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rufusbgood 12-26-2011 07:20 PM

Question about installing leather grips
 
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?

tennytive 12-27-2011 07:01 AM

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.

rufusbgood 12-27-2011 03:36 PM

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.

mikeler 12-28-2011 05:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rufusbgood (Post 6194029)
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.


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

DeShaun 12-28-2011 10:07 AM

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.

jedd 12-28-2011 04:48 PM

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

zapvor 12-28-2011 07:55 PM

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

rufusbgood 12-30-2011 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jedd (Post 6195761)
omg. used so many leather grips and had no problems at all...

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.

coachrick 12-30-2011 07:11 AM

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.

tennytive 01-01-2012 06:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rufusbgood (Post 6198565)
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.

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.

zapvor 01-05-2012 12:08 AM

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

mikeler 01-05-2012 04:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennytive (Post 6202013)
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.


I never use staples either.

rufusbgood 01-05-2012 12:15 PM

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:


zapvor 01-05-2012 11:26 PM

it looks like the adhesive backing is off already?

Noltae 01-06-2012 01:32 AM

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 ..

Clintspin 01-06-2012 03:03 AM

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.

rufusbgood 01-06-2012 06:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zapvor (Post 6211710)
it looks like the adhesive backing is off already?

Thanks for the laugh.

rufusbgood 01-06-2012 07:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Noltae (Post 6211787)
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 ..

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.

tennytive 01-07-2012 06:11 AM

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.

mad dog1 01-07-2012 05:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rufusbgood (Post 6210673)
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:


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.


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