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Does anyone know of an outlet for Rattan? Thinking I might try a Rattan grip.  (Rod Brand)

    I know Demarest carries it, and I've seen some other places, just can't recall them at the moment.  (Martin-Darrell)

    My wife makes a lot of baskets and gets her rattan and other supplies from the Basket Makers Catalog web site.  (Claude Freaner)

    Try your local chair repair places or craft stores (that's where I get mine)  (Shawn Pineo)


For those of you that build rods with rattan covered grips, I had a couple of questions.  Once the rattan is dried and the grip can come off the mandrel, do you trim before removing from the mandrel, or after?  On the tips site, the Medved method says to trim the ends, and then remove from the mandrel.  But I would think that you would tend to get a straighter edge by trimming after removing from the mandrel.  Also do you then coat the grip with a varnish or something to protect  the grip?    (Robert Cristant)

    I just wrapped one two weeks ago and did not use a mandrel so my trimming was done off the mandrel. I think using a mandrel might make wrapping a little easier.

    I have seen Al Medved demo the rattan wrapping, he is a real artist. It is a good way to use bad cork. (Tony Spezio)

    I trim with a razor saw after removing the mandrel. I shoot two light coats of clear poly to seal the rattan grip.  (Dennis Higham)


Is there a good web site with instructions for using rattan over cork on grips.  I also have a library of bamboo rod making books, does anyone remember a good article before I start looking thru all of them.  I have some less than desirable cork that needs to be used and it looks like using rattan over them is a viable option.

I looked under the Tips page for Al's method but could not  find it.  My search problems are probably due to the bamboo dust from yesterday.  (Darrin Curtis)

    Before I gave rattan grips a try myself,  I asked Al about soaking.  He said he tried it once, but the rattan wanted to turn unsightly shades of gray after soaking, so he gave that up.  Since then, I've done a couple "trial," rattan grips without soaking.  I think wrapping the rattan is going to be a little tedious no matter how you go about it, but even so, it's not really such a big deal.  Anyhow, I can't imagine that the soaking process would make anything appreciably easier.  (Bill Harms)

    I've helped my wife make several baskets using the rattan. Soaking the rattan for about 15 minutes in a bucket of water, patting it dry, and then wrapping makes for much easier bending of the rattan.  Tight radius turns, such as at the front of the grips shown in the Web site, can cause splits to come off the dry rattan.  The soaked stuff will bend through an amazingly tight curve without breaking or splitting.  I haven't tried wrapping rattan around a cork grip, but I have made several fishing creels and helped my wife make quite a number of baskets...  (Claude Freaner)

    I don't soak the rattan.  (Tony Spezio)

    Interesting that today the rattan grip is viewed as something of an upgrade. In the Mills catalog of years gone by, the Leonard rods were upgraded from rattan to cork grips for an additional dollar.  (Tim Wilhelm)

    I came across a web site the other day where a rodmaker also made bamboo shafted golfing putters. He used cork for the handles and then covered that with rattan. He then wrapped silk in between the rattan and then sealed it with varnish or something. Just an idea.  (Randy Tuttle)


Just a question on how those who use rattan anchor the ends?  (Andrew Chan)

    I've used rattan a couple of times. I just tuck the loose end in under the previous wrap. I also ad a string between the rattan wraps and the beginning and end of this string hides the ends a bit. Apply a couple of generous coats of varnish. Stay with it when you've applied the first coat, for some unknown reason bubbles occur between the wraps and you have to make them burst open (blowing on them works for me). I don't know if this is the way it 'should' be done, but it's the solution I found. Rattan is great if you don't have good cork. And I don't use tiny strips, but quite large ones. And they look good!  (Geert Poorteman)

      I haven't done many rattan grips, but I think a nice way to finish the ends is (after the glue has dried) to make very clean, razor cuts right through the rattan and the cork, both at front and back.  The front cut should leave the OD of the rattan equal to the OD of the winding check that will butt against it.  I protect the rear of the grip by butting a very thin (1/8" or less) slice of wood against the cork.  The slice can be oversized by any amount, and then easily shaped by hand to the O.D. of the rattan. Obviously, you can use any wood you prefer, but I like to match the species I'll be using for the reel seat spacer.  Varnish everything when finished. Then, just mount the reel seat hardware and spacer as usual.  This makes a very clean, nice-looking grip and protects both ends of the rattan perfectly.  (Bill Harms)


