View Full Version : Gun Grip Blanks

Steven Wallace
12-18-2008, 9:18 PM
I am starting to get requests for custom grip plates for the Colt 1911. You gun geeks will know what I am talking about. For the rest, like my wife, here is a link to someone who is already doing this type of work. http://www.huntersheadquarters.net/SearchResults.asp
I am hoping that once you see this you might know someone that can provide blanks to be engraved. When my wife saw the link, she said, oh that's what you meant. She is one smart cookie and besides she may read this post... Thanks

Deane Shepard
12-19-2008, 12:32 AM
Try Ajax Grips, http://www.ajaxgrips.com/ajax/ajax , or Brownells, http://www.brownells.com/ for plain grips.

I made a set of plain 1911 grips from 1/4" or 5/16" wood. They are about as simple a set of pistol grips as you will find. Scanned a set off a pistol, traced it and let the laser cut them out. Five minutes with a belt sander and rat tail file and they were fitted. You need a stepped hole for the grip screws and if I remember correctly, I used a Miller Dowel drill bit to do the stepped hole after having the laser position the holes (undersized). Lots cheaper than buying them.

Hope that helps.


Kenneth Hertzog
12-19-2008, 8:24 AM

I plan on making grips for the 1911 in the very near future.
need to get the holidays out of the way first.
will post some pictures when I get one done.


Steven Wallace
12-19-2008, 10:51 AM
I have a dimensioned drawing to the grips and have already cut out a jig for holding them in place while engraving them. I own a 1911 clone and those grip plates fit fine in the jig. That being said, if I attempted to make the grips I was concerned how to achieve the 1 1/32" radius of the face of the grip. I was going to use a vector cut for the smaller through hole for the grip screw and raster out the larger recessed hole. It was mentioned using a belt sander to shape the grips. If you don't mind me asking, how did you hold on to them during this process? What width belt sander are you using? I am planing on trying to do this with a white acrylic sheet stock if I manufacture my own. Thanks for the help and ideas. Ajax is a little high in price and I can't get them to talk about a volume discount because I just don't know how many I will eventually do. If you need a copy of the drawing PM me and I will send it to you. Too big to post here.

Kenneth Hertzog
12-19-2008, 12:00 PM
sure send the drawing my email is in the profile.
I plan on doing a quanity for a couple of friends who
own gun shops and do a lot or repair and customize 1911
and yes I do own an original 1911
figure on cutting grips from corian as well as exotic woods
as for the contor I'm cutting mine out on the cnc machine
plan to use the 3d effect to do the contor while bolted down to the table.
would only use the laser to engrave.

Kevin L. Waldron
12-19-2008, 4:07 PM
You could always design a lathe type of jig out of plywood that would allow you to attach a piece of stock to the front(head stock) and rear (tail stock) plywood would work well here (this could be more of a fan type of head stock. You would need to drill holes for indexing in the headstock for an indexing pin. The next step would be to build a hand router slider box over the center of this lathe jig. The box would only allow the router to go from tail-stock to head-stock with no side to side movement.

Mount a piece of material between centers(I probably would place a flat board to lay the material on here and you could attach with double sided tape or even velcro if not a lot of material is to be removed. Possibly use screws from the underside if necessary) and push the router with some kind of end mill/ball nose back and fourth until the desire amount is cut. Then rotate and index again and repeat the process both clockwise and counter-clockwise until the desired amout is cut. Remove and cut to size. It would also be possible to drill attachment holes while still in the zig if so desired. If you google and search for a router box for lathes there are many pictures.

This would be the poormans way of making a large number of grips. Or.... pay a cnc guy to do the job.


Deane Shepard
12-19-2008, 11:15 PM
Steve - I took a piece of double stick tape and put it on the back side of the blank, then fastened a scrap block to the double stick tape so that the grip became the top of a "T" I held onto the scrap block and pushed the grip into the belt sander. Simply rolling my wrists up and down made it like the grip was on the outside of the radius and I got a nice curve on the grips. Whether it was the 1 1/32" radius you describe I have no idea, I just did it by eye. I've made several sets and they work just fine. I have a Rigid oscillating belt sander, about a 6" wide belt. Using my approach, the belt is moving parallel to the grain of the wood while it oscillates perpendicular to the grain. As my wrists roll up and down, the "line" in the wood that is in contact with the belt just is naturally on about the right curvature. I think you might have a heat problem while sanding with acrylic, plus you would then have to polish it again to get the sanding marks out (much easier with wood).

I did NOT have good luck vector cutting the hole and then trying to raster the shoulder. It should work in theory, but I found that I just wasn't getting the sharp shoulder needed. I had the Miller Dowel drill bit and it worked great.

