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I recently aquired a pair of real ivory checkered grips for one of my Colt 1908 380's. My probem is that although beutiful they are stark white and just don't look right to me on a 90 year old gun. Does anyone have a methd of yellowing the grips a bit to give them an aged look?
 

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You can soak in tea or other type of dye. Otherwise, the best way to "age" fresh Ivory stocks is to rub the stocks across any part of your skin that is oily like your nose or forehead. In a few weeks they will be nice and mellowed out. Seriously -- this method works darn good.
 

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I put new ivory on Dads blackhawk and wanted to age them a little. I wound up doing nothing instead and they had lost the snow white look in about 3 months and within a year had an aged yellow tint to them which really looks good. Once a year I rub them with mineral oil. Colt75 is on track, just handling them will impart an aged look on them. I too heard of the weak tea solution but never tried it.
 

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Question on the flip side. What about wanting to whiten ivory grips. I have a pair for an early woodsman one side is nicely aged and the other is dark tan. Can I lighten the color of the darker one? What is best way to lighten ivory to get grips to match?
 

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Ivory is really just like our teeth. Coffee and tea will darken them and tooth paste will clean them. A little vegitable oil twice a year will keep them looking like new. :)
 

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Mike,

I've put elephant ivory on several of my guns. I'd say let them age naturally. With a little handling, you will be surprised how fast they start to take color. I might soak a set of ivory composition grips, but the real thing??? Soaking a $500+ set of grips in a cup of coffee or tea... is not happening in my house. It probably would not hurt a thing, but I won't be finding out.
 

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Question on the flip side. What about wanting to whiten ivory grips. I have a pair for an early woodsman one side is nicely aged and the other is dark tan. Can I lighten the color of the darker one? What is best way to lighten ivory to get grips to match?
Take the grip off. Carefully try toothpaste with a damp rag or paper towel, one or two fingers at a time. With any physical polish you will have to give attention to be the same over the entire area.
 

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Soaking in tea works for awhile then has to be re-done or continually treated w/something,I've been building ivory grips since 1956,the only thing I've found that works permanently is potassium permanganate,u can contact some of the muzzle loading suppliers & they have pre-mixed aging compound that works on bone, ivory etc.If any of u have a copy of John Taffins book "Single Action Sixguns" u can look in it in the chapters- 1st gen-2nd gen-3rd gen,& custom colts & see the results of the permanganate that I used on my colts that he featured in his book.
 

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Jim Martin is right about pot perm. I have used it for years on ivory and wood and didn't mention it due to hazard involved. I didn't know about the pre-mixed stuff which probably has instructions that should be carefully followed.

In early medicine it was used as an antiseptic. I have a little container of it I bought at the drugstore years ago before it became a controlled substance. As it comes in pure purple crystal form it can be dangerous to use. The Chinese used it to turn ivory chessmen black. I once let a pair of ivories go too far with it and took a huge amount of polishing to clean them back to look right. If you get the pure stuff be careful with it and experiment on something before your grips. It can burn into ivory surface and your skin as well.

An amount of the pure stuff the size of quarter of an aspirin tablet in a table spoon of water is very strong. It dissolves very slowly in water and I found it tricky to find a right mix for ivory. To age wood, the strong mix worked well.
 

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Jim Martin is right about pot perm. I have used it for years on ivory and wood and didn't mention it due to hazard involved. I didn't know about the pre-mixed stuff which probably has instructions that should be carefully followed.

In early medicine it was used as an antiseptic. I have a little container of it I bought at the drugstore years ago before it became a controlled substance. As it comes in pure purple crystal form it can be dangerous to use. The Chinese used it to turn ivory chessmen black. I once let a pair of ivories go too far with it and took a huge amount of polishing to clean them back to look right. If you get the pure stuff be careful with it and experiment on something before your grips. It can burn into ivory surface and your skin as well.

An amount of the pure stuff the size of quarter of an aspirin tablet in a table spoon of water is very strong. It dissolves very slowly in water and I found it tricky to find a right mix for ivory. To age wood, the strong mix worked well.
The proper formula for the PP is a mixture of 15 to 1 of water to the PP,store in a glass bottle,when I was a kid u could buy it from the druggist w/o a prescription,it was also used for getting rid of warts.Now it's a controlled substance
 

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Count me in for letting Mother Nature take its course. You can speed things up a bit by frequent handling of the grips, even better if your hands are sweaty and dirty. This would include handling the grips as you are cleaning one of your other guns after shooting and your hands have gun solvent and powder residue on them. Put the grips by the window and let the sun hit them, leave them on the back patio when it's 99 degrees outside, etc., etc. And yes, I put my money where my mouth is. I have an expensive set of ivories on my Colt and while I don't abuse them, I don't take any special precautions to pamper them when shooting or cleaning the revolver.

Should you decide on using some odd concoction, ask to see before and after photos by those who have recommended the formula. And if you do choose to use one, an important thing that I would GUESS could be a problem is that you said the grips are checkered. Although I have limited experience with ivory, I do know that checkered wood reacts differently to liquids (i.e. stains and varnish) than plain, uncheckered wood. Hence, you need to be careful as the ckeckering may absorb more/differently then the smooth area of the grips and you can end up with two-tone grips.

One other thing to consider, and no I don't know the particulars on how to do it, is to "ink" the grips. This (IF PROPERLY DONE) does not age the ivory but will bring out a nice contrast between the smooth part of the grip and the checkering. For example, the grips below are from nutmegsports website. They do not appear to be artificially aged, but the contrast does give them the proper look for an old gun.

John Gross

 
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