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I just finished turning an integral reel seat/handle for my Divine Fairy Rod  replica and I am very happy with the results, except that the cork joints (glued with Titebond II) show as white stripes about 1/32  wide. There are no cracks just  stripes! Yikes! this is not what I have observed  with Titebond  in the past. Any suggestions?  (Doug Easton)

    Some cork rings have been bleached so heavily that the whiteness which results shows on the grip even after it has been sanded as a white ring.  Mrs. Struble, Glen's widow, said to sand the flats on the cork before gluing so that the worst of the bleached area is removed.  I doubt that it is the glue that is causing your problem.  (Ed Hartzell)

      You are right on. This was the first time I used a batch of Angler's Workshop rings (middle grade). I sanded the flat side of one and the color darkened considerably. The bleaching went in from the faces about .020. Another case solved by this great list.  (Doug Easton)


I glued a handle up using Titebond II. Well, I screwed up and left a little crack between the seat and the first cork. Decided to peel off all the corks and start over. Even though I'd left the handle for 24 hours in a room @ 72F, the glue between the corks wasn't dry and further, the glue between the corks and the cane wasn't even close to dry in many spots.

I used ProBond urethane to reglue. Was thinking about the ProBond expansion. It would seem that all the voids between the cork and the seat as well as the slight void between the handle the the topmost cork would be "filled" with glue making introduction of water nearly impossible. I've seen FF types put the handle in the water while they fiddled with the line. I would think that water could seep into any voids between the hosel & cork or reel seat & cork. I've seen handles where the cane/hosel area was black suggesting that water may have entered the cane area possibly leading to rotting and potential cane failure.  (Don Anderson)

    All of my rods are glued with PU glue. I never introduce water, So I presume the moisture in the air does the trick. I don’t live in a rain forest, I must say. The glue takes a couple of days to harden. Got no problems after that. Use the PU for handles as well - use it for all except ferrules, where I like 5 minutes epoxy, which makes eventual removing of ferrules easier.  (Carsten Jorgensen)

    I also have been concerned with the H2O getting between the cane and cork. The current method I use is to glue the corks off rod with Titebond and then glue the handle to the cane with a good epoxy.  Epoxy has the best gap filling abilities and will also make the cane H2O proof under the handle. The ProBond and guerilla glues work well but make sure you tape up anything you do not want the glue on.  The gap filling properties of ProBond and Guerilla glue does not lend any strength but I am sure would keep out any unwanted water.  (Adam Vigil)


How does Titebond II do for gluing up cork rings directly to the blank?  Seems like it would be a bit easier to clean up screw ups.  (Lee Orr)

    I've never used anything BUT!  (Art Port)

    I use it all the time. Never had a problem. I do sand the blank under the handle to remove any varnish, tung oil, or whatever.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

    I have used Titebond II for cork on my blanks both bamboo and for some of those other kinds of rods that I used to make. I have never had a problem with it, plus using some cork dust mixed with a little glue makes a pretty good filler  for bad spots. I picked up a bottle of Titebond III and have just used it on a handle and will see how it does in comparison.  (Gary Jones)


I have used preformed grips on all of my rods so far. I just got an order of rings and want to slice them down. What glue would you guys use to show off the thin rings? I have been using epoxy to glue the grips to the rod, but I plan on turning the grip on the rod, so I'm looking for a glue that will hold the grip, but at the same time show that I used thin rings. I would like a semi dark ring between the  rings. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.  (Robert Hicks)

    I use Titebond, but it disappears between the rings.  You could use resorcinol for a dark band.

    I make a mandrel out of a dowel and slip the glued rings on it.  Then put the grip in a cork press and pull the mandrel out while the glue is still wet.  After the glue dries put the mandrel back in and use it to turn the grip.  Then you can glue the grip on the rod from the butt end.  (Ron Larsen)

    That's an interesting question.  Usually, after gluing up a grip, I put it in a cork clamp and tighten it enough that there's not much glue line showing.  What about the Titebond II for dark wood?

