Build your own rail rod foregrip

Feb 17, 2008
Monrovia, CA
Boat Name
In another thread discussing the Rail Dawg availability, installation, etc., I mentioned that it isn't too difficult to build one of these yourself, if you're so inclined. Here's how you do it.

  • 18" of 1" inside diameter 200 PSI hose. I bought 6' from the hose-man for $20 and they actually gave me about 10'

  • 18" of EVA
  • 1.5" or 2" Marine grade 3:1 heat shrink tubing. The marine grade stuff is thick and has glue on the inside to seal it up.
  • 7/8" reverse spade bit. You can buy the flex coat one or alter a standard one. I just picked up a Diablo bit from Home Depot and sharpened up the rear edges a bit with a file...we're not doing precision work.
  • Drywall hand sander with drywall mesh sand paper. Use a medium grit like 150 or 180.
  • Jar of rubber cement
  • 30 minute epoxy like Rod Bond
  • Drywall tape
  • Painter's paper, newspaper, or whatever large format paper you have laying around
  • Hand drill
  • Quick clamp
Build Procedure

Almost all of the effort to build this is to size the EVA grip to get it inside the hose. But before you do that, you should size the EVA for the rod blank. First, cut the EVA in 1/2 so you are working with 2 pieces. You do this for two reasons: 1. The taper of the blank requires you to bore the EVA more for the rear of the grip than the front. 2. It's much easier to push two pieces into the hose from opposite sides than if the EVA is one piece. In fact, you might not be able to do it with a 1 piece EVA unless you make the outside EVA diameter too small.

Use the drywall tape to build up a couple of arbors on the shaft of the spade bit to match the inside diameter of the EVA. Once you have it, you slide the bit down the EVA and chuck it up to a hand drill. Grip the EVA tightly with your off hand to keep pressure on the bit so that it cuts as you draw the bit through. Move your grip hand with the spade bit as you draw through to keep pressure on. Turn the EVA around and go the other direction, doing the same thing again. Check fitment on your blank. You don't want to bore the EVA out so far that it slides all the way down on the blank to it's final position. Rather, you want it to be 10" or so up the blank. Once you have the first piece, do the second piece that will be toward the front of the grip. Remember, this one won't require as much boring.

Slide a piece of the EVA onto the blank until it fits fairly tight. Use the drywall sander with your rod wrapper like a lathe to sand the EVA down to just less than 1" OD. This makes a giant mess, but it goes pretty quickly doing it with the drywall mesh sand paper. When you have it right, you can shove the EVA inside the hose using a twisting motion to push in and you can also tap the EVA on a hard surface once it gets fairly far in. Do the same for the other piece of EVA, inserting into the hose from the other side. Use tape or a marker to remember which side faces the reel seat - remember the inside diameter of the EVA is probably sized differently on one side vs the other. Edited: I like to use a bench top belt sander on both ends to square and flush everything up. This will knock down the overall length of the grip to a little less than 18", but that doesn't matter.

Cut off about 4" of the marine grade heat shrink and place it over one end. You'll want about 2" or so on the outside of the grip. Slowly shrink it down, keeping it straight as you go. Shrink it down all the way - the front piece overlapping the edge of the grip should form a nipple. Use a new razor blade and carefully cut the nipple flush - you want to leave enough wrapped over the grip edge to hold the EVA in place. Do the same for the other side. Now you're ready to install.


I use tape and paper to cover up the reel seat and rear grip to make clean up easy. I also put paper on the ground. You are going to use a ton of rubber cement and it makes a huge mess so the tape and paper is your friend. Lightly sand the rod blank where the foregrip will go, epoxy it up and slide the grip onto the blank loosely. Now dump about 1/2 a bottle of the rubber cement all over the rod above the epoxy and over the epoxy. Don't skimp - if you just lightly brush it on, the grip will install 1/2 way, get stuck and then you have to cut it off and start all over. I know from first-hand experience, lol. Pour a ton of the rubber cement on, put the rod butt on the paper on the ground and slide the grip into place in one motion pushing hard. Don't stop until it's in place. Get a friend to help you if you need to. Now it's just a matter of cleanup. If you papered over the rear grip and reel seat, cleanup will be a snap. Any rubber cement left on the blank above the grip will just peel off when it dries. Clean things up quickly and then put the quick clamp on the blank just above the foregrip. This keeps the grip from sliding up while it cures. Come back in a couple of hours and you're ready to continue the build.


I hope this inspires someone to try this out on their own.
Last edited:


I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Dec 11, 2011
    Boat Name
    15 ft Saturn inflatable
    Just don’t use the steel reinforced hose otherwise the rod will break.

    The hose has been a common rail grip for awhile. Some factory rods use it, most are covered, some aren’t. You’ll see the print on it and know it’s fuel hose. Another giveaway is the spiral visible under the cold or heat shrink. RailDawg comes to mind
    Upvote 0


    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 27, 2003
    Formerly Long Beach, now Fort Lauderdale area
    Boat Name
    I just had to cut off a raildawg, definitely no steel in the batson ones, not sure about the OG ones.

    To the OP, great tutorial. I did a little thumbing through the McMaster catalogue and there might be some cool options to make skinnier OD grips such as a 1" OD grip using a smaller EVA, EPDM or neoprene core with a smaller ID and OD hose type.
    Upvote 0

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