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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. kentucky_Dave

    kentucky_Dave Member

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    That Marblewood is NICE!

    Great works on here, thanks for showing us your addiction / hobby.

    Have you tried Brazilian Walnut (IPE)?
    I have a bunch of it around, and have been toying with the notion of doing the kimber's grips.

    How well do the ironwoods / extremely hard woods hold up to checking (for grip)?
    I have heard mixed things, most significantly: the wood is so hard that small portions of checking will occasionally chip off.

    Ever experienced that problem?
     
  2. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Thanks Kentucky Dave! I hope everyone likes looking at the different woods.
    Ipe is a very heavy and also VERY oily wood normally. It would make good grips, but may give you some finishing trouble. If I were doing it, I'd probably fabricate the grips completely, then immediately prior to finishing wipe them down with acetone (to get some of the oils out of the wood at the surface) then immediately put on a coat of Teak oil. The teak oil will blend with the woods natural oil and then the dryers present in it will allow it to harden up and give you a good base for either more coats of teak oil, or another finish. Polyurethane will not dry on Ipe without doing something like this.
    Ironwood is dense and hard, but can be brittle. I've seen others projects that have checkered it and it has held up well and is absolutely gorgeous to boot. Great wood! I'm supposed to pick up a large box of it in July when I go down to the Sea of Cortez with my buddies for a dive trip. It's everywhere down there. I've heard that if you DO checker it, it takes a toll on your checkering tools (one to two sets checkered will render your tools dull enough to be useless), so take that into account also.
    Good luck, and please post up pics of your work when you get some done! Depsite the name (poor choice of words) I wish everyone would post up their efforts in grip making here. Share the beauty!
    SRT
     
  3. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    A set of ultra Thin grips on my Ultra Carry II. Just barely over 1/8" thick and stippled for grip, these grips are in wenge. For those looking to work with wenge on a project, it won't take poly "naked", you have to block the oils that are in the wood first. I use Teak oil as a base and after drying, then apply the poly. In this case, a few coats of gloss wetsanded between to fill some of the huge open grain, then a semi gloss final coat to cut the shine. Wenge is hard, but brittle and comes across as almost black when finished although some pieces can be lighter and display the wild graining in the wood.
    If anyone is planning on working with wenge in a future project, I'd be happy to help with info if I can.
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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  4. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    This is the first time I've worked with Black Ash Burl. This wood requires quite a bit more work in stabilizing and finishing, but I think the results are worth it. If anyone wants to try it and wants some tips, let me know. I won't bore the rest of you with the details. ;)
    It is a beautiful wood when done though, as you can see.
    SRT
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  5. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    You know it's going to happen. It's just a matter of time before you start combining existing designs into a new design. That's the case with today's pics - they combine the striped design with the layered design. I hope if you all are trying stuff like this that you post up the pics for us all to enjoy. Really, please do! Share the beauty!
    SRT
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  6. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    I've been looking for a Dan Wesson CBOB lately, and figured I might as well start getting up the many set of "dress clothes" that it will require, so here's the first set of bobtail grips. The wood is Thuya Burl. Very rare and pretty pricey, it's harvesting is strictly controlled. It's a very oily wood, so you are limited to oil finishes unless you want to spend a few more hours in prep to get a polyurethane to hold. Beautiful rich color and eyes throughout. It's easy to see why it's in demand.
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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  7. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    It's triple treat friday!
    Today's beautiful woods are (in order) Afzelia Xylay, Fire Box elder Burl, and Black Ash Burl. All beautiful with their own unique characteristics.
    Enjoy the beauty!
    SRT
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  8. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Here are two sets of the same wood in a different cut. One ray cut, the other burl cut. The wood is Corrugata Burl from Australia. So many beautiful woods in the world!
    Enjoy!
    SRT
    corrugataburlraygripscdp.jpg
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  9. Mp7

    Mp7 Member

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    SRT1..... this is an awesome show!!!

    love almost all of them.

    You should build furniture for other guns,
    not only 1911 grips!

    ...stocks for 870´s...... PPK grips....
    AR15 furniture.... AK-furniture.....

    an AK in "Zebrano"-Wood furniture would be awesome.
    ..should go to ak-47.net and see the Krink forums,
    they´d love your style!
     
  10. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Thanks for the kind words Mp7, I appreciate it. This thread is about showing people different woods that they might never otherwise have a chance to see, whether made by me or others, doesn't matter. I'm glad that you are enjoying the show! Maybe it will spark you to try your hand at some fabrication? It's addictive, be forewarned! ;)
    Here's a wood that is just classic in my mind - Australian Corrugata Burl. Everything you could ask for in a burl - plenty of eyes, great pattern adn rich color. Gorgeous!
    Anyway, thanks again, and enjoy! (Two different sets cut two different ways)
    SRT
    corrugataburlraygripscdp.jpg
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  11. BsChoy

    BsChoy Member

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    God I loved spalted wood...especially maple....just fantastic
     
  12. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    The spalted woods ARE beautiful, no arguing that!
    Here's a set of Thuya bobtail grips with a half stipple texture. Thuya is not only beautiful, it's also some of the most expensive and tightly controlled wood that you can(t) find. If you have any inkling of wanting to work with it and see a nice piece, grab it while you can!
    Thuya is a VERY oily wood that is best finished with an oil finish. You can get it to take a poly or lacquer finish, but it takes careful and thorough prep to make it work.
    Enjoy the beauty!
    SRT
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  13. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Picture grips for Fathers day. Since it's over, I won't be ruining the surprise. :D
    SRT
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  14. the_fallguy

    the_fallguy Member

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    I have to say, the Thuya grips are definitely among my favorites of the grips you've shown us (along with the Spalted Tamarind and the Marblewood). Very cool with the stippling, too. The Thuya wood looks awesome - How durable is it?
     
