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Anybody have any experience repairing hard rubber / Gutta Percha grips?

I bought this old 32 HE and the left grip is badly cracked from having had the screw severely over tightened.

Unfortunately, it appears to have been left this way for a LONG time, and the grip material is too hard to simply squeeze the crack closed.

How would I go about heating the material enough to make it more pliable / flexible so that I can squeeze the crack closed to repair it with some glue or epoxy - without the surface getting so soft that it is easily marred?

The things I've considered are immersion in hot water, hair dryer / heat gun, remove the escutcheon and heat it in a microwave.

Anybody experienced this kind of repair who can make some suggestions and share some techniques?
LeftGripCrack.jpg
 

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I've never had a reason to do this, but both these materials (they're produced by different processes) are thermoplastics, meaning they will soften under heat. Think safest way is to put it in pan of water & slowly raise the temp up to about 150-170 degrees, but shouldn't have to reach boiling point. Better take it very easy when trying to bend it back to original shape. Question is, has it taken a set that will draw it back to bent shape after it cools, but there's only one way to find out.
 
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