These, now, very popular grips have first made their appearance in Japan with weight reduction in mind. That along with increased sensitivity and, well… of course better looks. It’s all accessible now, and pretty simple as well.
I bet you all have at least one rod that you don’t like the looks of. Not all the rod of course, but I bet if there’s something you would change it is about the handle. What if you could make your own JDM style split grip?
For this tutorial I used 2 EVA grips, 2 winding checks, a graphite tube, that can come either from specialty shops, either from an older broken rod (preferably a larger diameter blank portion), and a light St.Croix rod that had it’s rear grip eaten by mice. Say what?!… yup…eaten by mice.
Enough with all this yabayaba….. Let’s get down to business.
1. Choosing of the rod you are going to use for your own purposes, and removal of the old grip (had some help with that ).
The rod I chose, you can see how it already looks. I had my work cut out by some mice or rats. I still had to remove some of the cork. In this case I don’t really need to remove the cork so the blank remains squeaky clean. I’ll mask it with a carbon tube, so there’s no need to. If you chose a more powerful blank (larger but ID) you will have to try to remove all the cork or EVA from the blank with sand paper, an exacto knife and some patience. In that case you will have to wrap and apply finish over that portion of the blank, and only afterward put those EVA or even cork grips on.
2. Choosing of the graphite insert (where it may apply).
This is chosen according to the blank’s but O.D. (outer diameter). Meaning that the graphite or woven carbon tube must have an I.D. larger than the blanks O.D. As you will see, my method wont lessen your rod’s weight. It might even increase it due to the tape and epoxy that will be hiding under the carbon insert. In this case it’s exactly what I want, just because I didn’t like how my rod counter balanced before, and this is the way it will make my rod balance perfectly.
I guess I was lucky those mice were hungry.
For these purposes I prefer not to use arbors. I prefer to use paper tape. You will have to tape the blank as you see in the image in such a manner that the insert will fit snugly over the tape.
4. Gluing everything together with epoxy
You can use almost any type of epoxy. I mainly use 30-minute epoxy. That means you can manipulate that epoxy for about 30 minutes. You mix 2 equal quantities of resin and hardener thoroughly. As soon as you’ve done that you can start applying it on the blank covering as well as you can the wrapped tape so it will afterward remain sealed in epoxy.
I strongly recommend not using 5-10 min. epoxy, because it usually hardens before you can finish your job, and that’s not pleasant at all.
5. Masking and closing
Using the same paper tape you will cover up all the parts that you think might get in contact with the epoxy. You will cover up the end of the reel seat (in this case), the EVA grips, and some portions of the insert. Immediately after you slide the graphite/carbon insert on the epoxied blank you can usually glue the grips on the insert. You can actually glue the grips on the insert before mounting it on the blank. Don’t forget about the winding checks.
You will use toothpicks to apply epoxy to glue on the winding checks.
You won’t see the actual gluing in the pictures, because that didn’t happen on camera because I had my hands busy and no cameraman.
Happy JDM lookalike fishing!
I know you still have a lot of uncertainties but I promise new tutorials that will clear everything up for you. Just keep on tuned.