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Anyone make their own grips?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Brutuskend, Jan 2, 2021.

  1. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    I snagged this piece of Holly Wood several years ago with the idea of using it for knife scales. As you can see, it grew in a very interesting way that should make for some really cool grips or knife scales.
    In the last few days I have been doing some research into the wood itself and found that it is very popular in faux ivory grips.
    Well, I will end up with WAY more of this than I can probably use so, once I get it cut up in usable size chunks are there any people on here interested in pieces of this?

    20210102_180550.jpg
     
  2. Obturation
    • Contributing Member

    Obturation Contributing Member

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    @Viper1357 makes awesome grips.
    I've been meaning to give it a try , I've got a FA revolver with horrible pachmyer grips and there is no way to get premade grips for those guns- custom only.
    I'm not real handy with wood, but I'm thinking what's the worst thing that could happen.
    Good luck, can't wait to see what you come up with.
     
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  3. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Yes, I do. I like fancy wood. Nearly all of the ones I've made now reside in a box as I've switched to those ugly Hogue rubber grips on nearly everything I shoot. The hard recoilers don't recoil as hard any more and I can get a better grip on every gun I've put them on and my groups have shrunk after the change. Now if I could just completely stop those darned tremors things would be good again.

    Obduration, the worst thing that can happen is you ruin some wood. Start with plain wood to save some money and as your woodworking skills improve go to the fancy stuff. A little tip: Use SHARP tools.
     
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  4. beag_nut

    beag_nut Member

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    Please be aware that "fancy" woods like holly are very unstable. They can change shape and dimensions over relatively short periods of time. So one could make a grip which would not fit after a few months. Better to cut a few years in advance, and then blank it out and save after giving the wood time to stabilize.
     
  5. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    You might try selling cut pieces in the "Trading Post" forums here. I've made spome pistols grips out of wood that I've bought from a local woodworking shop, but I've also got a couple small branches from a neighbor's black walnut tree he cut down years ago that I fantasize making grips or even a rifle stock out of. So, yeah, go for it!! :thumbup:
     
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Brutuskend

    Yes, American Holly Wood makes for some very nice faux ivory looking grips. These were done by Private's Custom Grips who unfortunately is no longer in the grip making business.
    4qJNUJO.jpg
     
  7. PapaG

    PapaG Member

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    My farm, actually 45 acres of timber, creek and five acres of tillable bottoms, is rife with walnut, oak, and locust. I'm about to slice off a few boles and cut a few twisted limbs to see if I can get some good figured slabs to work with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2021
  8. Bill Raby

    Bill Raby Member

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    Making pistol grips is very easy to do. Even carving a rifle stock is a lot easier than everyone seems to think it is.
     
  9. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    Yea, I have made some for one of my 1851 colt clones.
    I think I will start off with this making some grips for one of my 1911's.
    Probably can't get much easier than making 1911 grips.
     
  10. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    Interested to see how they turn out! Im about to make some grips for my custom birdshead Ruger wrangler when my new bandsaw blades show up. Got a few scraps of reclaimed Cuban Mahogany from an expensive job my dad did a few years ago that im gonna make use of. Had maybe 80 board feet of it that burned with our shop a few years back. Going rate is about $30 a board foot, if you can find it. Hasn't been exported from Cuba since '48. Storm damaged trees from Florida are now the only source for it.
     
  11. Mike L.

    Mike L. Member

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    I suggest making some 1911 grips for starters. I have some I made out of walnut around here somewhere.
    Anyway, OP, I would be happy to buy a little of that holly if you make it available.
     
  12. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Holly has been used as a thin veneer facing on the headstock of Gibson Les Paul guitars since the 50's. It is applied over the face of the headstock, covering the three pieces used to make the headstock. It is very stable in that application although I have no idea how long it is dried befor being used. I would expect that similarly cured pieces would work as well for grips.
     
  13. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    I started cutting it up today , and it turns out that only about 1/2 inch of the outer section is white. Probably thick enough in places for 1911 grips but I'm not sure if any of it would be thick enough for revolver grips. The heart wood is a BEAUTFUL brown though! And this wood is very very dense and fine grained. I almost like the heart wood better than the white myself.
     
