Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nose to the grindstone

Not so much the grindstone, more the lathe. I'm in the process of a complete strip and rebuild of a St Croix lure rod. The finish on the blank was going to be a 'mare to remove. My workaround was to sand it as smooth as I could, chucking it in the lathe and using a medium wet and dry to level out the chips in the finish and any remaining varnish from the whippings. This also served to key the blank for a coat of matt black spray paint. I then handed the painted blank over to some nice people I know to give it a clear coat. The result is pretty darned nice.

My next task is to fit a custom turned cork handle to match an existing rod as closely as I can. This is a laborious task. First of all the cork shives have to be reamed out. I started by putting a hand reamer in the lathe to make a quick job of it. This got some of them close enough, but the ones to go lower down the blank needed more work, which was done by hand using a couple of my reaming sticks. These sticks are a pain to make. Glueing abrasive tape in a spiral along lengths of scrap rod blank. But well worth the effort when it comes time to open up preformed grips..

With the reaming done in stages the shives are pushed tightly into place on the blank to get the handle length right. They are then all removed before glue is applied and they are clamped firmly together. In 24hrs it'll be time to make cork dust!

Time taken to get to this stage is around an hour. When the rear grip is shaped, which will take something like thirty minutes of careful sanding, the reel seat can be glued into place. Then the reaming and glueing will begin for the foregrip. Another day later that can be shaped. All in all it takes me a couple of hours spread over three days to finish a custom cork handle like this one. More pics will follow - provided I don't mess up!