Question about installing leather grips

Discussion in 'Other Equipment' started by rufusbgood, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    It is very rare that I am asked to install a leather grip these days but recently I had a request for a couple leather grips from a player who was wanting to boost the weight of his handles. The heaviest grips I could offer him were some old Neumann Luxury Leathers. It mostly worked out fine but I was not pleased with the way things went the first few inches of wrapping. Going over the buttcap I found myself with either a bulge or a wrinkled area. Anybody here got a sure fire method for installing leather grips that ensures a clean transition going over the butt cap?
     
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  2. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I'm not familiar with the grips mentioned, but the grips I've used all have the starting end cut off at an angle about 2 inches from the end. This helps to eliminate the bulge you refer to as the grip is not doubled over itself on the first wrap around.

    I sometimes get the wrinkle, but if I repull with more tension and wrap tightly it goes away.
     
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  3. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    I'm not really sure what it is about some leather grips that causes the job occasionally to be a struggle. I guess that's what I was hoping someone could clarify. I don't know if it's caused by the grip's thickness, the handle shape, the handle size, the grip's width, the choice of starting bevel, the size or shape of the buttcap, what? I have become really spoiled by the synthetic grips. They are pretty much hassle free.
     
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  4. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Sometimes it takes me a few attempts to get it just right but pulling tight definitely is part of the equation.
     
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  5. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    I think if can warm the leather somehow it will become more pliable. Some people even claim to have soaked it in water before wrapping.
     
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  6. jedd

    jedd Rookie

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    omg. used so many leather grips and had no problems at all...
     
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  7. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    yea with the little bulge you just have to pull it tighter
     
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  8. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    Tell me more.

    About how many have you installed? What brands? Ever install a Neumann? What bevel do you start on? Do you use staples? Double faced tape?

    More info please.
     
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  9. coachrick

    coachrick Hall of Fame

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    Installed hundreds during the '70s and '80s. Some were difficult, others were easy-peasy. If the starting 'tail' is just too thick, you could try scraping(burnishing?) the backside so the overlap is not so pronounced. Pulling like crazy will stretch the part of the grip that needs to conform to the larger circumference. You can't completely eliminate the 'bump' that results from the overlap; but it can be minimized by these techniques. Plenty of use held/hold the racket one way to use or avoid the bump feel-wise.

    Probably installed 98% of the leather grips without any adhesive. Staple in the butt-cap, pull tight while wrapping, staple at the top and Bob's your uncle! I'll admit that some well-placed carpet tape came in handy on plastic handles like the Wilson T-series and Head Competition models.

    Careful installing too many leather grips if you have tennis elbow issues. It's a world of difference from synthetic grips in the amount of pull required.
     
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  10. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    I never use staples. The grips I use all have double stick tape at the starting end. The brands I remember are Prince, Gamma, TW, and Head.

    Picture the racket held vertically (The W for a Wilson facing E) and start on the bevel at 11 o'clock. My hand never touches this portion when I grip the racket, so I arbitrarily chose this location. Others may have a different choice.

    I usually re-wrap the grip 2 to 3 times to "pre stretch" the leather and get the tightest wrap around that I can. I keep the overlapping to a minimum for the thinnest layer, as I then put an overgrip on top of the leather. When I'm finished, the grip is usually one size bigger. 4 1/2 > 4 5/8.

    Practice and you'll be an expert in short order.
     
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  11. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    yea its a practice kind of thing. my first one was bad. now, its all good
     
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  12. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I never use staples either.
     
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  13. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    Well coachrick seems to be the only one here who can recall a leather grip being difficult. I began stringing in the late 80's so he and I have experience with grips that date back a ways. Just so y'all understand, before the synthetics took over I probably installed about 150-200 leather grips, so I'm not exactly a novice at this. But here's what I'd like to do. I have one Neumann Luxury Leather left. I pulled it hard enough that the staples tore the tip a bit. Since both tennytive and mikeler don't use staples anyway that really shouldn't matter. I am offering to send this last grip at my expense to whichever of you two would like to accept the challenge of installing it and reporting back how much fun it was. Here's your grip:

    [​IMG]
     
    #13
  14. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    it looks like the adhesive backing is off already?
     
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  15. Noltae

    Noltae Rookie

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    Agree with Coachrick's tip of shaving away the leather - worked for me - first leather grip i installed - common sense really - plus if your using an overgrip its not hard to completely smooth out imperfections.. Also start wrapping on the bevel that most suits your grip.. Also a great way to bulk up butt cap too if thats your thing ..
     
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  16. Clintspin

    Clintspin Semi-Pro

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    It's definitely tough not to get a bump if you are putting the leather grip on a small grip size. At least that is the experience I have had. Seems like the drop from butt cap to grip is larger.
     
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  17. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    Thanks for the laugh.
     
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  18. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    Actually, if you look carefully you'll notice that the first inch or so of the grip was shaved, one of the reasons it ended up ripping. But to be clear, it is not the little bump where the first overlap occurs that is bothering me. What is bothering me is that when you go over that first overlap the lower edge of the material lifts hugely off the dramatically tapering buttcap and trying to get it to sit down causes it to pucker/wrinkle/bulge in a way that reflects poorly on the installer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2012
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  19. tennytive

    tennytive Semi-Pro

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    No need to send it to me. If you've done 200 leather grips and say this one's a PITA, I'll take your word on that.
     
