Blueprinting irons is a comprehensive method to ensure you're getting exactly what you want with your fitted set of clubs! It takes time, but it's worth it! Keep reading to find out how I do it!
Blueprinting Irons, in my opinion, is a smart way to build.
I want to give you the very best, so I believe blueprinting irons is the right way to do it.
It wasn't always that way, though; when I first got into building clubs, it was more of a "how the wind takes me" method. Not very efficient, looking back on it. I ran across a guy on the internet golf forums named Joe Kwok, and he changed my whole game.
I never got a chance to thank him, so if you're reading this, Joe K., I really appreciate what you did for me!
Step One: Check Lofts and Lie Angles (30-40 minutes)
All club heads, even from the ones perceived to be "the best", have what's called manufacturing tolerances.
What does that mean? Well, let's say your 6-iron is 26 degrees and the 7-iron is 30 degrees. What happens if your 6-iron is two degrees too weak and the 7-iron is two degrees too strong?
They'd both be 28 degrees- virtually the same club!
As far as lie angles are concerned, if one is too far off (approximately three or more degrees), the swing weights could be off. You see, when the toe is too close to the hosel, that shifts the Center of Gravity (CG) such that the swing weight is just a bit lighter. If the toe is too far from the hosel (a too-flat lie angle), the swing weight could be higher.
We want the swing weight to be adjusted because it's right for you- not because of a tolerance, right? Right!
There's rarely an instance when bending an iron doesn't leave marks. It sucks, but it's part of the deal. I try to minimize it as much as possible by covering the head and hosel as much as I can, and using brass shims (they're non-marring!) in the jaws of the bending tool.
Step Two: Check, Sort and/or Clean (if pulled) Shafts (50-60 minutes)
If you don't want new shafts, I'd pull the current ones, clean them and the hosels of epoxy residue, and prepare them for weighting. I'd also mark them for spine alignment, if that's something you'd want.
If you're having new shafts installed, I'd try to ensure they're all the same weight. This isn't always possible; in that event, I'd sort them from lightest (for the longest iron) to heaviest (for the shortest iron).
After that, I'd prep the tip. That's measuring and cutting the PTS and abrading each to accept epoxy (it creates a better bond). Again, I'd spine align each one, if you want it done.
I'd then dry-fit each shaft (no epoxy) to the head, and measure to ensure 1/2" increments. If an new measurement is determined (say, 3/8"), it'd be measured to that increment.
Step Three: Sort the Grips (10-20 minutes)
As with shafts, I try to make sure each grip is the same weight. If that's not possible, the lightest grip is put on the longest iron, while the heaviest grip is put on the shortest iron.
Step Four: Insert Vibration-Dampening Device (if desired) (10-20 minutes)
Here, I'll insert either a wooden dowel in the tip or a Pro-Soft insert into the grip end, to help dampen vibrations.
This is completely optional. Some people want that extra "shock" when they hit balls, to let them know when they miss the "sweet spot". Others claim it dampens just enough to not be painful while still letting them know if they hit the "sweet spot" or not.
Step Five: Install the Grips (20-30 minutes)
Each grip will be installed to the same diameter. Build-up tape will be used as needed, per your desire/need.
Step Six: Swing Weighting Each Iron (30-40 minutes)
Here is when I'll add any lead tip-pins, if necessary, to create your desired swing weight.
Please note that I won't add more than 10 grams this way. Going heavier can shift the head's CG closer towards the hosel. It wouldn't be too much, but any movement can make the club harder to hit. Personally, I'd prefer not to move it away from the designer's intended position.
If, for whatever reason, more than 10 grams needs to be added, the extra weight will be created with lead strips on the back of the head. This is an ultra-rare situation, and would need to be cleared with you, first.
Step Seven: Mix the Glue and Install the Shafts (10-20 minutes)
Pretty straight-forward here. When I mix the epoxy, I also add shaft-centering beads, to insure a properly-aligned club. If applicable, the spine alignment mark is oriented in the proper, consistent position.
I'll allow 8-10 hours for the epoxy to dry, though 24 hours is my preferred wait time. It's just safer, in my opinion.
Step Eight: Turn and Clean the Ferrules (20-30 minutes)
After the epoxy's set, I'll turn the ferrules.
What that means is, a ferrule's outside diameter doesn't always match the outside diameter of the iron's hosel. By turning it, I'll sand it with fine-grit paper so that it does. Don't worry, though, because the hosel will be protected from getting scratched!
Cleaning it will involve rubbing it down with acetone. Everyone likes a shiny ferrule!
Step Nine: Double-Check Loft and Lie Angles, and Clean Heads (20-30 minutes)
Better to be safe than sorry with the lofts and lie angles, right?
Cleaning the heads involves taking car wax to remove any acetone residue.
Step Ten: Final Check on the CPM's (10-20 minutes)
Each iron will be checked on the frequency machine to ensure they're within spec for cycles per minute (CPM).
Sounds like a lot, doesn't it?
If my math is correct, roughly five hours to complete your blueprinted irons. There's no way you're not going to get your money's worth, to get irons that will be built to exacting tolerances, that you can enjoy and use to play to the best of your ability.
As the kids say: "totally worth it".