Ahh, that excitement you have when the box of components arrive at your doorstep. You open the package like an eight year old on Christmas Day; sort out all the golf components on your workbench and then you try to test fit the parts. But you find they don’t fit. What should you do? One thing is do not panic.
First, look at the golf components to make sure you got the right parts. If you ordered a golf shaft for a golf driver or fairway wood, chances it will be 44” or longer. If the shaft you are trying to insert is only 41” or shorter, it was designed for an golf iron or a hybrid with a .370” internal hosel diameter. Simply call the component supplier you bought them from to have a replacement sent in case the shaft was miss-shipped or the wrong part number ordered. Component companies will usually not replace a shaft that has been trimmed and abraded. Shipping errors can occur on occasion and it is one of the responsibilities of the clubmaker to check inventory when it comes in the door.
It is a wise practice to test fit the head and shaft prior to assembly. This is especially true if the shaft being installed is a graphite shaft as often times the paint on the graphite shaft will cause the tip diameter of the shaft to be too large to fit into the bore of the head. In such cases, the paint will be removed in the shaft abrasion step curing this problem. If the shaft is still too large after this paint removing process, it will be necessary to bore or enlarge the hosel in order to accommodate the shaft. In most steel shaft installations this will not be a problem, but it is best to be sure of that now – if at first the steel shaft will not fit into the hosel, it may be necessary to abrade it as well.
Most steel shafts are produced to a tip diameter tolerance of +/-.002″, while graphite tip tolerances are +/-.004″. The tip tolerance on a graphite shaft may be on the raw, unpainted shaft. Shafts that are light colored, such as white or yellow may need multiple coats of paint so the bare black shaft doesn’t bleed through. Two-toned shafts may also have additional paint build up on the tip.
At times a clubmaker might encounter a club with a hosel bore on the lower tolerance range. Most investment cast heads are bored to a tolerance of +/-.0015″ after they are cast at the foundry. Any attempt to fit a shaft on the large side of tolerance, the clubmaker might find the two will not fit together.
The boring or enlarging of the hosel diameter is considered a normal clubmaking step that may have to be performed from time to time. The remedy to either an abraded graphite or steel shaft not fitting is to bore the hosel using an 8.6mm or R-size letter drill bit (for a .335” hosel diameter) or a 3/8” or 9.4mm (for a .370” hosel diameter) to allow for the proper shaft installation. Our clubmaking book will show you the proper methods for boring out a clubhead as well as recommended methods for properly abrading the shaft.
Any extra sanding performed on the shaft involves weakening the tip section making the shaft subject to breakage during play and not covered under manufacturer’s warranty. This is true both with composite shafts as well as with steel shafts-excessive abrasion causes shaft weakness and corresponding failure. There is plenty of material in the hosels of clubheads to allow for them to be bored slightly larger to accommodate a given shaft. The rule of thumb is always to increase hosel bore rather than to do any extra shaft tip sanding over and beyond what is considered normal.