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Information on Fishing Rod Grips

     Many different materials are used to fashion grips for fishing rods. The most common materials that are used are "High density" brushed EVA foam, and Cork.   Shapes and sizes vary according to the rod being built and both materials are easily modified, shaped and reamed out to suit the blank you are building your rod on.
Brushed Hi Density EVA foam
EVA finished(copy)

EVA foam handles and grips are in common use in fishing rods today.
Not all EVA is created equal though, and it is important to know this and go that extra mile and insist on using the "High Density" variety. This is easily shaped, sanded and reamed out using the correct tools and work practices.This is important as, although preformed EVA grips come in many different internal bore sizes, sometimes the bore has to be reamed or sanded to suit the taper of the blank. This becomes evident when using a fast taper blank where the internal measurement of the grip at the base is a few millimetres larger than the internal measurement at the top of the grip.

EVA Grips
Eva grips can be forced on to blanks with air pressure, but this is not the best way when the grip has to expand more than a millimetre or so. The pressure exerted on the blank can be quite considerable and the epoxy glue spread on the blank to fasten the grip can be wiped off by this pressure, resulting in a weak bond. By their very nature, 2 pot epoxy glues are "gap filling" adhesives and perform best when there is an adequate amount available to bond both the surfaces together. If there is not a good bond, the grip can end up twisting on the blank.

Lower quality EVA grips which are softer and less resilient tend to be harder to work with and unfortunately they can "move" in your hand when applying pressure while fighting a fish. On heavier rods, they tend to tire out the angler as the fore grip has less resistance to movement under the hand which is applying the most pressure and trying to counteract the effect of winding the reel. As you can imagine, the larger the reel, the more correcting pressure has to be applied. A great way to get blisters!

Most EVA grips come in basic Black, but can come in many different colours even camoflage colours and patterns and imitation Cork sometimes referred to as Korkalon.
Pre-shaped Cork
Cork finished(copy)(copy)

Cork handles and grips have been floating around since Noah was a boy and for good reason.

Most Graphite Fly rods and light spinning rods are suited to this material as it is an excellent material for smaller grips. Cork is light weight, warm to the touch, reasonably easy to shape and ream with the correct tools and work practices.

It tends to be a tried and true material which transmits the vibrations from the light blanks to the angler well.

When working with Cork, I tend to be a little slower when sanding or reaming as the material can heat up very quickly when shaped on a high speed lathe. The practice of little steps works well in this case.
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