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Rule

Several weeks ago several list members recommended FIX brand wood patch in light mahogany for fixing cork handles. This stuff can be hard to find in some areas, but it can be ordered directly from the following address:

Ohio Sealants
7405 Production
Mentor, OH 44060

Cost is 4 dollars, which includes shipping. Be sure to send your check to the attention of customer service.  Mine came today, and I recommend it. After sanding it is a perfect color match for cork. (Jeff Schaeffer)

Rule

Bob Milward showed me a grip that he filled in up at Corbett lake this past week end. He used 5 minute epoxy with cork dust plus a smidge of titanium white mixed in. It seems a like the titanium white keeps the epoxy and cork dust pliable and pretty much the same feel as the cork grip. I haven't tried it yet but it looked pretty promising.  (Patrick Coffey)

Rule

I would appreciate hearing y'all's ideas and methods for filling in blemishes in grips.  Checked archives and only mention was Jeff Schaeffer's idea for using Fix Brand Light Mahogany wood filler and grits.  (Darrol Groth)

    The generally accepted method is to mix your own filler from cork dust and either clear nail varnish/lacquer or with cellulose dope. You then add a few drops of the lacquer/dope to the void and put in your cork mix filler so it stands proud of the void. You then let it set and sand it down.  (Paul Blakley)

    I've used a slurry of cork dust, and Ambroid cement.  Ambroid is water proof, dries very quickly, and sands easier than the cork.  I used to use a lot of Ambroid cement when I was building model airplanes, and I always have a tube of it around for gluing wood.  (Mark Wendt)

    Of all the suggestions that I received, I think the airplane model glue/cork slurry worked best.  (Darrol Groth)

Rule

I use Elmer’s Fill N Finish Dark wood filler to fill pits in cork. After is dries it matches the cork., and sands with no problems.  But I now just pay extra for the good cork and it doesn’t need filled.   (Dave Henney)

    Well, as usual, there's more than one way to skin this cat!   I've never been a huge fan of wood fillers in my general woodworking though, they seem to fall out after a while.  Still, for an experimental grip for my own rod, I didn't want to use the good cork (I'm cheap!) but I don't mind a couple of bucks for a filler to improve the looks in case I like the feel and leave it on the rod.  (Neil Savage)

Rule

What do most of you use to fill cracks in cork rings when making grips.  (Tom Peters)

    I use cork dust mixed with contact cement. It stays soft and sandable.  (Bill Fink)

    Fix brand wood filler, light mahogany. It can be hard to find, but I posted the address of the manufacturer a while back. Should be around in the archives. I use it sparingly, and just fill the worst gaps and holes. Makes an amazing difference without that store bought look on totally filled handles.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      Who is the manufacturer?  I found two different brands with a Google search, one available at Lowes and Home Depot, the other at DoItBest stores.  (Neil Savage)

        Check out www.stickwithpl.com.  PL products in  Mentor, OH. There is a dealer locator on their web site. And to give credit, I now remember that I got this idea from Harry Boyd, the source of most good ideas.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

          According to their web site, both Lowes and Home Depot carry it.  I'll check it out next time I go that way.  (Neil Savage)

            Here's what I found in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area:  Contrary to the manufacturer's web site, Home Depot does NOT carry the wood filler, although they have other PL products; Lowes DOES carry the wood filler, $2.44 + tax for 4 fl. oz. at the store near me.  Price and availability may vary depending on your location.  Haven't tried it yet, and I wonder if the natural might not be a better match for new cork, but I'm going to try the Light Mahogany that  Jeff and Harry recommend.   (Neil Savage)

              The light filler sands out "white" looking.  The mahogany is a closer color match to cork when sanded.  (Ted Knott)

              What ever happened with mixing ground cork with some epoxy or other glue and using that as a filler?  (Larry Puckett)

                Best advice I got when I asked the question a while back was to make a slurry with cork dust and model airplane glue.  Tried samples of all suggestions  I got and this worked best.  Caveat - mix little batches and patch each individual blemish by dabbing it in with tooth pick and smooshing it in.  Whatever you do, don't spread it around because it'll gum up the grip and you can't sand it off.  Now I never throw away my cork dust but collect it in a test tube for future use.  (Darrol Groth)

                I tried that, didn't like the way it looks or feels.  It seems to make hard spots in the grip.  I have a grip I made out of low quality cork that needs a lot of filling.  (I didn't want to use the good stuff because I'm not sure I'm going to like this grip.  I used the Payne pattern that was in "The Planing Form" a while back, but I usually like a bigger grip.)  (Neil Savage)

                I've found that the glue-cork dust mixture gets hard, and turns black as coal.  (Harry Boyd)

                I like the Fix patch better- I think it is a closer color match, and you can thin it with acetone to make it go on  better. It is a pain to sand it, but you can sand it more easily than the homemade mixes I have tried. It will look dark when it goes on,  but lightens as it dries.

