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Hi all.
I am not a rod builder and so am seeking advice. I have a 4wt glass rod (2 piece Steffen) that has a full wells grip that is a bit too large. I am fine with the full wells shape but would like to reduce the diameter a little. I don't have a rod lathe and have considered putting it in a drill chuck (protected maybe with masking tape) but I don't want to F this up. I've thought of clamping the rod to a table and sanding by hand, or with strips of sand paper, but that seems a little primitive. Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
David
 

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A couple things to consider:
1. many factory grips use poor quality cork with lots of filler. Often they will hand select a cork ring that has smaller flaws at the expected final diameter. Sanding the grip will expose those flaws and you may not like the result.
2. Steffen rods are pretty pricey. You might want to find a rod builder with proper lathe and supports to turn it for you to minimize risk.
3. The biggest issue with turning it on the blank is to keep the rod fully supported.

You can turn it with a drill but if the grip end is not well supported then something will break. This problem exists with a lathe as well and is one of the reasons I always turn the grip off the blank.

Make sure you first wrap the male ferrule with masking tape to protect it from the chuck, and don't grip it too tight.

Ideally you would have supports with rubber wheels and bearing inserts, but that's pretty expensive.

A simple solution is to make three wood supports and mount them to a piece of plywood. The first support holds the drill on its side solidly. Drill some holes through the plywood and zap strap the drill in place. Temporarily install the blank in the drill, level it, and measure the height off the plywood at two points. The other two supports can be v-shaped with felt glued in the notch to support and protect the blank. Consider wrapping the blank with electrical tape where it meets the supports to prevent scratches (just make sure you wrap it opposite to the direction of drill rotation.

Start slow and check for wobble. Use 100 grit sandpaper with a small amount of downforce to shape it to size+. Finish with 400 grit or finer.

Let us know how it goes.
 

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Following on, a happy-hands-at-home DIY lathe using a drill motor is easy. I mount my drill in a bench vise and have cobbled a jig from some scrap lumber. If the end of the rod is to be held in the chuck, use several layers of masking tape and don't tighten too hard. The other end can be held in scrap lumber tacked together for the purpose with a hole and slot to accommodate the reel seat. Wrap several wraps of masking tape at the point it will be held in the jig and smear a few drops of 3 in 1 or similar oil on it so that it rotates as a lubricated bushing. As Typhoon mentions, adjust alignment so that there isn't any wobble.

When reducing an existing grip diameter, I start with 80 or 120 grit, depending on how much material I intend to remove. Then reduce grit down to at least 220 or finer to finish.
 
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