Remove / Tighten a Loose Grip

This album deals with tightening an existing grip on a club. This would apply when the grip is basically in good shape, so you don't want to remove it and replace it, but the leather has become loose, so it is shifting on the shaft, and not providing a good grip. Although here I am going to keep the grip, retightening it, the first part of this album would also apply if your intention was simply to remove the grip. See the separate album for putting on a new grip. As always, see the individual pictures and their captions if you want all the details, or skip if you don't want details. Comments and questions are welcome.

Click the right and left buttons to scroll through the gallery.

So... I was chipping with this mashie-niblick, and the grip slipped on the shaft, spoiling my shot. The grip needs to be either fixed or replaced.

You can see the leather is coming loose from the shaft.

The bottom whipping is still in good shape, and the bottom of the grip is firmly in place. (Note the tack hole from an earlier gripping.)

The top of the grip is also firmly in place, and in good condition.

The bottom whipping is good, but the leather has come loose further up.

The pitch that originally held the grip in place has dried up over the decades, the leather has expanded slightly, and is now loose and shifting on the shaft.

Sadly, although the bottom whipping is fine, I must cut it and remove it. I use a sharp knife, cutting away from the wood.

Once I have cut through the bottom turn of the whipping, I can unwind it.

I continue to unwind the whipping...

...removing it entirely, and revealing the bottom tack.

I use a thin blade to pry under the leather and lift the tack.

As I work the blade in gently, I can lift the leather and the tack.

Then I can press the leather down again, and separate the tack from the leather.

Finally I remove the tack using tweezers...

...and set it aside for re-use (if it is in ok condition, as this one is).

The bottom part of the grip is still stuck quite firmly to the shaft by pitch that was used when the grip was put on.

I use my thin blade to pry the leather off the shaft, taking as much care as possible not to damage the leather (and even more care not to damage the wood).

Here you can see the remains of the pitch that was still holding the bottom of the grip in place.

Only the very bottom of the grip, where the whipping and the tack held it, was still stuck on with pitch. Once past that point, the leather is loose on the shaft.

Once past the part that was stuck, the grip can be unwound from the shaft.

Unwind the old leather very gently, keeping its existing curvature as much as possible. If you straighten it out too much, it will most likely crack.

Continue to unwind the leather from the shaft, keeping it in its spiral shape. You can see that there was nothing left holding the leather in place in this middle part of the grip.

I unwind the leather as far as I can without forcing it. It seems that the top part of this grip is still firmly stuck in place, so I leave it. If the grip were loose all the way up, I would unwind it all the way to the top tack (but not remove the top tack, unless it was already loose).

Now I start to wrap friction tape onto the shaft, underneath the leather.

The first couple of turns are the trickiest, as the tape needs to go under the leather, whilst bending the leather as little as possible.

Once I get the wrap of the friction tape going, I can wrap it all of the way down the shaft, providing a new underlay for the leather.

I wrap the friction tape down to where the pitch was as the bottom of the grip.

I make a pencil mark where I want the tape wrap to end.

Then make another turn, and mark the other side with pencil also.

Now I unwrap the bottom of the tape, and have the two pencil marks, showing where I need to cut.

I cut the end of the tape between the pencil marks...

...making a tapered end.

And I wrap the end of the tape back onto the shaft.

Now the leather is carefully re-wrapped on top of the friction tape.

Press the leather down firmly, and try to wrap it as neatly as possible, re-smoothing it with a thumb. Do not try to stretch old leather, as it would likely break.

The leather is re-wrapped all the way. It ends slightly higher than where it ended previously, due to the extra thickness created by the friction tape.

Now I drill a new pilot hole for the bottom tack, using a very small bit in a pin vise.

I put the old tack into the new pilot hole, using tweezers. If the old tack was not good, a new tack could be used - see Tacks for Gripping.

I put the shaft on my small anvil, and tap the tack home with a tack hammer.

Here is the new bottom tack in place, with the bottom of the grip now ready for whipping.

I start the whipping a little further down, to hide the shifting of the bottom of the grip. For full details on whipping, see Whipping the Grip on a Hickory Club.

Here is the bottom of the re-wrapped grip, with the new whipping (this is Crawford 4-ply waxed linen thread).

I will finish by treating the grip with Lexol, to soften it and improve its resistance to water.

I rub on Lexol fairly liberally with a sponge, leave it on for 15 minutes or so, and then wipe down with a soft cloth.

Here is the best I could manage as a final image of the full re-tightened grip, with the whipping. Hopefully now I will have a firm grip on this club when I take a shot with it.

Ken Leedham, GHSC. If you have questions or comments, please email