Cork is getting more expensive and will continue to increase in demand and price, We have always used the the best quality we could procure. Here i drill both sides of the cork ring with what I call an angled bur bit. Visualize the inside space as the shape of an hour glass. This makes the cork ring snug to the rod blank in the center and allows space for adhesive between the rings. The 10-piece cookie already fixed to the blank is what we will stack the rest of the cork rings against.
I apply adhesive with a small wooden stick, or tongue depressor. My left hand continuously rotates the blank counter clockwise so i don’t have to be reaching around with the stick. I use adhesive sparingly- a dab on the blank, then spread onto the face of the cork ring, and twist with light pressure. You should see a small bead of adhesive around where the two rings touch. For this two-part handle I recommend letting the first section dry before starting the next.
I have used a two-part epoxy and wood glue for setting cork rings. It is the rod builders preference. Just don’t use an adhesive that cures fast. If you run into a problem it could make it a lot worse. To prevent problems, plan each step and prepare your work space and tools- like make sure your cork clamp is ready to go! Never clamp cork rings too tight. Some builders may have a tendency to do this if there are many cork rings in the setup or if the adhesive is getting thick. It is possible to damage a cork ring or rings. I try to leave my set cork handles in the vise over night. The lathe work is next.
We cut and fit our cork wedges by hand, used a piece of rod blank to support the center, and applied pressure by placing the whole thing in a hose clamp. So, here is the completed 10 piece cookie that is going to be the butt of our rod and handle. We have to bore out the poker-chip side to the diameter of the rod blank butt, only 1/2″ deep though. The rubberized side of the cookie still has the original 1/4″ hole. We need this hole in order to attach the rod to the lathe and then plugged as one of the last steps.
This is the step where I would usually be securing the custom rubber butt cap on the blank. In this case we desire a rubberized cork butt and this particular piece is larger than a standard ring due to the checker design.
Before we permanently attach the cork cookie to the butt of the rod we need to find the spine of the rod. I do this by rolling the rod blank between my palms under enough pressure to cause some deflection of the rod. We are trying to detect what part of the radial axis the rod resists bending. This is the spine. I mark it and position it on top of the radial axis. This is where I will position the reel seat and the guides for a casting rod.
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