The Art of making the 1911 stock... A picture tutorial for those who would like to try.
In the interest of condensing an already long tutorial , we'll assume anyone considering making their own stocks will already have at least "some" woodworking experience and tools.
You will need a drill press, saw, sanders, file, calipers, center punch, set of factory stocks and a keen eye for detail if you hope to accomplish the making of a quality set of 1911 stocks
Let us begin
choose your wood.
The scales need to be a minimum of 4 1/2 x 1 5/8 x 5/16 thick.
Preferably a little larger, but those dimensions will "just" make it.
Lay out the lines using a set of factory grips
Use your center punch to mark the hole spacing
Once center punched, and outline drawn, drill the holes.
Size of holes according to US Army prints are .238 with tolerance of plus .010.
Spacing between holes is 3.72" center to center +/- .005
Once the first hole is drilled, you can use a grip panel and center punch to line up the second hole.
I use a simple, but effective home made jig you see in the pic
(a factory stock will work too)
Test fit before you go any farther using the right side of the pistol
Both panels can be checked for proper hole spacing using the right side
If you missed the spacing by much, start over.
If an expensive piece of wood, you can salvage the piece by filling one hole with fine saw dust and CA glue, then re-drill.
if slightly off, you can make some adjustments being aware that MAX hole size tolerance is .248" diameter according to US Army specs.
if good on the spacing, cut to the line you laid out.
cut "to" the line, but leave the line showing
all good so far??...excellent, lets continue to the next step.
drilling the relief cut for the grip bushing shoulder.
Size is .295 dia x .055 deep
I use a step bit I modified for this operation
The 1/4" dia "step" on this bit has been ground down to .238.
However, a 5/16" brad point drill bit will work well.
To center the 5/16 brad point bit, chuck up the grip screw bit, run it through the scale, then clamp the scale in place.
Raise the press spindle , remove the bit and chuck up the 5/16 brad point.
If your scale was clamped properly/tightly, you'll now be centered for the bushing shoulder cut
.055 is the proper depth.
Now lets get the frame fit close .
Do both panels at once
you'll see how that happens with this pic.
don't sand all the way to the factory stock.
leave some room like this for final finish frame fit
now we're ready to cut the left side panel plunger tube cut.
I lay the panel on, mark front and rear tube position on panel , draw a straight line, then make the first rough cut w/Dremel
I finish fit with hand file allowing a few thousandths for 1911 manufacture's variance
now we'll sand the the profile.
This is done by hand on the belt sander and requires a "touch"
I made a simple jig to hold the work.
It's nothing more than a block wiith two dowels that press fit into the holes.
you can easily make your own, or use doubled sided tape to hold the stock to a block
as you're shaping the profile, measure often with calipers .
You want no less that .260 thickness .
Measure at the area of top and bottom grip screw holes to be sure of relativity* even thickness
(*don't go nuts over a few thousandths difference)
Also be sure to leave an "edge" on the stock sides.
Don't rock all the way to the edge while sanding the profile, or the edge of the grip will end up a knife edge.
You also need to put the bevel at the magwell end.
I do that on the belt sander, but I've done it a million times and have a pretty good touch for getting the angle right.
You can use a file if that works better
Oakie doakie, not we're getting somewhere and they're starting to like stocks
Now for final frame fit
check for straight lines in several places using the frame as the guide.
Some of these need improvement, which I do by hand with the file.
a good hand and keen eye is required
Once you're happy with final frame fit, it's time to finish sand.
I start with 150 grit on a 5" random orbit palm sander .
i didn't take any pics, but I clamp the sander upside down and hold the stock in my fingers as i sand all the belt sander scratches off.
It's important you remove ALL belt scratches .
They're sometimes hard to see once most all are gone, so pay close attention.
you can see them here in this pic
those MUST go or stick out like a sore thumb when the finish is applied
once all scratches are gone, move up to to 220 grit for a quick sand.
Now we'll harden the outer surface on the softer woods like this spalted Maple.
We do that by applying a liberal amount of CA glue, letting it dry, then sand smooth on the palm sander with 400 grit
now we'll drill for the grip screw counter sink.
That measurement according to print is .275 dia.
Depth should be enough to make the screw flush.
However, according to Hoyle, the depth should at the precise point of grip screw bottoms on the top of the bushing.
That precise depth is contingent on the exact thickness of the finished stock thickness
I have a bit that allows to center and cut in one step.
You can use brand point bit size 9/32" to cut yours.
center the same way as previously mentioned for the bushing relief cut
Now for the final sand
I use 600 grit on the palm sander for final sand.
then apply finish of your choice.
poly, lacquer, natural oils, etc.
it's up to you
if you did everything right, you'll have something like this to be proud of