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Old 11-26-2013, 06:49 AM
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Default caring for cork handles?

I have noticed some of mine seem to be getting a bit dry. Not a surprise after all the years and mileage on some. But here is the question. How do I rehydrate them? If they were gun stocks I'd use linseed oil, but with cork I have no clue. Help please?
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

I get a lot of fish slime on mine. Seems to work great.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:49 AM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

+1 for the fish slime. The problem with super clean and pretty cork is that it just gets dirty and hurts a bit on the inside. If you just get it dirty right way and never look back, you will be much happier.

Kinda like cars...I'll go out, buy a new car, and immediately find the biggest mud puddle I can find. Then I make sure I go to the trashiest of big box stores and park next to the crappiest looking car I can find knowing full well that they will open their door into mine. After that's done, I usually let my 2 year old have some juice on the backseat except I ""accidentally" forget to tighten the lid on his sippy cup all the way.

After the first hour, I have gone through all the heartache of seeing my pristine and shiny new car soiled and dented. After that, life's little soilings don't seem to hurt so bad.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:53 AM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

ROFL! But I'm more worried about dry rot than aeathics. Is this an issue?
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

Not really. I have a realllly old bamboo that has never had the handle cleaned (came from my uncle who bought it pre WW2). He was a firm believer in never cleaning the good juju from his fishing rod handles.

On the rare occasion that I actually use it, the handle feels just find; albeit a bit sticky
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Old 11-26-2013, 09:16 AM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

I don't have cork dry rot. Even Grandpa's old rod hanging over my bar has good cork. It is much older than I am. That cork has held up much better than my skin has.
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

I'm not going to make fun of you. What do you mean by "dry"? Are you observing splitting, pitting or some indication the cork is deteriorating? Cork, being bark, is tough stuff but full of natural flaws. Less than flor grade often has its pits and irregularities caulked with a paste filler. This falls out over time but no harm is done by that. I don't mind the inevitable darkening of my cork grips from repeated use but once the accumulation of fish mucous, blood, sweat, tears, sunscreen and salt turn the cork too slippery, I do clean it. A little mild abrasive Soft Scrub does not deplete acquired character but does render the cork gripable again. I would never apply penetrating or coating preservative finishes on cork as they may rob it of its natural look and feel. And no thanks to wood, plastic and foam rubber grips.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:02 PM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

Talked to a guy the other day while steelheading on the Huron River in Michigan -- his cork handle on his spey rod looked brand new. I asked if he just picked the rod up and he indicated it was 5 years old. The cork looked as good as it did due to a treatment he picked up at his fly store. he didn't tell me what the brand was but his cork handles looked great. Must be something out there other than fish slime for your cork handle.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

While I'm sure cork will last decades with no help, there are probably a lot of wood preservative products that wouldn't hurt cork at bit. As stated earlier, it's tree bark.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:25 PM
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Default Re: caring for cork handles?

Reason I asked was that my grandad kept an old cortland 8wt fiberglass rod in the garage. When he died and I was clearing out his things the handle basically turned to dust. It was completly dessicated. There are pits out of the cork from me grabbing it. No great loss at it was a cheap rod, but still a shame to see a fishable rod trashed when a little tlc might have saved it. I would not be so sanguine if my Sage had the same problem. My fear is that deet, salt, sunscreen, uv rays and sweat are not doing my grips any favors.
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