|Project by Hoosierdaddy||posted 02-23-2012 12:06 AM||2526 views||4 times favorited||25 comments|
First off, a tip of the hat to all the folks here on LJ that I was able to draw from their experiences after they had completed similar projects. This sawdust maker is humbly standing on the shoulders of giants.
This project was for the brother of one of my oldest daughters friends. This young man served this country honorably in Iran as a Marine. The parents had approached me sometime back to try to recreate the pewter pistol grips they had purchased. The problem with pewter is that it’s an incredibly soft metal. Being screwed onto the frame and then after a few clips are shot thru the pistol, the screw holes become enlarged and eventually the grips are rattling. They tried to return them with no luck, so buyer beware!
I started out with blanks of sycamore, curly maple, birds-eye maple and cherry. After five or six attempts I finally got this set of birds-eye maple grips that I’m happy with. Given that these grips are for a war hero, I wanted nothing less than perfection, so problems with the first grips that I would be willing to live with on my own gun I would not permit myself to give to him for his.
These grips are for a 1911 .45ACP, Mr. Colt’s finest. The template was the pewter grips, then after excruciating careful measurements I drilled the holes, back drilled the backside of the grips as needed to accommodate the mechanisms and protrusions on the pistol. The Marine pins were purchased from an online store, I’m sure to augment traditional uniforms, that they gave to me to set into the grips. I think I used a 1-1/8” forstner bit to make the “hole” they’re sitting in, then additional holes to allow for the mounting studs to protrude all the way thru. I’m reasonably sure that in time the finish will wear off these pins, hence my reluctance to just poly over the top of the pin and the wood. It would have certainly “seated” the pin to the wood, but it may have created problems down the road if the pin needed to be replaced.
As you’ll see on other folks’ projects, the main hole thru the grip is 15/64”, with small recesses on the back to allow for the stud on the gun frame that accepts the mounting screws. The front was drilled out with a standard 21/64” bit, not to deep, for screws to sit in. I fretted for a couple of weeks how to do this particular portion of the work. If there was such a thing as a 6 or 7mm forstner bit that MIGHT have worked but in the end I’m much happier with this. My first few grips I experimented with a 5/16” forstner bit and couldn’t quite get the forstner hole centered over the original pilot hole. I ended up creating a little jig for my drill press that I clamped the grip down to, then inserted a 15/64” bit in the press, centered the grip onto that bit, clamped the jig that was holding the grip into place, backed out the 15/64” bit, inserted the 21/64” bit and CAREFULLY drilled the countersinks to receive the screws. I apologize for having diarrhea of the fingers, just wanted to let you all know how I skinned this cat. I think my process assured that both holes were aligned with each other after having been double clamped, grip to the jig and then jig to the drill press.
When all was finally said and done, four coats of tung oil was applied, with a mild buffing of 0000 steel wool in between applications.
The upside of the whole project is I was able to justify getting a new set of nice P-C forstner bits, digital calipers, tung oil, danish oil, wipe on poly and other miscellaneous bits and pieces. All told probably $125 in stuff, before I bought any wood. The wood came from the friends at Northwest Lumber (northwest side of Indianapolis….a must visit if you’re ever in the neighborhood).
Looking to deliver the grips tonight to his parents and they’ll in turn give to him. I plan to hem and haw about a final price for the grips, hoping that I can get away with saying “I’ll get back to them after I think about it for a bit.” I honestly have no intention of charging them, or him for these. He’s more than paid a price with his service and I just don’t feel right asking for anything.
thanks for looking!
God Bless these United States of America!
-- I don't know what this is going to be like, but there's only one way to find out..........