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  14. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    What the heck man, no pics!? Man...
     
  15. Loosenock

    Loosenock Member

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    I made a set of grips for a Webley Tempest. I do not care for grips with thumb rests. Let me decide where I want to put my thumb.
    Pics.
    IMG_6233.JPG

    IMG_6237.JPG
    IMG_6240.JPG
    It was a good little project during the stay at home pandemic.

    L
     
  16. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    Okfine.
    I whetted a small section on the right side of the large chunk so you can get a idea of the color.

    20210106_112856.jpg
     
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  17. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    That is a beautiful color!
     
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  18. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    While I do make grip panels, most during the winter as other work slows down, I've never tried Holly. My main useage involves English Walnut and American Black Walnut burl that is found in the root system, around where it collides with the trunk of the tree:
    7LjGV9Y.jpg
    The hard walnut woods allow checkering at 22 LPI and produce some nice hard diamonds that pop off, like the more open pore tree limb wood is prone to do.
    Is that Holly a very "hard wood", with open or closed pores? I'd like to try some of that and will pay for shipping, or whatever you need for cutting.
    This is what the hard burl walnuts will allow for checkering:
    QuJllG2.jpg
    QyEprvk.jpg
    JhfUmNI.jpg
     
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  19. Brutuskend

    Brutuskend Member

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    Yea, I have worked with walnut and can say that this holly is much harder. I tried scratching it with my thumbnail and it didn't even leave a mark! However, I'm sure the walnut burrel wood is harder than just "normal" walnut would be.

    If you do checker ing, I would happily send you some of this for you doing some checker ing on some 1911 grips, once I get a set made. I should have quite a bit of the heart wood to work with, but probably not too much of the outer white wood.
     
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  20. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    I have done 1911 panels in the past, those that I've made, and for the 22/45 pistols as well:

    AvPPZMcl.jpg

    I only checker when the panels surface pores and grain are completely filled and the surface finish has hardened completely.
     
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  21. gnappi

    gnappi Member

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    Years ago I found a pallet made of all things... ROSEWOOD! I took it home, cleaned it up and gave a bunch of it away and made some 1911 grips. Nothing fancy like checkering just smooth grips, I really dislike checkering and frame stippling.
     
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  22. rkittine

    rkittine Member

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    I have not tried it yet, but am going to try to make these grip blanks into a grip that fits me for Free Pistol.





    TOZ-35M

    Bob TOZ-35M.jpg
     
  23. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    The BEST of luck with your endeavors. When learning how to checker, the first thing I learned was that "patience" is imperative. If it starts to feel like work, put the tools down and take a break.
    The very first set of checkering tools I bought were from Herters. Being that they made nothing but the BEST of whatever it was, and it even said so in their catalog, I figured all I needed to do was just hang onto the tool. Those tools are now "sleeping with the fishes" in Lake Michigan. Once I finally got a good set of cutters and learned that it took more than two days to play a guitar, so everyone around wasn't annoyed, the patience involved helped a lot.
     
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  24. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    What brand(s) do you use?
     
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  25. SGW Gunsmith

    SGW Gunsmith Member

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    For the last 30 years I've used the W.E. Brownell cutters and bifurcated handles. Before the original maker passed, I stocked up on all the LPI and single line to 4-line cutters from 18 to 24 lines per inch, and then single line cutters in 60°, 75° and 90°. And I also bought two dozen handles, the original style using walnut.
    His daughter and son-in-law took over the business and they kept the quality in the product, same as what the father done. Once they sold the business to an East India outfit, all went down hill and the cutters became junk, at higher prices. You can still find the W.E. Brownell cutters on ebay now and then.
    For currently available cutters, I would recommend the Gun-Line brand. The teeth are open to allow wood dust to escape and the teeth can be re-sharpened with a barret style needle file. They also cut forward and backward.
    I've tried the Dembart cutters, but not for long. The fine teeth clog up with wood dust very quickly, and once that happens, the cutter can and will jump track and cause your language to deteriorate very quickly.
     
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