Leather covered foam grips How To
Being an older fellow with pre-arthritic hands and wrists that tire easily from riding my motorbikes, I appreciate comfortable hand grips that also look good to my eye. My friend Tinsmith also experiences some hand pain and asked in an email yesterday for some tips on how I make my grips.
I sent Dan an email last evening which said:
It's pretty easy really. Do you have some leather already? I don't think I have any pictures, but will look to see what I have in grips already started. I think I have a set of gold ones in process and will look tomorrow. The leather needs to be pliable enough that it has at least a little bit of give to it. You'll need some contact cement, scissors for cutting the leather, two glover's needles (they come to a triangular point) and either some sinew or something strong like carpet thread. Also a pair of needle nose pliers or similar. Cut a couple pieces of leather somewhat bigger than what you'll need. Not much bigger, but enough so that when you are getting close to done you can trim off excess. Get out your contact cement and apply a coating to half or two thirds or so of the leather and corresponding circumference of the foam grip... let them set up enough the cement is tacky. Press together the leather to the grip so they are glued together and have about a third of the foam grip not glued to the leather yet.
I think I'll send the rest of this email tomorrow after I take some pictures Pictures make an explanation easy when words make it more complicated sounding than it really is. It would be like describing how to tie your shoe as opposed to showing how to do it. Until tomorrow then..."
Today I looked through my stuff and found a pair of black ones half done and a single in gold, so took some pictures of them as a starting point in how I go about it. There is also a photo or two of old ones made the same way on my Elgin Velocipede which have fringe "streamers". They can be made that way with streamers or without streamers, but also closed off on the end. If you plan to use bar end mirrors they can also be made to have open ends. I'll post the photos I took for you to look over and then tomorrow when me little brain is rested up with a good night's sleep we can resume. I'll dig out some glovers needles and sinew and refresh myself on the stitching. I can't remember it well enough to remember just what the hands need to do, but my hands will remember if I pick up the needles and thread and start stitching. Funny how smart our hands can be.
One last thing before I sign off tonight. I'm not saying this is how you should go about it; simply that this is how I go about it and what has worked for me. I like them well enough that they have become a kind of signature on my bikes. Most important is that my hands like them. I hope this little thread will be useful and will encourage you to make a pair.
Someday when I grow up I will probably lose interest in toys with wheels, but until then...