                The real issue here is that truly great cork seems impossible to find. I find myself doing at least a bit of patching on every grip, even with my highest grade cork. I simply do not have the money to buy several hundred A++ rings at a time and poke through them to find the 12 perfect ones, and then wonder what to do with the rest. So I patch.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

          As long as we're giving credit where credit is due -- I got the idea from Leo Eck, a rod restorer and good friend from Arkansas.  (Harry Boyd)

Rule

I'm almost done with my first two rods and have a question concerning grips.  I'd check the tips site but its still not up.  I turned my grips off the rod using a hand drill and then transferred them to the rod.  It worked really well. 

Even though I bought the best grade cork I still have some voids in the grips I'd like to fill.  I know I've read somewhere that you can use cork dust mixed with ???? to fill the voids.  Can someone help me out with the process?

Also, what's the best way to clean the cork.  I got a good sized smudge on the first grip before I wrapped it with saran wrap.  The rod is for me, but I'd still like to get the smudge out if I can.  (Aaron Gaffney)

    A system that works really well is to mix cork dust (collected after sanding a grip to shape) with Duco cement (available in many hardware stores in green colored one ounce tubes) and then add just a tiny bit of titanium oxide to lighten the color and get just the right shade. you can get the titanium oxide in many paint stores where they use it as whitener. It sands well and adheres well.  (Ray Gould)

    I use Ambroid cement mixed with the cork dust to fill the voids.  That's an old trick learned many moons ago playing around with model airplanes.  The cement sands very well, the color is about perfect when it dries, and you can get it at the local hobby shop.  (Mark Wendt)

    I don't like filling grips, but when I have to do so I use FIX brand wood putty, in the light mahogany color.  It is nearly invisible on cork.

    As for cleaning off the smudge, I'd suggest a little very fine sandpaper.  (Harry Boyd)

      Like you, I don't like to use filler and I also have a can of "FIX". I think we got it at the same time from the same person so you know it has been around a while..

      Now for a tip. I had not used much and when I opened the can a few months ago it had thicken to almost a dry state.

      I was going to chuck it but decided to see of I could salvage it. A small amount of Acetone did the trick. It is now as smooth as it was originally and it works  like new. I gave it a try on a rebuild rod to check it out, still holding up fine.  (Tony Spezio)

        I recently had an awful looking rebuild rod with sixty years of fish slime buildup on the cork which looked dented and gouged up from hooks etc. I was going to replace it but I figured "what the heck" and I stuck a toothbrush into some carburetor cleaner and scrubbed the handle vigorously and the thing cleaned up like new after wiping it off with some rags. It only took a couple of minutes and worked like charm.  The dents all but disappeared without all the gunk in them and was able to save the grip.  (Dick Steinbach)

    I don't fill grips at all. Never.  I have, and hated the look and feel. I know that most of the plastic rods have their grips filled and it looks like a girl with a boob job Pretty, but just not real. Sorry Harry and others, I don't mean to offend your sensitive nature! (by the way, when can we look forward to your Christmas missive? Us atheists/agnostics want to know. It's something I have come to look forward to as a high point of my year, just a glimmer of hope).

    Anyway, just ain't natural and besides, once you get some slime on that grip you'll see the filled areas much clearer. It doesn't absorb the slime the same as the unfilled cork and seems to become more noticeable the dirtier the grip gets. Also, unfilled pits will give you something to hang onto. Besides, you are planing on putting some slime on that grip aren't you?  (Mike Shay)

      I, too, dislike the look of filled cork. On occasion, when a large void opens up during sanding of the handle, I use carpenter's glue and stick in a chunk of cork.  Properly done it looks more natural than filler.  (Ron Grantham)

        I think I'll leave the grips unfilled.  I don't mind the look and like many have stated its going to be fished with so it will get plenty dirty.  Thanks for the replies.  I'll post some pictures of the rods when I get them completely done (hopefully by Thursday night).   (Aaron Gaffney)

          For cleaning my grips (fish slime & mud bonded with hand oils and Silicone lubricants) I've found minerals spirits bring them back to near new appearance and I've yet to see any evidence of deterioration on joint bonds. Just dampen a wiper and vigorously rub that cork.  (Al Baldauski)

Rule

Just finished a run through the archives and didn't find what I was looking for. I was hoping to find a superior solution to filling voids in cork grips. Something other than the old cork dust and Elmer's glue method.