    Have you turned a grip on the rod before, or seen it done?  It scares ME to have the rod turning that fast in the lathe.  You will likely need some kind of support for the part of the section that sticks out of the headstock.  I use a simple L shape (2 pieces of scrap wood glued together at right angles) with a bored out cork ring at the height of the headstock.  I just clamp it to the lathe table when I need it.  I PREFER to use a piece of 1/4" steel rod for a mandrel and do my grip on that, then force it off and install on the rod.  I just rub the mandrel on a block of paraffin wax before I put the rings on, so far no problem getting the grip off again.  Merry Christmas!  (Neil Savage)

    I have had some pretty good success using Gorilla Glue.  the neat thing about it is that when it foams, it actually fills some of the voids of the cork.  I like to glue up the rings on a 1/4" threaded rod which serves the purpose of a mandrel.  I made the threaded rod so that it could be stabilized with a live center on my lathe and I machine the cork at around 2000 rpm.  I have machined a few that I glued up on the rod and that works pretty well too and helps to provide concentricity so that the Reel seat and the Winding check fit really well.

    The Gorilla glue takes a little longer to set than the Titebond and works really well.  If you wanted something to show a darker glue joint resorcinol would definitely do that.  (Leo deMonbreun)

      I would suggest that you not sand the rings before gluing them. You will get some dandy glue lines then. To keep from sounding sarcastic you might consider adding some tint to the glue. I glue my rings on the rod with epoxy. If you used an adhesive like Elmer’s or Titebond the tint might be more likely to bleed into the cork. I have never thought about it. Tell us what you do.  (Timothy Troester)

        My feeling is that resorcinol would make hard areas in the grip that would be uncomfortable after a bit of use.  I would try a test with tinting a couple of glues I was considering and then make a decision.  (Neil Savage)

          I used Resorcinol to glue rings on  several rods with no ill effects. Important to uniformly apply the glue so the tint is even between all rings.  (Bill Taylor)

            If you have the latest  Golden Witch  Catalog, volume V, Russ recommends using various powdered pigments such as red oxide, yellow ochre and nickel silver as coloring agents for adhesives to highlight glue lines, especially for slim cork rings. If you're wanting to know how to jig up and cut cork for slim rings, go to and search for cork jigs or buy the slicing jig from Russ.  (Jim Freeman)


My first rod is ready for finish, grips, and wraps.  I'm clueless on wrapping so I'm going to Alex Wulff's house next week for help.  Before then I want to complete my grip and think about finish.

Grips.  I have cork rings.  I've read lots of tips on Todd's site and am in a quandary over whether to glue up the rings on the rod or on a mandrel.  I don't have a lathe so I plan on using the info on Tom Penrose's site to turn them using a hand drill.  I'm really afraid to chuck my rod into a drill and spin it though.  Should I glue them on a steel rod and then transfer them to the rod after they're turned?  (Aaron Gaffney)

    I would glue up the grip on a mandrel and turn it, couple of reasons, first, if you screw it up, easy to dispose of, if glued to your blank.... second, bad things happen to long spinning blanks, why take the chance? Reaming out the grip is not too hard to do, use a couple of different sized round files working from the butt end. Don't ferrule the blank until the grip is on, at least on the shaft.  (Pete Van Schaack)

    I'm with you, I don't like to spin the rod if I don't have to.  If it's REALLY straight,  it will spin nicely, but if it isn't, it will whip a lot.  I use a mandrel in a lathe, I did my first off-rod grip on a 1/4" dowel, well waxed.  You don't glue the rings to the mandrel, you put them on the mandrel and glue them together.  The wax kept the glue from sticking to the dowel.  Now I use a steel mandrel, again well waxed and no problems with sticking to it.  (Neil Savage)

    Glue the rings on the blank, and then get one of those rasps at the local building supply places.  About 6" long, flat on one side, curved on the other.  Coarse at one end finer at the other.  Sit down at the dining table take a stroke across the grip and then turn it a quarter turn.  Take a stoke and turn it, take a stoke and turn it.  Takes a while and SWMBO may have issues about the cork dust in the dining room but things ain't turning at a speed that can break your heart.  Once you get close to where you want to be, use some coarse sand paper instead of the rasp and then finish out with finer paper.

    Not as fast as spinning the grip at 2500 rpm but gets the job done with less chance of an explosion.