I am looking for a good supplier for rattan or bamboo strips for some grips.  Any help would be great.  (Denny Dennis)

    I believe that Golden Witch supplies the rattan for grips.  (Robert Cristant)

    You might try the Demarests.  In the recent past they have carried the strips in several sizes.  (Harry Boyd)

    The Demarests can supply you with the rattan. I get mine from a man that does replace the seats in old chair. He lets me have the scrap pieces. They are usually long enough to do a 6" grip. I may have to splice a short section for a 7" grip.  (Tony Spezio)

    My wife has bought a lot of basket making supplies from Basketmaker's Catalog, including rattan.  Usual disclaimer: no financial interests, just happy customers.  (Claude Freaner)

    Check out Frank Supply.  (Adam Vigil)

    Constantine's has caning supplies.  (George Bourke)


A simple question about rattan grips comes here: are they strong enough for normal use or will they break down in a couple of years?

My "latest antique", mortised FE Thomas Special 9' #4 cries out for rattan grip.  (Pekka Hyvonen)

    I  have made a couple of rattan handles, they haven't gone through years of fishing, they look OK. I have some furniture in rattan, and a little table is now about 16 years old... I dose my rod handles with a liberal coat of PU varnish though. If I use rattan grips, its because I don't have cork to waste. You can use old wine corks under the grip, cheap and easily available. And I have lots of cheap (actually free, I know the owned of a rattan furniture shop) rattan here.  (Geert Poorteman)

      Does the stuff hold up pretty well. All I remember is seeing rattan chairs with busted webbing.... It is nice looking though as I've seen pictures of rods finished that way before.  (Martin Jensen)


Contemplating introducing rattan grips on some of my rods, I wonder if they are not very slippery to use when wet? Anyone have any advice on this matter?  (Carsten Jorgensen)

    I did this to a graphite rod about 10 years ago. I didn't varnish it like some folks do. I simply but some Lemon Oil on it from time to time. I've never found it slippery. I would think that if it did get slippery, the ridges would compensate for this.  (Jim Lowe)


Does anyone have a good connection/wholesaler for rattan.  I was hoping to get some for making handles?  (Geoff Pieroway)

    I get mine from a old gentleman that recanes chairs. I only do a few grips so what I get from him is enough. I get the scraps that are long enough to wrap a grip. You might check your phone book for a person that does this kind of work, they might be able to put you on to a wholesaler.  (Tony Spezio)

    The Demarests sell rattan.  I bought mine from them at SRG some years ago. They are a big importer of rattan too!  (Scott Grady)


Working on some new grip designs...

Came up with this Rattan Design, what do you think...?

Collyer, Dave Rattan

PS... Made to match my Tiger Strip Flamed Cane.  (Dave Collyer)

    I like the look (I don't care for full wells grips, but hey, that's just me). It is a very attractive grip. (Will Price)

      Well, I like it!  (Both the look and the full wells.)  (Neil Savage)

    Good to see the old stuff still turning heads...

    Had quit a few questions so here's how I did it...

    Turn a grip as you normally do, any style should work...

    With the clean, straight edge of some 150 grit sand paper start 1/2" in from the front of the grip sanding to the center about 1/16" deep, then do the same from the back side of the grip to the center. Now you have an inset of 1/16" to lay your rattan and the 1/2" front and back of the cork grip are normal...

    Cut your rattan at a sharp angle to start the wrap, tag it down with some super glue and apply Gorilla Glue to 1" of the cork at a time and slowly start wrapping the rattan down the grip keeping it tight and right...

