Champagne Corks for rod grips

Being cheap I like to find what I can for projects. One of my boys had a bunch of champaign corks that he had collected. I imagine you can do your own collecting in various ways…. the cork is really nice, it seems to vary with the brand. Some of it was fine and others more Burl like so it pays to look at different brands. I found that there was also sections  that where lamented with a finer cork at the top, perhaps harder so a corkscrew would not slip. Hmm… I wonder if drinking the wine for the corks would make you a purest. Kind of like dry fly fishermen.

I’m building a fibreglass rod so wanted a bit of a retro look and this cork was along those lines. to get rid of the “neck” I boiled it for about 20 minutes.


I noticed some cork swelled back to place faster than others so I fished them out as soon as they looked good.


Cork came out nice  looking. trimmed the ends off to get them flat and produce a fresh glue area.


Next step mark the “Spine” on all 3 sections


Boring out the reel seat to fit the blank.


I like to use 5 minute Epoxy to glue the blank to the reel seat, here’s the blank cover with Epoxy


Lining up the blank with the end of the seat. Although it dries quickly I like to leave it overnight.


Boring out the cork, These are fairly large in diameter so I wasn’t really carful centring them. A drill press is nice but a hand drill works well. I remember my dad doing this with a brace and bit.


Scoring out the back cork to perfectly fit the front of the reel foot receiver. I like an X-Acto Knife for this.


I lined up the drilled out corks on the blank so they fit nice and then drew a line across the corks to easily find their position again. I also like to number them to get them back in the right sequence.


Here’s a simple cork handle compresser I built 20 years ago. Just a couple of long threaded pieces with washers and wing nuts. I do a quick fit before gluing.


Use a waterproof glue like Gorilla Glue or Tibond II. The squashed out glue is easily cleaned up with a scrap cloth and water. Leave it compressed overnight and you’re good to go.



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