Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Trying to get a grip ...

Well, I'm starting to work on getting the grip made for my new rod. I had bought enough cork rings to make three grips. I figured I'd better plan on ruining the first couple of tries before hopefully making something useful by the third attempt. Anyways, I sorted out my rings into three groups: Best, Good, & Practice. I planned out my layup and prepared to glue the rings together - the Practice rings of course. No need to waste my good cork right now ...

The cork rings are 1-1/4" diameter and about 1/2" thick. Each ring came pre-drilled with a 1/4" bore hole through the middle. Most standard fly rod grips are about 7" long, so I planned on gluing up 14 rings. I bought a 12" length of 1/4" diameter threaded rod to use as a mandrel. A couple of nuts and a 1-1/4" washer on each end clamp the cork together on the threaded rod while the glue is drying. I put an extra cork ring on each end when planning this out. I had read about having an extra ring (with no glue of course) on the ends to help even out the clamping pressure. In the end, I didn't use the extras at the end, but still, here's what it looked like:

Not all of the rings mated up against eachother cleanly. It was clear that on a few of the rings the faces weren't cut truly even and parallel. I could see little gaps between some of the rings when dry fitting them on the mandrel. So I took a little sandpaper to each ring face to even them up and prep the cork for gluing. Worked great.

I used Titebond III wood glue to glue the rings together. I wrapped the threaded rod with Teflon tape to keep the glue from bonding to the rod. The last thing I needed was to glue my rings to each other and the mandrel. I slid the first ring onto the rod and up against the base washer. I coated the exposed face of the cork with glue. The next ring went onto the mandrel. I put glue on both sides and slid it up against the previous ring. This is all there was to it, just repeating this until the last ring. Of course, I only put glue on "inside" of the last ring.

I put on the second washer and nuts and then began to clamp the rings together. Of course, the glue shot out from between the rings and went all over the place. I had glue dripping all over the place. My hands were just about coated. It was on the kitchen counter. It was on the floor. It was a good thing Heidi was taking a nap. It was even better that I got it all cleaned up before she came out. I would have been in serious trouble - more trouble than I'm going to be when she reads this. Fortunately Titebond cleans up with a few wet paper towels.

With the cork rings glued and clamped up, I let them sit overnight. In the morning, I just slide the glued-up cork off the mandrel. Using the Teflon worked great - nothing sticks to Teflon, right?

Here are the rings all glued up. I realized after taking them off the mandrel that the grip was a bit shorter than before. In sanding the faces of the cork, I'd shortened the grip by 1/4". I only had to take off 0.009" per ring face to lose 1/4" on the grip length. Oh well, I think that a 6-3/4" grip will work out just fine for this first attempt.

Now I have to finish putting together my little lathe, otherwise known as my hand-held drill, and I'll be ready to sand this one down to size/form. Hopefully I'll get to that this weekend.


George M, said...

Looking' good..and the components are very sweet...I have built a rod on the same blank and it's a very technical trout rod I can tell ya', very good choice..I'm sure you will love it. Good luck with the building!!

Hans and Laurel said...

Wow that is pretty cool. I bet your having fun doing this.

Sunflower-6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.