I know some genius is going to tell me there is no acceptable substitute for buying premium  rings so lets get that out of the way. (G) I actually bought a premium grip from REC. I know, I know, another mistake that won't be repeated, but meantime I'd like to make the best of the situation and get the rod done.

Perhaps there isn't a superior way to fill but there are some pretty resourceful people on the list so I felt it worth the effort to ask. Feed back appreciated.  (Wayne Kifer)

    Sawdust and glue is an old woodworking recipe for what is now called plastic wood.  It'll fill small gaps that are not subject to wear, and make it possible to apply a good finish.  Personally, I've never felt I got satisfactory results doing that. 

    I think you'd be better served by making a cork plug.  It's sort of like filling a tooth.  Enlarge the area around the defect to make a well defined hole, that has square sides and is deep enough to hold the plug.  Find a piece of cork with approximately the right color and texture, and whittle a plug to fit the hole.  Now glue the plug in, let it dry and sand it down.  It will be noticeable if you look for it, but otherwise, it should do what you want.  (Paul Gruver)

    Try Ambroid cement.  You can get it in hobby shops.  It's the color of cork & sands like butter.  (Ron Larsen)

    A light mahogany wood filler works well.  (Rich Margiotta)

    I've used cork dust mixed with contact cement. It stays about the same texture as cork but sometimes give color match problems. I like that idea of using a cork insert as a more perfect solution. Why not round insert holes?  (Bill Fink)

Rule

Does anyone have some good formulas for fillers to put in the cracks and crevices  of cork surface? I sanded some cork to get a powder to mix with Titebond III and used that as a mortar but I was wondering if anyone else had some good ideas?  (Dick Steinbach)

    Richard: I have had good results with a paste made from fine cork dust and clear lacquer. The dust comes from final sanding with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper. It is quick drying, easy sanding and dries to a color closely matching the cork.  (Bill Jette)

    I don't bother with it, it's been my experience that fillers of any kind tend to fall out after some use. Cork is a natural material and has it's flaws, use the best you can afford and don't apologize for the holes in it.  (John Channer)

    I have used epoxy and rolled it in cork dust and I have mixed cork dust in epoxy as well as Elmer’s. you can still see where the voids are. I agree with john here.  use the best grip material you can find. that is what cork looks like.  (Timothy Troester)

      I just did this the other day and have to say I was not happy with the epoxy mixed with cork dust. I packed in as much cork dust as I could and made it very doughy. I let it cure for a week and last night I sanded it down. It still came out looking plastic-y. I know that different epoxies behave differently, so either I will have to experiment in the future, or let it go. I agree with buying the best cork available. This was very nice cork and I developed a small gouge after the grip was on the rod.  (Scott Bearden)

        You guys oughta try Ambroid cement.  It's the old model airplane cement, comes in, if I remember right, and orange and white tube.  Stuff sands like butter, dries to about the color of cork, and sticks pretty good.  You also get the neat fun of picking the glue off yer fingers when yer done.  Good stuff.  (Mark Wendt)

      I didn't say use the best you can get, I said use the best you can afford, I see nothing wrong with the quality of the cork matching the price of the rod at all.  (John Channer)

Rule

I read somewhere recently that the cork filler from Mudhole was the same as something you could get at the big box stores, but darned if I can remember which and which color. It looks like an Elmers product and golden oak sounds sort of right, but does anybody remember for sure? I mixed up some cork dust with Titebond but it was way too dark. If I'm going to buy white paint to lighten the cork dust mix, I might as well buy the ready mix stuff. I can always use it on some other woodworking project.  (Larry Lohkamp)

    You need to mix the cork dust, which can hardly be too fine, with a cellulose based glue, or even lacquer, it sets clear and doesn't darken the cork. No filler works very well, really, its all visible. best to super select the corks and grin and bear the cost. Even on my experimental rods these days I find myself doing that as bad cork handles tend to  influence my view on the rest of the rod. Terribly unscientific, of course. Cant help being nearly human though.  (Robin Haywood)

    See here.

    Mudhole shipped Elmer's Glue Golden Oak filler when they had a low inventory in their proprietary filler.  (Dave Burley)

      Instead of going through all that BS of ordering this wood filler, don't you have Elmer's glue you are gluing things up with?  If so just take the cork dust from sanding the grip, mix it with the glue & you have the best filler you can have.  This is all I have used for over 30 years.  (Bret Reiter)

        Try Minwax Stainable Wood Filler sometime. Your solution is good, but I think you will find this solution even better. These days It sure is hard to get good cork for anything less than giving away all your Toy'ls. This stuff is natural wood color coming out of the tub, dries very quickly, stays where you put it, sands well and picks up dirt and slime the same way cork does. After a rod has been fished it sort of disappears.  (Doug Easton)

          I will have to try that some time after I run out of cork dust.  I have saved a large container of it through the years.  this is what Bernard Hills taught me to use & if it was good enough for him & Heddon it was good enough for me.

