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Thread: Wood grips - pro's and cons ...

  1. #1

    Default Wood grips - pro's and cons ...

    Just some (maybe useless) info for you guys that are bored...

    After seeing a bunch of rods with wooden grips, and discussing it for some time with other builders...I decided to do a little experiment this weekend while waiting for other cork grips to dry.

    I turned a wooden fly grip (reverse half wells) out of plain pine wood. Sanded it smooth, and applied a danish oil finish. Then I held it, weighed it, wet it, felt it, and thought I'd just list my general impressions (and trying not to be biased against cork grips, which I do prefer. Kept an open mind as far as I could). Only thing is, it's not actually mounted on a rod, so the ultimate test for me would be to pluck up the courage to put this grip on a blank, build up the rod, and fish it for a day, and then see what I think.

    But here are my initial thoughts, pro's and cons...

    PRO'S:

    - Looks great, because there's zero pits to fill like cork. (Some, like me, may argue that they prefer the traditional look of cork though)
    - Will never become groggy-looking and pitted like cork.
    - When you use different wood, the look could be really special. (Design patterns, exotic wood, etc. (Weight may become an issue though)\
    - Weighed only 14 grams heavier than a normal slightly custom cork grip. (bear in mind this is pine...exotic woods will obviously weight a lot more)
    - If you like the look of wood, wooden grips will excite you.

    CON'S:

    - Weight will be an issue, always. If you want to go lightest possible, cork is still the way to go.
    - When wet, the grip definitely feels a lot more slippery in hand than a cork grip. This may cause you to use more force to hold the grip, which could mean your hands start to pain (especially in cold weather). Once again, I'll only know for sure myself, if I fish it for a day. But compared to cork, side by side when wet, it definitely is a lot more slippery in hand.
    - If you prefer the look of cork (and if you are a traditionalist) you will not like wooden grips.
    - Has no "flex" like cork grips have. This may be an issue on soft rods, where the butt section does flex (or bend slightly) in your hand.
    - You should never really need to replace the grip, but in the event that you do, you are going to battle to get this off the blank! Cork is easy to remove from a rod, to replace the grip. Cut off, and there you go. With a wood grip, it's not going to be easy at all. In fact, I would say if it's on, it's on for life. unless you mount the grip around a cork "bush", then perhaps. Once you (very carefully) saw the grip off...you will hit the cork bush, and then yuo can cut away as per normal.

    So in the end...what is my honest un-biased opinion on wood grips?
    If you like the look, don't mind the extra weight, and can get used to the feel...go for it.
    If you are trying not to add any extra un-nessesary weight, then don't.
    Personally...I still prefer cork. Because of the look, feel and minimal weight. But wooden grips may have a place in the sun on fly rods...if the user can olook past the few cons (and prefers the look), then it's a definite option.

    Here's a pic of the grip I quickly did and tried.

    Last edited by Michael; 18-04-11 at 10:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Hi Mike

    I have a rod with a wooden grip.

    I had some reservations about some of the "problems"

    You dont notice the extra weight.
    Slippery when wet - no, the only time it is a bit more slippery is when you have fish slime on the handle, after handling a fish.

    The pro's -there are some seriously lovely wood available, that will enhance any rod.
    Personalization is WOW.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Korrie View Post
    Hi Mike
    Hi Korrie

    I have a rod with a wooden grip.
    I've seen it.

    I had some reservations about some of the "problems"
    I thought you might.

    You dont notice the extra weight.
    Yes, but that does not mean it's not there. With the simplest of woods (as per this pine grip) it adds a minimum of 20 grams to the rod's overall weight compared to an all-cork grip. And with exotic woods (like your grip) the weight is MUCH more too.
    So whichever way you cut it...it adds weight. And it DOES affect the rod's swingweight. You may not notice it, but it's a fact. (it may even HELP the rod's swingweight, in certain instances, where the blank's swingweight is a lot to the front).
    So yeah, I'm not saying it's bad...but if one is obsessed with saving weight, the wood's not an option.

    Slippery when wet - no, the only time it is a bit more slippery is when you have fish slime on the handle, after handling a fish.
    It is a bit slippery...I compared it side-by-side to a normal cork grip. With them both soaking wet (in the pool), you can feel the difference when swopping grips in your hand. or put it this way...it FEELS more slippery than a cork grip. (And that puts me off personally). But again, as you say, may not be noticable when fishing or affect you that much.
    With heavier weight rods (7wt and up) though, I reckon then you WILL feel it.

