RE-SET THE HICKORY IRON SHAFT


The following technique was six years in the making as part of an effort to extend the life of hickory shaft clubs.It is my hope that these pages will serve as a resource but also as an on-going forum and clearinghouse for new methods.

 

Getting Started

It may seem an obvious place to start but before any work commences make certain a club is really worthy of restoration. Test the shaft by employing the same flex test used on woods. Next, remove the old grip and straighten the shaft. Now is the time to find out whether the shaft is conducive to restoration, not after its been glued to the head, or on the golf course. (Voice of experience talking here.)

With a 1/8th inch pin punch and hammer, knock out the pin. It's best to have some stability; I use a block of lead as an anvil. For the first couple of hits I actually try to drive the pin a short ways into the lead. This provides a little extra leverage in loosening it.

Next, slide the pin over the edge of the anvil and drive it out the rest of the way. With any luck the head will fall loose. If it doesn't, a little hammering (with a wood block or rubber mallet) should get it off. Expanding the hosel by heating it and then twisting or hammering the head also does the trick.


Insert a 1/8th inch mild steel welding rod through the hole. Cut it leaving about 1/8th of an inch sticking out on both sides.


File the cut end of the rod flat before hammering the pin.

A Rat and a Bastard  

Old glue, whipping or any other fill material inside the hosel and the tip of the shaft should be removed. I'll use a rat tail file on the hosel and a flat bastard file to scrape the grunge off the shaft tip.


This is a prudent time to closely examine the shaft tip for cracks or splits. Fix any you find with a high quality wood glue.

  

And check the butt of the club for the direction of the grain before shaving the tip to fit the hosel. With a head other than the original, the tip should be scrutinized and likely will need shaving. The new shaft should have a tip that fits, or be a slightly larger one that can be shaved down to size.

 

Old pin holes in the shaft can be used as a guide but the grain still needs examination. On rare occasions shafts will have been installed incorrectly. Always double check just to be on the safe side.

A smaller shaft tip, with shims added to bring it up to size, is not recommended for play clubs. Also pay attention to the width of the shaft where it meets the hosel. The diameters of both should match.

With all the components cleaned and ready to assemble:  

Mix the shafting epoxy and liberally spread it inside the hosel and on the tip of the shaft. (Because of its shock dampening abilities, I've been using shafting epoxy for resetting heads.


Again, check the grain direction before inserting the shaft to make sure you've got it properly lined up.

S-l-o-w-l-y insert the shaft allowing air to escape along with any excess epoxy. (If you are using the original shaft, insert a toothpick into the pin hole to confirm proper alignment.)

Wipe off excess epoxy and then stand the club on the butt of the shaft with the head up. (This drying position will keep the epoxy concentrated in the gaps between the shaft and hosel - where it's needed. Otherwise it could flow down into the tip, leaving gaps.)

Check the joint of the shaft and head after a couple of minutes to ensure that air bubbles inside the hosel haven't shifted the head.

Allow for the possibility of some epoxy dripping down the shaft and, yes, possibly on the floor. (I've fashioned my own drying rack but leaning clubs up against the wall also works well.)

After the club has dried overnight:  

Use a 1/8" bit to drill through the pin hole.


Scrape off any epoxy residue inside the pin hole edges with an Exacto knife. (This is very important because epoxy residue can prevent the pin, when flattened, from setting firmly against the walls of the hole.)

Insert a 1/8th inch mild steel welding rod through the hole. Cut it leaving about 1/8th of an inch sticking out on both sides.

File the cut end of the rod flat before hammering the pin.

On a steel anvil, hammer around the edges of each end of the pin to make it mushroom. Try and keep the pin sticking out the same amount on either side of the hosel.

When the pin has spread enough to touch the walls of the hole, hammer each end twice more. (Don't hammer any more than is required to spread the pin firmly against the walls. Doing so will cause the pin to enlarge and damage the hole.)

With a flat mill file, start filing down the pin until it is flush with the hosel. An ignition file is very useful in smoothing out the coarseness of the mill file, and for blending the pin into the hosel. Ideally, try to file the hosel as sparingly as possible. That said, the only way to get the pin to meld into the hosel is to file some of the hole along with the pin. (Operative word here: some.)

 

Use 240 grit emery paper to sand the hosel and hide the remnants of the pin.

A general cleaning of the rest of the head (with emery paper or a wirewheel) is also now in order. If you can get a wheel made of the material that resembles a stack of round Brillo pads, go with that.

Always sand by going with the grain of the metal running from heel to toe, not vertically, then circular around the hosel, not lengthwise.

320 grit sandpaper is used next, followed by 400 grit paper. (The finer the sanding paper, the less the heads seem to rust.)

Giving it the Shaft  

Now to sand, stain, steel wool and coat the shaft with varnish. I also like to clean and varnish the section of the shaft that's underneath the grip to completely seal it against moisture. The shaft will benefit from a minimum of two coats of varnish.
With the tip of the shaft encased in epoxy it too is effectively protected against moisture.

One final caution: never use any sort of oil on the shaft as it will soften it and increase the potential for it to break during play.

 

Reinforcements

Finally, some whipping can be added to the tapered part of the shaft just above the hosel to reinforce it. Most breaks occur here. By tightly whipping this area to cover the taper, in concert with the epoxy, breakage will be greatly reduced. It certainly has been in the clubs I've rehabilitated. For whipping, my preference is to use a waxed pitched linen thread.

 

I believe with these treatments the shock to the tip of the shaft is now being more evenly dispersed through the entire shaft thus extending the life and dependability of the club.

The only step left is Gripping.