    Chuck up the grip again and use the edge of a metal file to cut in a channel on the rattan at the cork, front and back. Now you have a flat channel 3/16" wide to lay in the silk wraps, I used some vintage "EE" silk thread. Apply a coat of spar to the thread and rattan and allow to dry, then apply another coat to the silk only and there you have it... (Dave Collyer)


In the past, I have used poor quality cork under rattan grips.  Some have suggested using wood instead since it will not give and cause possible problems in the future. If you are using wood for your's, what kind of wood and are you using rings? Or something else?  (Scott Grady)

    Sorry, I meant to ask what are you using between the rattan and the bamboo blank.  (Scott Grady)

      Try Spanish cedar or balsa wood center drilled and turned to the shape you want the grip to be after it is wrapped with rattan. Make sure the grip is turned slightly smaller than what you want for finished size. Balsa is light and Spanish cedar is lighter than cork.  (Will Price)

        Just a tip for Spanish cedar source. Spanish cedar is the material cigar boxes are mostly made from. Spaces are often filled with blocks of this. Some of these blocks are 1" square and the length of the cigar.  (Timothy Troester)


I hope Phil got an answer on making rattan grips.  While we're at it I've got a coupla questions on finishing them.  I have had two nice ones I traded for that are already expertly made by one of our master Makers.  The fore and aft anchor points have been cut off flush so that the rattan feathers out to the edge of the grip.  I understand about wrapping the crevice in silk and varnishing, etc.  My questions are these:

1. Presuming that the rattan has been glued on with fairly heat sensitive glue (Titebond?), how do I go about flaming them to obtain that nice tortoise shell look? Or do I dare?

2. Lacking cork and winding checks that might have a flange to cover/protect the fore and aft edges of the grip,  how would I treat these edges so as to marry the grip to reel seat and blank respectively and hopefully keep the rattan from getting dinged on the edges? Or do I just not worry about it?  I hope I explain this clearly.  (Darrol Groth)

    I flame my rattan before wrapping the grip. I do this on a mandrel that is larger diameter than the grip. This allows a more random spacing of the darker flamed areas when the rattan is wrapped around the smaller diameter grip.

    By flaming the finished wrapped rattan, you would get a more uniform flaming - which might be an interesting effect!

    So, for your questions:

    1) how about adding a very small drop of super glue at each end to tack the rattan in place? That way, the rattan can not unwind. If the glue softened, it would solidify and tack the rattan in its original place

    2) the super glue would help with this too. Otherwise, rattan is surprisingly tough material and you probably need not worry about it.  (Michael Hackney)

    I've since found out that flaming is no problem, regardless of type of glue as the rattan acts as sort of a heat sink.  Just light the torch and take it slow and easy.

    Also, lacking some sort of cork check isn't really a problem as I've since seen some rattan  grips with plain edges.  (Darrol Groth)


I've been asked to refinish a rod that I could find very little heritage on... other than a couple online references saying it was just a cheap,  old production rod that probably isn't worth anything. It's a "Hinduvine", obviously Calcutta cane... with the word "Flyer" in a gold script below the partially legible decal. As I've stripped it down, I've found it is made with all NS hardware, including the downlocking full metal reel seat, the crowned ferrules, strap and ring keeper, and stripper. There are intermediate wraps every 1-1/2 to 2", depending on the section.

The ferrules were pinned with a nicely blended surface area... the pins were almost invisible. One ferrule was obviously pulled off of the mid section, probably to reglue, and the cane was broken at the pinned area... he probably didn't realize it was there and broke it off trying to repair it. (sad) It's about 1-1/2" too short now, as he "whittled" the cane to refit it.

As I've gone farther into the rod I noticed that the grip has the telltale indentations of having been wrapped with rattan at one time. Since the rod was obviously built with fairly good materials, and aside from the amateurish repairs that were made, it can be refurbished into a nice heirloom for his grandson (The rod belonged to his wife's grandfather).