    What did I do?  Well I chucked the rod up in my lathe and spun it as fast as my little lathe could spin.  I'm still spitting up cork dust., but if you are making one rod at a time, for Aaron, slow and sure works just as well as high rpm although it just may not be as much fun.  (Tim Wilhelm)

      To keep the dust down, I made up a piece of PVC sized to fit my vacuum hose. I capped the end and drilled a series of holes down the length of the tube. I position the tube so it is parallel to the grip, turn on the vacuum and my air cleaner and have at it. It doesn't have enough suction to pull in the coarse stuff, but it works nicely on the fine dust. That, coupled with the air cleaner keeps the shop presentable. I turn mine on the blank, but it applies equally to turning on a mandrel. (Larry Blan)

    Do it on a mandrel. Make sure you don't glue the grip to the mandrel.  (Frank Paul)


I have only made a few handles so far in my experience but each time I have used Elmer's waterproof wood glue. It seems to make lines that are too dark in the seams. I have tried Ambroid and it doesn't seem to hold. It just "shatters" when turning. Any suggestions?  (Barry Janzen)

    You'd have to be more specific than "Elmer's waterproof glue", they make several that they claim are waterproof.  I've used Titebond II, but it seems to make hard spots at the glue lines which I don't like so I've switched to polyurethane (Elmer's Probond).  I don't get dark lines with either.  (Neil Savage)

    I would try ordinary white PVA.  (Gary Nicholson)

      I've been using Gorilla glue with a fair bit of pressure.  The color of the glue is amber to begin with so the glue lines aren't noticeable.  You do have to watch your mandrel, though.  Gorilla glue will expand and grab the rod, making it difficult to slide it out.  (Paul Gruver)

    Try Titebond or Titebond II.  (Larry Tusoni)

    I use Titebond II for gluing the rings together and it works just fine.  (Bill Walters)

    I use Titebond III.  The glue is cork colored, waterproof enough, and easy enough to turn without ridges. (Mike Shay)

    I have been mucking around with Titebond III, and one of the things that I did before chancing a rod with the stuff was make up a couple of cork grips, and it is way the best stuff I have used for that purpose.  (Peter McKean)

    I use the same Epon I use to glue up my blanks for grips. Scrub the bleaching off first, put a small amount on each ring as you slide it in to place, then scrape ALL the excess glue off, all it  takes is just a thin film. Rod Bond works very well for this, too.  (John Channer)

    One step in the process of illuminating glue lines in cork grips I have adopted is sanding the cork rings. I start with 220 and finish with 600. I have found this practice helps me to eliminate visible lines.  (Timothy Troester)

    In addition to all of these ideas, compress the bejeezus out of them after you glue them. (Henry Mitchell)


Titebond II, III, Gorilla Glue, 5 Minute Epoxy + 2 Ton Epoxy, ~ best suited for gluing cork rings to rod??  Why? ~ Any other? TIA for input.  (Vince Brannick)

    The only thing I'd use to glue the rings to each other is a Titebond type glue.

    Cork to rod itself I'd still go with a Titebond, or an epoxy like U20 Rodbond. If it is a big-butted rod with no flex under the grip you could probably use just about anything.

    Seeing how much GG can expand I'd be afraid it could crack the cork in areas where there are  faults in the cork or the cork is thin, like at the tip of a fine cigar grip or over the hood of an uplocking reel seat. No personal experience, anybody tried it?.  (Henry Mitchell)

      I'm liable to use anything depending on the circumstance.  GG doesn't expand with enough force to crack cork - it will ooze out first.  I have some luck controlling the ooze by not dampening the pieces to be glued when necessary.  Mostly I use it if seat or grip hole is larger than the blank.  I wrap the blank in that fiberglass wall board tape to fill in space, held in place with thread and depend on the GG to ooze into the holes and stick the components on.  Works well. Thanks to whoever suggested it years ago. Otherwise I go with a nonexpanding glue.  (Darrol Groth)

      Yes you're right it will not crack the cork. I think the secret is don't put to much on. Only a very small amount is all you need.  (Gary Nicholson)

      I have been using Gorilla glue since I started for blanks and components, being very careful with the amount used to keep the foaming minimal. I'm going to change glues to a Titebond III most likely, the main reason is you can not break the GG bond, heat wise according the manufacturer, breaking point is around 600 degrees. I glued a reel seat on that I need to get off - It ain't happening in reusable condition.