  15. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Thuya Burl is a dense wood, so it lends itself well to grips. It also helps that it will only take an oil finish for the most part - if they scratch etc, you can actually "polish" it with high grit sandpaper and re-oil it and it looks good as new. Now, Thuya will not put up well with being thrown in a pickup bed and bounced around town all day before being thrown in the toobox at home, but neither will most other woods or weapons either for that matter. The rules of common sense do apply here. If you're quite hard on your weapons, maybe the micarta and plastic grips are the better choice for you. ;)

    I need to PM you on a separate matter. :)


    Todays eye candy is featuring a classic wood from right here in the good ol' US of A. I often overlook domestic woods in my quest for the more unusual woods to use, but things like this rezero my sights. This is simple and available to most, but is turly a gorgeous wood. Maple Burl. Look at the tight pattern and great color. Also a very nice wood to work with for those of you getting ideas for your own grip fabrication project. If you see a block, it's well worth picking up. You'll be very happy that you did. Cuts, shapes and finishes well. The only realy annoyance with it is that it tends to burn easily on the sander. Not as bad as cherry, but still, take your time and keep it cool.
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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  16. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    If you have brothers or sisters, face it, at some point you were dressed up in matching "outfits" and sent to school, church, out to play, fill in your own nightmare. This is my way of working through those issues I guess. :p I have dressed my Kimbers up in matching outfits and sent them out to play. The wood is Red Bubinga which is always beautiful, but I have added matching stippled patterns to both the front and rear portions of the grips to provide solid grip without digging when carrying. I think thw two go together quite nicely.
    Anyway, enjoy the beauty and get your day started off right.
    SRT
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  17. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Another set of officers grips in Elm burl. Another one of those woods that is overlooked but can have some very nice graining and burl pattern in the right parts of the tree. These don't have the overt visual impact of many woods, but they are elegant in an understated way. That's my "artsy" interpretation of them. Other than that, they're just plain cool. :D
    SRT
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  18. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Many people are familiar with Zebrawood and it's pintstripe like streaked graining, but not too many have seen it crosscut, which is where the real beauty and unique quality of the wood is found in my mind. This set is crosscut, exposing the cool darker graining and "squiggly" patterns that you just don't see when it's grain cut. The color of the wood can range from a very light cream color with dark graining, to the darker grey with even darker graining shown in this set.
    Another beautiful wood with unique characteristics.
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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  19. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    I know these aren't wood grips, but I think they're quite cool. They look dead on like Ivory although, they're obviously not.
    Back to wood on Monday, I promise! :p
    Have a great weekend!
    SRT
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  20. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Todays eye candy is from this last weekend. Birds Eye Maple over Red Bubinga in a framed set. These woods go quite well together. Both have a great depth to the grain and the Bubinga has a flash that moves as you rotate them in the light. Quite cool! I like the contrast between the woods.
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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  21. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Todays beautiful wood moment is in the form of Purpleheart and Cherry. Purpleheart is an oddity in that when freshly cut, it is brown but upon exposure to the UV rays of the sun it changes to it's natrual purple color. This set, for example, was in the sun for about two hours and made it to this beautiful rich purple color. People always think it's a stain. It's not. This is an example of why I NEVER stain wood - there is such a variety of great colors and textures out there naturally, there is no need to stain anything. Besudes, when nature hands you stuff like this, it's not something I can improve on, so I don't bother trying.
    I put the Purpleheart over Cherry, which has long been a favorite combination on furniture, jewelry boxes etc. Beautiful stuff for sure!
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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  22. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Even I had to stop and stare at this set while working on it. My wife was mad at me because I wouldn't come in from the shop until I had at least the first coat fo finish on it to see the final coloring fo the woods together. My dinner was cold and lonely that evening. :evil:
    Amboyna Burl over Wenge. The colors are just flat out cool and pop right out at you. Magnificent!
    Enjoy!
    SRT
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  23. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    An oiled set of Birds Eye Maple with the Colt medallions. The oil hid the depth of the wood, but other than that, I like them. Poly would have really let these POP!
    tymaplegrips.jpg
     
  24. SRT1

    SRT1 Member

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    Todays eye candy is a special piece of walnut that is special. Long story short, let's just say that it's old growth walnut and has been drying (properly sticked) for over 65 years. The tree it came from was a giant that was there as long as anyone in the ladies family can remember and they've owned the land for generations. It blew over in a storm 65+ years ago and this ladies grandfather had the tree cut into lumber and stored.
    Wood of this caliber is reserved for exhibition grade stocks now and is rare. Unfortunately, the oil finish hides much of the depth and great coloring of it, but that's what my friend wanted as a finish. I have another set I'm doing that will have a poly finish and hopefully it will give you a taste of the real beauty of the wood. My scary lighting and photo skills don't help the matter any at all.
    Enjoy!
    Sarge
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  25. CWG

    CWG Member

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    Custom grip making

    I have just joined this forum and want to try out a post. Someone please let me know if it works and if there is any interest in my knowlege of 1911 grip making. I build custom grips for the 1911 pistol out of exotic woods as well as others. Below is an example of one of the sets that I make. I will answer any and all questions about the grip making process. I still need advice from others as well, so I hope I will be accepted in this forum and can get some help as well as help someone else, it is a great hobby and business. Oops!! I have already goofed up. I can't get the picture in. Could some one like STR1 please tell me how to insert a picture in the forum?
    [​IMG]

    Carl
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2008
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