Can anyone give me a source for an adequate amount of rattan to recreate the grip? I don't normally use it and would appreciate any help in finding some.  (Mike St. Clair)

    Woodcraft sells rattan in numerous sizes. Should work ok.   (Don Peet)

    Any craft store should have rattan. Ben Franklin comes to mine.  (Don Schneider)


For those of you that build rattan grips, do any of you use balsa as a base? If not what would be a better base? Also, how is the rattan started and finished? Are there any how to tips or videos? (Jon Holland)

    I'd be interested to know a bit more about this myself.  Purchased some rattan about a year ago, but forgot I even had it til you posted this.  From what I've seen, the stuff usually goes over turned down cork (good way to use up all that badly pitted stuff), but guessing you could wind it over just about anything you could make a grip out of.   Corn cobs,  anyone?  (Bob Brockett)

      Corn cobs, did I send you photos of the corn cob grips and seats I made. Rattan over corn cob grips will work. I use some of the worst cork I have to cover with rattan. Can send some photos. Did an article for Power Fibers on the corn cob seats and grips.  (Tony Spezio)

    Haven't done it yet, I’ve read this article so much I think I have it memorized.. Just about ready to give it a go. (Pete Emmel)

    I have made several Rattan Grips. I wrap the Rattan over the worst cork I have. I have used a wood grip also. I use a straight pin to hold the starting wrap in place and also at the end of the wraps. I get my Rattan from a chair repairer who gives me his scraps. They are mostly short pieces that I splice together. After the glue dries, the ends are trimmed at an angle. You can also wrap come contrasting color thread or string between the wraps. (Tony Spezio)

    Funny the subject of Rattan Grips would come up. I've been trying to come up with some rattan to try out on a rod. I've tried all the hobby places down here  such as Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Woodcraft, and a few others. Anyone have any suggestions as to where I might find some rattan? Also what would be a good width to use?   (Floyd Burkett)

      Not sure if you have them down there, but Lee Valley has Rattan available, I'm sure you could access by the Net.  (Keith Paskin)

      I go to the local true value hardware store and buy what they "CALL" hardwood dowels to make my bases from. They really aren't hardwood. They're a sort of maple appearing wood, but soft enough that they're easy to cut and shape, and they're actually pretty light compared to maple. What you use doesn't really matter unless it's a really heavy dense wood. I guess that would be alright, too, I just don't like the extra weight of something like Oak or some of the heavier hardwoods.

      One well known rod maker uses Basswood. Really easy to cut and light. (Bob Nunley)

    If you go to David Bolin's site there is a video tutorial of Bob Nunley demonstrating how to make a rattan grip that was from the Southern Rodmakers last gathering. It simplifies the technique and is very well done. Definitely worth the time to watch.  (Will Price)

    OK, On Rattan Handles. First, there are two good sources for Rattan. Demarest, of course, and I get all of my wide rattan, the 3.5MM Machine cut stuff, from HH Perkins Co in NJ. Just google them, and give them a call and they'll send you a catalog in the mail. Great to deal with and if you do a lot of rattan handles (I've done somewhere between 60 and 80, not sure) then you'll like the machine cut rattan much better than the hand stripped rattan. It's very consistent in width and the hand stripped is usually NOT consistent in width.

    I did a demo on making rattan handles for SRG and it looks like I'm going to be doing one for CRR next month, but if you want to see the demo, just go to David Bolin's blog and look in the SRG Video section on the right hand side of the page about a third of the way down and click on Rattan Grips. Watch it and if any of you have any questions after you see the video, you're more than welcome to call or email me or ask on the list. No black magic here, just a great method for making rattan handles, and very easy. Of course, I did NOT come up with this method. Learned it from a great friend, great rodmaker, but am happy to share and help in any way I can.  (Bob Nunley)


Is there a trick to wrapping the rattan down the tapered area of a cigar grip and making it lay flat? I attempted two grips over the weekend and both of them look like, well, not useable.  One I followed Bob's video tutorial and it turned out OK.  The other I followed another tutorial where I wrapped up the cigar area.  It turned out OK.  They both don't want to conform to the shape of the grip.  I understand why but when I look at others pictures of their rattan grips, they look like they get nice clean wraps all the way down to the blank.  Any tips or tricks?  (Greg Reeves)

    Try wrapping from the winding check to the reel seat. (Steve Kiley)

    Perhaps a silly question, but was the Rattan well soaked before you attempted to wrap it?  (Dave Burley)


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