      From what I remember reading in the past GG is not a good glue for cork rings because once it hardens it's harder than the cork and does not shrink and expand with the cork causing ridging issues.  (Pete Van Schaack)

        I've used PU glue, either Gorilla glue or the Elmer's brand, for cork rings on about 90 rods.  So far, not a single problem.  I think it's the perfect glue for that application.

        Other glues work well, too.  PVA glues though, sometimes will not harden under cork.  See Dave Lewis' article at for an example.  Slow cure epoxies should work fine, but the 5 minute type might resemble bubble gum before you get everything glued together.  (Harry Boyd)


Is there reason not to consider using 'Titebond' for gluing up cork handgrasps? My experience with the Garrison use of two epoxies is that the 'mix' tends to become unmanageable after about four or five corks are set.  (Vince Brannick)

    I only use Titebond now for grips and gluing the rods up.  (Gordon Koppin)

    I use Titebond. I have found in the past that the glue lines with epoxy can become like little razor blades when the cork wears down.  (Dave Norling)

    Gorilla glue works real well, too.  (Al Baldauski)

      Sumo, Gorilla, etc.  I like the fact that it fills voids between the handle and the hex shape of my rods.   I've also had a few rods that seemed to get gaps under the handle after use.  They were glued with Titebond or other plain glues.  They were usually on rods that I'd used a non standard reamer on.  (Terry Kirkpatrick)

    Use nothing else these days, don't think epoxy is right for cork, can be too hard and anyway is too fiddly and expensive.

    I sometimes use it where I need to gap fill for some reason, but as the rest of you are craftsmen you won't have this problem.  (Robin Haywood)

      I would not use epoxy for this the glue line is harder than the material.  (Gary Nicholson)

    I prefer PU, Gorilla or other.  Titebond seems to me to make a hard spot at each joint, where PU doesn't.  My $.02.  (Neil Savage)

      For 30, years, I've used nothing but plain, old, yellow, carpenter's glue. What's the problem? Cork and bamboo are perfectly ordinary, perfectly compatible materials, and require nothing but the simplest of glues. There's no difficulty with sanding, no failure of the joints, and water, humidity and temps have no effect. What am I not understanding?  (Bill Harms)

        I agree. I always figured if it was good enough for Norm Abrams, then it was good enough for me.  (Will Price)


I’m having a bit of trouble gluing up cork rings for my grips.  I tend to have one or two “unions” fail between the rings.  I’m using Titebond III with a press apparatus, generous glue application to the joint and wiping off the excess.  I’m thinking I might be putting too much pressure in the press thus starving the glue joint with compression.  Is there a guideline for how much pressure you apply to the press during the set up time to keep from starving the bond?  (Mike Monsos)

    It doesn't take much glue or much pressure to glue up a grip, make sure the hole is big enough so the fit to the blank or the mandrel(whatever you glue up grips on) isn't too tight so the rings will snug up to each other and use just enough glue to wet the surface, then camp the rings together so you compress it maybe 1/8". If you're gluing up on the blank, get enough glue on the blank to bond each ring. I use epoxy for grips myself, and scrape as much off as I can before sliding the rings together, works for me.  (John Channer)

      I'm gluing up on a mandrel and clamping system so it looks like 2 1/2 turns on the wing nuts on the 1/4x20 threaded rods should be just about enough pressure to make the bond and not starve the joint.  Thanks or the tip, I'll lighten up on the pressure and see what happens.  (Mike Monsos)

    I use TB II out of habit and, after measuring the distance between my two pressure plates on each side of the grip, I tighten up enough to shorten the grip one-eighth of an inch on a six-inch grip. 

