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The semi-recent thread that showed off a set of Jim Martin grips got me to thinking. I have a friend who make furniture, fireplace mantles, commercial bar tops, etc. out of mesquite. I asked what he did with the small cut off pieces. He said they go in the BBQ, smoker or fireplace pile. He let me pick through the scraps.
I cut out a set of 1911 grips. The pictures don't show it well but is it amazing how the grain of the wood appears to change with the angle of the light.

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I've got a pair of SAA blanks rough cut. Just can't decide what I want to fit them to yet.
 

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RE: Skeeter & mesquite grips,a long time ago one of his readers wrote in his column"Does anyone make mesquite grips?" He answered not to his knowledge,A member of this forum & old friend of mine the Jersey Kid wrote to him that"Jim Martin in Az does" & he was kind enough to write about it but it wasn't 60 yrs. ago but I was making them longer than that.
 

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RE: Skeeter & mesquite grips,a long time ago one of his readers wrote in his column"Does anyone make mesquite grips?" He answered not to his knowledge,A member of this forum & old friend of mine the Jersey Kid wrote to him that"Jim Martin in Az does" & he was kind enough to write about it but it wasn't 60 yrs. ago but I was making them longer than that.
It seems a good wood for grips, if you can get pieces with just the dark heartwood. How do they hold checkering? Have you ever used ironwood for grips? Both common as rain...er...wind...out here in AZ.
 

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Here's a vender ... I have no experience with them though.
Texas Grips - Gun control with style!

There was a firm in San Angelo, but I think they folded.
Esmeralda might have some, she's had ironwood versions available before.
Good Luck
rayb
 

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I have some Screwbean Mesquite grips on a custom revolver which are rare in a word and am going to send some wood out to make a few sets for my 1911's. Love the stuff! Like the regular mesquite as well it is just a little different. Screwbean on the left.

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Discussion Starter #10
Good Job Mark !!
I have a gentlemen in Texas making me a set of grips for my Bisley out of Bison Horn...

Here they are...very roughly shaped.
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Thanks!
I have a walking stick with a buffalo horn handle and tip made for me by a dear old friend quite a few years ago. The pictures aren't very good but the cane is awesome. Leather wrapped grip, brass and a Mexican coin below the grip. The blade is 30.25" round stainless steel ground to a triangular point.
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Good grief I live on 55 acres of mesquite, much of it of the dead standing variety. I burn the stuff all winter as it makes extremely hot, long lasting fires. I've often wondered if a grip maker would make me a set of mesquite grips, or two, in exchange for a supply of raw material.

Cholla
 

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Well, I never heard of them until Skeeter pushed them 60 years ago. I still need to get a pair.
Didn't want to rush in too fast? :D Anyway, if you ever decide you don't like them, you can smoke your pork chops with them. A win-well, uh, win.
 
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Last month I visited the Phoenix Botanical Garden for the first time. Not living in the region, I rarely get to see mesquite trees. There are some real specimen mesquites at that garden, and as I looked at some of the wounds of large pruned branches, inspecting the smooth cross cuts and tight grain, all I could think of was the possibility of nice gun grips. When I got home I searched the web for any examples of 1911 double diamond grips in mesquite, and couldn't find any....
 

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At the turn of the century my family had the chance to turn some of their land into farm land by letting the Texas prison system bring out prisoners to cut & grub mesquite. They would dig down about 8 inches and cut the tree off and then saw up the larger pieces for firewood and the smaller limbs they piled on the stump and burned. When they got through you had nice clear prairie. The problem came to when you started to plow you hit those cut off stumps which were harder than the devils heart. As time went on with more powerful plows and tractors we eventually pulled these out of the ground. I have a stack roughly the size to fill a 55 gallon barrel that would make some wonderful pistol grips or knife scales (I had my Randall fisherman handle made out of them) if anyone is interested. These are over a hundred years old and also make really good BBQ smoke if you can bust them with a sledge (hard to do) and then soak the pieces and drop on your gas grill. cf
 

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Mesquite can make good grips if you get the grain right. For 1911s the curl isn't such a problem, for SAA's the curl of the grain in Mesquite can be problematic and you have to be picky.

Contrary to original belief, Mesquite is native to North America, not introduced by the spainards. They have excavated pack rat mounds in West Texas that are 700-1000 years old that contain Mesquite beans. As for how they came to dominate much of the state of Texas, we stopped the natural burn cycle so the the prairie went away. Add to that the fact that cows and horses can't digest the beans and they just pass through and get deposited right in the middle of a perfectly prepared clump of fertilizer and there you go. People like to say Mesquites are hard to kill, not so if you use the right tools and do it properly. If you just cut the trunk, they will resprout from a lateral root that grows 6-8 inches below the surface. You have to kill this root to kill the plant. Meaning you have to grub deep enough to get it or you have to use an herbicide that actually kills the tree not just the top growth and vegetation.

Anyway, my father-in-law and I do a lot of wood working with mesquite. Here is a set of 1911 grips I had made by gripwright, and a few other things we have made. A few years ago the commanding officer of the U.S.S. United States contacted us to make a U.S. shaped one for him to give to the next commander who took command from him, have since made 2 more for the ship for change of command.
 

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