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21farms

characteristics of premium cork?

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i was just looking at all of my rods. i noticed that the cork handles on my most expensive rods (lamiglas and g.loomis) have lots of pits on them whereas the cork on my cheaper rods have cork with much finer grain in them. so, from this, i assume that the 'better' cork is the one with more "grain" (for lack of a better term)? how does premium cork handle or wear compared to standard or cheap cork? is there even a difference? thanks.

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Premium cork has no flaws, pits, veins, etc.

More than likely, your cheap rod's cork hasn't lost the filler yet.  Companies use cork filler/wood filler to make cruddy cork look like fine cork.  Part of the problem is that good cork is so hard to find and the other is just cost... cork with no flaws is so rare that it cost about $4-$5 per 1/2" ring.

Anyway, cork can be re-filled quickly and easily if that's what you like.  

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thanks for the info. but, from what you're saying, the only difference between expensive grade cork and cheaper cork is cosmetic? better cork doesn't last longer or feel better then? thanks.

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thanks for the info. but, from what you're saying, the only difference between expensive grade cork and cheaper cork is cosmetic? better cork doesn't last longer or feel better then? thanks.

I think he's saying premium cork holds up longer, so cheap cork is filled to make it look better and hold up a little longer, but it will lose the filler and start to wear. But if you want you could  get your premium cork handles filled as well.

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Mostly aesthetic, yes, but in some cases it's also feel.

I won't say that the cheap cork won't hold up just fine...  I've had a few rods with horrible cork that looked like crap and stood up to over 10 years of hard use, and were still structurally sound.  I think the "edges " of all the pits will wear quicker but the handles in general, will last longer than you will keep and use the rod.

Many people find the larger pits uncomfortable.  I've had a couple of them where filler was required for comfort.

The pits and veins attract dirt, sweat and fish slime... which will all turn black over time, further detracting from the look of the handle.

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There is a new product on the market called "Syncork".  It is a synthetic material made to replace cork since good cork is getting harder and harder to get and getting more expensive.  I just had a Tennessee spinning handle put on an old rod that the cork had finally gotten so bad it needed to be replaced.  The syncork is black in color, but other than that, seems very similar to cork in feel and sensitivity.  It is supposed to last forever and costs about the same as the better cork.

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There are a few options.  Most people don't mind filler, though... most rods are full of it and people either don't mind or don't care.

There are a couple synthetic alternatives and a couple blended cork (burl) alternatives.  Several of them are commercially available as rings for rod handles.  All have pros and cons, of course.

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