    I glue the grip on the blank.  Every one of the 11 or 12 rings is flat-sanded (both sides) on a sheet of 320 to remove the bleached appearance.  All rings are pressed down on the preceding ring and rotated.  I look for glue to emerge from between the rings at every point on the circumference.  I use a homemade press of a common design:  base has a keyhole slot cut in it at midpoint from the center out to one side.  Both base and compression board are roughly 3 X 5 inches.  Base has two threaded rods running thru it, one at each end, which are lock nutted in place.  Compression board is has a hole drilled at each end in the same location as base, to allow it to slide up and down the threaded rods.  It also has a hole drilled in the center.  In use, I slip a fender washer over each end of the blank to ‘sandwich’ the grip.  Reel seat end of the blank (without the reel seat) is dropped into the keyhole slot after the ferrule end of the blank is fed thru the hole in the compression board.  A nut on each rod is tightened up until the distance between the inside edge of the base and the inside edge of the compression board is equal (6” or 5-1/2”, depending) without any compressive force on the cork.  Each nut is then tightened to reduce that measurement an eighth of an inch.

    Knock on Naugahyde, so far, so good.  None of the many problems I’ve had to deal with in building involves grips.  Hope this helps.  (Steve Yasgur)

      I’ll start to sand the mating surfaces prior to gluing also, that’s something I haven’t been doing either(I’m still in the learning curve).  I’m just glad I remember to use glue.  (Mike Monsos)

        Sanding the faces of the cork rings makes the grips prettier also. The lines become much less visible.  (Timothy Troester)

      OK, I see how most everyone does the gluing and we all do it about the same, but no-one has mentioned if you have poured yourself a tall one first and then lighted a cigar then started to glue, or do you start gluing first. and then......;-)... (Rudy Rios)

        Actually, for the best grips, you have part of it right.  The ceegar part.  You need to fill the tumbler with three fingers of your favorite single malt though.  And the sequence of events has the gluing following that.  (Mark Wendt)

          That’s what I want to make the “best grips”!  I like your method and catalyst.  I might even give up retirement if there are any jobs open in the grip factories that put out  “best grips”.  (Mike Monsos)


What is the current wisdom about choice of glue for cementing corks for the handgrasp? Waterproof, color, ridging, ease of application (working time), other? Are 'Titebond' glues satisfactory? Thanks for any advice.  (Vince Brannick)

    I like Titebond II and I prepare by sanding both sides of the ring enough to expose a fresh surface.  Rings are placed on the blank one by one and twisted enough to produce a 'squeeze-out' of glue.  The grip is clamped overnight.  I usually will wipe over the clamped rings with a damp paper towel before setting the work aside.  I've had problems with epoxy-glued grips revealing hard rings between the cork segments.

    Should probably note that I've had no problems following this procedure with any of the 20 or so grips that I've glued up.  (Steve Yasgur)

    I've been using TB-III, and have had no problems.  TB-III is more water proof than TB-II, but either is good enough for the occasional dip a working rod grip gets.  The downside to TB-III is that it heat softens at a lower temperature, so, a rod left for extended periods of time in a car in the hot sun, could develop problems.

    As a wood to wood, or bark to wood, bonding agent, though, I believe almost any wood glue would be superior to epoxy.  (Paul Gruver)

      I like Titebond III for many applications, but I think that it is difficult to say that wood glue is superior to a professional epoxy.

      Consider that the Tensile Strength of the Titebond III is 4000 PSI according the producer and an Epoxy like West System, for example, is 7000 PSI. WS is useable below the line of water, T III not. Open time for T III is 10 minutes, WS 20 minutes and more. Resistance to heath is not comparable.

      Anyway Titebond III is a very good glue.  (Marco Giardina)

    I do the same as Steve Yasgur with Titebond II, but only for the 7 rods I have made so far.  I see no reason to change at this point in time.  (Mike Monsos)

    I use a urethane glue like Gorilla or a similar Bordens product. I wet the corks as I assemble it, and get a lot of foaming which tends to fill voids in the cork. It looks like hell when it's set, but that goes away as soon as I start sanding it to shape. Working time has never been a problem. I wear Nitrile gloves while assembling because it is fairly messy. Color is reasonably close to cork. It's as waterproof as it needs to be. I don't get any ridging when I am shaping it.  (Mike McGuire)

      I tried Gorilla glue "ONE TIME"!! My cork press and handle was inside a "BIG" foam ball! Me and Monkey Glue ARE NOT COMPATIBLE!!  (David Dziadosz)

        I never see anything like that much foam, just a bit on the outside of cork. It does help to slip a little bit of plastic bag material between the front end of the grip and the clamp where it bears on the cork. Also if you use an up locking seat it helps to make sure of and good seal between the front hood and the wood insert if that is glued in first, because the foam will get there if you don't.  (Mike McGuire)

        I agree with you about Gorilla Glue.  But my personal observations about foaming is because I have a tendency to put too much glue on the material and use way to much water (instead of a fine mist) to activate it.  With this combination you will end up with a big foam ball when activated by water.

