Saturday, May 23, 2009

2nd Grip

I made my second fly rod grip tonight. I followed the same basic pattern as my first grip - a modified RHW grip. However, I left the front end of this grip a little larger in diameter than before. I also moved the "saddle" a little more aft. These were mostly just experiments - trying to get a better feel for what I like in a grip. I think this one came out fairly well. I used 400 grit sandpaper at the end for a nice soft feel.

This grip has some burl cork in it. I like the color the burl cork adds to the grip as well as the patterning it brings. I'll definitely use burl cork again in future grips.

I made my first grip last week while sitting at the kitchen table. You may notice from these pictures that I moved outside to sand this this grip down. For some reason I just didn't feel like having to clean up all the cork dust from the kitchen again.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

First Grip

I finally managed to sand down my first grip. It came out okay, especially for my first attempt. I used the set of cork rings that I glued up about a month ago (see "Trying to get a grip ..." for a picture of the rings before sanding). This cork was the worst of my cork rings, but I think the grip still came out okay. Even though there are a lot of flaws in the cork, most of them are quite shallow. They just give the grip some character ...

The pictures don't really show all the details, but I made a little "lathe" for sanding down my cork handles. One one side, I have a raised platform to which I clamp a hand drill. On the other side, I have a vertical board to support the other end of the turning mandrel - a 1/4" stainless steel rod a picked up at the hardware store. I drilled a hole in the vertical board and put a skateboard bearing in there. A little bit of blue tape helps the bearing fit tightly in the hole. I also put some tape on the steel rod to make it fit the inner hole of the bearing, too.

Once everything was in place, I turned on the drill and started removing cork. I found that a flat file worked well for rough shaping. I also used some drywall sandpaper (a 220 grit mesh) that took the cork off quickly. Once I had the shape about right I used some 220 and 320 grit regular sandpaper to smooth it all out.

I tried to follow a pattern for a modified reverse half wells. I wasn't sure how I'd like the small diameter front of the grip as I've only fished with a Fenwick style grip, but so far I really like the way this one feels. This grip came out a bit smaller diameter than I was hoping for, but that's only because I got a bit carried away with the file. Still, it fits my hand nicely and I really like the swell at the rear of the grip.

Let me know what you think of my first grip ...