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Old 03-04-2010, 01:34 PM
jerm1812 jerm1812 is offline
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Grip Making How-To....Pics




Alright I finally got around to taking pictures to write up a how-to.

Materials:
Denim, canvas, or any other kinda of cloth material
Scissors
Ruler
Measuring Cup
Old vegetable can
Stir Stick
Fiberglass Resin (I use Elmer's)
Two Flat boards about a foot in length
Saran Wrap
Gloves
Sand Paper (I use 100, 220, 320, and sometimes 600)
Polyurethane Finish
Cheap paint brush

Equipment:
Face mask
Prick punch
Three C-Clamps
Drill Press
Bits (15/64ths and 9/32nds)
Saw (I just use a chop saw, although a band saw would probably be the safest)
Belt Sander (could be done all by hand, but that would take a while)
Sanding Blocks
3/16ths Chainsaw file
Dremel Tool (not necessary, but again can speed things up)

First you need to select your materials. For this particular set I am using denim and yellow canvas. You will then cut the fabric into strips at least two inches wide and 10 inches long. Longer is always better, you can't add length after is finished.



At this point you also need to get whatever container you're going to use to mix the resin in. I have found that about a 1/2 of a cup is just about the right amount for making a set of grips. Measure a half a cup of water in a measuring cup and then pour it into your container. Then get a sharpie and mark a line where the water comes up to.

This picture kind of shows the line I have drawn in my can.



Once you have all of the strips cut, put them in the order that you want them. I alternated one for one for this set. Then make sure you have all of your materials assembled and at hand before you start anything with the fiberglass. This is very important because once you put the hardener in the resin you have a limited amount of time before it starts to set up.

The following picture shows all that you will need at this step. When you select the boards to use try and use at least one of them that is very flat and straight, the best way to ensure it is flat would be by running them through a jointer first. While this step is not necessary it does save a lot of time sanding the flat side that is the underside of the grip. The flatter the board the less sanding you must do. Once you have your boards ready lay a piece of saran wrap over one board where you will be applying the resin, make sure there is enough to completely wrap up your blanks when your finished.



The next step is to pour the resin and mix it with the hardener. Put your disposable gloves on now. A tip here, if you buy the resin in the quart size it is a bit more expensive that a full gallon, but a whole lot easier to pour. If you only plan or making a few grips a quart will be more than enough. After you pour the resin in make sure it is close to the line, and then double check to make sure you have all the supplies you need at this point (resin won't start to set up until the hardener is put in).



The next step is to add hardener. The resin I use calls for 14 drops of resin per ounce. A 1/2 cup is four ounces so I count out 56 drops of hardener and then mix it all in. Any sort of stir stick will work, I just use old strip of wood that is fairly sturdy and has a flat side on it.



Then wipe on a layer of resin straight to the saran wrap on top of the board. I tried pouring it the first time, but its too hard to control how much comes out, so I just use to stick to dip it out of the can. Then use your gloved fingers to spread it out.



Then start laying out your layers, again move quickly so it doesn't set up before you finish. You need resin in between all the layers. Don't be too shy with the resin, and make sure you spread it to cover the entire strip.





Once you have all of your strips down put another coat on the top of the last strip. I believe I used 15 layers for this set, denim is fairly thick so if you use something thinner it will need more strips. You then wrap the whole blank in saran, that way it won't stick to your boards. Also make sure the part of your grip that will be the underside is on the flattest board. You then sandwich the blank between your two boards and clamp in down with you C-clamps. Try and make sure that the pressure is even the entire way around so that you don't end up with a side that is thinner than another. Also don't clamp it too tight, you don't want to squeeze of the resin out. You're looking for the blank to be at least 1/4 inch here. Also be prepared for for resin to "ooze" out. I then let it set over night before I start working with it, although the directions say if can be sanded after two hours, the typical application of the resin isn't used this thick so I allow a little longer drying time.



Now its time to start turning the blanks into grips. Once the resin has set up, here is what you should be left with:


Last edited by jerm1812; 04-08-2012 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Added some Steps
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  #2  
Old 03-04-2010, 02:31 PM
Sledzep01 Sledzep01 is offline
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I cant wait for the next step!

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Old 03-04-2010, 03:49 PM
glockeyed glockeyed is offline
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Awesome
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:58 PM
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:48 PM
Chips Chips is offline
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Awesome, can't wait to see how they turn out!
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:17 AM
jerm1812 jerm1812 is offline
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Everything wouldn't fit in one post, so here is the rest.


