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Handle Updates

Discussion on tenkara rods

Handle Updates

Postby scorpion1971 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:11 pm

With good quality cork demanding a premium are there any plans to change the handle material? Just by looking at pics, it seems most TUSA cork handles have allot of filler in them. I know some people say it adds character to a rod. I can deal with it but it would be nice to have an alternative. Would it be possible to offer handle options such as an EVA foam handle or even a flocked Poly foam core grip?
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Re: Handle Updates

Postby Nagasaurus » Mon Apr 08, 2013 8:29 am

I've done a little bit of handle building for custom fly rods and one alternative is a product called "burl cork". It has no voids in it so you get the feel of a natural product but without the need for any filler. "Real" natural burl is rare so the product is actually a composite of pieces of cork mixed with modern resins.

Often it is used to create accents in a cork grip but I've made entire grips out of it as well. It does have a couple of drawbacks in that it is a bit heavier than standard cork and also denser so harder to ream (might raise manufacturing costs a bit). But it is, IMO, a good compromise between the tradition of 100% natural cork and going totally synthetic.
Last edited by Nagasaurus on Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Handle Updates

Postby Karl Klavon » Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:54 am

Actually being a bit heavier than natural cork would be an advantage in that it would tend to offset the tip heavy feeling that the longer T-rods have by counter balancing the weight of the rod to some extent. And being more durable than cork is always a plus as well. I think the burl cork is attractive in its own right, even though some might feel it is not as traditional looking as the "real " cork is. But that's just a matter of taste. Art forms should follow function, and the burl cork grips may be more functional on a number of fronts for Tenkara rod grips.
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Re: Handle Updates

Postby narcodog » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:53 pm

The cork on TenkaraUSA rods is the only item I have a problem with. Way to much filler and when it falls out invariably it is at an annoying spot.
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Re: Handle Updates

Postby Nagasaurus » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:57 am

Here's an example I made using burl cork rings to create a half wells grip for a 4wt rod.

I've never had any problems with the current cork handles so I doubt I'll ever try to replace the grip on a TUSA rod with burl cork.
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burl_grip.jpg
Burl cork grip
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Re: Handle Updates

Postby williamhj » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:26 am

Light/blonde burl could be nice. I find some of the darker burls can seem overdone. I'm a big fan of rattan grips on my lighter rods, feels and looks great and is a great way to get rid of bad cork on a custom build. Also love birch bark grips. Personally I think a birch grip is the best looking and feeling grip with a smooth, quality natural cork a close second. I haven't thought about it much on my Tenkara USA rod, I suppose I don't pay much attention on non-custom rods. For me it's felt and worked just fine. But if I was building one off a blank I might try rattan.
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Re: Handle Updates

Postby panther » Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:39 pm

I come to Tenkara after decades of being a serious spin fisherman. I have a real quality spinning rod (made by Phenix). It uses "burl cork", and I am very pleased with it.

I'll be doing some Tenkara fishing in the Eastern Sierra in May with my new Iwana. Anxious to try it on some streams there.
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