Cork & filler

Bonito

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With the recent wee thread on cork grips, adhesive and grade of cork etc I just thought this might be of interest to some.

Obviously we all know that cork is a natural product and the best available these days still comes from Portugal where the bark is harvested every 9 years, treated, flattened, boiled and various other drying processes.

One particular factory in Portugal produces what is reckoned to be the best (in all grades).

Being natural no matter what the grade is, (even flor), it will have fissures, cracks, hollows etc but these are not always visible on the outside, flor is also denser than other grades. Problems arise, even with flor, when the chives (rings of cork) are sanded after being glued to form whatever shape, this sanding and shaping is what causes the small holes and fissures to appear and that is when filling is required regardless of grade. Some manufacturers have the cork impregnated under pressure with resins which fills these small fissures and cracks so after sanding very little, if any, filler is required, (composite cork). Even there problems can arise as the the resin is stronger than the cork so with a lot of use the resins stay fine but the cork starts to wear, kind of never ending cycle.

Anyway without going on about it the picture below was lifted from that high grade producer in Portugal and shows the highest grade flor chives that have been hand picked. Pictures and thousand words etc. it is not hard to see that even `though the external faceof the cork look smooth the insides still show the fissures and cracks that only appear after sanding.

As I say it might be of interest to some and go a wee bit to explaining the need for filler. I`ll not mention cork sealer as that is a sort of Marmite, I don`t have a problem with it. 19RandomSample.jpg
 

Rrrr

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Good info. Seeing a lot of spinning rods, carp and sea rods using duplon and other synthetics which work well but for me just dont look correct on a fly rod.

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Bonito

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Good info. Seeing a lot of spinning rods, carp and sea rods using duplon and other synthetics which work well but for me just dont look correct on a fly rod.

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Suppose you are correct but horses for courses, I`ve got an 8ft, 15 -17# I use for smaller tuna and white marlin, that has a full EVA (duplon) double hander style grip, too slippy using cork when you are chumming and chunking with fish bait cuts to attract them in the first place and your hands are covered in scales and general gut gunge, (love it):rolleyes: .
 
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Rrrr

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Makes sense for a job like that. Its odd how all meterials have gone high tech but most rods still use cork when duplon is arguably the better material.

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fishpond

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Very informative - I once to my fathers annoyance went through a box of 200 flor grade shives picking out the ones that looked perfect (think top row fourth whole one across) and made a scroll handle for a trout rod - when shaped and sanded down it had just as many pits and cracks to fill as any I subsequently made from the rest of the box - lesson learned about what lies beneath a perfect surface. I quite like the composite handles on the loop rods and the Wynn grips also seem nice to hold - also duplon is great in fact far better to hold than cork on a cold wet day!

Tight lines

Richard
 

Bonito

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I suppose it is tradition to have cork on fly rods, no other reason I can think of to be honest. The Winn grips you mentioned are superb, the best thing I have found to be non slip, they are excellent on big game rods, marlin tuna etc. The two in the picture are Winn tape on top of shaped cork grips underneath.

Winn are new on the fishing scene a couple of years back but for a long time they have been world leaders for tennis, badminton and golf grips.
 

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MikeCC

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I had a look at the Sage rod I was referring to yesterday. I'll maybe upload some pics tomorrow...picture paints a thousand words and all that. What I did notice is the lack of fissures in the cork which is why theres so little filler. The cork rings however are cut very thin, far more so than the 'average' handle. I've noticed the same narrow cut rings with recent B+W rod handles as well. Is this how they achieve a better looking quality of handle?

With the recent wee thread on cork grips, adhesive and grade of cork etc I just thought this might be of interest to some.

Obviously we all know that cork is a natural product and the best available these days still comes from Portugal where the bark is harvested every 9 years, treated, flattened, boiled and various other drying processes.

One particular factory in Portugal produces what is reckoned to be the best (in all grades).

