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Old 02-15-2014, 05:24 PM
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Default Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

So I am about ready to begin building an 11" switch rod, I've never made a two handed rod before. I am trying to decide on which way to build the 11" fore grip. I have made most of my grips by gluing up the cork on the blank and then turning it. The last one I did I glued the rings together on a mandrel. I can't decide which way to go with this long grip...

I liked gluing and turning on the mandrel, I like using wood glue for the cork as it is easier to work with, clean up, and most importantly because it doesn't leave glue lines. The con, in my experience, was reaming the finished grip to fit the blank. I got a little off center using a rat tail file, if I do the 11" grip like this I will have buy a real reamer.

I like building on the blank for getting a perfect fit of the entire grip. The cons are potential glue lines and obviously if something goes wrong anywhere I'm pretty S.O.L with the blank.

Is some epoxy better than others for not leaving glue lines? I am going to use some pretty fine cork and with the length of the grip I want it to be as close to perfect as I can get.

So, I'd love to hear anyone's preferences and why. Advice and comments are appreciated.

.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

On my last grip project I used a glued up St Croix kit. I picked up an inexpensive set of chain saw files at Harbor Freight. 3 different diameters, nice fine cut, and already had handles on them. Way less than $10 for the set. Taking off less material on each pass, you can protect that expensive cork.The files have very little taper, and on the long foregrip, you can file from both the top and bottom to get the taper wanted, adjusting the angle of your stroke.
It's a lot slower than a reamer or sandpaper on a dowel, but you will never wear a file out on cork.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

One of these times I'll try it on the blank, perhaps after I get a lathe. However I am worried about messing it up! However sometimes there isn't much cork left at the top of the grip or over the reel seat hood and I get nervous installing it.

One approach for the long grip: glue it up in 2 or 3 pieces, ream them to fit the blank, then use tape on your mandrel (I use a threaded rod) to create the taper so the reamed grip fits tight. Glue the 2 or 3 sections together on the mandrel and sand away. Should be reamed to fit once you're done.
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Old 02-16-2014, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

Number each piece of cork and build a tape backstop on the rod where the first ring will rest against it. Keep slipping the rings on the blank as finished to mark the spot for the next ring. When all done put the rings in order and glue up. Certainly could be wrong on this as I have not built a rod, but think it would work.

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Old 02-16-2014, 06:13 PM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

Thanks for the replies.

Siege: good to know about the cheap set of files. But where I ran into the problem last time was that the center of the grip was of course the tight spot, so trying to take material out there with the thin end of the file proved tricky to not widen the top end of the grip. I ended up having to use a large winding check. On an 11" grip I will need a pretty long file! But I will look at harbor freight, there is one in town.

William: I like your idea of making 2 sections to fit the blank, my immediate concern would be getting the sections tight to the mandrel after being reamed to fit. This is a big blank, diameter wise, I would need a very large mandrel and/or a lot of tape at the butt end of the grip. I've been warned to not use threaded rod with a long grip as there will be too much lateral flex when sanding and the shape will be off center and wobbly. So I will probably buy a true mandrel in a larger diameter, like 3/8".

Dave: what you are describing is indeed the way to build a grip on the blank. It is best for getting a perfect fit to the blank as every ring is filed to fit just right and then glued in place onto the blank.

I like this method but as I said above the drawbacks are if you screw up in the shaping its over, and also if you are not really careful with the epoxy between each ring and get too much spilling out between the ring you can end up seeing those lines, and eventually feeling them.

...
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Old 03-01-2014, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

Just turned my first grip on the blank, but I sort of cheated. First reamed the individual cork rings to fit the blank, then glued them up on the blank using titebond III and my grip press(clamp). As soon as they were clamped securely, I removed the whole thing from the blank and cleaned the glue from the blank with water. After the grip cured, I cleaned up the internal glue boogers with a file and epoxied it onto the blank. Then turned it down in my home made lathe. No epoxy glue lines and without the hassle of reaming a preformed grip.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:17 AM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

I made a fighting grip for my 12wt. Turned it on a length of all thread. I glued it up, finished it and bored out the center to fit the rod. The rod is a 4 piece so I was able to slip it on from the ferrul down. Unfortunately, even tho I reemed it with sand paper on a dowel, it scratched the bejeebers out of the blank when I slid it on.
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Old 03-01-2014, 10:26 AM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbird View Post
I made a fighting grip for my 12wt. Turned it on a length of all thread. I glued it up, finished it and bored out the center to fit the rod. The rod is a 4 piece so I was able to slip it on from the ferrul down. Unfortunately, even tho I reemed it with sand paper on a dowel, it scratched the bejeebers out of the blank when I slid it on.
Ouch! I wonder if grit from the sandpaper was embedded in the cork? I always run water through the grip and let it dry for at least 24hrs to rinse out all the dust etc I wonder if that inadvertently helps with grit? Thanks for the heads up.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

Yeah that's a big bummer jbird. I've never worried about that before but I will now.

...
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Old 03-01-2014, 02:47 PM
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Default Re: Pros & cons of grip build on blank vs on mandrel?

I'm pretty sure it was the hardened glue in contrast to the soft cork compressing against the blank as twisted and slid it on. No way to wax or lubricate it because that would compromise the epoxy bond to the blank. If i had used a softer, pliable glue to build the grip it wouldn't have scratched like that.
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