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Homemade grips

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Lunie, Sep 14, 2011.

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  1. Lunie

    Lunie Member

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    So it's on the "light" side of gunsmithing...

    You folks that have made your own grips, any suggestions on how to do it? What woods, what techniques, what finishes, etc.

    With a minimum of tools and supplies, I made a set of grips to fit a "vest pocket" .25 ACP. (Astra 200). Nothing fancy. Made from oak. Slender, they are rounded and smoothed (done with sandpaper.) They are secured with a single screw that fits into a counter-bored hole in the grip, as well as a short dowel attached the bottom rear corner.

    I think they look pretty nice. The grain follows the lines of the grip. But I haven't decided on the finished condition. Leave them smooth, add lines, checkering? Make a set of each kind? :neener:

    What kind of stains or finishes? (The Astra has what I assume is original nickel?-plating.)


    Next on the docket: A set of walnut 1911 grips. I have a nice raw block of Missouri black walnut that I plan to cut and shape into grips. Same questions, what would you suggest as far as any stains, finishes, and texture?


    Lastly: I'm tempted to try my hand at some cap and ball Colt revolver grips. They are "one piece", but they look simple enough to fabricate as 3 pieces and then glue together. The tricky part there being how to make that nice, consistent grip shape...


    What say you?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    These are all homemade.
    Walnut, Walnut, Laotian Rosewood, and Elephant Ivory.

    HomemadeGrips.jpg

    I used Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil on the walnut.
    Nothing on the Rosewood or Ivory.
    Those were just hand sanded and then polished on a buffer using progressively finer grades of buffing wheels.

    You need to tape off the grip frame of the gun with black vinyl electrical tape, then work the wood down to the tape by hand with a fine file & course sanding blocks.
    Finish sanding to final fit with them off the gun.


    rc
     
  3. Cypress

    Cypress Member

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    If those oak grip are in contact with metal you might be in trouble. Oak has tanic acid in it and is pretty corrosive on metals. I once made an oak gunrack and ruined the finish on several guns. Worst mistake I have made while working on gun stuff!
     
  4. 1SOW

    1SOW Member

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    I made custom fit-to-my-hand comp aluminum grips using the same techniques rcmodel used. Aluminum can also be cut and shaped with woodworking tools, including table saw and router.

    Aluminum will also polish to a stainless-like finish, but scratches under heavy use.

    I also made some similar mahogany grips and tried my hand at checkering---Decided I'd better stick to smooth surfaces. Checkering tools (I had 'one') are 'expensive'! But that's just me. I'm a big fan of polyurethane. It withstands many chemicals and is very tough.

    rc, that is beautiful work.
     
  5. Lunie

    Lunie Member

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    rcmodel:

    I appreciate the pics, very fine looking work there. :) I'm surprised that the rosewood isn't "finished". It looks like the buffing wheels give a very smooth finish, more so than can easily be done with sandpaper? I like the tip for protecting the frame. For the final sanding (off the frame) do you use pencil lines and such to sand down to, or simply check the fit as you go?

    Cypress: I appreciate you bringing this up, caused me to do a little research...

    From Wiki: "Tannins are a basic ingredient in the chemical staining of wood, and are already present in woods like oak, walnut, and mahogany. Tannic acid can be applied to woods low in tannin so chemical stains that require tannin content will react. The presence of tannins in the bark of redwood (Sequoia) is a strong natural defense against wildfire, decomposition and infestation by certain insects such as termites. It is found in the seeds, bark, cones, and heartwood."

    And

    "Tannic acid is used in the conservation of ferrous (iron based) metal objects to passivate and inhibit corrosion. Tannic acid reacts with the corrosion products to form a more stable compound, thus preventing further corrosion from taking place. After treatment the tannic acid residue is generally left on the object so that if moisture reaches the surface the tannic acid will be rehydrated and prevent or slow any corrosion. Tannic acid treatment for conservation is very effective and widely used but it does have a significant visual effect on the object, turning the corrosion products black and any exposed metal dark blue. It should also be used with care on objects with copper alloy components as the tannic acid can have a slight etching effect on these metals."



    1SOW: Aluminum may be a neat way to go later on, but for now I think I'll stay with woods. (Not sure I really want my grips to say "Coca-Cola". ;) Just kidding.)

    Polyurethane was my first thought for protecting the grips, but I wasn't sure if it would be desirable or necessary...
     
  6. Cypress

    Cypress Member

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    In my case, the oak removed the blueing and RED rusted the area in contact OVERNIGHT. All the reasearch I needed. LOL!
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Many tropical hardwoods, including Rosewood, Cocobolo, etc. contain natural silicon waxes that prevent most finishes from sticking to them.

    Finish sanding to get out all the scratches, and final buffing to bring up the gloss is all you need to do to them, as the natural wax in the wood imparts the finish all by itself.

    rc
     
  8. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    Look for spalted woods and burls that will give grips unmatched grain and color. Also check out Boone Trading Company online for pieces of mastodon ivory and other extremely exotic materials. These kinds of materials make rosewood and cocobolo look downright cheap.

    Consider looking for a Delta Belt sander or something else small (and inexpensive) like that. With a belt sander you can shape the wood quickly and easily, then do the final polishing and shaping by hand. It cuts the labor by at least 2/3rds, and the final shaping and polishing is still hand work.



    http://www.boonetrading.com/
     
  9. Der Stro

    Der Stro Member

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    rcmodel,

    Thats's really great work on the 1911, where did you find that gold insignia?
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  11. EMC45

    EMC45 Member

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    Real nice work RC!
     
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