Pistol Grips

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Forum topic by interpim posted 10-10-2009 01:13 AM 11618 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3970 days

10-10-2009 01:13 AM

Has anyone here made custom pistol grips before?

I have a friend at work who has asked me if I can make some for him to replace the cheap plastic ones on his gun (not sure what type yet).

If you have could you offer any advice, and also… what kind of finish should I use?

-- San Diego, CA

12 replies so far

View lew's profile


12862 posts in 4267 days

#1 posted 10-10-2009 02:33 AM

There was a Lumberjock that posted several he had made. Maybe a search of the projects will turn up his stuff.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3880 days

#2 posted 10-10-2009 02:39 AM

Make sure the plastic grips have a good fit, then use them as a pattern. I seal them with water based poly after sanding to 1,000 grit if the gun will be used outdoors for hunting. If it is only target or show piece, then use a nice oil finish. I do this for all gun stocks and grips. If the gun is a large frame revolver, Walnut Burl is gorgeous as grips.

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3712 days

#3 posted 10-10-2009 02:47 AM

The gunsmith for our club traces a template onto card board to get a general outline. After he cuts out the blanks for each side, he will turn over the originals an highlight areas on the new blanks as to where special interest needs to be paid. He then makes marks on the inward facing side if he ha to remove any wood from any place to make accommodations. After that he just asks if you would like things such as checkering or a thumb groove. But you need to know the hand gun you are dealing with first. If it is a little 25 cal. Saturday night special, it may not be worth the effort.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3970 days

#4 posted 10-10-2009 04:23 AM

Thanks for the info all :)

As far as if the weapon is worth putting grips on I’m not really sure… I don’t own any weapons, and the only ones I fire belong to the Military, but if he wants to pay for it then I am sure he will get it LOL.

I guess I should ask him the questions on whether or not he plans on using this as a display or for range use, etc…

-- San Diego, CA

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4053 days

#5 posted 10-10-2009 07:53 AM

Hey Robert, I have a piece of cocobolo you can use. I was able to purchase a little a while back at a steal of a price. I have a small chunk that would work just fine for a pistol.

-- Childress Woodworks

View Jerry's profile


80 posts in 3665 days

#6 posted 10-10-2009 08:56 AM


The “Tombstone Grips” website has some very good “Fitting” information for single action and 1911 style grip panels. I am sure we are all creative enough to “Rough Out” a set of grips for whatever it is we are working on, its the fitment that separates the best from the rest. Take a look at one of the .pdf's found on their website by clicking this link;

On the Tombstone home page. in the lower left hand side of the screen you will find the other tutorials on everything from fitting and finishing one and two piece grips to drilling and installing the screws.

Tombstone Grips

While we are on the subject of pistol grips, here is a link to an excellent article on learning how to checker. I have managed to checker a few simple patterns on 1911 grips and its actually not that difficult.

The majority of my checkering experience has been in re-cutting existing work. Check out this tutorial here on how to checker grip panels for a 1911

1911 Grip Checkering

It looks like the 1911 forum tutorial is missing pictures, anyone interested in getting the original article with the pictures embedded just send me a PM and I will gladly email it to you. I saved it to my gunsmithing folder a long time ago as a .pdf for this very reason. It is an excellent primer to get you cutting your first diamonds. The above picture is an excerpt from the original article. You can see how clearly the gentleman explains and demonstrates the process, from wood selection, layout, cutting your first lines and finally on to finishing the project.



-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

View JimKing201's profile


36 posts in 4080 days

#7 posted 10-10-2009 03:56 PM

I did these two guns just because they were cheap guns and it was fun carving the grips. Nothing professional, I was just going for something better looking. It suprised me how nice they ended up.

The pistol was interesting to copy off the cheap plastic grips it had, because of the raised thumb grip on the side. It is set out about a half inch.

Pistol is curly hard maple. The shotgun is out of 8/4 cherry, which I have yet to finish.

Go ahead with the grip carving. Its a neat little project. You can get some really cool scraps for cheap, and you will be amazed at how much it improves the appearance of the gun.

gun grips and stock

-- Got Wood?

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3970 days

#8 posted 10-10-2009 04:36 PM

Thanks for the offer Childress, but the guy mentioned wanting rosewood or ebony for his grips. He is buying the wood himself though.

Jerry thanks for the information. If you could email that PDF you have I would be appreciative. I will PM you my email address.

-- San Diego, CA

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4053 days

#9 posted 10-10-2009 10:59 PM

Well, cocobolo is considered to be true rosewood. let me know if you change your mind

-- Childress Woodworks

View zwwizard's profile


212 posts in 4221 days

#10 posted 10-11-2009 04:24 AM

Here is the last grips I made for a pistol . Form fitted, out of rosewood.
Fitted to the owners hand, sanded to 2000 grit, finished with hand rubbed lacquer.

-- Richard

View MikeOfAllTrades's profile


9 posts in 3092 days

#11 posted 11-02-2011 06:25 PM

I hate to resurrect and old thread, but thought it a waste to start a new one… so, do any of you gents/ ladies make pistol grips? I’ve done some simple sets before but now am wanting a set to replace CZ99 stock grips and they are proving more difficult. The biggest issue is the side that makes contact with the gun, the underside has recesses and gaps that allow the inner mechanisms to move freely and so far, I cannot be as precise by hand as is needed.

Thanks for any help in regards to this.

-- "Those you cannot teach to fly, teach to fall faster." — Friedrich Nietzsche

View DBerryhill's profile


5 posts in 2858 days

#12 posted 12-23-2011 10:41 PM

I’m a pistolsmith and don’t do a lot of grip making but am interested in learning more about checkering 1911 grips. If Jerry (or anyone else) has a copy of the tutorial from the 1911 Forum that Jerry mentioned, please let me know.

Dave Berryhill

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