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Grip Making is not that difficult to do, I get a lot of satisfaction when I make a set for a custom gun. In (Fig-1) you can see some of the tools I use to create a set of 1911 grips. Now in this article I will be creating a set of Stag grips. I am not much of a fan of stag grips, but at a knife show I bought this pair of stag blanks for $5 and figured why not make a set of gun grips with them. Well the first step in creating your grips is to thin them. I used a sanding machine to thin grips to 1/4 of an inch. Once that was completed I profiled them, I use another set of grips for this, just set the other grips on your wood or stag and profile them with a black marker. Next take a bow saw to them or a sanding machine and get the profile correct. Do this to both of the grips the left one and the right one, now put a R and L on the inside of the respective grips. Next drill the holes for the grip screws, I use a old frame without grip bushings to align and decide where the holes go. You can see in (Fig-2) that I tape the grips tightly with electrical tape and then flip frame over and with a transfer punch I mark the backside of the grips. Next remove the grips and with a black marker put a dot in the small recess you created with the transfer punch. Now if you do not have a frame sitting around just use another set of grips to mark the hole locations. PS a transfer punch set is nothing more than a set of rods with pointy ends in many sizes, a pic of my set can be seen in (Fig-3). Next I install the grips in a very sophisticated looking jig of my own design(Fig-4), you will notice I have a small level to ensure the grips flat is facing up. With the level I am ensuring I am not drilling the holes in at an angle. Once grips are level, line up drill bit on your black mark and drill away, I use a Forstner 15/64 bit . Once I have drilled through the grips and into my jig, I then replace the bit with another Forstner 9/32 bit and drill only deep enough to allow a grip bushing to enter and allow the grips to sit flush on a frame. Note I did not move table between changing from the small bit to the larger bit. Next go back to your smaller drill bit and go drill the hole on the other end of the grips. Again without moving table or grips, change out to the larger bit and make the recess for the grip bushing again. Now loosen screws on jig and turn over your grips, show side up and prepare to enlarge holes for your grip screws. I have a transfer punch cut off at about one inch long to help me locate the hole with my milling machine. What I do is move table around untill the punch will line up with the hole in grips (Fig-5). Next replace punch with your 9/32 drill bit and drill deep enough for a grip screw to sit flush with your grips. Next mill the slot for clearance of the Mag release (Fig-6), this could also easily be filed with a round file. Next I create the slot for the plunger tube, I use a angle jig and use 115 degrees. Next I chuck up a 3/32 ball end mill bit and create the slot (Fig-7)and (Fig-8). Now I use the mill to create the plunger plunger tube slot because thats what I have, but this could also easily be filed in or I have a friend who uses a router table, Dremel also comes to mind. Well all that is left to do now is finish profiling if creating from wood and maybe cut a relief angle on the bottom of the grips and creat a pin cutout. Now I used a mill in my directions because I have one. I do not beleive that it is necessary to use a mill though and think that a drill press would be more than adequate. Now I use two different bits to create the grips screw holes but am about to make a stepped drill bit on a metal lathe for my next set of grips and will show it here later. I will also show later a jig to hold the grips I am making to contour the grips, before this I just held the grips while I rolled them on a belt sander but that led to some blistered fingers. Pictures and a article on making grips out of wood to follow


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The Transfer punch set can be obtained from travers supply at

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Copyright© 2000 by Chris Williams