I then take an older set of grips that I made, and know that the outside dimension on it are as big as they can be. I then take a prick punch and scratch the outline of the old grips onto the blank. I have found that using the prick punch is much more accurate than using a sharpie and saves me guessing time versus using a sharpie. Although that will work as well.



I then cut the blanks out. I use a chop saw for this. I do not recommend anyone else using this kind of saw as it can be quite dangerous and your fingers end up close to the blade. The safest possible route would be to cut it with a hand saw or use a band saw if you have access to one. Cut close to the lines but don't try and get right next to them. This is what you should end up with.



I then begin using my belt sander to get the blanks closer to the correct dimensions. If your lines were right then you can sand right down to them. Again the key here is you can always take more off later. Probably the most important part to get right and leave extra material on is the bottom side of the grip. That line is to me the most definitive and easiest line to see if it doesn't line up with the firearm. Also, make sure you are wearing a face mask of some sort, this dust is very fine and seems to just suspend itself in the air. Any sort of circulation you and add to the air will help. Opening up the garage doors is a must if you're in a garage.



The next step is probably the most critical and hardest to get right, locating and drilling the holes. This is where its important to have extra room to work with on your outside dimensions. I first locate the bottom hole. On my frame the center of the bushing is .560 inches from the bottom edge of the frame. So make sure you locate the hole further from the bottom than that. It doesn't have to be perfectly centered but try and get it close. You next mark the center of the grip somewhere close to the top. Then with your ruler and prick punch scratch a line from the bottom of the grip to the top. This helps you to locate the upper hole much easier. I don't know exactly what the standard bushing to bushing distance is supposed to be. I have read that it should be 3 1/16 inches (3.0625). However on my frame they are a little wider than that at 3.074. You will have to determine what the best dimension will be for your frame. Once you have then measure it out of the line and use you prick punch to mark the spot. Be as accurate as possible here.



Another step to complete right here is to sand the underside of the grips and make sure they are flat. I just say a piece of sand paper on a known flat surface and sand the bottom until there are no more spots with shine on them, you should then know that its flat. You're then ready to drill the holes. They make a brad point drill bit that will make this much easier. The important part is to make sure you center your bit over the hole and clamp the grip down. I use a center punch to get the grip centered. Once it is centered use your 15/64ths bit to drill a hole all the way through. I go from the top to the underside of the grip. Then flip your grips over and you will use your 9/32nds bit to drill the recess for the bottom of the grip bushing. Again center the bit over the hole, you can use a tapered punch of some sort, or your 15/64ths bit to get it all lined up. Again clamp the grip down. Another note of advise here is to drill very slow or the grip will jump up the bit and possibly ruin your work up to this point. You're only drilling about 1/16" deep.



You're now ready to start shaping the grips. I round out the top of the grip to a contour that is similar to what the final contour will be, but I'm still leaving extra. After you have given it a little shape you can start testing it to see if the grips will fit on the gun. Now is when you find out how well you did drilling the holes. If it doesn't quite go on, don't worry too much. Most of mine don't work right at first. If you need to make adjustments use your chainsaw file to make adjustments where ever you need to to make it fit. This is also the step where you must make the relief cut for the plunger tube. Draw a line that will show you where to make the cut and then get your dremel tool. I just use a round bit and carefully grind out the cut close to the right size. I make the final cuts with my chain saw file. I also lay out what the final contour of the grip is going to be with a pencil on the bottom edge of the grip. This set of grips is going on a gun with and S&A magwell, so that is the contour that I want to match.



I then go back to the sander and sand the grips down close to the contour line that I made earlier. Don't forget your face mask. I hold the grips vertically or parallel with the sander belt. I found that for me with a 2" belt sander that was the best way to keep from gouging the grips and helps me to keep the contour even from top to bottom. It also helps the flip the grip every once in a while just to make sure your aren't putting more pressure on top or bottom. I know this probably sounds vague, but once you make one or two, you will probably find a way that works best for you.

Once I have the contour close I start working on finalizing the bottom edge. If its not close use your sander to get the edge close. Leave it slightly oversized and then put the grips on your gun. From here you will be using your sanding block with the 100 grit paper, clamp your grips in a vise and take a little off, then put the grips back on the gun and see how much more you need to take off. This is just a sand and fit process that can take a while. Once I have the bottom line fit I then install the magwell and do the final contouring on the grips to match as close as I can. Again this is a sand and fit process that you just have to take slow until you get the fit that you want. Be careful and pay attention to the lines on the gun and make sure that your grips match. If you need to make small adjustments use your sanding block again.



