I have been using real snakeskin for some time as the design or my rods. I have had some issues with getting Color Preserver to work on occasion and contact cement is messy and not the best option for me. I recently stumbled across another method that is working really well. Once the snakeskin is measured out and cut, I apply an equally long strip of 3M's double stick tape along the underside of the blank
where I want the seam to be. I apply one edge of the skin to the tape and, starting in the middle, I roll the skin tightly around the blank. If you have measured correctly, the seams should butt up nicely without any gaps. If there are some, I don't get too concerned since they will be on the underside of the blank.
I have had no issues with the tape loosening when epoxy is applied and it sure takes the mess out of applying the skin. Just thought I'd share this with the group.