View Full Version : I need a little help thinking this through...

joseph dake
08-17-2015, 7:47 PM
I want to make my own handles/grips for a pistol and based on the shape of the cut out I am wondering if it would be smarter to use a patern bit off the exact size or use a bushin setup?
I have not used bushings other than for dovetails and need some advice on how to figure out what size I would have to make the tempete bigger or smaller. I would like to use a 1/8 or 1/4 bit for the routing, deepest I will be cutting is 3/8.

Lee Schierer
08-19-2015, 12:06 PM
A 3/8" cut is going to be pretty deep for a 1/8" bit unless you do it in several passes and I don't think they make a piloted bit that small.

Working with bushing requires the template to be offset from the finished piece. What you have to do is measure the outside diameter of the bushing and the outside diameter of the bit. Half the difference is the amount of your offset.

Be aware that you are going to experience grain reversal cutting all the way around a piece to for a pistol grip. You may experience tear out, particularly on highly figured wood.

Alan Rutherford
10-28-2015, 1:49 PM
I've made a few sets of target grips. They were non-traditional and "fat" because I wanted to shoot with my non-dominant eye among other things so my experience might not help but:

I made a wooden mockup of the pistol frame. Depending on the pistol you can use a scrap of plywood or laminate some thin scraps. If you're not fitting to your hands it's OK if the thickness is slightly off.

I located the mounting holes in both the template and my grips early on. I finished (flattend) the inside of the grips and drilled the mounting holes and relief for the bolt heads before shaping the grips. If you finish them before drilling the holes you have no room for error at all in positioning the holes.

I did final shaping and finishing with both grips attached to the mockup, reality-checking on the gun. In my case it was largely because of adjusting the shape and fit "on the fly" but you can sand right up to the edge of the template without fear of scratching metal. You can side-step grain problems this way by leaving a little meat around the edges to trim off later.

If you put unthreaded pins or something in the holes in the template it's easier to slip the grips on and off. If the thickness and design allow, you can put alignment pins in the template that don't go through the grips without using the mounting holes. This might be over-kill with plain thin grips but if you're adjusting to fit your hands, it helps a lot.

Maybe not an answer to the question you asked, but at least in my case, cutting precisely to a pattern was a minor part of the process.

Good luck. No matter how they come out, few people who see them will have made their own. That's bragging rights!!!

Bud Millis
10-30-2015, 8:03 PM
I have made several for semi-autos and revolvers. Never used a router! Bandsaw, template, drill press to rough the shape. Then finish with rasps, sanding, etc.

glenn bradley
10-31-2015, 8:34 AM
I have made several for semi-autos and revolvers. Never used a router! Bandsaw, template, drill press to rough the shape. Then finish with rasps, sanding, etc.

This would be my choice as well. If I were doing production runs I would contract it out to a CNC shop.