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Old 12-23-2011, 04:32 PM
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Default Is it possible to redo handle?

I have smaller hands and most of the handles on rods that I've tried are uncomfortable to hold. I'll be buying a rod with a full wells grip on it, but I have a rod with a half wells grip (possibly reversed, not sure whats what; the small diameter is at the reel while the large diameter is at the hook keeper).

I'm wondering if anybody has experience good or bad with reshaping a cork handle on a fly rod after it has been built. I'm simply looking to cut down the diameter on it, not a whole lot of actual reshaping. The handle shape I really love is what Scotts custom shop calls a small modified wells with the middle bulge slightly more to the front than most, and a sharp dip before the flare at the end towards the hook keeper.

At this point my plan is to rig some kind of mount to fit over the butt of the fly rod that can be mounted into an electric drill and have something to hold the tip of the rod section in place and spin it that way to make sure its even around the rod.

Thanks for the help
Alec B
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

Hi Alec,

Sand paper will reduce the grip for you, by alternating from heavy grit (like #80) to fine stuff you can ream it down to your own specs. As far as how to keep the reduction at an even rate on the radius of the cork I will not write all that out, you'll figure that one out OK. If I were going to do this I would use the paper from a belt sander and cut a strip about 20" long by 2.5 - 2.75" wide for both the reduction and the polish work. You can find used belts from anyone you know who owns a belt sander. Or........you can buy singles at some stores. For fine finish I would be using 250 grid and this will be had in sheets at your hardware store.

Ard
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

I bought several St. Croix Pro Graphite rods when they were discontinued around 2002. They all had full wells grips, and the 7'6" 4wt had the same grip and reel seat as the 9' 6wt. I began sanding the grip down, and that revealed a ton of voids on the inside nearly every ring. It was amazing that St. Croix was able to cut these rings to hide the fact that 1/8" below the surface, the cork was worse than swiss cheese. It was a Made in USA rod that sold for $80-$95 full retail, so I forgave them and bought a new grip and reel seat for $25--a VERY nice grip and reel seat BTW. Just a heads up on what you might encounter with cork.
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Old 12-23-2011, 08:32 PM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

How did you go about removing the reel seat and grip and cleaning up the old epoxy to install the new hardware? Thanks
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

It wasn't difficult at all. I brought a sauce pan of water to boil, and dipped the reel seat in for a few minutes. This loosened the epoxy/hot glue adhesive, and a pair of pliers allowed the hardware to slide off easily. The cork was cut of with a utility knife, and then the blank was cleaned up with 80-100 grit (I don't remember exactly, but that's close enough) sand paper. Because blanks get thicker toward the butt end, it's standard to ream the inside of the cork to match that taper, and slide it onto the blank from the tip end. This was a two piece rod, and I had little interest in removing the guides. A check check showed that the blank diameter was 1/8" greater at the butt end of the grip, and I reamed the cork so that it could be slid from the butt up to the winding check. A few wraps of masking 1/4" below the winding check kept the grip centered. As a builder of precision R/C airplanes, adding weight with excessive epoxy goes against accepted procedure, but I removed so much extra weight by getting rid of the over-sized grip that I was able to sleep that night. The extra amount of epoxy needed wasn't all that great, and the 1/8" I mentioned was the difference at the ends of the grip. The average change in diameter was much less than that, and maybe 1 teaspoon of extra epoxy was required to fill the void. Adding a couple more rows of masking tape would have reduced that, but it wasn't really an issue. The original cork did not have an insert for the reel seat hood, so the new grip and reel seat were quite an improvement.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:19 PM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

Thanks Frank. I didn't know the boiling water would loosen the epoxy. I thought all the hardware would have to be cut or ground off. I like how you slid the grip from the butt end.

