6 Steps to Shape Custom Carbon Fiber Fishing Grips

Ultra-lightweight, yet packed with vibration enhancing performance, carbon fiber fishing grips have become an innovative option for custom handles.

Make Your Own CFX Carbon Fiber Grips

Known for its feather-light feel, carbon fiber grips bring serious comfort and performance to your custom fishing rods. Plus, shaping the grip’s core and applying the carbon fiber sleeve is an easy upgrade you can complete in no time.

The Grip Making Tools and Supplies:


Or grab the CFX Custom Carbon Fiber Grip Kit, which includes: Vibra Core, Prepreg Carbon Sleeve, laminating epoxy, and sleeve clamps.

Then, use the following steps to build your own carbon fiber grips…

Step 1: Attach Vibra Core to Mandrel

Start by prepping the mandrel with some mandrel wax and then sliding the Vibra Core onto the center of the mandrel.

Next, size the core to your grip length and cut this piece from the full length core. To cut the core to your desired length, slowly introduce a box cutter to the core as it spins on your lathe or rod dryer. Gradually applying the razor helps cut the core without touching the mandrel.

If cut into smaller lengths, the core won’t grip the 3/8” mandrel as well so add a couple tape wraps to the arbor the mandrel and snuggly fit the core.

Step 2: Use Your Preferences to Shape the Core

With the Vibra Core secure on the mandrel, fold the sand paper in half 3-4 times or until you have created a firm corner.

Note: It takes less pressure to shape these cores than it does cork, so temper sanding accordingly.

Use this firm corner to take off more material and form the grip. Working the corner back and forth in area you want to remove material, you can form a taper or shape a full wells, half wells, or well, just about any grip you want!

Then, follow up with a single sand paper sheet to smooth out the surface of the core.

Step 3: Brush on Epoxy Over the Core

Next, arbor up the mandrel to fit in the RDS Rod Dryer and mix up the laminating epoxy. The ratio for this laminating epoxy is 5:1 Resin to Hardener and mix it up until clear.

Then, with the core spin rotating in the dryer, begin adding a generous layer of epoxy to the outside. Don’t forget to add some to the sides for a sleek edge on the finished grip.

Step 4: Fit Carbon Fibers Over the Core

Trim carbon fiber sleeve to be 2-3 inches longer than the core on each side. This helps give you some wiggle room in case of any errors.

As you become more experienced, you can use less of the sleeve to save more material for other grips. With the sleeve sized to fit, loosen it up to slide over the core.

The sleeve behaves a lot like a finger trap, so slowly push the two ends together and the diameter of the carbon sleeve will increase to fit over the vibra core.

Since some epoxy will penetrate the carbon fiber, use latex or nitril gloves before fitting the carbon sleeve to the core.

Step 5: Flatten Carbon Fibers and Lock Clamps

For this step, stand the mandrel and core up vertically. Then, slide the sleeve down over the core with a few excess inches over each edge.

Start from the center and smooth out the carbon fiber sleeve over the core. This will tighten the sleeve over the core to ensure a smooth, snug fit.

Once you’ve worked towards the edge, spin the mandrel and compress the carbon sleeve flush over the grip’s edge. With the sleeve over the grip, add a hose clamp to each side to further tighten the carbon fibers over the grip.

Step 6: Let it Cure and Install

The grip doesn’t need to rotate to finish, but keep it elevated for the best results.

Leave the carbon fiber grip to cure for a few hours and then you can just trim off excess carbon fiber and install it on your fishing rod!

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