The Leather Grip
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Ok This is one of those Really Important lessons. The cork and leather handgrip is the sign and mark of a Very high quality rod, and that is what we intended to build with this Alutecnos Project. The use of a hyperlon handgrip is regarded as standard quality, and there is nothing wrong with that, in fact most of my rods are hyperlon, but all new ones will be cork and leather grip. If you decide to build a hyperlon, then ignore this section. Just ask the tackle shop for instructions on fitting the hyperlon - its not hard. But remember to do this at the time that we talked about adding the cork. That's at the start of the rod building process.
THE BEST WAY TO ADD A LEATHER GRIP IS TO BE PATIENT.
The technique is to sit there with the cork and leather and start one of possibly many dummy runs. LEAVE THE GLUE ALONE AT THIS STAGE. The idea is to leave enough overlap at the start and finish that we can trim off with a sharp craft knife and finally cotton over the start of the leather grip. You will notice that on a professional handgrip that the cork is shaped in such a fashion that there is a lower middle section. this of course is designed to take the leather and finish flush at the ends with the cork end itself.
Now take out your box of pins on this initial run and pin the start of the leather to the cork end, The idea is to roll over the leather so that the specially champhered edges just over lap each other. This will take several to many goes to get the technique right - but IT'S WORTH IT.
Ignore the fact that I am using Glue at this stage and remember it took me several goes to get the angle right by dummy rolling it first. You will get the idea as you see the pictures.
Once you are ready to Glue and stick, maintain your angle and prepare some 24 hour araldite in a mixing container, if you are building this on a cold day / night as I was you will need to heat up the glue with a hobby heat gun so that it brushes on easily.. Pin the initial end and apply glue to the cork and roll the leather over at that specific angle as can be seen clearly in the pictures. I have found that by pinning the very edge of the champhered leather grip every turn that I could apply heavy pressure without fear of the grip slipping and becoming untangled and loose.
Keep applying pressure , glueing in advance and pinning until you come to the end of the grip. The 3rd photo in this sequence, shows the pin heads as white dots near my hand, this has continued all down the foregrip. The pins can be seen more clearly in this last picture
Any excess glue can be cleared with Shellite - petroleum spirit. Do not overuse as it can dry out the leather. Make sure you use a clean WHITE CLOTH so as not to run the colour.
The absolute ends may have missed out on some glue so be sure to glue this at the end of this process. After this you will need the pin the start and end of the rod grip in a circumference using many pins a few millimetres apart. This can be seen clearly in the last picture. Do this for both ends. When this final glueing and pinning section has been completed leave the rod in a warm place for 24 hours for the glue to SET before trimming off the excess leather with a craft knife.