Building 1911 grips (step by step)

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Woodnut, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    Since this is a teaching thread, all questions and comments should be made by clicking here. Thanks, Shooter45



    In this thread I will be answering questions pertaining to any and all steps of the process of building or customizing grips. I will be glad to take you through the building process as well as inlay, checkering, stippling or any other custom work that you want to learn. I am here to teach. If the desire is there, then you can do it.

    I will start with a few of the tools that I use to make and customize the grips.

    This is a picture of the step bit that I use to drill the counter bore in the grips, since this is one of the most important steps of grip making. These bits have to be altered and after altering them, they can only be used for the counter bore process of the grip making. I am also including a picture of the hand tools and jigs that I use in making the grips. These tools are not the only tools that can be used, they are just used in the way I do it. Everyone has their own method, and a lot of other ways work as well, and probably in some cases may be better then the tools I use.
    The first picture shows the step bit in use to drill the counter bore for the bushings. These bits will be available on my web site soon.
    The second picture shows the finished hole.
    The third picture shows the jigs that I use in fitting and drilling. If you have questions about these jigs, just ask and I will respond. Also pictured is the 15/64 drill bit, a hand clamp, a 15/64 center punch used for laying out the holes, and the step bit. Instructions on how to use these tools are available upon request.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  2. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    This week I have come up with what I think is a new texture for the grips. I placed these grips on my 1911 and was amazed at the feel of the texture. To me it is a lot more aggressive than checkering or stippling.

    Let me know what you think. I now have the bits on my web site for sale. Click Here.
    Thanks for looking.


    Since this is a teaching thread, all questions and comments should be made by clicking here. Thanks, Shooter45

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2010
  3. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    yup! you hit it right on the head. I have a small rotary tool like a dentist would use, and that is the way I cut the design. But you have to be very careful that it doesn't get away from you. LOL.

    This texture is something that I have had on my mind for quite a while but never tried it. So I had this pair of Laminated Chestnut that I have had for a long time, so I thought it would be good enough to practice on, an Wa La, it turned out very well, at least I think it did. It feels really great on the gun.
    Thanks for looking.
  4. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    Thanks guys for the flattery. Always appreaciated. I will put the grips on my gun today and snap some pictures and post.
    Thanks for asking, and looking.
    Carl
  5. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    OK here are a couple of pictures of the grips on the gun. Remember I am not good at photography.

    Attached Files:

  6. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    Another tool that I use almost every day in grip making is a tool that I developed. I call it the GRIP POPPER. If anyone has ever removed a pair of snug fitting grips from a 1911, then you know that sometimes they can be hard to remove since the magazine opening is a little small to use your finger to pop the grips off. So I came up with this tool that makes it much easier to pop off the grip.

    These Grip Poppers are available on my site under the tools tab.
    Thanks for looking.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  7. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    Tech2576 ask this question, hopefully I can answer to his staisfaction.

    I was curious how you keep the backs of the grips flat. i have been trying my hand at this & can't seem to keep them flat.

    I was also wondering what type of finishes you use most often & what the differnces are.


    I have a 4X24 orbital sander that I use on the backs if need be. I usually cut my blanks on a table saw with a thin kerf blade and very little if any sanding needs to be done on the back. You can also take a piece of plywood or anykind of wood that is flat and glue a piece of sandpaper on it and work the back flat like that by hand. I normally cut my blanks just shy of 5/16, around .300 in order not to have so much sanding to do on the face side while finishing, since the finished grip panel is normally about .250 to .260

    As far as finishing goes, on the harder and denser woods I do not use a finish, I just sand it thru the grits up to 1200 or sometimes 2000 depending on the shine the customer wants. After that I have a home made buffer with a 6 inch muslum wheel 1 inch wide that I buff the wood to a mirror finish.
    I also use Tung Oil which takes about 12 hours to dry and is very time consumming, because it usually takes a lot of coats, sanding between coats. The number of coats depends on the wood density, and how well you want to fill the pours.
    I also use another gun stock finish from Birchwood Casy called Tru-Oil. This is a little faster drying than the Tung Oil and fills the pours a little faster. Either way is very time consumming, as far as drying is concerned. The difference in these finishes vary a little. The Tung Oil is rubbed on like car wax, you just rub it until it becomes amost dry. It is a good finish for any kind of wood and last a long time. The Tru-Oil is a little more of a surface finish and is rubbed on by hand but not until dry. You must rub it evenly and try not to leave any streaks in the oil. The streaks from your fingers will usually level out while drying. I have used this type finish for years and have never had any problems with it. Once the final finish is complete, I use Birchwood Casy Gun Stock Wax to rub onto the surface. This makes it almost scratch resistant.

    Anytime you need advise of any kind, just let me know and if I can help, I will. Nothing would suit me better than to see someone else building grips by hand. As I have stated many times, it is a dying art, and I want to keep it going. So anything that I can pass along to others, I am always glad to help.

    Thank you so much for asking. I hope I have answered you questions. If not feel free to email or call me, email h2owork@aol.com Ph 228 255 0822.

    Carl



  8. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    I am fairly sure I could do that for you. I would just need a picture of what you are looking for. You may email me at cwgrips@gmail.com
    Thanks for asking.
    Carl
  9. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    In reply to Scott's question on the alteration of the step bit. This is a pdf tutorial that I did some time ago for the bit. If there are any more questions, just ask in the other thread. I will do my best to answer all questions.

    Thanks for looking and I hope this helps. I also have these altered bits for sale on my web site for folks that do not have the means to do the alteration.

    Let me know if this helps.
    Carl

    Attached Files:

  10. Buckshot

    Buckshot Active Member

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    Wow...wow...WOW! Those are gorgeous! Very nicely done. Reminds me of stacked stones or a rock wall. (We call it rip-rap around these parts.)

    :bow:
  11. motoracer

    motoracer New Member

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    I've been doing some work making 1911 grips also. I've been hand checkering them but am looking for something new. Which leads me to my question... How do you do your stippling?
  12. Woodnut

    Woodnut Forum Sponsor Supporting Member

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    Please accept my apologizes for not looking at this thread in a long time. Send me an email and I will do my best to put you on the right track to the way I do this. cwgrips@gmail.com.
  13. jstanfield103

    jstanfield103 New Member

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    Thanks for the Sticky
  14. ejkoechling

    ejkoechling Active Member

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    beautiful work. I'll look you up on my next grip exchange
  15. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    I'm gonna have to steal the 'grip popper' idea, that looks like a handy tool.

    My TRP has some pretty snug grips, that purpose built tool would certainly be a nice addition to my 1911 tool kit.
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