Changing Grips - Part Two

In the last article we chose our grip style, sized our grip and prepared the shaft to accept the grip. This week we learn how to get the grip on nice and tight.

Installing the Grip

First, secure the shaft in a shaft vice or shaft holder in a standard vice (Fig 1). A reasonable amount of pressure will be required to force the grip onto the shaft so it needs to be firmly snug within the vice, however there is a fine line between this and crushing the shaft if it is secured too firmly (Fig 1).

Grips are held in place with grip tape. This is a double-sided tape that is available in varying widths. Traditionally a ¾" tape was wound around the shaft. The more modern method is to apply a 2" wide tape length-wise.

Cut a strip of tape the same length as the grip and lay this on the top of the shaft, with about 2cms overhanging the end of the shaft. Run your thumb down the middle of the tape so it adheres to the shaft (Fig 2). Now round your palm and fingers around one side of the grip trying to get an even stick without wrinkles or air bubbles in the tape (Fig 3). This is a simple skill once mastered however you might need some extra tape (and patience) handy the first few shafts you grip. Now adhere the tape to the other side of the shaft using the same method. The grip tape will just overlap on the underside of the shaft but will not be significant enough for you to feel a ridge once the club is gripped. Now remove the backing tape. Twist the overhanging tape at the top of the shaft and push it into the end of the shaft using a tee.

The shaft is now ready to be gripped. The double-sided tape is made temporarily slippery using grip solvent. Hold the grip in one hand, placing your finger over the small hole in the butt end. Half fill the grip with grip solvent (Fig 4). With your other hand close the open end of the grip and shake it to allow the solvent to cover the entire inside surface of the grip. Now quickly pour the solvent all over the grip tape. Catch the excess solvent in a tray to be reused (Fig 5).

Now quickly squeeze the mouth of the grip from its original circle shape into an oval (Fig 6) and slide it over the end of the club (Fig 7), pulling the mouth down the shaft to start with then with both hands push it all the way down until the butt of the grip is up against the end of the shaft. Do not stand behind the shaft as any excess solvent will squirt out the hole in the butt of the grip. Remove any excess glue using a rag with some solvent on it.

Now align the grip with the leading edge of the club, or however you use the grips markings to help your finger grip positioning (Fig 8).

If you are using organic solvents bought from a clubmaker your club will be ready for battle after one hour.

Solvent Types

I have seen petrol used as a solvent and in the old days trichloroethylene. Both will work but have dangers to their use. Petrol is obviously highly flammable and will leave you smelling like a gas station. The Tri is environmentally damaging and has been known to cause some health problems with sustained use. It also evaporates faster in our warmer climate.

I would highly recommend the recyclable organic gripping solvents now available (Fig 9 above). They are not expensive and if you are going to re-grip clubs over the years a small bottle will last you a long time. Also, any excess collected while tipping the solvent over the shaft and gripping tape can be returned to the bottle for future reuse. They are still flammable so smoking whilst gripping or leaving an open flame going is not recommended. As with any solvent, wash your hands immediately after you finish and avoid touching your eyes or nose as they will sting. The solvent may also dry out your skin.

The last alternative is a water based grip tape. The glue consists of a shampoo like ingredient that is activated by spraying a tiny amount of water over the tape. These tapes are sold in strip form ready for use, are a little more expensive but just as easy to use.

Summary

Although grips may seem a small part of the club, they are significant. Grips are about how we feel the club working. Comfort is foremost and how long you wish a grip to last will determine what type of grip you will use.

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