So, I had a couple of hours last week end, perfect time to build a handle for the blue babe, who got a fair share of wiggling recently. As TsC&C as ever, for the handle I grabbed a cork grip, an old piece of semi garbage that Greg gave me (I wanted to buy it but he couldn’t sell it to me ’cause he’s a decent chap). And I decided to pair it with a sleek Batson reel seat, black aluminium and carbon. See what I do here? Beauty and the beast, sharp contrasts, that’s TsC&C for you.
That cork thing was a mess. The front part was chipped, and the recess for the reel seat wasn’t large enough. I tried to enlarge it, filing slowly and carefully, but the cork was bad enough to crumble at some point, leaving a hole… At that point I was convinced that heavy surgery was required. I cut out everything looking unhealthy, epoxied a cork and a burl ring down the handle. Burl looks cool there, but is also tougher than cork, which is a good news when the recess just leaves a rather fine layer of it.
Once the epoxy had cured, I put everything into the drill, and sanded it down to a pleasing shape. Then epoxied everything on the blank. Here the result:
The handle is short, I wanted it that way. Usually, I cast with my hand against the reel. There’s usually 5cm of useless cork. So I took Ockham’s razor and got rid of the excess. As usual, what I do with my hands has personality, which is a polite with to say that my craft sucks but that’s ok. I couldn’t find a cork ring lousy enough to really match the handle, and as I used a cutter to put down the uncomely parts, the cut wasn’t geometric enough to exactly fit the machined cork ring. Fuzzy fit shows better here:
The wiggle test project
I learned something valuable. Adding a handle helps a lot to dampen the back bounce in the blank. I’m not sure why it’s the case. Mass added at the lower end? Better grip? Of course the grip is better, but it doesn’t feel like the bounce is handled better, rather that there’s less bounce. I’m guessing a combination of factors comes into play.
Anyway, now, the rod feels crisp. Wrapping the guide will undoubtedly modify everything, so we’ll see. I’m going to try to have the guide part as light as possible, ultra short wraps and light varnish. Stay tuned.