Linesideslayer

Cork Handle Care

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A good majority of my rods are cork handles. One thing I do with a new cork handled rod, I use a paper towel or rag and some mineral oil and give the cork a few generous coatings then let the oil soak in for a day and then repeat at least one more time. Feel that this not only helps water proof the cork and keeps it from swelling, but also extends the life of the handle. Also on a rainy day (like today which is why I thought to post this) I will give the cork a quick coating of oil again, when I know my rig is going to more than likely get a drenching. Another tip on cork handles, when my cork handles over time become pitted, I just take a regular wine cork, run it over a belt sander or piece of heavy grit sandpaper, take the cork dust, mix with a little Elmers wood glue into a putty like consistency and fill all the pitting, let dry and then light sanding with lite grit sand paper. Then of course once dry another application of mineral oil. Just thought I would share, anyone else out there do this? 

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Great tip, thanks!

I only have a few rods now that have cork grips, most are eva or hypalon.  When the cork grips get a bit dirty some soap and a rag makes quick work of them. 

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When the cork is new I spray the handle with clear satin Minwax spar urethane ;it takes many coats,the handle does not become slick,becomes slightly darker,butt for me stays nicer longer.

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Not a lot of experience with cork wrap. My only concern would be the oil and the adhesive used on the tape. A very light oiling shouldn't hurt, I would just worry that with the oil soaking into the cork and then mixing with the adhesive, it might cause the tape to no longer adhere to the handle and worst case unraveling in time, defeating prolonging & instead shortening the life of the handle. If you have extra cork tape lying around I would try sticking it to a round wooden dowel or pvc pipe if the rod handle in question is plastic and then soak the C out of it in oil and see what the effects are before doing in on rod. 

Edited by Linesideslayer

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On 2/10/2019 at 6:27 AM, Linesideslayer said:

A good majority of my rods are cork handles. One thing I do with a new cork handled rod, I use a paper towel or rag and some mineral oil and give the cork a few generous coatings then let the oil soak in for a day and then repeat at least one more time. Feel that this not only helps water proof the cork and keeps it from swelling, but also extends the life of the handle. Also on a rainy day (like today which is why I thought to post this) I will give the cork a quick coating of oil again, when I know my rig is going to more than likely get a drenching. Another tip on cork handles, when my cork handles over time become pitted, I just take a regular wine cork, run it over a belt sander or piece of heavy grit sandpaper, take the cork dust, mix with a little Elmers wood glue into a putty like consistency and fill all the pitting, let dry and then light sanding with lite grit sand paper. Then of course once dry another application of mineral oil. Just thought I would share, anyone else out there do this? 

Never head of this, can I ask how long ago you did this on a current rod?  No rotting of the cork down the road? 
  I have used the u40, but never tried mineral oil.

Edited by Barkoff

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Since I am a known windbag I will use some pics to answer Barkoff's question. As far as using u40 to permanently seal a cork handle or as I have also experimented with, TruOil (works wonders on gun stocks & what I used to finish my Marlin .30-30, why Marlin doesn't finish their stocks is still a mystery to me?:headscratch:), yes they work as excellent permanent sealant's on porous cork, but then the handles lose their soft cork like feel and become more plastic and slippery in grip when wet, which is why I prefer oil, as it seals without losing the soft cork grip, the down side is it requires reapplication, where TruOil or u40 will be a permanent fix but you lose the softness of the cork and will be slippery when wet. Below is a picture of some of my handles. Bottom in first pic is brand new cork, never treated with anything. Second up is a 6 month old rod that has been treated a few times and will require more treatment every 3-6 mnths, third from bottom is a 10+year old cork that has been treated many, many times and at this point won't need any more treating as it is waterproofish, the top is a trout rod 10+ years old that I never treated ever, since I rarely fish for trout and well I have just down right neglected it. All are stored in the same place in my garage. The other two pictures are the results of the neglected trout rod cork, swelling, cracking, the butt just recently crumbled off and this rod gets the least use out of all of them. Yeah maybe it was just poor quality cork on the trout rod to begin with, but would like to think it is the non-oiling of the handle that made the difference between the two 10 year old cork handles.

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