OK, I started glue up and turn the grips. When you do those checkers there are always small imperfections in the wedge sizes. But because all 3 layers come from one glued up ring you can turn them so they line up all the way around. Once you discover the best line up, mark them so when you are glueing them up you get them lined up the right way. I use 1 hour rod building epoxy to glue them up. Make sure to wax the mandrel so you don't make a nice grip that you can't remove from the mandrel. I use canning paraffin.
Now because cork and epoxy 'lumps' have very different hardnesses, I wipe the cork down with alcohol. In fact you have to be careful when turning things with variable hardnesses. If I do wood and cork I will turn and finish sand the wood before gluing it to the cork. That way when you turn the cork down, you can use the wood as the stop for a perfect match. I made my cork clamp from a couple of wood finish sample boards from the lumber yard, and a couple pieces of all thread. On top of that you need 4 wing nuts and washers. I clamp the cork down enough to get a bit of compression but not so hard I crush anything. I always line the mandrel up in the center of the holes in the clamp and tighten it so the gap between the boards is the same on both sides. I leave them overnight before removing them from the clamp.
In the case where you were building a grip like this with EVA for a big saltwater fly rod, like some guys like, you can do the same thing as with the cork rings, but you have to make the rings your self out of the big EVA blocks. You need a good miter saw and sand the ends smooth. Do that by doing figure 8's on the sand paper flat on a hard surface and moving your grip on the block around very often. This keeps your block from gettin thinner on one side. You can then make the rings by putting tape around the drill on a hole saw with the proper inside diameter till you get the proper size of the hole in the blok. This will act as a pilot and since foam is relatively easy to cut, you can saw it by hand instead of putting it in a drill. All of the presvious steps still apply except use contact cement on both surfaces, let them dry and then on your turning mandrel push them together into place. Make VERY sure you have them lined up the way you want because once they touch, that's it, they live there for life.
If I turn them on the 1/4" mandrel like I did the lower grip here, I put the reel seat end closest to the drill I turn it with. You can use a hand drill, but a drill press, which is what I used here is easier. The reason you put the seat end closer is that you see the reveal around the seat where you don't on the other end. If there is going to be an end that is slightly off center you want it to be the end you can't tell on. Even 1/16th of an inch will show on the reel seat end. Here is the bottom grip turned and the mandrel not yet removed. You can remove it by holding the grip firmly in your hand and tap the end of the mandrel with a hammer.
It's not quite done here. There is fine dark dust in the light cork grain that needs to be cleaned up, but it's close enough to done to get the idea. After this I will drill the hole in the grip out to fit the blank using a pilot bit. I'll stop short of going all the way through and then glue in a rubberized cork plug to seal the hole in the end. When you do that, put the glue in the hole so you don't get glue on the end of the grip. Once it's sanded down you won't be able to tell there was a hole in the end. Because there is a slight difference in the diameter of the blank from the top to bottom of the lower grip, I will use strips of fiberglass joint tape to get the diameter right and liberaly glue it on. I will have pictures of how to do the tape in the next post. You can use masking tape, and lots do, I just like this better. The fiberglass never breaks down. It has holes in it so the epoxy goes all the way from the cork to the blank all the way down the grip uninterupted by the tape arbors as you would with masking tape.
On a side note, this build may have gone from a 14' 9wt., to a 17' 11 wt. I am going to build both rods, but I really want the big one done before the ice goes out.