My search for the perfect K frame grips


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The Wiry Irishman
February 16, 2011, 03:48 AM
I got my first K-frame a few months ago, and it came with the stock rubber S&W grips that I really don't like. My hands slip too much on rubber when they get sweaty. The title is a little decieving, I know what the perfect grips for me are, Nill Master Series like I have on my 629, I just don't have the 200 bucks for them right now.

http://www.nill-shop.com/images/shop_nill/SW04XHO8.jpg

I decided instead to try and make my own. I've made several (dozen) sets of 1911 grips, but they're just flat panels with a curve on one side, its hardly challenging. Revolver grips are a much different animal. My first attempt came out looking OK, but the grip angle was pretty much perpendicular to the bore axis, they were too wide around the bottom, and there were some serious issues with how they were fit to the frame:

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/34587_10100113604243118_13717046_54457213_2945874_n.jpg

I tried again a few weeks ago, and although I got the grip angle and diameter perfect, I made them too high, so your middle finger get jammed up uncomfortably against the trigger guard. I don't have pics of those right now, but they did look pretty, made of high polish amboyna burl.

Finally last week I had another go, taking the lessons I learned from the first two sets, and I think I finally got it this time.

First, I cut the recesses into a leopardwood board with a little dremel router thing. I made patterns for them out of paper.

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182807_10100275976792228_13717046_58548637_3644894_n.jpg

Then I cut out the blanks and drilled the screw holes, doing final fitting to the frame in the process. This is what I like to refer to as the "Glock Stage"

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180770_10100275976812188_13717046_58548638_3148586_n.jpg

Then I roughed out the grip portion with a steel cutter in the Dremel:

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/180835_10100275976827158_13717046_58548639_5269259_n.jpg

Next I roughed in the pommel and did some fine fitting to the frame:

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/180715_10100276287888788_13717046_58554173_7944364_n.jpg

Next I did some final contouring with the sanding wheel in the Dremel. At this point its ready for finish sanding:

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/168318_10100276530976638_13717046_58559334_5203554_n.jpg

I sanded them progressively down to 1500 grit.

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182458_10100276531016558_13717046_58559336_3740017_n.jpg

Then I added some stippling and teak oil, and I'm very happy with the final product. The grip angle is just right, the size is perfect, and the support hand pinky groove is perfectly placed. Theres a few very minor cosmetic issues, but those aren't a big deal. I can't wait to try them out in steel challenge this spring.

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182890_10100278705089698_13717046_58604243_5425866_n.jpg

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/182397_10100278705588698_13717046_58604254_3419436_n.jpg

Also, I carved my initials in the pommel so they're readable when the gun is holstered. Yeah, I'm a nerd.

http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/180506_10100278706237398_13717046_58604268_941279_n.jpg

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madcratebuilder
February 16, 2011, 05:28 AM
Very nice. I have made a few sets of simple Colt style SA grips. Your set looks great, a lot of thought put in to it.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
February 16, 2011, 05:37 AM
That is something I am perfectly capable of doing, I really like what you have done! Perhaps this will give me incentive to make my own. I have a regular router and a small router (DCU) and I have a Dremel with the flexible shaft extension and all the attachments.

I think I might try this!

Again, VERY NICELY DONE!:)

MrBorland
February 16, 2011, 07:18 AM
Well, done, Wiry! Very impressive. Let us know how they work for you in the spring.

Love the gun, too. ;)

oldfool
February 16, 2011, 08:02 AM
impressive !
grips aside, some pretty exotic customizing on that gun
just curious, what's the back story on all that ?
did you buy it already accessorized, or DIY... competition gun ?

bannockburn
February 16, 2011, 08:24 AM
Very nicely done indeed! I also enjoyed the step-by-step photos along with your narrative. Please keep us updated as to how well they perform for you.

1KPerDay
February 16, 2011, 04:40 PM
very cool. I envy capable people. :D

Slugo
February 16, 2011, 05:10 PM
WOW!!! Excellent work indeed...

MIL-DOT
February 16, 2011, 07:41 PM
Show off !!!!! :D

BTW, I kinda liked those square grips in pic #4, can I get a set of those ? ;)

Starter52
February 16, 2011, 08:52 PM
Nice job! Purdue engineer?

The Wiry Irishman
February 16, 2011, 09:03 PM
Thanks everybody!

grips aside, some pretty exotic customizing on that gun
just curious, what's the back story on all that ?

I bought it used from a local gun store with all the work already done for a price I couldn't pass up. I met the original owner in the same shop a few weeks later. The bull barrel, ball detent lockup, charge hole chamfering, trigger stop, action job, barrel weight, and backstrap stippling were all done by Clark Custom. The sight rib was done by Wichita Arms. I'm not sure who did the hard chrome finish, whether that was Clark or some third party. Its not an uncommon set of modications, this is how most PPC revolvers are set up. I prefer heavy guns and I'm a sucker for anything unique, so a four pound K-frame was right up my alley. Its a fantastic shooter, as well.

Nice job! Purdue engineer?

Not quite. I'm a few months away from my Masters in Computer Graphics Technology. (CAD stuff, not artsy movie/video game stuff) I got my BS in the same thing. I'm actually sitting in the CAD research lab working (well, taking a break) while I type this.

Jeb21
February 16, 2011, 09:11 PM
Very very nice!

dallascj
February 16, 2011, 11:59 PM
Thanks for the excellent how-to post. I have been thinking seriously about making my own grips for 3 square butt Taurus revolvers that I have, and had some questions about how to start. Your write up explained all the issues I was struggling with. Thanks for sharing!

Jenrick
February 17, 2011, 01:09 AM
Wow those look great. I'm also impressed you did this all with a dremel. I have to fire mine up this weekend and see what I come up with.

-Jenrick

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