View Full Version : Making Grips

08-18-2010, 2:21 AM
I just cleared an Avocado tree out of my backyard and thinking about maybe making some handgun grips out of some of the wood. I've never tried this before anyone have any suggestions?

08-18-2010, 3:36 AM
What type of grips, most can be made using a template from your old grips.

08-18-2010, 8:57 AM
make sure to let the wood dry out

Alan Block
08-18-2010, 10:54 AM
look for a burl section of wood. Essentially a wood 'wart' or 'tumer' it is a lump in the trunk or branch with confused grain. These make the prettiest items. Saw out the section you want so it is more than 2 times thick then saw this piece in half so that you have matching grain on each side. Paint some wax or paint on the end grain so that it wont dry too fast and split. Keep in a dry place like closet stored so that air can circulate around it. Wait until seasoned then finish your grips.

08-18-2010, 5:12 PM
Thanks for the advice keep it coming? As far grips i was thinking for my Ruger Blackhawk and my brothers Springfield 1911 Mil-Spec. I was planning on using the old ones for templates.

08-18-2010, 5:38 PM
the 1911 panels should be relatively easy...the blackhawk quite a bit harder, because you need to fit on 2 planes

08-18-2010, 5:50 PM
1911 grips are very easy to make if you have the right equipment. I make them out of exotic hardwoods. The other will be more difficult but not out of the question. Follow the above advice about drying the wood before you cut it. I would let it dry for over a year. Where abouts do you live?

08-18-2010, 9:45 PM
Well, you are going to have to let the wood dry for at least a couple of years, make sure you start off with a piece at least 2' long and wax the ends or it will try to fast and leave you with firewood.

08-19-2010, 2:28 AM
Where abouts do you live?

Venice area

08-19-2010, 7:21 AM
Venice area

Bummer… if you were closer, I was going to offer to meet up and give you a hand if we could find a time that worked for both of us.

08-19-2010, 7:28 PM
I make them out of exotic hardwoods.


08-19-2010, 9:38 PM

I can not believe that this is the only picture I can find at the moment of some of my custom grips. I will try to find some more later. These are actually made of lacewood which is a semi exotic soft wood. It is fairly easy to work with. The wood I have made the most grips out of is purpleheart which is a very hard exotic wood. I really like the color of it. I actually traced out a dozen or so 1911 grips the other day but have not started cutting. I just have not had time. But these will be made out of East Indian rosewood and ebony. Both of those woods are endangered species. I was very lucky to get my hands on some of both of these woods.


08-19-2010, 9:43 PM
what tools do u recommend using?

08-19-2010, 10:22 PM
what tools do u recommend using?

If you are going to start with logs, you are going to need to plank them with a fairly stout band saw. Then you will need to use a table saw with a special jig to make the edges. Next you will need to surface them with a planer and run the edges through a jointer. For the 1911 you want to mill the wood to about ¼ inch. I am not sure what the thickness is for the revolver.

Unless you have a lot of wood shop experience, I would recommend starting with wood that is already milled for your first set of grips. For the 1911 get about ¼ inch. Start by tracing the grips on the wood. Cut them out using a scroll saw. You could use a coping saw too but this would be a lot of work. Cut them slightly oversize so you can do the final shaping with the sanders. Next use a disk sander to do the ends of the grips and a horizontal belt sander to do the edges. For the rounded spot on the bottom of the grip, I use an oscillating spindle sander. I found a drum for it that is just the right size. Use a very sharp set of forstner bits and a drill press to countersink the screw holes on the inside and outside. Be careful not to go too deep especially on the inside. Then use any sharp drill bit to drill the center out. A forstner bit is great for this too if you can find one small enough. Do not use paddle bits… the splinter wood. The left grip requires a little groove on the top. I have done this a few ways. There is the dangerous way of nicking it on the band saw (I do not recommend it) or the safer way which is to use the edge of the belt on the belt sander. To get the curved surface, I basically rock the grip back and forth on the horizontal belt sander. It is easy to loose skin and finger nail doing this. if you are using a sturdy enough wood, you can actually glue a handle onto the grip the way you do for turning bowls on a lathe. To do this, you would put a piece of paper (like a brown paper bag weight paper) between the two pieces of wood when you glue them. This makes it easier to get them apart later. Just remember, that the glue will affect your finish, which should not be that big a deal being that it is on the back of the grip. Then sand with a hand sander and finer paper. Then finish sanding by hand. My favorite finish to use on pistol grips is Minwax Wipe-on Poly. I like satin finish. The gloss is just too shiny. I hope this helps… ask any questions if I left something out.

08-19-2010, 10:50 PM
I can not believe that this is the only picture I can find at the moment of some of my custom grips. I will try to find some more later. These are actually made of lacewood which is a semi exotic soft wood.

Beautiful grips. Nice job:D

08-21-2010, 5:44 PM
was thinking maybe trying to do a forend and stock for my mossberg 500

08-21-2010, 5:55 PM
I would buy some decent wood instead of trying to use Avacado. But, if you really want to try the Avacado, let it dry out for a year or two. While you are waiting, find some cool hardwoods, laminates or synthetic materials to practice on. It's not too hard to make slab type grips. I made a set for a Beeman Tempest in my high school shop class.

08-21-2010, 6:10 PM
I love grips threads.
here's some black palm i did:
a little cocobolo:
and last but not least zebrawood:

currently working on grip for a couple CZ'S

08-21-2010, 7:20 PM
good point on the practice I haven't really done any wood work in a really long time at least over ten years.

08-21-2010, 7:51 PM
id be interested in a wood grip for an ar-10 style rifle some thing that is comparable to a nill grip or the black mamba from ergo which i think is made of plastic

08-21-2010, 7:55 PM
you should send this to the gunsmithing forum might have a someone who also works with wood in there possibly restorit1