Saturday, May 2, 2015

Some Additional Tips On Long Nose Golf Clubmaking

ERE are a few additional random tips to pass on if you want to try your hand at making featherie or gutta percha era long nose golf clubs. Many of the tips are based on methods described by J.H. Taylor in The Book of Golf and Golfers, by Willie Park, Jr in The Game of Golf as well as from my own observations.

  • When looking at the butt end of the shaft with the clubface toward the target, the grain of the shaft should run left to right (generally towards the target) rather than front to back.

  • Attention to grain direction of the clubhead is important. Here is what J.H. Taylor described in the Book Of Golf And Golfers in 1899:

This is my interpretation of his J.H.'s description.
Clubheads seen at the bottom are a view of the top of the clubhead.
Taylor says to avoid grain like clubhead  "A"

  • The shaft is rubbed with boiled linseed oil. After drying, rub, then quickly wipe off some liquid asphaltum. The asphaltum will produce those black lines in the grain that one sees on hickory shafts as well as the amber hue. Pitch or asphaltum closes the pores to reduce water damage. One or two thin coats of shellac (thinned 50% with denatured alcohol and applied with a lint-free finely woven rag) finish off the shaft.  Liquid asphaltum can be purchased from Dick Blick's Art supply online. Raw solid bitumen has also been described instead of asphaltum, but I have no idea where to purchase bitumen. I wear rubber gloves when applying asphaltum. Is this the same stuff that is used in Japanning metal planes? 

  • The scare joint should be at least 4" long, preferably 5 -6" to allow for a better gluing surface. Not only is there more surface, but there is less of an end grain to end grain surface because of the shallow angle which allows for a stronger glue joint. A 4" scare/scarf probably will suffice for a putter.

  • Many long nose clubs had a subtle, or not so subtle, hooked shaped clubface towards the toe.
Hook shaped clubface.
The grain direction is not ideal for this clubhead.
The curved grain lines should flow toward the clubface.
  • There are two key sets of lines or arrises (an arris is the intersection of two angled surfaces to form an edge) to help guide you in shaping the clubhead. The first is on the top of the clubhead where there is a subtle flat c-shaped arris running from heel to toe. The arris eventually will be smoothed down to become a subtle dome. 

  •  There is a v-shaped pair of arrises forming the heel of the club with the point running up the rear of the neck. 

  • The pegs through the ram's horn are angled back away from the face. 

Angle back the peg holes.
To shape the cavity for the horn, hand tools or a trim router will do the job.
A trim router with fence is handy on difficult grain.

  • The round Microplane tool has served me well in shaping the clubhead. It hogs off material quickly. Wooden spokeshaves are also invaluable for shaping the sole and top of the clubhead as well as the area around the scare joint after gluing

Shaping tools. The wooden spokeshaves and the Microplane (third from the top) are invaluable.

A Putter

Willie Park, Sr
    Illuminated letter "H" by Thomas Hodge from Golf, The Badminton Library