I just got done reaming out a cork grip today for my first fly rod build. I used 1/2" masking tape to make a bushing at each end to keep the reel seat centered. I was thinking about using 1/4" tape to put one more bushing between the two I made with the 1/2" tape. Do you think that is needed or necessary? or can I just fill the space between the two bushings with epoxy.

Last edited by auntrout; 12-23-2011 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 12-23-2011, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hardyreels View Post
Hi Alec,

Sand paper will reduce the grip for you, by alternating from heavy grit (like #80) to fine stuff you can ream it down to your own specs. As far as how to keep the reduction at an even rate on the radius of the cork I will not write all that out, you'll figure that one out OK. If I were going to do this I would use the paper from a belt sander and cut a strip about 20" long by 2.5 - 2.75" wide for both the reduction and the polish work. You can find used belts from anyone you know who owns a belt sander. Or........you can buy singles at some stores. For fine finish I would be using 250 grid and this will be had in sheets at your hardware store.

Ard
I do happen to know someone with a belt sander! My stepdad is a contractor which means plenty of tools lying around. So you don't know any way to rig up a rod to spin so that I can reshape it? Anybody else have any ideas?

I guess another way to do it would be to have someone hold the belt sander while I hold the rod and spin it inside the sandpaper and shape it... seems a little... prone to mishaps...

---------- Post added at 11:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:30 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankB2 View Post
I bought several St. Croix Pro Graphite rods when they were discontinued around 2002. They all had full wells grips, and the 7'6" 4wt had the same grip and reel seat as the 9' 6wt. I began sanding the grip down, and that revealed a ton of voids on the inside nearly every ring. It was amazing that St. Croix was able to cut these rings to hide the fact that 1/8" below the surface, the cork was worse than swiss cheese. It was a Made in USA rod that sold for $80-$95 full retail, so I forgave them and bought a new grip and reel seat for $25--a VERY nice grip and reel seat BTW. Just a heads up on what you might encounter with cork.
Its either going to be a Loomis Pro 4x or a Scott A4, so I wouldnt expect the cork to be of bad quality. Thanks for the heads up though, I was thinking of doing the same thingto my Redington Crosswater to try it out first, but knowing this I probably won't. Also, that sems like way too much risk for me to do. Expensive rod (for a college student) and I have no experience with epoxy not to mention building a fly rod. I simply want to sand it down.



Had an idea! What if I put some rubber tape on the tip of the butt section and inserted that into an electric drill? Rubber tape would prevent scratching the rod and also give more traction so I don't have to bite down with the drill too hard. I'm pretty sure we have a drill with a large enough mouth to accept an 8 weight butt section. Have someone hold the drill and have a mount for the reelseat. Mounting it by the reelseat rather than the tip of the butt would lessen the risk of it popping out while sanding and torquing the drill... Thinking out loud, let me hear your opinions!

Last edited by bakerboy2222; 12-23-2011 at 11:50 PM.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

I've worked with power tools for 30 years, and a slight imbalance in the drill can cause your rod to wobble into pieces quickly. Cork will sand down easily, and I'd be more comfortable wrapping some 80 grit around the cork, squuezing with one hand and turning the rod with the other. You can even use a file to remove a good bit of material before switching to sandpaper. Tape the reel seat well to protect it from the sandpaper.

Auntrout: An extra bushing of tape wouldn't hurt. The glue is applied to blank, so your extra bushing won't prevent glue from reaching the cork, and it's small enough that it won't interfere with glue between cork and blank.
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Old 12-24-2011, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

Thanks, I'll give it a shot.
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Old 12-24-2011, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Is it possible to redo handle?

BB2222

If you don't have a drill chuck large enough, get a rubber bumper that goes on
the end of a bar stool leg, drill a hole through the flat bottom, insert a bolt or machine screw through it, secure with nuts & washers, place over the end of the taped reel seat, secure with tape, lock in the chuck and proceed. Worked for me using with a portable drill held in my lap.
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Last edited by imxer; 12-25-2011 at 10:38 AM.
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