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My foray into custom exotic wood 1911 grips

Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by SRT1, Mar 14, 2008.

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  1. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Here's a pic of a friends grips that he uses for Bianchi cup shooting. He wanted an extension to make the prone portions easier and more accurate. As he says "These are working grips, not for show." so he didn't much care about the two tone between new and old wood. The new could have been stained to match (I shudder at the thought of staining wood :eek:), but in this case, he just doesn't care.
    I didn't know there was a need for this type of thing until he told me. :cool:
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  2. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Here's a pic of a beautiful wood that I'd not worked with until just recently.
    Macassar Ebony. Great color and veining, especially when crosscut. I got a couple of blocks and made a practice set of grips before spending the time on a full finished set and was surprised to finid out how much this wood shrinks up when going from wet to dry. This grip panel stayed perfectly straight and proportional, but shrank a full 1/4" in height alone. Wow!
    Lesson for everyone who may want to use this in the future is - make doubly sure it is fully dry before putting the time and effort into the finished product! :p I applied a matte finish to this one.
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  3. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    I received a large box in the mail and it held more than a few pounds of Box Elder Burl in red, yellow and white. These are the first sets from it and they are gorgeous! It's hard to beat Box Elder Burl for beauty and depth! This is just the first rough coat of finish and I haven't yet decided on the final whether a semi gloss or gloss. I think a matte finish would take away from some of the depth that you see with the others, so I probably won't go that way with it.
    Anyway, enjoy the beauty!
    SRT
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  4. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Tomorrow I'll be posting what is without a doubt the best, hardest to do, and coolest set of grips that I've done to this point. Snakewood OVER Wenge with a teak oil finish. The layering of the Snakewood over the Wenge gives it a "framed" look that is very cool! But that's tomorrow.
    Today, here are three sets in a more matte finish. Let me know your thoughts on the matte vs. gloss finish. In order, they are: Padauk, Beewsing Narra, and Bubinga.
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  5. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Member

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    spalted .....post 53 or 54
    my kimber stainless custom gold match made me type this.
    its nagging me already, please contact if/when available

    some pic's on a stainless model please. very nice--functional art
     
  6. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    This is a set of Mesquite grips that was just completed. These are a bit unusual in that they have a small but vibrant figure in the wood itself. Pretty cool.
    Mesquite is a small dilemma when it comes to finishing as it's too oily for poly on the fresh wood, and lacquer tends to make it look rough. I've found the best way to use either one of these is to first apply at least two coats of Teak oil and let it thoroughly dry for a couple of days, then lightlyl sand it and go ahead with either poly or lacquer. Of course using the oils as the only finish works also, but I tend to prefer the extra protection of poly on a daily carry weapon.
    SRT
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  7. orb

    orb Member

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    The Box Elder Burl is indeed gorgeous!
     
  8. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Nature really gave us a treat with that wood didn't it? I know I'm a bit overboard with the wood, but it amazes me how I never get "desensitized" to the beauty of it all. After years of working with it, I still just have to stop and stare sometimes. What a hobby! :)
     
  9. SRT1

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    Here's my first set in ultra thin. Two matched sets in stippled wenge (african hardwood). The gov't set is standard thickness, the officers set is just over 1/8" thick. Gave them a "carry melt" treatment to there are no sharps or angle ridges to make them uncomfortable to carry. In the pic, the set on teh right is the officers, the panel on the left is the gov't.
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  10. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Box Elder Burl with an oil finish on my CDPII. The panels were left tall and then notched for the ambi safety levers to nestle down into the grip when the safety is disengaged. With the panels radiused, you still get a good purchase on the lever to re-engage the safety. I like it.
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  11. SRT1

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    A set of darker than usual Spalted Tamarind with a beautiful pattern from inside to outside across the set. No wonder this is one of my favorite woods!
    SRT
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  12. SRT1

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    Here's a set in Afzelia Xylay. No camera can capture the depth and figure of this wood. It has to be seen and held to appreicte it fully. the figure is 3D and resembles tree roots coming out of sand. It's very impressive wood, especially in this grade. If you ever get a chance to buy a block, do it! ;)
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  13. SRT1

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    Fire box elder burl. The red in this variety always just knocks me out. Gorgeous stuff! If you like working with wood and can find it, you should snag it with a quickness!
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  14. SRT1

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    Here's a set inspired by the snakewood/wenge grips I made for my CDP (which get attention and drool every time I take them to the range with me ;) ) This set is done in Wenge over Maple. Layering like this gives the top wood a "framed in" look that is both unique and very cool. I have other wood combinations in oil finish coming in the next few days for those who like the matte finishes to look at. I hope these spark your imagination and get you grip makers to give it a try!
    SRT
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  15. Toscano

    Toscano Member

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    Grips

    Gentlemen, (I didn't notice any ladie's names in the posts)
    These are some wonderfully creative and beautiful examples of woodsmanship. I am a neophyte in the making of pistol grips and was wondering if each of grips were custom inletted from the outset or do you use a jig to undersize machine inlet and then hand finish for fit?
     
  16. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    I myself use a template so that I can maximize each piece of wood to get the maximum out of it. I then do any fitting that is required by putting them on the weapon physically and marking them. Once you fine tune your template, this step becomes simply a check to ensure your blanks are right and good.
    Post up some pics of your work so far!
    Thanks,
    SRT
     
  17. Toscano

    Toscano Member

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    grips

    Thank you for the response...I guess my next question would be if you fabricate the jigs yourself or if they available commercially? & if so, where?
     
  18. SRT1

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    They may be available, I honestly don't know. I fabricated mine on my own, it's not hard to do - just take an old set of grips and trace them on to a scrap piece of wood. Make any changes you want (add here, take away there etc) and cut it out and sand it. Put it on the weapon to check fit and you're ready to go! You can further adapt it as you use it if needed.
    Good luck!
    SRT
     
  19. SRT1

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    Here's another layered set, this one in Bloodwood and Spotted Pecan with an oil finish. The Pecan has red in it, so using bloodwood underneath really brings it all together nicely. Combining wood like this can have some great results if you take the time to get the right combinations. ;)
    See you on the boards!
    Sarge
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  20. SRT1

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    Bubinga - African hardwood with great depth and beautiful color. These are done in the more red vaariety as opposed to brown. Gorgeous stuff. Excellent wood for grips as it's tough, hard and heavy.
    Nice pic of beautiful wood - there are worse ways to start the day. ;)
    SRT
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  21. SRT1

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    Here's a set of grips that I gave my security team co-chairman as a "thank you" for helping me get things set up. He's a happy camper and we're hitting the range tomorrow to show them off. ;)
    SRT
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  22. SRT1

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    Ever since the old pirate movies when the flags were black, red, and white, I've associated the combination of black and red with men who are men. The combo still envokes that in me, so that's why I like this set so much. The Wenge (black) and Bloodwood (red) is just a cool combination. Looks even better on the weapon I think.
    Enjoy the pics!
    SRT
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  23. SRT1

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    Sorry, no new grips today. Between me re-upping (reserves this time, not active) and my son's graduation, shop time has been short this week. We'll be back on track of the Bianchi this weekend. ;)
     
  24. SRT1

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    A wood that many people never see but is good for this use is Marblewood. If you get the chance to grab a block, you should. It's hard, heavy and can be difficult to work, but the beauty shown in the end is worth it. If you get hold of some and wouldn't mind some pointers in working it, let me know. Always happy to help fellow hobbyists!
    Enjoy.
    Sarge
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  25. SRT1

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    Sometimes Fire Box Elder contains just random red in various places. It is a beautiful result to be sure. How can you beat nature for beauty?
    SRT
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