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Thread: the art of grip making..a tutorial w/pics

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    28th December 2006
    Location
    North East Ohio
    Posts
    5,713

    the art of grip making..a tutorial w/pics

    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






    ..L.T.A

  2. #2
    Join Date
    3rd September 2010
    Location
    Loveland, Ohio
    Posts
    643
    Oh! Is that my set Cap???????

  3. #3
    Very nice ... thanks for taking the time to post.
    /Bryan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    11th January 2011
    Location
    Cincinnati,Ohio
    Posts
    63
    Thanks Cap,I,ve added your thread to my favorites next to jerm1812s link
    on how to make Grips useing fiberglass resin and cloth.I,m working on my second pair of Grips at this time.Triple bypass & COPD have me on the no work list.Things like this keep me out of trouble.
    Railbuggy
    When Death looks you in the eye and smiles,smile back with a 45.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    3rd September 2010
    Location
    Loveland, Ohio
    Posts
    643
    Hmmm...Cappi, I assume by your silence that you probably haven't started mine yet!

    Look good bud!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    2nd September 2010
    Location
    Southwest Florida
    Posts
    425
    Cap: How much "grip" do custom grips like that provide? Do they provide a good purchase when shooting or mainly for looks? Bob

  7. #7
    Join Date
    28th December 2006
    Location
    North East Ohio
    Posts
    5,713
    Quote Originally Posted by boblenaere
    Cap: How much "grip" do custom grips like that provide? Do they provide a good purchase when shooting or mainly for looks? Bob
    welp, they are smooth.

    I tell you what I've discovered though , I LOVE front strap checkering and smooth grips .
    I think I've owned just about every type grip known to man...
    From those very aggressive micarta creations to rubber with and w/o finger grooves ,to aluminum, to traditional double diamond .

    I'm kind of a "gripoholic" I guess...

    all the pistols i shoot regularly have my smooth stocks and checkered front straps.
    I use Wilson Combat's checkered front strap thingie .
    It's over priced for all it is, but they work GREAT

    http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1...ED_FRONT_STRAP

    Until I work enough courage to attempt proper checkering..again
    (my first attempt a couple/three years ago didn't turn out so well..LOL)
    all my pistols get the Wilson strap


    I've found it's not the "sides" that make the difference in "my" hand, it's the front and rear that gives me the best "grab" on the pistol

    but of coarse, as they say, YMMV


    ..L.T.A.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    17th May 2010
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    888

    Super Job Mr. Cap!!!

    For some reason I get red "x's" instead of the first few pictures.

    Scratch that, workin fine now.

    I will be re reading this one for sure and won't be alone. This post is a great service to the brotherhood.

    I'll never get around to doing anything like this but don't have to as I "know" a guy that does some excellent work :-)

    By chance, are you related to the guy at:

    http://diamondwood1911grips.com/


    Gord
    Last edited by hercster; 28th February 2011 at 22:43.


  9. #9

    Icon17

    Quote Originally Posted by hercster
    For some reason I get red "x's" instead of the first few pictures.

    Scratch that, workin fine now.

    I will be re reading this one for sure and won't be alone. This post is a great service to the brotherhood.I'll never get around to doing anything like this but don't have to as I "know" a guy that does some excellent work :-)

    By chance, are you related to the guy at:

    http://diamondwood1911grips.com/


    Gord
    +1 on a great service to us as I do a lot of lurking and very little posting but I just had to say Thanks Cap

    If that is your site you can look for my order comming your way they all look pretty sweet
    Last edited by Benjmen; 1st March 2011 at 12:54.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    2nd October 2006
    Location
    Weeki Wachee, Fl
    Posts
    4,929
    Thanks for the great post, Cap!

    As you note; I've found that smooth grips work fine for me, even in IDPA matches down here. Several of my pistols have front strap checkering; but I get by fine on the ones that don't with just the MSH checkering.

    Take care,

    Rick

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