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Restoring tired leather grips


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#1 russad

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 04:34 AM

I have a few old clubs with their original leather grips that have seen better days and I'm wondering how I could go about bringing them back to better condition.  I had a bit of a trawl through google and saw a few people suggesting light applications of castor oil. I was going to use dubbin but thought I should seek advice from here before I did anything as I don't want to damage them.


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#2 Blade Junkie

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 12:49 PM

Stixman is one of those that advocates a dab of castor oil, and having seen and handled an example of one he has brought back to life, I would have to say it is good advice!
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#3 tembolo1284

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 01:07 PM

I would love to be able to wrap leather around my grips. I would make it a bit longer too. I wish I could get my hands on it.


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#4 Jimmac914

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

Lexol does a great job. It cleans and soften's the leather quite nicely. It can be purchased at most leather, sporting goods stores.

#5 Fade

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Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:27 PM

You can buy Lexol at places like Autozone as well. They sell cleaner and conditioner. I cannot personally recommend Lexol though. I have used both products on some older leather grips, but I haven't been able to restore them to my liking, so far. At the same time, I am not intending to contradict the previous post either: The treatments certainly haven't hurt the grips.


#6 tinman143

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:35 AM

Ran into this scenario recently and went the lexol conditioner route on my original and slick leather grips ('62 turfriders). Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work and I ended up regripping them.

What you can try doing is roughing them up first to remove the slickness and then apply the conditioner or oil. In retrospect, I wish I did this before regripping. On the positive side, rubber grips seem to add a level of cushioning over leather.

#7 russad

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 03:54 AM

View Posttinman143, on 23 January 2013 - 12:35 AM, said:

Ran into this scenario recently and went the lexol conditioner route on my original and slick leather grips ('62 turfriders). Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work and I ended up regripping them.

What you can try doing is roughing them up first to remove the slickness and then apply the conditioner or oil. In retrospect, I wish I did this before regripping. On the positive side, rubber grips seem to add a level of cushioning over leather.
Thanks for the advice.

#8 Shallowface

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

View Posttinman143, on 23 January 2013 - 12:35 AM, said:

Ran into this scenario recently and went the lexol conditioner route on my original and slick leather grips ('62 turfriders). Unfortunately, it didn't seem to work and I ended up regripping them.

What you can try doing is roughing them up first to remove the slickness and then apply the conditioner or oil. In retrospect, I wish I did this before regripping. On the positive side, rubber grips seem to add a level of cushioning over leather.

There are some who seem to consider removing the original leather grips almost sacreligious, but I don't.

The idea is for the club to be playable.  I don't believe the classic cars one sees on the road occasionally have their original tires.  

When classics were hot with the touring pros in the 70s, I promise you no one hesitated to regrip them.

I suppose there could be a slight effect on the swingweight changing from leather to rubber, but it would be very little.

Edited by Shallowface, 23 January 2013 - 10:59 PM.


#9 honketyhank

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 11:19 PM

A couple of comments: I bought several sets of old irons with original leather grips that were dried out and, well, crispy. Never got them completely back to what I wanted, but came close with Lexol.

Google up a youtube video of Arnold Palmer regripping a club. Leather. He makes it look simple. It is simple if you have a good strip of leather skived and cut for a golf grip and a good underlisting - the support under the leather that provides cushion and taper. I suspect that Arnold didn't do all that himself (al least not in the last few years).

Check out Gripmaster. I haven't used them, but folks rave about their leather grips. Pricey, but whatever.

If you ever regrip an old (1960's, say) leather gripped club, you will probably find that under the leather is a bunch of tar impregnated crepe paper, the underlisting. I suspect that my lack of success in reconditioning original leather grips may have to do more with the underlisting than with the Lexol (even though I know that at some point leather grips just get dried out beyond repair if not properly cared for).

Lexol is good stuff, but it does not work miracles. Try it out. If it doesn't work, maybe Gripmaster is the answer if you really want a leather grip.

#10 tinman143

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 05:24 PM

I completely agree that clubs are made to play and that as hesitant I was to replace the leather (b**** of a job btw), I'm glad I did. And yes, changing to rubber changes SW in a favorable way to me. very happy I did.


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#11 downeastgolf

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 07:12 AM

I have used saddle soap to good effect.  You may want to give that a try, as my experience with Lexol is similar to other posters.  I think that Lexol may be a better conditioner than restorer - just my take!  Good luck!

#12 rgk5

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 08:04 AM

View Postrussad, on 18 January 2013 - 04:34 AM, said:

I have a few old clubs with their original leather grips that have seen better days and I'm wondering how I could go about bringing them back to better condition.  I had a bit of a trawl through google and saw a few people suggesting light applications of castor oil. I was going to use dubbin but thought I should seek advice from here before I did anything as I don't want to damage them.

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#13 stixman

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:03 PM

I use castor oil after first degreasing them. You would be amazed how much congealed hand /sweat grease can come off, all black and horrible.  Never heard of sewing machine oil.. but it is mineral oil just like a de-perfumed Baby Oil (Johnsons in the UK). This is useful as a re-plasticiser for vinyl mock leather golf bags.
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