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April 19th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted in It's all about me, Pass the ammo, Pistol Grips

Heavy grip making.

Now that I have about 25 sets of full size 1911’s finished out and ready to be textured, burned and finished, I decided to switch gears and work on revolvers.  Specifically the SP101 my wife has.

So, now I am chopping up more pine to test with, working on angles for the grip and finger positions, and generally having a good ol’ time of it.  I’m making a standard grip right now with a middle finger grip and once I have the basic design down I am making a special set for my wife.  Since her fingers are very small (she wears a size 4 ring) I am making the finger groves smaller to fit her hand.

I’m thinking of offering that as an option as well – something like, you send a tracing of your hand and I fit the grips to it.  It’s would need to be more accurate that that I think, but general idea.

Anyway, here is where the new design is at right now.

Yep, there’s still a ways to go on them, but I’m making good progress.

Tools Make the Difference

March 11th, 2012 | No Comments | Posted in Pass the ammo, Pistol Grips, pretty pictures

Good tools that is.

I was over at Home Depot (damn them for being along my walk to work) and while I was roaming the aisles with some rags-in-a-box, a couple of C-clamps and some sand paper I came across a set of DeWalt drill bits and decided to pick them up since I was short a 1/16th bit since it had decided to break on me a week or two ago.  The other deciding factor was that these bits were titanium pilot point bits and the Craftsman bits I  had been using were standard steel bits.

Fast forward to Saturday.  I’m working on a set of grips that I am making out of Bubinga.  This is a very hard wood that has a great dark red/brown color with hints of black.  I decide to pull out my new bits and give them a whirl since I figure titanium bits will have an easier go of it than my cheapo steel bits and boy howdy was I right.

When making grips, I don’t start with a left and right side blank, I start with one slab of wood that eventually I will resaw down the middle and split into my two blanks.  Generally my grips start off (for a 1911) as a 2x5x1″ thick blank that I first drill the mount holes and then cut to shape before re-sawing and then shaping the faces.

My new drill bits not only went through like a hot knife, but I also learned something.  My old bits I would have to go back and slightly enlarge the hole so that the would fit on the pistol.  They were always just a touch too small.  My new bits make the mount hole the perfect size, no reworking required.  So, all I can think is that my old bits are actually not the right size and are a hair too small.

As far as the grips I was working on, here is how they look so far – one coat of tung oil.  I have four more coats to go and then I’ll varnish them.

This set I am keeping for myself to put on a certain Kimber I am considering throwing cash at. I think these grips will look pretty sweet on that matte black finish.


Yes, I still need to do the required cutouts for the mag release and safety. I always do a coat of oil before finishing it all up because it allows me to see all the details.


March 2nd, 2012 | 4 Comments | Posted in Pass the ammo, Pistol Grips, pretty pictures

So, I finished getting my worktable set up (a post on that later) and got to work on some grip stuff.

Here is a test run on a grip that I unfortunately messed up so it is essentially scrap, but scrap is good for testing ideas, so I used this one to test a way to do texture and design and then tung oiled it to bring out the color

Of course, this is just a beginning, I have much to do before I am in full production mode and ready to sell.  Website is being worked on; still need to order mold material to make dummy guns with; need my wood burning tools; so much stuff that has to be done.

I figure I’ll probably be ready for full unveil of my grip website in June or July.  I guess launching it on July 4th would be a good day to kick it off.  What goes better with guns than fireworks  😀

So, this is your teaser shot of the day. One example of about twenty different ideas that I have put down on paper.  There’s a whole lot more in my head too that are wanting to get out.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

January 26th, 2012 | 2 Comments | Posted in It's all about me, Pistol Grips, work is good

As Linoge over at Walls of the City (which should have been on my blog roll a long time ago) noted, I am now venturing into making custom grips.  I actually got going in this direction because my wife has tiny hands and she was not happy with the grips on her revolver.  Me, being the kind of guy I am, looked at it and decided that it was silly that I should buy some grips that would still be too large when I can just make them myself.  So, here we are.

I am currently assembling the last of the equipment I need which will eat up about $800 (wonder if there are any venture capitalists out there wanting to throw me money….)

Anyway, once all that is taken care of and I have a proper workstation and tools I will begin production on some 1911, Hi-Power, Beretta and even a Ruger SP101 set of grips. These are what I am starting with because they are the pistols I have available.  I will probably be able to get hold of a Model 60 and do some S&W grips too,

If anyone has a special request for a set, feel free to let me know, I am always open to expanding my range of skills and I will back my work with a 100% money back guarantee.  I plan to be up and running by March and as things get closer I’ll let you know about the website, product designs and what I have available in inventory for immediate sale (I’m positive that this will include some full and compact 1911 grips as well as some Brownings).

I look forward to putting some work into your hands very soon.


January 22nd, 2012 | 2 Comments | Posted in Pass the ammo, Pistol Grips

From this

To this

Dirtcrashr was very kind sent me a nice large chunk of Koa wood to try out in making grips.  Needless to say, I love the stuff.  It’s dense and hard but with just a few applications of Tung Oil brought out these gorgeous colors.

I also benefited from advice from Kerry at the Smoothing Plane who answered all of my questions and pointed me in the right direction for some tools I can use, terminology and techniques.

Thank you both, gentlemen.

This particular set is unusual in that I only sanded it to 60 grit.  My dad wants a smooth set of grips for his Kimber and when he felt the last practice set that I had finished rough sanding he said the texture was perfect and he didn’t think I should take it any further. He then asked if I could make him a set for his CC pistol and offered to pay me for them.

Dad’s current set of grips has three groves in them (as you can see from the link) and he hates the way they feel.  So, I made this up for him and the only thing left is to see if he wants them oiled like they are or if he want’s them varnished.  Depending on how it goes, the rough sanded version might become part of my design lineup.

Varnishing will protect them better, but I don’t want to make them slick to the hand, so we shall soon see what it will be.  His birthday is Tuesday and these are his present.  Guess he can’t pay me for them after all  😀

Missed it by THAT Much!

January 10th, 2012 | 5 Comments | Posted in Pistol Grips

OR “What a Beautiful Mistake”

So, as some of you are aware, I have started on the path to teach myself how to make custom grips.  I have tools (bandsaw, drill press, sander and various hand tools), I have skills (classically trained artist and designer), and I have wood (both hard and soft varieties).

What I don’t have is experience at making gun grips so I decided to start off the smart way with a bunch of reading, book buying and working on pine instead of something more expensive and so far that has been working out OK.  I cut out about 10 blanks for 1911 grips and began shaping and forming them into 1911 grips.

I used a set of 1911 grips that I had purchased as my pattern and marked the drill holes and then drilled, shaped and sanded until the looked right.  There were some flaws with angles and I still have the mag release notch and safety notch to cut out on the set, but overall I was pleased so I decided that I should try it on hardwood so I could figure out any changes I would need to do because of the material hardness.

So, after roughing out five sets in pine I pulled out the good stuff and went to work.  here’s the results.

Unfinished and without the bevels on the top and bottom, nor the cutouts required.  This set I sanded down to 400 grit sandpaper, normally I’ll take it to 800.  But the reason this set, my very first hardwood set, will never get finished?

The screw holes are off.

By just about 1mm.

Yep.  So, now I have ordered a second and third 15/32nd punch so I can clamp my pattern grip to the wood set both punches at the same time and make sure that the are not off at all.

If at first you don’t succeed….