Being natural no matter what the grade is, (even flor), it will have fissures, cracks, hollows etc but these are not always visible on the outside, flor is also denser than other grades. Problems arise, even with flor, when the chives (rings of cork) are sanded after being glued to form whatever shape, this sanding and shaping is what causes the small holes and fissures to appear and that is when filling is required regardless of grade. Some manufacturers have the cork impregnated under pressure with resins which fills these small fissures and cracks so after sanding very little, if any, filler is required, (composite cork). Even there problems can arise as the the resin is stronger than the cork so with a lot of use the resins stay fine but the cork starts to wear, kind of never ending cycle.

Anyway without going on about it the picture below was lifted from that high grade producer in Portugal and shows the highest grade flor chives that have been hand picked. Pictures and thousand words etc. it is not hard to see that even `though the external faceof the cork look smooth the insides still show the fissures and cracks that only appear after sanding.

As I say it might be of interest to some and go a wee bit to explaining the need for filler. I`ll not mention cork sealer as that is a sort of Marmite, I don`t have a problem with it.View attachment 17517
 

fishpond

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Weren't loomis using different cork on their NRX rods (Korean cork whatever that is) it was meant to have fewer flaws and be a bit denser - maybe another urban myth on the www. I know what you mean about paler cork Mike - the stuff on the Method looks lighter in colour than Sage rods of old.

Tight lines

Richard
 

Bonito

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I had a look at the Sage rod I was referring to yesterday. I'll maybe upload some pics tomorrow...picture paints a thousand words and all that. What I did notice is the lack of fissures in the cork which is why theres so little filler. The cork rings however are cut very thin, far more so than the 'average' handle. I've noticed the same narrow cut rings with recent B+W rod handles as well. Is this how they achieve a better looking quality of handle?

Picture is always better Mike. Again I`m a one man business and really cannot know what the major companies will be thinking. After 52 years full time doing it I can have a guess mind you. The picture I stuck above of the top range flor (and it is hand picked) still shows minor imperfections on the edges of the cork so possibly they have decided to trim normal chives , (1/2" to 3/4") or have the manufacturer do it for them at extra cost to eliminate these slight edge imperfections, I really do not know but if you are aiming at real high cost rods then I suppose that could be an explanation.

My own personal rods (on Harrison blanks), 10ft 5#, 12ft, 7/8#, 14ft 8/9# and 15ft, 10/11# all use good old fashioned AAA, could have used flor but not that bothered. I`m more interested in the bond to the blank than a few bits of filler. Then again I`m old school, pencil behind the ear type so will no doubt go extinct fairly soon.

I wonder which cork and how much filler was on Ms. Ballantynes` rod ???
 
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MikeCC

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Took these pics this morning.....Sage One two hander.
 

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Bonito

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The reason for the thinner chives, anybodies guess, other than that it is normal AAA cork and even on that lots of filler is visible.
 

Rrrr

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Are there any rods using a flat section on the top of the upper handle for the thumb to sit on ? Ive allways thought my handles would feel better in the hand if the upper cork had a flat ish section for my thumb.

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Bonito

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Are there any rods using a flat section on the top of the upper handle for the thumb to sit on ? Ive allways thought my handles would feel better in the hand if the upper cork had a flat ish section for my thumb.

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Make it flat yourself, simple job with scratch paper, 600 -800 gauge. Just remember sanding / filler
 

Rrrr

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The rod i mentioned yesterday about the handle needing filling isnt half as bad as the seller said on the phone. My old rods are loads worse and ive not even thought about filling them

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Bonito

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The rod i mentioned yesterday about the handle needing filling isnt half as bad as the seller said on the phone. My old rods are loads worse and ive not even thought about filling them

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Sounds like you had a result

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Rrrr

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I think so as he knocked it down by 1/3 and threw in free overnight postage before i had even asked.

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HOWKEMOOT

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Which is best way

The cork on my DTX has developed a few good sized holes. I've never tackled a cork repair before, what materials do I need to fill and finish the handle and where do I acquire them, thanks. :)

M
 

rytenuff

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I'm no expert but in the absence of any other advice....I read some (real) corks from wine bottles rubbed against a file to produce a fine powder then mixed with the right quantity of PVA adhesive to create a workable paste then pressed into the cracks and filled proud finally sanded flush when dry works.
 
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