How to Install a Rubber Grip on a Racquetball Racquet
What I'm about to share with you has built one of the largest racquetball mail order company in the world today...its not ground breaking financial news...its simply the ability to install a rubber grip quickly and neatly...and that has made all the difference.
What you need:
You will need a few things to make this grip installation as painless as possible. Please see Fig #1. You need an awl, a utility knife, glue w/applicator, a rag, and pliers. NO GRIPS COME WITH GLUE TODAY. You need to find either Elmers Rubber Cement, Gasgacinch (which we sell in bulk canisters), use WD-40 (Tough to get right amount), Hairspray (can use in a pinch) or lighter fluid (another in a pinch answer).
Overview of installation:
Remove your wrist lacer...untie it...dont cut it...youll need it later. There is also finishing tape along the top of your grip...you can carefully remove this and use it again at the end. You are going to remove your old grip. This may be as simple as unwrapping a wrap grip or slicing a rubber grip off. (Fig #2) There are certain models of Ektelon racquets that originally had a clear grip on them and you could see the word Ektelon through the clear grip.only remove the clear grip (or other aftermarket grip now on there) do not remove the rubber coating that says Ektelon it is actually part of the handle (See Fig #3 for this exception)Fig 2 Fig 3
There may or may not be staples toward the bottom of your handle. Staples are either holding your butt cap onto the handle or they were holding the old grip. You will only remove staples that were holding the old grip. Do Not remove Butt cap staples. You can tell the difference because Butt Cap staples are usually put on straight/horizontal and are about an inch from the very bottom of the handle bottom. Old grip staples are usually within the first inch from the bottom of the handle and usually have a little piece of old grip under them. They are also usually applied at an angle and not straight across the handle.
If there is any residue from your old grip or old adhesive, I would take the time and remove most or all of it. If there is simply a clear tape sleeve over the carbon of the handle you can leave that there or remove it.
Do a dry run first...this will help stretch the grip slightly for easier installation and it will also allow you to see how everything lines up without worrying about all the glue dripping everywhere and also drying out. So first time through the goal is to just get the entire grip over the butt cap and down inch then take it off .lube it up and do it for real.
You don't cut anything off the grip before it's installed. (usually) Youll be sliding the thinner end of the rubber grip on first and leave the bulkier/thicker end for the bottom of the handle or in most cases we leave the thick part dangle and trim it off after installation. The real trick is using the glue (or other substance) as a lubricant first...on the handle and inside the tube of the grip...use a little extra (except WD-40)...you'll wipe away the excess after it squeezes out with the rag. Dont get this glue stuff on clothes. Most of it stains.
If youre here for the first time jump down to "start dry run here". After your practice session come back...Make your choice between thin or thick grip bottom now .read all the instructions first...then get the glue out.
Youll only have about 30 seconds once you apply the glue to the inside of the grip and the outside of the handle before it starts to set. If you hesitate and it starts getting tacky pull it off and start again theres no way youll get it on without ripping your hands apart after the tacky point is reached.
Apply the glue to the entire handle and inside of the grip using the glue applicator...(start dry run here) .take the racquet and turn it upside down and put the head of the frame between your feet with the handle sticking straight up (see figure #3) you hold it with your feet so you now have two hands free to work with.
Start the grip over a corner of the handle/butt cap at a 45 degree angle (Fig #4) you should be using the side of the grip that is thinner...it goes on first...Do NOT get glue on your fingers during this apply pressure phase...apply pressure downward as you raise the grip to 90 degrees the end of the grip will start to flatten out over the bottom of the butt cap . use your thumbs to force the edge of the grip to spread out and over the rest of the butt cap as you apply pressure downward and slightly sideways towards the uncovered butt cap....once you get it over the far edge of the butt cap...you're ready to go straight down...with enough glue/lubrication this should take 3 seconds. (Dry run over. pull off grip and go back to start)Fig 4
Once youve cleared the butt cap, you have a choice to make essentially thick or thin on the bottom of your handle. 99% go thin. but Ill describe both ways here...
You just cleared the butt cap push down hard and fast while the glue is a lubricant. You push the grip on as far as the pattern on the bottom part of the grip overlays the handle underneath. This is usually about 1/2 inch before the big thick part of the grip starts. (Fig #5) Get ready with the rag, as the lubricant/glue will squeeze out the top and bottom of the grip. Wipe it away. Once you have checked the position of your grip and made sure that it doesnt have a twist or isnt bubbled anywhere insert your knife flat along the top of the butt cap (See fig 6) and trim off the thick part. After you insert your knife blade use the butt cap as a guide to make a clean straight cut. (On some racquets with tether loops forming on the butt cap this flat knife method is difficult.Fig 5 Fig 6
If youre keeping the thick part on take a quick measurement with the grip off hold the grip up to the handle to see how high it will go up if its not trimmed first. If it looks like it is too long and the neck of the racquet (where the handle meets the hoop) starts to widen you will need to pre trim the top thin part of the grip before installation. Dont over trim you can always trim again once its on. There will be no trimming at the bottom if you keep the thick part on. You will push the grip up until the bottom of the grip is flush with the bottom of the butt cap. Get ready to wipe up the excess glue.
Re-attach your tether using the awl and tie a knot to hold it in place. You can tape the top of the grip with the saved finishing tape. (Fig #7)Fig 7
Let it sit for at least an hour preferable over night then youre ready to rip.