Removing a Grip — Without Damaging It

December 31, 2011

This is a post that I put together in February of this year (2011). I never got around to posting it because the results were not great. However, I do think my experiences would be beneficial for someone out there looking to do this.

With this post, I was attempting to remove a putter grip without damaging it. Iomic grips can be $25/grip. As such, finding a cost-effective way of removing them from old putters can be a beneficial way to save money, as putter grips tend not to wear out as quickly as others. I had a putter with an Iomic grip, and I am not a fan of Iomic grips. I decided to pull it both because I had a friend I could give it to and because I thought it might be a good topic for the blog.

Here’s what I used:
1. mineral spirits
2. an old paper towel roll
3. a large plastic bag, preferably zip-lock (must be sealed to fluid–shopping/trash bags will not work)
4. a sink drain
5. a prop (in this case, a wire rack and a cutting board)
6. a screwdriver

Typically, when I install grips, I use standard grip tape. I place mineral spirits on the grip tape to loosen the bond, slide the grip on, wait 15 minutes, and I’m ready to go. I decided that this process might work in reverse–if I could get the mineral spirits inside the grip, perhaps I could slip it off.

To do this, I took the large plastic bag, and put it over the grip end of the shaft. I placed the bag and the putter grip (still over the end of the shaft) into the paper towel roll as a means to restrict the expansion of the bag, thereby requiring as little mineral spirits as possible into the bag. I then filled the bag up with mineral spirits until the level of the fluid was higher than the edge of the grip. I let it sit for 20 minutes to allow it to “soak in.” See photos below.

What I failed to realize is that the mineral spirits does not penetrate well. I’ve heard of others using WD-40 because it penetrates small spaces better and contains mineral spirits in it–I might try that next time. Regardless, my vision of the grip slipping off with ease was nowhere near reality. Instead, I worked the mineral spirits down into the grip using a screwdriver to GENTLY pry away the grip from the shaft (be careful–I’ve broken more than one grip trying to do this). Eventually, enough got in that I was able to twist some parts of the grip relative to the shaft. I worked at it for 15 or so minutes, which was an enormous amount of effort. Eventually, the grip came loose.

If I had another Iomic grip, I could probably do this again with better success if I tried WD-40 instead and/or if I had a better tool to work the mineral spirits down into the grip. Something thin, fairly rigid, and as long as the grip would work best–perhaps a portion of an old shaft? Regardless, the method did work, but it was not as simple as I expected. It probably would not be worth the effort for a $4 Lampkin or Golf Pride grip.

If you have access to an air compressor, use that method (blowing into the hole on the end of the grip). However, if you’re like me and prefer an at-home DIY method, this might be a viable method, assuming you make a few tweaks.


12/31/2011 Update

I tried this method again recently, except I did two things differently. First, I did not soak the grip as shown. Instead, I just used a small screwdriver to pry the grip away and squirted fluid between the grip and shaft, working the grip around until it came off. Second, I used acetone instead of mineral spirits, which worked MUCH better. Some photos are shown below.

The issue with this method is shown in the last photo. If your grip has anything painted on it, acetone may loosen the paint and cause some damage. However, for most grips, this isn’t an issue, and you’ll be able to save it without much loss–or, you can simply repaint the portions missing.

One Response to “Removing a Grip — Without Damaging It”

  1. 1. Now for the actual grip installation, we’ll need grip tape and some solvent. For solvent, you can either buy something labeled “grip solvent” at a golf store or use mineral spirits. I usually just buy a medium can of turpentine and it works great (although a little smelly!).

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