    The pro's -there are some seriously lovely wood available, that will enhance any rod.
    Personalization is WOW.
    That is true yes, and if you like the look of a wooden grip, there are some beautiful options out there.
    Last edited by Michael; 18-04-11 at 11:17 AM.

  4. Default

    Replied earlier, but seems my post was nulled. Here goes again.

    I'm bringing in some really good Flor from Brazil (of all places) for about R10.00 a ring landed soon. I will post pics of the cork this week I hope. Why do I mention this? Well, it's all about price imho.

    The price and availability of good quality cork is ridiculous if you are not careful. I think a lot of people are turning to wood because of the thought that cork is so expensive. Ito look and feel, that's personal, and I don't think the difference is that great between the 2 materials.

    At the cost above, a grip (13 rings on average) would go to R130.00. What would a suitable block of exotic hardwood cost? Add the additional time and finishing to the wood, and you are sitting with something that most likely ends up costing a little more, yet has a "perfect" look to it.

    When you take all things into account, I still think cork is the cheapest material to use.
    Mario Geldenhuys
    Smallstream fanatic, plus I do some other things that I can't tell you about

    "All the tips or magical insights in the world can't replace devotion, dedication, commitment, and gumption - and there is not secret in that" - Glenn Brackett

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by smallstreams.co.za View Post
    Replied earlier, but seems my post was nulled. Here goes again.

    I'm bringing in some really good Flor from Brazil (of all places) for about R10.00 a ring landed soon. I will post pics of the cork this week I hope. Why do I mention this? Well, it's all about price imho.

    The price and availability of good quality cork is ridiculous if you are not careful. I think a lot of people are turning to wood because of the thought that cork is so expensive. Ito look and feel, that's personal, and I don't think the difference is that great between the 2 materials.

    At the cost above, a grip (13 rings on average) would go to R130.00. What would a suitable block of exotic hardwood cost? Add the additional time and finishing to the wood, and you are sitting with something that most likely ends up costing a little more, yet has a "perfect" look to it.

    When you take all things into account, I still think cork is the cheapest material to use.
    Yeah look this wasn't a test to see what material is cheaper...just a plain test for myself to see what material I would prefer. Regardless of cost.
    Most guys in the USA it's not about cost either...they just love wood grips.

    Interesting about your cork...I'd be interested in getting some from you, if they are good.
    Those 700 rings I landed direct from Portugal are almost finished! I have enough left for about 4 grips, that's it. Trying to convince them to send me lesser quantities than 1000 at a time, but will see what they say.

    The "flor" rings from most companies like Mudhole, etc etc are flippen expensive and are CG2 or CG3 grade at best...not worth it.

  6. #6
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    Just the thread i need.I just got 2 blanks to build and was wondering whether wood would work.I am really intersted in trying.The other thing is was wondering was if balsa 5mm sheets glued together would work,it is slightly lighter material,only problem is it might be toooo soft.Ideas?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by core fly View Post
    Just the thread i need.I just got 2 blanks to build and was wondering whether wood would work.I am really intersted in trying.The other thing is was wondering was if balsa 5mm sheets glued together would work,it is slightly lighter material,only problem is it might be toooo soft.Ideas?
    Might be TOO soft. Nick it, and a chunk will be ripped off..and it's going to ding and show marks verrrry easily. I've never tried it, but those are my thoughts.

    I'm also busy trying a "bamboo" built up grip...will be very interesting.

    I still prefer cork for grips though, I must be honest...don't think I'll change.

  8. #8
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    I think Balsa will be too soft.

    Some where there is a thread about the wooden handles.
    Have a look at it, really inspirational.Will try and find the handle thread.

    I was sceptical at first, about the functionality of the wood.
    But, I am sold on it.
    It adds so much "wow" factor to a rod.
    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

  9. #9
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    What about a hexagonal balsa grip with leather wraping?That was my original idea.

  10. #10
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    Korrie Broos

    Don't go knocking on Death's door, ring the bell and run like hell. He hates it. (anon)
    Nymphing, adds depth to your fly fishing.
    Nymphing, is fly fishing in another dimension

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