The grips that I have done have been deeply engraved. I have done checkering as well as designs such as a field of stars with insignia and initials. (Sadly, I have not taken pictures of any of them before they went to their new homes.) The key is that they were made for shooters, i.e. to give a strong gripping surface, not just ornamentation. A slick grip with a lightly engraved design just wouldn't give the friction that I think a serious shooter would want. I do some competitive shooting and I know I shoot a lot better with checkered grips than with smooth ones. I haven't tried engraving acrylic really deeply to decide if it would work out that way. I'll be interested to see how it works out for you.


Steven Wallace
12-19-2008, 11:50 PM
Deane, If you check out my web site you'll see a High Standard Double-Nine revolver with white plastic grips. I have shot and cleaned this pistol several times since the engraving was done. I take the grips off before cleaning but I am sure that they have seen a bit of the solvent and show no signs of losing the back fill. I masked them prior to the engraving and back-filled the engraving with a paint made for plastics.

Thanks for your input and I was almost positive that you were using a 6" belt sander. I am going to give your procedure a try and I hope I have as much success. Thanks for the heads up on the holes... no use trying to reinvent the wheel. I will take your word on that one. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Steven Wallace
12-29-2008, 4:45 AM
So I finally got around to engraving the grips that were on my pistol and am attaching pics of them.

Frank Corker
12-29-2008, 7:55 AM
Nice job Steve.

Dee Gallo
12-29-2008, 8:01 AM
Impressive detail and depth, Steve!

Mike Christen
12-29-2008, 9:58 AM
So I finally got around to engraving the grips that were on my pistol and am attaching pics of them.

Hi Steve

Very nice work.

I would like to do some relief engraving as you have in the scallops of the grips. Is it just a gradient fill used? I would like to give it a try so any help would be appreciated. A cdr would be very helpful


Phil Garcia
12-29-2008, 10:49 AM
Very Nice Steve, look great.

Barry Richardson
12-29-2008, 12:24 PM
Steven, I have a buddy that specializes in 1911 grips (from wood, doesn't use acrylic as far as I know) He lives in Suprise. I can hook him up with you if interested. I'll be back in town tomorrow, I'm presently in VA. Barry

Steven Wallace
12-29-2008, 2:33 PM
Mike, Yes it is a gradient fill and Peck Sidara supplied the cdr. file. I have an Epilog and check the 3D button on the advanced tab when setting up my parameters for spd and pwr. I used the Epilog recommended settings for the use of wood products. will try and attach the fishscale cdr. to this entry.

Steven Wallace
12-29-2008, 2:36 PM
Hope this is of use.

Steven Wallace
12-29-2008, 2:38 PM
Barry thanks that would be great. Does he make the grips or does he just laser them?

Anthony Welch
12-29-2008, 5:51 PM

Those grips are nice. Do know if you have to have the 3D function to get it to look like that?


Steven Wallace
12-29-2008, 7:14 PM
I have tried it without the 3D function but have had much nicer results with it. I haven't tried it but may be making a second run would give more depth to the product. I am thinking that the 3D is like an auto coloring mapping function. But then that is only my guess and nothing that I have read.

Mike Christen
12-29-2008, 11:23 PM
Thanks Steve

I have an old epilog summit, no 3d button :(. Bit I will give it a try and see how it works.

Thanks again

Barry Richardson
12-29-2008, 11:57 PM
Steve, I have a buddy who specializes in 1911 grips (out of wood, doesnt do acrylic as far as I know), I can hook you up with him if you like. He lives in Surprise.

Bill Cunningham
12-30-2008, 8:56 PM
Wow.. They came out nice... I've engraved a few Ruger Grips for some of the guys in my club, and now I'm tempted to pull the stock grips off my 1911 Para to use as a template for some experiments.. I acquired some nice tiger striped wood from a customer (no idea what it is but it's sure purdy!) And it should make a super set of grips.. Now, I just have to find some time!!!

Wolf Nitsch
12-30-2008, 10:33 PM
They look great Steve, nice job. Thanks again for the info you sent.

Steven Wallace
12-31-2008, 3:15 PM
Attached is the jig file that I made up to hold the grips in place during engraving. You then can use it as a template to embellish your own grips. I built it so that everything can be centered off the center line of the screw holes. If your grips happen to be a little loose in the jig I suggest putting a 0.062 boundary to the left and right of the engraved area once the grips are centered in the jig. If you need more info don't hesitate to contact me. People on the Creek have been more than gracious to me with their assistance on my projects. I only want to do the same. Wishing all of you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!!!