Once you have your contour finished then you are ready to make your final cuts. Remember to cut the relief for your mag catch. I put the grip on the gun and mark the outside edges with a pencil mark, then I use my chain saw file again to cut the relief. Just make sure the mag catch will still operate with the grip on. You can also make any other cuts that you need at this point for ambi-safeties or extended safeties bob-tails and things of that nature. If you haven't already you can make the contour at the top of the grip any way that you think looks good. I also like to bevel the edges at this point. Once the grip is all ready just like you want it you're ready for the final sanding. I then use the 220 grit to smooth it out some and then I go to 320.

I use a clear polyurethane finish to coat the grip. This also darkens and brings out the color of the fabric. I made a small jig to help hold the grips while they're drying, for it you just need six brad nails and a piece of wood. After the first coat dries you'll want sand it with your 320 and 600 grit paper then put another coat on. You may have to put a few coats on, but you should be able to get it as smooth as you want.



I also think if you just wanted some functional grips then rough sand them and call it good (no finish). It will offer a good purchase on the firearms and the fabric will help absorb sweat and wont get slick. If it did get too slick after a while then just take a little sand paper to it again.

Last edited by jerm1812; 04-07-2012 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:17 AM
jerm1812 jerm1812 is offline
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One last post.


From there you can add any grooves that you would like. Here is the finished product for this tutorial and one other set that I thought turned out pretty interesting. Hope you enjoy.














I didn't quite mean to write such a novel here. I tried to be as thorough as possible, but if I left something out or you have any questions about anything please don't hesitate to ask.

Last edited by jerm1812; 04-07-2012 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:53 AM
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best thread ever.


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Old 03-05-2010, 08:00 AM
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Very nice write up and amazing grips. Looks like I've got to get some canvas and resin.

Robert
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:04 AM
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Excellent post and great tutorial...this thread should become a sticky!
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:11 AM
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T. Kanaley T. Kanaley is offline
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Originally Posted by Freakdaddy View Post
Excellent post and great tutorial...this thread should become a sticky!
I agree. I normally would be loathe to cluttering up the top of the forum with any more stickys, but if any thread deserves one, it is this one! Stuck!

Great job!

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Last edited by T. Kanaley; 03-05-2010 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:18 AM
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Brilliant!!!
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:23 AM
rattletrap1970 rattletrap1970 is offline
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Very innovative. I thought I was slick making a set out of black walnut. You got me. Never thought of that. My grips come out pretty well but I need to learn some checkering.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:26 PM
Al53 Al53 is offline
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Very nice jerm1812
Makes me want to give it a try.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:00 PM
vermont2nd vermont2nd is offline
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Incredible write-up! Thank you for sharing it with us. You do beautiful work, that "starburst" set is great.

I know what my next weekend project is going to be; thank again.
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Old 03-11-2010, 07:16 PM
Starvy Starvy is offline
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I agree, this is really awsome !! I would say the idea's are endless and talk about making something your own
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:20 PM
Augie Augie is offline
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That is a wonderful job.
I say old Jerm, what would you say a set of those grips is worth, if you were to sell them, to say, me for example?
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:03 PM
gearhead65 gearhead65 is offline
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AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! I know what I'll be doing this weekend!
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Old 03-11-2010, 10:14 PM
jerm1812 jerm1812 is offline
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Whenever you guys make a set post some pictures. I will be interesting to see all the different combinations that you guys come up with.
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Old 03-12-2010, 12:17 PM
tcuster tcuster is offline
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Just wondering was that all denim I have never seen yellow denim of course never had a reason to look for any till now. If it is denim did you buy it in yellow or dye it. thanks great job and super right up
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:46 PM
jerm1812 jerm1812 is offline
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Originally Posted by tcuster View Post
Just wondering was that all denim I have never seen yellow denim of course never had a reason to look for any till now. If it is denim did you buy it in yellow or dye it. thanks great job and super right up
The yellow is canvas. Your local fabric store should have most any color your interested in.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:34 AM
ironcat1 ironcat1 is offline
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About Your Grips

Your work is gorgeous!!!! I can't wait to build some for my Kimber Pro Carry HD II. Thanks for the Information.
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Old 03-15-2010, 02:07 PM
tcuster tcuster is offline
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thanks for the info Jerm I have looked at this thread so many times in the past few days it is really just great work.
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:50 PM
usmc1911lvr usmc1911lvr is offline
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Simple... yet purely AMAZING?!? KEEP UP THE AMAZING WORK. I am currently attempting to do my own.
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Old 03-22-2010, 10:46 AM
jerm1812 jerm1812 is offline
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- Here are a couple more. One simple and one kinda out there.



Did somebody mention tye-dye?




Last edited by jerm1812; 04-07-2012 at 07:46 PM.
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