Grips - A new way
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  1. #1
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    Grips - A new way

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    Howdy all,

    This is a thread long overdo. I got pretty busy and kept putting it off, but I finally got a round to it.

    Now I am a big fan of custom grips on my Colt SAA's. I believe not a single one I own has the original grips on them. At some point in time, I have replaced them all with different grips, often multiple for different guns. The biggest problem with custom grips I have found is the hassle of having to ship the entire gun out for proper fitting. This is not only expensive, as there are only a few ways one can legally ship a pistol, but also in certain areas of the country becoming extremely difficult. But there is no other way to get custom grips, right? Well it turns out that there is. On this very forum, a member that goes by Botiemaster, has come up with a new method. I first noticed his work in the Resin Ivory thread, in which he replaced the plastic pvc white grips on some of the new pietta guns with some of this resin ivory material. The gun that he had replaced the grips with is the same as one I own. So I reached out to him and discussed the process in which he had fit his grips. I have very little skill in wood working and even less in any kind of grip fitting. Therefore, I reached out to mr botiemaster and asked what he thought about taking my grip frames and my resin ivory to see if the pietta guns are similar enough to swap out grip frames and fitting grips. He had no idea, but was willing to take on the task. Well since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have posted 5000 words to show the end results. Needless to say, I could not be happier with how it turned out. Not only do they fit like a glove, but the shipping cost was a total of $16 for both ways rather than a couple of hundred dollars. I am hoping that this thread starts a conversation and opens up the option for other grip makers to experiment with the techniques used. I still have plenty of other guns that need new grips.

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    Nice!

    A few of the better grip makers will have a Colt frame (and other frames) they use as a slave and bolt your trigger guard and back strap to that to make grips. Nutmegs has a couple of guys that have been using that technique for years.

    On another note what are folks using to glue the resin ivory spacer?

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    Wow, those are pretty.
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    Those are some great looking grips!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkInTx View Post
    Those are some great looking grips!
    Great looking gun too!!!
    Amat Victoria Curam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yahoody View Post
    On another note what are folks using to glue the resin ivory spacer?
    Nothing works better on resin than super glue. The good, full strength CA from a hobby shop. Use the thick CA so that you have a few seconds to make adjustments.




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    He did a great job on those. And that’s no easy task. All these Resin Ivory posts are about to convince me to build a set for myself. Crazy how realistic those look and from everything I’ve read, the feel of them is pretty “right” as well. I’m a sucker for authenticity but with the elephant ivory ordeal being what it is, and forum threads with titles like “Are these grips Real or Resin??” this stuff is starting to look like a seriously viable alternative. Beautiful gun OP and keep up the good work Botie.
    joehaber likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VoyPescado View Post
    He did a great job on those. And that’s no easy task. All these Resin Ivory posts are about to convince me to build a set for myself. Crazy how realistic those look and from everything I’ve read, the feel of them is pretty “right” as well. I’m a sucker for authenticity but with the elephant ivory ordeal being what it is, and forum threads with titles like “Are these grips Real or Resin??” this stuff is starting to look like a seriously viable alternative. Beautiful gun OP and keep up the good work Botie.
    One time at a shoot I purposefully tried to pass off the resin as the real deal and it fooled some very discerning and knowledgeable folks. They were stunned when I revealed the truth.

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    I've been wondering what they looked like on your gun. Not bad for going in sorta blind. I still wish I had left well enough alone near the end. I know I'm really more of a commissions guy than a business so even the slightest error irritates me because it's just one chance to get it right. I'm still having episodes of vertigo to this day BTW so I'm not too sure what the future holds. It's extremely mild compared to what it was while I was working on Big's grips and another forum member here. I get a MRI tomorrow to find out if I have a twomah in my brain or not. The other member here who I did work for said the fit is excellent for his pietta. For his I had to take his spacer to the grip ER after I ran out of resin ivory while trying out a new method of fitting the slabs to the frame. Let me tell you, it's the ugliest spacer in existence after being frankensteined but it worked in the end. Of course, a month after I sent it back to him, I found that long lost extra spacer I made for my uberti that I could have reshaped to fit his frame but...oh well, it figures LOL.

    My idea was that instead of cutting out the grip traces, I would have more chances to get the angled fit to the base of the gun right if I started with the whole slab. Not that I was having problems before but I thought, hey that makes alot of sense. I wouldn't have to worry about going too far with sanding. I ended up going too far with the second slab which meant I had hardly anything left for the spacer after failing on the first spacer try. With two resin ivory slabs you get two chances at getting the spacer right. Let me tell you now, it's no easy task getting that sucker right on a budget belt sander, and sanding by hand takes for fricking EVER. So it's real hard to get right when it's difficult to hold your slabs onto a sanding belt leveled up. Quite often the sanding comes out angled instead of straight and even so you have to get in front of the sander and kneel down to make sure you're holding it flat to the belt. And getting that curve at the very bottom of the spacer? Not very likely. The best you can hope for is to get the flat areas to touch to metal so it doesn't shift the grip. Or maybe cutting it out on a band saw will work so long as you don't sand it at all after a nearly perfect, if not perfect cut out. I would love to hear how other makers are doing it. I'd like to perfect the spacer process so it's less worrisome. If I had a hundred slabs of resin ivory and of all the materials one might want for gun grips I wouldn't care, but I don't.

    Right now I use an epoxy for gluing the spacer in, then go along the edges on the inside of the spacer where metal doesn't touch with left over epoxy to have some insurance it stays put once dry. Once it sets somewhat I remove the clamps from the grips and grips from the frame to ensure it doesn't get glued together. There is risk involved with this method but usually it succeeds just fine. However after a recent failure it has forced me to look to alternative methods and how to achieve those methods with limited means. I still don't understand how it happened, but even after the epoxy had dried to hard enough for grip frame removal, it somehow shifted out of place by a very very very slight margin during it's 24 hour slumber(ok I KNOW how it happened, fricking gravity and a slight angled rest on my carpet while drying!) It was enough to throw off the perfect grip fit I had going for it and required some tweaks before I glued on the other half of the grip. I was tossing around the idea of metal rods and drilling holes to prevent shifting but I'm still trying to figure out a process to implement it. The first side going on is foolproof. The second side going on is alot harder and requires a plan to get right. I think I've figured it out.

    As far as the glue goes, I'll think about giving other stuff a shot but honestly any epoxy rated high for strength should work just fine as far as gun grips are concerned. It's only job is to keep the grips together, and practically everything that isn't dollar store super glue should work.

    BTW Big's job was exceptionally challenging as I spent weeks pondering what was going on inbetween my vertigo episodes. I think we came to agree that the stock grips were a bit short for the fit and were being forced in by the screws thereby creating stress on the frame. We finally decided to go on faith of the SAA design and to finish the grips based on how they should be instead of how pietta made them. I'm glad to see we made the right decision. The stock grips had like a 1/16" gap between the ears and where they screw into. It really threw me off and I couldn't understand why and thought maybe it was a pietta design thing. But after Big showed me old photos of them on his gun I knew it had to be pietta being cheap about their grip making. I know, budget SAs but damn, you got to get the grip fit right at the very least.
    Last edited by Botiemaster; 06-11-2019 at 09:24 PM.

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    Botiemaster, You do great work! I wish you well for your upcoming MRI test. These days the doctors have to do that test if there is any chance of a brain tumor. My wife had to have one for a 'sudden hearing loss' problem. Fortunately, she did not have a brain tumor, but she still has the hearing loss. Inner ear issues can often cause vertigo.
    Hopalong likes this.


 
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