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Grips - Cleaning

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What do you guys use to clean your cork before you present the rod to the new owner?  How does everyone like that cork-seal stuff?  I  thought it made the cork look even dirtier and sanded it off.

You know I was thinking that the very best cork I've ever seen on a fly rod was on a Redington DFR with the Ari Hart reel seat.  I've truly never seen anything like that.  Weird.  Maybe he bought 10000 rings and just high graded to those rods.

What's the best cork you've ever seen?  (Joe West)

    I use shrink wrap from REC to protect my grips just in case I want to try the rod out on a stream to see if it can catch fish.  (Lee Koeser)

    I use to my rod making Portuguese cork that I bought in pieces of 5 inches x 3 inches an 1/4 of thickness. Is a great graded cork the only problem is that I have to make my own  rings (1/4).

    To protect my finish handles I use poly film to cover it when I do my other finish working of the rods.  (Marcelo Calviello)

      I use it too, only here in the states it's called Saran Wrap.  (Darryl Hayashida)

    I use Saran wrap or whatever brand SWMBO has in the cabinet. Cut off about 2 to 3 inches and spiral wrap the handle.

    If I need to clean the cork I use Scott's Liquid Gold.  (Gary Jones)

    My Dad's Heddon Expert - early 1950s - had some kind of clear plastic tubing on the grip (cellophane?)  He had never used it.  It was heavier than I remember cellophane being, at least on Gramp's cigars.  It split the second time I tried to lawn cast the telephone pole.  I wonder what THAT was?  (Neil Savage)

    A light rub with denatured alcohol with cloth or paper then air  blow off  (Rich McGaughey)

    I know one thing. That cork seal stuff  is an abomination. The shrink tube is the best way to keep the cork clean until you deliver the rod.  (John Zimny)


I'm rehabbing (not restoring) an old garage-sale rod for a friend.  Is there any treatment for making the cork a less dry and fragile?  Maybe a shampoo for dry and damaged hair?  (Frank Stetzer, Hexrod, Taper Archive, Rodmakers Archive)

    The German shoe co. that makes the sandal type shoes with cork soles has a product that really keeps cork nice, it's called Birkenstock (I'm not sure of that spelling and it's also the name of the shoe co.) Cork restorer. Ask your wife, even if she doesn't own any she'll probably know where they are sold (women seem to go  crazy over these shoes).   (Will Price)

    I've had good luck cleaning with mild dish soap, then light amount of baby oil.  (Chad Wigham)


What is anyone's preferred method for cleaning old cork grips?  My one effort with detergent and water ended up with ridging and eventually turning the old cork to mush when it got wet.  I have found that treating with u-40 cork sealer helps, but that's the last step in my mind, not the first.  (Greg Kuntz)

    I use some stuff called 2001 rim cleaner from Turtle Wax. I spray it on a cloth and rub it on the cork. All the old grime comes right off and makes them look brand new again. It's amazing stuff but these grips are only about 10 years old max I don't know what it would do with really old cork though. I'll have to try it on an old spinning rod. (Ken Paterson)

    I am not sure of your cleaning approach, but I have cleaned newer and much older (50 years at least) cork grips doing the following. Use Ivory Liquid detergent and a very soft old tooth brush to slowly and repeated gently clean and rise a cork grip to remove the dirt and grime. When finished I rinse the cork handle with a gentle flow of cold water,  dry with a good absorbent towel, and then let the cork grip dry for a few days before doing any work on the grip. (Frank Paul)

      I got myself in a hell of a tizzy a few years back for ecoriating a list member for using a toothbrush to clean cork grips.  I don't want to go through that again, but please ditch the brush on cork grips. It ridges them.  I use a little comet on my wet hands and GENTLY massage the grip.  Rinse and dry and they are like new.  (Ralph Moon)

    My advice would be to avoid all attempts at cork cleaning beyond wetting one's hand in the stream and applying  a little water.  (David Zincavage)

    Many years ago I was told that lighter fluid would clean cork grips very well.  Essentially dry cleaning.  It worked, even on cork grips which had years of fish slime dried on (most fishermen killed their fish at that time).

    Today, I use alcohol, either denatured or isopropyl, and it works very well.  Don't soak the cork, just rub it gently with a cloth or paper towel partially saturated with alcohol.  For the humorists on this list, go ahead and try gin or vodka, since they are colorless.  (Tim Anderson)

    This stuff works great for cleaning cork. Just use water.  Also very good for wiping down your cane rod after fishing.  And makes a great fly drier for soaked and slimed flies.  I have also replaced my dry fly patch with one.

    No financial interest for me, just a really good product. I guide in Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado and have used it for the last two years. Great stuff!!  (Frank Drummond)

    You don't need anything fancy Denatured Alcohol on a rag does it best, you will be amazed at how well and easy it cleans.   Geeeeeez, stop with the Comet and other abrasives all you’re doing is ridging the cork. Just moisten the rag, no need to have it soaked with the Alcohol.  (Jed Dempsey)


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