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  20. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    i'm not sure there's a sure fire way of installing leather grips that always results in a clean transistion...the best quality thicker leathers are always tougher to install cleanly. i installed a fairway (1st quality) and it took alot of elbow grease and sweat to get it done properly; it also tore through at the anchoring staple when i was starting the wrap. i think the best quality leather grips are thicker and as a result take alot more force to get the correct amount of stretch that allows it to conform snugly to the buttcap. i've found it is easier to do in warmer temperatures where the leather is more pliable and easier to stretch. it was still quite a workout wrestling the grip onto the handle and the risk of tearing through the staple remains.

    if you send me the grip, i'll be happy to try wrapping it to see if it's harder than the nice tan fairways i've installed before.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
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  21. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    Okay, you're on. Will send you some double faced tape too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
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  22. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    ................
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
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  23. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    ?? i dont understand your post lol
     
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  24. rufusbgood

    rufusbgood Semi-Pro

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    Your post made me laugh. It's not every day I get to start my morning by busting out laughing. So I offered my thanks.


    Ok. Now, in anticipation of your next question here's the thing. Replacement grips haven't always had adhesive backing. Believe it or not, there was a time that no grips, not even synthetic grips had adhesive backing. The grip in the picture is older than you. The company that made the grip has been out of business longer than you've been breathing.
     
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  25. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    oh ok. well i am glad me being young and missing out on the old days without adhesive made you laugh.
     
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  26. Captain Tezuka

    Captain Tezuka Rookie

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    Hi anyone tried to use two leather grips instead of leather grip and overgrip to increase weight with without use of lead and any successful results? Going to try this soon.
     
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  27. millicurie999

    millicurie999 Semi-Pro

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    I thought I am the only person who does that. Been doing that for a long time. As you can imagine, the grip looses some contours and feel more round/oval. As long as you are ok with that (for me, that's how I like it). I buy used leather grip on EB#y so that it's already pre-stretched. A new leather grip is hard to stretch and the resulting grip become too round for my taste.
     
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  28. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    Isn't the point of a leather grip to feel the bevels? and the OG to make it softer.

    ^ that would round it off so much.
     
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  29. Captain Tezuka

    Captain Tezuka Rookie

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    Hm well just would add more weight but true I think I'll go leather + og first then go with Wilson Pro Hybrid then maybe try double leather but that maybe be too round. I love the bevels!!!
     
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  30. Chyeaah

    Chyeaah Professional

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    have fun spending $70 on grips.
     
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  31. KoaUka

    KoaUka Rookie

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    Me neither. Just out of curiousity, does anyone remove the staple from the original (manufacturer's) grip. I never bothered, but looking at the TW learning center made me question it.
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I didn't read the above posts, which I'm sure contain great advice.
    I've also installed over 100 leather grips, about half that many for professional men's players.
    Soak the grip in hot water before installing.
     
    #32
  33. Andreas1965

    Andreas1965 Rookie

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    ^^^^^^^^ this!
     
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  34. stoo

    stoo Semi-Pro

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    Help, I'm steppin' into the twilight zone....
    I've never heard of this before. Forgive my ignorance but what does soaking the grip do?
     
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  35. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    I grip and re-grip my frames with leather, constantly. It just takes practice to install them with nice transitions up near the butt cap. Pulling hard is necessary as well. On the first go-round, make sure to hold the grip 'anchor' (where the staple would normally go) with your other hand so it doesn't slip as you pull.

    Also, do yourself a favor and install double-sided tape, if the leather grip doesn't come with it.. and lose the staple as it's just something else to bulge through the grip.

    Soaking leather in hot water is not necessary for a clean installation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
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  36. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Stapling really works best though. I remember when I wrapped my fairways, initially I tried to use double sided tape, but I found that it didn't work that well. Since I figured I would be using the grips for a long time, it made sense to fire up the staple gun. Plus, it's not like you can't unwrap the leather to remove or add lead tape. The only thing you can't do very easily after stapling is to remove the leather grip entirely, but leather is supposed to last as long as you have your frame.
     
    #36
  37. Big_Dangerous

    Big_Dangerous Legend

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    Seems like an egregious waste of a leather grip, plus that's also going to increase the size of your grip which is also not smart.

    Why not just buy some lead tape and put it under the leather grip? A pack of Lead Tape is cheaper than most any leather grip.
     
    #37
  38. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    well, 3 months later, i finally got around to installing the Neumann leather grip you sent me. i'll preface this by admitting that i probably didn't choose the best racquet to install in on. the racquet the grip went on had a soft rubberized butt cap so i was forced to resort to a staple and double sided tape otherwise the leather grip kept sliding up the butt cap. the double sided tape did not adhere well to the rubberized butt cap. it constantly slipped and twisted around as i attempted to stretch and pull the leather taut. this was by far the most difficult leather grip to get right at the end of the butt cap and the butt cap transistion. i finally got it to hold and while i think i did a good job w/ it, it was definitely not my best work. i'll see how it holds up once i start playing with it.

    some pics of the leather grip installed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
    #38

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