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Old 05-29-2016, 03:27 PM
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Goduster Goduster is offline
Rod Builder
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Avondale
Posts: 854
They're significantly heavier. I can offer some tips for the first time birch bark grip builder.

1) Shop around and pay a little more to get thicker birch bark and have the seller hand select your sheets for uniform thickness.
2) When you cut your rings, inspect the edges and try to find weak rings that will easily delaminate into layers, discard them. They'll be nothing but trouble.
3) I've switched from Titebond III to polyurethane glues. The expanding foam finds it's way through weak areas better strengthening weak internal areas in rings. I still use T3 on regular cork, but birch gets polyurethane.
4) Create glued-up sub assemblies of rings an inch or so in length. Bore and enlarge the hole in the subassembly so it will slide over a polyurethane reel seat arbor. This will save a lot of weight and make fitting the grip to the blank much easier. Finish ends of grips with standard un-cored rings so the poly foam won't show at the ends of the finished grip. You can also use wood, acrylic, or other turnable materials for grip ends.
5) Un-mounted birch bark grips are fragile. Rings will delaminate if grip bends even slightly during handling. When it's mounted to an assembly or turning mandrel, or to the blank it will be fine.
6) Once you have the grip shaped, pre-finished it. I recommend at least 10 coats of a 50/50 mix of tung oil and mineral spirits allowed to dry fully between each coat. The last grip I did received about 20 coats to build up a polishable finish thickness. If you want, you can put a CA finish over this and polish the CA to a high gloss.

7) Removing the grip from the mandrel and reaming. >> I can't stress this enough << before you remove the grip from your turning mandrel, use some grip shrink wrap and shrink wrap the grip to give it an "exoskeleton" to hold it together while reaming it. Keep the shrink wrap on the grip until the grip is glued in place on the blank. Once it's mounted, cut the shrink wrap away.

This is a quote from a very highly regarded builder
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Old 06-24-2016, 10:03 PM
Flytyer85541 Flytyer85541 is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Payson, AZ
Posts: 20
Roughed out grip

I was able to get the birch bark grip roughed out. The rod is eventually going to a young lady of the Christian faith so I obtained some olive wood from the Holy Land in Bethlehem to finish out the front and back of the grip. I still need to turn it on the lathe then add it to the grip before the final sanding and finishing. Working with birch bark is a real pain. Don't think I'll do another one anytime soon...
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Old 06-24-2016, 10:05 PM
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SAT SAT is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2,586
It sure is looking good! No pain no gain! Nice work.
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