        I'm not talented like many of you and I'm a slow learner.  I like to use alternative materials (I consider myself frugal but my wife says I'm a cheapskate).

        I used to use Titebond III exclusively but I had adhering problems with the Bark Grips and especially Bark Pens that I like to make.

        I was never able to get the bark to adhere to the brass tube and I was having the bark rings not sticking to each other and this led me down a path of adhesives.

        However, Loctite SUMO is another matter altogether ... I was in Lowes getting something and they were closing out the SUMO so for $1.99 I bought it and my adhesive journey slowed down.

        I use this a lot.  Not only for cork but gluing my wood to brass on my pens I make.

        Its 3X times stronger.  It is half the foaming of other polyurethane glues. It has a 'tan' glue line and blends well with cork and it is waterproof.

        No commercial interests ... just a satisfied user of Loctite SUMO PU glue.  (Ron Hossack)

      I like the PU my feeling is that since it forms a resilient solid that it should flex along with the cork.  (Doug Easton)

    Titebond II or Titebond III, whichever is handy.  I turn the cork on a hexagonal mandrel (Golden Witch) that I first coat with wax as a release agent.  Titebond turns perfectly with the cork, never stands proud or shreds, and is certainly cheaper than good grade epoxy.  Heat has been no issue for me with grips done this way for a very long time.  I've never seen one delaminate or even considered the possibility.  I might add that before buying the Golden Witch mandrel (very nice), I turned the grips on a piece of all-thread, either 1/4" or 3/8", depending.  (Bob Brockett)

      I use Gorilla glue or  another PU glue for reasons already cited.  I had one grip glued with Titebond not adhere well to the blank and that's all it took.  Unless either the hex blank is turned round or the corks are fitted very tightly to the blank, there is lotsa gap to fill.  I like the idea that the polyurethane glues swell, even though I know there's little adhesive power in the foam.  (Harry Boyd)

        Oh, and I do mine on the rod, not on a mandrel. Makes no difference really how you do it, just the way I prefer. (Bob Nunley)

    Not sure if I misunderstood the question, but thought you were asking specifically about gluing the cork rings together, not bonding to the blank itself.  For that, I use epoxy for the reasons Harry gives on that last post.  Gap-filling and I like the sheer strength and elongation properties of epoxy over wood glues.  (Bob Brockett)

    I use TB II to glue up the cork rings on a mandrel to turn on my lathe.

    I then fit the grip to the rod shaft by reaming out the hole with a rat tail file and use U40 Rod Bond to glue it to the rod shaft.  (Scott Bahn)

    T-88, long working time, thin glue line, color blends well with cork, and it's a two part epoxy. I tried gluing on a handle a long time ago with some kind of glu that cured by evaporation. It sealed itself up and would never cure. Give me a glue that cures by chemical reaction!!  (David Dziadosz)

    For many years, I've been using DevCon 5 minute epoxy for Cork. Works fantastic... although, you better have all your rings laid out in order, marked, fitted and DO NOT answer the phone if it rings! (Bob Nunley)

    My apology for the oversight of not realizing that there are several methods of applying handgrasp to a rod. The consensus appears to be a preference for Titebond ll or lll for gluing the corks together. A couple of responders indicated using epoxy for bonding the glued-up corks to the blank itself. I'd find that difficult as (I should have noted), my method is to assemble the corks directly to the blank, but I do understand the concern about possible slippage. The suggestion that the corks should fit tightly is well received, and in fact I do cut the cork holes to match the flats diameter and actually force them on. In the past I have used the Garrison recommendation to use the 5 minute and 2 ton epoxies mix, but my problem has been that I'm slower than molasses in January, and the epoxies usually set up before I'm halfway through. Titebond it is!  (Vince Brannick)


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