two bolts on each end. I put the cork pieces between them and used rod builder's epoxy, a thin layer between each cork ring, and then tightened down. After the epoxy dried, I placed the rod in my variable speed drill and then used sequentially finer grades of sandpaper to shape the grip. It worked real well, but I must say it was some extra work to do this, for very little money saved. I now buy the preformed grips, and then sand and shape them when I build my rods.

    By the way, you don't want an exceedingly tight fit between the cork and blank, as that leaves very little room for epoxy to bond to the two pieces. I like the top of the grip to be tight to the blank, but if the bottom is too tight, the epoxy will just slide off the blank as you slide the grip onto it.

    Just my cheap two cents worth.

  5. Derek, so many questions...

    Do you have a lathe?
    Have you built a rod before?
    Do you have all the hardware, reel seat, locking rings, etc.?

    Building rods and turning grips is not rocket science, but it does require a little finesse...

    answer the above and we can go from there...
  6. I don't have a lathe. I've built several rods and have the general process down pretty well, and I have all the hardware on the way. In the past I've bought preformed grips, I am planning on building a switch rod with a 3-4'' rear grip and maybe a little longer than usual fore grip, which is why I'm opting to turn my own this time around.
  7. iagree
  8. How are you going to shape your grip?
  9. I don't have a lathe, but I have a variable speed drill that will double as a lathe. I thought you were asking if I had a wood lathe or something of that sort.
  10. drill motor works fine. I've made many grips this way befored i got a lathe. More than I've done on the lathe actually.
  11. OK, then you're gonna want to make your grip on a mandrel or on all-thread (threaded rod).

    I would advise against ever chucking a blank into a drill, I don't think it would last long. In order to do grips on the blank you need a lathe with a through hole in the headstock. Even then it's a dicey proposition. Too much opportunity for wobble.

    For bonding cork rings together I've always used Rod Bond.

    Check out Rodbuilding.org for lots of information on building rods...:thumb:
  12. Turning cork rings on the rod blank with a drill motor is quite simple and effective if you know how. I have always done it that way for over 25 years with excellent results and no problems. Guess you just have to know who to ask;)

  13. I agree about using a drill motor to turn rod handles. I ream to fit and glue cork rings directly on the blank with Elmer's wood glue. I don't place the rod blank directly in the drill chuck. I fit a piece of wood or metal dowel to the end of the blank and add masking tape to hold it in place. The drill motor goes in my bench vise. The other end of the rod blank goes in a hole in a simple wooden jig scabbed together for the purpose. The supported end of the rod blank gets a few wraps of masking tape and a coating of 3 in 1 or motor oil so it will spin easily in the support hole in the jig. The set up I use is so simple, you'd laugh if you saw it. But's it's been turning out rod handles for over 30 years.

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