          I do appreciate the tip though & I always keep them filed away for future use.   (Bret Reiter)

    Fix brand wood filler in light mahogany.  (Jeff Schaeffer)

      Judging from the number of the responses , on and off line, to mix a glue and cork dust, I wasn't too clear. I had already tried mixing Titebond and cork dust. The resulting filler was very dark, almost black. The solution to the darkness varies from adding white paint or pigment, to using other brands of glue. It seems to me that if you are going to go out and buy 5 to 10 dollars worth of material that has to be mixed and fiddled with, then you might as well get something designed to be a filler in the first place. Two fillers were recommended, FIX light mahogany and Elmers golden oak.

      The local box store had Elmers in tubes, and a nice little kit with tubes of white, natural, and golden oak. Those 3 tubes, along with a pinch or two of cork dust will match most shades of cork. And they have the added advantage of being useful for filling holes when building shop cabinets and jigs.

      I didn't find any FIX, but if memory is remotely correct, it is solvent based. That makes it quicker and stinkier than the Elmers. Good or bad depending on the health of your liver.  (Larry Lohkamp)

        Cheap and easy - cork dust and Ambroid model airplane cement, available at your local hobby shop.  Dries to the same color as the grip and sands very easy.  Been using it for years.  (Mark Wendt)

Rule

Who uses a filler for cork and what do you use? Is there something that will make a good filler and will not be too noticeable on the finished grip? I've used cork dust from sanding and Titebond 3 but I'm not happy with the look. It's grainy and too dark but the darkness is not as objectionable as the grainy look. I think the ultimate would be something that closely matches the color of the cork and is going to stick well enough so it won't fall out with use. Anybody?  (Don Ginter)

    You can use the cork slicing fixture sold at Golden Witch and slice the rings into thirds. Intermix the thin rings and glue up. The bad stuff is smaller and spread out. Your handle will look much cleaner. I don't use a filler either. Hopefully my next cork order will be better than I now use. I also use more rattan and really like wood.  (Dave Wallace)

    You might want to check in the archives for Mike Brooks method of finishing cork grips.

    I just use the best cork I can find and don’t fill.  (Scott Grady)

    I don't use filler, but have in the past.  When I did, I'd buy Elmers wood putty.  You can get it in small tubes from Wal Mart in white, tan, honey oak, etc... buy several different colors and mix it to match the color of the cork.  When you mix it, keep track of the amount of each you mix and spread a little on a piece of paper and let it dry.  It only takes a few minutes to dry and you can tell what color you ended up getting.   Trial and error, but you'll get a feel pretty quickly for how much it lightens up as it cures.

    I'm with Scott.  I buy top quality cork and don't fill.  I cull through it pretty hard on the custom rods, but even the "leftovers" are good enough for the entry level rods (the North Fork model), and I don't fill that cork either.  (Bob Nunley)

    I’ve used a filler made of cork dust and polycarbonate plastic dissolved in an appropriate solvent with good success.  It is only slightly darker than the original corks and so far hasn’t peeled out on a couple of grips.  No grainy appearance but maybe I’ve used a finer dust than you did.  (Al Baldauski)

    I glue up my grips with a PU glue like Gorilla. I wet the rings before I glue, ensuring a lot of foaming action which fills up voids. If a bad void turns up after I have shaped the grip, I pick any loose stuff out of the void. I mix up some more PU glue with some cork dust, and wet the void before I fill it with the mix. Then I wrap over it, first with teflon plumbers tape (which won't stick to it) and then masking tape to hold it all in place and force the foaming inward as it sets. I find the color of the set PU glue mixed with dust pretty close to the cork.  (Mike McGuire)

    Everybody, thanks for your ideas on a cork filler. I don't usually fill cork either but on my last rod I used a really good looking ring for the first ring next to the insert which was the one that goes under the hood on an uplocker. All the other rings turned out to be really good after turning except for that one which has a really ugly void. Sure didn't see it beforehand. So I'm left with either taking the whole thing off the rod or filling and my attempt with glue and cork dust didn't work out all that well.

    So I'll probably first try a Golden Oak filler of some sort that is available around here and then tint from there a little if needed. Oh, and btw, a while back I got about an ounce of both of the two brown pigments that the paint shops have on their color mixing carousels. Very powerful pigments that go a long way and give you any brown shade you could ever want. I used it for tinting a furniture repair I was doing at the time. Got it for nothing and so just an idea for anyone who wants to match colors in any rod making, etc.  (Don Ginter)

Rule

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