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69 Revelation

16/08/2013

On Wednesday I took the joystick to Dial Patterns in Ashford, Kent, in the hope that they might be able to restore the original grip at the top, since this was the part that Grandad actually held.

Dial Patterns are traditional pattern makers, manufacturing wooden patterns from which moulds are made to enable castings – in metal or resin – to be made.

One of the partners, Dick Pettit, has made resin moulds from a number of vintage motorcycle handlebar grips, and will make replacements to order.

I noted from their website that one of these looked like an exact match for ours, so I took it along to him to see if there was any possibility of his carrying out a repair on ours in order to try and preserve as much of the original as possible.

Dick took one look at the stick and thought we might be in with a chance, but in order to be sure we had to remove the grip from the stick. It’s held in place by a bolt which, as was the practice then, had been peened over to stop it coming undone. Dick very gently ground off the excess bolt so that it could be undone, leaving the original nut and bolt sufficiently intact to allow their re-use. In fact, you can see from the photograph that the thread was absolutely clean, with no sign of rust at all. And when Dick cautiously tried to move the grip, it came away from the stick quite cleanly.

The top of the stick with the grip removed. You can see taht the thread on the bolt is in pristine condition.

The top of the stick with the grip removed. You can see that the thread on the bolt is in pristine condition.

But you can also see something else. There’s a change in the colour of the brass tube at the top, and what that shows is that it’s been extended. The original part finished just to the right of the bolt, and the extra, slightly less bright part was added later on.

The inside of the top of the stick

The inside of the top of the stick

If you look down the end of the stick, you can see that there is an internal sleeve, rivetted to the outer by the steel rivets you can see in the middle.

The extension is about 75mm (3ins) long and my guess is that it was specifically made for Grandad who was so tall that his knees would have got in the way of his hand on the grip. This would have raised the grip just enough to clear the top of his knees.

But interesting as this was, we needed to see if the grip would fit into Dick’s mould, and you can see below that it’s a perfect fit.

The grip fitted into the mould

The grip fitted into the mould

Dick reckons there’s every possibility that if he assembles the original into the mould, he can pour the resin in and it will form a perfect repair. We just have to wait patiently and see!

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