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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made these Colt Officers 45 grips for my wife's carry gun. They are made of Padouk and are made a little thinner then normal. They were sanded to 600 grit and then finished with acrylic laquer. Also, I deviated from the normal pattern/shape a bit just for fun. It was a great learning experience and I'm looking to making a much better pair next time. As you can see, they are not perfect but I'm pleased because I've never made grips of any kind before although I do a lot of gunsmithing. One thing that surprised me is the open grain in Padouk. Is there any way to fill the grain or is it normally left open?

Many thanks to Cap for his great tutorial on grip making; without it I wouldn't have even tried.

Any comments, praise or criticism gratefully accepted.

Charlie



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
A couple of grip making jigs

Because of the helpfulness of everybody here I want to offer a couple of jig making ideas that might make grip making easier.

First is something to hold your grips together securely while you are shaping the wood on the sander. I wasn't satisfied with sticky tape security to keep the two halves from slipping so I made a couple of slightly tapered brass pins from 1/4" brass stock. I cut them to length and placed them in a 3/8" drill chuck. While the brass stock turned I used a mill bastard file to shape and reduce the diameter slightly.



The finished pins fit snugly in the screw holes of the grips without damaging the holes. By holding the grips together snugly its now very easy to sand the wood down to the proper shape.



Next is a neat little jig to hold a grip securely while you roll and thin the side of the grip on the sander. I burned a couple of fingernails before I made this thing. Its just a small block of hardwood with turned down brass pins glued in at the exact spacing for Officers 45 grips on one side and full size 1911 grips on the other. I can't take credit for this idea; it came from a gunsmith/machinist and grip maker who made a beautiful adjustable jig and illustrated it in his tutorial on another forum. Since I couldn't afford his, I made my own cheapie.



All you have to do is place your grip over the brass pins and it will be held securely while you shape and thin the sides of the grip.




I hope that these ideas help make your grip making easier. Its easy and fun to make these little helpers.

Best

Charlie
 

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nice job, Charlie!

you'll be making more, I'm sure

cool idea with the jig/fixture/holder. thanks!

What I'm looking for now is a double drill bit.
(or step bit?)
Something with the 15/64 size and 9/32 in one bit.
That way i could drill and counter sink in the same operation.
(and also get the counter sink perfectly centered to the screw hole)
I though Jerry had mentioned a source for those bits once, but i couldn't find the post he mentioned it on

The best option I have is what a machinist friend suggested.
A 9/32 bit that he can machine a smooth/round 15/64 end on.

as far as open grain/pours, I recently started experimenting with pour on epoxy coatings with some measure of success.
(so far the best way "I've" found)

Pour a little on, then spread it over the entire surface of the finish sanded grip.
After it's cured for 24 hours, re-finish sand smooth, then spray your lacquer, poly or finish of choice.


..L.T.A.
 

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Thanks the one, Charlie

Thank you!

I'm forwarding the link to my machinist friend and see what he thinks

BTW, when you're ready to make some more grips, check out some of the stabilized woods and burls.
Stabilized burls (the pressure stabilized ones) are really sweet to work with.
and they polish to a flawless glass like satin finish on a buffing wheel.
You still have to finish sand all the belt sander scratches out.
But after 400 grit paper, the buffing wheel makes 'em "pop"

I'd be bidding on these if they were a little wider

http://cgi.ebay.com/Stabilized-Mapl...5|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:0|293:1|294:50



I've bought some wood from this outfit too.
Desert ironwood doesn't need stabilized and it too polishes like glass
(this outfit does have stabilized burls as well)
Browse the scales and blocks


http://www.arizonaironwood.com/ironwood knive scales.htm


.L.T.A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Glad I could help. Thanks for the tip on the wood source also.

I can smooth the wood up to 600 - 800 grit with Wet-or-Dry but I never heard of the buffing wheel trick. Do you use something like Brownells 555 or jewelers rouge?

I will check out Arizona Ironwood because I really want to do a pair of Ironwood grips. Thats some of the prettiest wood I've seen although my exposure to all the woods makes me want to try them all.

Another thing I'm looking at is making some revolver grips like the "Skeeter Skelton" grips that Deacon Deason used to make. Below is a photo of the type I aspire to make.

Charlie


 

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All of you guys do really good work. They are beautiful & I salute you.:flag:
 

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Thanks Longtooth


Thanks for the tip on the wood source also.]
you're welcome, glad i could help

I can smooth the wood up to 600 - 800 grit with Wet-or-Dry but I never heard of the buffing wheel trick. Do you use something like Brownells 555 or jewelers rouge?
]
I used to sand to 600grt, but found if i was spraying poly or lacquer finish it didn't make any difference that i could tell.
So I stopped finish sanding with anything finer than 320 if I planed to use a poly or lacquer finish

I was turned on to the buffing wheel when i bought my first Ironwood scales 4-5(?) months ago at a gun show.
I asked the dude how he got the glass like finish and he told me there was NO finish on them.
Just finish sanded and polished on a buffing wheel with white rouge

I went to Harbor Freight and bought the dual 6" wheel polisher/buffer and started experimenting with different polishing compounds.
I found the red rouge (and only a tiny bit) gave me the best polish.
The Ironwood polished like a dream as well as all the polymer stabilized burls

Woods like Cocobolo, Walnut, Bocote, etc weren't as dramatic on the wheel as the super dense Ironwood or polymer stabilized burls.

..L.T.A.
 

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Chalie, here's some i did this evening out of Desert Ironwood

I purposely did partial so you could see the contrast


finish sanded to 320 grt than a coat of paste wax on half



then polish on the buffing wheel after the was dried for 10 minutes or so



finished grips next to the D-Ironwoord scales



grips on one of my 1911s





..L.T.A.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cap, thank you; they are gorgeous. A picture is really worth more than words, at least for me. I picked up a pair of ironwood scales yesterday that are just barely wide enough to make grips from and will try to get to work on them later on this week. I'll pick up some Minwax too.

Charlie
 

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thanks Charlie

I've found the absolute minimum width to be 1 5/8.
That is just barely enough to make a traditional sized grip with little to no room for error.

Some guys like their panels to go end to end on the frame with little to no frame reveal showing.

1 3/4 wide is best for that with

I just started playing with the paste wax.
If you don't have a buffer, maybe put your finished panel on your jig, clamp the jig or put in a vise and buff the panels with a cotton towel ala "shoe shine" method

I bet you'll love the Ironwood.
It really "pops" when applying the finish and has an iridescent look to it when viewed at different angles.

It's one of the hardest/densest woods I've ever worked with too.


..L.T.A.
 
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