Where to buy nice cork handle? - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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Where to buy nice cork handle?

So I am going to build spey rod and am looking for handle. The spey size is not as easy to find as those for single hand, either with uplocking inletting or not so good quality cork....

I would like to have downlocking setting and flor grade/AAA cork, even better with decorative different colours cork inlay pattern.

Where should I look at or any builder who sell custom turn handle?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 10:02 PM
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Unfortunately most of the pre-made spey handles are crap. I used one on the first rod I ever built, and the crappy cork kind of went with the $30 blank, so no problem.

But you can’t turn them to shape them further as they can most charitably described as “cork pieces held together with wood filler”. They will fall to pieces if you try. They look nice in the pictures on mudhole, or wherever, but they are very crappy and even without reshaping they will eventually fall apart if used heavily.

Grips are pretty easy to make and turn yourself, but the overhead cost and effort of setting up an actual or Rube Goldberg style lathe may seem like way too much if you just want to do one or two. So it comes back to having your local rod maker do them on the blank of your choice.

Depends on where you live, but if you are far enough to have to communicate via email and fedex you can use just about anyone. I always use Steve Godshall who is in the Medford, OR area (about 6 hours drive from me) when I want something really special, or something I tried to do myself but didn’t get exactly right. He does beautiful work, and the only limitations are your own imagination. If you know the exact shape and dimensions you want you can just send a drawing. But I’d recommend you get it glued and turned on the blank itself (with the reel seat) as reaming out a stand-alone, spey length grip can be a huge pain. You can still do all the rest yourself.

FWIW I have both let Steve pick out the cork he felt best fit my requirements himself for some projects, and have provided all the cork myself on another. On a couple of them I sent him the handle of another rod and said “this is the exact shape I want”. It’s all up to your needs at to how much or little you want to tell whoever puts it together for you.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 10:08 PM
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I'd start looking locally for a rod builder that does grips. Cork, especially spey rod length sections, doesn't ship particularly well by itself, as I've found out. Ask around your local fly and/or tackle shops and I'm sure they will know a few builders. Even better if they've got the right lathe to build the cork right on the rod, saves the trouble of reaming and fitting such a long grip.

Mend it!
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-23-2019, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I'm looking for rod builder as well, who would also ship overseas. Do you know if R.B. Meiser sell their custom handles alone?
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
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Another question, if I decide to turn the handle myself, is tail stock neccessary ?

I have the ALPS Power wrapper, which could be added the ALPS tail stock (another $165, quite expensive )

I know the tail stock is used to hold the other end of the mandrel / blank.

But I check the Mudhole video and they turned handles on the "RBS handle turning kit" which the mandrel is just resting on a simple stand. (I think the stand from ALPS is even better with wheels.....)

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 10:49 AM
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A rod building friend of mine puts the mandrel in a drill press...Haven't tried it myself with anything longer than a single hand grip, but it worked well for that. If you don't have a drill press, you probably know somebody who does, or maybe they'd let you use one at your local technical school.

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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by crazyryan View Post
Thanks. I'm looking for rod builder as well, who would also ship overseas. Do you know if R.B. Meiser sell their custom handles alone?
Not the same thing, but Meiser does sell blanks with pre-built handles. I’m not sure if they would recommend building one separately, as his style is relatively thin and so may be easy to damage trying to get it on a blank. You could ask, but you could also just send them the butt section of your blank. I’m very sure Bob would add a handle to yours if you asked him. Maybe even do an inlay as well if that is of interest to you.

In my experience professional rod builders would typically try not to build a handle as a separate item as it takes even more work in the end. It is also easier to ensure high quality results by turning it on the blank itself, but you do need the capability to do so. Possibly you could convince them to do one separately for you, but if they already have to capability why not just ask them to do it on the blank? I think the shipping cost to and from would in this case be relatively minor for what you would get out of it.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 04:36 PM
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Contact Custom Fly Grips LLC for a completed handle set and they sell the cork rings. I have a few grips made by Joe and can recommend his work.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 06:03 PM
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I built cork spey handles for my 4 Meiser blank rods last winter, using my drill press. I glued up the cork rings over a
threaded rod from my local hardware store, secured with nuts on the ends. I used sandpaper from 80 to 400 grit to shape the handles. I rigged my shop vac to collect the dust as I shapes the handles. The handles turned out nicely.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-24-2019, 06:50 PM
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I thought a picture might be helpful-------drill press turned spey handle results.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:42 AM
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Like Botsari said... Call Steve Godahall, he is the man
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 08:39 PM
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If you already have the Alps Power wrapper you can do the grip easily. i just put the butt section in the chuck (tape the ferrule a lot) and then support the grip portion with 2-3 of the rod supports. The butt end is exposed and you can sand down the butt part to your liking. The Alps motor is sufficient enough to turn the cork and burl. I've used mine to built about 10 rods.

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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrx_canoe View Post
If you already have the Alps Power wrapper you can do the grip easily. i just put the butt section in the chuck (tape the ferrule a lot) and then support the grip portion with 2-3 of the rod supports. The butt end is exposed and you can sand down the butt part to your liking. The Alps motor is sufficient enough to turn the cork and burl. I've used mine to built about 10 rods.
How do u turn the rear grip?

Do you use the chuck to grip the front end of blank, and the rear grip is on the right hand side of the wrapper? which the cork part would be ~4ft from the chuck?

Or better to do it on the mandrel then glue on the blank?

Thanks
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:36 PM
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For the majority of the grip have the butt of the section in the chuck. I sand down all the upper grip and 90% of the lower grip this way as it's most steady with the butt in the chuck.

For the final end of the butt section you have to turn the section around and then the butt is totally exposed to allow you to round out the piece.

So, yes, if it's a 4' section then the butt is sticking out 4' from the chuck. It's important to have 2-3 of the supports so when you sand it it's very steady.

Mandrel and tailstock is the most steady but an extra step and I believe you open up room for errors when you ream out a large (e.g. 15 inch) grip and then try and slide it on the blank and expect it to be snug throughout. I'd rather glue individual cork rings on and that way I know it's on snug throughout.



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How do u turn the rear grip?

Do you use the chuck to grip the front end of blank, and the rear grip is on the right hand side of the wrapper? which the cork part would be ~4ft from the chuck?

Or better to do it on the mandrel then glue on the blank?

Thanks
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 07-31-2019, 10:46 AM
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REC Components in CT makes a beautiful spey grip (Item No: SpeyG)
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