Custom Pistol Grips

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Project by McLeanVA posted 06-21-2011 04:26 PM 4719 views 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A coworker of mine was looking through my cutting boards (LVDTs) a few weeks ago and asked if I was interested in making a set of custom grips for his 1911 pistol. I was a bit nervous in taking on the challenge, because I wasn’t sure how involved the process was.

I created a few test grips and learned a good bit along the way. The toughest part was getting the drill holes precise. The holes are 15/64” with 1mm recessed 9/32” openings on both bottom and top of the grip to accept the handle and set screws. Again, it took a good amount of finesse work to get the holes perfect. The first 2 sets of grips went into the scrap pile.

Ultimately I made him 2 sets of finished grips. One set of Sapele and one set of Curly Maple. It was a pretty fun project and he was really happy with the outcome.

Looking forward to creating a few more for him. His next challenge for me is to create some grips that look like my cheese boards (LCDTs) and combine some contrasting species in varying thicknesses.

Overall, tons of sanding involved, but well worth the effort in the end.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

15 comments so far

View CiscoKid's profile


359 posts in 3934 days

#1 posted 06-21-2011 04:34 PM

Sweet! I’ve been thinking of doing this exact project for my own 1911 for a while. It currently has checkered cocobolo grips and I was thinking of bocote or kingwood to dress it up. Looks like that 1911 in your photo has had some work done. I see a Videcki speed trigger and a skeletonized Delta hammer. Nice work.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 4119 days

#2 posted 06-21-2011 04:40 PM

I’ve been contemplating doing this type of project on my old WWII vintage S&W revolver. I just haven’t been able to get up the nerve to try it yet. I have some nice pieces of scrap wood that would really look good for something like this. Thanks for posting.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 4494 days

#3 posted 06-21-2011 04:44 PM

Thanks Al. You lost me on “Videcki”. :)

I’m not a pistol owner and know very little about them. I’ll trust that you know what you’re talking about.

If you need some pointers, shoot me a PM and I can step you through the process. Pretty simple really, but if you miss the drill holes by a smidge it’s all downhill. I hope this project inspires you to give it a try.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 4327 days

#4 posted 06-21-2011 07:08 PM

looks real nice!

View zwwizard's profile


213 posts in 4769 days

#5 posted 06-21-2011 07:44 PM

Very nice. 1911’s aren’t the easiest to do. Here’s a set on a old colt. Hand formed and fitted out of Rosewood.

-- Richard

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3864 days

#6 posted 06-21-2011 11:29 PM

very nice. that grain really pops. what did you use for finish? thnx

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View McLeanVA's profile


493 posts in 4494 days

#7 posted 06-21-2011 11:40 PM

@Roger. I used Watco Danish Oil (x3 coats #0000 steel wool in between coats) only because I had it on hand and had great success with it. After that cured, I used 2 coats of wipe-on satin poly (#0000 steel wool in between coats) and a final misting of spray on semi-gloss poly to add some sparkle to it. Didn’t want them to turn out too glossy and show off inevitable dents in the future.

-- Measure, cut, curse, repeat.

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4522 days

#8 posted 06-22-2011 12:34 AM

I made a set for my 1911 as well from Walnut. They did turn out nice after the first were drilled too deep for the screws. I dodnt realize they were too deep until the magazine would not fit, it hit the screws.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View Richard's profile


297 posts in 3597 days

#9 posted 06-22-2011 12:37 AM

Nice! Would be interested in see the Sapele wood set.
What is Sapele wood?
You should be proud of yourself.

-- 'I sand, therefore, I am'. Richard. PNW.

View stratiA's profile


101 posts in 4436 days

#10 posted 06-22-2011 04:14 AM

I have been on the fence about make a set of these for my 1911’s. I happened to pick up a piece of cocobollo today to make some duck calls. There should be plenty leftover to make a set. Hmmmm….there, decision made!

-- Strati Alepidis, Burlington, Ma, Member Red Sox nation

View CiscoKid's profile


359 posts in 3934 days

#11 posted 06-22-2011 10:57 PM

“I’m not a pistol owner and know very little about them. I’ll trust that you know what you’re talking about.”

I never leave the house without one. Springfield Armory TRP, Hecker & Koch USP, Sig Sauer P226, S&W snub nose, etc… I own more holsters than my wife owns purses. Something for every occassion and season. ; ) Can’t be too careful.

-- Al, Culpeper VA

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 4519 days

#12 posted 06-22-2011 11:14 PM

I enjoyed making grips for a friends 1911 a while back… I know what you mean by lots of sanding.

Click for details

-- San Diego, CA

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3753 days

#13 posted 06-22-2011 11:20 PM

Excellent job! For a few thousand more, you can get Ed Brown to make them for you;)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View t. rector's profile

t. rector

31 posts in 3734 days

#14 posted 06-23-2011 01:50 AM

nothing better than woodworking and guns, my two favorite hobbies, I have often thought of this project but I can’t bring myself to remove the stock grips on my kimber they just feel too good in my paws…very nice work, I might get board on day and try this out….great job

-- I often wonder "how did I get this lucky?"..t rec

View PearlHarborPete's profile


1 post in 1040 days

#15 posted 06-15-2018 09:52 PM

I have some koa, and have been wanting to carve some pistol grips for my Sig p226. We use aspire software and I’m looking for a dxf file. Let me know if you’re able to help out.

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