fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

the start of a gripping tale

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The good thing is that you’ll know it’s one of a kind, allowing you to desperately hold on to the visage of a fly fisherman as a rugged individualist.

Few people will know that there was no settling for the one-style-fits-all notion, and without a close look won’t understand the level of fixation commitment.

While it certainly won’t turn fly rod design on its head, a grip of my own design, which will grace the rod that will be built with my own hands, was pieced together last Saturday.

Just about an hour of the morning was occupied by sawing a few cork rings into thinner slices, playing with glue and setting it all together. Green’s the theme, with green burl cork rings alternating with natural cork, capped by more durable rubber “cork” rings on either end.

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Laying out out the design.

The process is simple and requires little more than a steady hand, a small saw, a vise and sandpaper. A power sander can help speed things along.

The decision to add a bit more custom touch with thinner bands of cork required the use of a simple jig, drilled out to a specific depth at a diameter that would accept the cork ring. A tight fit would keep the cork ring from moving about and the vise would hold the whole assembly in the vertical.

The hope was that pushing the saw blade against the wood jig would allow for a uniform cut parallel to the ends of the ring. It didn’t quite turn out that way, but that’s something that can be fixed with the application of sandpaper and a bit of muscle. The jig again sped the process, as sanding down to the top of the jig would yield a flat surface and facilitate the creation a second, matching ring. So it went: saw, sand, repeat.

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A little dab'll do ya.

After waxing a steel mandrel on which to place the rings, it was time to glue. Gluing them together demanded setting aside the elementary school mentality that more is better as the desire is to minimize the gap between the cork rings. However, too much care and patience meant that I had to later speed things up before the epoxy became useless.

Manufacturers of fly fishing paraphernalia will sell you anything, everything and more than you might need, but in this case a little bit thought and a trip to the hardware store yielded a simple clamp that would be used to finish this step.

In a few days we’ll whip this grip into shape.

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Grip at rest.


One thought on “the start of a gripping tale

  1. Pingback: part 2 of building a rod: taking shape – fishing for words

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